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CARPHA Receives Support to Further Strengthen its Capacity to Address Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Response in Member States

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#Trinidad&Tobago, May 17, 2022 – CARICOM Member States are poised to benefit from a fund to strengthen laboratory systems and networks, and human resources capacities in health sectors to accurately detect, characterize and treat infectious diseases.

Financing for the project “Strengthening Health Systems in CARICOM to Address Infectious Diseases” is provided by the Republic of Korea through the Republic of Korea-CARICOM (ROK-CARICOM) Cooperation Fund, through the CARICOM Secretariat. Under this grant valued at US$656,743, CARPHA will be able to execute a series of interventions to the benefit of its Member States.

The launch of the project took place on 13 May 2022, at the headquarters of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).  In attendance were the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; His Excellency Dongil Oh Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; His Excellency Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General Human and Social Development, Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and Mr Jinwoo Jung, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking at the ceremony Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, brought remarks on behalf of Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director of CARPHA.  Dr. Lisa Indar expressed appreciation for the continued support of the Republic of Korea. She acknowledged the role played by the Korean Embassies in Venezuela, and in Trinidad and Tobago in accessing these resources under the Republic of Korea-CARICOM Cooperation Fund.  Dr. Indar highlighted the benefits of the project stating:  “The project will support Train the Trainer workshops in the Shipping of Infectious Substances conducted and certified by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), as well as supporting the enhancement of biosafety and biosecurity measures in our Member States and the conduct of training under the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (CR-FELTP).”

The project also enables the procurement of a KingFisher Flex Purification System and the required reagents, which will be housed at the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory.  This equipment is a primary step in the PCR process and will contribute to the CMML’s continued pandemic response for COVID-19 detection, as well as ongoing surveillance for diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses, and routine respiratory surveillance of influenza and non-influenza viruses.

In 2006 relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) were strengthened through the Agreement for the Establishment of a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism between the Government of the CARICOM and the Republic of Korea.   Since then, there has been a steady growth in understanding and collaboration between CARICOM and the Republic of Korea.

“The Republic of Korea has been very responsive to the needs in our region, providing over 1.5 million US dollars’ worth of resources for Health Systems Strengthening to address Infectious Diseases and support for our regional COVID 19 pandemic response. This tangible demonstration of solidarity in health at a time of need was much appreciated,” stated Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM, speaking on behalf of Dr. Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretary General. He further stated “History will show that Korea was one of the first larger economies to reach out to us in our time of need, an action we cannot and will not forget.”

In his remarks, His Excellency Dongil Oh, Ambassador of The Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad underscored CARPHA’s role of converging the various Health Ministries and capacity-building for medical staff across CARICOM Member States, which has been central to responding and mitigating the health and socio-economic effects of COVID-19 in the Region. He added “I am firmly convinced that this project will serve as a critical stepping stone for CARICOM Member States to bring infectious diseases under control.”

Speaking at the ceremony Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago praised the work of CARPHA during the COVID-19 pandemic.  “The launch of a project of this kind underlines the need to establish robust and resilient healthcare systems in the CARICOM region. This partnership with the Republic of Korea will help us strengthen  not only a national response in Trinidad and Tobago, but also a CARICOM response”.  He added “Strong healthcare systems bolster, not only the supply and delivery of quality healthcare to CARICOM residents and citizens, but can curb the potential detrimental and irrevocable effects of current and future pandemics.”

Currently, CARPHA is executing another project funded by the Republic of Korea.  Through a Memorandum of Understanding with CARICOM, CARPHA is procuring personal protective equipment (PPEs) for nine (9) of its Member States valued at US$400,000 which is part of a larger support of US$1M provided to 15 Caribbean Countries.

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US Milestone Celebrated

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#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.

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who represented the Government of Jamaica, extended congratulations to the Government and people of the United States (US) on this significant achievement.

“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

Release: JIS

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Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism

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Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

 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.

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Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations

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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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