By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2023 – Concerning statistics about the continued irregular migration risk to Turks and Caicos, in particular from Haiti were revealed in an early 2023 Instagram post by Governor Nigel Dakin, a stark reminder that the fight is not over.
In just nine days, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day authorities intercepted 275 irregular migrants on three vessels, whether this included the empty vessel found by police.
“If we had missed those three vessels our population would have grown, in just nine days, by 0.55%.” Dakin said. It’s a frighteningly large number for an island of less than 50 thousand people. Dakin explained what it would look like if migration at this rate occurred in the US or UK.
“This is, pro-rata, the equivalent of 360,000 crossing the English Channel, or 1.6 million attempting to cross the US’s southern border, over nine days.” He said stressing that while it wasn’t deliberate, and no ill will was involved Haiti “bears down on TCI— they are 11 million and we are 50,000: 220 times our size.”
While praising the police for their increased ability to tackle migrant boats some still succeeded in their quests, to the detriment of the TCI.
“Some fast boats get past our defenses, and they come at us, not just from Haiti. They bring drugs, criminals and military grade weapons onto these Islands as well as small numbers of people smuggled for significant profit.”
Citing Haiti’s size advantage and the TCIs finite resources he maintained that the only way to stop illegal migration in its tracks is to ‘go after the networks that profit from this transnational trade as well as the vessels.’
Dakin made the statement just over a week after a commercial carrier tried to smuggle 95 migrants into the country in a brazen attempt foiled by a determined citizen; and in another incident a police officer was arrested for harboring illegal immigrants.
This push to go after the big fish comes as Dakin is on his way out as Governor and Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, a lawyer with decades of experience in the legal system is ushered in with backup promised from the UK’s National Crime Agency.
Rihanna efforts for against climate change
#Barbados, December 5, 2023 – Global pop star and business owner Rihanna called on Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary and Ajay Banga, World Bank Chief, to join the fight against climate change for communities most affected.
The Barbadian singer and businesswoman took to her twitter in June this year to confront the need for action from Yellen and Banga.
She said, “Hey @SecYellen & #Ajay Banga, will you join @miaamormottley and step up for communities hit hardest by climate emergencies? We need you to make bold commitments to finance & debt reforms.”
“I address climate with @ClaraLionelFdn, now it’s your turn.”
The singer also put in here appeal, the link to ‘action platform’ organisation Global Citizen, which is campaigning for global financial reform to address the interconnected crises of climate change, hunger and inequity.
Mia Amor Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, Rihanna’s home country, thanked Rihanna for her tweet, reports say, expressing that the Bridgetown Initiative is the “opportunity” that world leaders need to take.
Rihanna’s foundation, named after her grandparents, prioritizes climate resilience and climate Justice work and has donated millions in grants since being founded in 2012.
In fact, in 2019, after launching its Climate Resilience Initiative (CRI), to enhance emergency preparedness, it donated $1million in grants to The Bahamas, providing emergency food and medicine following Hurricane Dorian.
Also, last year, her foundation donated €13 million (USD$15 million) to the climate movement.
She said the donation to 18 climate justice organisations would contribute to seven Caribbean nations and the US, including the Climate Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Movement for Black Lives.
The grants, reports say, made in partnership with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s StartSmall philanthropic initiative, target groups with female, LGBT, Black and Indigenous leaders given that because their communities are most at risk.
NIC Hailed as Key Contributor to Food Security
#Kingston, December 5, 2023 – Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Franklin Witter, is commending the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited for its invaluable contribution to agricultural productivity and food security in Jamaica.
Mr. Witter, who was addressing the agency’s 36th anniversary luncheon and long service awards ceremony on November 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, said this significant milestone not only marks a journey of dedication and resilience, but also stands as a testament of the critical role of irrigation in the advancement of the agricultural sector.
He said that consistent and reliable irrigation service is critical to safe and abundant food supply.
“NIC is the standard bearer of the Ministry. It is heartening to see that the NIC operations are aligned seamlessly with the Ministry’s New FACE of Food initiative, which focuses on food security, agri-business, climate smart initiatives, and export expansion,” he noted.
Mr. Witter pledged the Ministry’s continued support and investment in the agency in the ongoing quest to safeguard the country’s food security.
“We must harness the power of modern technology …the NIC must be at the forefront of innovation and research. We need to invest in cutting-edge technologies and methodologies that optimize our irrigation systems and optimize our agricultural production,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of the NIC, Joseph Gyles, in his remarks at the ceremony, said the NIC will be expanding its irrigation districts, increasing these from 16 to 19.
He noted that presently, the Commission produces over 60-million-cubic metres of water on an annual basis.
“As we navigate the future, we embrace automation and digitization and have accepted that if we are to survive in this global world sustainability must remain at the core of our operational ethos,” he said.
The NIC is mandated to manage, operate, maintain and expand existing irrigation schemes and systems established by the Government of Jamaica or by any department or agency, as well as to fix and collect the rates or charges for the use of such water systems.
The NIC maintains an island-wide presence through six district offices located in key irrigation areas.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”
Port of Spain, Trinidad. 01 December, 2023: It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.
Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative. Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many. Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.
She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.
PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines. Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region.
During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the downpayments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.
Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.
During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues. CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.
The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader.
Dr. Joy St. John
Executive Director, CARPHA
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