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Jamaican Health Minister looking to launch Community Conversation programme

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#KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 22, 2020 — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry is looking to launch a Community COVID Conversation Programme.

He said the initiative, which would incorporate youth leaders, aims to educate persons in communities island wide on measures to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as the Government moves to bolster the sensitization and containment thrust.

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            Speaking at the launch of the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Friday (October 16), Dr. Tufton said the initiative would enable youth leaders to have one-on-one conversations with individuals at the community level regarding their concerns about COVID-19.

            He said this would form part of the remit for youth leaders chosen to work on behalf of the Government through the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme.

            “The Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Government and, indeed, the country needs the engagement of this young leaders group to understand the COVID-19 message and to define a role and play [their] part in that message,” the Minister emphasized.

            He said engaging this cohort is critical in light of data indicating that more young people are contracting the virus, referencing national statistics which show that, to date,. 2,320 confirmed cases are persons between 10 and 30 years.

Dr. Tufton expressed concern that some of these young people, especially those who are asymptomatic, are taking the virus home and risking the health of elderly family members, particularly those with underlying conditions who are more susceptible to the COVID-19.

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He said the the COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme will target and recruit urban and rural youth, aged 14 to 35, for deployment within their respective communities as change agents.

Once identified, the participants will be sensitised about the protocols and guided on ways in which infection and control measures can be effectively sustained among their peers and others stakeholders, particularly vulnerable persons, with whom they interact.

They will then be tasked to go into their communities to do the requisite groundwork, utilising a range of tools.

JIS NEWS BY AINSWORTH MORRIS

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Bahamas News

Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.

In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is warning them to cease and desist.

“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.”  It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries.   And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis.  This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.

“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.

And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.

“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”

If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says  is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’

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Caribbean News

Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, October 6, 2022 – Barbados is now hosting the first-ever global fintech conference in the Caribbean.

Over 300 delegates from across the globe and varying sectors within the industry will be attending the event. It began on Wednesday October 5, concluding October  7 and is being staged at the Hilton Barbados.

The Fintech Islands conference will feature renowned fintech leaders delivering key addresses and over 20 hours of curated content. The mandate of the event is to create a world-class event that will be a catalyst for the growth of the fintech ecosystem in the Caribbean.

One major highlight of the conference will be the welcome address by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who will also host an exclusive VIP meet and greet.

Some of the major themes of the event that are relevant to the context of the Caribbean venue are Financial Inclusion, Climate Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Decentralised Finance and Embedded and Open Finance.

The event will have a range of speakers from founders, CEOs and fintech leaders from North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Africa.

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Caribbean News

142 Farmers Formally Settled on Plots of Land in Bernard Lodge

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#Kingston, Jamaica, October 6, 2022 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says, to date, 142 farmers have been orderly and formally settled on plots of land as part of the Bernard Lodge Development Plan, in St. Catherine.

Providing an update on the Plan in the House of Representatives on October 5, Mr. Holness informed that the SCJ Holdings has paid more than $650 million in compensation to the farmers.

“Members would be aware that to meet the requirements of the development master plan and regularise the informal and ad hoc occupation of the lands, a structured and orderly settlement plan was undertaken that included relocation, formalisation of leases and payment arrangements associated with those leases and assessment of cost associated with this exercise,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that additional works, including expansion of storm water drains, farm road rehabilitation, among others, are ongoing.

“The cost of land clearance and preparation, farm road construction and rehabilitation, the opening and expansion of storm water drains, the provision of electricity and the construction of an irrigation system have also been borne by the SCJ, and work is ongoing,” he said.

Mr. Holness informed that irrigation water is now provided to farmers by the Rio Cobre canal system, adding that the cost for the time being is absorbed by the SCJ until the construction of a modern pressurised irrigation system is completed.

“We have started the engineering designs already,” the Prime Minister said, noting that one of the two proposed reservoirs is already constructed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of irrigation water.

“These reservoirs will have a combined capacity of 10 million gallons. Already, many of the farmers are in full production, with vendors and other persons visiting the farms on a regular basis to purchase produce for retail and domestic use,” Mr. Holness said.

He pointed out that there is a well-structured agro-park that has the potential to become a model for agricultural development in the Caribbean.

“I visited it, Madam Speaker, and I am very pleased to see how former sugar lands have been transitioned into other forms of agriculture,” Mr. Holness said.

He noted that the lands, which have been underutilised for many years, were becoming a location for illegal dumping, illegal sandmining and even for criminals.

Cabinet appointed an Enterprise Team, chaired by Chartered Accountant, Linval Freeman. to supervise the divestment of government-owned lands within the Greater Bernard Lodge Development in St. Catherine.

They commenced work in late January 2021 with the aim of divesting the development lands in phases.

To date, two phases have been successfully completed, with a third now in progress.

The Development Bank of Jamaica monitors and gives technical support to the Enterprise Team to ensure that the divestment is in keeping with government policy and governance standards.

The Greater Bernard Lodge Development Plan will create an integrated community of 5,400 acres of land, of which 3,027 acres are dedicated to agriculture and the remaining designated to housing, light industrial and commercial activities, social services, open and recreational space and an urban centre.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness said, so far, the Cabinet has approved the sale of some 1,225 acres of land for mixed residential, commercial and light industrial purposes to seven different developers.

“Cabinet has also approved the transfer of 102 acres of land to the National Housing Trust and the Housing Agency at Jamaica at zero cost, as part of efforts to lower the cost of housing to persons of limited means. To date, gross earnings from land sales are expected to exceed $3.8 billion,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said SCJ Holdings Limited has substantial legacy obligations of more than $2 billion incurred in connection with the divestment of the government-owned sugar estates and significant operating costs associated with the maintenance and securing of unused properties.

He informed that the net proceeds of the Bernard Lodge land sales will be applied in clearing these obligations, and the divestment of the properties will lower SCJ’s operating cost and place the organisation in a stronger financial position.

“Aside from its primary duty in managing the sugar lands, it also has an obligation to develop agriculture and other uses for land they own. Therefore, the SCJ has undertaken significant expenditure to improve agricultural infrastructure in the master plan area in payment of compensation to farmers and the cost associated with land preparation and the re-establishment of farmers,” he said.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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