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United Kingdom FCDO provides helicopter funding; CDEMA continues to monitor SVG’s La Soufrière volcano

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#Barbados, January 14, 2021- The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has received funding from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO) in the amount of £51,000 through the Memorandum of Understanding on the ‘UK Support for the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Response Teams programme’. The funds will cover the cost of a rotary helicopter aircraft, which will be used to support access to sampling of the extrusive materials, air lifting equipment to the flanks of the volcano, surveillance/reconnaissance to analyse changes in the volcano and other relevant support to the monitoring of the volcanic activity.

Photo provided by CDEMA

The request for a rotary aircraft was made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to CDEMA through the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The aircraft will support the ongoing monitoring by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre’s (SRC) scientists on the ground.

“The Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are grateful to CDEMA and the UK Government (Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office) for their kind assistance in organising and financing the rotary helicopter service, which is necessary to facilitate the SRC and NEMO in conducting vital work in respect of the effusive volcanic eruption at La Soufriere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Thanks to CDEMA’s Executive Director (ag), Liz Riley and the Coordinating Unit team, who have been magnificent in coordinating the efforts”, expressed Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

The United Kingdom’s Resident High Commissioner in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Steve Moore, said he is delighted that the UK FCDO is able to facilitate this request at short notice.

Photo provided by CDEMA

“The CDEMA Coordinating Unit is pleased to facilitate a timely response to this request from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We wish to thank the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO) for its prompt financial support at a critical juncture in this volcanic event”, said CDEMA’s Executive Director (ag), Elizabeth Riley.

“The CDEMA CU team stands in solidarity with the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and remains committed to providing additional support as this event unfolds”, added Riley.

Professor Richard Robertson of the UWI-SRC has indicated that the initial aircraft is required for a minimum of seven (7) days, and subsequently on an as needed basis by the scientists. This support is extremely urgent to allow the scientists to analyze the data and present to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines an informed interpretation of the current volcanic events.

The CDEMA Coordinating Unit is liaising with CalvinAir, a private helicopter company, based in Antigua and Barbuda, with significant relevant operational expertise, to provide these services. The company has previously provided services to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre (SRC) and to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

The CDEMA CU urges all Participating States and members of the Regional Response Mechanism to continue to monitor the progress of this volcanic event. The public should continue to monitor the releases from their local national disaster management office for updates on the situation as it develops.

Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Government Revenues Soar

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#Kingston, November 25, 2022 – There has been a jump in Government revenue collection, with tax revenues for the first six months of the fiscal year exceeding budget by $35 billion.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the out-turn is as a result of higher-than-expected economic performance.

“The first quarter growth came out at 5.7 per cent… and all categories of revenue are over budget. Revenues from income and profits are up by nearly 13 per cent or $10 billion,” Dr. Clarke said.

In addition, he noted that revenues from production and consumption are up by seven per cent or $7 billion and revenues from international trade are up by 15 per cent or $18 billion. Revenues from motor-vehicle licences for the first six months of this year are 16 per cent higher than budgeted.

Dr. Clarke was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 22) where the First Supplementary Estimates for 2022/23 were approved.

The approval reflects a revised expenditure of $971 billion, from the previously approved budget of $912 billion for the financial year.

Minister Clarke said the First Supplementary Estimates come within the context of positive overperformance of the economy.

“As a result of this revenue overperformance… we are able to come to this Parliament six months after and put a Budget that proposes $60 billion in new expenditure,” Dr. Clarke said.

The largest component of the supplementary budget is the allocation for public-sector salaries and wages in keeping with the restructuring of compensation.

“We are allocating $16 billion there and there is another $2 billion to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and then about $3 billion for statutory deductions, making a total of $21 billion,” the Minister said.

 

Contact: Latonya Linton

Release: JIS

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