Connect with us

Caribbean News

Newest CERT Teams give ‘thumbs up’ to NEMA Training; call on other communities to ‘get on board’



By: Matt Maura

Bahamas Information Services


#TheBahamas, March 29, 2022 – Participants of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) most recent Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Programme are singing the Agency’s praises, while urging other communities “to get on board,” following the conclusion of yet another successful exercise.

The CERT Programme educates community volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area while also training those volunteers in basic disaster/emergency response skills such as fire safety and utility controls, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster/emergency medical operations.  CERT Training provides community volunteers with the skillset needed to do the greatest amount of good, for the greatest amount of persons in their communities in the shortest amount of time, until the Professional First Responders arrive, allowing those Professional First Responders to focus on more complex tasks.

Part I of the five-day CERT Training was held March 21-25 at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall. Part II of the CERT Training opened Monday (March 28) and will conclude Friday, April 1. Both sessions are facilitated by members of NEMA’s Training Department, headed by Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, Training Coordinator.

Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr

Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr., Disaster Coordination Team, the Assemblies of God in The Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, and a survivor of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, deemed the National Emergency Management Agency’s CERT Programme an “absolute hand-in-glove fit” with the Church’s overarching role of being the “Watchman” over the communities it serves.

“The training was very, very enhancing and will help us in our efforts to build resilience not only within our Fellowship, but by extension, those communities within which we have churches. The CERT Programme is an absolute hand-inglove fit to what we are trying to achieve,” Reverend Bain said.

“The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is required to be the Watchman over our cities and communities. As a Church, we are to be impacting the communities; we ought to be influencing our communities, and not just within the silo of the church, but through the kinds of efforts that will allow us to address the whole man, to address the needs of our communities. After undergoing this CERT Training, it is my belief that, by working along with NEMA and like agencies, we can expand the services we offer to the community – this time in the area of emergency/disaster assistance — and be that Light we have been called to be.”

Reverend Bain laid out this challenge to his fellow graduates.

“As we have engaged, and been partnering all week and have grown and learned all of the things that have been afforded to us by the Instructors, we must then now turn around and implement those things in our communities and understand that we have been given great power, and that we have been given even greater responsibility.

“As a disaster survivor in Hurricane Dorian, I want you to know that when I see a programme like CERT, I am encouraged that, from what we have been through, we are on the way to making our communities more resilient and if we are more resilient, we will be able to better mitigate when we have things like Dorian,” Reverend Bain added.

Miss Shaherah Adderley, President of the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association (BHEHA) and the Baillou Hill Estates Neighbourhood Watch, said the Training allows the community to “join the national efforts and broaden our country’s human capital resources in times of our greatest needs.”

“It was a rousing, thought-provoking opportunity for us and it got us to think more about topics such as climate change, and about ways to mitigate hazards,” Miss Adderley said. “We learnt some very valuable information about a widerange of subjects such as disaster preparedness, CERT organizational structure, medical operations, psychology, fire safety and utility controls, light search and rescue operations and terrorism and community emergency response teams.

“It is through opportunities like these offered by NEMA and through partnerships with organizations such as the National Neighbourhood Watch Council, that communities can bond, grow and bring about a further, positive evolution that I am certain we would all like to experience. The Training was a very informative; very wholesome, very solid and even more than I expected. I was very excited to have been a participant and has now resulted in a Baillou Hill Estates Community Emergency Response Team.

“I would encourage every person residing in this country to take part in this training; it is time that you will appreciate and you can use the skillset gained to possible help save lives,” Miss Adderley added.

Mr. Bernard Rolle, a member of the BHEHA, categorized that training as “eye opening.” He said Baillou Hill Estates is a “small, close knit” community that serves as home to first, second and third generation of families.

“The CERT training opened my eyes to a lot of things as far as the scope of lifesaving techniques made available to us,” Mr. Rolle said. “My knowledge before I came out was so limited. Now being able to understand the magnitude of the key role one can play in assisting persons in your community until the Professional First Responders arrive, especially when a disaster/emergency occurs, is gratifying.

“This is needed. Just the training/the knowledge we received alone, was amazing. Doing the greatest amount of good, for the greatest amount of persons in the shortest amount of time.”

Mrs. Benita Adderley, a Licensed Teacher and member of the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association, said the training went beyond expectation.

“This course was awesome, really, really good,” Mrs. Adderley said. “I loved the fact that they facilitated both theoretical and practical components so that all of the theory, the principles, and the concepts they were trying to impart, we were able to actually put that into practice and that was really good because it brought it all to life for us as participants.

“This is going to help us significantly as a community. I urge other communities to get on board. This is awesome; you will not regret it. The Instructors are really, really good and have a wealth of knowledge; they are fun to work with because they are interactive and they try to make it fun; they give you real life scenarios so that you see and you feel everything that is happening so I would say it is an awesome, awesome, experience and the training is an asset. Other communities really, really, need to get on board and become CERT Communities,” Mrs. Benita Adderley added.


Photo Captions: 

Header: Nine members of the Baillou Hill Estate Homeowners Association were among the most recent graduating class of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training that concluded Friday (March 25) at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.  Seated (from left) are: Instructor, Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows; Captain Stephen Russell, Director, National Emergency Management Agency; Permanent Secretary Carl F. Smith, Office of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction; Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, Training Coordinator, NEMA, and Mr. Wendell Rigby (Instructor). Standing (first row left) are Instructors Reno Williams, Petty Officer Kenrio Ingraham, and Leading Woman Marine Karia R. Smith (first row standing at far right).

Insert: Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr., Disaster Coordination Team, the Assemblies of God in The Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands and a Hurricane Dorian survivor, addressing the closing ceremony of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Friday (March 25) at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.

(BIS Photo/Mark Ford)

Caribbean News

Caribbean, world’s first Blue Justice Hub, convenes first meeting & training to advance regional action on fisheries crime



#Jamaica, December 5, 2023 – The Caribbean, location of the world’s first Blue Justice Hub, scored another first in its efforts to advance regional cooperation to address organized crime in the fisheries sector, with an inaugural regional meeting and first workshop training in Kingston last week.

Supported by the Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Blue Justice Initiative, Blue Justice Hubs help vulnerable regions build effective inter-agency cooperation on organized transnational fisheries crime in-country and regionally.

The inaugural meeting and workshop, also marked by a regional launch, follows an international launch in Copenhagen in March, and brought together fisheries analysts, senior government ministers and officials for national updates, introduction to the community’s online digital portal and other important discussions.

Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green said the Government is committed to providing the requisite resources to support the regional Hub to create impact. He noted that the Hub’s access to the digitally powered Blue Justice Community enables Jamaica to “use the digital tools afforded through automatic identification systems, radar and satellite technologies to support a wide array of open-source resources to … detect and analyse suspicious activities that are in contravention of our laws.” He said the Hub will also support the detection identification, interdiction, and prosecution of fisheries crimes.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, underscored the importance of initiatives like the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub for securing the prospects of a sustainable ocean economy. The Minister said that the ocean provides an amazing opportunity, through the right mix of protection, policies, oversight, and enforcement which promises to yield significant economic gains for Jamaica. He pointed out that Jamaica’s key economic drivers – tourism, fisheries, shipping, and logistics services – are dependent on a healthy ocean and committed to working with the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) to ensure that protection targets with respect to Jamaica’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) are met by 2030.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Saboto Caesar said now that the Hub has been established, the region is called to action. He commended the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Government of Jamaica as the Hub-host, and the Norwegian Government for their leadership and committed to tabling the issue within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) grouping with a view to full participation in the Blue Justice Initiative.

Deputy Director General, Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Olav Norheim said members of the Blue Justice Initiative (BJI) have a common understanding that transnational organized crime in the global fishing economy has a serious effect on the economy, distorts markets, harms the environment, and undermines human rights. He congratulated the Caribbean on its latest milestone in convening its inaugural meeting and training and stressed the importance of working together through common understanding as the path to success.

Through intelligence sharing, knowledge adoption, improved awareness and coordinated law-enforcement efforts, the region will create a “formidable force” against those who seek to exploit Caribbean oceans and its resources unlawfully, declared Executive Director, CRFM, Milton Haughton. “The establishment of this hub underscores the regional determination to address these challenges head on with a united front and a comprehensive, coordinated approach,” Mr. Haughton stated.

Ava Whyte-Anderson, Officer in Charge/Assistant Resident Representative from UNDP Jamaica, emphasized the importance of bolstering capacities to address fisheries crime in order to reinforce strategic interests in harnessing the Blue Economy for sustainable economic growth and livelihoods. She called the Blue Justice Initiative’s digitally powered Blue Justice Community a stellar example of how UNDP intends to leverage digital transformation to underpin transformative actions that improve the quality of people’s lives and livelihoods.

UNDP Regional Technical Specialist for Water, Oceans, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, AnaMaria Nunez said the Blue Justice Hub in the Caribbean is pivotal to underscoring UNDP’s support for interventions that enable sustainable use of natural resources. She said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) remain a priority of the UNDP as fisheries play a leading role in supporting lives and livelihoods and are critical to advancing human development through a sustainable and fair blue economy.

“The creation of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub is a testament to our shared commitment to address food security and the growth of the Blue Economy in the region. Our collaboration with the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative and UNDP’s Blue Resilience project is essential for fostering strategic inter-agency collaborations that benefit all Member States, in addressing crime that threatens the fishing industry” said Dr Gavin Bellamy, CEO of the NFA Jamaica.

The Blue Justice Caribbean Hub (BJCH) emerges as a direct response to the CRFM Ministerial Resolution No. MC 15(6) of 2021 which emphasizes regional support for the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (Copenhagen Declaration) and the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative. These collective efforts underscore the urgency of cooperative action to safeguard food security, marine ecosystems, and uphold the rule of law amidst challenges posed by illegal fishing and fisheries crime in the Caribbean region.

Jamaica serves as the host of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub, with the National Fisheries Authority as its focal point.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

JCPD Launches Accessibility Checklist to Remove Barriers for Persons with Disabilities



#Kingston, December 5, 2023 – The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has launched the Accessibility Checklist, which is designed to identify architectural and communication barriers encountered by persons with disabilities in private and public facilities.

It is a valuable tool to assist in the removal of barriers, as it can be used to survey an entire facility or specific areas and components of the facility.

The checklist is not a replacement for the appropriate national building codes.

In his remarks at the launch, held today (December 4) at the AC Hotel by Marriott Kingston, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said the checklist is a show of the Government’s commitment that “we are putting in place the framework and the environment to allow accessibility to be a reality”.

“This Accessibility Checklist is just one element of a range of things that the Government has been doing and will continue to do to ensure that accessibility is for all. We started two years ago with the legislation that was pivotal in creating that framework – the Disabilities Act and the accompanying Regulations, he noted.

“That Act is a very important cornerstone in terms of our social development strategy,” Mr. Charles Jr. added.

The Minister argued that the checklist is not a solution to all things, adding that “it is complementary, and it is not a replacement for compliance with the national building codes”.

“Instead, it is to serve as a guiding beacon for us to raise awareness and dispel ignorance amongst those who are entrusted with the planning and developing of buildings [and] facilities for individuals with disabilities across Jamaica,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.

For his part, Minister of State in the Ministry, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, said the Accessibility Checklist is an instrument for change and is a testament to the Government’s commitment to inclusivity within Jamaica.

“The launch of the Accessibility Checklist is not just an event; it is a beacon illuminating our journey towards a more inclusive society and the Jamaica that we all want. Let me express my heartfelt commendation to JCPD for their tireless effort in orchestrating this momentous launch,” Dr. Dunn said.

He noted the Accessibility Checklist, crafted in collaboration with the JCPD and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, is more than a document.

“It is a tool designed to pave the way for society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can navigate structures and systems with much ease. It stands as a reminder that our commitment to inclusivity is not confined to rhetoric, but translates into tangible instruments that bring about change,” Dr. Dunn said.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the JCPD, Dr. Christine Hendricks, reiterated that the checklist is not a replacement for the building codes but that it will work in tandem to ensure that specific access is made to persons with disabilities.

She informed that the accessibility checklist speaks to issues such as signage that gives information and direction.

“There is a section that speaks to parking, and the parking that we are talking about includes facility parking, entrance to parking lots [and] the number of accessibility spaces,” Dr. Hendricks said.

The accessibility checklist also covers topics such as public restrooms, public telephones and water fountains, meeting rooms, restaurants, guest rooms, hazards and emergency, elevators and automated teller machines and accessibility for the worldwide web.

For more information on the accessibility checklist, persons may visit the JCPD website at


Contact: Latonya Linton

Release: JIS

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”



December 5, 2023 – It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.

Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative.  Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many.  Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.

She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.

PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines.  Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region.

During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the down payments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.

Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.

During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues.  CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.

The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader.


Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

Continue Reading