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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.

Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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