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Another 207 Jamaicans return home

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Some of the 207 Jamaicans who returned to the island today (May 13), get support from members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to load their luggage on to a Jamaica Urban Transit (JUTC) bus at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA). They will be taken into quarantine.

#KINGSTON, May 13 (JIS): The Government has facilitated the controlled re-entry of another 207 Jamaicans who were stranded overseas due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and closure of the country’s ports.

They landed at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), today (May 13), under the protocols established for the re-entry of Jamaicans into the country.

There were three flights, which consisted of 94 persons from New York, 93 from Florida, and 20 from Toronto. All the persons will be quarantined for 14 days.


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (third left), and Director of Airport Operations at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), Devon Manahan (second left), observe as some of the 207 returning Jamaicans who landed at the airport today (May 13), under the protocols established for the re-entry of Jamaicans into the country, walk to waiting Jamaica Urban Transit (JUTC) buses. They will be taken into quarantine.

The first flight arrived in the island from the United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 6 with 120 passengers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who was at the airport coordinating the work of the various agencies involved in the process, and to welcome the passengers, told JIS News that the persons had faced several challenges while being stranded, and as citizens, the Constitution guarantees them re-entry into their country.

“Constitutionally, citizens have a right to come home, and Jamaica has been managing that Constitutional right, with a public health obligation as well, to ensure the safety of the Jamaican population. That is why our borders were closed,” the Minister said.

While underscoring that the Government had to ensure the return of persons desirous of being home, and that it is “good to have our people home”, Minister Johnson Smith emphasised that the process cannot be done in a way that endangers the health of the public.  

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“It cannot be that our borders remain closed forever, so we have been trying to implement and manage a controlled process, to ensure that the right to return is balanced with public health,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, who was also at the airport, told JIS News that the new jamcovid website, https://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm/, which has been set up to facilitate applications of persons who wish to return home, has improved.

The Minister said that everything possible is being done to have persons close to their families.

“These are our people, and we have to do everything possible to bring them home. It is a very expensive process, because we have to facilitate quarantining, but we are doing it as quickly as we can, because they want to come home to their families,” the Minister said.

JIS NEWS by GARFIELD L. ANGUS

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Caribbean News

~SANDALS® RESORTS OPENS ITS 18TH RESORT IN SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES~

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AN EASTERN CARIBBEAN GEM IS UNEARTHED

April 4, 2024, Montego Bay, Jamaica – In an intimate ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating Sandals Resorts’ entry into the largely undiscovered destination of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the only Caribbean born superbrand welcomed its first guests to a nature-forward experience brimming with island inspiration and stirring ‘Sandals Firsts’.

Witnessed by government officials, Sandals executives, guests and resort team members, an emerald green ribbon, representative of the island’s flag and lush surroundings, was cut signaling the official opening of Sandals Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart, spoke on what the opening of the hotel chain’s 18th resort meant for the brand, the island and the Caribbean at large. “This is a multi-generational act in the making that began with my extraordinary father Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and Prime Minister Gonsalves many years ago. They flirted heavily about flying the Vincy flag not only here but in all the other islands across the Caribbean that Sandals has its operations. Little did we know that 43 years later the Sandals brand would grow from one 99-room hotel in Montego Bay to a top 500 brand known on the world stage as a super brand. The only Caribbean born commercial super brand known across the United States, Europe and Canada with over 84% brand penetration and recognition,” he shared.

He expounded further on what he dubbed the Sandals Effect, a confluence of things that happen when Sandals comes to town. “First and foremost, we market the destination, both St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The landscape that makes up this incredible archipelago will benefit. Directly and indirectly for linkages, tour operators, taxi operators, restaurateurs, musicians, farmers, fishers, entrepreneurs, hardware store operators, the entire ecosystem and connectivity we plan to make sure that the entire world knows.”

With Sandals’ expansion to the island, airlift has increased exponentially with more availability on the horizon. According to Adam Stewart, numerous airlines have adjusted their schedules in anticipation for the demand. “American Airlines used to fly twice per week to and from the Argyle Airport, since April the airline has increase to four times per week and is expected to have daily flights by the end of 2024. Air Canada and Virgin have increased their airlift with JetBlue and United Airlines now flying to the island for the first time. Nationals and visitors will have the opportunity to fly more conveniently and we will continue to grow. ,” expressed Stewart.

The resort, in May 2024, is expected to host some 300 top travel advisors from around the world, the largest contingent of international travel professionals to ever visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dr. The Honourable, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in his main address added further credence to the impact Sandals has on his country and the CARICOM community. “During COVID, unemployment went up, there was a decline in economic activity in the region. At the time we also had volcanic eruptions, Sandals came to us with a proposal to recruit Vincentians and send them to their resorts across the Caribbean to be trained. We had to evacuate 20,000 persons with some in shelters for four to six months. Along came a friend in Sandals who said they could ease some of the pressure providing opportunities for 500 people and these little things talk to me about partnership. This might have been small for Sandals but it was a huge thing for us in the condition in which we found ourselves and I want to thank Sandals and Adam.”

“It is an understatement really to call Sandals a brand. It has become an existential part of our Caribbean civilization. This civilization is tailor-made for tourism and Butch Stewart has helped to shape this aspect of the material to help sustain us. I think that when the history of the 20th into the 21st century is written, there would be a towering place for this legend,” The Hon. Gonsalves continued.

In honour of the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Prime Gonsalves in opining that the relationship he enjoyed with the late founder made him “one of us” shared a remarkable plan to celebrate his memory and contributions to tourism and economic development in the region. “The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had indicated to Sandals that we will build the road coming to the entrance of the hotel. Having built it, we will call it the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart Boulevard,” the Prime Minister announced proudly to stirring applause from the audience.

Sandals Saint Vincent and the Grenadines offers 301 rooms and suites across 50 lush-laden acres, authentically embracing its Saint Vincent location with an experience that is as thoughtful as it is meticulously local.

About Sandals® Resorts
Sandals® Resorts offers the ease and refinement of the most-awarded luxury all-inclusive vacation experience in the Caribbean. With 18 beachfront settings in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Curaçao, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, each resort reflects the design, cuisine, and unique essence of its island home. From butler service and gourmet dining to top-shelf spirits and luxurious suites, including the Caribbean’s first Overwater Villas and Bungalows, Sandals Resorts is celebrated for pioneering innovations that constantly evolve and elevate the all-inclusive vacation experience. The brand has recently piloted fresh concepts such as MINI Coopers for exploring beyond the resort gates and an off-site Island Inclusive dining program, while staying true to its Caribbean roots and showcasing the transformative link between tourism and its power to transform lives through its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation. Sandals Resorts is part of family-owned Sandals Resorts International (SRI) which includes family-friendly Beaches Resorts, and is the Caribbean’s leading all-inclusive resort company. For more information about the Sandals Resorts Luxury Included® difference, visit www.sandals.com.

 

Contact Person:
Jervene Simpson
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Relations
Sandals Resorts International
876-275-7021
Email: jervene.simpson@sri.sandals.com

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Caribbean News

CARICOM pushes need for Reparations Tribunal at Forum in Geneva

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Rashaed Esson
Staff Writer 

Words are in circulation in support for the establishment of an international tribunal, geared towards seeking reparations for centuries long transatlantic slave trade, after a CARICOM official made calls at the third session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) in Geneva, Switzerland.

During day two of the gathering held from April 16 to 19, 2024, David Comissiong, Barbados Ambassador to the Caribbean Community, stated there is a need for the tribunal as there is currently no international court to deal with the issues of reparations.

Commision, like the other members that support his view, according to reports, are aware this won’t be an easy feat, as he expressed that establishing the tribunal would require a “positive decision” by the UN General Assembly, further  calling on the officials at the Forum and the UN, to come together through international collaboration and “make this happen.”

The idea creation of the tribunal was born last year 2023, suggested by the PFPAD, now reiterated by Comissiong.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, in a video, addressing the opening of the forum, supported the ongoing calls for respiratory efforts, a sentiment not shared by many.

Mentioning that racism is still an issue in today’s society, Guterres said, “ now we must build on that momentum, to drive meaningful change by ensuring that people of African descent enjoy the full and equal realization of their human rights; by stepping up efforts to eliminate racism and discrimination, including through reparations.”

 

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Caribbean News

CARICOM sends warning as Oil prices creep higher in the Israel v Iran conflict; 14 regional states import energy

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Garfield Ekon
Staff Writer

The recent attack on the Sate of Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran, has delivered growing uncertainty across the Caribbean region, and the rest of the global economy.

Chief among the many concerns, is the free flow of oil from the Middle East, which stands at 31% of daily production for the global economy. At minimum, shipping costs are likely to increase based on the increased risk of military action in the Persian Gulf.

Pressure is also building on US and European insurance clubs to avoid any transaction, including those with China, that involve Iranian crude and additional rerouting of oil and gas shipments in response to Houthi threats, or Allied responses.

According to the Caribbean Community Council of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), “these developments not only exacerbate the already tense situation but also pose significant threats to regional stability and international peace,” the group warned in a media statement.

It added that the continued cycle of retaliation, including the recent attack on Israel by Hamas, Israel’s “disproportionate response” in Gaza, and the “alarming new dimension of direct confrontations between Israel and Iran, leads to an untenable situation fraught with potential for greater regional conflict and global instability.

“The human toll of this conflict, highlighted by tragic incidents such as deaths and injuries to children, demand an immediate and empathetic response from the global community. It is imperative that there be no further escalation that can lead to more suffering and instability,” it said.

While calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Iran, the regional body underscored that it strongly urges both nations to halt any further military actions that could worsen the situation, endangering not only their own populations but also the broader international community.

“We implore all parties to consider the severe consequences of further conflict and to commit to diplomatic solutions that ensure the safety, sovereignty, and dignity of all people involved,” the CARICOM statement said.

On October 6, 2023, the day before Hamas attacked Israel, the international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $85 per barrel and has been fluctuating at up to $96.

On Thursday, it traded at $91 per barrel. With the exception of gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago, the 14 other countries of CARICOM, are energy importers.

Approximately 93 percent of the region’s energy needs are met by oil imports, which average 13% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

 

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