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CDB’s Youth Fire Forum talks Climate Change & Mental Health



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, June 15, 2022 – Young people across the Caribbean had the chance to make their voices heard in the Caribbean Development Banks Youth for Innovation and Resilience or Youth FIRE Forum on Tuesday, June 7th, on Facebook as part of the annual general meeting proceedings.

The forum was split into two sessions, session one ‘Climate Change and Health’ was moderated by Dr. Keron Niles and focused on how the reality of climate change affects health in youth, specifically mental health. It is not often that mental health is associated with climate change but Niles put it succinctly by saying,

“Can you imagine being afraid of the rain? Because you’re afraid it’s going to be another hurricane that could ruin your life?”

Dr. Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, a licensed clinical psychologist in the Turks and Caicos, agreed, referencing the severe effects of hurricane Irma in the Turks and Caicos, she explained that extreme weather can negatively affect youth mentally. Malcolm-Gibbs called on regional governments to be proactive in their efforts.

“There must be stronger efforts for integrated support with various stakeholders, psychological first aid training and resiliency planning need to be at the forefront of intervention.” she maintained.

Onika Stellingburg-Benn Regional Coordinator of the Caribbean of the Royal Commonwealth Society, concurred with Malcolm-Gibbs noting that:

“Our health ministries should collaborate with other ministries to ensure that health implications are included in the design of any climate change intervention.”

Quacy Grant of the Guyana Youth Council stressed that the link between environment and man was impossible to untangle and the health of one affected the other.

“Usually when we think about health and healthcare and when we think about the person that is ill, we limit that person to a disease… we forget that that person has a bio, socio, psycho component. We cannot take a person out of the environmental context in which they live, and we can’t take from the environment those organisms that live in it…the health of the environment will affect organisms…we have to remember that climate change has an effect on our health”

He explained that during interventions, for example, moving people to shelters the mental toll must be considered as well.

Panelist Jamilia Sealy who is a part of the Caribbean Youth Entrepreneurship Network quoted a recent survey that proved that the knowledge surrounding climate change and its effect on health was limited and its effects were often mistakenly ignored.

“In the last weekend, the CYN in Barbados did a survey on climate justice…and from what I’ve seen only 21.5 percent of the 300 respondents noted that they thought health was an impact of climate change…I believe that maybe they’re not as aware of the impacts and might not include mental health as an issue.”

Sealy stressed that it was something we all had to work on. Colin Young, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, or 5Cs, explained that climate change was ‘cross cutting’ the Caribbean, affecting every single area of our lives in ways we might never have thought about. He explained the Caribbean is dealing with multiple blows like pandemics and the worsening climate situation all at once and we need to be prepared.

“It’s stressing our health systems and our ability to cope, on [both] the mental health side and the physical side. So, this conversation is absolutely vital,” he said.

Young expressed that while some steps were being taken it was not yet enough.

“Unfortunately, as a region we do not undertake the type of research that will allow us to understand the effects of climate change on our youth’s mental health”

Young said a study was done on climate change and mental wellbeing on 10 000 young people in over 10 countries and found that:

“Across the countries, 59 percent of those interviewed were extremely worried about climate change, 84% of those were moderately worried and more than 50% reported emotions of sadness, anxiety, powerlessness, helplessness, and guilt.”

So how do we combat all of this?

Referencing the emerging issues Young said understanding them was key to creating programs within our health system that could combat them more efficiently.

Grant added that one way to get ahead of the issue was to carry out more operational research rather than academic research to find out what interventions will work best to ensure we have evidence-based tools to combat the effect of climate change on health.

For the everyday tools that youth can put into practice Sealy said, being aware of how climate change affects us and taking care of ourselves mentally and physically to reduce those impacts was important. Things as small as: cooling down on a hot day and wearing lighter clothes to make ourselves more comfortable were important.

Additionally, Sealy said educating ourselves about climate change from reputable sources and understanding the global reality was paramount. Grant insisted that this climate change education must include active change.

“We should not educate the populace on climate change and health just for them to be aware, but we want some behaviour change. I think it starts in the home,” he said.

Stronger government response to disasters equals quicker recovery, getting back to normalcy quicker and thus possibly reduced trauma on youth, Young had several suggestions on how regional governments could make this happen, they included:

  • Having access to real-time data integrated across all disaster response services
  • Ensuring that disaster response is prepared for new climate emergencies
  • Upgrading the quality of hurricane shelters.
  • Upgrading critical infrastructure needed for post-hurricane recovery including health and water.

All the panellists encouraged more comprehensive efforts to bolster hurricane and climate change readiness which they say is to the benefit of youth.

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May 21, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands have clear laws prohibiting the possession of firearms and or ammunition without a licence and strict penalties in order to serve and protect the community. Our Firearms Ordinance, which was amended in 2022, states that:

No person (other than a licensed gunsmith in the course of his trade) shall have in his possession, discharge or use any firearm or ammunition unless he is the holder of a firearm licence with respect to such firearm, or in case of ammunition he is the holder of a licence for a firearm which takes that ammunition.

Firearm and/or ammunition offences carry a mandatory minimum custodial sentence of twelve years plus a fine. Where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion, under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum.

The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in respect of the application of exceptional circumstances. Wider work is also ongoing with criminal justice partners to review the efficiency and effectiveness of case progression, in driving justice outcomes.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure their baggage is free of firearms and/or ammunition. Permission from an airline carrier does not constitute permission to bring firearms or ammunition into the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travellers are also strongly advised to search their luggage before they travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure they do not bring in forbidden items inadvertently. Such offences will result in arrest.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a common law legal system, and reserves the right to enforce its laws. All persons, including visitors, must follow lawful process.

The Turks and Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors but reminds travellers that persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands do not have a constitutional right to carry firearms. Equally, the importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets), and other weapons is strictly forbidden, unless licence to do so has been issued by the Commissioner of Police.

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CTO to Focus on Aviation at Caribbean Week in New York



New York (May 16, 2024) – Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is set to spotlight the future of Caribbean aviation during Caribbean Week in New York, scheduled for June 16-21, 2024, at the InterContinental Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

Under CTO’s annual theme “Connecting the Globe, Celebrating Diversity”, the week promises a diverse lineup of activities emphasizing innovation and connectivity.

A key feature of the premier event for travel industry professionals, journalists and members of the Caribbean Diaspora will be the Caribbean Airlift Forum.

Rosa Harris, Chairman of the CTO Board of Directors and Spokesperson for Caribbean Week, will moderate the forum. She emphasized the importance of this session as a critical platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean air transportation.

The session will cover topics including route development, aviation competitiveness, partnerships, infrastructure investment, regulatory frameworks, and market demand strategies. It aims to foster dialogue among airlines, airports, tourism authorities, and aviation ministries, enhancing connectivity and optimizing access to Caribbean destinations.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Caribbean aviation has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, rebounding strongly in key areas. However, as we celebrate these gains during our Caribbean Week in New York, it’s crucial that we don’t become complacent,” stated Harris.

“We must continue to innovate and address the persistent challenges within intra-regional tourism, which, while recovering, remains a challenge for many of our destinations,” she continued. “Our focus at the Caribbean Airlift Forum is not only on celebrating our successes but also on critically analyzing our challenges to strengthen and diversify our connections to, from and across the region, ensuring a more robust and connected Caribbean.”

The week also features a Business and Tourism Marketing Symposium, the Caribbean Media Awards, and sessions focused on artificial intelligence, crisis communications, and multicultural marketing.

With the support of headline sponsor, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; gold sponsors Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; and Diamonds International and the Caribbean Media Exchange, Caribbean Week in New York 2024 is poised to be a pivotal meeting for tourism professionals and stakeholders in the region and the Diaspora.

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CHTA Launches Multi-Destination Media Trip to Showcase Caribbean Interconnectivity and Diversity



May 21, 2024


The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is gearing up for its first multi-destination media trip, designed to illuminate the interconnectedness and diversity across the Caribbean. Scheduled from May 17 to 27, this initiative will showcase the vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and unique experiences spanning St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Nicola Madden-Greig, President of CHTA, expressed enthusiasm for the program and stressed its significance: “This initiative is a testament to the collaborative spirit and interconnected nature that define Caribbean tourism. Our goal is to showcase the diverse offerings of St. Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, inspiring travelers to explore the myriad experiences our region has to offer.” Although the Dominican Republic had to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances, there are plans to include the nation in future endeavors of this nature.

Madden-Greig reiterated, “The Caribbean is often thought of as one homogenous place, so if you have seen one island you have seen the Caribbean. This trip will debunk that myth and truly showcase the diversity, mystique, and cultural prowess of our distinct islands. Just like you can explore many destinations in Europe having totally diverse experiences, the Caribbean offers the same opportunity.”

Developed in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, and Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the itinerary promises an immersive experience. Participants will enjoy the stunning landscapes and beaches of St. Lucia, indulge in an exciting layover in Barbados, discover the culture and radiant beauty of Jamaica, and experience the iconic sites of the Cayman Islands.

Strategically timed to coincide with Caribbean Travel Marketplace from May 21 to 23 in Jamaica, the media trip aims to maximize the event’s networking opportunities. Journalists can enrich their coverage of the multi-destination experience with insights and connections from the region’s premier tourism conference.

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