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Caribbean News

‘Black is Beauty’ Caribbean Connection:  Activist, National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 



#Jamaica, February 9, 2023 – Born in Saint Ann, Jamaica in 1887 Marcus Mosiah Garvey was one of the most influential Black leaders of the 20th century; his influence is recognized throughout the Caribbean as well as in the United States.

Garvey, born into a middle class family had the opportunity to travel extensively as a young man in the early 20th century, visiting places like Costa Rica and the UK where observed the conditions of the black working class, who were often poor and disenfranchised.

This awakened the activist in the man who believed Africans would be better off in Africa, as a unified nation, with one leader living and working and dreaming in solidarity.

A Pan-Africanist at heart; after seeing the reality of Black people globally and reading black scholars like Booker T Washington he returned to Jamaica and at 28 years old, in 1914 Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League UNIA-ACL more commonly known as the UNIA with his wife Amy Ashwood.

Only two years later he moved to Harlem, often described as a Black cultural Mecca at the time and began to share his ideas with the Black people there.  The idea grew and soon, his newspaper Negro World was born.

Needless to say his writings ruffled feathers and drew strong opposition from powerful groups in the United States.  History chronicles that Garvey became the target of repeated raids from US investigators at the hand of the Director of the then Bureau of Investigation Edgar Hoover.

Garvey would marry a second time in 1922; Amy Jacques, a Jamaican journalist who remained his partner until death.

Marcus Garvey had several specific goals and beliefs that he hoped the Black community globally would adopt including:

  • The end of colonial rule (which at the time was still prevalent)
  • Unity between Africa and the African diaspora
  • The Back-to-Africa movement which encouraged Black people to go back to their ancestral homes instead of settling where they had been forced

After being charged and convicted in a US court on mail fraud charges, he was deported to Jamaica. There he continued his work with the UNIA.

He passed away in England in 1940 and was posthumously named a Jamaican national hero.

Marcus Garvey was a controversial figure not least of all because of his belief in black separatism and while his launch pad for a global black economy based off of trade, a shipping company called the Black Star Line, eventually failed he was a powerful symbol of what black people could do, had they the right means.

He constantly refuted long-held stereotypes about Black people, and planted the seeds of black equality that civil rights leaders would build on in the years following, a true contributor to the black diaspora.

Curiously, despite this burning passion about Africa and its far flung descendants, it continues to stun lovers and followers of Garveyism that this great advocate never had the opportunity to step foot on – that is to say, visit – the mighty motherland, the Continent of Africa.

Today, streets and monuments are named and erected in his honour in the various countries of Africa, including Namibia and there is a voice that will not be quieted; calling for the civic leader to be cleared of all charges as the campaign to have Garvey publicly exonerated, builds momentum.

He is saluted here during Black History Month, where we share the stories of those who have proven that Black is Beauty.

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Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 –   Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic.  Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking.   Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.

Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.

This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.

In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless.  Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains.  Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.  Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical.  It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”

In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces.  Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.

Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region.   Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”

The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.

In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.

CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).  By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.

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Caribbean News

Hunger rates rise in Latin America and the Caribbean



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



June 5, 2023 – It’s an unfortunate reality for Latin America and the Caribbean as the number of people suffering from hunger surged by 30 percent;  56 million people now facing hunger, a large increase from 43 million in 2019.

It was revealed by Mario Lubetkin,  Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), where he further informed that the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and the ongoing climate crisis are to blame for the surge.

Regarding the climate crisis, he emphasized that climate related challenges are on the rise as the region experiences combinations of droughts and floods; and to combat this, he expressed that proactive measures should be put in place to prepare farmers for potential severe impacts.

To help mitigate the surge in hunger rate, he put forth a three fold approach.

The first is the importance of effectively managing the current situation by whatever means necessary; for the second, he fingered the need for the creation of sufficient funds to mitigate the impact on farmers, for the third, he highlighted the need for collaboration among Governments, public sectors, and private sectors in order to mollify the burden of rising prices on consumers.

These highlighted efforts are in line with the aspirations and duties of the FAO which is devoted to supporting family farming, which makes up 80 percent of the workforce in the Agriculture sector.

Additionally, Lubetkin spoke of FAO’s commitment to quality products and brought attention to the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, which is geared towards  eradicating hunger, ensuring food security, and promoting sustainable development in rural areas.

The organization also aims to enhance food security, a needed element in the regions, through innovation and digitization processes for example “1,000 digital villages,” one of their projects  aids countries in using  digital tools in agri-food systems and rural territories.

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