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2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season over performs, record heat to blame

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

December 5, 2023 – On November 30th, we marked the close of yet another nail-biting, heart wrenching, roller coaster of an Atlantic Hurricane season and the National Hurricane Centre has ranked 2023 the season as fourth for ‘Most-named Storms in a Year.’

Initially predicted to be a lower than average season because of El Nino, the year smashed that early forecast and got active quickly crossing the finish line just short of earning a podium moment.  In real life, finishing on top of the heap is a good thing, when it comes to Hurricane Seasons, not so much.

In early June alone there were two named storms in the basin. Specifically Brett and Cindy and while it is common to get a storm prior to the official June 1 start of the season, the Atlantic basin has never before recorded two named systems in the month of June, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Another crucial moment was the rapid formation of four storms back to back. Emily, Franklin, Gert, and  Harold all materialized in a record-breaking 39 hours during the month of August.

Overall there were 22 tropical depressions in 2023 with 21 falling inside the parameters of the Hurricane season and one in January. There were  20 named storms overall, seven of them becoming hurricanes (Don, Franklin, Idalia, Lee, Margot, Nigel and Tammy) and three major hurricanes: Category 4 hurricanes: Franklin and Idalia and Lee, which climbed to Cat 5 status.

Colorado State University had warned of a possible 18 named storms with as many as nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes in an updated forecast mid-season.  In early 2023 they had previously predicted 15 named storms with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.  CSU came closest with its prediction, which still underestimated what June 1 to November 30 would bring this year.

The increased activity was blamed on warmer sea temperatures. These temperatures happened in what is now on record as the ‘hottest year’ ever.

“The Atlantic basin produced the most named storms of any El Nino-influenced year in the modern record,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

“The record-warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic provided a strong counterbalance to the traditional El Nino impacts,” the NHC said.

Countries that suffered direct impact/landfall included St Vincent & the Grenadines; Bermuda, the United States, Canada, Antigua & Barbuda and Nicaragua. Other countries reported damage from passing hurricanes and tropical storms including Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, USVI and the Turks and Caicos.

More than two dozen are confirmed dead across the Atlantic following flooding and other dangerous conditions resulting from tropical storm activity in the 2023 hurricane season, with property damage so far recorded at just over $3 billion.

In mid-November a surprising rainstorm (aka Tropical Depression 22) wreaked havoc in countries like the Dominican Republic where at least 30 people were killed in Santo Domingo due to shocking landslides.

 

Photo by Paul Dellegatto, Tampa Florida River Walk

Caribbean News

TCI Sport delegation visits the Cayman Islands and Barbados with key sport leaders

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TCI Sports Commission delegation traveled to the Cayman Islands and Barbados to visit with key Sport leaders. The TCI delegation included the Sports Commission Director, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, Deputy Director, Mr. Alvin Parker, and Facility Manager for Providenciales, Mr. Darian Forbes. The aim of the travel was to visit major facilities, with priorities being pool facilities, and discuss sport development strategies.

The team had the pleasure of being hosted by the Deputy Chief Officer for Sport, Dr. Dalton Walter, and the Director of Sports, Mr. Kurt Hyde in the Cayman Islands; who facilitated the facility tours and shared valuable information on Sports Development. Meetings were held with Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Joan West and Technical Director for the Cayman Islands Aquatics Sport Association, Mr. Jacky Pellerin, on the Cayman Islands’ new 50-meter and 25 meter 10 lanes Mrytha pool facility, as well as with Ms. Shakeina Bush from the National Olympic Office on National Federation development and funding opportunities. The Sports Commission delegation was also grateful for the courtesy call with the Minister of Sport for the Cayman Islands, Hon. Isaac Rankine, and the Chief Officer Ms. Teresa Echenique.

During the Barbados leg of the exploratory travel, the Sports Commission team was hosted by the Director of the National Sports Council, Mr. Neil Murrell, and the Assistant Director of Sports, Mr. Ryan Toppin. The TCI team toured the National Sport Council facilities and visited the Barbados National Olympic Association. Significant to the TCI’s plan to develop an aquatic center, the TCI Sports Commission visited the Barbados Aquatic Sport Association and met with former National Olympic Academy Director, Mr. Dave Farmer, and the President and Second Vice President of the Barbados Swim Association, Mr. Robert Armstrong and Mr. Nicholas Mathis. Insights were shared regarding swimming pool design, development and maintenance as well as pool programming strategies to ensure the growth and sustainability of swimming in the islands.

The TCI delegation also visited other stadium facilities such as Track and Field, Football and Cricket, and other major facilities in Basketball and Boxing. The TCI Sport Commission officials had great discussions with both the Cayman Islands and Barbados sports officials surrounding the development of coaches, athlete development pathways, and strengthening relationships with National Sport Governing Bodies.

Director of Sports, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, said, “We were very grateful for the hospitality and support extended by our Caribbean colleagues. Their support affirmed the commitment and unity among the Caribbean community to develop sports in the region.”

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Caribbean News

SIDS drowning in debt as sea levels rise

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

June 7, 2024 – United Nations (UN) Secretary General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres has said that international financing is the “fuel for sustainable development” but small island States are running low on the funding.

Addressing  day two of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS24), in Caribbean twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, the Secretary General said while financing is low, the countries are drowning in debt and rising sea levs due to Climate Change.

“You are leading by example, but too often you are facing closed doors, from institutions and, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic and other global happenings have negatively impacted vulnerable economies, and “battered by a Climate catastrophe they did not create”, he told the gathering.

The SIDS countries are paying more to service their own debt than they invest in healthcare and education, the UN chief warned, leaving the nations unable to make the investments they need to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Many of the States are classified as middle-income, shutting them out of the debt support reserved for the poorest nations, the UN Chief argued that vital actions are needed from international financial institutions, in addition to an immediate SDG stimulus for the SIDS nations.

He outlined that the debt burden should be relieved, by providing access to effective relief mechanisms, including pauses in payments during times of economic volatility, while also transforming lending practices by changing the rules on concessional finance to lower borrowing costs. “You cannot finance education and health with 15-year loans. Let us make SIDS a real priority in everything we do,” he said.

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said there was simply no political will on the part of the developed world to make the financial system work fairly,  as she enquired  how many  of those leaders have turned up in Antigua. “We are not seen”, she said, adding that “we continue to be serfs” when it comes to the power imbalance.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in the crossfires of multiple crises: Climate Change, the economic and social repercussions of COVID-19, and a crisis of debt. The pandemic hugely impacted all island nations, especially those dependent on tourism. Global lockdowns left large holes in islands’ coffers and severely set back efforts to invest in the SDGs.

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Transcultura lauded at SIDS gathering, wins Partnership Awards 2024

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

June 7, 2024 – The United Nations (UN) programme, Transcultura, which seeks to integrate Caribbean, and the European Union through Culture and Creativity, has been selected to receive the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnerships Awards 2024.

Operate under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is the largest programme in Latin American and the Caribbean, and is a four-year initiative for young cultural professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs from 17 Caribbean countries.

Implemented in three languages, it provides them with opportunities for their future, in the region and in Europe, through training, support to entrepreneurship, networking and mobility programmes. With 15 million euros (16.5 million US dollars) provided by the European Union (EU), Transcultura is also the most significant EU investment in culture in the region.

In four years, over 1,600 young people from 17 Caribbean SIDS have benefited from the programme, with more than 50% being women. Through a combination of in-person and online courses, 600 cultural professionals have been trained. It has also facilitated cooperative cultural exchanges involving over 200 organisations from the Caribbean and the European EU. 

The programme resulted in the establishment of the Caribbean Cultural Training Hub, which fostered synergies between key educational institutions in the region. The award’s jury recognised the transformative impact of the Transcultura programme, empowering young people in the region to become agents of change and development in their communities through culture and creativity.

It was established by UN Member States in 2021 to recognise the efforts of the best and most notable partnerships in the implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway). The goal is to inspire others to embark on such partnerships with SIDS.

Transcultura programme leverages the rich cultural diversity of the Caribbean as a driving force of sustainable development through cooperation and exchange within the Caribbean and between the Caribbean and the EU. It aims to create professional opportunities for young people in the Cultural and Creative Industries.

Beneficiary countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

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