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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)

Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 –   Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic.  Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking.   Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.

Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.

This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.

In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless.  Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains.  Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.  Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical.  It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”

In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces.  Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.

Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region.   Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”

The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.

In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.

CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).  By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.

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Caribbean News

Hunger rates rise in Latin America and the Caribbean



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



June 5, 2023 – It’s an unfortunate reality for Latin America and the Caribbean as the number of people suffering from hunger surged by 30 percent;  56 million people now facing hunger, a large increase from 43 million in 2019.

It was revealed by Mario Lubetkin,  Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), where he further informed that the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and the ongoing climate crisis are to blame for the surge.

Regarding the climate crisis, he emphasized that climate related challenges are on the rise as the region experiences combinations of droughts and floods; and to combat this, he expressed that proactive measures should be put in place to prepare farmers for potential severe impacts.

To help mitigate the surge in hunger rate, he put forth a three fold approach.

The first is the importance of effectively managing the current situation by whatever means necessary; for the second, he fingered the need for the creation of sufficient funds to mitigate the impact on farmers, for the third, he highlighted the need for collaboration among Governments, public sectors, and private sectors in order to mollify the burden of rising prices on consumers.

These highlighted efforts are in line with the aspirations and duties of the FAO which is devoted to supporting family farming, which makes up 80 percent of the workforce in the Agriculture sector.

Additionally, Lubetkin spoke of FAO’s commitment to quality products and brought attention to the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, which is geared towards  eradicating hunger, ensuring food security, and promoting sustainable development in rural areas.

The organization also aims to enhance food security, a needed element in the regions, through innovation and digitization processes for example “1,000 digital villages,” one of their projects  aids countries in using  digital tools in agri-food systems and rural territories.

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