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C&W CEO underscores “Our People are our Greatest Asset” at CANTO

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The 36th annual CANTO Trade and Virtual Exhibition kicked-off on Wednesday, July 28th with Headline Sponsor, C&W Communications (CWC), hosting the first day of the three-day virtual event. Held under the theme, ‘The New Digital Reality – 2021 and Beyond’, the event was formally opened by David Cox, Senior Director, Regulatory, CWC and current Chairman of CANTO who welcomed participants and panelists to CANTO’s first ever virtual trade event.

CWC put together an impressive line-up of discussion panels on the first day that focused on topical issues faced by the sector in the wake of an ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. In the first session of the day, CANTO Chairman David Cox spoke with CWC CEO, Inge Smidts, in a candid and insightful virtual fireside chat.  Smidts detailed how the regional communications and entertainment provider has been able to navigate through the challenges of the pandemic and put a uniquely ‘human’ face on the company’s commitment to keep its employees working and its customers connected.

Smidts said passionately, “with the onset of COVID-19 we focused on our two (2) ‘Whys’: taking care of our people and keeping our customers connected. My philosophy is that our people are our biggest asset. Having the network capacity to meet the demands of our customers is important but having the right people to take care of our customers is even more important”. Smidts attributed the company’s ability to continue to meet those ‘whys’ on the resilience of its employees and their willingness to face the challenges head on to ensure they continued to find ways to keep customers connected.

As the Region’s only female CEO running a full-service telecommunications company, she offered the virtual audience some personal insights into her management style and leadership approach during the pandemic. Smidts said, “the pandemic induced a period of ‘unlearning’, forcing companies, including CWC, to find new ways to meet the needs of their customers and employees, and to embrace change”.

Other virtual sessions held included:

The ‘Women in ICT Leadership Panel Discussion’ adeptly hosted by Wendy McDonald, C&W Senior Director – Communications and Stakeholder Relations for the Caribbean. McDonald’s guests included: Daysi Andrades, Advisor to the Chief Information Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC; Monica Desai, Global Head, Connectivity and Access Policy at Facebook; and Vice President of People at CWC, Sonali Dighe. This panel took an intense look at how the pandemic brought unique challenges for women in the workplace, particularly in leadership roles. In host McDonald’s preamble she spoke to the additional challenges imposed on women in the workplace who were forced to suddenly and unexpectedly manage competing and overlapping work and family commitments on a scale and with a level of urgency many women had never encountered before, a situation that in some cases is causing women to leave the workforce. CWC’s Sonali Dighe impressed upon the audience the need for companies in the region to focus on their leadership pipelines and to implement succession planning programs with a focus on moving more women into leadership positions.

Later in the program, ‘The Parenting and Education in the Digital Age’ discussion panel saw an equally impressive list of panelists which included: Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Education, Dr. the Honorable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly; Sherra Carrington-James, President of both the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools and the Trinidad & Tobago Association of Principals of Secondary Schools. Also bringing a wealth of knowledge on human capital in the region was Dominic Boon, Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development at CWC’s parent company, Liberty Latin America. The panel was expertly moderated by Simone Martin-Sulgan, Vice President for CWC’s Operations in Trinidad and Tobago, who as a mother of two herself, was deeply connected to the panel’s in-depth look at how parents have been searching for new, engaging, and innovative means to support their children through this new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists sought to address the issues facing the education sector and in keeping with the overall conference theme, using our “New Digital Reality” to determine where the opportunities for intelligent collective collaboration exist and do our best to exploit them to our and our children’s advantage.

C&W Communications has been a long-standing partner of CANTO and through its Corporate Social Responsibility programs, and the work of its C&W Charitable Foundation, continues to invest in and advocate for greater digital access for the region’s children. CWC is committed to working with governments and industry stakeholders towards this goal.

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Jamaica Rum Festival Endorsed

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, endorsed this year’s fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival at the Aqueduct in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday (June 25).

Ms. Grange, who officially opened the event, noted that rum, and spirits in general, has deep cultural significance in Jamaica, spanning centuries.

“From the cane fields, where our enslaved ancestors worked, through to today, where we have the best rum in the world… we have a lot to be proud of,” she added.

For his part, Tourism Director, Donovan White, commended the organisers of the festival, which attracted a significant number of patrons, including visitors from overseas.  He said the Ministry of Tourism, through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was pleased to be a partner in the event that showcased top quality products by local rum purveyors.

Minister Grange, representatives from the Tourism Ministry’s agencies, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, were presented with limited edition Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.

 

Contact; Okoye Henry

Release: JIS

 

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Education Ministry Recommits to Expanding Uniformed Groups in Schools

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth remains committed to increasing the number of uniformed groups in schools.  This is in keeping with its thrust to fulfill this mission under the Safety and Security in Schools Programme, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has said.  She further noted that “it is a part of our series of measures to improve discipline among students.”

Mrs. Williams was speaking during the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) uniformed groups church service on Sunday (June 26).  The service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.

Mrs. Williams remarks came against the background of what she said were “heightened concerns” in recent months over incidents of violence in schools across Jamaica and calls for a more concerted effort to provide civic and character education for students.  She noted that several initiatives within the Ministry to address these concerns were being expanded, among them support for uniformed groups in schools.

“The Ministry has been supporting uniformed youth groups in the development of a Three-Year Strategic Plan and [Memoranda of Understanding] with individual groups which will, at one and the same time, advance the missions of the groups and the mandate of the Ministry to these groups,” Mrs. Williams added.

The Minister pointed out that these cohorts, including Girl Guides, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Cub Scouts, Cadets and Pathfinders, “have played an invaluable role in shaping the character and awakening the social conscience of our young people for decades.”

“It has been well-established that students who participate in clubs are more out-going as they are engaged in activities that support socialisation with their peers. These students tend to be more comfortable in group settings where communication and team-work are necessary. This is a valuable asset as it will also benefit these students outside of the school setting,” she stated.

Mrs. Williams said the activities engaged in at meetings also complement classroom learning and emphasise social, emotional, and physical development.

Additionally, she said they provide opportunities for informal learning and life experiences.

“Uniformed youth groups represent a cohort of the nation’s youth that is organised around a set of core values, such as honour, discipline, service, loyalty, commitment, integrity, perseverance, industry and spiritual fortitude,” the Minister emphasised.

She noted that while most are based in schools, units may also be organised at church and community levels.

“Indeed, we know that the church has been a main source through which many new members are recruited. There is a challenge, however, and that is, over the past few years, there has not been as robust an interest in these groups as in previous decades,” Mrs. Williams indicated.

She said it was acknowledged that the society’s youth now have many more interests and distractions, “but we should still try to encourage them to see the value in participating in groups such as these”, while citing an “urgent need” for volunteer adult leaders.

The Minister also noted that older and more traditional groups, such as Boys Scouts and Girl Guides, are international in scope and maintain linkages with the worldwide movements.

“Support from these fraternal organisations has, however, diminished over the years, and local organisations must find the resources to sustain operations and pay the required affiliation fees. So once again, it is important that we, in the local community, pitch in to provide the needed support,” she added.

In this regard, the Minister commended members of the uniformed groups and CVSS for ongoing efforts to forge long-term alliances that facilitate mutual support and joint action.

Further, she said, for representing the concerns of the social sector, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, at the regional and international levels.

“We, as a collective, continue to dedicate ourselves to creating a supportive and safe environment for our students to learn and experience as much as possible to become productive members of society,” Mrs. Williams stated.

 

Contact: Douglas McIntosh

Release: JIS

 

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Anguilla Economic Affairs Minister Quits; calling it a conscience move

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#Anquilla, June 27, 2022 – After penning a three-page resignation letter to Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster, the Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources, Kyle Hodge has officially resigned from the Anguilla Progressive Movement (APM).

“I am submitting this letter of resignation because my conscience and commitments to the people of Anguilla no longer permit me to serve as a member of the Anguilla Progressive Movement and minister of government in your administration,” he wrote.

Included in his letter are his reasons for resigning and that entails his concerns on Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is scheduled to come into Force on July 1, the lack of organised leadership, and the lack of party structure.

“I believe that my dissenting vote on the Good and Services Tax (GST) marked the initial fraying of our relationship; since then we have not been on the same page. There is a mutual lack of trust and understanding and most importantly, our goals for the Anguillan people have fully diverged and there is little common ground,” said the resigned minister.

He also shared his concern regarding the approach and tone of the government towards Anguillans.

“Politics in Anguilla must change and it actually started when the people demanded more of use and I am very comfortable with that demand. You deserve nothing less,” said Hodge in a Facebook post. He also thanked the people who have supported him in his decision to resign.

Hodge added that he will continue to serve the people who elected him since he will still be a member of the House of Assembly.

He said, “my resignation today does not mean GST disappears, so let us continue to unite our efforts to either make it more palatable or find other ways to collect the revenue that is needed to run the country. I wish the entire government a healthy and prosperous term in office. I also take this time to commend you for the relief package granted to the people of Anguilla as we deal with hyperinflation in Anguilla.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Natural Resources and Information Technology. I wish you the very best politically and otherwise.”

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