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CARPHA Conference Tackles Violence Through Research and Evidence

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Castries, Saint Lucia.  9 May 2024.   Violence plagues the Region and represents a huge burden on health systems and major economic costs to society.  Violence as a public health issue affects physical, mental, sexual and even reproductive health.

For this reason, “Violence in the Caribbean: A Public Health Crisis” was chosen as the theme for Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Annual Health Research Conference this year.  The Conference presented an opportunity to address this public health concern and provide scientific evidence and epidemiological data that will demonstrate the nature of the violence; and how health systems can help to prevent and respond to violence as part of a multisectoral response.

The Conference, now in its 68th year was hosted in collaboration with the Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.

Honourable Philip J. Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia in his feature address at the Opening of the Conference “welcomed the research focus of this conference because it will help to fill some of the gaps in our understanding of both the drivers of crime and violence, as well as their public health impacts, at an individual and community level.”

Speaking to over 300 attendees, he added “This scourge has all the characteristics of an epidemic. Based on the statistics from across our region, it could rightly be described as a public health crisis. Many factors are contributing to its spread. Poverty, lack of access to resources, inequitable distribution of the benefits of development, declining family values, and youth unemployment are among the causes that are frequently cited. Enabling the spread of this virus is the rapid emergence of a gang culture, that seems to have no age limit.

The Prime Minister further stated “Adopting a public health approach to public security will require huge investments in capacity building, both in terms of equipment and training of frontline personnel. Ideally, we will need a comprehensive assessment of the training needs for the adoption of a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to crime prevention and control. I believe all Caribbean Governments would benefit from a targeted and sustained action research agenda, that provides real-time data on trends and dynamics of violent crime in various hot spots.”

In her opening remarks Executive Director of CARPHA Dr. Joy St. John said, “This year’s theme sends a powerful message. We acknowledge that despite the idyllic image of the Caribbean as a place of peace and relaxation, there is a harsh reality of violence that affects our region.”

She added “The fact that CARPHA chose this theme is a signal of our commitment to tackling this issue in a systematic fashion through highlighting the facts found through research and evidence. CARPHA is not afraid to tackle this head-on. We walked the talk of public health and are viewing this issue through multi sectoral lenses, the security challenge, the law enforcement realities, the undermining of socioeconomic status as well as the harm to human health causing a public health crisis demanding priority and intervention.”

The opening of the conference was followed by a Panel Discussion: Aiming for Change: Firearms and Public Health Intersections, which commenced with a keynote address by Dr. The Honourable Terrence Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Annual Health Research Conference took place from 25 to 27 April 2024 at the Royalton Saint Lucia Conference Centre. The Conference afforded delegates to attend over 45 oral presentations, view more than 55 poster presentations, and network with exhibitors from Saint Lucia and the Region.

Over the 2 and a half days the conference delivered feature lectures:

  • The Health Services contribution to a 50% reduction in homicides in the Caribbean by 2030 by Dr. Elizabeth Ward;
  • Gun Violence in the Caribbean: A focus on guns and bullets by Professor Stephen Hargarten (virtual presentation); and
  • Reflecting on Criminal Gang Findings and the Prospect for Change by Mr. Tarik Weekes

The Conference was attended by Chief Medical Officers, researchers, physicians, nurses, law enforcement officials, and academia from across the Caribbean Region, Latin America, North America and Europe.

A series of events, including Town Hall Meeting on Youth and Violence; Training in Monitoring and Evaluation and Data Appreciation; and meetings and training on vector-borne diseases took place leading up to the conference. A meeting of the CARICOM Chief Medical Officers was hosted ahead of the conference.

A highpoint of the Conference is the Awards Banquet at which accomplished researchers are presented with a prestigious award honouring their contributions to science.

This year awards were presented to

  • Elizabeth Ward – recognised for her renowned work in the field of Violence and Mitigation “Distinguished Service for Public Health Approach to Violence and Mitigation”
  • Elizabeth Mandeville received the Donald Simeon Award for the Best Student Paper
  • Jihana Mottley received the David Picou Young Researcher Award
  • 1stPlace Poster Winner Ms. Bibi Ally-Charles
  • 2ndPlace Poster Winner Ms. Angelique Wilson-Parkinson

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Caribbean News

PRIME MINISTER OF THE BAHAMAS CALLS FOR COLLABORATION AT CANTO 24  

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The Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas.

MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – Prime Minister Philip Davis of The Bahamas delivered a compelling keynote address at CANTO’s 39th annual Conference and Tradeshow Exhibition, sponsored by C&W Communications. He called for Caribbean leaders to unite in leveraging digital innovation for regional progress.

PM Davis was welcomed to the podium by Inge Smidts, CEO of C&W Communications, who provided brief remarks opening the day’s activities. Smidts shared C&W’s efforts in leading digital innovation and connectivity solutions and also in bridging the digital divide and fostering digital inclusion across the region.

The Prime Minister began by asking for a moment of solidarity following Hurricane Beryl’s destruction in Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent, the Windward Islands, and Jamaica. A number of delegates from the affected countries were unable to attend as they continue to work through restoration efforts. Davis recalled his country’s experience noting, “The Bahamas remembers Dorian’s fury all too well. Our hearts and prayers go out to our Caribbean brothers, and sisters and may those affected find strength and may the coming months be calmer than forecasts predict.”

The Prime Minister highlighted the region’s technological evolution, citing The Bahamas’ implementation of e-government platforms for citizen services, and the introduction of its Sand Dollar e-currency. He stressed the importance of digital skills education to ensure widespread technological literacy and prevent marginalization.

PM Davis also emphasized a number of challenges facing the region. He noted that education and training in digital skills was critical in ensuring people across the Caribbean are not left behind. “It is clear that technology is a powerful tool for progress and economic growth, however the true potential of this tool can only be realized if our citizens are equipped with the knowledge and skills to use if effectively. The biggest missed opportunity we face is having advanced technology at our disposal but lacking the widespread literacy to leverage it fully,” Davis continued.

Addressing the transformative power of technology, PM Davis said: “Technology is not merely a tool for economic growth, it is a powerful catalyst for social change. Our focus should be on how these innovations can enhance the quality of life for out citizens, bridging the gaps and opening opportunities that were previously unimaginable.”

C&W Communications through its charitable foundation, the CWCF has launched its JUMP social assistance program in response to this. Currently the JUMP program, launched in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Lucia provides opportunities to scores of families who would not ordinarily be able to internet access.

Through a public private partnership with the Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation and governments in the region, the most vulnerable customers are able to benefit from subsidized internet access, a free laptop and eight weeks of digital skills training for the entire household. The JUMP program is set to be officially launched in August in The Bahamas.

The address concluded with the Prime Minister congratulating CANTO on its 39th birthday, officially announcing The Bahamas as the host for CANTO’s 40th Conference in 2025, marking a significant milestone for the organization and the region’s commitment to digital advancement.

Over 600 persons are attending the Annual Tradeshow and Exhibition which runs from July 7-10 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Miami, Florida. C&W Communications once again serving as headline sponsor for the event.

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C&W Communications committed to rebuilding after storms  

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Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer, C&W Communications.

MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – As the region continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, leading telecoms provider C&W Communications has reaffirmed its commitment to work alongside impacted communities.

Hurricane Beryl recently caused devastating damage in several Caribbean islands, and storms of a similar magnitude to the unusually fierce early season hurricane are expected to become more common.

“We have always believed that our role extends beyond providing telecommunications services. We are a lifeline, a vital link that keeps people connected to their loved ones, to emergency services, and to the information they need in times of crisis,” said Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer, C&W Communications.

“I had the profound experience of visiting several of the islands that were hardest hit. The destruction is immense, with homes, businesses, and vital infrastructure severely damaged or destroyed. However, what stood out most was the incredible resilience and spirit of the people, so our commitment to the Caribbean must go beyond connectivity.”

Smidts was speaking at CANTO’s ongoing 39th Annual Trade Exhibition and Conference in Miami.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Towards a Sustainable Digital Economy’ and C&W Communications, the operators of Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business, and BTC, has returned as the headline sponsor for the region’s premier telecoms conference.

“This is an opportunity for us to act as a catalyst for change, and I urge all regional telecom stakeholders to join us in supporting our impacted communities. This is our moment, and together, we can leverage our resources, expertise, and networks to provide much-needed relief and support,” added Smidts.

“Let us collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can withstand the challenges of natural disasters and ensure the sustainability of our digital economy – one that is resilient, inclusive, and prepared for the future.”

The annual event brings together regional heads of state and government, along with regulators, telecom operators, and other key stakeholders to network, build alliances, review policy, and share best practices as it relates to the regional telecoms sector.

C&W Communications will host several discussions and events during the conference to shine the spotlight on important industry topics including digital sustainability and education, cybersecurity in the digital era, sustainable infrastructure development, investment challenges in digital sustainability, strategies for equitable access to broadband services, and empowering an inclusive digital economy.

Featured company speakers include Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer; Kerry Scott, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, Liberty Latin America (the parent company of C&W Communications); John Winter, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, LLA; Sameer Bhatti, Chief Executive Officer, Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC); Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, Business Markets; and Sebastian Kaplan, Vice President-Government Affairs, Liberty Latin America; and many others.

CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies, and individuals primarily focused on leading the information and communications technology (ICT) sector across the Caribbean region and the Americas.

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Telecoms and Climate Change in the spotlight at CANTO

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MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Beryl in the Caribbean, the critical importance of robust telecommunications infrastructure and reliable data access was brought into sharp focus at the opening of CANTO’s 39th Annual Trade Exhibition and Conference in Miami.

Daryl Vaz

“The Caribbean is on the front lines of the global climate crisis, facing significant and immediate impacts that threaten the region’s environment, economy, and way of life. The Caribbean’s resilience and adaptive capacity are vital in the face of climate change, and it is imperative that we take proactive and coordinated action,” said Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport.

Vaz delivered the feature address at CANTO’s opening ceremony on Sunday days after Beryl made landfall in Jamaica.

“Resilience and adaptive capacity are vital in the face of climate change. By embracing innovative solutions, fostering collaboration, and committing to sustainable practices, we can safeguard our islands for future generations. If we really want to survive and thrive, the time for talk is over and now is the time for action. We must walk the walk,” he said.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Towards a Sustainable Digital Economy’ and C&W Communications, the operators of Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business, and BTC, has returned as the headline sponsor for the region’s premier telecoms conference.

“As we gather in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, we are reminded of the immense challenges that natural disasters pose to our region, but also of the resilience and solidarity that define the Caribbean spirit,” said Marilyn Sealy, Senior Director, Head of Communications, C&W Communications.

“We are proud to be a part of an industry that provides the backbone for growth and innovation, and we remain committed to supporting the region, and at the same time the critical work that CANTO has undertaken over the years.”

The annual event brings together regional heads of state and government, along with regulators, telecom operators, and other key stakeholders to network, build alliances, review policy, and share best practices as it relates to the regional telecoms sector.

“As a leading provider of digital connectivity solutions across the region, this year’s theme resonates deeply with the core values and mission of C&W Communications,” added Sealy.

Marilyn Sealy

“We recognize the transformational role that technology plays in driving sustainable development, social inclusion, and economic growth, and it is our firm belief that by leveraging the power of connectivity, we can unlock new possibilities and create a brighter future for all.”

C&W Communications specifically will host several discussions and events during the conference to shine the spotlight important industry topics including digital sustainability and education, cybersecurity in the digital era, sustainable infrastructure development, investment challenges in digital sustainability, strategies for equitable access to broadband services, and empowering an inclusive digital economy.

Featured company speakers include Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer; Kerry Scott, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, Liberty Latin America (the parent company of C&W Communications); John Winter, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, LLA; Sameer Bhatti, Chief Executive Officer, Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC); Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, Business Markets; and Sebastian Kaplan, Vice President-Government Affairs, Liberty Latin America; and many others.

CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies, and individuals primarily focused on leading the information and communications technology (ICT) sector across the Caribbean region and the Americas.

 

  • Our very own Marilyn Sealy, Senior Director, Head of Communications, delivered the Sponsor’s Address, while Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, delivered the Featured Address (photos attached).

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