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Caribbean News

Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Guyana – 10,000 persons to benefit



#Guyana, March 22, 2021 – Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Frank Anthony says the arrival of the 20,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, Tuesday evening, is significant as Guyana moves to roll out a comprehensive COVID-19 immunisation campaign aimed at developing herd immunity.

The Minister said the 20,000 doses would see approximately 10,000 persons being vaccinated.  

“You can rest assured that we will start very early to start getting these vaccines into people’s lives because we strongly believe that that’s where it should be. That is what is going to help them to build immunity and to fight against COVID-19,” he said.

The Minister made this statement following the signing of the Acceptance Certificate of Vaccines at a simple ceremony held at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Dr. Anthony expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government and People of Guyana to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the generous and timely donation.

Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy in Guyana, Mr. Chen Xilai said the donation reflects his country’s commitment to lending support to Guyana.

“I hope these vaccines will be used on the most needed people and help Guyana in the fight against the COVID and the recovery of the economy,” he said.

The vaccines arrived at the CJIA onboard a Caribbean Airlines flight from Canada.  Guyana is the first country in the Caribbean to have received a donation of COVID-19 vaccine from China.

Vaccine safety

In response to a query about the safety and effectiveness of the Sinopharm vaccine, Dr. Anthony said that scientific studies have shown that it has a low number of side effects. Further, the manufacturer of the vaccine is one of the largest producers and distributors of vaccines globally.

“On an annual basis, Sinopharm probably makes more than a billion vaccines and they have been supplying vaccines globally. So, they’re not a new kid on the block when it comes to vaccines, they’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said.

The Sinopharm vaccine has shown a 79.4 per cent effective rate in some clinical trials while in others, the rate is higher. The Minister said it is “a very effective vaccine” and compares favourably to the other Covid vaccines on the market such as the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

“From all that we’ve seen, all the scientific data that we’ve seen, the side effects for this vaccine is very minimal. And therefore, there should be absolutely no reason why people don’t take the vaccine,” he said.

The vaccine is also currently being considered by the World Health Organization for emergency approval. Minister Anthony also noted that the COVAX facility, which only accepts vaccines of the highest standards, will be receiving 11 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Adding to the Minister’s comments, the Chinese Charge d’Affaires gave assurances that the Government of China is serious about vaccination development and conducted scientific research over a long period of time. He said the Sinopharm vaccine has been put through three phases of trials in numerous countries and “the quality of the vaccine is guaranteed.”

Additionally, he said the vaccine has been administered to over 40 million Chinese nationals, including high ranking government officials.

Minister Anthony appealed to the public to take the vaccine once the opportunity arises. The elderly and people with comorbidities are next in line to receive the vaccine. Once the Ministry has sourced sufficient quantities, teachers would be next in line to benefit, in keeping with the Government’s efforts to safely reopen schools.

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Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021



Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation



#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.


While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.


This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.


Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.


The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in



#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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