#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.
US Milestone Celebrated
#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.
For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.
“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.
Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.
The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.
Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.
Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism
June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.
While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.
“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.
January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.
“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.
The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.
CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.
Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.
While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.
Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations
Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.
“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”
McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.
“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”
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