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Coronavirus vaccine – weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting

Severe Allergy

This advice is that people with a previous history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it. People who receive the vaccine should be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

The foregoing is taken from the UK Government web site on COVID-19 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-adverse-reactions/coronavirus-vaccine-summary-of-yellow-card-reporting

See below the summary of the full version of the above link.

Summary

At the time of this report, more than 120,000 people across the UK have died within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19). Rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalisation remain high.

Vaccination is the single most effective way to reduce deaths and severe illness from COVID-19. A national immunisation campaign has been underway since early December 2020.

Two COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines, are currently being used in the UK. Both have been authorised for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following a thorough review of safety, quality, and efficacy information from clinical trials. In clinical trials, both vaccines showed very high levels of protection against symptomatic infections with COVID-19. We expect data to be available soon on the impact of the vaccination campaign in reducing infections and illness in the UK.

All vaccines and medicines have some side effects. These side effects need to be continuously balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was evaluated in clinical trials involving more than 44,000 participants. The most frequent adverse reactions in trials were pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, myalgia (muscle pains), chills, arthralgia (joint pains), and fever; these were each reported in more than 1 in 10 people. These reactions were usually mild or moderate in intensity and resolved within a few days after vaccination. Adverse reactions were reported less frequently in older adults (over 55 years) than in younger people.

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was evaluated in clinical trials involving more than 23,000 participants. The most frequently reported adverse reactions in these trials were injection-site tenderness, injection-site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia (fever), chills, arthralgia, and nausea; these were each reported in more than 1 in 10 people. The majority of adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within a few days of vaccination. Adverse reactions reported after the second dose were milder and reported less frequently than after the first dose. Adverse reactions were generally milder and reported less frequently in older adults (65 years and older) than in younger people.

The MHRA’s role is also to continually monitor safety during widespread use of a vaccine. We have in place a proactive strategy to do this. We also work closely with our public health partners in reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the vaccines to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh any possible side effects.

Part of our monitoring role includes reviewing reports of suspected side effects. Any member of the public or health professional can submit suspected side effects through the Yellow Card scheme. The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects. Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination. This is particularly the case when millions of people are vaccinated, and especially when most vaccines are being given to the most elderly people and people who have underlying illness.

This safety update report is based on detailed analysis of data up to 14 February 2021. At this date, an estimated 8.3 million first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 6.9 million doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered, and around 0.6 million second doses, mostly the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, had been administered. This represents an increase of 2.8 million on the previous week.

As of 14 February 2021, for the UK

  • 26,823 Yellow Cards have been reported for the Pfizer/BioNTech
  • 31,427 have been reported for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • 177 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified

For both vaccines, the overall reporting rate is around 3 to 5 Yellow Cards per 1,000 doses administered.

In the week since the previous summary for 7 February 2021, we have received a further 2,616 Yellow Cards for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 10,999 for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, and 64 where the brand was not specified. A higher number of doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine were administered in the last week than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

For both vaccines, the overwhelming majority of reports relate to injection-site reactions (sore arm for example) and generalised symptoms such as ‘flu-like’ illness, headache, chills, fatigue (tiredness), nausea (feeling sick), fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat. Generally, these happen shortly after the vaccination and are not associated with more serious or lasting illness.

These types of reactions reflect the normal immune response triggered by the body to the vaccines. They are typically seen with most types of vaccines and tend to resolve within a day or two. The nature of reported suspected side effects is broadly similar across age groups, although, as was seen in clinical trials and as is usually seen with other vaccines, they may be reported more frequently in younger adults.

Severe allergy

On 9 December 2020, the MHRA issued preliminary guidance on severe allergic reactions after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine due to early reports of anaphylaxis. Following a further detailed review, this advice was amended on 30 December to the current advice. This advice is that people with a previous history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it. People who receive the vaccine should be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

Widespread use of the vaccine now suggests that severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are very rare. Anaphylaxis can also be a very rare side effect associated with most other vaccines.

Following very substantial exposure across the UK population, no other new safety concerns have been identified from reports received so far.

Conclusion

  • The increases in the number of ADR reports reflects the increase in vaccine deployment as new vaccination centres have opened across the UK
  • The number and nature of suspected adverse reactions reported so far are not unusual in comparison to other types of routinely used vaccines
  • The overall safety experience with both vaccines is so far as expected from the clinical trials
  • Based on current experience, the expected benefits of both COVID-19 vaccines in preventing COVID-19 and its serious complications far outweigh any known side effects
  • As with all vaccines and medicines, the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is being continuously monitored

Further information on the type of suspected adverse reactions (ADRs) reported for the COVID-19 mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is provided in Annex 1. It is important to read the guidance notes to ensure appropriate interpretation of the data.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Education, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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Pandemic schooling at home is not homeschooling – this is why lesson failures are OK

Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless

TMR: Right from the beginning, we ask how does this might apply to Montserrat? How is the consultation, or the discussion or the action, not getting it right! How many of our parents and children in little Montserrat are facing this situation. Who thinks about it? What was done when it was discovered that not all had computers at home? What does that say when instead of engaging the media appropriately, with a complete lack of understanding of the important role of proper and beneficial ‘communication’?

by Victoria Bennett – The Independent – 03 February 2021

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When the schools closed in 2020, friends said to me, “You’re ok, it’s normal for you”. To some extent this was true. My husband and I work online from home and our 13-year-old son has always been home-educated. What we were experiencing though was not normal, particularly as our child is medically vulnerable.

Our normal home-learning includes trips to museums, meet-ups with friends, swimming, cinema outings, family travel, and more. It’s enriching for all of us. Now, we keep hearing about the “lost generation” and “long-term damage” of being out of school. My son feels angry. He wants to know if that’s how the world sees him, as a home-educated child? He’s furious at having his future written off so casually. Learning at home does not mean your life is ruined and this language reveals a lot about how homeschooling is perceived.

I’ve grown used to children assuming my son can’t read or write because he doesn’t go to school. They’re often surprised to hear that whilst education is compulsory, school is not. I’ve learned to accept the inevitable “What about socialisation? What about GCSEs?” questions. It seems the general perception of regular homeschooling children is that they spend their days locked away, destined for a life of illiterate delinquency. The reality, of course, is far from this. My son is a voracious reader, is interested in subjects from chemistry to engineering to art, plays piano and guitar, and is confident in social situations. As to whether he will do GCSEs? He might choose to, or he might make different choices. His route is not fixed.

Mother working from home with a kid: Quarantine mode

But these are not normal times for any of us and pandemic schooling at home is not the same as homeschooling. Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless. Author and educator John Holt said: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.”

These are, as we frequently hear, unprecedented times. Why then, is the Department for Education insisting teachers, students, and parents try to replicate school at home? Holt pioneered the term “radical unschooling”, which assumes that all children are curious learners and every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. This can be challenging to trust but maybe it’s what we need right now?

When my son was seven, we spent a year caring for my mother. It was exhausting and traumatic yet, when nurses asked my son what he was learning, I felt guilty. I wasn’t managing formal lessons. I was a bad mother. The guiltier I felt, the harder I tried. One day, after yet another failed maths lesson (it isn’t my strongest subject) my son and I, sat crying on the floor. This way wasn’t going to work, for either of us. I put away the maths books, got out the paints, and, for the next three hours, we painted the garden shed, path, and ourselves until everything was a mess of colour. We ended the day laughing and the shed, though worn now, still makes people smile.

At the end of that year, my son’s life was not ruined. What did he learn? Playing Minecraft online gave him excellent keyboard skills and a strong sense of digital citizenship. Witnessing end-of-life care gave him the opportunity to learn about resilience and compassion. Being there when my mother died helped him learn how to process loss. Learning that it was okay to listen to his needs helped him articulate his feelings. We both grew, and we never returned to formal lessons.

Right now, our priority is learning how to live through extraordinary times. To do so, we need to be flexible, not rigid. Maybe, instead of worrying about algebra, we need to learn how to slow down and give time to our needs. Instead of testing, maybe we need to reflect on our collective grief and fear as we live through it. In place of Zoom classes, maybe we can develop skills in sustaining joyful human connections in a rapidly changing digital world?

This is a time for simple acts of radical gentleness. In the end, it is about loving ourselves, and each other, enough to get through this in one piece, even if that means playing hooky once in a while. The world won’t end if you do. It will be okay.

Victoria Bennett is a writer, creative producer, and full-time home educating mother to a teenage son

Read : Going back to ‘normal’ will be a process, not an event – we must learn to live with Covid

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https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/covid-travel-rules-prison-hotel-quarantine-b1799733.html

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CCRIF SPC Provides US$250,000 (J$35 Million) to The University of the West Indies for Scholarships and Tuition Fees

The following is a release from CCRIF SPC as dated, that is of particular interest, to the left behind students from Montserrat, those with the desire to move up with higher education, but cannot because of the absence of the necessary resources so to do.

Kingston, Jamaica, December 1, 2020. On November 26, CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) presented a cheque for US$250,000 (J$35 million) to The University of the West Indies (The UWI) for scholarships and for covering the tuition fees of students who are in need of financial support this academic year.

L-R: Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Dale Webber; UWI Mona Guild President Sujae Boswell; University Registrar Dr. Maurice Smith; CCRIF Scholar Matthew Arnold; CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager Elizabeth Emanuel; and CCRIF Board Member Mrs. Saundra Bailey at the handing over of US$250,000 (J$135 million) for scholarships and tuition support to The UWI

Approximately US$108,000 or J$15 million of the US$250,000 (J$35 million) is already allocated for scholarships for 2020/21 at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and this is about the usual amount that CCRIF has been providing to The UWI annually since 2010 and can be considered merit scholarships since they are based largely on the performance of students. The remaining US$142,000 or J$20 million has been provided to cover the tuition fees of the most needy students, who due to the COVID-19 pandemic are finding it difficult to pay tuition and who are at risk of either being de-registered or not completing their studies. This latter support is part of the Facility’s COVID-19 response geared to supporting our members and other key stakeholders.

According to Saundra Bailey, CCRIF Board Member “Since 2010, CCRIF has provided The UWI with 71 scholarships totalling US$761,230 or almost J$107 million. CCRIF continues to view its investments in scholarships as critical to building a cadre of individuals who possess the knowledge and skills to advance the resilience of the small island and coastal states of our region.”

Outside of support to students at The UWI, graduates of The University also have benefited from CCRIF scholarships to study for postgraduate degrees in the USA and the UK as well as internships at national and regional organizations involved in disaster risk management and meteorology and at a number of departments and centres of The University itself such as the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Climate Studies Group Mona, and the Seismic Research Centre.

University Registrar, Dr. Maurice Smith in acknowledging CCRIF’s contributions, commented that both The UWI and CCRIF have had a longstanding relationship and today’s handing over ceremony is significant as it is an expression of support not only for the regional institution but the talented students who are pursuing programmes related to CCRIF’s mandate.

Professor Dale Webber, Principal of the Mona Campus and Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Climate Change and Disaster Preparedness, signaled his gratitude for the tuition support for students in civil engineering, geography, and geology. He asked CCRIF to consider students pursuing programmes in actuarial science, computer science, and social work as these areas are critical to strengthening the region’s response to disaster management.

Earlier this year, CCRIF expanded its partnership with The UWI even further when the two organizations signed a new memorandum of understanding which went beyond offering scholarships and established a framework for the promotion and facilitation of disaster risk management, including modeling, disaster risk financing, and climate change adaptation as well as research, capacity-building and resilience-building initiatives that will support and advance the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) ambition of making the Caribbean the world’s first climate-resilient zone.

One of the first outputs of this new MOU was the development of a new course called Fundamentals of Disaster Risk Financing for Advancing Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which is currently being offered through The UWI Open Campus. Over 30 students are members of the first cohort to take this Continuing and Professional Education Certificate course, which offers four continuing education units.

Including today’s contribution, CCRIF’s overall support to The UWI over the period 2010 – 2020 has totalled over US$1 million (J$140 million), through programmes for scholarships and internships and the current MOU as well as two grants to the departments of Food Production and Geography at the St. Augustine campus for community-based disaster risk reduction projects, support to the Seismic Research Centre towards establishing and maintaining a new accelerometric network in the Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica to enhance the capability for identifying and mitigating seismic risk in the Caribbean, and a contract with Lumin Consulting for work related to the CCRIF-Caribbean Development Bank Integrated Sovereign Risk Management Project.

CCRIF also used the occasion to launch its Technical Paper Series #4, A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”. This collection of papers highlights research conducted by nine recipients of CCRIF scholarships between 2010 and 2017. The academic papers include papers completed as part of course work, extracts from dissertations, as well as complete dissertations – all submitted as part of their degree requirements. The papers demonstrate the diversity of research topics undertaken by CCRIF scholarship recipients – which range from social issues such as a discussion of whether disaster scenes should be “off-limits” to victims’ relatives, and climate and risk communication to an analysis of the financial services sector responses to climate change risks to more technical discussions such as seismic analysis.

Elizabeth Emanuel, CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager presents a synopsis of the new publication, A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”. Copies of the publication will be provided to all campuses of The University of the West Indies.
Mrs. Saundra Bailey, CCRIF Board Member; Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of UWI Mona, Professor Dale Webber; and Elizabeth Emanuel, CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager, peruse the publication “A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”.

According to Mrs. Bailey, “During this pandemic, CCRIF has both levelled up and pivoted to ensure that our members and key partners and stakeholders are able to better confront and address the many challenges posed by climate change and COVID-19, with The UWI being one such partner.”

Website: www.ccrif.org | Email: pr@ccrif.org |  Follow @ccrif_pr |  CCRIF SPC

About CCRIF SPC:

CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated, and registered in the Caribbean. It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, and excess rainfall events to the Caribbean and Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane, and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with the lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalized through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. In 2014, a second MDTF was established by the World Bank to support the development of CCRIF SPC’s new products for current and potential members and facilitate the entry of Central American countries and additional Caribbean countries. The MDTF currently channels funds from various donors, including: Canada, through Global Affairs Canada; the United States, through the Department of the Treasury; the European Union, through the European Commission, and Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and KfW. Additional financing has been provided by the Caribbean Development Bank, with resources provided by Mexico; the Government of Ireland; and the European Union through its Regional Resilience Building Facility managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and The World Bank.

Website: www.ccrif.org | Email: pr@ccrif.org |  Follow @ccrif_pr |  CCRIF SPC

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)

#ccrifspc #uwi #scholarships #covid-19 #donation #disasterriskfinancing  #parametricinsurance #theuwi

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Participate in the First Virtual Student Fair of the Caribbean!

Participate in the First Virtual Student Fair of the Caribbean!

Participate in the First Virtual Student Fair of the Caribbean!

https://pressroom.oecs.org/participate-in-the-first-virtual-student-fair-of-the-caribbean

Register now!

Thursday, November 19, 2020 — This fair hosted on December 2-3, 2020 will enable participants to learn about study and training opportunities in the Caribbean region as well as to interact with exhibitors and guest experts.

Partners of the ELAN project are pleased to announce the very first edition of the Virtual Student Fair, dedicated to vocational training and higher education, organized on December 2nd and 3rd 2020 with the support of Campus France, the French National Agency for the Promotion of Higher Education, International Student Services and International Mobility.

This fair is free and designed for students (high school and tertiary level), parents, teachers, and also technical vocational trainees and trainers from the cooperation zone of the project (English-speaking Caribbean, Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe).

With this event, the ELAN project team wishes to promote exchange, and cooperation between 70 exhibitors and visitors, allowing them to learn about the regional offer of studies and vocational training, and also to exchange with participating institutions and specialists on common regional hot topics during webinars. Visitors will also have the opportunity to consult internship offers, attend workshops to prepare their study experience abroad, assess their level in a foreign language (French or English), and, above all, try to win a prize in the great ELAN contest.

Registrations are open on https://www.elan-virtualforum.org.
For more information, visit the ELAN project website or social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

Promo flyer of the INTERREG ELAN project

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This happens to your body when you eat ginger every day for a month

We didn’t know ginger is so healthy

We all know that fruit and vegetables are really good for us. It is known that we should eat colored food several times a day, but did you know that certain spices also have many health benefits? Take ginger, for example. When you eat ginger every day, a lot of good things happen to your body.

Ginger

Ginger is a spice with a very strong taste. Ginger is not only very tasty but also has a lot of good qualities. Ginger contains gingerol, shogaol, zingiberene, and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. It is therefore not surprising that ginger has a long medicinal history. Centuries ago, ginger was used to cure all kinds of ailments. In addition, eating ginger regularly also helps to keep your body healthy.

Good qualities

Ginger contains gingerol, a bio-active substance that helps to reduce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This substance also helps to reduce swollen joints. Ginger also contains shoagol, a substance with an analgesic effect that also helps against cancer and heart disease. Zingiberene in ginger is particularly good for digestion. But not only this: ginger also has an anti-diabetic effect and improves brain function and the immune system.

Ginger every day

Are you planning to eat ginger every day for a month? Then we will not stop you! Eating ginger daily has many health benefits. Side note: you do not have to nibble on a piece of ginger every day. Cut a large piece – about 1.5 centimeters – into small pieces and mix it with your smoothie, tea, or Asian dish. Wondering what this does to your body? We will explain it to you.

…Does this to your body:

Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation in the body is reduced faster. This is due to the anti-inflammatory effect of ginger.

Nausea disappears: are you often nauseous in the morning? We bet that eating ginger every day will help you! By eating ginger daily, the nausea will soon subside. Tip: Especially pregnant women and people undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from this.

Reduction of muscle pain: Do you have muscle pain or pain in the limbs? Eating ginger can have a good influence on this. Consuming ginger daily will gradually ease the pain.

Promotes bowel movements: Eating ginger on a daily basis does a lot of good for your bowel movements. Do you regularly suffer from constipation? Then this might help you.

Menstrual pain: Are you in constant pain during this time of the month? Then eating ginger daily may help you. The spice is similar to taking pain medications, which can help relieve acute abdominal pain.

Lowers cholesterol: Eating ginger every day for a month can help lower “bad” cholesterol in the body. The amount of triglycerides in the blood is reduced by the substances in ginger.

Boosts the Immune System: The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger strengthens the immune system. Have you already been affected by a cold or virus? Then ginger can help you recover faster.

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RMDF Lewis benefits from a Field Fire Awareness Course

A release from the Royal Montserrat Defence Force (RMDF) speaks to its pride proud to announce that Sergeant Calvin Lewis recently returned from a training course held for three (3) weeks at the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) in Belize. 

The course ran from February 10, 2010, to February 28, 2020, at the Price Barracks, Ladyville, Belize.  Sgt. Lewis attended a Field Fire Awareness Training Course with other military from within the region.  The attendees included representatives from the Air Wing and Infantry Unit of the Belize Defence Force, The Belize Coast Guard, and one representative each from the Jamaica and Guyana Defence Forces and the Royal Cayman Police Force. 

Sgt. Lewis’ attendance the RMDF informed, was made possible through support of the British Defence Adviser’s Office based in Jamaica. He was adjudged to have completed the course at an extremely high standard.  

He was one of four (4) international students among eighteen (18) participants in the Field Fire Awareness course which covered the planning, conduct, and supervision of training with Infantry Weapons systems and pyrotechnics for range exercises. The application of these regulations is mandatory, enabling realistic and demanding training whilst ensuring that risks are reduced As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).

The use of the Range Action Safety and the Exercise Action Safety Plans were also demonstrated during a detailed walkthrough of a Live Fire Range.  The course is geared towards Junior Non-Commissioned Officers to develop the leadership as well as to plan and execute lesson plans.  This would increase the training capabilities as the participants would be better able to train other members of their organisation.

The RMDF says that Lewis found the training both educational and enjoyable.  It provided him the opportunity to train with regional forces and has learned from the expertise of the British military trainers who delivered the course.

Commanding Officer (CO) of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force, Major Alvin Ryan, commenting on Lewis’ participation says he is very pleased with the results of the training opportunity that has been afforded to the Force. 

He is delighted at the accomplishments of Sgt. Lewis and is confident that the recently completed training course would be highly beneficial to the Force and the country of Montserrat on a whole.  Similarly, he knows that Sgt. Lewis would have represented himself, the Force and the country of Montserrat well.  In addition, he is extremely grateful to the British Defence Advisor Lt. Col. Anton Gash for the continued work of his in getting training opportunities for the RMDF that are both beneficial to the Force but important in its growth and development in an ever-changing world.

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St. Patrick’s Day Lecture feature – Praedial Larceny

Contributed by Cleo Cassell

Grace Cassell, delivering the lecture

I would like to make a confession before I continue. I confess, not to committing praedial larceny, but to never attending any of the St. Patrick’s Day lectures before March 10, 2020. I believed that by fate I should go this year because every time I turned the radio on the advertisement seemed to beckon me through the speakers. The topic also appealed to my creative mind. Praedial Larceny: A Scourge on Agricultural Production and Food Security, and in my mind, I personified Praedial Larceny and imagined this character whipping agriculture and food security.

        In contrast, the setting of the conference room at the Cultural Centre was intimate and calming. The lofty windows had been dressed with draped fabric of our green, orange and white madras, while our sturdy national flower, the Heliconia, muted the stark white walls. Even more pleasing to see were the green chairs that were almost filled to capacity.

The St. Patrick’s Day lecture truly added a sophisticated element to the debauchery that the day was becoming. It was an unmistakable reminder that the St. Patrick’s celebration was much more: it was a celebration of our ancestors who fought for our freedom. Later on, it became apparent that the lecture was also important because it was a way to safeguard Montserrat’s undocumented history in this new emerging Montserrat where so many memories of the pre-volcanic times had been buried and displaced.

The lecture was amply chaired by Mr. Claude Brown the infamous host of Farmers’ Corner, President of the Farmer’s Association and Former Agriculture Development Officer. Besides his credentials, Brown’s soothing voice, pleasant way of lightening the seriousness of the mood with a joke or two and seamless way of segueing into the next segment seemed to keep the audiences’ attention.

Claude Browne

However, Brown was not the only trick up the sleeve, there was entertainment. First came Lord Meade’s calypso, which passionately told the story of a farmer who was frustrated by his neighbours’ “damn” livestock that were harvesting his produce before he had a chance to. Our very own historian and poet, Professor Sir Howard Fergus followed with two recent poems and an old one about praedial larceny.  I do not know about the audience, but I thoroughly enjoyed his readings. It reminded me of sitting in tutorials listening to the man who made me fall in love with poetry, Professor Mervin Morris.

Sir Professor Howard Fergus

The main feature did not disappoint either. Miss Gracelyn Cassell began the lecture with anecdotes. She told the story of entitled workmen who openly stole coconuts from the Open Campus to the heart-wrenching story of her uncle, Cephas Cassel who died by the scourge of praedial larceny. The saga of Cephas’ was an allusion to the Cain and Abel story told in Genesis. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd; however, it was Cain’s jealousy that led his naive brother to his death just as the murderer had done to the innocent Cephas.

My mind was completely engaged by then and kept ticking as Cassell transitioned into the historical perspectives of praedial larceny. It was once accepted as a means to an end for the emancipated slave, but was also negatively described by Bryan as a ‘typical black perversion’. Bryan’s notion appeared to be a paradox as Cassell continued by illustrating contemporary experiences, praedial larceny’s impact on food security, the approaches and measures taken to solve this problem. Although not mentioned, I shuddered as I was able to make the connection with the disturbing piracy that regularly occurred off the coast of Africa. Praedial larceny was once petty theft and was tolerated as a means of subsistence, but it had morphed into the pure evil of Cain. It was the business of highly organized theft.

Praedial larceny was much more than just stealing it was a scourge on people’s psyche. At the end of the lecture, the audience was encouraged to share a memory or experience about praedial larceny. Some of the accounts had been hoarded for over 40 years and involved even huge cows disappearing into thin air. The account that really pricked me the most was hearing about a grandmother who put pins into her provisions not to harm buyers, but to discourage people from purchasing from the thieving seller. This story reminded the audience that praedial larceny was also a public health and safety issue.

I left the lecture with a lot to think about, but not ill-equipped. Although I did not have a definite remedy for the problem, I could do my part to help put an end to praedial larceny. I would make sure I bought from reputable farmers.

Posted in COVID-19, Education, Fashion, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Opinions, Poems, Security0 Comments

DSC_1361-web

MOHSS Youth department promotes youth potential

L-R: Meliek Richards, Beryl Ray Idiaghe, Kenita Barzey, Aaliyah Giddings, Alicia Giddings, Otis Miller and Anderson Alerte

As part of their mandate – “wanting to offer more to the youth of the island, thus in an effort to help them reach their full potential, the Ministry of Youth Affairs held a Non-Denominational Bible Quiz on Sunday, February 23, 2020, at the Arts and Education Centre in Brades.

Mrs. Helena Dorsette

The event was surprisingly not very well attended, a lament by Mrs. Helena Dorsette who was one of the main organisers from the Ministry, but the participation was good.

The Ministry touts in offering the background to the event – “The Bible is one of the oldest texts in the history of the world! There have been few books as widely read, studied or debated. It offers fun learning, incredible information, and guidance for daily living.

On Montserrat, there are many programs geared at attracting the youth and other persons in the communities. Some involve Dancing, Revelry, Pageantry, Sports, Gospel Music, Education and more.

 The Department of Community, Youth and Sports Services (DCYSS) has played a pivotal role in bringing many of these programs to fruition, or in collaborating with groups and/or organizations involved.

l-r: Beryl Ray Idiaghe, Kenita Barzey, Meliek Richards, and Anderson Alerte

This Non-Denominational Bible Quiz came as a result of a desire to offer more to the youth of the island. “In our effort to help them reach their full potential, it would be remiss of us, domiciled in this Christian Community, not to include a Biblically-based program which can only lend itself to the benefit of the persons involved,” the department youth leaders wrote.

They say that the main objectives of the Non-Denominational Bible Quiz is to create a level playing field on which every youth can meet and play without fear of discrimination.

Consequently, it is hoped that the youth involved in this program will be interested in encouraging their peers to get involved as well so that this could become an Annual Event.

Nadia Browne

Miss Nadia Browne moderated excellently while Youth and Community Development Officer Ms. Nicole Hixon performed the awarding of the trophy and prizes to the winners, and Youth and Community Development Worker Mrs. Dorsette carried out duties of organiser, director,  providing pertinent information and closing comments.

Ms. Nicole Hixon delivers winning trophy to the Giddings

Following are the results of that DCYSS’ Non-Denominational Bible Quiz results.

Beulah Wesleyan Holiness Won with 270 pts.

Ortis Miller with Alicia and Aaliyah Giddings

Aaliyah Giddings had the highest point of all = 140pts

Alicia Giddings had 130pts

Church of God of Prophecy – and House of Refuge & Deliverance tied for 1st Runner’s Up with 260pts

Kenita Barzey and Beryl Ray Idiaghe each had 130pts each for the Church of God of Prophecy; while Ortis Miller who alone represented House of Refuge and Deliverance, answering 26 questions. He earned 130 pts in each round for a score of 260 pts.

Which meant while the other contestants had 13 questions each, he had to answer 26. In round one he had 130pts and again in round two – 130pts.

Seventh-Day Adventist was 2nd Runner’s Up with 230pts. Meliek Richards had 120pts. Anderson Alerte had 110pts

Posted in Education, Local, News, Regional, Religion, Scriptures, Youth0 Comments

Cross-section-of-a-Corona-virus

The Corona Virus pandemic reaches the Caribbean

After BA Flight 2157 on Tuesday, March 10, could it be here in Montserrat? (What should we do?

BRADES, Montserrat, March 14, 2020 –  Over the past several days, first we learned that the Corona Virus had been confirmed in several regional territories. Then we learned how the UN Agency, the World Health Organisation, declared a pandemic – a globe-spanning epidemic.  Along the way, we heard of a Jamaican woman who flew home from the UK on March 4th to attend a funeral, and how authorities were taking steps to contain a possible outbreak. Since then schools have been closed as a second case then six more cases were diagnosed, totaling eight. Then,  it was confirmed that someone flying into Antigua from the UK on March 10 (on British Airways 2157), has been diagnosed with the virus.  Over eighty [80] passengers on that same aircraft came on their way to Montserrat, for the St Patrick’s Festival. (UPDATE: There is also a suspected case here, reported on ZJB.)

The Covid-19 virus attacks a cell,in an “isolate” from a patient(Cr: Australian Pharmacist & US CDC)

Suddenly, the Covid-19 Pandemic – global epidemic – is at our doorstep.

As a result:

After this news hit our airwaves on Friday, March 13th, a call went out for these passengers to contact health authorities.

On Saturday the 14th the recently elected Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell summarised this development, stated that the passengers were traced, contacted and told to self-isolate, adding that events with more than fifty people were restricted.

Many churches announced that worship services are suspended.

Schools (which often serve as places where viral infections spread rapidly) are closed until Friday, April 3.

Such measures are to be extended if necessary.

In effect, the 2020 St Patrick’s Festival has been shut down. That’s why promoters for some events then went on radio to announce the cancelation.

Covid 19 is indeed at our doorstep.

Cross-Section of a Corona Virus. In an infection, the S-protein spikes bind to cell surfaces, allowing penetration. The cell is then hijacked to replicate and distribute further copies of the virus using the RNA in the virus (Cr: Wiki & Scientific Illustrations)

What will we do?

Why did it take a case of possible transmission on an eight-hour transatlantic flight to trigger such measures?

(On the worst-case – let us hope, such will not be actual! – that could be shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.)

Especially as, before the event, prominent local Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Jean Kelsick publicly advised us all on February 28:

he virus has surfaced, is spreading and has already killed people . . . . Should our visitors introduce the virus to Montserrat

will have to face some very hard questions over any deaths that may ensue . . . .  the financial cost and disappointment to the island and visitors [if the Festival were to be canceled] would be very unfortunate but a price cannot be put on lives.”

We are now in danger of both possibilities, the worst of both worlds. For, on the facts admitted by Premier Taylor-Farrell, [a] visitors have come who may be exposed AND [b] we are forced to restrict gatherings of more than fifty people. That suggests, that we did not act with sufficient prudence in good time.

Now, given the Covid-19 incubation period of up to two weeks (or possibly more in some cases) we will have to wait to see if the epidemic is here already where this virus can be spread by people before they have obvious symptoms. Also, many mild cases may be confused with an ordinary cold or could even go unnoticed.

In a further complication, there seem to be two strains, L and S. As ABC reports[1]:

“Scientists from China said they’ve identified two strains of COVID-19 linked to the recent outbreak.  Coronaviruses are a large family of RNA viruses, and when RNA viruses replicate quickly, they often mutate. Researchers analyzed 103 sequenced genomes using strains from China, and found that 70% of strains were one type, which they called ‘L.’ The ‘L’ strain was more aggressive than the remaining 30% of strains, which were dubbed ‘S.’”

There is some suggestion that it is possible to catch one strain then the other, in addition to the familiar problem of relapsing if one has not fully recovered from an infection. NewScientist gives background[2]:

Viruses are always mutating . . . When a person is infected with the coronavirus, it replicates in their respiratory tract. Every time it does, around half a dozen genetic mutations occur, says Ian Jones at the University of Reading, UK. When Xiaolu Tang at Peking University in Beijing and colleagues studied the viral genome taken from 103 cases, they . . . identified two types of the virus based on differences in the genome at these two regions: 72 were considered to be the “L-type” and 29 were classed “S-type” . . . . The first strain is likely to have emerged around the time the virus jumped from animals to humans. The second emerged soon after that, says the team. Both are involved in the current global outbreak. The fact that the L-type is more prevalent suggests that it is “more aggressive” than the S-type.”

Further, in a preprint article for the New England Journal of Medicine,[3] researchers have confirmed that “viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel . . .   Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for  multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”

These specific experimental results are generally consistent with earlier reports that the virus can survive in the air for hours and on surfaces for up to a week or more. That immediately means that we have to be particularly vigilant to protect ourselves. Pix 11 of New York summarises some typical advice[4]:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

A distance of 6 feet can protect you from droplet transmission via coughs and sneezes.

Stay home if you feel you are sick.

Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or cover [your mouth and nose] with a tissue and immediately wash or sanitize your hands.

They add the US CDC instructions on proper handwashing:

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

We can also note that for typical disinfectants, a “dwell time” of three to five minutes is advisable, to ensure maximum effect.

Of course, by definition a disinfectant can be hazardous, so we should follow instructions. Chlorine Bleach and Ammonia are particularly so, and must not be mixed. Mixing Bleach and detergents is also not advisable as chemical reactions that give off toxic gases are possible.

Alcohols are also toxic – yes, ethanol too . . . drunkenness is actually a first stage toxic reaction. Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol and Methanol (wood alcohol) should not be consumed; even though they look, taste and smell almost like White Rum. Again, follow instructions on the label.

Of course, a good newspaper is the people’s college, so we need to step back up to the policy level. Fair comment: twenty-five years ago, we were imprudent in managing the volcano crisis, often dismissing warnings as likely to cause a panic. Sometimes, we thought or even said that we needed to exercise faith that nothing bad would happen, trotting out scriptures on faith. On June 25, 1997, nineteen people died needlessly. Videos taken a few days before the fatal ash flows show people harvesting ground provisions in a field while hot ash ran down the ghaut next to them. Some of those people died in fatal flows.

We need a sounder approach: yes, we are to have faith and confidence and we must always pray, but we must also be well-informed, prudent and act in good time.


[1]           See ABC https://abcnews.go.com/Health/scientists-identified-strains-covid-19/story?id=69391954

[2]           See NewScientist https://www.newscientist.com/article/2236544-coronavirus-are-there-two-strains-and-is-one-more-deadly/

[3]           See van Doremalen of US NIH et al https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217v1.full.pdf

[4]           See PIX11: https://www.pix11.com/news/national-news/coronavirus-how-to-protect-yourself-amid-covid-19-concerns

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, COVID-19, De Ole Dawg, Education, International, Local, Opinions, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Dr-Pet-Cameron

Congratulations on your award

by Bennette Roach

Montserratians living and working or studying in the USA and elsewhere continue to make great strides in their fields of work, studies, and education.

Dr. Pet Johnson-Cameron

Dr. Petronella Johnson-Cameron is one such person who has been teaching and mentoring students in the Master’s Program at Capella University, since January 2017. She has worked extensively with students to ensure success.

Dr. Petronella Cameron has been selected for the Outstanding Faculty Performance Award at Capella University, Minnesota. She met and exceeded the requirements in teaching in four components, Quantitative and Qualitative (the quality of feedback she provides for students) and the Education Chair overall approval.

Her work ethics and discipline had set her apart from other colleagues. She also was evaluated as a very effective and commendable professor by California State University Los Angeles in several components among these are, her delivery of instructions and engaging students.

With this background of achievements, Petronella Cameron Ph.D. boasts Early Childhood Education, Masters: Early Childhood Education, Child Development Program Director Permit,  Lecturer: Early Childhood Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, California State University Los Angeles. She is currently teaching graduate hybrid courses at several universities.  As Dr. Cameron continues to soar in education, she still continues to pursue her musical career as a classical pianist another ambitious initiative she wants to accomplish.

On February 13, 2020, Paul T. Busceni, EdD, Chair, P12 Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

School of Education, Capella University, wrote to Dr. Cameron:

“I am pleased to inform you that you are a recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Faculty of the Year award – Congratulations on your achievement!   You are receiving an award for your outstanding performance in GuidedPath (GP) for teaching.  You are receiving the award because you demonstrate excellence in three categories of considerations: quantitative metrics, qualitative data, and my overall evaluation.  Your performance met and exceeded expectations for GP teaching.”

Already, she receives notice, “While award recipients are not automatically renewed in the OFY process, as the pool of faculty changes in each evaluation cycle, I am confident that your strong performance will make you an eligible candidate for consideration,” the chairman wrote.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Education, International, Local0 Comments

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