#Kingston, Jamaica, October 22, 2020 — The Government has commenced training for health workers in the administration of the antigen test, which is to be utilized to detect novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, advised that the first training session was held last week, adding that another is slated to be held shortly which will also focus on protocols for personnel designated to administer the test, among other procedures.
He was speaking during the Ministry’s weekly COVID Conversations digital press conference on Thursday (October 15).
Dr. Tufton also advised that the Government is still awaiting the arrival of 80,000 antigen test kits, which were ordered through the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) for delivery in October.
He said it is anticipated that by month-end, “we would have been much clearer in terms of when we will start [antigen testing]”.
“[The] processes [that] have to take place and some of the variables [relating to procurement and delivery] are not totally in our control. We have to depend on PAHO to make their final arrangements for the movement [of the supplies],” Dr. Tufton indicated.
The acquisition of kits for antigen testing, which is a faster, simpler and more cost effective method for detecting COVID-19, is being facilitated through a collaboration involving the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the United Nations.
Full implementation of the procedure will involve all hospitals, major health centres and private sector laboratories, including those in privately-operated medical facilities.
The test must be sanctioned by a physician to whom the report on the result will be submitted, as well as the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
JIS NEWS BY AINSWORTH MORRIS
Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries
By Dana Malcolm
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
“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’
Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados
By Sherrica Thompson
#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.
142 Farmers Formally Settled on Plots of Land in Bernard Lodge
#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 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
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