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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


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

[2]           See NewScientist

[3]           See van Doremalen of US NIH et al

[4]           See PIX11:

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


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


Coronavirus: Schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland to shut

Reprint – from the Irish Times

Shutdown starts this evening and runs until March 29th, restrictions placed on gatherings

TMR Editor: With the banning of gatherings of travel all around the western world, and we can specify as it gets closer to home in many close ways, the UK and the US, questions are now looming and becoming somewhat vocal. What is the Montserrat, local government doing in the face of all that?

The next question with the announced preparations (for protection) the serious and important question is also asked, somewhere, ” Have any extra resources been allocated to Montserrat, by the UK out of the huge allocation towards this ‘pandemic’
Do we have the capability to test? Can we detect the disease?
If we cannot even detect the disease, how are we going to slow the spread?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlining the new measures at Blair House, Washington DC, on Thursday. Photograph: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlining the new measures at Blair House, Washington DC, on Thursday. Photograph: PA

Pat Leahy, Paul Cullen, Suzanne Lynch, Fiach Kelly

Schools, colleges and other public facilities are set to close in the Republic from this evening for at least two weeks in response to the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking from Washington DC on Thursday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the measures being announced today would remain in place until March 29th and would be kept under review.

From 6 pm, schools, colleges, and childcare facilities will close, Mr. Varadkar said. Cultural centres will also close, he said.

The Government is also banning indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people.

People should continue to go to work if they can, but those who are able to work from home should do so, he added.

Shops and supply chains will remain open, the Taoiseach said, and cafes and restaurants can remain open. He also said people should minimise social interaction where possible.

Public transport will continue to operate.

Mr. Varadkar did not comment on the US travel ban announced last night. The ban applies to visitors from most European states, but not Ireland.


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The Mater Hospital announced it is limiting activity to essential services from Thursday.

The announcement comes a day after the first death from coronavirus was recorded in the Republic.

In a statement on Thursday, the hospital said all outpatient appointments and elective surgeries would be “limited to essential services only until further notice”.

It said: “The Mater regrets the impact that this will have on our patients but these new arrangements are necessary in order to deal with the impact of Covid-19.”

Patients whose appointments are being deferred will be contacted by phone, the hospital said, adding every effort is being made to manage and control the spread of coronavirus.

“Our staff across every part of the hospital are carrying out Trojan work around the clock to deal with the virus, care for those infected and to protect and care for other patients in the hospital,” it said.

Visitor restrictions remain in place at the hospital. The only visitors allowed are those visiting patients in critical care, vulnerable young adults or those whose loved ones are receiving end-of-life care, the hospital said. No children are permitted to visit the hospital.

The public has been told to limit its social interactions and stop shaking hands with others as part of enhanced containment measures following the announcement of the first death from the disease.

The elderly woman had an underlying condition that was terminal and died on Wednesday at Naas General Hospital.

“The death took place in the last 24 hours. The diagnosis was part of the certification of the death of the individual,” chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan said on Wednesday night.

A number of other patients in hospital with the disease are understood to be seriously ill.

The National Public Health Emergency Team said on Wednesday evening that containment measures would now be enhanced. It asked members of the public to “consider how to limit your social interactions” and to “avoid indoor, crowded spaces”, shaking hands and “close personal contact”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) for the first time yesterday labeled the coronavirus a pandemic, adding Italy and Iran were on the front line of the disease and other countries would soon join them.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, Education, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments


The 2020 St. Patrick’s Lecture

Gracelyn Cassell

One of the quieter events of the St. Patrick’s Festival is the St. Patrick’s Lecture’ which usually takes place near the beginning of the festival activities. It takes place this year on Tuesday evening, March 10 beginning at 6.00 p.m.

Often, the event which allows for discussion after the presentation, is lively with interest. This year it takes place as usual at the Cultural Centre on a somewhat unusual topic: Praedial Larceny: A Scourge on Agricultural Production and Food Security.

The presenter to be Miss Gracelyn Cassell who is currently the Resident Tutor and Head of the UWI School of Continuing Studies, now called The UWI Open Campus Site Montserrat.

The 2020 Lecture will explore the history of a problem that affected our enslaved ancestors in Montserrat and in the wider Caribbean and continues to affect us today.  In many jurisdictions, praedial larceny is reported as being on the increase, resulting in huge losses for farmers, fishers, and families.  The search for deterrents and workable solutions, including the use of technology, has intensified.

The presentation will take the form of an interactive discussion intended to capture the experiences of victims as well as perpetrators of a crime that was once punishable by flogging. 

It is anticipated that realistic solutions will emerge from the discourse and can be presented for consideration by Government officials and policymakers. 

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Culture, Education, International, Local, News, Opinions, Regional0 Comments


MSS Tiffany gets one of ECCB RSS ARU top award

by B. Roach

In the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Regional Security System – Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU) inaugural Creative Youth Competition, Tiffany Weekes who just before graduating from the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) took the third place in the age category 13-16  yrs-old.

Tiffany receives trophy

Tiffany was among the top winners of the Competition which is part of the ECCB’s Community Outreach Programme, aimed at encouraging critical and innovative thinking as well as raising the awareness of secondary school and community college students in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) on issues of economic and social development. The 132 entries from the eight states of the OECS wrote on the topic: “Towards a Cashless Society: Challenges, Opportunities and Realities for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union”

Tiffany Weekes (lt) and Indyriah Crichlow (rt) with Angela Estwick

Miss Angela Estwick, ECCB-Country Manager, Montserrat attended the MSS morning assembly on November 11, 2019, to congratulate and present the winner and others with awards and Certificates. Tiffany gained eight grade ones in the CXC examinations this year.

Indyriah Crichlow received a certificate awarded Best in Country, an award made to the best essay in each territory after the top awards.

Posted in Education, Featured, Local, News, OECS, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Literary Festival coming – its here

by Cathy Buffonge

Brades – Nov 2, 2019 – Montserrat’s Alliouagana Festival of the Word is just around the corner, and all are encouraged to check it out. The Festival will run from Thursday, November 14 to Sunday, November 17, and as usual, it promises to be an exciting weekend.

On the Thursday morning there’s the primary schools’ Book Parade, organized by the Ministry of Education with two of the visiting authors speaking to the children at the end of the Parade. They are Miami-based Montserratian journalist and author Edwin Martin, and Toronto-based Jamaican author, Olive Senior, both of whom also feature in the Festival events at the weekend.

On the Thursday evening there is the launch of the MVO’s exhibition “Disaster Passed?”, an exciting and innovative walk-in booth full of information and electronic representations about the volcanic activity and how it’s affected the island. This will remain open until Saturday afternoon when it will be moved to the Community College in time for the “Word Up” event.  Several calypsonians will also perform volcano-related songs.

The Arrow memorial lecture will also be presented on Thursday evening. This year’s lecturer is Dr. Clarice Barnes who will speak on the topic “The Chance Pond Mermaid and Diamond Snake Meme: contending issues in gathering our volcano stories”. This promises to be an interesting topic. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday sessions will all take place at the Cultural Centre.

On the Friday morning visiting authors will speak with students at the various schools including MSS and the Community College. The Friday evening features the official opening of the Festival, along with the launch of three new books.

The Saturday will feature sessions by two more visiting authors on some challenging topics on race and lingering inequality, as well as a presentation on West Indian builders of the Panama Canal. In the afternoon there will be the prize-giving for the MVO creative writing competition, always a nice occasion as the children read what they have written. This will be followed by the spelling and reading competitions, sponsored by publishers Harper Collins. Antiguan bookseller Barbara Arindell, a very faithful supporter of the Literary Festival, will coordinate.

The evening will see the annual “Word Up” at the Community College, featuring informal performances by students and other young people, always a popular event, together with the MVO’s interactive volcano exhibition, which will remain there for the rest of the week.

The Sunday sessions will be held at the MVO and will feature a session on Montserrat’s heroes and legends by Edwin Martin, discussing the massive contributions by three recently deceased Montserratians who contributed to the island in many different ways. Also on Sunday, there will be a video discussing reparations, a topic which ties in with some of Saturday’s sessions, and one of a musical by famous Caribbean writer Derek Walcott on the history of the Steelband. The history of Africa will also be in focus. The entire programme is coordinated as always by committed UWI Open Campus head Gracelyn Cassell.

I hope the above will sensitize folks to come to some or all of the sessions at the Alliouagana Festival, which are free of charge. The visiting resource persons are only here for the weekend and it’s a privilege and a unique opportunity to hear what they have to say.

Posted in CARICOM, Education, International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Electoral Commission presents Voting process Education – 2019 General Elections

Montserrat Elections Voter Education

Presented by the Montserrat Electoral Commission

Posted in Advertisements, Classified, Education, Elections, International, Local, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Long Past students etc DSC_9401 web

St. Augustine School Celebrates 144 Years

One hundred and forty-four years – it is the birthday of the (RC) St. Augustine school and the school did not let it by without a celebration which lasted throughout the morning from 10.30.

The 144-years birthday cake

Although the celebration marks 144 years of the school it the belief is that it has been
recorded that Catholic education began as far back as 15 years earlier around 1860, with no school building but with classes being held in the church building in Plymouth.
It was inn 1875 under the direction of Fr. Gagneux a small school was built which
was later named the Roman Catholic School, known today as the St. Augustine
Roman Catholic primary school, with a history known with plans for a Secondary
school, but perhaps for Hurricane Hugo and Soufriere Hills volcano.
A brief history of the school appears under the authorship of Cathy Buffonge in a 125th Anniversary booklet in 2000 under the title “To God be the Glory – St. Augustine School – 1875 – 2000. There you will find the motto of the school “No

Students marching and celebrating – mini-rally from Cheap End to the school

varum te no varum me”, “To know God and to know myself”.
The celebration to mark officially the 144th anniversary began with a roll call at 9.00 a.m. the usual hour of the beginning of a school day; Career Pathways (Grade K – 2/5-6); a Treasure Hunt “Know Your School”; and the mini-rally from Cheap End to the basketball court (multipurpose) on the school compound in Woodlands where it has been since the relocation from Plymouth in 1996, (the volcano of course.)
A celebration assembly began at 11.45 a.m. where Respect Certificates were
distributed by Mrs. Veronica Hector, a visiting tutor at the school, preceded by a mini talk delivered by Mrs. Vernetta Williams, a long-standing teacher – “My St. Augustine School”.
The program went through with the break for lunch, and witnessing the children thoroughly enjoying themselves in such disciplined fashion was captured and worth seeing. There were winners of Respect awards and the Know your school quiz. A Career Fair took the day ending in time for school dismissal at 3.00 p.m.

Teacher and students perform fun exercises
Deserving Students receive ‘Respect Certificates’
Long past students and student/principal: Mrs. Camilla Watts, Melvina Maloney, and Eileen Ewards

Posted in Education, Featured, International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Caricom Invites Stay in the Loop

CARICOM invites – Stay in the Loop – Reports to Sept. 27

Posted in CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Education, Elections, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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