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Eruption! La Soufriere forces mass evacuation in St Vincent & the Grenadines



#TurksandCaicos, April 9, 2021 – Harvest Bible church, TCI Government, the Royal TCI Police and Hotels are but some workplaces in Turks and Caicos you can find residents hailing from the Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines, so people here though physically distant from the danger of a volcano eruption in that country, are close to the situation due to personal ties.

The larger of the islands, St Vincent – particularly districts in the north – were yesterday thrown into turmoil, when the Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves heightened alerts to red and orange due a possible explosive eruption at the country’s highest point. 

Alerts which were to signal that within hours or days, the La Soufriere volcano would erupt.  By Friday morning, the eruption had started with increased seismic activity and thick plumes billowing from the crater of the volcano.

Volcanic ash was also reported on Friday morning.

The La Soufriere Volcano shifted from simmering to spewing and earthquake shaking; the threat which had been building since December suddenly had come frighteningly real. 

Smoke could be seen from miles away, hot larva captured in photos streaming from one of its cones burned red just beneath the surface and people were ordered to evacuate. 

Traffic was clogged and docks and bus stations crammed with mask-wearing families, holding onto the bare essentials as they tried to escape the imminent danger.  This morning, there are images that ferry boats got hundreds out safely to the Grenadines. 

Somberly, Hon Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister  held a media conference on Thursday where he informed as many as five cruise ships were on their way to help in moving some 20,000 people of ‘Vincey.’

Named were: Royal Caribbean, which was expected to have two cruise liners docked this morning and another vessel due in later on Friday; Friday evening, Carnival Cruise line will arrive with two ships.

While these cruise companies are hailed as saviours, there is contention over the requirement to be vaccinated.

Prayers are on for the CARICOM country which has received pledges of support from countries like Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St Lucia.

The last time La Soufriere erupted was 42 years ago, in 1979; its worst death toll was over 1,000 people in 1902.

Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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