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Jamaica first in Caribbean for COVID-19 testing

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Principal Medical Officer and National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster Kerr, responds to questions from journalists, during a digital press conference from the Ministry of Health and Wellness​' New Kingston offices on Wednesday (May 6).

Kingston, Jamaica – May 11, 2020 – Jamaica is ranked first out of 14 Caribbean countries in terms of the overall number of tests administered for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This was disclosed by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who commended healthcare professionals for the critical role they play in facilitating the country’s increased testing capacity.


Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left),  addresses a digital press conference from the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (May 6).

He was speaking at a digital press conference on Wednesday (May 6) from the Ministry’s New Kingston offices.

Providing further details, Principal Medical Officer and National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster Kerr, noted that the figures used for the ranking were as at May 5, when 5,993 tests were recorded. The latest update on May 7 brings the number of tests done locally to 6,417.

Jamaica is followed by the Cayman Islands, which has undertaken 3,050 tests, then Barbados with 2,629. Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas round out the top-five countries, recording 2,121 and 1,485 tests, respectively.

Dr. Webster Kerr noted, however, that the Cayman Islands surpassed Jamaica to take the top spot in terms of the number of tests per population, at 46,000 per million. With 2,024 per million, Jamaica is ranked ninth. Jamaica has a population of 2.9 million, while the Cayman Islands has a population of 65,604.

The other countries involved in the evaluation are Belize, Haiti, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos.

Jamaica’s capacity to conduct tests for COVID-19 was recently boosted with the commissioning of a COBAS machine, located at the National Public Health Laboratory in Kingston, which has capacity for a maximum 1,140 tests per day.

This is in addition to the donation of two diagnostic machines and 7,500 testing kits by major shareholder in the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), the South Korea-based East West Power Korea (EWP), to the National Influenza Centre at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). This has improved the testing capacity of the Centre from 200 to 986 per day.

In total, Jamaica now has the capacity to conduct approximately 2,126 COVID-19 tests per day.

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Caribbean News

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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