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Expanded Tree Planting Mission Further Strengthens Regional Sustainability

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#TheCarribean, April 22, 2022 — Gearing up to celebrate the fulfillment of its 10,000-tree planting commitment, the Sandals Foundation is expanding its conservation goal by adding another 10,000 trees to strengthen the Caribbean’s climate resilience and food security.

The massive conservation effort is in keeping with this year’s global Earth Day theme, ‘Invest in Our Planet’, and builds on the foundation’s larger Caribbean Tree Planting Project commitment, which is being coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with the Trees That Feed Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and other partners.

Last April, the teams together announced plans to plant one million trees across 14 Caribbean countries by June this year. Now, with over 9,600 ornamental and food bearing trees already planted by the Sandals Foundation and its partners, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International is increasing the stakes.

“The environment around us is not only our home, but everything that keeps us alive,” said Heidi Clarke, executive director of Sandals Foundation. “Investing in the long-term viability of these natural environments will help to strengthen the many ecosystems that are critical for providing food, water, and protecting our communities and livelihoods, improving the way of life in the region for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.”

  • Region specific activities

Outside of its tree planting mission, here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Sandals Foundation plans to establish community compost training in an effort to strengthen food security, increase solid waste management, and adopt climate smart agricultural practices. The island of Providenciales is known for having far less fertile soil with limited farmers or localized sources of produce. Now, through its Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, team members will lead the composting efforts, providing an opportunity for students and farmers from surrounding communities to learn, participate, and share the acquired knowledge and practices with their communities.

“Environmental education is an important part of our conservation efforts,” said Georgia Lumley, environmental coordinator at Sandals Foundation. “By collaborating with key organisations, students are learning about the importance of protecting the environment and endangered species while participating in activity execution through eco-camps and field trips.”

In Barbados, the Foundation’s conservation efforts will see to the enhancement and improving the eco-offering and experience at the historic Andromeda Botanic Gardens by adding an ethnobotanical garden with an outdoor classroom, creative signage, and the planting of 30 trees. Sandals Foundation, in collaboration with the park’s managers, Passiflora Limited, is creating a haven for native and regional plants, their cultural uses, the associated biodiversity, and a resource for the Barbadian community.

Last year, with support from the Sandals Foundation, the Grenada Fund for Conservation planted 4000 mangroves. Now, with the upcoming infrastructural improvements and training of community guides at Woburn Interpretive Centre, the initiatives will strengthen the island’s coastline and build on their efforts to encourage eco-tourism respectively.

In Jamaica, over 2000 timber trees have been planted as part of reforestation and conservation efforts at the biodiversity hotspot of the UNESCO World Heritage Site—the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The area which contains 50 percent of the island’s endemic plants, is managed by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, with whom the Foundation partners to activate its initiatives.

Team members from Sandals and Beaches Resorts have also rolled up their sleeves and, together with representatives from the Forestry Department and the Mustard Seed Community in Jamaica have planted almost 200 food-bearing trees in communities, with plans to plant 600 more by June.

The careful management of invasive species is also a key component in the philanthropic arm’s conservation effort.

In The Bahamas, Sandals Foundation ambassadors along with the Bahamas National Trust are set to remove invasive species and plant some 1000 trees in the Lucayan National Park. Through the engagement of student volunteers, the islands will continue its rich tradition of promoting environmental education among its young people, thereby fostering the next generation of environment stewards.

“We are educating students and communities throughout the region on the importance of removing invasive species as we enter spaces they occupy and plant native species,” “We have supplemented these removals with reforestation activities that include the planting of food-bearing trees, such as what we continue to support at Signal Hill in Antigua,” said Lumley.

The construction of a shade house at Wallings Nature Reserve in the twin island territory will also contribute to the charitable arm’s conservation efforts, which began in that area last year with the planting of 1,008 food-bearing trees.

The Sandals Foundation has an extensive record of environmental conservation. Over the past 13 years, the organisation has planted over 17,000 fruit and ornamental trees throughout the Caribbean by galvanizing the support of Sandals and Beaches Resorts team members, community groups, partners, travel agents, guests, students, and volunteers.

This year, the entity remains committed to increasing forest coverage, protecting wildlife, enhancing biodiversity, creating eco-tours, educating children and empowering communities to take part in conservation.

Persons wishing to support the tree planting efforts can visit the Sandals Foundation website at www.sandalsfoundation.org and donate to the ‘Caribbean Tree Planting Project’. One hundred percent of all funds donated will be directed towards purchasing seedlings and maintaining the plant sites to ensure tree survival.

 

Press Release: Sandals Foundation

Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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