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#MONTEGO BAY, May 5 (JIS):   St. Ann educator, Beverly Grant Ellis, has been extending a helping hand to needy families and elderly residents in Runaway Bay in the parish as the country continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

            With the support of corporate Jamaica and other donors, the grade-three teacher at the Runaway Bay All-Age School was able to deliver 115 care packages to help ease the financial hardship being faced by some residents.

            She told JIS News that the packages contained items such as rice, sugar, flour, pumpkin, eggs, bread, water, beverages, toiletries, cooking oil, canned food and snack bags for children.

            Mrs. Ellis also provided phone cards to facilitate online learning for children due to the closure of schools.

            She told JIS News that she felt compelled to assist after recognising the challenges being faced by individuals within her community, particularly parents, who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

            “Most of the hotel workers lost their jobs, so I said ‘I think there will be a need for this drive in my community since most parents work in the hotel industry’,” she noted.

            “I got up one morning and said ‘I am going to pack some stuff, especially for those in the hospitality industry’. You also have some parents, who are live-in helpers and you know most persons are home now, so there is no need for them. Therefore, I saw the need to assist them by taking food packages to their homes” she added.

            The grade-three teacher explained that following a public appeal, a number of corporate entities came forward to assist.

            “I got a busload of snacks from Excelsior Biscuit Company in Kingston. I got bags of rice and flour from C.R. Hylton & Company, an accounting firm in Kingston, and that took us a far way. The juices I got from Island Dairies Limited in St. Ann and the breakfast items like the bread I got from Spicy Nice [in Brown’s Town]. I got eggs from a small farmer, and Bravo Supermarket in St. Ann’s Bay donated some water as well,” she told JIS News.

            Mrs. Ellis pointed out that she was able to conduct three food drives, the first of which was carried out two weeks after the closure of school.

            Meanwhile, Mrs. Ellis has spent approximately $150,000 to construct a concrete bathroom as well as undertake repairs to the home of an elderly, visually impaired man in Runaway Bay.

            The educator explained to JIS News that the gentleman’s living conditions came to her attention following a visit to his home to distribute care packages.

            “I made a specific appeal to the public for immediate assistance to have the place cleaned and that was done through the assistance of some ladies,” she informed.

            Mrs. Ellis is no stranger to charitable work. Before the advent of COVID-19, she had been assisting 12 needy students in three parishes to attend school through her ‘Help the Children Stay in School’ programme.


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Caribbean News

WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


September 18, 2022 – The World Health Organization is rejecting suggestions that it moved too slowly to contain the COVID19 pandemic.

In a press release on Thursday, the WHO says there were ‘omissions and misinterpretations’ made by the Lancet Commission in its report ‘Lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic’ which criticized the organization as ‘delayed and vague’ in its reaction.

Lancet had claimed The WHO was too slow in its response time in the early weeks leading to swift global spread of the coronavirus. In reply the entity said “the Commission does not convey the full arc of WHO’s immediate, multi-year, life-saving response”.

The agency detailed its response in the first weeks of the pandemic saying that behind closed doors they were meeting with member countries and creating information packages on how to test for and treat the unknown virus.

It also defended the timing of its announcement of the pandemic (which the Lancet Commission said was too slow) noting that the first meeting of the emergency committee occurred only after only nine international cases and no deaths outside of China and while it was not declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) it was noted that it could become one quickly.

It was declared a PHEIC seven days later.

The WHO also says not only did it repeatedly warn of the possibility of human to human transmission it warned countries to start screening at entry points and provided early access to personal protective gear.

At the same time there were agreements between the entities. Lancet maintained that with strengthening the WHO should still be in charge of worldwide pandemic response.

Additionally the WHO did say it agreed with some of the commission’s observations including chronic underfunding of the UN and some of its recommendations including the importance of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation when facing pandemics.

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Caribbean News

TCI’s Faion Hicks on roster for Denver Broncos



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – Faion Hicks made history as the first TCI American player to be drafted into the NFL when he got hitched to the Denver Broncos several months ago.

Despite being drafted to the practice squad and not the main game night roster, Faion, we had hoped would see some game time in the team’s Monday Night Football debut for the season.  Denver Broncos were on September 12, up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Practice squad players who are assigned to a team and practice with the team but do not play any games unless they are elevated.

Practice squad players are eligible to be elevated and play official games three times per season.

If Faion is elevated to the roster more than three times this season he will be signed to the main roster officially. Many successful and all-star NFL players started out on the practice squad.

Once the regular season ends practice squad players are usually signed to reserve or future contracts by their team.

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Caribbean News

CARICOM Ready to Deepen Investment And Trade With Africa



By Melissa Rollock

Barbados GIS


Africa accounted for only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) total trade in 2018, prior to the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since then, trade between the two regions has been negatively impacted.

However, Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Carla Barnett, believes the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, which got underway today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, is an important first step in expanding and deepening trade relations between the African continent and CARICOM.

The Secretary General pointed out during the opening ceremony that the potential to do business with Africa was “tremendous”, noting that the market represented by the African continental free trade arrangement was set to reach US $6.7 trillion in value by 2035.

She further stated that in order to grow trade and investment flows between the Caribbean Community and Africa, the infrastructure such as air and maritime distribution and transportation channels, needed to be strengthened and streamlined.

“We need to move to establish a multilateral air services agreement between African countries and the Community. Using this forum, and other mechanisms such as our mutual membership in the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States, we can continue to promote and forge business to business contacts through networks of private sector organisations and business development support organisations such as our Caribbean Export, which is our regional trade and investment promotion agency.  We at CARICOM look forward to concluding the memorandum of understanding between the Secretariats of CARICOM and the African Union to strengthen collaboration to support this process,” Dr. Barnett stated.

To illustrate the need for greater relations in trade, she explained that in 2018, CARICOM exports to the rest of the world stood at US $18.6 billion with total exports to Africa at only US $815 million. CARICOM exports to Africa represented 4.4 per cent of its exports.  In that same year, CARICOM imports from the world totalled US $33 billion, with imports from Africa at US $603 million. Africa accounted for approximately only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s total trade.

Currently, the top exports to Africa include anhydrous ammonia, alumina, oil drilling tubing materials, sauces and condiments and frozen orange juice concentrate. The main markets are Morocco, Ghana and South Africa. The top 10 imports from Africa include liquified natural gas, vehicles, barium sulphate, bitumen and coriander, with the main sources being Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco.

Citing the benefits which the Community offered to investors, she said the region was a strong performer in the services sectors such as travel, tourism and financial services.  Additionally, Dr. Barnett said they were working to transform the agriculture and industrial sectors.

“Our 25 by 2025 agricultural initiative (reducing the region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025) already is gaining momentum. We are promoting investment in agriculture, including two excellent agri-investment expos that have been held so far.  And we are backing this up with decisive actions to address trade barriers and promote productivity across the region. Work has started on an industrial policy that will complement the positive steps already underway in agriculture,” she shared.

The Secretary General said CARICOM also offered investors “a gateway to partner markets”, pointing out that its preferential trade agreements with several Latin American and Caribbean neighbours “and others” provided significant market access opportunities.  She noted that these markets represented a combined US $11 trillion in imports of goods and services.

Dr. Barnette said that with the African continental free trade area and the CSME presenting solid platforms for trade and economic cooperation, she expected the “first” AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum to be a success.


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