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CARPHA Supports Antigua and Barbuda in Building Capacity for upcoming Mass Gathering Events



St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. April 17th  2024. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is conducting an integrated mission to Antigua and Barbuda (ANU) during April 15-19th  to build capacity in surveillance, early warning and response systems, laboratory capacity, competence in health and food safety, and prepare for the launch of  the CARPHA Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), ahead of the 4th International Conference of Small Developing Island States (SIDS), Sailing Week, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, and other major upcoming mass gathering(MG) events.

The CARPHA mission, led by Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division (SDPC), comprises  persons from several CARPHA departments: Dr. Laura-Lee Boodram, Head, Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, Head of Laboratory Services and Networks (LSN), Dr. Jarelle Branford and Ms Sheena DeSilva  from  Health Information Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response (HCE), Ms Neeta Oudit (LSN), Mr. Keston Daniel and Dr. Anushka Bissoon-Pustam  of the Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), and Mr Mohammed Elsherbiny, Senior Technical Advisor to the THP from the UKHSA.

Dr. Kamaria De Castro, Acting Chief Medical Officer, remarked “The partnership is timely as it helps to improve capacity as it assists in developing a sustainable future. We want to protect our local population as well as our visitors and let them know that we are aware of public health threats and we are preparing, building capacity, training and procuring resources that will be put in place to effectively prevent major spread of diseases. She extended her gratitude to CARPHA for the continued support and partnership.”

Dr. Lisa Indar indicated, “It is important to prevent public health threats to stop them from becoming emergencies as visitors are coming in from many different countries for Cricket World Cup, SIDS, Sailing Week and we want to make sure our visitors as well as our people are safe. We want to put systems in place and strengthen existing systems to be able to identify risks early and begin immediate and more timely responses to mitigate the potential spread of diseases.”

Key outcomes and activities of this mission include:

  • High level endorsements for the capacity building missions from the Ministers of Health, and Tourism
  • Formation of an Antigua and Barbuda THP Steering Committee for promoting healthier safer tourism
  • Communicable Diseases Surveillance workshop for Health Workers across the health sector to understand case definitions and timely reporting to the central level.
  • National Risk Assessment for mass gatherings, using the WHO/PAHO Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool, the results of which will be used to guide preparation and response for the upcoming MGs.
  • Desktop simulation exercises with doctors, public health nurses, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, National Office of Disaster Services, Red Cross and laboratory workers to assess how participants will respond  to  multiple public health  scenarios during mass gathering events and identify gaps/challenges of the same.
  • Rapid response training for public health professionals, including persons from the security/defense force and  the National Office of Disaster Services and partners. The training will review scenarios that  necessitate  mounting a response to a public health emergency by rapidly dispatching a multidisciplinary team to investigate and implement mitigating measures to contain the situation.
  • Mass gatherings surveillance training for surveillance team, public health nurses and other members within the health sector. An all-hands-on-deck approach will be taken to emphasize the need for daily and real-time reporting, monitoring, response, coordination, and communication. CARPHA’s regional mass gathering syndromic surveillance system (MGSS) is detailed,  including  national surveillance, tourism-based surveillance and the new module developed for mass gatherings . Doctors, nurses, and surveillance officers to be present at the health stations for the 4th UN SIDS Conference will also be trained and registered on MGSS.
  • Engagement with the health, tourism, and port authority teams to discuss ways to bolster disease surveillance of cruise ships for Antigua and Barbuda as a large number of the transient population for the country is through cruises, especially as Antigua and Barbuda is a homeport for many cruise ships.
  • Conduct field visits to major hotels (including the ones hosting the players and officials for the T20 games) to get them registered on the confidential early warning THiS system.
  • Training on Food and Environmental Health safety during mass gatherings for food handlers and restaurants, including those who will be providing the catering services for the SIDS Conference. The training focuses on ensuring all food handlers are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to prepare, cook, store and serve food to guests at the establishments and in a Mass Gathering setting.
  • Training in Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, for the hospitality sector with an additional focus on Mass Gatherings. The session aims to build capacity to quickly identify and respond to cases of infectious diseases and will include participants from the hotel, food and beverage sectors some of which will be working closely with the SIDS Conference and will be working with the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
  • Assessments of the laboratory network of Antigua and Barbuda for optimization of laboratory services available in-country. Training in testing for priority pathogens during an emergency response and/or mass gathering will be conducted.

As a highly tourism-dependent country, Antigua welcomes as much as 20,000 visitors daily, further highlighting the need for robust visitor-based surveillance. These workshops will provide instruments in identifying and addressing various challenges of Antigua and Barbuda in preparing for mass gatherings. This joint mission aims to strengthen Antigua and Barbuda’s surveillance and response capacity and preparedness to effectively anticipate and manage potential challenges, ensuring a seamless and secure SIDS conference, T20 CWC tournament, Sailing Week and Carnival experience for all.

CARPHA and Antigua and Barbuda continue to work toward supporting Antigua and Barbuda’s preparation for these large-scale mass gathering events and for the large number of tourists visiting the islands on a daily and weekly basis. CARPHA stands ready to continue supporting Antigua and Barbuda.

Caribbean News





For many years, members of the visually impaired community have faced significant challenges in accessing printed information, often having to rely on others for assistance.

This lack of autonomy has hindered their ability to fully participate in various aspects of society.

However, with the recent implementation of Braille birth certificates, this long-standing barrier is being removed, paving the way for a more inclusive landscape where individuals with visual impairments can navigate their own journeys with greater independence and confidence.

On May 1, 2024, Executive Director at the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB), Conrad Harris, was the first person to receive a copy of the freshly printed Braille document.

He expresses his elation to JIS News, describing it as a “great experience” to have a document in a format that he can easily read.

“One of the issues we have from time to time is that when we have information that is in print, we may ask somebody to read it, but the person who reads it might only read the information that they think is important and not necessarily everything in the document,” Mr. Harris explains.

This, of course, is no longer the case, as “having a Braille certificate means that I am able to go through it myself. I can easily check the spellings of names and places, which I might not be easily able to do with something that is in print,” he said.

The Braille certificate also provides an opportunity for the document to be easily identified and separated from others.

“If you need it for a particular reason, you can easily separate it from the other documents that you have versus probably having to ask somebody to look through or using some kind of technology to scan the information, which would take a little bit longer,” the Executive Director says.

Additionally, this initiative will provide an added sense of security as there are those people who generally want to keep their personal information private.

Designed in collaboration with several key stakeholders, including the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), these Braille certificates are meticulously crafted to ensure that every detail is conveyed with precision and elegance.

Each certificate, according to the Department’s former Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Keeper of Records, Charlton McFarlane, features embossed Braille text, allowing recipients to tangibly experience the pride that comes with being able to read the information for themselves.

He further shared details on why the initiative was undertaken in the first place, during an interview with JIS News.

Mr. McFarlane said that while participating in the first post-COVID Civil Registration Conference for Latin America and Caribbean countries, held in the Dominican Republic in 2022, using civil registration as the basis for inclusivity was key among the topics discussed.

“We looked at some case studies and the one that stood out to me was for a State in Mexico that offered birth certificates and other vital documents in Braille,” he said.

He even went as far back as 2008 when he was serving as a Director within the Ministry of Health.

During that time “we collaborated with members from the disabled community to produce health education material in Braille. So, with that experience, knowing what it had done and then with what I saw happening in Mexico, I got the idea that we could really produce all vital documents in Braille”.

Before embarking on the initiative, he acknowledged that he did, in fact, reach out to members of the JSB, the Combined Disabilities Association and the Jamaica Counsel for Persons with Disabilities.

“I don’t like to waste time and resources, so I reached out to them first,” Mr. McFarlane said, adding that “once I received a resounding yes, details on how to produce the certificates were shared.

“One of the things we [had to take into consideration] was having two separate documents (one with the standard print and the other in Braille), because the Braille is bulky when printed,” he noted.

This posed another challenge as not many business entities would accept the braille copy due to their inability to read the Braille text.

However, as the consultations went on, a decision was made to have the two documents intertwined into one.

“Right now, how it’s done, is the material is printed and then the Braille is embossed over it,” the former CEO said.

The introduction of Braille certificates is not just a symbolic gesture, it represents a tangible commitment that “the Government is absolutely very, very serious about inclusion for every single citizen, regardless of the level of vulnerability that may exist,” Mr. McFarlane added.

This certificate, he added, is not only for members of the visually impaired community but for all persons who would like to have their birth certificates in both print and Braille formats on one document.




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Caribbean News

Turks and Caicos Retains Championship at 28th Annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament



Please note:

Photos by TCI Sports Commission

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – In an historic showing, the Turks and Caicos Islands Golf Association (TCIGA) dominated the 28th annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament, held in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, from April 25th to 27th, 2024. The victory marks a turning point for TCI golf, and much of the credit goes to the exceptional team of players assembled by Sean Wilson the Head Professional at the Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Course.

56 golfers, playing under the banner of the TCIGA were rewarded for their enthusiastic participation across both the Men’s and Women’s divisions.

“This back-to-back win is an indication of the growing interest and increased participation in the sport of golf in TCI,” stated TCIGA President Fraser Dods.

“We’ve been competing at this tournament since its inception almost 30 years ago, and finally bringing home the George Noon Cup two years in a row is a truly proud moment for Turks and Caicos golf.”

Clean Sweep for Team TCI

The team’s success was based on strong and determined performances in every flight and category.

The Turks and Caicos men’s team secured the Robert Grell Trophy, while the ladies claimed the Jodi Munn Barrow Trophy.

This clean sweep across all team divisions highlights the growing depth and talent within the TCI Golf Association membership.

The “Classic”organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, brings together golfers from the twelve membercountries of the CGA. The Caribbean Classic is an individual and team event, competed for by teams of unlimited number of players from each participating member country, playing eighteen holes of golf each , over 3 days.

Team Turks and Caicos amassed the most points overall and won the George Noon Cup last year, for the first time in 27 years of competing at this event. To repeat as champs is a proud moment for TCI sports in general and for TCI Golf specifically.

Individual Accolades Abound

Beyond the team triumphs, individual golfers from TCI shone brightly. Female players, namely Wendy Ayer, Christine Dickenson, Tazmaraa Gowans, and Andrea Todd, all secured podium finishes in their respective divisions

The men’s side also saw impressive performances from Justin Simons, Mark Fulford, Arthur Lightbourne, Mervin Cox, and Simon Dobbs. Their individual excellence contributed significantly to the overall team victory.

Looking Ahead: Building on Success

TCI Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes is optimistic about the future. “This win exemplifies the immense potential of golf in the Turks and Caicos,” he stated. “We encourage young islanders to take up this fantastic sport.”

Head Golf Professional at Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club, Sean Wilson, echoed the sentiment. “This is a monumental achievement for TCI golf,” he said. “Bringing home trophies in all three divisions is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the TCIGA and its players.”

The Caribbean Classic second victory creates a new legacy for golf in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The TCIGA is administrated by a golf-loving volunteer executive comprised of Fraser Dods, Mark Fulford (VP), Denise Douglas (Secretary), Paul Murray (Treasurer), Andrea Todd and Roberto Stipa.Through their collective efforts, and the growing participation of TCI golfers, the future looks bright for this sport in the region.

The Caribbean Classic is one of the highlights of the Caribbean Golf calendar. Organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, it allows participation of amateurs from 12 countries, including the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Martinique, St Lucia, and USVI.”




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Caribbean News




PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (May 3rd, 2024) The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Grace Bay Beach has once again been recognised among the top beaches in the world.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches has listed Grace Bay Beach among the top beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach, located on the island of Providenciales was listed at number 17 on the annual list.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches list, sponsored by Banana Boat, is a collaboration with over 1,000 of the world’s leading travel influencers and professionals.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches 2024 is a reflection of the opinions and experiences of top travel influencers and professionals around the world. The beaches were ranked according to eight important criteria: unique characteristics, wildlife, untouched, soundtrack of nature, easy to enter the water, often calm water, not too crowded and frequency of idyllic conditions.

Grace Bay Beach also featured among the top 20 in the 2023 World’s 50 Best Beaches list.

This is the latest accolade for Grace Bay Beach this year. Known for its powdery white sand and breathtakingly turquoise blue water, the famous beach was adjudged the number one Caribbean beach in February in Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking number five among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

In January 2024, Grace Bay was recognised as the #9 Best Beach in the Caribbean in the 10Best Reader’s Choice with Bambarra Beach in Middle Caicos ranked at #2.

Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said she is proud of the continued recognition of the leading beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“As a destination that prioritises sustainable development and environmental preservation, the fact that Grace Bay Beach features consistently as one of the top beaches in the world stands as a testament to our commitment to stay “Beautiful by Nature”. I urge visitors to come to the Turks and Caicos Islands to experience this and many other of our beautiful beaches across the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the Minister.

Tine Holst, Co-Founder of The World’s 50 Best Beaches, said the list is meant to inspire travellers.

She said: “Our 2024 list is a reflection of the countless days spent by our judges, Beach Ambassadors and World’s 50 Best team discovering beaches around the world. The list will help inspire travelers to leave the beaten path behind and enjoy the most stunning and relaxing beaches on earth”.

Read World’s 50 Best Beaches description of Grace Bay Beach here.


About the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands is made up of two groups of islands in the Lucayan Archipelago: The larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, thus the name. It is home to the best beaches in the world with majestic white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Each island and cay are a destination of its own. Providenciales is home to world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, luxury hotels, resorts, villas, spas and restaurants. Grand Turk is ‘home away from home’ for our cruise passengers, and our sister islands are the gateway to nature, exploration, and culture. Considered the world’s best-kept secret, TCI is an effortless escape – with an ease of connectivity through direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


CONTACT: Laura Dowrich  Email:




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