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Gov’t to foot $64-million bill for Jamaicans returning home TODAY

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#KINGSTON, May 5 (JIS): The Government will absorb the entire cost of approximately $64 million for the mandatory State quarantining of nationals returning to Jamaica on Wednesday (May 6) under the controlled re-entry programme.


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, addresses a virtual press conference at Jamaica House on Monday (May 4)

The 14-day quarantine costs US$100 per person, per day, for three daily meals and accommodation.

It is a requirement for nationals who have been stranded abroad due to Jamaica’s borders being closed to incoming passenger traffic since March 24, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the Government will only be footing the cost for this group of returning citizens in light of their various situations.

“It has… been decided by the Cabinet that in recognition of the particular challenges, the particularities of this week’s arrivals, and the circumstances under which they have been operating over the past two months, that the Government will absorb the full cost of State quarantine. So this week’s arrivals will be supported in their entirety by the Jamaican Government,” she said during a virtual press conference at Jamaica House on Monday (May 4).

Mrs. Johnson Smith stressed that this is a significant cost, which should not be downplayed, noting that “you can’t put a dollar figure on the importance of our nationals, but we are recognising that it is time and we are doing our part to have them come home”.

Marella Discovery 2, file photo

The returning citizens, who will arrive on a TUI Charter flight, will comprise 114 from the United Kingdom (UK), including approximately 75 crew members currently on board ships docked in the UK. These are inclusive of the 43 members of crew of the Marella Discovery 2 as well as six other ships owned by that cruise line.

The Marella Discovery 2 cruise ship was in Jamaican waters for refueling on April 2, when a request was made for the Jamaicans on board to disembark for repatriation, but the vessel left before the Government’s approval could be conveyed.

 “The additional 40 [persons] will be comprised of Jamaicans stranded in the UK who have been affected by the global pandemic in different ways and who have been in touch with the High Commission or with the [Foreign Affairs] Ministry regarding their particular challenges,” Mrs. Johnson Smith said.

She informed that the Government is also working on returning a cohort from the United States “and we are focused on persons who are having the most challenging of circumstances”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister noted, however, that the $64 million does not cover the other logistical costs “such as the cost of the security forces to transport persons to the quarantine facilities, testing, the health monitoring that takes place, the temperature-taking every day at the appropriate times, the logging, and the monitoring to ensure that if there is any development of symptoms, persons are then moved to isolation facilities”/

As part of the normal arrangements, Jamaicans applying for re-entry to the country via the jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm website, are required to make a contribution of US$20 per day, which is 1/5th of the actual cost, or make arrangements in respect of meals while in State quarantine.

More than 5,000 Jamaicans have been stranded overseas due to the local border restriction. So far, over 4,600 Jamaicans have applied to return home through the jamcovid19 website.

JIS NEWS BY ALECIA SMITH

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Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti, November 29, 2022 – The police in Haiti have launched an investigation following the assassination of the director of the National Police Academy, Commissioner Rigaud Harington.

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.

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St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#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.

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WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year

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#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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