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Caribbean News

Guyana facing worst disaster in country’s history – President Ali tells oil investors



says investments would be made to secure nation’s future

By Kemol King, Guyana Department of Public Information

June 7, 2021 – His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Dr. Irfaan Ali says Guyana is facing the worst natural disaster in its history and it must make investments now to implement an adaptation plan to deal with the adverse effects of climate change.

 The President made this statement on Saturday at the launch of an offshore construction facility in Water Street, Georgetown for Italian multinational, Saipem.

The President relayed his harrowing experience seeing first-hand how the floods have affected families.

“Just returned from Olive Creek, Kurupung bottom, Jawalla, Kamarang, spoke to people in Jawalla and Kamarang where their entire life has been destroyed. Everything they worked for all their lives have disappeared.  

This is occurring as we celebrate World Environment Day. Natural disasters historic in nature, hundreds of homes completely destroyed. Tens of thousands of farms completely destroyed.”

President Ali spoke of one instance during which a distressed farmer relayed that his avocado farm was completely destroyed and that the trees would no longer be there after the floods. The President said that the man, a father, gestured to his son, asking, “What is this boy going to do?”

Meanwhile, mining camps are empty as infrastructure in some areas have been destroyed, the President said, noting that seeing the devastation first-hand provides a much better understanding of the gravity of the situation.

Dr. Ali recalled flying over Black Bush Polder in Region Six where hundreds of livestock were seen stranded and would eventually die, with one case involving a farmer who lost everything on his farm, which had been operating for four generations.

“Going to those communities today reinforces the risk we face as a country. We have tremendous risk as a country. Never forget we are below sea level.   

What is happening now is that the volume of water that has to be drained will create another havoc for those communities when the rain is gone. We have had the opportunity to look at the volume of water that has to come down. It’s frightening in some instances.”

The President said it is a very sensitive time for the country. Region Four communities have faced flooding, but it is not as severe as the disaster in Region Seven and the more remote areas. Dr. Ali said the scale of the disaster is misunderstood in Region Four, noting that the Hope Canal, constructed in response to the devastating 2005 floods, have shielded this Region from the worst effects of the flood.

He has asked his staff to collect contact data from the poorest affected farmers in every community as he intends to engage them directly to assure them that the Government will return their livelihoods to them and secure their futures. The President said it is the same message the Government would take to Linden, to the bauxite workers and to Kwakwani, Region 10.  

Additionally, President Ali said Guyana cannot secure revenue and not implement a climate adaption plan.

“As President, I would not allow it… We have to make those investments now and the resources that will come our way will have to help us together, to make those investments to secure the livelihood of the people of this country.” The President plans to travel to Region Two to assess the flood damage there.

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.


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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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