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Jamaica warns, Child Month will look different this year

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#KINGSTON, April 17 (JIS):  The annual Child Month celebration in May will look a little different this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.       With Jamaicans instructed to avoid mass gatherings as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus, activities have been scaled back with some events, including the national church service, to be held virtually.

            Chair of the National Child Month Committee (NCMC), Dr. Pauline Mullings, said that although the activities have been significantly modified there will still be opportunities for parents, caregivers and the general public to celebrate the nation’s children.                     

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            She noted that the theme for the month, ‘Unplug Negativity, Connect Positivity… Think!’ encourages persons to “use this period to really get to know and be more of a positive influence on their children”.

            Dr. Mullings, who was speaking at  the virtual launch of Child Month 2020 on Wednesday (April 15),  said that the theme was selected to reflect “what is happening withour children, who are spending most of their time at home because of the closure of schools” and are spending more time online.        

            “We want to encourage persons to find more productive ways to utilise the technology which we possess, without being automatons and losing the human touch, and to use the technology to build bridges, not drive wedges,” she noted.    

            “In this ‘infodemic’ atmosphere, let us unplug falsehood, panic, fear, discrimination and other negatives, and connect to truth, accuracy, helpful and reassuring information; connect to each other and, most importantly, connect to God,” she added.  Child Month activities will begin on Sunday, May 3, with a national virtual church service at the Port Antonio Baptist Church in Portland starting at 10:00 a.m., which will be streamed live.                         

            Churches across the island are also being encouraged to make their services child-centred throughout the month of May.                             

JIS File Photo

           National Children’s Day will be observed on Friday, May 15 and Jamaicans are being encouraged to wear sunshine yellow on the day, whether they are staying at home, or going out as an essential service worker.                                                                                

            Leading up to Children’s Day, young people, aged six to 17, will have an opportunity to share videos or photographs, showcasing their talent in song, poetry, or visual art under the Child Month theme. The creative pieces should be submitted via email to ncmcja@gmail.com by Friday, May 8.

            On National Children’s Day, the videos and photographs will be featured on the NCMC Face Book page (@ncmcja), where members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite up to May 22 at 6:00 p.m.

            The entry with the most likes will be declared winner of the popular vote. 

            The month of activities will culminate with a National Day of Prayer on Wednesday, May 27 at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester.     Church administrators islandwide are being asked to invite their members to offer special prayers for the nation’s children on the day.                                

            Lead sponsors for Child Month 2020 are GraceKennedy Limited and the National Baking Company Limited.

JIS NEWS BY JUDITH A. HUNTER

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.

The Ian Fleming Airport is named for the famous author who penned the James Bond series just miles away from the airport. Never one to miss a theme, InterCaribbean dubbed their flight the JY 007.

The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.

The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare.  It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.

Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.

“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”

The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.

“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”

Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”

InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.

American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.

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GUYANA needs banks but fears T&T Monopoly

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#Guyana, June 25, 2022 – For the second time in three years, a planned deal has failed between Scotiabank Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in First Citizens Limited.  Last week, First Citizens issued a legal notice to inform that the Purchase and Sale Agreement between First Citizens Limited and the Bank of Nova Scotia for the sale of Scotiabank’s retail operations in Guyana expired. The agreement was terminated.

However, this time, it is revealed that the Bank of Guyana denied the transaction out of concern that Republic Bank would gain a near-monopoly position in the Guyanese banking sector.

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Timothy Tucker, said, “If the Republic bank, Scotia Bank merger was done, it would have over 50 percent of the depository…so that is why that deal was rejected.”

He added that “Republic bank had made an attempt to buy Scotia Bank Guyana and like any regulator, in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world, if a bank is then going to, if the acquisition of a bank is going to create a monopoly or something that can be detrimental to the depository institutions, then you will have a problem.”

The First Citizens, Scotia Guyana deal received backlash from regulators when it was announced in March 2021. Guyana’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, and the Bank of Guyana have both criticised the announcement.

“The announcement] was premature and inappropriate, said Minister Singh back then. The Bank of Guyana said FCB, “entered the said agreement without informing the BOG.”

Last year, the lapse caused institutions and business people in the region, especially Guyana, a considerable amount of money.

Tucker said the announcement had raised alarms around the business community and added that a local institution in Guyana, the Bank for Trade and Industry, placed a higher offer for Scotiabank, and Scotia Bank went with First Citizens. While he is uncertain of the reason for that, he said that if the agreement were successful, two Trinidad banks would control over 50 percent of the depository institutions within Guyana.

Tucker made it known that Trinidad and Tobago banks are not blacklisted; the Republic Bank remained the largest bank in Guyana. He added that he would welcome more Trinidad and Tobago banks in Guyana since it only has a few banking institutions. The only issue is that the banks must enter independently and not at the expense of foreign banks like Scotia.

“So the local private sector, while we are advocating hard for our more financial institutions, we don’t mind First Citizens applying for a banking license and coming in as a regional bank, but when we are going to lose one of our international banks to a regional bank, the business sector has a problem with that,” he said,” We don’t control the process. Even if we have a problem with that, it’s a free capital market. Companies are free to sell to whomever they choose to sell. We support that. But at the same time, we are worried about the concentration of our depository institutions into the region alone. This isn’t going for Trinidad banks; it goes for if a bank from Jamaica came to buy Scotiabank. We would fundamentally have an issue with it,” he said.

First Citizens Bank said it would continue to pursue “geographic diversification and digital transformation strategies.” In the meantime, Tucker is hoping it will open other opportunities for Guyana.

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Haitian Special Olympics delegates still missing, Team returns home with 11 Medals

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Florida police are still trying to find seven delegates of the Haitian Special Olympics team who disappeared during the Games in early June.  The latest is Louis Jacques Wilguens who was last seen disembarking a bus at the All-Star Sports Resort and has not been heard from since.

The first six delegates who went missing from Disneyworld in Kissimmee Florida on June 6th were in town for the football competition of the Special Olympics.  Only one of the initial six was an actual athlete. The single athlete has an intellectual disability.

The missing men are 32-year-old Antione Joseph Mithon, 20-year-old Nicholson Fontilus, 19- year-old Peter Mianovich Berlus, 18-year-old Anderson Petit-Frere, and 24-year-old Steevenson Jacquet, and 18-year-old Oriol Jean.

They were last seen in the area of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, according to a press release from the Osceola Sheriff’s Office.  That was around 2:30 pm on the day the men went missing.

The Police say the men “turned in their room keys, left behind their personal bags and belongings,” and have not been seen since.

The special Olympics ended on June 12th.  Haiti won 11 medals, eight of them in horseback riding including two gold medals, two in the 100-meter hurdles (gold and silver), and a bronze medal in the football competition.  All of the other delegates have made it safely back home.

The Special Olympics USA Games attracted more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from the nation’s 50 states and the Caribbean, according to organizers.

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