#June 27, 2022 – CARICOM Member States are poised to benefit from a fund to strengthen health systems to prevent, control and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging and re-emerging threats. The fund will also support the generation of evidence and information to inform decision-making on the management of public health priorities and emergencies and disease control programmes and policies.
Financing for the project “Health Systems Strengthening for CARICOM Member States to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Emerging and Re-emerging Threats” is provided by the Kingdom of Spain through the Joint Fund for CARICOM-Spain Scientific and Technical Cooperation, through the CARICOM Secretariat. Under this grant valued at US$1,189,247.00, 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 9 June 2022, at the headquarters of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Dr. St. John expressed her gratitude to the Kingdom of Spain for the support, stating “We at CARPHA are pleased to have been entrusted with the management of these resources for the benefit of our Member States. Through these resources, CARPHA will develop a Caribbean COVID-19 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and establish a regional COVID-19 data repository. The desired outcome of this intervention is to have Member States utilize data from the COVID-19 repository to inform decision-making at the national level.”
The project also enables the procurement and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment, equipment and supplies for testing including reagents and supplies to conduct whole genome sequencing, COVID-19 test kits and supporting reagents, PCR automatic sample extraction equipment and transportation, and shipping of laboratory specimens to CARPHA for testing to support ongoing laboratory surveillance and outbreak support for COVID-19 and other emerging and re-emerging threats.
In 1999, relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Kingdom of Spain were strengthened through the Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation following the First CARICOM-Spain Summit held in Trinidad and Tobago. The Kingdom of Spain is a longstanding partner and continues to give its support to the Community’s efforts including health, industry, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, education and culture, teaching of Spanish, training of diplomats, and scientific and technological research.
Dr. Douglas Slater Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM, remarked “The Community recognizes with gratitude the contribution of the Government of Spain. This project is timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly weakened already fragile health systems across the region. The pandemic has taught us that we must consider the redesign of our health systems, to make them resilient to future pandemics and other disease outbreaks. Dr. Slater speaking on behalf of Dr. Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretary General, further stated “To achieve this, we must focus on expanding the pool of trained health personnel; developing digital health systems; building capacity for vaccine development and regulation within the region and building health systems around primary health and community-based care models linked to centres of excellence. We as a region cannot achieve them alone. Partnerships like that with Spain are critical to facilitate achievement of these goals.”
In his remarks, His Excellency Fernando Nogales, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago stated that strengthening of health systems was critical to maintaining the trust and confidence that the Region has earned as a safe tourism destination. His Excellency reaffirmed that the Kingdom of Spain is very keenly aware of the specific needs of the Caribbean region and stands ready to provide support to projects such as this that will have a clear human development impact. The Spain-CARICOM Project will aim to ensure that decision-makers are provided with timely and accurate information to guide data-driven public health interventions.
Speaking at the ceremony Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roshan Parasram brought remarks on behalf of the Honourable Terrance Deyalsingh, Minister of Health Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 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. Strengthening CARICOM’s health systems against COVID-19 and other emerging and re-emerging threats should not be a choice but a priority. The pandemic has reiterated that health security cannot be seen as a cost, but rather a continuous investment necessary for stability and sustainability.
During the 2 year project, CARPHA will develop an integrated digital Monitoring and Evaluation platform and repository to improve monitoring of regional and international health objectives such as, Caribbean Cooperation in Health Four (CCH-IV) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, for CARICOM Member States. Resources procured through the Project have already been used to provide laboratory diagnostic testing services to Member States.
USA Caribbean Investment Forum: Partnering for Sustained Development in the Caribbean 2023 Event Recap
The USA Caribbean Investment Forum took place over two days last week at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square. The event, hosted by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in partnership with representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps (namely, the Consulates General of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda), brought together government officials, investment promotion agencies, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from the Caribbean diaspora to connect, engage in thoughtful discussions, and explore investment opportunities throughout the Caribbean.
Fostering International Collaboration
The event featured distinguished speakers and representatives from both the US and Caribbean governments. Consuls General Mr. Mackie Holder (Barbados), Mr. Jerome Andre Laveau (Trinidad & Tobago), and Mr. Rondy McIntosh (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) along with Jeanette Moy, Commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services, Edward Mermelstein, NYC Commissioner of International Affairs, and Molly Bauer, Industry Development Associate from the NY Governor’s Office, shed light on the initiatives that New York City, which is home to so many Caribbean Diaspora, is implementing to support economic collaboration between the regions.
Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism & Ports, Cayman Islands, and Chair of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Trade and Investment, Turks and Caicos Islands delivered insights via keynote speeches and held candid discussions during panel and Q&A sessions. The event served as a unique opportunity to communicate in an open and honest forum with two esteemed leaders from the Caribbean about investing in the region.
Promoting Investment Opportunities
CAIPA welcomed representatives from Invest Barbados, Invest Dominica, Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC), InvesTT (Trinidad and Tobago), Invest Turks and Caicos, St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), Invest St. Lucia, Invest St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Bahamas Investment Authority, the Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), and the Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, Economy, Transport and Telecommunications, to discuss various opportunities for investment in their respective countries and how their agencies support and facilitate potential investors.
Private sector companies including the St. James School of Medicine, Century21 Guyana, Ethniv, and Homestrings joined the forum to discuss their current active projects in the Caribbean. They detailed how they’ve worked with local governments and institutions to successfully launch and operate their businesses in the Caribbean, along with the potential opportunities for continued growth.
Understanding How Caribbean Financial Institutions Facilitate Investment
The Forum brought together key representatives from Caribbean financial and economic development institutions: IDB Lab (Ms. Magdalena Coronel, Chief Investment Officer), the National Commercial Bank Jamaica LTD (Mr. Jeffrey Brown, Head, Loans Structuring and Syndications), USAID (Mr. Mervyn Farroe, USAID representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean), and the Caribbean Development Bank (Ms. Lisa Harding, Private Sector Development Specialist) to detail how these organizations facilitate and support private investment in the Caribbean.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet directly with CAIPA member countries during business meetings. These one-on-one conversations were valuable opportunities to speak directly with key stakeholders in order to advance projects and forge direct relationships.
The inaugural USA Caribbean Investment Forum was a great success due to the collaboration and engagement from individuals representing a wide range of sectors, organizations, and countries – all united under the goal of driving economic growth in the Caribbean and taking advantage of the enormous opportunities available in the region. https://www.investincaribbean.org/news-center/sign-up-for-our-newsletter to sign up for our newsletter.CAIPA and the representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps are proud to have facilitated these conversations and supported deepening of relationships with key stakeholders throughout the US and the Caribbean. We look forward to our next event, which will be held on 6-8 March in Miami (Caribbean Logistics Investment Conference 2024) – focused on attracting investments into logistics and transportation by sea and air as well as e-commerce logistics and industrial logistics parks throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for more details! If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the CAIPA mailing list, please visit:
Early-Childhood Institutions in St. Catherine Get Time Clocks
#Kingston, September 26, 2023 – Two early-childhood institutions in Kitson Town, St. Catherine, have received 15 time clocks each from educator, Jillian Wray-Robinson, with support from Food For the Poor (FFP).
Speaking at the handover of the clocks at the Kitson Town Basic School on September 25, Ms. Wray-Robinson said they are an important resource for the young students and can help them learn to value time.
“This is where my Foundation was dug, and as an educator, I am giving back and taking the time to invest in the future. It is very important; time is money and money is time, and if they learn how to read the clock, it will become of importance to them,” she said.
Principal of the school, Charline Nathon, said she was grateful for the items, noting that the donation was timely.
“I am sure the children will use it to the best of their ability. The clock is what we are doing in the curriculum – they learn to read the clock,” the Principal said.
Speaking at the handover of the clocks at the Old Road Early Childhood Centre, Ms. Wray-Robinson told the audience that her daughter spent her first year of formal education at the school, and it was a delight to assist them in obtaining the 15 items.
“After carefully looking at the curriculum, I know it will be useful to them (students). School begins on time, and ends with time, and we want our children to learn how to read the clock, and how to tell the time,” she said.
Principal of the school, June Maxwell, said the clocks will help her students, and “we will truly use the resources to the best of our knowledge, and ability”.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus
CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe
#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.
“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.
Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.
Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.
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