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TCI: Sandals Foundation to Plant 10,000 Trees By June 2022 to Strengthen Caribbean Environmental Conservation Efforts

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As organizations around the world mobilize their networks to commemorate Earth Day on April 22, Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International – is intensifying its Caribbean conservation efforts by committing to plant 10,000 trees by June 2022.

The effort forms part of a wider Caribbean Tree Planting Project coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with Trees That Feed Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and other partners to plant one (1) million trees across fourteen (14) Caribbean countries by June next year.

Over the last 12 years, the Sandals Foundation has engaged local schools, community groups, partners, team members, travel agents, and guests to plant more than 17,000 trees across the Caribbean.

This intensified tree planting mission, while taking on a more controlled approach in line with national Covid-19 protocols, will undoubtedly strengthen the region’s climate resilience as it empowers even more persons to take action in line with this year’s Earth Day theme to ‘Restore Our Earth’.

Through the efforts of environmental partners in each of the seven countries it currently operates, the Sandals Foundation will coordinate the planting of fruit trees, timber and mangroves to protect the terrestrial and coastal zones of the islands.

“Never before has it been more important to reinvest in the sustainability of our natural environment,” Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation says. “Our tourism product as a region, and the livelihoods of all Caribbean people are intricately linked to the health of the environment. It is therefore our duty to play our part to strengthen this amazing ecosystem,” she said.

In 2019 the leadership of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance recognized the need to accelerate specific activities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Professor Rosalea Hamilton, Chairperson for the Alliance, says planting trees was identified as a practical activity that could help mitigate the threat of climate change.

“Planting trees not only improve soil and water conservation, provide shade, store carbon, regulate temperature extremes, and improve the land’s capacity to adapt to climate change but also provide sustainable livelihoods for many in need. The environmental, economic and related social benefits are essential for Caribbean development.”

The commitment from the Sandals Foundation, Prof. Hamilton says, “is a great example of corporate partnership and social responsibility in accelerating the achievement of SDGs in the Caribbean!”

Persons wishing to support the tree planting efforts can visit the Sandals Foundation website at www.sandalsfoundation.org  and donate to the ‘Caribbean Tree Planting Project’. One hundred percent of all funds donated will be directed towards purchasing seedlings and maintaining the plant sites to ensure tree survival.

The Sandals Foundation has an extensive record of environmental conservation efforts, establishing and managing two marine sanctuaries since 2013, supporting the operations of some 14 marine and forested areas across the Caribbean, and assisting the safe release of over 100,000 sea turtles into the Caribbean Sea.

By training local residents within fishing communities as environmental wardens and coral gardeners, the philanthropic organization has out planted more than 8,000 coral fragments from their established coral nurseries. They have mobilized students and community groups to collect close to 60,000 pounds of solid waste and helped raise environmental awareness for close to 40,000 people.

The foundation is also working very closely with the Ministry of Education in The Bahamas and the Bahamas National Trust to develop the island’s very first environmentally focussed component of its National Primary Science Curriculum to improve the environmental literacy of students and by extent, the future citizenry in that country.

Release: Sandals Foundation

Caption: [L-r]: Sandals Foundation Ambassador, Samantha McPherson and teen volunteer Kayla Farquharson plant timber trees as part of conservation efforts to celebrate Earth Day 2019. The Sandals Foundation is intensifying its Caribbean conservation efforts by committing to plant 10,000 trees by June 2022.

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Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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