#Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – May 13, 2020 – “Countries around the world have battled the spread of COVID-19 by closing borders, placing national restrictions on population movement and integrating further social distancing measures into everyday life. This was done to ensure that our health care systems are not overwhelmed in the identification and management of COVID-19 cases. In the midst of this pandemic we must be mindful that other public health threats still exist. Mosquito borne diseases, such as, Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika, have placed an additional burden on our Region’s health care systems, and negatively impact social and economic development. As individuals and communities, we each have a role to play in preventing an upsurge of mosquito borne diseases,” stated CARPHA Executive Director, Dr Joy St. John, in observance of Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2020.
“During 2019, the Caribbean Region experienced another outbreak of Dengue, with many CARPHA Member States reporting an increase in the number of severe and hospitalised cases. Dengue outbreaks tend to occur in cycles every few years due to a complex interplay between population, ecological and climatic factors”, said Dr. Laura-Lee Boodram, Head of Vector Borne Diseases at CARPHA. She further added, “While we haven’t seen a resurgence of Chikungunya or Zika within Member States in the last few years, countries in South and Central America did report outbreaks of Chikungunya in 2019 and early 2020, therefore, the Caribbean must remain vigilant.”
Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week (CMAW) was declared in November 2014 at the 17th Special Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government on Public Health Threats. It is an important reminder to the general public to take action to reduce their risk of diseases spread by mosquitoes.
For CMAW 2020, CARPHA’s slogan states, “In times of COVID – Let’s Unite to Fight the Bite!”, placing emphasis on taking preventative measures and remaining healthy during this time. As the rainy season starts, it is expected that greater rainfall will lead to a proliferation of mosquito breeding sites, build vector populations and increase the risk of transmission of diseases, such as Dengue. To counter this increase in mosquitoes and potential disease transmission, greater effort should be placed on mosquito awareness in communities and vector control activities should be intensified.
Mr Rajesh Ragoo, Senior Technical Officer, Vector Borne Diseases, CARPHA recommends, “The best way to “fight the bite” around homes and communities, is to ensure our surroundings are clean and free of materials or containers that can accumulate water. The base of plants pots, vases, buckets and used vehicles tires are typical breeding sites. Water storage drums and tanks must be properly covered and inspected periodically to ensure that there is no breeding. It is also important to minimize individual exposure to mosquito bites.” Vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, older adults and women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant must exercise extra caution. Personal protective measures including the wearing of long sleeved clothing and the use of insect repellents are strongly recommended.
In late 2019, CARPHA entered into a grant agreement with the European Union, which supports regional prevention and control efforts against mosquito borne diseases. Focus will be placed on strengthening Member States disease surveillance systems and vector control operations, expanding community engagement, public health education and increasing partnerships and collaborations to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with mosquito borne diseases.
CARPHA has developed Mission Mosquito, an innovative information toolkit, which includes animated videos, posters and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). The toolkit is specially packaged to meet the needs of a diverse audience, which include public health professionals and clinicians, pregnant women, and children. The toolkit is available here http://missionmosquito.carpha.org/
Jamaica Rum Festival Endorsed
#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, endorsed this year’s fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival at the Aqueduct in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday (June 25).
Ms. Grange, who officially opened the event, noted that rum, and spirits in general, has deep cultural significance in Jamaica, spanning centuries.
“From the cane fields, where our enslaved ancestors worked, through to today, where we have the best rum in the world… we have a lot to be proud of,” she added.
For his part, Tourism Director, Donovan White, commended the organisers of the festival, which attracted a significant number of patrons, including visitors from overseas. He said the Ministry of Tourism, through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was pleased to be a partner in the event that showcased top quality products by local rum purveyors.
Minister Grange, representatives from the Tourism Ministry’s agencies, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, were presented with limited edition Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.
Contact; Okoye Henry
Education Ministry Recommits to Expanding Uniformed Groups in Schools
#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth remains committed to increasing the number of uniformed groups in schools. This is in keeping with its thrust to fulfill this mission under the Safety and Security in Schools Programme, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has said. She further noted that “it is a part of our series of measures to improve discipline among students.”
Mrs. Williams was speaking during the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) uniformed groups church service on Sunday (June 26). The service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.
Mrs. Williams remarks came against the background of what she said were “heightened concerns” in recent months over incidents of violence in schools across Jamaica and calls for a more concerted effort to provide civic and character education for students. She noted that several initiatives within the Ministry to address these concerns were being expanded, among them support for uniformed groups in schools.
“The Ministry has been supporting uniformed youth groups in the development of a Three-Year Strategic Plan and [Memoranda of Understanding] with individual groups which will, at one and the same time, advance the missions of the groups and the mandate of the Ministry to these groups,” Mrs. Williams added.
The Minister pointed out that these cohorts, including Girl Guides, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Cub Scouts, Cadets and Pathfinders, “have played an invaluable role in shaping the character and awakening the social conscience of our young people for decades.”
“It has been well-established that students who participate in clubs are more out-going as they are engaged in activities that support socialisation with their peers. These students tend to be more comfortable in group settings where communication and team-work are necessary. This is a valuable asset as it will also benefit these students outside of the school setting,” she stated.
Additionally, she said they provide opportunities for informal learning and life experiences.
“Uniformed youth groups represent a cohort of the nation’s youth that is organised around a set of core values, such as honour, discipline, service, loyalty, commitment, integrity, perseverance, industry and spiritual fortitude,” the Minister emphasised.
She noted that while most are based in schools, units may also be organised at church and community levels.
“Indeed, we know that the church has been a main source through which many new members are recruited. There is a challenge, however, and that is, over the past few years, there has not been as robust an interest in these groups as in previous decades,” Mrs. Williams indicated.
She said it was acknowledged that the society’s youth now have many more interests and distractions, “but we should still try to encourage them to see the value in participating in groups such as these”, while citing an “urgent need” for volunteer adult leaders.
The Minister also noted that older and more traditional groups, such as Boys Scouts and Girl Guides, are international in scope and maintain linkages with the worldwide movements.
“Support from these fraternal organisations has, however, diminished over the years, and local organisations must find the resources to sustain operations and pay the required affiliation fees. So once again, it is important that we, in the local community, pitch in to provide the needed support,” she added.
In this regard, the Minister commended members of the uniformed groups and CVSS for ongoing efforts to forge long-term alliances that facilitate mutual support and joint action.
Further, she said, for representing the concerns of the social sector, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, at the regional and international levels.
“We, as a collective, continue to dedicate ourselves to creating a supportive and safe environment for our students to learn and experience as much as possible to become productive members of society,” Mrs. Williams stated.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh
Anguilla Economic Affairs Minister Quits; calling it a conscience move
By Shanieka Smith
#Anquilla, June 27, 2022 – After penning a three-page resignation letter to Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster, the Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources, Kyle Hodge has officially resigned from the Anguilla Progressive Movement (APM).
“I am submitting this letter of resignation because my conscience and commitments to the people of Anguilla no longer permit me to serve as a member of the Anguilla Progressive Movement and minister of government in your administration,” he wrote.
Included in his letter are his reasons for resigning and that entails his concerns on Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is scheduled to come into Force on July 1, the lack of organised leadership, and the lack of party structure.
“I believe that my dissenting vote on the Good and Services Tax (GST) marked the initial fraying of our relationship; since then we have not been on the same page. There is a mutual lack of trust and understanding and most importantly, our goals for the Anguillan people have fully diverged and there is little common ground,” said the resigned minister.
He also shared his concern regarding the approach and tone of the government towards Anguillans.
“Politics in Anguilla must change and it actually started when the people demanded more of use and I am very comfortable with that demand. You deserve nothing less,” said Hodge in a Facebook post. He also thanked the people who have supported him in his decision to resign.
Hodge added that he will continue to serve the people who elected him since he will still be a member of the House of Assembly.
He said, “my resignation today does not mean GST disappears, so let us continue to unite our efforts to either make it more palatable or find other ways to collect the revenue that is needed to run the country. I wish the entire government a healthy and prosperous term in office. I also take this time to commend you for the relief package granted to the people of Anguilla as we deal with hyperinflation in Anguilla.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Natural Resources and Information Technology. I wish you the very best politically and otherwise.”
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