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Haiti Receives 500,000 Vaccines Donated by the United States through COVAX

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PAHO Director reiterates commitment to support the Haitian people in their fight against COVID-19 

Today Haiti received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States through the COVAX Facility. The country is the fourth in the region to receive these donated shipments, after Honduras, El Salvador and Bolivia, with a total of 4,008,000 doses delivered so far.

“The arrival of these vaccines is quite promising and now the challenge is to get them to the people that need them the most,” said Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne. “PAHO, along with other partners, is committed to supporting the Haitian people in these uncertain times and urges other international organizations to join us in supporting the COVID response.”

The donation is part of the U.S. government’s plans to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage in other countries around the world, counter new waves of infection, and prioritize vaccination of health care workers and other vulnerable populations in neighboring countries in need of vaccines. The U.S government has pledged to donate some 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. 

“These vaccines, which have obtained WHO emergency use license, will be administered free of charge to the Haitian population,” declared Dr. Marie Gréta Roy Clément, Haiti’s Minister of Public Health and Population. “In public health, vaccination remains one of the most effective interventions. This first allocation of vaccines puts an end to a long period of waiting, an end to a long period of waiting not only for the Haitian population but also for the people of the region who were very concerned that Haiti was the only country in the Americas that had not yet introduced the COVID 19 vaccine,” added the Minister.

The Revolving Fund and the PAHO Representation in Haiti has worked with the U.S. and Haitian authorities and the COVAX Facility on logistics and other relevant aspects to ensure that these vaccines arrived promptly and safely and are ready for deployment as soon as possible.

“Over the last few weeks, PAHO has delivered significant personal protective equipment, helped expand care for COVID-19 patients and provided thousands of tests and laboratory materials to strengthen surveillance activities in Haiti,” added Dr. Etienne. “We have also helped train community health workers and have supported the Ministry of Health in preparing for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and setting up new systems to dispel rumors and COVID misinformation.”

Context on U.S. vaccine donations through COVAX

The COVAX Mechanism for vaccine sharing makes it possible for countries to share doses with others that have secured self-funded allocations through the Mechanism or through bilateral agreements, thereby helping to increase vaccine coverage, help ensure that no doses are wasted, and work to end the acute phase of the pandemic.

In addition to the United States, the governments of Spain, Canada and others have donated vaccines and other support for Latin America and the Caribbean. PAHO has expressed its gratitude and continues calling on more developed countries to help expand access to vaccines for the region. 

So far, close to 26 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to 31 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through COVAX. However, only about 14% of the total population in the Caribbean and Latin America has completed their vaccination schedule, and some countries have not yet been able to vaccinate more than 1% of their population. 

Until vaccination is widespread among the population, public health measures remain the basis of the response to the pandemic. For public health authorities, this means continued screening, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine and quality care. And for individuals, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, use of masks, ventilation of spaces, and avoidance of crowds. 



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Caribbean News

Construction Industry Continues to Grow

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#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The Construction industry continues to figure in Jamaica’s gradual recovery from the economic fallout precipitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The sector is estimated to have grown by 1.7 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year, and contributed to the Goods Producing Industry’s 2.8 per cent expansion over the three months.

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, said the out-turn for construction was spurred by growth in the ‘Other Construction’ and ‘Building Construction’ components.  This, he added, reflected a 5.6 per cent increase in sales of construction and related inputs.

The Director General was speaking during the PIOJ’s digital quarterly media briefing, on Wednesday (November 24).

Dr. Henry said growth in the ‘Other Construction’ component resulted from increased capital expenditure on civil engineering activities during the review period  This was mainly reflected in the National Works Agency’s (NWA) disbursement of $9.1 billion, up from $5.1 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The Director General said the provision largely covered work on the Yallahs to Harbour View leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP).  Additionally, Dr. Henry said the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC) disbursed $2.2 billion, as against $1.3 billion in 2020.

“Expenditure facilitated works on the SCHIP Part ‘A’; that is, the May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield in Manchester component,” he told journalists.

Dr. Henry indicated that growth in the ‘Building Construction’ component was driven mainly by the performance of the non-residential category.  This, he said, reflected hotel construction and renovation activities, as well as the buildout of commercial office space.

The economy is estimated to have grown by an overall 6.3 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, with the Service Industry recording 7.3 per cent and the Goods Producing Industry 2.8 per cent.

 

Contact: Douglas McIntosh

JIS

 

 

 

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Caribbean News

SOEs To End This Weekend

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#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The States of Public Emergency (SOEs) now in place in seven police divisions across the island will expire on Saturday (27 November).   This, after two resolutions to extend the SOEs until February 12, 2022, failed to get the required number of votes in the Senate, following a marathon sitting on Thursday (November 25).

The resolutions are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021, and the Emergency Powers (Specified Areas in the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021.

These apply to St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East in the Corporate Area, and St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.

Opposition Senators voted to end the enhanced security measures, which were announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on November 14.

Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures; three voted against it; and five members were absent. The extension of emergency powers must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Upper House.

The resolutions, which were approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 23), needed one vote from an Opposition Senator to be approved.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions were not approved, noting that “it’s a sad day for the people of Jamaica and, in particular, it is a sad day for the people who live in the communities covered by the seven divisions of the SOEs.

“We convey our apologies to the security forces who recommended and have been utilising the space and who had hoped that the debate today would rise to the level of reason and regard for the professional advice given and the realities on the ground,” she said.

“I only regret that as Leader of Government Business, that this Senate has not delivered a better result to the people of Jamaica today,” she added.

President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson also voiced his disappointment with the result of the vote.

The resolutions were moved by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda.

 

Contact: Alecia Smith

JIS

Photo Captions: 

Header: President of the Senate, Hon Tom Tavares-Finson, disappointed with the outcome of the vote to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions. Two resolutions were moved for extension of the SOEs but they failed to get the required two-thirds majority for approval.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

1st insert: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, moved the resolutions to extend States of Emergency in seven police divisions. The resolutions did not get the approval of the house.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

2nd insert: Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions did not pass. Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures, three voted against it, and five members were absent.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

 

 

 

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Bahamas News

Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.

“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”

While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.

She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.

“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.

“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”

 

Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.

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