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JAMAICA: Delegation from Trinidad on Four-Day Trade Mission to Jamaica

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#Kingston, November 22, 2022 – A delegation comprising 17 companies from the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is now in Jamaica on a trade mission.

The four-day visit by the companies, which span construction, food and beverage, logistics, packaging and printing, chemicals as well as other sectors, is part of an effort to expand and promote bilateral export trade between the countries.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, who welcomed the trade mission at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (November  21), noted that Jamaica is an excellent place to do business.

He said that business confidence is at an all-time high, up 18.3 points in the recent business confidence report, which is the single highest point level in 20 years.

The Minister cited Jamaica’s economic growth rate, as well as a trainable workforce, as major pull factors for investment.

He noted that the economy grew by 8.2 per cent in the last fiscal year, and for the second fiscal quarter, which ends in September, the country recorded a growth rate of 4.8 per cent.

“We are training to make sure that when you come to invest, you have good people to work for you. We have… 1.5 million people in the Kingston, Portmore, St. Catherine area that speak English, very young and can be trained, will be trained and are being trained,” he added.

“So, we have the workforce that you can work with; we have an economy that is growing; we have the fact that people are being employed. Before the pandemic, at the end of 2019, we had 43,000 people employed in the BPO sector. We now have upwards of 55,000 and growing quite fast,” he noted further.

Minister Hill said that  Jamaica’s central bank and stock exchange are also well respected.

“This is a place that we are very happy that Trinidadians are coming,” he said,  adding that a mission from Jamaica will be heading to the twin-island and Dominican Republic soon.

Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, called for a deepening of relationships among Caribbean countries.

“We must continue to make these relations seamless and to tighten the connectivity between us in all ways, business included…We must trade with each other; we must be complementary in the trade that we do to ensure that trade benefits both sides,” she said.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA), Tricia Coosal, said that “our purpose here is to solidify relationships”.

“TTMA always views Jamaica as [one of] our most valued trading partners in the region; however, we will all agree that this relationship is much more than trade. Today, it has expanded its tentacles to include investment, tourism and even cross-cultural mixing,” she said.

She noted that Jamaica offers multi-investment and business opportunities, as a result of geographical location, the legal framework, economic stability and infrastructure.

“The country is identified as one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean. An examination of the overall trade statistics between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago shows trade between the two countries steadily improving over the years.

“Various goods are exported to Jamaica from different sectors in Trinidad and Tobago, such as food and beverage, construction, printing, and packaging. The statistics also show positive growth in the trade of goods and services from Jamaica, and investment flows, as well, into T&T over the last couple of years,” she noted.

Ms. Coosal said she hopes that the discussions, over the next four days, will be fruitful and will morph into partnerships and joint ventures.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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