CARPHA Receives High Praises from Member States for its Pandemic Response
#TrinidadandTobago, April 11, 2022 – Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) from across the Caribbean were high in praises for the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on the leadership role it played, and continues to play in the Region’s COVID-19 response. This, as CARPHA hosted its first face-to-face meeting, since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, two years ago.
23 CMOs (18 in person and 5 virtually), met for two days from April 06 – 07 at the Trinidad Hilton. They collaborated and examined optimal ways of working and responding to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and the resultant effects on the health status of the CARICOM. CARPHA’s regional and international development partners were also present at the meeting, with representatives from the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM Secretariat.
CARPHA Executive Director, Dr Joy St John acknowledged that “people are experiencing COVID fatigue, which can make it difficult for them to pay attention to any discussion about COVID-19, even if it is one that will protect them from illness”. She explained, “With the relaxation of public health measures, people may feel that the Pandemic is over, and that the need for vaccination is also over”. However, she was quick to add that this is not the case. Dr. St. John then encouraged Member States to exercise vigilance so we can progress safely through this phase of the Pandemic.
In addition, Dr. St. John revealed that CARPHA is currently in discussions with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to assist where there are weakened supply chains for medications, and to support improved access to affordable tests and treatments, including those for COVID-19. She also highlighted CARPHA’s partnership with the Japan-Caricom Friendship and Cooperation Fund and the PAHO/Government of Canada, which will provide necessary funding for public education and health promotion campaigns to counteract misinformation and increase vaccine uptake.
Dr. St. John also informed CMOs of the progress that CARPHA has made in discussions with the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) towards improving its capacity for whole genome sequencing services, both at the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory and in 2
specific Member States. Other key points of discussion at the meeting included the potential impact of Long Covid on the Region, the need for increased routine surveillance of communicable diseases, and the need for the re-opening of the tourism and education sectors in a safe and sustainable manner.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
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