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Jamaica Health Minister anticipating greater turn-out for Upcoming Coivd-19 Vaccination blitzes



#Jamaica, April 5, 2021 – Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says he is anticipating a greater turnout for the upcoming island-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination blitzes, as additional stakeholders come onboard to assist in encouraging more persons to get inoculated.

“We have included in the mix, the very important role of the political representatives… and the intention is to roll that out across the country where, in another week or so, we are going to have a national blitz in every parish. Essentially, what it is about is to mobilise all stakeholders, to encourage in the first instance, our vulnerable groups to be a part of the… immunization blitz,” he said.

Dr. Tufton was speaking with journalists during Saturday’s (April 3) staging of the second vaccination blitz at the National Arena, where just over 400 persons received the first of two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.  The blitz is the mass vaccination plan being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to inoculate 1,000 persons in a day at a single location.

Persons, 75 years and older, are  now being targeted for vaccinations islandwide, with a reserve list to include members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and individuals over 60 years.

Minister Tufton noted that while Saturday’s turnout was affected by rainy conditions, there is also a “strong vaccine hesitancy” in the country towards COVID-19 vaccinations.  Consequently he said the Government is working with several stakeholders, including the church and senior citizens groups, to assist in getting persons inoculated.

“What we really want to get out of this is a unified message to the country, to the people of Jamaica that this is a risk that affects all of us and so it requires a solution from all of us,” he emphasised.

Dr. Tufton also expressed gratitude to several parliamentarians whom he said assisted with Saturday’s proceedings.  He further noted that a key player in the mobilsation effort was Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who he said was instrumental in getting approximately 80 of his constituents vaccinated.

In his remarks, Mr. McKenzie said he was optimistic that the Local Government Ministry’s involvement in the vaccination drive “will go a far way in enhancing the programme.”   He advised that he will be enlisting the assistance of all 63 Members of Parliament and 230 Municipal Councillors across Jamaica in further bolstering the initiative.

Mr. McKenzie further informed that on Tuesday, April 6, he will be meeting virtually with the Mayors, Inspectors of Poor and other key Ministry stakeholders, adding that Dr. Tufton will also be participating.

“I am giving the full commitment of Local Government in the process as we try to vaccinate as many Jamaicans as we can,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie encouraged Jamaicans not to dispel the false narrative regarding COVID-19 vaccination, stressing that “I took it”, adding that he experienced mild side effects for a few days.

The Local Government Minister said he felt gratified to have been able to bring out a significant number of his constituents to get vaccinated, despite falling short of the 100 targeted.   He said when the persons who were inoculated go back to their respective communities and others see that they are fine, this will encourage more individuals to get vaccinated.

Other notable participants in Saturday’s proceedings included: State Minister in the Health and Wellness Ministry, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, and Permanent Secretary, Dunstan Bryan, as well as Government Senator, Natalie Campbell-Rodriques.

Release: JIS

Contact: Alecia Smith

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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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