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St. Vincent & the Grenadines Receives Shipment of PPE to Fight Against COVID-19

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#St.Vincent&theGrenadines, August 31, 2021 – The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has received a shipment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support its national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The consignment of supplies was procured through funding from the European Union (EU) through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Health Security Strengthening for Prevention and Control of Outbreaks of Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean which is being implemented by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The EU grant supports CARPHA Member States’ national COVID-19 preparedness and response and has financed the procurement of much needed medical supplies.

CARPHA procured the supply of PPE for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which includes 625 protective coveralls, 1,250 isolation gowns and 1,500 N95 respirators.

Executive Director of CARPHA Dr. Joy St. John emphasized the importance of this donation, stating that “This critical and timely support will strengthen the capacity of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in times of greatest need. No effort is being spared to offer assistance to the citizens of our Member States and those who take care of them. CARPHA works closely with Member States to identify their needs and provides guidance and support in the continued fight against COVID-19.  The provision of PPE would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the European Union and its commitment to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean region.”

The Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment expresses profound gratitude for this collaborative effort which was both timely and worthwhile as it adds to the arsenal of supplies and equipment used to fight this highly infectious disease.

Director of Health Security Mrs. Donna Joyette Bascombe indicated that “this partnership with CARPHA has been long standing, fruitful and ever strengthening and must continue as we work together towards reducing risk and building resilience in this Sub Region against all events; be it natural, manmade, biological, radiological, chemical or otherwise. Our collective goal has always been and must continue to be to strengthen our health systems along every link of the chain on national, regional and international levels.”

The EU Grant seeks to improve health security and strengthen capacity of CARPHA Member States for the detection, surveillance, prevention, control and response to epidemics of Communicable diseases, such as COVID-19. The Grant supports CARPHA Member States’ national COVID-19 preparedness and response and has financed the procurement of requisite medical supplies. The funding was made possible through the Intra-ACP Cooperation under the 11th EDF. The Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States has supported CARPHA’s access to these resources for its regional COVID-19 response.

More information

·       CARPHA’s Regional Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

·       11th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Health Security Strengthening for Prevention and Control of Outbreaks of Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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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

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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  

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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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