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CARICOM Foreign Ministers hold two-day strategic meeting

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – The CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) held a Special Meeting on 16-17 2021, hosted by the Consul General of Jamaica in Miami, Florida, USA. It was the first in-person meeting of the COFCOR since the onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic in January 2020, bringing together Ministers who had assumed office over the past eighteen months and their colleagues.

The Meeting was strategic in intent and provided the opportunity to define common positions and to thereby strengthen the coordination of approaches on foreign policy matters. Views were expressed on a CARICOM Vision 2050 and Strategic Positioning of the Community in that regard. Threats and opportunities were outlined and discussions centered on the web of relations with international partners, Third States, as well as regional and international organisations which would help to shape a strategic foreign policy agenda for the Community.
 

The Meeting’s agenda also included the multifaceted effects of COVID 19 including inequitable access to vaccines and the emerging two-tiered system of vaccine approval related to international travel, as well as the barriers to access to concessional financing and other obstacles to economic recovery. Attention was paid to bilateral and multilateral relations within the Western Hemisphere, as well as to concerns arising from areas of political instability in the wider Caribbean region. Discussions on the Community’s relations with regional and hemispheric organisations was also undertaken with a view to strengthening that interface.

The situation in Haiti was discussed and possible modes of intervention by CARICOM to assist a Haiti-driven solution were explored.
  Deliberations also took place with regard to extra-regional partnerships with focus being placed on the recent strengthening of relations with Africa and the required follow-up to the first Summit last month. Relations with the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the Commonwealth were also discussed.  With regard to the latter where the issue of the renewal of the term of office of the Secretary-General remains pending, the Council reiterated its stance that the incumbent, Baroness Scotland, enjoys the broad support of the Community.  

TWENTY-FOURTH MEETING OF THE COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS (COFCOR) VIRTUAL
6-7 MAY 2021

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held virtually on the 6-7 May 2021, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize.
 
The COFCOR was attended by Honourable E. P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade of Antigua and Barbuda; Senator Dr. the Honourable Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados; Honourable Dr. Kenneth Darroux, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations of the Commonwealth of Dominica; Honourable Oliver Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and CARICOM Affairs of Grenada; Honourable Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Guyana; His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, Prime Minister a.i. and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Republic of Haiti; Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Honourable Mark A.G. Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis; His Excellency Albert Ramdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of the Republic of Suriname; and Senator the Honourable Dr. Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
 
His Excellency Reuben Rahming, Ambassador to The Bahamas to CARICOM, represented The Bahamas; Her Excellency Elma Gene Isaac, Ambassador to CARICOM to Saint Lucia, represented Saint Lucia; and His Excellency Allan Alexander, Ambassador of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to CARICOM represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
 
OPENING CEREMONY
 
Remarks were delivered by Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, Prime Minister a.i and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Republic of Haiti, outgoing Chair of the COFCOR, and the Honourable Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration of Belize, the Chair of the COFCOR.
(The statements are available at www.caricom.org)
 
COORDINATION OF FOREIGN POLICY
 
CARICOM Foreign Minister re-emphasised the importance for the Region to speak with one voice through the coordination of foreign policy, and the need to find new and more effective ways to strengthen the existing coordination mechanisms while recognising the sovereign right of Member States. It was noted that there continues to be successful coordination but the increasing complexity of international issues requires that it be enhanced.  In that regard, the COFCOR agreed to increase the frequency of its meetings. This would enable Ministers to address in a timely fashion new developments and challenges facing the Community and to shape Community responses and policies.
 
CANDIDATURES
 
The COFCOR reiterated the importance of CARICOM’s effective participation in international fora, including through the pursuit of increased CARICOM representation in relevant organisations.  In this regard, Foreign Ministers considered and endorsed a number of CARICOM candidatures to the United Nations (UN), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and other international and regional organisations. They also deliberated on the requests from Third Countries for CARICOM’s endorsement of their candidates to multilateral bodies.

BILATERAL RELATIONS
 
The COFCOR noted the progress made in the strengthening of relations with a number of Third States and groups of states since its last Meeting.  In so doing, it reaffirmed the importance of CARICOM’s relations with its traditional partners and the need to continue to expand the Community’s outreach to other regions and so develop its relations with non-traditional partners and groupings.

The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing its public health and economic effects, in particular the need for equitable access to vaccines and to economic recovery financing, were among the Community’s priority concerns discussed and for which assistance was sought.

Ministers discussed relations the African Union. They reaffirmed their readiness for a CARICOM-AU Summit as soon as practicable.

The COFCOR expressed its continued concern that the US embargo against Cuba has a significant adverse impact on the socio-economic development of Cuba and the well-being of the Cuban People.  Foreign Ministers reiterated CARICOM’s support for the termination of the long-standing US economic, financial and commercial embargo against Cuba and agreed to continue to advocate in this regard.

MULTILATERAL AND HEMISPHERIC RELATIONS

United Nations (UN)
 
The COFCOR noted the developments regarding pursuit of the Financing for Development (FfD) agenda and the challenges associated with expanding public health expenditures while applying fiscal containment measures in line with the economic downturn arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Foreign Ministers commended the Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica who joined with the Prime Minister of Canada and the UN Secretary-General to launch an initiative that has resulted in a menu of over 250 policy options to address Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and beyond.   

The COFCOR agreed on the need for global solutions to the various challenges facing Small Island and Low-Lying Coastal Developing States, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COFCOR also agreed that the Community should continue to prioritise the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway in a robust manner, including the launch of a strong COVID-19 economic recovery related appeal to the international community and, in particular the G20, asking for the expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The COFCOR encouraged the consideration of innovative debt relief measures such as debt swaps, debt buybacks, and State Contingent Debt Instruments to ease the economic fallout of the pandemic.
 They also agreed to continue to advocate against –

  1. the designation of CARICOM Member States as high-risk territories thereby resulting in the ongoing loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs); and
  • the unilateral actions to blacklist some Member States as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

The COFCOR welcomed the convening of a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being hosted by the UN Secretary-General in October 2021 and encouraged the highest level of participation from Member States.

The COFCOR agreed to continue to advance a common regional position, at the fourth and final Inter-Governmental Conference for the development of an Internationally Legally Binding Instrument on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) scheduled for 16-27 August 2021.

Organisation of American States (OAS)

The COFCOR received an update on the issues of strategic importance to the Caribbean Community before the Organisation of American States (OAS). Foreign Ministers welcomed the CARICOM Framework Strategy entitled Vulnerability to Resilience put in place by the OAS Secretary-General with the assistance of the CARICOM Caucus. Ministers expressed concern over the limited resources allocated to areas identified as priority to CARICOM and agreed that every effort should be made to ensure that adequate resources are allotted to these areas. Foreign Ministers agreed to raise this matter at the Fifty-First OAS General Assembly, scheduled to be hosted this year by Guatemala. They also reiterated their commitment to the work of the hemispheric body. The COFCOR commended the work of the CARICOM Caucus in Washington D.C.

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)
The COFCOR reviewed a synopsis of the 2021 Work Programme of the CELAC PPT Mexico and commended the PPT Mexico and CELAC for advancing priorities related to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and economic fronts.

Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
The Council welcomed the assumption to the office of His Excellency Rodolfo Sabonge as the new Secretary-General of the ACS and agreed that CARICOM Member States should continue to act strategically within the Association.
Foreign Ministers commended the coordination efforts in the Greater Caribbean in response to the pandemic.

CLIMATE CHANGE
The COFCOR agreed that COP26 should be the COP of Ambitious Action and that it must result in greater speed in scaling up climate finance flows to SIDS via the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finance mechanisms, the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. Foreign Ministers also reiterated their support to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

In preparation for COP26, the COFCOR emphasised the need for the Member States to engage in wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders at the national and regional levels.

BORDER ISSUES
Belize-Guatemala Dispute
The COFCOR received an update on developments between Belize and Guatemala, including in respect of the case, arising from Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim, that is now before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final and definitive resolution, in accordance with the Special Agreement to Submit Guatemala’s Claim to the ICJ.

The COFCOR urged Belize, Guatemala and the OAS to respect and implement fully the Confidence Building Measures as agreed under their Framework Agreement of 2005, pending a resolution of the case before the ICJ. They further urged both countries and the OAS to reinvigorate their efforts to engage in the design and development of a mechanism of cooperation for the Sarstoon River, which remains outstanding.

The COFCOR recognises and supports the OAS’ crucial role in the process aimed at resolving the dispute, arising from Guatemala’s claims on Belize, and called on the international community to continue supporting the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone.

The COFCOR reaffirmed its unwavering support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize.

Guyana-Venezuela Controversy
Foreign Ministers received an update on the most recent developments in the controversy between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. They noted that Guyana had begun to prepare its Memorial for submission on 8 March 2022 in accordance with the schedule set by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hear the case on the merits of Guyana’s application concerning the validity of the Arbitral Award of 1899 and the related question of the definitive settlement of the land boundary between the two countries.

Foreign Ministers reiterated the expression by CARICOM Heads of Government of the Community’s full support for the ongoing judicial process that is intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long-standing controversy between the two countries and urged Venezuela to participate in the process.

Foreign Ministers remained very concerned about the threatening posture of Venezuela and reaffirmed their consistent support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.

ADVANCNG REGIONAL PRIORITIES: CARICOM AGRI-FOOD AGENDA
The COFCOR affirmed the strategy adopted at the Thirty-Second Inter-sessional Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government (February 2021) for the advancement of the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Agenda with priority attention to regional food and nutrition security. Ministers agreed to include the Agenda among the priority issues for engagement with relevant partners and in international fora, including the UN Food Systems Summit and the Summit of the Americas.

UNCTAD XV
The COFCOR received a report from Barbados on preparations for UNCTAD XV and noted that the Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Barbados in 2020, will now be held virtually on 3 October 2021.

Foreign Ministers commended Barbados for its continuing efforts to convene this important Conference and affirmed their commitment to work collectively with Barbados in ensuring that CARICOM SIDS specific issues are reflected in the outcome of UNCTAD XV.

Posted in CARICOM, Columns, COVID-19, Crime, Energy, Environment, General, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Mareks-Disease-in-Chickens-a-model-for-immunity-escape-Cr-Kumawat-Slideshare-3

“Losing patience” with the unvaxxed vs playing with the fire of “leaky” vaccines

Contribution 128/‘21 # 20)

Have we put the cart before the horse with this pandemic, as leaky vaxxes can trigger the rapid spread of more dangerous strains? (And so, back to the value of Ivermectin.)

BRADES, Montserrat, September 12, 2021 – It is clear that some health authorities and governments across the Caribbean and wider world are beginning to “lose patience” with the not vaccinated. Such are widely viewed as misinformed, as idiotic,[1] stubborn, led by armchair instigators, as a dangerous source of spreading the pandemic, even as irresponsible and antisocial. Street talk and social media buzz show that some here in Montserrat are catching the impatience fever. We need to cool down the temperature and show why effective treatments such as Ivermectin are a key strategy.

Marek’s Disease in Chickens, a model for immunity escape
[Cr Kumawat, Slideshare]

For, there is a Marek’s Disease Virus[2] shaped reason why Pfizer’s CEO recently touted his bright shiny new pill and finally publicly admitted that “Success against #COVID19 will likely require both vaccines & treatments.”[3]For, here in Montserrat, across the region and the world, we are playing with the fire of “leaky,” “non-sterilising” vaccines.

The case of Marek’s Disease Virus in chickens – yes, chickens – tells us why.

Andrew F Read et al. let the cat out of the bag,  in PLOS Biology, back in July 2015[4]:

“Vaccines that keep hosts alive but still allow transmission could . . .  allow very virulent strains to circulate in a population. Here we show experimentally that immunization of chickens against Marek’s disease virus enhances the fitness of more virulent strains . . . . When vaccines prevent transmission, as is the case for nearly all vaccines used in humans, this type of evolution towards increased virulence is blocked. But when vaccines leak, allowing at least some pathogen transmission, they could create the ecological conditions that would allow hot strains to emerge and persist . . . [W]e report experiments with Marek’s disease virus in poultry that show that modern commercial leaky vaccines can have precisely this effect: they allow the onward transmission of strains otherwise too lethal to persist. Thus, the use of leaky vaccines can facilitate the evolution of pathogen strains that put unvaccinated hosts at greater risk of severe disease.”

The article also notes that:

“Efficacy and mode of action are key. If [a] vaccine is sterilizing, so that transmission is stopped, no evolution can occur. But if it is non-sterilizing, so that naturally acquired pathogens can transmit from immunized individuals (what we hereafter call a “leaky” vaccine), virulent strains will be able to circulate in situations in which natural selection would have once removed them . . .” 

It is of course obvious that local, regional and international officials recognise that the major Covid-19 vaccines (including the AstraZeneca used in Montserrat) are “non-sterilising.” That’s why the vaccinated have continued to be tested and quarantined. That’s why they must still wear face masks and do social distancing etc. That’s why it is admitted they can catch and infect others with the disease, though it is believed that the vaccines reduce the intensity of the disease. And, it is why, with Delta strain on the loose, we see significant numbers of cases where the “fully vaccinated” are becoming seriously ill or worse with Covid-19. So, again, as a recent report on Israel (which is now pushing third jabs) noted[5]:

“As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19 . . . 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older. “There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,”  says Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) . . . “One of the big stories from Israel is:

‘Vaccines work, but not well enough.’” [“A grim warning from Israel: Vaccination blunts, but does not defeat Delta” Science Mag dot Org, August 16, 2021.]

In short, those who are “losing patience” with the unvaxxed have put the cart before the horse and are sliding into blaming the victim.

It was obvious from the beginning that the major anti-Covid-19 vaccines were “leaky” or “non-sterilising.” The researchers, regulators, and officials all knew that. We can take it to the bank that they knew about the Marek Virus evidence, that leaky vaxxes can turn the vaxxed into reservoirs for more dangerous, more infectious, fast-spreading strains than would naturally have come about. So, we know one reason they are desperate to get everyone jabbed, they fear a  truly lethal breakout strain, let’s call it Delta-plus. But we are not locked up in such a dilemma. There is the Ivermectin-based treatment option that should have been vigorously pushed as the treatment arm of our pandemic strategy for many months now.

But, someone following the WHO-FDA talking points,[6] may say, there’s no scientific evidence of that.

False, irresponsibly, destructively, inexcusably false, with lives on the line.

For one example, here are Omura et al from Japan, in a review article published in March this year[7] – yes, six months ago:

 “As of the 30th  of January 2021, a total of 91 trials in 27 countries has been recorded at these registration sites. There are 43 trials in phase 3 and 27 trials in phase 2, along with 17 observational studies. This includes 80 trials being conducted for therapeutic purposes and 11 for the purpose of preventing the onset of disease in close contacts and healthcare professionals. Furthermore,  by the 27th of February, the results of 42  clinical trials,  including approximately 15,000 patients (both registered and unregistered studies) have been subjected to a meta-analysis after exclusion of biasing factors. It was found that 83% showed improvements with early treatment,  51%  improved during late-stage treatment, and there was an 89% prevention of onset rate noted. This confirms the usefulness of ivermectin. Since it is a meta-analysis based on 42 test results, it is estimated that the probability of this comprehensive judgment being a mistake is as low  as one  in  four  trillion.” [The Japanese Journal of Antibiotics 74-1. Ivermectin emerged from research done in Japan.]

Investors and gamblers would salivate over an opportunity to bet with odds of four million, millions to one in favour of success. That is far more than adequate, robust scientific evidence to allow physicians to prescribe Ivermectin as a preventative, as a treatment to stamp out early-stage Covid-19, and even as part of protocols for seriously ill patients.[8] Those who have pretended otherwise have done the world a grave disservice.

It is time for a fresh conversation and a fresh approach to taming the pandemic before it becomes an even more destructive immune escape monster, say, Delta-plus. That is going to require that we back away from the WHO-FDA talking points and recognise the evidence for and legitimacy of treatments based on repurposed, proved medications such as Ivermectin.


[1]TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/failing-the-horse-de-wormer-test/

[2] See https://extension.psu.edu/mareks-disease-in-chickens-description-and-prevention

[3] See https://twitter.com/AlbertBourla/status/1433024869168558081?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

[4] See PLOS Biology https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

[5] TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/covid-19-vaccine-trends-concerns-and-misinformation/ see also https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/grim-warning-israel-vaccination-blunts-does-not-defeat-delta 

[6]See FLCCC point by point response https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CLEAN-FLCCC-STATEMENT-AGAINST-THE-GLOBAL-IVERMECTIN-DISINFORMATION-CAMPAIGN-5.11.2021.pdf

[7] See JJA http://jja-contents.wdc-jp.com/pdf/JJA74/74-1-open/74-1_44-95.pdf

[8] See https://covid19criticalcare.com/covid-19-protocols/

Posted in Columns, COVID-19, De Ole Dawg, Environment, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, Science/Technology, Travel0 Comments

flood-zone

Flood Zone MPs Issue Plea To “Radically Reform” Green Plans After Alarming Climate Report

Reprint

by Alain Tolhurst @Alain_Tolhurst

After this week’s “code red” climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned the planet is warming at a more alarming rate than expected, MPs from both major parties fear recent flooding is set to get much worse and are calling for more to be done at both a local and global scale.

The report forecasts rising sea levels, extreme heatwaves and droughts with only urgent and deep cuts in carbon emissions able to reverse the rising temperatures.

In Europe, it predicts “extreme precipitation and pluvial flooding are projected to increase at global warming levels exceeding 1.5C in all regions except the Mediterranean.”

The IPCC also warned of more rainfall during winter and highlighted threats to cities due to the “urban heat island effect”, as warmer air can hold more water.

PoliticsHome spoke to Labour’s Stella Creasy, whose east London constituency of Walthamstow was hammered by flash flooding this summer, and the Conservative MP Mark Garnier, whose Wyre Forest seat in Worcestershire contains the town of Bewdley, which has repeatedly been devastated by the River Severn bursting its banks after prolonged rainfall.

Two very different areas, facing very different versions of the same problem, and both are equally concerned about what the future holds for their areas in light of the IPCC report.

“We need to radically reform how we respond to extreme weather events in local communities,” Creasy said.

“We don’t have that level of logistical organisation, because this is new, but it is not going to go away.”

Creasy told us she has constituents “who are actually terrified of the weather because if you see the predicted rainfall you don’t know what the impact will be”. Some have said they avoid watching the weather reports altogether in case there’s more rain predicted.

Walthamstow was one of a number of London neighbourhoods hit by storms last month dumping several weeks’ worth of rain in a matter of hours, flooding homes and Tube stations, closing roads and even leading to one hospital closing to admissions. 

“We have underlying issues with our infrastructure,” Creasy explains. “There are certain roads and places where it’s very clear that work has needed to have taken place to improve drainage.

“But two weeks ago we had over 100 roads flooded, that isn’t one or two problems from running an antiquated infrastructure system, but it’s a whole new ballgame of water and variation in weather, but we are going to have to cope with it.”

Creasy wants to see an end to the privatisation of water companies and a move to the mutualisation model seen in Germany, where the firms are not for profit and invest in its infrastructure.

“I think the public has to be part of this, because it’s not just about running a service, this is about radically reorganising services to cope with the fact that we’re going to get changeable weather,” she added.

Creasy also highlighted insurance issues, with a lack of flood cover leaving people to foot the bill for the “absolute devastation” left behind.

“I’ve got the 10th-highest level of child poverty in the country in Walthamstow,” she said. “That is driven by housing so this is an equality issue for me.”

She fears “the least equipped in our communities will suffer the most unless there is collective action”.

Flooding may be a recent phenomenon for Creasy’s London constituents, but it is a depressingly more recurrent one for Garnier’s in Worcestershire.

In the past three years Bewdley has faced three consecutive “once in a hundred years” flooding events, and while millions of pounds have already been spent on protecting the area, homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Boris Johnson was heckled by residents as a “traitor” when he visited the town in 2020.

“Through the millennia we’ve been changing the way we live due to our circumstances, and the problem with Bewdley is it was built hundreds of years ago and much of it can’t cope with what’s been happening,” Garnier explained.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to have to come up with ways of fighting back. The danger towns like Bewdley and other places face because of where they are, and the environment is changing around it, is you need to make a decision about what to do about that.”

Last month the government announced £6.2million would be spent replacing the temporary barriers at Beales Corner with a more permanent solution as part of an ongoing record £5.2billion investment between 2021-27, which will create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties across England.

Garnier said the current protections have to be put up well in advance of a potential flood caused by a build-up of water upstream, meaning locals would be worried just by the forecast of storms, and massive disruption would be created even if the rain never came.

He welcomes the investment but says more needs to be done so areas like his can cope with an increase in flooding as the planet continues to warm.

“Ultimately I think most people will come to the conclusion that you do not abandon these towns, you protect them,” he added.

The former minister’s Tory party has committed to ambitious targets in cutting emissions ahead of hosting the COP26 global climate conference in November, but is facing a backlash from some of its own MPs with pushes to scrap petrol and diesel cars and switch gas boilers for more eco-friendly heat pumps.

Garnier, who met with local Extinction Rebellion climate campaigners the day before the IPCC report came out, said he understands some of his colleagues’ concerns.

“I think everybody’s concerned about climate change but I think we have got a bit of a challenge in terms of how do we bring people along on this journey and how do we make this journey a sustainable one”, he said.

“You can come up with these ideas but if you’re going to take somebody’s job away from them, they’ve just been forced to vote against that.”

He said the government must “work out a way where we can change the economy at a pace that is quick enough to deal with this problem, but also a place where people can understand how their lives will change and where they’re comfortable with it”.

“Ultimately the electorate will determine the pace at which we move on this, but I do think everybody collectively is wanting us to move quicker on that,” Garnier added.

Creasy is less equivocal: “We need to move much further and faster than we have been about reducing targets because that [IPCC] report is just terrifying.”

“We’re not being straight with the public about what the choices are that we’re going to face, and the longer we leave it, the harder it’s going to be,” she continued.

“I think if you treat the public as children, don’t be surprised if they act like toddlers. Treat the public as grownups and you involve them and you engage them in the proper conversation.

“I would say that to the campaigners too. This is not about frightening people, this is about presenting people with a plan, and the choices that they can make and how quickly we can get there.

Creasy said she had “every confidence” that the British public were supportive of radical action on climate change.

“They are not daft, and they can see the benefits to themselves, they can see the benefits to their kids, and they can see the benefits to their communities,” she said.

“That’s the conversation that should be taking place, not one that either downplays what is happening, or suggests that it’s all to do with, you know, some kind of dinner policy agenda about greening the countryside.”

Posted in Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local0 Comments

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We need to know the true state of our economy

Contribution – Part 117 (DOD ‘21 # 11)

How can we make a proper, strongly supported case for economic relief unless we understand where our economy is?

BRADES, Montserrat, July 8, 2021 –  On June 17, 2021, Hon Premier Easton Taylor Farrell presented our annual budget, which had been delayed in part due to the need for a poverty assessment due for May.  However, during his speech, the Premier did not give us specific statistics on poverty. Indeed, while he gave us economic growth rate figures for the world and for the UK as well as the EC region, he did not do so for Montserrat. Such an omission is likely to be significant (as we have been battered by both a volcano crisis and now a pandemic), and there is a public need and right to know what the state of our economy is. It may be bad, but it is the base on which we must build to achieve a brighter future.

SOURCES, ECCB Reports, Labour survey; Budget speech and radio remarks

Accordingly, once we could find figures at ECCB and once we heard hints from the budget debate and on a subsequent Opposition programme on Tuesday, July 6, we think it is important to share what we found.

The figures, reflecting the pandemic riding on top of twenty-six years of volcano crisis, are – as expected – less than happy reading.

However, we must emphasise: it was the duty of the presenters of the budget, to be frank with the public about our economic performance. If that is not done consistently, astute investors will begin to “read between the lines,” drawing prudent conclusions from what is not said, and not to our advantage.  Others will take their cues from what the smart money players are doing – “signalling” – and business confidence, for cause, will collapse.

Instead, let us face the numbers, again recognising the impact of many years of volcano crisis and the added blow from the pandemic. Then, let us look at how the CIPREG projects approved in 2019 after years of effort to make the case are likely to help to turn the tide.  For, the UK’s confidence to invest in key growth-driving infrastructure is a very good long term signal for Montserrat. Yes, it’s been long, it’s been rough, but we are coming back, better than ever.

A point of surprise (given much talk of a “dead, dead, dead” economy) is that by 2019, the economy was already growing at a 6 – 7% clip. Where, yes, our local economic model runs about 1½% hotter than ECCB’s. But the two models agree that there was about a 14% adverse swing in growth due to the pandemic hit. For further example, low construction activity readily accounts for the high unemployment rate for men. We should note, though, that construction is not that much larger than the much bemoaned agricultural sector (usually pegged at 2 – 3% of GDP); that means, we should not write off agriculture’s potential to help make a difference to growth. Likewise, tourist arrivals, pre-pandemic, were well along the way to the sort of goals that were suggested by planners a decade or so ago. There is obvious room for growth, with tourism as a first growth driver. Close behind, are digitalisation and Geothermal Energy. But we should not overlook agriculture and other possibilities such as light manufacturing (bottled water for example) or even educational tourism.

The linked concern is, how hard the pandemic and lack of a sustained stimulus have hit struggling businesses, families facing income losses or gaps and our financial institutions with a one-two punch combo.  Let us see what we can do to help businesses and people who look to construction, tourism and the like. Of course, the cloud, that given a volcano crisis weakened economy the Civil Service is about half of employment, has the silver lining that the steady income probably cushioned some of the additional blows. But, we want growth, and growth led by the private sector.

That noted, the growth rate for 2019 also suggests that CIPREG should lay a basis for sustained, accelerated growth.  Is there need to mention, in a pandemic world, that a solid hospital is a key enabler for growth? That, in a digital age, solid education with good exposure to key technologies is another key enabler? That we will need training for the hospitality industry? That workers need somewhere to live? That public transport is important, as is access? Have we forgotten how many ways the ferry enabled the small business sector and facilitated travel for so many of us? That this last issue will be the subject of serious if not urgent review as to the motives and beneficial consequences for the disablement?

The high youth unemployment rate is of particular concern, and easily explains the problem of an annual emigration of graduates from our secondary school. We need growth sectors to draw in our youth and give hope for the future. That is in part, what CIPREG is about.

All of this, then draws attention to the missing stimulus.

Yes, missing. Montserrat is probably comparable to a small rural town in England or Wales. With something like £300 billion in pandemic stimulus on the cards, there was no good reason why we should not have had a much more significant intervention, given our pre-existing volcano-ravaged economy. Yes, CIPREG is important, but it is a medium-to-long-term measure. Bridging support is manifestly needed.

The UK acknowledges the legal force of the UN Charter, Article 73, so it should be feasible to negotiate for such a support package; those who tried to deride, dismiss and mock the relevance of this Charter have done us no favours. Let us now re-think and act on this key high card for negotiations. Yes, the UK is legally bound to promote constructive measures of development and to ensure our economic, educational, social and political advancement while respecting our culture.

For those negotiations, the UK’s own domestic support is an obvious yardstick, and social housing, road development and support to businesses and those facing hardships would be logical targets. Similarly, this is the time to make the point that we need to have a proper port development, with a breakwater. Not least, the UK’s domestic pandemic package shows that they know that in the face of a blow like this, failing to inject significant support would only enable a further economic down spiral. That holds for Montserrat, too, and so they must know that an inadequate aid intervention would predictably help to make matters worse. Especially, if it damages the capacity of our tourism sector. Our case for economic support is naturally quite strong. We must make it and we must show our capability and sound governance to build confidence that we can implement successfully.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, COVID-19, De Ole Dawg, Environment, Featured, Features, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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NHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

by Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline

TMR: As we here agree but for different reasons;  knowing our GoM somehow do not reference much CARPHA/PAHO/WHO but follow UK directives, mostly though seemingly without question or study.

Doctors and NHS trusts are demanding a plan for Britain’s Autumn booster jab rollout within weeks to ensure the UK can end its ’emergency response’ to Covid-19 and edge further towards normality.

Medics also want clarity from ministers on how long they believe that immunity from the first two jabs will last and whether children are to be vaccinated as England’s proposed ‘Freedom Day’ arrived with little relaxation of rules because of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant.

The challenge of also doing the winter flu jab campaign as usual – and the potential of a combined shot to fight both the flu and coronavirus – must also be overcome as well as keeping an army of volunteers on standby to administer the injections, experts warned today.  

Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers and Royal College of GPs chairman Martin Marshall said the plan to ensure every British adult is offered a jab by July 19 is ‘not so much a finishing line as a staging post’.Adwith Telegraph Media GroupHomeowner over 60? Don’t fall for the equity release myths

One insider told the BBC: ‘We cannot just carry on as we are, with an emergency response’. 

Almost a third of all adults in the UK have now had two jabs, while 80 per cent of the population has had a first jab. But the elderly and vulnerable are expected to need a third jab to protect them this winter. 

Covid booster vaccines are currently being trialled in the UK as health chiefs gear up to offer all over-50s a third dose this autumn.

Southampton University scientists are recruiting thousands of fully-vaccinated Britons to the study, which will test seven Covid jabs as top-ups.

They will record any side-effects analyse the antibody levels of volunteers to check whether the extra dose offered any extra protection. No10’s top scientists are set to be fed the results of the world-first trial to determine how booster shots should be dished out later in the year.

The acceleration of planning for the Autumn came as: 

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The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data

© Provided by Daily MailThe cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data

NHS chiefs warn ministers must END 'emergency Covid response'

© Provided by Daily MailNHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

Covid jabs ‘will be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds before schools return in September’ 

Young people aged 16 and 17 are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine before they return to school after the summer holidays, it has been reported.

According to The Sun, ministers want to give jabs to children for the first time if medical experts say it is safe to do so.

The new plans emerged on the day that Britons would have been celebrating the final lifting of coronavirus restrictions, before the measure was delayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

With a new Freedom Day target of July 17, Downing Street reportedly wants to offer all A-level and college students aged 16 and 17 a vaccine in August before they go back to school in September.

However, it comes after experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are understood to have raised ‘serious ethical concerns’ about inoculating children because of the tiny risk they face of becoming seriously ill. 

The JCVI was reportedly set to urge No10 to hold off jabbing under-18s in the immediate future and wait for more safety data to come out of the US and Israel, where the plans are already in motion.

But a Whitehall source told The Sun that if the JCVI does approve vaccinations for younger age groups, the Government has the ‘capacity and willingness’ to offer them vaccines.  

‘Late teens are some of the most socially active members of society so if we can cut that transmission, it can only be a good thing,’ they added. 

Yesterday, hundreds of people queued to get a jab at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London as the vaccine programme was opened up to people aged 18 to 20.   

More than 700,000 Covid-19 jabs were booked in one day through the national booking service on Friday which equated to 30,000 an hour or more than eight every second.

Experts running the clinical trials said every jab should spark added immunity — but that some may lead to more side-effects than others.

It came as one million jabs were booked over the weekend as officials launched a ‘summer sprint’ to vaccinate all over-18s by July 19.

Thousands queued in the rain for jabs at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London yesterday after the football club turned into a walk-in vaccine clinic for the day. Most of those getting vaccinated were in their late teens or 20s, and also went to similar events at football stadiums all over London over the weekend. 

Patients will be given health MOTs when they go to get their covid boosters or flu jabs, under NHS plans.

Starting this Autumn, they will be offered a range of tests including blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol checks.

NHS officials believe that thousands of lives could be saved by rolling out these routine MOTs to patients at the same time as their jabs.

Scientists are not yet clear as to whether patients will need booster jabs this Autumn and it will depend on how long the protective effects of the first two doses last, based on the evidence from trials.

But NHS officials are planning to offer these check-ups at flu vaccination clinics – even if the boosters aren’t needed – to try and catch conditions that might otherwise remain undiagnosed.

Amanda Pritchard, the NHS’s Chief Operating Officer said: ‘The NHS is not just a sickness service but a health service which is why we want to make every contact count, using every opportunity

Officials are in a race to vaccinate younger adults in a bid to halt the spread of the Indian variant and stop students bringing Covid-19 back home over the summer holidays, potentially infecting older generations. 

Cases are currently highest among people in their 20s and infections are five times higher in under-25s than in over-65s, as almost all older adults have received both doses.

Everyone aged 18 and over is being urged to arrange a jab if they have not yet had one, as the health service enters the final push to protect the country against the virus. 

Public Health England said there has been a 79 per cent rise in one week in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India, with the increase being driven by younger age groups.

Similar pop-up centres to the one at Tottenham Hotspur were set up on Saturday at sporting venues in London and giant jab clinics were also opened at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.  

There were also pop up clinics at universities, such as in York and Canterbury.

The day before, the vaccine programme was thrown open to all over-18s and the NHS revealed that 1,008,472 jab appointments were booked on Friday and Saturday. 

Social media firms have signed up to a government plan to encourage younger people to get the Covid jab. Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok and YouTube joined the scheme.

The success of the vaccination rollout is crucial if ‘Freedom Day’ can finally go ahead on July 19.

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Ministers consider letting holidaymakers who have received two doses of Covid vaccine skip quarantine after visiting amber list countries 

People who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas, it emerged today. 

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Responding to Dr Hopkins’ remarks, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the Government has not ruled out relaxing restrictions, such as on foreign travel and self-isolation, for those who have received both vaccines. 

‘I think experts like Susan Hopkins are absolutely right to remind us the evidence is still developing on double vaccinations,’ he told the BBC.

‘It looks great, it looks really encouraging, we’re trying to be as flexible as we can. We will keep on looking at all these proposals and flexes as appropriate.’

About two-thirds of cases are in unvaccinated people, and just one in 13 infections are in those who have received both doses.

So far some 59.5 per cent of British adults have had two doses of a vaccine, while 81.6 per cent have had at least one dose.

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, yesterday said she hopes all over-40s – seven in ten of all adults – will be fully vaccinated when restrictions lift.

So far four in five adults have received one dose and three in five have had both vaccines.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: ‘It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to do their bit in the battle against the virus, protecting themselves, their friends and their family. NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to get jabs in arms.’

Yesterday Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director at London Public Health England, said: ‘We’re just about entering into a final summer sprint, where we’re working with local authorities to get the rates up among everybody over the age of 18, but especially those aged over 40. That’s our number-one focus now.’

Professor Fenton said it was unlikely the capital would have all over-30s double-vaccinated by July 19, but that it was vital they had been given one dose by then.

He said the PHE staff in London were ‘really dealing with hesitancy that people may have about getting vaccinated, it’s safety, or where to get it done’. 

The bookings surge came at the end of a week which had already seen almost 1.8 million appointments made in just three days, after the NHS vaccination programme opened up to people in their early twenties.

Some 692,299 appointments were made on Tuesday when 23 and 24-year-olds became eligible for a jab, with another 635,478 booked on Wednesday when the programme was extended to those aged 21 and 22.

There were another 456,366 appointments made on Thursday, meaning more than 2.5 million appointments were booked in just four days since booking opened to under 25s on Tuesday. 

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘This pandemic has been a challenge for everyone but the various restrictions have hit young people particularly hard.

‘That’s why it’s good news that Covid vaccinations are now open to all adults across the country, and already well over three million people in their twenties have now had their first jab.

‘So if you’re 18 and over and haven’t yet had yours, now’s the time. It’s the single easiest way to protect yourself, keep friends and family safe, and hopefully give us all our summer freedoms back.

‘Please encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same, as we’re now in the race to the finish line.

‘The more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we all are, and the sooner freedom can return.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘It’s incredible to see the enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccination across the country, and it is a testament to the fantastic work of the team in keeping as many people safe from Covid-19 as possible.

‘If you’ve yet to book your appointment, I urge you not to hesitate in getting your jab and securing this protection for yourself and your loved ones.’

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Government data up to June 18 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,679,268 were first doses – a rise of 218,636 on the previous day.  Some 31,087,325 were second doses, an increase of 188,858.

Ministers are today facing calls to relax foreign holiday rules after new data revealed fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid.

Just 89 of the 23,465 people who travelled into the UK from amber list countries at the end of last month and the start of this month had a negative Covid test, NHS Test and Trace shows.

The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data.

And there were no cases classed as being ‘variants of concern’ – Alpha, Beta, Delta or Gamma variants – the figures show.

Ministers say the strict foreign travel rules are there to reduce the risk of dangerous variants from reaching the UK.

But the new figures, which cover the period of May 20 to June 9, have led to more calls to relax restrictions – which have caused havoc on the travel industry.   

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, told the Times that the Government should start relying on its successful vaccine roll-out.

He told the paper: ‘Vaccination and testing are making international travel safer just as surely as they make things safer within our borders.

‘It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving again.’ 

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Currently there are 167 countries on the UK’s amber travel list, including top holiday hotspots such as Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Travellers from amber list countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days on their arrival in the UK, and take two PCR Covid tests. 

These tests are the figures that are provided by NHS Test and Trace. 

The figures also show there were no Covid cases recorded from arrivals from green list countries – of which there are currently 11 destinations including Iceland and Gibraltar.

Arrivals from green list countries do not have to quarantine on their arrival in the UK.

From red list countries, which require entrants to the UK to quarantine in specific hotels, 435 of the 24,511 people arriving from red list countries had coronavirus.

Of those cases, 89 variants of concern were detected. 

It comes as it is revealed today that people who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas.

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Meanwhile Covid cases have risen by a quarter in the last week and another six people have died from the virus, as a SAGE expert warned a ‘miserable winter’ could be on the way.

New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490.

Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases.  

Government data up to June 19 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,964,013 were first doses – a rise of 280,241 on the previous day.

Some 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363. 

However, Professor Calum Semple – a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government – today warned that further lockdowns could be a possibility because of the emergence of new respiratory viruses. 

Professor Semple told Times Radio: ‘I suspect we’ll have a pretty miserable winter because the other respiratory viruses are going to come back and bite us quite hard. 

‘But after that, I think we’ll be seeing business as normal next year. 

‘There’s a sting in the tail after every pandemic, because social distancing will have reduced exposure, particularly of pregnant women and their newborn babies, they will have not been exposed to the usual endemic respiratory viruses.’

He added that the above factors could mean the UK has what he called a ‘fourth wave winter’.    

The professor added: ‘The protection that a pregnant woman would give to their unborn child has not occurred.

‘So we are going to see a rise in a disease called bronchiolitis, and a rise in community acquired pneumonia in children and in the frail elderly, to the other respiratory viruses for which we don’t have vaccines.

‘So that’s why we’re predicting a rough July, August and then a rough winter period.’

Even though he called it the ‘fourth wave winter’, he said it would be much milder than the previous ones.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year.

She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We may have to do further lockdowns this winter, I can’t predict the future, it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.

‘But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter.

‘All of those things allow us different approaches rather than restrictions on livelihoods that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic that happens as part of the respiratory viruses.’ 

Wedding guest list limit of 30 is lifted from TODAY while care home trips and big wakes are also allowed – but rule of six remains and nightclubs stay shut

New lockdown easing measures will be introduced in England today – though not as many as first hoped.

The Government has pushed back its June 21 ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks – to July 19 – amid concerns over the Delta variant.

But people in England will be given back some freedoms from today – most of which centre around large scale events and celebrations. 

Here MailOnline looks at what people in England can do from June 21, and what rules will be delayed:

Weddings

July and August are widely regarded as the peak months for weddings in the UK. And for those hoping to get hitched this summer, there is good news.

From June 21, the Government is to lift capacity restrictions on weddings, meaning more than 30 people can attend.

The current rules allow up to 30 people to attend weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

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But venues will now be able to choose a safe number of guests themselves, after carrying out risk assessments.

Weddings organised on private land, such as gardens, will also see capacity limits lifted. 

However, like private venues, organisers will have to carry out risk assessments prior to the wedding.

And you won’t be able to take to the dance floor at the wedding. Though the couple’s first dance is allowed, dancing is ‘advised against due to the increased risk of transmission’ 

Congregational and communal singing is also ‘strongly advised against’. 

Wakes

Like weddings, wakes have been limited to 30 people. But this has been contentious because funeral limits were lifted in May.

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It meant that families could invite an unlimited number of guests to a funeral, but had to limit the number who could attend the wake.

But as of June 21 the limits on wakes will now be lifted, bringing them in line with funerals and weddings.

Care Homes

Indoor visits to care homes, for up to five named guests, were re-introduced in May.

But restrictions have remained for those wanting to leave the care home to visit other people.

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That is changing from June 21. In England, rules on visits outside care homes will be relaxed.

Residents will not have to isolate after spending time away from the care home with family and friends – including overnight stays. 

Boris Johnson said: ‘The requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out of care homes will also be removed in most cases.’

Residents who leave to visit hospital will still have to isolate for 14 days on their return, however. 

Nightclubs

Unfortunately, those hoping for a return to the nightclub dancefloor will have to wait at least another month before they can start busting a move again.

Nightclubs have been closed since March last year, when lockdown was first  announced in the UK.

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And they will not be allowed to reopen until at least July 19 now, after the Government pushed back Freedom Day another four weeks.

Time to put those dancing shoes back on the shelf.

Cinemas and Theatres

Theatre-goers and film-lovers have been able to return to venues since May.

But venues have been restricted in terms of capacity. And those restrictions are set to remain beyond June 21.

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Cinemas and theatres will continue to be limited to 50 per cent capacity, until at least July 19.

Masks

Facemasks still have to be worn in indoor public areas such as shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes, as well as public transport.

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Those who fail to wear a mask without a medical or similar exemption can be fined £200. 

Social Distancing

The rule of six remains in place indoors in England beyond June 21, while up to 30 people are able to meet outdoors.

That will not change until at least July 19.

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Working from home

Many office workers have been preparing to head back to their desk on June 21.

But the Government is not lifting its work from home guidance today.

Instead, the Government will continue to advise people to work from home where possible.

The rule will remain in place until at least July 19. 

Just one in 200 amber list travellers test positive for Covid on their return, figures show as pressure increases on ministers to relax holiday rules

Ministers are today facing calls to relax foreign holiday rules after new data revealed fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid.

Just 89 of the 23,465 people who travelled into the UK from amber list countries at the end of last month and the start of this month had a negative Covid test, NHS Test and Trace shows.

The cases all came from just 16 of the 167 countries on the amber list, according to the data.

And there were no cases classed as being ‘variants of concern’ – Alpha, Beta, Delta or Gamma variants – the figures show.

Ministers say the strict foreign travel rules are there to reduce the risk of dangerous variants from reaching the UK.

But the new figures, which cover the period of May 20 to June 9, have led to more calls to relax restrictions – which have caused havoc on the travel industry.   

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, told the Times that the Government should start relying on its successful vaccine roll-out.

He told the paper: ‘Vaccination and testing are making international travel safer just as surely as they make things safer within our borders.

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‘It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving again.’   

Currently there are 167 countries on the UK’s amber travel list, including top holiday hotspots such as Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Travellers from amber list countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days on their arrival in the UK, and take two PCR Covid tests. 

Ministers consider letting holidaymakers who have received two doses of Covid vaccine skip quarantine after visiting amber list countries 

People who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas, it emerged today. 

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Responding to Dr Hopkins’ remarks, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the Government has not ruled out relaxing restrictions, such as on foreign travel and self-isolation, for those who have received both vaccines. 

‘I think experts like Susan Hopkins are absolutely right to remind us the evidence is still developing on double vaccinations,’ he told the BBC.

‘It looks great, it looks really encouraging, we’re trying to be as flexible as we can. We will keep on looking at all these proposals and flexes as appropriate.’

These tests are the figures that are provided by NHS Test and Trace. 

The figures also show there were no Covid cases recorded from arrivals from green list countries – of which there are currently 11 destinations including Iceland and Gibraltar.

Arrivals from green list countries do not have to quarantine on their arrival in the UK.

From red list countries, which require entrants to the UK to quarantine in specific hotels, 435 of the 24,511 people arriving from red list countries had coronavirus.

Of those cases, 89 variants of concern were detected. 

It comes as it is revealed today that people who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be required to quarantine after going on trips overseas.

Cabinet ministers are considering easing restrictions for double-jabbed UK travellers, while a top Public Health England medic hinted there may be ‘alternatives to isolation’ for fully-vaccinated Britons.

Such a move would help placate the beleaguered travel industry, which has been devastated by restrictions and successive lockdowns more than a year and whose chiefs have warned of a jobs bloodbath. 

Under current rules, UK travellers from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person. 

Those who leave the quarantine hotel before the end of their 10 days could be handed a £5,000 fine, rising to a maximum of £10,000.   

People travelling to the UK from amber list countries have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and will need to present proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, as well as tests on days two and eight of quarantine.  

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Dr Susan Hopkins said:  ‘We’ll be looking at the evidence from other countries.

‘We’ve talked a lot to countries like Israel who are ahead of us in the vaccination campaign, and they are now really looking at allowing people to come into their country who’ve had two vaccines and not needing to isolate.

‘And they are allowing their population to travel more. 

‘We will need to be alert and will need to consider how we can measure the response of these vaccines to new variants that come along.

‘But we are moving steps forward, and I think that in a time in the future, I’m not sure when, I can imagine a situation where we will have alternatives to isolation for people who have two doses of the vaccine.’

Meanwhile Covid cases have risen by a quarter in the last week and another six people have died from the virus, as a SAGE expert warned a ‘miserable winter’ could be on the way.

New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490.

Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases.  

Government data up to June 19 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,964,013 were first doses – a rise of 280,241 on the previous day.

Some 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363. 

However, Professor Calum Semple – a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government – today warned that further lockdowns could be a possibility because of the emergence of new respiratory viruses. 

Professor Semple told Times Radio: ‘I suspect we’ll have a pretty miserable winter because the other respiratory viruses are going to come back and bite us quite hard. 

‘But after that, I think we’ll be seeing business as normal next year. 

(

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© Provided by Daily Mail182033135

NHS chiefs warn ministers must END 'emergency Covid response'

© Provided by Daily MailNHS chiefs warn ministers must END ’emergency Covid response’

‘There’s a sting in the tail after every pandemic, because social distancing will have reduced exposure, particularly of pregnant women and their newborn babies, they will have not been exposed to the usual endemic respiratory viruses.’

He added that the above factors could mean the UK has what he called a ‘fourth wave winter’.    

The professor added: ‘The protection that a pregnant woman would give to their unborn child has not occurred.

‘So we are going to see a rise in a disease called bronchiolitis, and a rise in community acquired pneumonia in children and in the frail elderly, to the other respiratory viruses for which we don’t have vaccines.

‘So that’s why we’re predicting a rough July, August and then a rough winter period.’

Even though he called it the ‘fourth wave winter’, he said it would be much milder than the previous ones.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year.

She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We may have to do further lockdowns this winter, I can’t predict the future, it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.

‘But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter.

‘All of those things allow us different approaches rather than restrictions on livelihoods that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic that happens as part of the respiratory viruses.’

It comes as thousands of Covid-19 jabs are being administered at stadiums and football grounds in London which were transformed into mass vaccination centres.

Giant jab clinics have been set up at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.

Smaller events are also taking place in local community venues in a drive to vaccinate as many Londoners as possible.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was ‘delighted’ to visit Chelsea’s ground at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea FC had 6,000 Pfizer vaccines to administer on Saturday, with the jab being offered to all adults over the age of 18 yet to receive a first dose, as well as those awaiting a second Pfizer dose.

Mr Khan said: ‘Chelsea FC, West Ham at the London Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, are hosting large-scale pop-up clinics, and there are a huge number of events taking place in local community centres, so that as many people as possible get convenient access to the life-saving Covid jabs.

‘You do not need to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated.

‘It is great news that more than eight million doses of the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine have been given to Londoners, and now all adults over the age of 18 are able to get the jab.’

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Environment, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

FB-treatment-may-cause-serious-harm

Facebook fact-check fallacies and pandemic panics

Are FaceBook’s “Independent Fact-Checkers” the last word on the Covid-19 vax facts?

BRADES, Montserrat, June 5, 2021 –  Obviously not. But, why that is so important, is especially if we value our freedom (and so, too, the independent media).

Yes, the Facebook warning label we can see was recently used to dismiss the sober concerns by New Zealand Doctor, Damian Wojcik; which  TMR brought to the attention of Montserrat and its huge global readership, hence their effort. So, it is time to use the right of reply to set the matter straight.

See: https://www.covidplanb.co.nz/data-science/an-open-video-from-nz-gp-damian-wojcik/?fbclid=IwAR1CcGR9BhcQk09_luX5Xvrr-v1qPHdC1BAeEysS2ELepDS0ntAUh5jduBU

As, whenever there is a crisis, officials and other power brokers try to keep a lid on it.

As part of that, they establish a dominant narrative, put out by their favoured voices.  And, yes, historically, you can safely bet your last $5 in your back pocket, that that narrative will at most give half the truth, will promote power agendas, typically reflects someone’s business selling point, and too often will be dangerously manipulative. If they can get away with it, anyone who refuses to toe the line will be smeared as an irresponsible, incompetent misleader of the public, etc, etc. And, far too often, that is utterly unfair to voices trying to warn about overlooked issues and concerns.

Another direct Facebook attachment to (vaccine) video posted

Montserrat’s history since 1989 is littered with cases in point, but that’s just because we have been hit, literally, by crisis after crisis since Hurricane Hugo struck thirty-two years ago.

TMR response: Ah yes! Hmmm, the lack of announced ‘Treatment’ and lack thereof? Consider how this fact has been suppressed and scandalised for over a year, and then ask yourself the question why? That note by Facebook should direct to their claim comparing the “harm” from the vaccine i.e. number of deaths therefrom and the number of “harm” specific caused from the treatment of Ivermectin. Recall their famous ploy of benefits vs risk – where do they bother to apply that? The absence of that answers any suspicions.

A glance at scripture, say, Acts 27 will show this problem is as old as the hills. As regular TMR readers are doubtless familiar with, Mr. Moneybags had his bought-and-paid-for “techie” persuade the Centurion and the passengers to ignore that crazy Jew in chains over there muttering about dangerous sailing conditions. All that was needed to slip forty miles down the coast to a fine harbour was a good afternoon’s breeze. 

Ah, there it is, a gentle South wind. Let’s go.

Halfway there, of course, a wicked nor’easter struck, instantly reducing the ship to sinking condition. By the time it was over, it was through intercessory prayer and the grace of God that they were glad to shipwreck at St Paul’s Bay, Malta.

That’s a bit of history that needs to be regularly expounded from our pulpits.

For sure, Dr. Damian Wojcik deserved a fairer hearing for his sober, quietly presented fifteen-minute, well-researched word of counsel[1]:

  • He is a General Practitioner with twenty-seven years of experience in a practice that includes nutrition and environmental medicine. He is also a Forensic Physician, trained to give expert testimony, and having twenty-seven years’ experience as a Police Doctor.
  • He speaks as spokesman for a circle of other doctors concerned about how the vaccines for Covid-19 are being rolled out; they shared their concerns through an open letter to the NZ Medical Council, Medsafe, and the Royal College of GP’s. (So, yes, this is a case where experts disagree, so it is unjustified to claim that the voice of officialdom and its favoured spokesmen decisively represent THE Science.)
  • He speaks in the name of the famous Hippocratic Oath,[2] which constituted Medicine as a responsible, trustworthy profession, 2400 years ago. The key ethical commitments are, first, do no harm; next, cure if you can; and last, care for always. (Our own doctors take that same oath. If they haven’t our Governments are committing a travesty and worse)
  • He counsels that “there is emerging evidence that Covid-19 vaccines carry a risk of severe adverse reactions and death.” He points to over 4,000 deaths listed by the American registry for such over the past five months, relative to 259 million vaccinations (most vaccines require two “jabs”). This is a fact from a standard source; the issue is the balance of risks and benefits, as well as reasonable alternatives.
  • He then highlights that CDC calculations show this exceeds the total for vaccines over the preceding ten years and it is also over a hundred times higher than the rate for influenza vaccines, signs that this is significantly riskier than is generally acceptable for vaccines.
  • He is concerned that patients are individuals, not Lab Rats to be “sacrificed in a global vaccine experiment,” at least, not on his watch for his patients. This is controversial of course but it is a values statement informed by the fact that the vaccines were sharply expedited and would normally require several further years of tests before general approval.
  • He cites the conceded point as of May 2021, that there is no conclusive evidence that the vaccines prevent infection or transmission of the disease. The hope has been that they will reduce the intensity of disease, hospitalisations, and fatalities.
  • He speaks to the Nuremberg Code,[3] created in 1947 after Nazi Doctors abused patients through dangerous or often fatal medical experiments. This requires that participation in medical experiments must be based on voluntary informed consent.
  • The pivot here is that in his opinion [which is a matter of ethical judgment], the emergency approvals and riskiness of the vaccines constitute a global experiment that requires balanced informed consent rather than coaxing. (Fair comment: if there are significant, widespread long-term problems from the vaccines this may become a serious legal issue.)
  • He specifically speaks of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna, as gene therapy, a controversial opinion, but one linked to the role of mRNA as carrying the genetic code out to cellular machinery for building protein molecules, etc, here, viral spike proteins intended to spark an immune response. (However, on fair comment: there are concerns tied to earlier animal trials with adverse outcomes and even to apparent damaging effects caused by spike proteins in the body.)
  • [AstraZeneca inserts spike proteins into a Chimpanzee virus which is injected to spark an immune response, however the spike protein itself apparently can cause damage to the lining of blood vessels. We all know of the blood clotting concerns.]
  • Again, he speaks to a climate of fear, pressure, and state over-reach, having already noted that vaccine manufacturers are indemnified and insurers will not pay out in case of vaccine-related adverse events. These are again summaries of fact and statements of linked controversial but legitimate opinion or concern.
  • He goes on to call for respectful, courteous dialogue.
  • He reports the current global fatality rate as 0.15%, comparing to the typical infection [not case] fatality rate for seasonal influenza, 0.10%. Such rates seem to be responsible estimates and are clearly comparable. We do not go into a global lockdown with a “warp speed” operation to provide vaccines for the annual flu. Similarly, he suggests that over the past year, as physicians have learned what treatments work, hospital fatality rates have fallen. In this context, he pointed to supplements such as Zinc, Vitamins C and D, adding that “there are at least eighteen randomised clinical trials to support the use of oral Ivermectin in hospitalised patients; which results in significantly reduced mortality.” He suggests that “this information should be more widely applied and not suppressed.”

There is, again on final fair comment, manifestly nothing in this that warrants branding his remarks as “False Information.” Facebook’s fact-checkers themselves need to be fact-checked.


[1]See https://vimeo.com/553855810

[2] See https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/greek/greek_oath.html

[3] See http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/nuremberg/

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, COVID-19, Crime, De Ole Dawg, Environment, Health, International, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, Scriptures0 Comments

Grenada-to-SVD

St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcano erupts – thousands evacuate

by Bennette Roach

This is La Soufriere, St. Vincent – may remind of Soufriere Hills, Montserrat

The largest volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent is home to La Soufrière erupted beginning at about 8.30 a.m. “Four days shy of its anniversary on the second Friday on April 9, 2021, in spectacular fashion, sending an ash plume shooting an estimated 52,000 feet into the atmosphere and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Later, what University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists called an “explosive eruption,” reportedly sent plumes over 100,000 feet.

The explosion of ash was so large that it was visible from space on weather satellites. Southwesterly winds carried the cloud of ash over northern parts of St. Vincent and over the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados, as seen from a photo on the front page.

Throughout the weekend, much of the island was covered in ash from the eruptions that continued on through Friday night. By Sunday night, eruptions were firing up again as conditions worsened,

Dozens of residents required rescuing from the northern part of the island as the new dangers place even more islanders at risk.

Richard Robertson, a geologist with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, very well known and remembered having worked for long stints in Montserrat, eventually heading the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, said during a Sunday night news conference that there is evidence of pyroclastic flows, the rush of super-heated gas and debris traveling down the mountainside as fast as 120 miles per hour, in the areas around the volcano.

“These flows are really moving masses of destruction,” Robertson said. “They just destroy everything in its path. Even if you have the strongest house in the world, they will just bulldoze it off the ground.”

The abrupt eruptions continued to launch debris and a cloud of ash into the air throughout Sunday night, leaving its remnants scattered throughout the island.

On Saturday, he said the roughly 110,000 residents of St. Vincent, many of whom have already sought refuge on other islands, should expect to see the largest blast of their lifetimes in the coming days

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible you could have more explosions like these,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to NPR. “The first one is not necessarily the worst one, the first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang.

Very early Sunday morning, the National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO SVG) said on Twitter that a “massive power outage” was underway following another “explosive event” of the volcano. The island-wide power outage began just after 1.00 a.m., local time, on Sunday morning as loud rumblings continued to emit from the volcano, according to News 784 in St. Vincent.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace had been closed due to the smoke and plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere,

The NEMO SVG reported later in the morning that the ash plume had fallen at Argyle International Airport.

The island had been preparing for the eruption, but not the magnitude of it. Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Gonsalves announced in a press conference the evacuation order for residents in “red zones” on the northeast and northwest sides of the island.

This evacuation includes roughly 16,000 people on the island, Ralph Gonsalves @ComradeRalph  said:

I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the RED ZONES on the North East and the North West of the island. All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families.

The Government-led evacuations immediately began, but they were to be assisted by nearby cruise line ships, arriving Friday, to help get people to safety.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations are more complicated than usual.

Gonsalves said in his press conference that people have to be vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship or going to another island. The minister also highly recommended those taking shelter in Saint Vincent be vaccinated.

Flights were canceled at the Argyle International Airport on St. Vincent as well as the Grantley Adams International Airport on the nearby island of Barbados on Saturday, further complicating evacuation efforts.

Even on Friday morning, fresh magma near the surface of the volcano left the sky aglow.

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

The La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has had five explosive eruptions in the past, with the most recent being 1979. There was, however, an uptick in seismic activity more recently in December of 2020.

Gonsalves urged people to be patient and continue to take precautions as experts warned that explosive eruptions from the volcano could continue for days or even weeks, NBC News reported.

In an interview with NBC Radio, Gonsalves said that it could take up to four months for life to return to normal, depending on the extent of the damage. He added that agriculture will be badly affected.

In extremely powerful volcanic eruptions, the ash and aerosols released in the eruption can pass through the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and penetrate into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere.

If enough of the ash and other pollutants released in the eruption make it into the stratosphere, they can influence the climate around the globe. The boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere is about 6 miles (10 km) above the ground, a little higher than where commercial jets typically fly.

Response was immediate from the region

CARICOM governments and especially OECS governments immediately responded to these eruptions by sending and offering assistance to the stricken 16,000 populated area immediately affected by the continuing explosions and eruptive events.

The “Stronger Together Campaign

OECS Commission Launches “Stronger Together Campaign”

The OECS launched the  “Stronger Together Campaign” an Emergency Response for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” is an initiative organized by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission relative to a coordinated approach to assist with relief and recovery efforts on behalf of our Member State, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Donations are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally. All funds (100%) raised via this campaign will be directly transferred to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There is no limit on the value of pledges and contributions. Pledges are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally.

Montserrat had earlier sent one of its MVO scientists in the leadup to the eruption. Christopher Thomas joined other UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists who included Richard (Richie) Robertson with he worked here in Montserrat, for the team that monitored the volcano up to its eruption and after.

Government of Montserrat Officials at Warehouse with Supplies for St. Vincent & the Grenadines

On April 28, 2021 GIU release advised “The Government of Montserrat will deploy a shipment of emergency relief supplies to help address the immediate needs of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines affected by the ongoing eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano.

It informed further: “Twelve pallets of relief supplies from Montserrat’s emergency stockpile containing 7,200- N95 masks, 400 blankets, 200 cots, 140 helmets, water pump and accessories, eight folding tables and push-brooms, will be shipped on April 29, 2021. These were to be collected by the vessel MV Promise Kept to arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines the following day, Friday, April 30, 2021.

The relief supplies from the national emergency stockpile managed by the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), are designed to meet the basic needs of residents staying in Emergency Shelters, overseen by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The move was a follow-up to the GoM’s April 12 announcement that Montserrat will donate humanitarian supplies, contribute $150,000.00 (US$55,555), and establish a local team to provide support to the people of the volcano stricken islands.

Other islands as reported from OECS headquarters

The Government of Grenada will provide $1 million in support for the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to help deal with the impact of the explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano.

Grenada initially pledged to accept hundreds of Vincentian evacuees if they opted for relocation and immediately began making arrangements to do so, in collaboration with St. George’s University. Meanwhile, preparations continue to be made to host evacuees in the event that persons decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

These items include drinking water, water tanks, collapsible water bladders, buckets, portable toilets, sleeping mats, field tents, respirator masks with filters, hygiene kits, disinfectants, and sanitisers.

As the volcanic disaster in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines continues to unfold, regional solidarity is once again at the forefront of relief efforts.

Antigua and Barbuda

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda was among the first and began its response efforts on Thursday, April 8, 2021 after Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne consulted with his counterpart in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonzalves.  It was at this juncture that Antigua and Barbuda agreed to accept 250 Vincentian evacuees who would be accommodated at the Jolly Beach Hotel. The gesture was part of a wider regional response to the developing situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

In addition to accommodation, the GoA extended support and services to evacuees.  While in Antigua, the Ministry of Health will provide medical support; the Transport Board will provide the necessary transportation for official movement; the Ministry of Education will facilitate the education of students; the security forces will provide security as necessary for the well-being of all, and the Ministry of Works will assist with physical security if necessary.

Donations from corporate and civic organizations as well as the national warehouse in Antigua and Barbuda were coordinated through the National Office of Disaster Services.  So far, support has been received from Mega Distributors, the Lion’s Club, Best Buy, the Rotary Club of Antigua, Premier Beverages, GCS Bottling Services Ltd, and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross. These donations, which included water, water tanks, housing supplies, personal care items, mosquito nets, generators, lanterns, flashlights, and relief kits, were shipped in a 20-foot container on April 12, 2021.

World Bank

The World Bank disbursed US$20 million to support the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis posed by the La Soufrière volcano eruption.

The explosive eruption began on April 8 and has required the evacuation of 20,000 people from the high-risk zones around the volcano, both to other parts of Saint Vincent and surrounding countries. Explosions are continuing, and the falling ash is causing air quality concerns and interruptions in electricity and water supply.

The funds are disbursed from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO), approved in June 2020.

Dominica

The Government and people of Dominica continue to stand in solidarity with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and reiterates the support of all Dominicans during the volcanic crisis unfolding on the island, Prime Minister Skerrit said.

Following an eruptive event of ash flow

Before April 12 he conversed with Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and offered support to assist with the evacuation of residents during this natural disaster as the Government worked to confirm logistics and make preparations for the accommodation of a group of Vincentians for a period of up to five months.

All local partners and international organizations on the island are collaborating with the Government and a national response is being finalized.

He said also ‘the expressions of concern and outpouring of support for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been exceptional and reflects the kindness and brotherhood we are known for.’

St Lucia sends assists with transporting stranded OECS workers from St. Vincent

Meanwhile, St. Lucia on the receiving end of ashfall assisted with 139 Stranded Agricultural Workers in the wake of the La Soufriere Volcano explosion. They were farmworkers en route to Canada were part of the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme.

It was reported already that Dominicans have reached out and offered assistance to house individuals who need to be evacuated from St. Vincent. In this regard, a special hotline was established for the general public to offer support for housing or other areas of assistance.

The agricultural workers, 95 Vincentians, 18 Saint Lucians, and 23 Grenadians, were en route to Canada for employment on the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme when their flight from St. Vincent to Canada was canceled. The workers arrived via the Cruise Ship “Serenade of the Seas” on Saturday morning and remained in Saint Lucia for a few days until they were able to board a flight to Canada.

Grenada sends personnel and other support to St Vincent

While wreaking havoc on the lives of residents, many of whom had to evacuate the northern part of the island categorised as the Red Zone, the entire population continued to cope with a myriad of issues, from the destruction of property, livestock, and crops, the presence of volcanic ash which is dangerous to human health, disruptions in telecommunications services to contaminated water supplies. To this end, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) came to the aid of the people of St. Vincent with a donation of bottled water.

La Soufrière Eruption – ECTEL Sends Water to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
https://cdn.uc.assets.prezly.com/c457c8f5-ac3d-4bb1-a9da-c3b11e34733f/-/format/auto/

ECTEL’s Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Millet learned of the urgent need for water.  He said, “ECTEL stands in solidarity with the people…We cannot begin to comprehend the distress they must be feeling, having to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, and now this natural phenomenon.”  The matter of further assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was discussed at the 41st Meeting of ECTEL’s Council of Ministers, the result being a donation of 24 pallets of water departed Saint Lucia on Wednesday, April 14, and arrived in St. Vincent on Friday, April 16. 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM, Volcano, Volcano0 Comments

Moment-with-the-Registrar-May-2021

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

All land parcels in Montserrat must be accessible by a road or public pathway. Landlocked parcels are undesirable, unprofitable, and would not be approved as part of any proper land development. When the access to a land parcel is through land belonging to another person, the landowner who requires access would be using an easement or right of way over someone else’s land to access his land.

It is important to be aware of easements and rights of way as they give rise to access rights that must be recognized for the continued benefit of persons who rely on them. Subsequent landowners or successors in title must be aware of the legal rights and obligations arising from long-established easements. Conveyancers and land practitioners need to advise prospective landowners on the existence of easements, and the impact of easements on prospective purchasers’ use and investment in their properties.

Why would a landowner need to cross another person’s land to get to his own?

Perhaps at the time when the land in that area was being apportioned, there was an agreement or an understanding among the parties that the access through the land of another landowner was the most convenient or suitable access point. A written document or map may exist to confirm the agreement of the parties at the time, but usually, it is the established behavior over many years by persons in the area, that would be compelling proof of the existence of an easement. Successive owners and occupiers would be bound to continue to recognize the easement. In effect, established rights to access by an easement or right of way may be recognized and enforced in the High Court, so that persons may continue to have access or may prevent obstruction of the access. If no established right of access is proven, a Court may create an easement of necessity in order to prevent landlocked land parcels.

A right of way is a form of easement. An easement is a property right that gives a non-possessory person a right to use property owned by someone else. The right of way is an access over land. Another form of easement may be an easement of light, view, or air. A person entitled to an easement of light, view, or air is entitled to ensure that other landowner(s) do not build any structure or plant any hedge that would obstruct his view, light, or air. The other landowner would be obligated to ensure that no structure or hedge on his land causes an obstruction to the person entitled. A utility company may also have an easement over privately owned land, giving a right to use the land to run water mains, power lines or supply drains.
The person with the right to the easement does not own or occupy the property, but has the rights to use the property for the required access. For an easement to exist, there must be at least two adjoining parcels of land, regarded as the “servient estate” and the “dominant estate”, both owned by different parties. The servient estate is the land that must support the right of access, for example, the land that the right of way is located on. The dominant estate is supported by the servient estate because the dominant estate landowner is entitled to pass over the servient estate and use the easement/right of way. The dominant estate must benefit from the servient estate, and the rights of use by the dominant estate landowner are legally enforceable. This means, if he is blocked, or if a new owner refuses to recognize the right of access, the dominant estate landowner may enlist the High Court to uphold his right to access, and prevent an obstruction.

How rights of way are commonly created

Some easements are created when a landowner/seller sells a portion of his land, and retains the rest of the land for himself. In order to access the public road, the buyer of the portion, may have to cross over a portion of the seller’s land. Both seller and buyer would have had the understanding or agreement that without the necessary access over the seller’s land, the buyer would be landlocked and without access to the public access road. Without an express understanding between the buyer and seller, there would be an implication that the buyer would be allowed to access his land through the seller’s land.

The seller’s land will then become the servient estate, and the buyer’s the dominant estate. On a survey map, the dotted lines on the seller’s servient estate plot may indicate the direction and size of the right of way marked “r.o.w. 8’” for an eight (8) feet right of way. The buyer, or his successor in title, entitled to access over land not belonging to him, cannot be prevented from using, the access provided by the seller. The seller would be said to have “granted” the easement or right of way to the buyer, over his land.
In the event that the right of way is put on the land being sold, then the seller’s land would be the dominant tenement. The seller would not be burdened with the obligation to allow access. The seller would have transferred the land to the seller, with an express “reservation” to allow himself access over just the portion determined to be the right of way on the sold parcel, marked “r.o.w 8’”, for example. The buyer must beware that he is buying land that has a servient estate, and that he, not the seller, will have to provide access to the seller’s dominant estate.

It is important during the sale negotiations, and any proper review of the property, sale documents, maps, etc., that prospective land buyers are keen to inquire about the existence and implications of any easements on the property. Legal advice, and guidance from an experienced surveyor or conveyancer would be recommended as rights of way and easements generally give rise to legal rights and obligations and may also significantly impact one’s use of his land, and the value of the land, if the land is burdened with an easement.

Shelley Isles
Registrar of Lands

Persons seeking to conduct searches or gain copies of maps in relation to easements may inquire at the Lands and Survey Department via tel: 664-491-3620 or email surveys@gov.ms.

                            Registrar of Lands

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AccuWeather

St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcano erupts, prompts thousands to evacuate – an update

AccuWeather
AccuWeather

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/st-vincent-volcano-erupts-prompts-thousands-to-evacuate/929927

By Courtney Travis, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

Updated Apr. 12, 2021, 7:48 AM AST Copied

Hours after an initial eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, a second explosion was reported, resulting in a massive plume of smoke and ash.

The largest volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted on Friday in spectacular fashion, sending an ash plume shooting an estimated 52,000 feet into the atmosphere and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Through the weekend, much of the island was covered in ash from the eruptions that continued on through Friday night. By Sunday night, eruptions were firing up again as conditions worsened.

Dozens of residents required rescuing from the northern part of the island as the new dangers place even more islanders at risk.

A man rides his bicycle along the main Black Rock road, covered with ash coming from the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in the neighboring island of St. Vincent, on the outskirts of Bridgetown, Barbados, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Brandis)

Richard Robertson, a geologist with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, said during a Sunday night news conference that there is evidence of pyroclastic flows, the rush of super-heated gas and debris traveling down the mountainside as fast as 120 miles per hour, in the areas around the volcano, NPR reported.

“These flows are really moving masses of destruction,” Robertson said. “They just destroy everything in its path. Even if you have the strongest house in the world, they will just bulldoze it off the ground.”

The abrupt eruptions continued to launch debris and a cloud of ash into the air throughout Sunday night, leaving its remnants scattered throughout the island.

On Saturday, he said the roughly 110,000 residents of St. Vincent, many of whom have already sought refuge on other islands, should expect to see the largest blast of their lifetimes in the coming days

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible you could have more explosions like these,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to NPR. “The first one is not necessarily the worst one, the first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang this volcano will give.”

https://twitter.com/NWSElPaso/status/1381084579616985088?s=20

Very early Sunday morning, the National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO SVG) said on Twitter that a “massive power outage” was underway following another “explosive event” of the volcano. The island-wide power outage began just after 1 a.m., local time, on Sunday morning as loud rumblings continued to emit from the volcano, according to News 784 in St. Vincent.

The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace had been closed due to the smoke and plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere, according to the BBC.

St. Vincent is a volcanic island located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean and is home to La Soufrière, its largest volcano.

Around 8:30 a.m., local time, on Friday, the volcano underwent what the scientists at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center called an “explosive eruption,” spewing ash high into the air.

The NEMO SVG reported later in the morning that the ash plume had reached about 5 miles (8 km) into the air, and ash had fallen at Argyle International Airport. A NOAA-SSEC satellite estimated that the ash traveled an astonishing 52,000 feet into the atmosphere, or about 10 miles up.

Photo from the explosive eruption that occurred at La Soufriere, SVG at 8:41 a.m. local time. Ash has begun to fall on the flanks of the volcano and surrounding communities including Chateaubelair and Petite Bordel. (Photo/UWI Seismic ReasearchCentre)

The explosion of ash was so large that it was visible from space on weather satellites. Southwesterly winds carried the cloud of ash over northern parts of St. Vincent and over the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados.

NEMO reported that the ash was extending at least 20,000 feet (more than 6 km) to the northeast of the volcano.

This GOES-16 true-color satellite loop shows what the La Soufriere volcano eruption looked like from space on the morning of April 9, 2021 (GOES-16/NOAA)

Geologist Richard Robertson told News 784 in St. Vincent on Friday that the volcano had returned to a quieter period, but more eruptions are expected to follow.

A second eruption occurred later Friday evening, NEMO reported, jettisoning ash over 2 miles into the atmosphere.

Ash venting resumed at La Soufrière at around 2:45 p.m. local time, the UWI Seismic Research Center reported Friday evening, and lightning could be seen in the ash column. Continuous tremors have been recorded since 3 p.m., and the center noted that the volcano continues its explosive phase which may last several days to weeks.

Friday afternoon, lightning was visible in the volcano’s ash column due to its highly charged nature. (Photo/UWI Seismic Research Centre)

”If there is a much bigger explosion, the ash can spread further to the south,“ Robertson said, adding that, “This could continue for days or weeks, and monitoring will continue.”

The UWI Seismic Research Center first noticed gases spewing from the dome of the volcano on Thursday morning.

As seismic activity continued and became more intense, with magma visible near the surface later on Thursday, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization raised the island’s alert level from orange to red, according to NPR, meaning that eruption was considered “imminent”.

Smoke spews from the glowing dome of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, April 8, 2021 (right), and the resulting eruption (left) on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Photos/The UWI Seismic Research Centre)

Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Gonsalves announced in a press conference the evacuation order for residents in “red zones” on the northeast and northwest sides of the island.

This evacuation includes roughly 16,000 people on the island, according to WFAA, a WABC affiliate in Dallas, Texas.

Government-led evacuations immediately began, but they were to be assisted by nearby cruise line ships, arriving Friday, to help get people to safety.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations are more complicated than usual.

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Gonsalves said in his press conference that people have to be vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship or to go to another island. The minister also highly recommended those taking shelter in Saint Vincent be vaccinated.

Flights were cancelled at the Argyle International Airport on St. Vincent as well as the Grantley Adams International Airport on the nearby island of Barbados on Saturday, further complicating evacuation efforts.

Even on Friday morning, fresh magma near the surface of the volcano left the sky aglow.

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

According to CNN, the La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has had five explosive eruptions in the past, with the most recent being 1979. There was, however, an uptick in seismic activity more recently in December of 2020.

Gonsalves urged people to be patient and continue to take precautions as experts warned that explosive eruptions from the volcano could continue for days or even weeks, NBC News reported.

In an interview with NBC Radio, Gonsalves said that it could take up to four months for life to return to normal, depending on the extent of the damage. He added that agriculture will be badly affected.

In extremely powerful volcanic eruptions, the ash and aerosols released in the eruption can pass through the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and penetrate into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere.

If enough of the ash and other pollutants released in the eruption make it into the stratosphere, they can influence the climate around the globe. The boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere is about 6 miles (10 km) above the ground, a little higher than where commercial jets typically fly.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Climate/Weather, COVID-19, Environment, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, OECS, Photos, Regional, Volcano0 Comments

No photo description available.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was preparing for the eruption of La Soufriere volcano

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, preparing for the eruption of La Soufriere volcano

EMERGENCY SHELTERS FOR A VOLCANIC ERUPTION (EXPLOSIVE)

 28th March 2021

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1RjQeofFX46htCMxbnyArqfxxCSOkbD70&ll=13.25264487913983%2C-61.1971605&z=11

National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO)

EMERGENCY SHELTERS FOR A VOLCANIC ERUPTION (EXPLOSIVE)

LA SOUFRIÈRE BULLETIN #56 APRIL 10, 2021 5:00 P.M

LA SOUFRIÈRE BULLETIN #56 APRIL 10, 2021 5:00 P.M 

  1. The seismic tremor generated by voluminous energetic venting of La Soufrière Volcano continued overnight.

Volcanic Hazard Zones

April 2021 S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Weather Forecast

Meteorological Services, Argyle

10 April 2021

10 April 2021

Press/News Release

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