#TurksandCaicos, April 27, 2021 – The government of the Turks and Caicos Islands made a decision to reopen all primary and high schools in the country, due to the successful rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccination program and adherence and enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols across the islands. We have also recently seen a significant sustained decrease in the number of active cases and positivity rate. To this end, the Ministry of Education has implemented various measures to ensure the health and safety, not only of our students, but also our teachers under revised health protocols.
One of these measures was the mandatory testing program for unvaccinated teachers. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention through the Ministry of Health, that there has been significant non-compliance of the mandatory testing by some teachers.
The last report we received, highlighted over 100 unvaccinated teachers at the schools in Providenciales, yet only 79 persons presented themselves for testing. We have received reports of teachers leaving the school compound or failing to attend work to avoid getting tested. This means that there has been a clear refusal of some teachers to abide by the government issued mandate. This refusal puts our students and other staff members at risk to the exposure of the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis.
Following recent testing, we have received information from the Ministry of Health, that two teachers, one from the Thelma Lightbourne Primary in Long Bay and the second from the Louise Garland High School, formerly known as Long Bay High School who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health has made contact with these individuals, advised of their status and commenced the necessary contact tracing. Both schools will be closed on Monday, April 26th for continued sanitization and lessons will be administered online during such time.
Teachers, we have safe and effective vaccines available. We strongly encourage our teachers to consider taking the vaccine, although it remains a personal decision. A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are potentially less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Although sessions have been held with our teachers surrounding COVID-19, we continue to encourage our teachers to consult their healthcare providers so that they can make an informed decision about their health status. Teachers, if you choose not to take the vaccine, please present yourselves to the staff of the Ministry of Health during the mandated weekly schedule at your school. To the unvaccinated teachers, the mandatory testing is essential for you, as it keeps you aware of your COVID-19 status.
The Ministry of Education looks forward to receiving the full cooperation of our teachers and their continued adherence to the protocols issued by the Ministry of Health. Your actions today will help keep yourselves, other staff members and our children safe and healthy. As always, we wish to thank you for the dedication to our students, the public service and the country as a whole.
Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.
“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.
Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.
And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”
Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.
“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”
Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.
The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’
The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year. Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.
While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home. So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.
In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg. The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.
Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.
This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands
By Sherrica Thompson
#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.
Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.
There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage. The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.
“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said
Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.
Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.
Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.
Cayman photo credit: RC Cord
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