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Caribbean is Sensational at Summer Olympics

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Elaine Thompson-Herah
Dom Rep Relay Team

#TheBahamas, August 4, 2021 – The Caribbean has 44 million people; together. The performances at the Tokyo Summer Olympics from Caribbean athletes, even those who have Caribbean heritage have been astounding to say the least.  It was and continues to be thrilling to watch these fine athletes collect the valuable hardware from a ‘Games’ which is a year late and wrought with complexities as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Caribbean women have emerged as pioneering figures in these games, a fact not lost on another Caribbean woman of sports who has exemplified that ladies can not only prepare what is on the table, but join the feast as equal partner and leader at the table.

““It gives me great pride and honor as I reflect on the incredible accomplishments of the women participants of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.  It is fair to say that not only are women breaking glass ceilings in leadership positions around the world but women are now dominating in sports arenas around the world.  Congratulations to all the female achievers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, in particular our Caribbean Sisters who continue to raise the bar.  You are an inspiration to all of us and we are forever proud of you and your achievements,” said Sonia Fulford, President of the Turks and Caicos Island Football Association (TCIFA) and newly re-elected member of the FIFA Council.

Shericka Jackson

Even as we prepare this issue of The Magnate; regional people celebrate the gold medal performance of Andre De Grasse of Canada who has secured first place in the Men’s 200m, with a career best time.  De Grasse is the son of a Barbadian man and a Trinidadian woman.

And while we could be wiped out by the feats of the men and women who reflect our diversity as an English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking region, we are not and the expectation for more, is high and will not go unquenched.

Jamaica is by far is rolling out the most headline grabbing show. 

“Without having the crowds, you can actually feel the love and the comradery there.  You can see that they have really bond together well because after coming off such a tough period we are really happy that Digicel has been able to carry the Games on Sports Max,” said Addison Stoddard, CEO of Digicel TCI which is not only offering expert commentary by Caribbean professional athletes, trainers and former Olympians but an mobile App to watch on the go.

“You have 15 channels you can scroll across and select any of the channels on the (Sports Max) App and watch any of the events.”

ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce

This is great news; the unencumbered access to the planet’s premier sporting event where Elaine Thompson-Herah would deliver the first huge and historic deed when she smashed the 33-year Olympic record of celebrated female US Champion – Florence Griffith-Joyner in the 100m.  In a time of 10.61 Thompson-Herah is firmly cemented as the fastest woman ever in the Olympics and tidily raised the bar in her home country of Jamaica where the time is also now the national record. 

Elaine wasn’t even born when Flo-Jo ran that race in 1988; Elaine at 29-years old would not only lead a one-two-three- sweep of the 100m event for Jamaica (ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce, second and Shericka Jackson, third) but would go on to power through in the 200m for another landmark victory. 

In the race, filled with famous and accomplished female athletes from six other countries of the world, Thompson-Herah unequivocally earned another gold medal.  The thing is, this was no ordinary gold.  This triumph solidified Elaine as both the most captivating figure of health, strength, beauty and speed and the Queen of Sprints because no other female athlete has ever won both the 100m and 200m at two consecutive Olympics; those being Rio Games of 2016 and the current Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“The Olympics have been absolutely amazing and we are so proud of the accomplishments of Elaine Thompson-Herah, breaking the Olympic record in the 100 and great performance by ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce also but Elaine is definitely the Queen at the Olympics in the sprints,” said Mr. Stoddard in commenting to The Magnate.

Megan Tapper.

In the Women’s 400m hurdles we had another fantastic demonstration of sensational athleticism by several Caribbean women.  Though Devynne Charlton of The Bahamas would not make the medal stand, one of the shortest (height-wise) in the field, it would be another ‘shorty’ who would prove very successful.  Again, hailing from the Sprint Capital of the World: Jamaica, millions of television viewers were locked onto the race and eventually wowed by Megan Tapper.

Tapper, and her spirited personality won the individual bronze, becoming the first woman from the English Speaking Caribbean to medal in the event.

Rai Benjamin

“I am happy to see the young lady in the 100m hurdles, Tapper.  That was really a very good run.  She defied all odds, she is barely 5’ 1” and had to jump over all of those high hurdles, while sprinting.  And a really good event was Rai Benjamin, getting a silver medal in the 400m hurdles in record breaking time,”  Stoddard, a sports enthusiast himself reminded, “Rai Benjamin, although he is an American, he is the son of a former West Indies medium base bowler from Antigua and Barbuda called Winston Benjamin; his father played cricket for the West Indies team.”

Jasmine Camacho Quinn

The gold medal show stopper in the same race as Megan was from the Camacho line.  Hailing from Puerto Rico, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn during the heats set a new Olympic Record and then went on to secure the first individual gold medal for a Puerto Rican woman at any Games; only the second gold in the country’s history. 

The results was a beautiful recompense for Jasmine who DQed out of the event at the 2016 Rio Games and missed a medal many said she would have surely won.

The other Latino-Caribbean countries are working spectacularly on the field and off.  Cuba has 12 medals in the Games, the most of any Caribbean region country.  The Dominican Republic has 3 medals, including one in female weightlifting.

Crismery Santana, 26 years old has earned a bronze and the DomRep is beaming with joy at her historic feat. 

The Cuban long jumpers were almost gold and silver in the men’s event, until their Greek counterpart Miltiadis Tentoglou pulled off an upset in his final effort; snatching the gold.  The men – Juan Miguel Echevarria and Maykel Masso – would walk away with a limp each and the silver and bronze for the Republic.

Juan Miguel Echevarria

There is great expectation in the Women’s 400m on Thursday; it features Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas; who has come to defend her Rio Games title in the event.  Miller-Uibo has run well in these Games, but even veteran Olympic champion and compatriot Pauline Davis-Thompson is worried.

The Bahamian Golden Girl expressed, in her Sports Max interview on Wednesday that, she is a concerned about Miller-Uibo who showed some weakness in the 200m; Shaunae placed last in the event after three consecutive sessions of running the 200m and 400m heats and final.

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Commander Defence Force attends UK-Second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Conference, Antigua

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#Bahamas, September 13, 2021 – In keeping with the Global Security Collaborative Framework and Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King’s strategic intent in strengthening joint relationships with its regional and international partnerships, Commodore King attended the UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua from 1- 3 September, 2021 to share best practices and to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Accompanied by his Aide, Sub Lieutenant Delroy Dennis, the sessions also included General Sir Nick Carter; Gen Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant Colonel Simon Westlake Royal Marines United Kingdom’s Defence Attaché to the Caribbean; and Commander Brian Trim MBE RN Commander task Group.

Also in attendance were countries with various Chiefs of Defence Staff, in particular; Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and defence and security partners across the region, who took part virtually, and shared their views on global security and joint partnerships. They all agreed on several initiatives with training and education designed to improve collective capacity to deal with the diverse security challenges that confront the region.

The inaugural conference convened virtually in November 2020, with each of the regional Chiefs of Defence. This second conference focused on building on the success of the virtual event in strengthening the UK-Caribbean relationships, and developing concepts for UK engagement with its Caribbean partners on issues of mutual interest.

The three-day conference commenced with an ice-breaker reception and concert at Blizzard Camp, hosted by Antigua and Barbuda (ATG) – Chief of Defence Staff Colonel Telbert Benjamin, and joined by the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams. The core conference which took place on September 2nd, began with an opening ceremony, supported by the Prime Minister of ATG, Sir Gaston Browne.

In the first core session, UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland General Sir Nick Carter set out the UK perspective on the strategic context, informed by the recently concluded Integrated Review (IR) and Defence Command Plan (DCP). The three individual sessions covered issues of serious organized crime threats; regional initiatives and the implications for UK Defence engagement; and natural threats.

The UK- CDS expressed his ambition to use the conference as a vehicle for institutional capacity building, military capability development, training and education, doctrine, and concepts. These are ways to maximize collective security development with focused UK engagement while better constructing an approach that matches the region’s aspirations and requirements.

The final session of the three-day conference was held aboard HMS MEDWAY, River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel built on the Clyde. This permanent Caribbean patrol ship was deployed to the Caribbean to support disaster relief and conduct counter-trafficking operations as an alternative setting for a maritime security focused discussion. It served as a setting to discuss regional maritime security, which included talks around preparedness for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response (HADR), and UK involvement in regional partnerships.

Photo Captions: 

Header: Participants at the UK- second Caribbean Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua, 1- 3 September, 2021. 

1st insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Defence Force, presenting his country’s brief on board HMS MEDWAY, during the second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Staff conference in Antigua. 

2nd insert: Commodore Raymond King, Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces: In the front row; Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and General Sir Nick Carter, General Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland.

3rd insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; General de Brigada Angel A Camacho Ubiera Inspector General of the Dominican Republic Army; Antigua and Barbuda – Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces Trinidad and Tobago; and Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces.

(Photos courtesy Mr. Wayne Mariette)

 

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 

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Caribbean Wellness Day 2021

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#Caribbean, September 13, 2021 – Health, in every facet, is sought-after, at great expense, by all members of the global community. Though the success of our endeavours in health varies from region to region, it must be emphasised that in our Region, a healthy Caribbean is always the goal for which we strive.

Each year the Caribbean Region observes, Caribbean Wellness Day since it was established at the 2007 landmark summit, ‘Declaration of Port of Spain: Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-communicable Diseases.’

This year’s commemoration focuses on equitable access to health; an all of society approach to health and well-being, and building healthy communities under the theme, “Power Through Collective Action: In it Together, Building Healthy Communities.”

As health care systems are being taxed by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is even more important now to advocate for equitable access to health. Too many of our Caribbean citizens face harsh realities, because of inequities in access – this should not be. Caribbean Wellness Day is the most opportune time for the members of our Caribbean community to ensure that the health of our people is indeed a priority through legislative change, health in all policies and all of society action.

Equitable access to health care in the Caribbean is one of CARPHA’s points of focus as can be seen through our work to ensure equitable access to PPE, equipment, supplies and vaccines through the COVAX facility, a mechanism whose primary function is to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and donations notably the US Government donation of 5.5 million doses of Pfizer BioNTech.

Without the power of voices in chorus, like with the COVAX facility; the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH) and others – many more would be disadvantaged and unserved. Achieving health for all in the Caribbean also means attaining and sustaining healthy environments.

The built environment, which provides for sidewalks, bike lanes, community parks and green spaces, can influence lifestyles, body weight, and improve mental health. As these necessary frameworks are made reality and we avail ourselves of them, we exercise Power through Collective Action showing that we are truly in it together, Building Healthy Communities.

As we speak about the environment, we must mention the effects of climate change. The inaction in the past has set the world on a course of environmental destruction. We need to act now; it is the only way that we can protect the generations to come from even worse realities than those we face today.

As we seek to mitigate the damage done due to inaction on the recommended major climate change interventions, we need to address other pertinent issues. Vector-borne diseases remain a challenge in many Caribbean territories, and unlike the bleak outlook that is presented on climate change, simple adjustments in our behaviour can make the world of difference.

By eradicating breeding grounds of mosquitoes in our immediate environment and communities, we minimize the spread of many vector-borne diseases. Advocacy in health should be the standard operation of every Region, State, and organisation. Sustaining Health and well-being is one of the very few universal desires.

Regardless of creed, culture, or any other divisive line – all organised bodies have a responsibility to promote health. Further to this, we need to take the time to look after ourselves and our families and communities.

Simple actions – increasing our intake of local produce, reading labels of processed foods to make informed decisions, scheduling regular exercise – these actions will drastically improve the health and quality of life of our people.

Working together to this end, will lead to healthier minds, healthier bodies, and a Caribbean that exudes wellness.

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US new Vaccine mandate not for tourists and students

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#TurksandCaicos, September 9, 2021 – The vast majority of visa applicants such as students and tourists do not have to worry about the new CDC requirement for Immigrant Visa applicants to be fully vaccinated.

Our news organization reached out to the US Embassy in Nassau, where Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo informed the notice floating around social media is true but only impacts people who are applying to live and work in the United States.

“The information circulating on social media is a notice stating that starting on October 1 the CDC will require age-appropriate Immigrant Visa applicants worldwide will to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination.

The key detail here is the difference between Non-Immigrant Visas and Immigrant Visas. Non-Immigrant Visas (for which the requirement does not apply) make up the majority of visa applications, and include student and tourist visas. Immigrant Visas on the other hand typically involve moving permanently to the United States through a Green Card, for example, and which make up a very small fraction of visa applications,” said Durazo.

Similar to TCIs work permit holders rule, which requires guest workers to be fully vaccinated in order to be legally in the Turks and Caicos, this rule takes effect for the US on October 1st.

The notice caused quite a buzz, as the United States is a popular destination for islanders to visit and attend school. The US is also the #1 tourism source market for the Turks and Caicos; and only its vaccinated residents will be allowed into these islands;  that mandate started on September 1st.

“First, I’d like to reassure your readers that the vaccination requirement will not apply to the vast majority of Visa applicants, such as those applying for tourist and student visas.  In summary, the vast majority of visa applicants (such as students and tourists) do not have to worry about this requirement. It’s only Immigrant Visa applicants who need to take this requirement into consideration, and they will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.”

Residents suspected the US was activating a similar entry requirement but Durazo said the rule does not apply to visitor and student visas.  Permanent residency applicants, like those wanting Green Card will need to have full Covid 19 vaccination and he said, will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.

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