By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, July 25, 2022 – Bahamian companies are making significant progress in their effort to clean up a 35,000 gallon fuel spill in some of the most pristine waters in the world: Exuma.
By Thursday afternoon 11,000 gallons had already been removed and the rest is expected to be siphoned out by Friday. The spill was noticed about 4am Wednesday morning during a fuel transfer which was on its way to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).
Chester Cooper, in acting Prime Minister capacity at the time of the messy spill in his constituency. Cooper flew into Exuma with a team of ministers and media to assess the damage. Bahamian-owned, Sun Oil was the source of the diesel leak.
“It was on its way to BPL but ended up here in the cove. We are happy that it appears to be contained,” said Cooper, obviously concerned but expressing relief for the manageable scope of the spill.
In a statement shared with Bahamian media houses Sun Oil said ‘at 4am Wednesday morning crew members onboard the MT Arabian, a vessel contracted on behalf of Sun Oil Limited to deliver diesel fuel, discovered a leak during the discharging process. The crew deployed absorbent pads and containment buoys near the shoreline at sunrise.’
Cleanup is being led by the crew of the vessel with mechanical assistance from BPL whose trucks are holding the fuel.
Utilities Minister Alfred Sears gave this report last week on the cleanup efforts.
The fuel is contained to one area, thanks to the booms, said to be the bay of the Exuma Sailing Club.
In photos, while it does appear to be contained, the turquoise of the fuel free water is a jarring contrast with the now brown-black of the contaminated water and residents say the odor is equally putrid and far reaching.
Bahamian Reporter Marlena Leonard said she could smell the odor in the bus on her way to the site and residents told her they could smell it all the way in town.
Aerial images shared by the Bahamian Ministry of Works on Twitter are heartbreaking, showing the extent of the spill stretching from the bay to the open ocean.
Bahamians have taken to Twitter expressing distress, one said
“In the interest of my mental health, I am required to pretend that I did not see news about that oil spill in Exuma.”
Another said, “An oil spill anywhere in this country should spark outrage but something about seeing it happened in Exuma just feels different—“
The was a concerted effort by high ranking officials to see the scene and debrief the media. Officials from Sun Oil, BPL, the Ministry of Environment, Utilities Minister Alfred Sears, various other government officials and Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper attended the scene yesterday morning. Prime Minister Philip Davis was in Miami at the time attending a CANTO telecommunications conference.
CARPHA, HCC and PAHO call on the Caribbean Community to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” for Caribbean Wellness Day
September 9, 2022 – The Caribbean Community is celebrating Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) 2022 under the theme “Our Neighbourhood, Our Health”. In commemoration of the day, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are calling on the region to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” around three main themes – Active Societies, a Smoke Free Caribbean and Healthy Schools.
In a statement commemorating the occasion, Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA noted that, “We take this opportunity, at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, to create a renewed vision and re-commit to the practices and policies that we know support the health and wellbeing of our Caribbean people.”
Built spaces and urban planning laws can significantly impact the level of movement in society and is a crucial element in ensuring a healthier Caribbean.
“The commitment of governments towards the implementation of intersectoral public policies and programs so that all neighbourhoods have basic services, safe public transportation, areas where we can socialise, safe streets, places to walk and green spaces, is so important.” PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said. “I want to recognize the efforts of many municipalities in the region that are working on making their municipalities healthy, responding to the needs of people, and facilitating strategies that improve the conditions of places where they are born, work, study and have fun,” she added.
Another issue to be addressed during the “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” campaign is the negative impact that cigarettes have on both public health and the environment.
Dr. St John noted that, “Millions of trees are cut down annually to produce the number of cigarettes that the industry demands to maintain profits, while cigarette butts and packaging can contribute to environmental pollution.” She asserted that, “This reimagining of a smoke-free Caribbean, that limits the negative impact of the tobacco industry on our health and our environment is necessary, not just for our own health but for the health of the next generation.”
Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition noted that “Healthy Schools are a cornerstone of our neighbourhoods and a building block of a productive society. A Healthy school is smoke-free, promotes inclusive physical activity and is protected by healthy school policies.” He elaborated, “These policies would limit the sale and marketing of foods full of sugar, fats and salt both in and around schools, while increasing the availability of healthy foods and drinking water.” In keeping with this, the recently launched digital campaign, ‘#ActOnFacts – The Food in Schools Matters’, encourages public and policymaker support for the introduction of policies that puts the health of our children at the centre.
Caribbean Wellness Day
Caribbean Wellness Day is celebrated each year on the second Saturday in September to address the threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The day was originally conceived by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is an integral part of the Port of Spain Declaration where the region united to fight the epidemic of NCDs. The event aims to increase awareness and promote activities to address non-communicable diseases including mental health issues.
The overall theme for Caribbean Wellness Day for the five year-period, 2020-2024 has been, “Power Through Collective Action”. It is this collective power that can be harnessed to affect the much-needed changes that can transform our spaces into enabling environments for a healthier Caribbean people. Collectively, the region has the power to bring the vision of a healthier Caribbean to life – one person, one neighbourhood, one nation at a time.
CARPHA, HCC and PAHO invite the public to join the celebration by visiting our social media pages to share your vision of Healthy Spaces. The campaign will feature key facts around the need for change, enable conversation in our communities and encourage our leaders to continue to build on the commitments made in the historic Port of Spain declaration.
Follow the campaign by using the hashtags: #CaribbeanWellnessDay, #CWD2022, #CWDHealthySpaces
Covid Entry Vaccine mandate ‘working’ for Turks and Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, August 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos will not be dropping its vaccine mandate for visitors immediately according to E. Jay Saunders, TCI Deputy Premier, acting as Minister of Health; Saunders was speaking at a press conference on Monday August 8th.
“We feel currently that the vaccine mandate is working for the Turks and Caicos. It certainly hasn’t slowed down the amount of tourists coming into the Turks and Caicos and we’re happy with that,” he said.
He expressed gratitude that the government would not have to be reactive and change the protocols just because of the low tourist arrivals.
“We are watching it to see what’s best for the country and so there’s no date on that. It’s not going to be in forever.
Eventually we are going to get to a point where we think that it’s safe enough, where we have enough herd immunity in the country where we can allow people to come in unvaccinated.”
While the acting minister did not have a specific date set for this removal he reassured that whenever the decision was made it would be with the best interest of the country in mind.
NEW CAYMAN MISS UNIVERSE IS FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES
By Sherrica Thompson
#Cayman, August 20, 2022 – After cheers, celebration, and a proud victory for twenty-four old, Tiffany LeAnn Conolly, there is now dismay, disbelief, and shame.
Conolly was crowned Miss Cayman Islands Universe at the annual beauty pageant at the Westin Hotel on Saturday August 6. Now, she is facing several criminal charges regarding an assault last year. The newly crowned queen has not yet been convicted but appeared in Summary Court in March, facing two counts of common assault, two counts of damage to property, two further charges for disorderly conduct at a police station and one of assaulting a police officer.
Conolly was also arrested following an altercation at a former boyfriend’s house after allegedly assaulting her former lover and another family member, as well as a police officer at the detention centre following that arrest.
Conolly was still allowed to enter the pageant because she has not been found guilty of the charges; the case is still ongoing. On Saturday, she was awarded Miss Photogenic, Miss Best Smile and Miss Best-In-Gown.
The Miss Cayman Islands Universe title comes with a number of rewards and responsibilities, including a $70,000 three-year educational scholarship. Nonetheless, Conolly may not be allowed to represent the island at the international pageant should she be convicted.
Chloe Powery-Doxey, the first runner-up and winner of Miss Best Legs, will become the new Miss Cayman Islands Universe if Conolly is convicted
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