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AfDB President: Food, Energy and Health Security are Priorities for the Caribbean and Africa to Overcome Mutual Global Challenges



#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2022 – Food security, energy security and health security are among the key building blocks needed to overcome the current global challenges which threaten to stymie development on both the African continent and in the Caribbean region.

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, shared this view as well as lessons for the Caribbean from the AfDB’s experiences, on Tuesday night in delivering the 2022 William G Demas Memorial Lecture.

The lecture, ‘Development in a Context of Global Challenges: Experiences and Lessons from the African Development Bank’, was part of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 52nd Annual Meeting, being held in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

With the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict negatively impacting energy prices, global supply chains and food security, Dr Adesina outlined how the AfDB had responded and continues to respond to these challenges.

Stating that the COVID-19 experience had shone a light on vaccine nationalism, overconcentration of capacity and inequities in global supply, the AfDB President underscored that in addition, “the global system of COVAX designed to provide vaccines for the developing countries failed developing countries.”

He highlighted the negative impact of this, stating:

The vaccination rate in low-income developing countries is only 16% compared to over 80% for developed economies. While the developed economies were coasting to economic recovery on the back of booster shots, African countries, as well as countries in the Caribbean and other low-income developing countries, were struggling to get basic shots.”

He noted that this has been further exacerbated due to intellectual property rights battles at the World Trade Organisation over Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) related to vaccines, an impasse which he said, “endangers lives at the expense of profits for pharmaceutical companies.”

In response, the AfDB is developing an African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation to provide IPR protection so that pharmaceutical companies can deliver vaccine manufacturing technology, knowledge and processes to pharmaceutical companies in Africa.

Dr Adesina emphasised: “Africa should no longer outsource the health security of its 1.3 billion (people) to the benevolence of others. And neither should the Caribbean.”

On the topic of food security, the AfDB President highlighted that in both the Caribbean and Africa, the negative impacts of climate change are felt in the agricultural sector and this, combined with looming shortages prompted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, threatens food security.

He spoke of how the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme has helped deliver climate smart seeds to farmers in several African countries and in so doing, has been able to get ahead of current wheat shortages. Under the TAAT programme, Sudan reduced wheat importation by 50% in two years, while Ethiopia was able to cut wheat imports altogether.

The AfDB also recently approved the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to help advance food security in the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

We all agreed it is time to support Africa to produce its food. It is time to have food sovereignty.  The same must apply to the Caribbean. A recent survey by CARICOM and the World Food Program shows that food insecurity has increased by 72% among the population of the English speaking Caribbean countries,” said Dr Adesina.

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Food aid cannot feed the Caribbean. Africa and the Caribbean need seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” he stressed.

Regarding energy security, the AfDB head insisted the first two priorities must be to “ensure access and affordability of electricity… Second, there must be security of supply.”

To that end, he highlighted the AfDB’s ongoing heavy investment in renewable energy, including the $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative in Africa’s Sahelian zone, which is set to become the world’s largest solar zone.

He also lauded the efforts of the Caribbean in pursuing renewable energy, noting:

The Caribbean region also has significant potential in renewable energy, and I applaud the efforts being made to unlock the potential. From the 50 MW El Soco Solar farm, worth $90 million, to Barbados’ plan to construct this year a $25 million, 10 MW solar plant located in Mangrove, St. Philip, to using wave energy to develop a 40 MW ocean commercial power park, to Jamaica’s plans to develop electric car charging stations, and the microgrid energy systems being developed by the British Virgin Islands.”

Caribbean News

Director of Sports attends General Assembly American Sports Council – Cade 2023 



#Cartagena, Colombia, 30th May 2023 – Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes, attended the General Assembly American Sports Council CADE 2023 held in Cartagena Colombia.  The three-day conference commenced on Wednesday, 3rd of May and continued through Friday 5th May, 2023.  Sports leaders from thirty-plus countries from across South America, Central America, North America and the Caribbean were represented.There were four meetings held during the three-day period: CONSUDE (Meeting for South America); CONCECADE (Meeting for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean); CADE (meeting with South America, Central America and the Caribbean and North America) and Ibero – American Sports Council (Meeting with Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Countries in the Americas).Amongst the topics discussed were: best practices in hosting major games such as the Pan-American Games in Santiago Chile 2023 and its projected legacies; Transformation of Recreational Sports and Active Living through Active Management; Empowering our Athletes Beyond Medals; Differential approach in Sport, an approach towards an inclusive public policy; the commitment and social benefits of physical activity in schools; Para – Olympic sports; resumption of sports challenges post-pandemic and anti-doping in sports.  

The Director of Sport, Mr. Jarrett Forbes had the opportunity to meet with a number of sports leaders in the region representing the various governments as well as executive members of various sporting bodies and representatives from UNESCO and the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Mr. Forbes stated, “I was very delighted that the Turks & Caicos Islands had participated in a sports assembly of this magnitude, consisting of sports leaders from the North American Region, Central & South American Regions, and the Caribbean. The topics and presentations were extremely beneficial for the TCI. Many countries shared their approach to utilizing sports to combat crime and violence while others saw the benefits of sports to reduce the sedentary lifestyle in their countries. The benefits of sports are so immense. Member countries expressed how sports improved their GDP; provided opportunities for sustainable growth and development; promoted peace and inclusion; and there was a common position amongst member countries to utilize sports as a tool for sustainable development and growth.” 

Concluding the General Assembly, a common position for the future of sports in the Americas was taken with a final declaration and bilateral agreements of the CADE Assembly 2023.  


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Caribbean News

CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day, says Heart disease & Cancer due to TOBACCO leads to 47% of deaths



May 30, 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 non-communicable 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.[1]

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




Updates to the Proposed Development Will be Discussed at a Supplemental Public Consultation 

on Thursday, June 8, at Queen’s College



#NASSAU, BAHAMAS, May 25, 2023 – Royal Caribbean International has published the first public consultation report for the development of its Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island as part of the stringent assessment required by The Bahamas’ Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP). The report addresses questions received throughout the public consultation process, during and following the public consultation meeting held in September 2021, covering topics from environmental impact to economic opportunity created by the new development.

The government of The Bahamas and Royal Caribbean agreed to postpone the publication of the report while the economic proposal for the development was under renegotiation, which concluded earlier this year. Publication of the the report follows an approval-in-principle by the National Economic Council, subject to appropriate due diligence.

After discussions with DEPP and noting the company has reduced the site plan from 20 acres to 17 acres, the cruise line, in conjunction with DEPP,  has scheduled a supplemental public consultation to be held on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Queen’s College to discuss the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (submitted to DEPP in December 2020) and share updates to the proposed development. The additional consultation will provide the public the opportunity to comment and ask questions about the project.

“Royal Caribbean has made six key environmental commitments in the development and operation of the Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island that exceed nearly all similar land-based development projects. These include: zero waste-to-landfill, achieving 100% renewable energy production by 2030, best-in-class wastewater treatment, no dredging, protecting and enhancing the surrounding habitats, and local environmental monitoring during construction and operation,” said Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer, Royal Caribbean International. “We value the engagement of the community and look forward to sharing these details, among others, at the upcoming supplemental public consultation.”

Further details on the project can be found at

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