#KINGSTON, Jamaica – April 27 (JIS): President of Deaf Sports Jamaica, André Witter, is commending the Government for providing sign language services during the regular press briefings on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He noted that the presence of an interpreter at these sessions has enabled thousands of persons in the deaf community to learn more about the virus and, thereby, protect themselves.
Mr. Witter, who was part of a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Jamaica Diaspora Behavioural Health Task Force recently, is calling on other entities to offer similar services to the deaf community.
“There are many programmes on television and radio, but the information is not being accessed by the deaf community because, obviously, we can’t hear it,” he pointed out.
“We are left to have to write back and forth with hearing individuals, and it’s very difficult for us to communicate that way because English is not our first language,” he said, noting that Jamaican Youth Deaf Advocacy is often called upon to provide signing services for children and schools.
Mr. Witter said that COVID-19 has highlighted the need for greater access to interpreting services for the deaf community.
He said that the wearing of masks, as a safeguard against the virus, has also affected the ability of deaf persons to communicate effectively.
“Since many of us are wearing masks, this is also a problem for us because we can’t see the mouths when they are covered with the masks that we have to wear,” he said, adding that facial expression is a crucial part of the Jamaican sign language.
“Imagine a hearing person speaking with no tone, just a monotone voice; that’s what it’s like for us when our mouths are covered,” he added.
Mr. Witter said he would like to see interpretive services provided more regularly for the deaf community, especially when persons have to visit their doctors.
He argued that these services should be free of cost as the interpreter is serving both the deaf and hearing communities, including the physician.
“So without interpreters there is absolutely no communication between the two parties,” Mr. Witter said.
The virtual panel discussion, under the theme ‘Coping with COVID-19’, was moderated by Chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network, Leo Gilling, while interpretation was done by Diane Black and Jessica Hoffman of Deaf Empowerment Abroad.
JIS NEWS BY E. HARTMAN RECKORD
Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti
By Sherrica Thompson
Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.
The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”
Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.
The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.
St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship
By Sherrica Thompson
#StKittsandNevis, November 29, 2022 – The twin island of St Kitts and Nevis is about to chart its busiest cruise seasons yet as the world’s largest cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante in the country on Thursday, November 24.
About 6,495 guests arrived on the ship, with 2,259 crew members on board.
The oasis class ship was welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, who led a delegation on board last Thursday to host a brief plaque exchange ceremony.
“You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6,988,” the Prime Minister said.
The Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson, said the ship’s visit was a result of the country’s comprehensive negotiations with stakeholders.
“The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion,” Thompson said.
WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year
#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – The WE GOIN’ KEW’ festival charity event was a huge success bringing people together to enjoy Turks and Caicos Islands food and cultural performances and organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Unity Committee.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, residents from across the Turks and Caicos Islands chain found their way to the Bellefield Landing in Kew, North Caicos, to support what is being described as the biggest festival of the year with an estimated two thousand people attending. The event also saw fifteen vendors present, serving local Twin Island dishes, and featuring three local bands, and artists from The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas.
Proceeds garnered from the WE GOIN’ KEW Festival will support key projects across North and Middle Caicos and assist with completing the homeroom at Ashley’s Learning Center, according to the Director of the TCI Unity Community, Mr. Alvin Hegner.
Hegner added, “This charitable event was held for the people of the Twin Islands and Ashley’s Learning Center. We wanted to give back to the community while showcasing local food vendors and craft and farmers’ markets. On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the people of the Twin Islands for their unwavering support and for helping us to create an extraordinary outcome. Thanks to Sharmaine Clarke for her coordinating efforts on the Twin Islands”.
A special thanks to the event’s sponsors for making it all happen in various ways: The Wine Cellar, Turks Head Brewery, Anderson Media, Big Josh Country Club, Play Big Win Big Entertainment, Prime DJ’s, JACA TCI , Grant Thornton, LEW 1 Shipping, Rasco Sounds, Building Materials DoITCenter, Engel & Volkers, Wymara Resort and Villas, Fortis TCI, FLOW, Dragon Cay Resort, Digicel, MEP Solutions: Electrical and Plumbing, HAB Group, Waratah Construction TCI, RED Hospitality and Leisure & Lady Grace, Catamaran, Mac N Cheese Adventures, The Strand, Beaches Turks and Caicos, BCQS, Turquoise Horizons, Franks Hardware, Delta Electric, AE&S construction, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Caicos Isle Management, Island Drilling, Ports Authority, Turks and Caicos Islands, Robinsons’s Variety, Island Convenience – Grace Bay, Got You Covered, Reliable Security, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, TCI Ministry Of Health, District Commissioner Of North Caicos Madam Musgrove, and the District Commissioner of Middle Caicos Sir Delancy.
The WE GOIN’ KEW Festival is now an annual event. The scheduled date for WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 is Saturday, November 4, 2023. The proceeds from WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 will assist with housing projects throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.
TCI Unity is a nonprofit organisation geared towards helping those in need in the Turk and Caicos Islands. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCI Unity distributed over 500 meal boxes to families in need throughout the country.
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