#Jamaica, August 29, 2023 – Jamaica sores above other countries in the region being voted as the Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Caribbean and The Americas gala ceremony.
The ceremony was held on Saturday August 26th, 2023 at Sandals Grand St. Lucian, marking the opening of the WTA’s landmark 30th anniversary Grand Tour 2023 – a global search for the finest travel and tourism organizations.
The island also claimed other titles as the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port, Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board and the Caribbean’s Leading Airport.
The Leading Cruise Port award was for Falmouth, one of Jamaica’s largest piers and the port for Royal Caribbean, which Donovan White, Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board said do a lot for the country given the connections they create for onshore excursions.
Additionally, it was pointed out by White that the awards for Leading Cruise Destination and Leading Cruise Port are encouraging amid challenges that need overcoming in the cruise sector which he described as slowly recovering since the pandemic.
Considering this, he informed them that they are working with partners to get back to back to normal.
“The itineraries in the northern Caribbean have had troubles over the last two years since COVID and we continue to work with them to seam those out so that we get back to regular porting.”
There is still much to do for the improvement of the country despite the awards as expressed by White, as reported by Loop News, to which he spoke.
“We are working. You hear Minister Edmund Bartlett speak all the time about making the Jamaica Tourist economy and to do that we have to do a lot more.”
He continued to highlight some of the work needed.
He said, “we have to transition our road networks into full highway systems, we have to complete the 15,000 rooms in seven years that we promised,” adding, “we have to continue to bring new investment into open new tourist attractions, we have to get the small and medium size businesses to understand what linkages are, understand what role they need to play in driving the tourism economy of Jamaica, because at the end of the day, it is a team game and Jamaica has to work as a team not only to ensure that we win these awards, but we continue to grow.”
Though the country won many awards, White expressed that the ones that are most heartfelt are the Leading Tourist Board of the Caribbean and the Leading Caribbean Destination, highlighting that the island has set a standard to which all tourist boards are compared, adding that it is important for the island to keep that standard high.
“For Jamaica to own those awards, the tourist board award we have won for 17 consecutive years. It tells me that we have set a standard by which all tourist boards are measured, so we can’t afford to drop that standard, we live by that standard. It’s for us to lose it, and I don’t see the team wanting to lose that anytime soon. It is really dedicated to the hard work of the team of the JTB to continually win that award,” he maintained.
Jamaica won a list of other awards such as:
- Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction: Dunn’s River Falls and Parks
- Caribbean’s Leading Airport Lounge: Club MoBay at Sangster Airport
- Caribbean’s Leading Boutique Resort: Golden Eye
- Caribbean’s Leading Destination Management Company: GO Jamaica Travel
- Caribbean’s Leading Home Port: Port of Montego Bay
- Caribbean’s Leading Hotel: Half Moon Jamaica
- Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Residences: The Tryall Club
- Caribbean’s Leading Independent Car Rental Company: Island Car Rentals
- Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All Suite Resort: Jamaica Inn
- Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All Inclusive Resort: Sandals Dunn’s River
- Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All Inclusive Villa: Fleming’s Villa @ Golden Eye
- Caribbean’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre: Montego Bay Convention Centre
- Caribbean’s Leading New Resort: Sandals Dunn’s River
- Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator: Go Jamaica Travel
- Caribbean’s Leading Travel Agency: Go Jamaica Travel
Other Caribbean countries won awards including The Bahamas with the Caribbean’s Leading Luxury Island 2023 award; The Turks and Caicos with the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination 2023 award; and St. Lucia with the Caribbean’s Leading Nature Destination 2023 award.
To see all the other awards given see: https://www.worldtravelawards.com/winners/2023/caribbean
Caribbean, world’s first Blue Justice Hub, convenes first meeting & training to advance regional action on fisheries crime
#Jamaica, December 5, 2023 – The Caribbean, location of the world’s first Blue Justice Hub, scored another first in its efforts to advance regional cooperation to address organized crime in the fisheries sector, with an inaugural regional meeting and first workshop training in Kingston last week.
Supported by the Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Blue Justice Initiative, Blue Justice Hubs help vulnerable regions build effective inter-agency cooperation on organized transnational fisheries crime in-country and regionally.
The inaugural meeting and workshop, also marked by a regional launch, follows an international launch in Copenhagen in March, and brought together fisheries analysts, senior government ministers and officials for national updates, introduction to the community’s online digital portal and other important discussions.
Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green said the Government is committed to providing the requisite resources to support the regional Hub to create impact. He noted that the Hub’s access to the digitally powered Blue Justice Community enables Jamaica to “use the digital tools afforded through automatic identification systems, radar and satellite technologies to support a wide array of open-source resources to … detect and analyse suspicious activities that are in contravention of our laws.” He said the Hub will also support the detection identification, interdiction, and prosecution of fisheries crimes.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, underscored the importance of initiatives like the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub for securing the prospects of a sustainable ocean economy. The Minister said that the ocean provides an amazing opportunity, through the right mix of protection, policies, oversight, and enforcement which promises to yield significant economic gains for Jamaica. He pointed out that Jamaica’s key economic drivers – tourism, fisheries, shipping, and logistics services – are dependent on a healthy ocean and committed to working with the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) to ensure that protection targets with respect to Jamaica’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) are met by 2030.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Saboto Caesar said now that the Hub has been established, the region is called to action. He commended the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Government of Jamaica as the Hub-host, and the Norwegian Government for their leadership and committed to tabling the issue within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) grouping with a view to full participation in the Blue Justice Initiative.
Deputy Director General, Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Olav Norheim said members of the Blue Justice Initiative (BJI) have a common understanding that transnational organized crime in the global fishing economy has a serious effect on the economy, distorts markets, harms the environment, and undermines human rights. He congratulated the Caribbean on its latest milestone in convening its inaugural meeting and training and stressed the importance of working together through common understanding as the path to success.
Through intelligence sharing, knowledge adoption, improved awareness and coordinated law-enforcement efforts, the region will create a “formidable force” against those who seek to exploit Caribbean oceans and its resources unlawfully, declared Executive Director, CRFM, Milton Haughton. “The establishment of this hub underscores the regional determination to address these challenges head on with a united front and a comprehensive, coordinated approach,” Mr. Haughton stated.
Ava Whyte-Anderson, Officer in Charge/Assistant Resident Representative from UNDP Jamaica, emphasized the importance of bolstering capacities to address fisheries crime in order to reinforce strategic interests in harnessing the Blue Economy for sustainable economic growth and livelihoods. She called the Blue Justice Initiative’s digitally powered Blue Justice Community a stellar example of how UNDP intends to leverage digital transformation to underpin transformative actions that improve the quality of people’s lives and livelihoods.
UNDP Regional Technical Specialist for Water, Oceans, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, AnaMaria Nunez said the Blue Justice Hub in the Caribbean is pivotal to underscoring UNDP’s support for interventions that enable sustainable use of natural resources. She said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) remain a priority of the UNDP as fisheries play a leading role in supporting lives and livelihoods and are critical to advancing human development through a sustainable and fair blue economy.
“The creation of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub is a testament to our shared commitment to address food security and the growth of the Blue Economy in the region. Our collaboration with the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative and UNDP’s Blue Resilience project is essential for fostering strategic inter-agency collaborations that benefit all Member States, in addressing crime that threatens the fishing industry” said Dr Gavin Bellamy, CEO of the NFA Jamaica.
The Blue Justice Caribbean Hub (BJCH) emerges as a direct response to the CRFM Ministerial Resolution No. MC 15(6) of 2021 which emphasizes regional support for the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (Copenhagen Declaration) and the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative. These collective efforts underscore the urgency of cooperative action to safeguard food security, marine ecosystems, and uphold the rule of law amidst challenges posed by illegal fishing and fisheries crime in the Caribbean region.
Jamaica serves as the host of the Blue Justice Caribbean Hub, with the National Fisheries Authority as its focal point.
JCPD Launches Accessibility Checklist to Remove Barriers for Persons with Disabilities
#Kingston, December 5, 2023 – The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has launched the Accessibility Checklist, which is designed to identify architectural and communication barriers encountered by persons with disabilities in private and public facilities.
The checklist is not a replacement for the appropriate national building codes.
In his remarks at the launch, held today (December 4) at the AC Hotel by Marriott Kingston, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said the checklist is a show of the Government’s commitment that “we are putting in place the framework and the environment to allow accessibility to be a reality”.
“This Accessibility Checklist is just one element of a range of things that the Government has been doing and will continue to do to ensure that accessibility is for all. We started two years ago with the legislation that was pivotal in creating that framework – the Disabilities Act and the accompanying Regulations, he noted.
“That Act is a very important cornerstone in terms of our social development strategy,” Mr. Charles Jr. added.
The Minister argued that the checklist is not a solution to all things, adding that “it is complementary, and it is not a replacement for compliance with the national building codes”.
“Instead, it is to serve as a guiding beacon for us to raise awareness and dispel ignorance amongst those who are entrusted with the planning and developing of buildings [and] facilities for individuals with disabilities across Jamaica,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.
For his part, Minister of State in the Ministry, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, said the Accessibility Checklist is an instrument for change and is a testament to the Government’s commitment to inclusivity within Jamaica.
“The launch of the Accessibility Checklist is not just an event; it is a beacon illuminating our journey towards a more inclusive society and the Jamaica that we all want. Let me express my heartfelt commendation to JCPD for their tireless effort in orchestrating this momentous launch,” Dr. Dunn said.
He noted the Accessibility Checklist, crafted in collaboration with the JCPD and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, is more than a document.
“It is a tool designed to pave the way for society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can navigate structures and systems with much ease. It stands as a reminder that our commitment to inclusivity is not confined to rhetoric, but translates into tangible instruments that bring about change,” Dr. Dunn said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the JCPD, Dr. Christine Hendricks, reiterated that the checklist is not a replacement for the building codes but that it will work in tandem to ensure that specific access is made to persons with disabilities.
She informed that the accessibility checklist speaks to issues such as signage that gives information and direction.
“There is a section that speaks to parking, and the parking that we are talking about includes facility parking, entrance to parking lots [and] the number of accessibility spaces,” Dr. Hendricks said.
The accessibility checklist also covers topics such as public restrooms, public telephones and water fountains, meeting rooms, restaurants, guest rooms, hazards and emergency, elevators and automated teller machines and accessibility for the worldwide web.
For more information on the accessibility checklist, persons may visit the JCPD website at https://jcpd.gov.jm/.
Contact: Latonya Linton
CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”
December 5, 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 down payments 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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