CARPHA Convenes Landmark High Level Meetings to discuss Regional Health Security and Solidarity
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 20 July 2022. “The impact of and challenges posed by COVID-19 and its variants made CARPHA realise how much ground we had to cover for this particular ever growing COVID-19 family – with the highly infectious BE.1 and BF.1 being the latest sub variants of Omicron that we have just sequenced in the Region. The lessons we have learnt from this massive fight against COVID-19 have stood us in good stead for the new disease monkeypox that has followed all too quickly to the Caribbean shores.” These were the words of Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as she spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security hosted by the Agency.
The high level meetings held over three days from 19 – 21 July 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, brought together laboratory directors, national epidemiologists and environmental officers from CARPHA Member States, Chief Medical Officers, CARICOM and other regional entities, as well as international development partners and public health agencies.
Dr. St. John further stated “The time is right for this meeting of key stakeholders to discuss regional Health Security, face the problems of the deficiencies and faults and plan collectively for the most effective ways and efficient road map to fix the ring fence that the CARICOM Caribbean needs to deal with whatever is around the corner.
Dr. Lisa Indar, CARPHA’s Director of Surveillance, Disease emphasised that as economies reopen, CARPHA is refocusing on strengthening capacities and sustainable mechanisms to promote resilience and economic recovery, to better prepare for and respond to public health issues that transcend boundaries and potentially impact on economic and political stability, trade, tourism, and access to goods and services in the Region.
Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary-General of CARICOM, giving remarks at the ceremony said “We as a Region must consider Regional Health Security as we move to revitalize our economies, we have to continue to learn how to secure our health, education and social sectors while living with COVID19. This pandemic has taught us that we must ensure that our health systems are resilient to assure our health security.
Dr. Richard Garfield, Acting Team Lead for Global Health Security Agenda and International Health Regulations of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, praised CARPHA and the Caribbean region for the very good job in being able to maximise the use of limited resources better than other regions for COVID-19 response. “The strategies and plans that you have in the past have stood out as being more practical than those of many other regions in the world.”
The Honourable Terrance Deyalsingh, Minister of Health Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged CARPHA’s stellar leadership in public health, and providing evidence based information especially through COVID-19 response. The Minister also called for taking solidarity to the next level of global solidarity, and for equity in resources and response, stating “new diseases like COVID-19 are emerging at unprecedented rates, disrupting people’s health and causing social and economic impact. Access to healthcare, preventative medicines, and vaccination programmes are crucial elements in regional health security. The Region has used its limited resources to get the biggest bang for its buck, as opposed to countries with far more resources than ourselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised global awareness of the importance of health security, and the systems and capacity needed to prevent, and detect global health threats.”
The 3-day Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security is funded by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada.
More information about the Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security can be accessed here.
Photo Caption: Opening Ceremony of the CARPHA Stakeholders Consultation on Regional Health Security, 19 July 2022, Hyatt Regency, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
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