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High levels of seismic activity reported at Kick ‘Em Jenny

High levels of seismic activity reported at Kick ‘Em Jenny

While the Caribbean region maintains high lookout for tropical storms and hurricanes during the official hurricane season, volcano serves reminder they are always there…
 

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 2, 2018 – (Adapted) The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWI SRC) on Tuesday reported there have been high levels of seismic activity at the Kick ’em Jenny underwater volcano in the past few days.

Grenada’s National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) said in a statement that since the episode began on the afternoon of September 30, several events have taken place. The largest of those occurred on Monday at 3:24 a.m., 3:35 a.m. and 3:56 a.m. of magnitudes 3.5, 3.5 and 3.3 respectively.

The UWI SRC said it is currently analyzing the data and will update further after complete processing,

NaDMA has informed marine interests and the general public that the threat level at the volcano, located  about five miles north of Grenada, remains at yellow, so the exclusion zone of 1.5 kilometres must continue to be observed.

The yellow alert means “the volcano is restless: seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level, or other unusual activity has been observed, or can be expected without warning”.

“NaDMA in collaboration with the UWI SRC will continue to monitor, update and inform as necessary,” the agency said in its statement.

Kick ‘Em Jenny rises 1,300 m (4,265 ft) above the sea floor.

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Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 28, CMC – Caribbean leaders were joining their counterparts in Latin America in signing the Escazu Agreement that seeks to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

The leaders of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia were the latest to affix their signatures to the accord that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said is poised to be the new environmental instrument synonymous with non-discrimination, transparency and greater democracy for all.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet singing the Escazú Agreement on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

“This agreement will help fight crime, poverty, inequality and is crucial to the protection of the environment in general. The agreement is sometimes referred to as ‘environmental democracy,’ which is a new legal term that implies the participation of all in protecting the environment,” according to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement.

It quoted Prime Minister Gaston Browne as outlining the importance of Antigua and Barbuda taking the bold step in becoming signatory to the agreement.

“The island is regarded as one of the front runners within the region with a progressive climate agenda, with the hope of transforming Antigua and Barbuda into a climate smart country,” it said.

Or its part, St. Lucia said it has put itself safely at the vanguard of sustainable development with equality at its core, when it joined other countries in signing the agreement that will be open for signatures until September 26, 2020.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, joined his Antigua and Barbuda counterpart as well as the leaders of Guyana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay in signing the agreement.

The Escazú Agreement was adopted on 4 March 2018, in Escazú, Costa Rica and ECLAC said that it reflects regional ambitions, priorities and uniqueness, while addressing environmental protection and management in sustainable leveraging of natural resources, preserving biodiversity, combatting desertification and climate change, and building disaster resilience.

The Escazú Agreement is the only treaty to emerge from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Río+20). It is also the first regional environmental treaty of LAC countries, and the first with binding provisions on defenders of human rights in environmental matters.

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Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 24, CMC – The Canadian-based Montreal Management Consultations Est. (MMCE) LTD will construct more than 300 houses here across the island over the coming months as the battered hurricane island continues its efforts to become the world’s first climate resilient country.

MMCE project manager, Chris Timmins, speaking at the signing ceremony here on Monday, said that the project would entail the construction of 66 units in each of the several communities like La Plaine, San Sauveur, Grand Fond, Castle Bruce and Delices on the east coast in the first instance.

Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and the MMCE
chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden signing agreement.

He said in the northern area of Picard, 68 units are under construction and that a further 68 are to be built in Cotton Hill.

“We are also at City Square which is due to start in the final quarter of this year. It is a total unit, including commercial of 125 units,” Trimmins said after the contracts were signed between the Financial Secretary Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and MMCe chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden.

Trimmins told the ceremony that following the passage of Hurricane Maria last year that left a trail of death and destruction, revisions had to be made of the intimal housing project in Bellview Chopin, south of here.

“Castle Bruce is scheduled to be completed by June 2019, while everything on the east coast will be completed and handed over. In Georgetown, Picard we anticipate and are confident in July 2019. Cotton Hill we are comfortable in September 2019,” he said.

“The Roseau City Square, it will be twelve months from commencement, so given the present status, we anticipate the completion no later than December 2019,” Timmins said, adding that the units will comprise 10 one-bedrooms, 55 two-bedrooms, 35 three-bedroom units and 25 commercial units.

“We are proud of our products. We have been on the island now for two years, we started up in Bellevue on residential construction in May 2017,” he said, adding “we feel that we now are in a position to offer to the country the most resilient product that is available with modern technology”.

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Caribbean urged to sign landmark environment treaty

Caribbean urged to sign landmark environment treaty

GENEVA, Sept 14, CMC –United Nations human rights experts are urging Caribbean countries to sign and ratify as quickly as possible, the Escazú agreement, described as a ground-breaking environment treaty for the region.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean was adopted on March 4 in Escazú, Costa Rica, and will be open for signature on September 27 at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The treaty is the first of its kind in the world to include specific binding provisions for the protection and promotion of people, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters, ECLAC said.

It said the treaty, which was negotiated under its auspices, is the only binding treaty stemming from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

“This landmark regional treaty not only guarantees good governance and basic democratic rights but is also an enabler for environmental protection and sustainable development,” the 27 UN experts said in a joint statement.

“There is a special emphasis on people and groups in vulnerable situations and measures to try to help those most in need. We welcome the focus in this treaty on overcoming the barriers and difficulties that hinder the full enjoyment of human rights related to the environment, which is especially crucial in Latin America and the Caribbean,” they added.

The UN experts also praised the treaty’s explicit recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the acknowledgement of the cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean and of their peoples.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, drew particular attention to Article 1 of the treaty, which recognizes everyone’s right to live in a healthy environment.

“This agreement is a major leap forward in the protection and safeguarding of human rights defenders in environmental matters,” said Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

“By establishing specific binding provisions, Latin American and Caribbean States are not only recognizing the acute and alarming situation faced by environmental defenders in countries of the region but are also taking concrete steps to reaffirm their role and respect, protect and fulfil all their rights,” he added.

ECLAC said provisions in the treaty aimed at ensuring access to information and justice, in the various languages used in each of the countries, and fostering public participation and cooperation were also welcomed by the UN experts.

“In keeping with international human rights obligations, the regional agreement sets important standards that will be fundamental in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, land degradation, water pollution, natural disasters and the depletion and unsustainable use of natural resources,” the experts stressed.

The experts added that States should adopt, in their strategies for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, an approach that encompasses the whole of society.

They also pointed out that an essential aspect of States’ international human rights obligations is to ensure protection, respect and support for individuals who raise concerns about adverse human rights impacts, including climate-induced displacement and in the context of development projects where business is involved.

“This approach would allow everyone, particularly those in more vulnerable situations – including older persons, access to timely and reliable information, so that they could participate meaningfully in decisions affecting their lives, and seek redress and remedy when their rights have been infringed,” the experts said.

“By signing and promptly ratifying this ground-breaking treaty, Latin American and Caribbean States will reinforce their strong commitment to environmental protection and human rights and, above all, will send out an unequivocal message in favour of multilateralism, solidarity, equality and regional integration, while encouraging partnerships with other regions,” they added.

In following up on the agreement, ECLAC said States should also ensure that business activities and investments do not come at the cost of adverse environmental and human rights impacts.

In implementing the agreement, ECLAC said States should also be mindful of the varied and disproportionate impact of environmental matters on women and girls, and the specific challenges faced by women human rights defenders, and ensure that all actions taken incorporate a gender perspective.

ECLAC said the regional agreement is open for signature by the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and requires a minimum of 11 States to become operational.

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Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

Tropical Storm Isaac (Update)

by Bennette Roach

TS Isaac Image 2018-09-12

Isaac forecast 2015-09-13 (THURSDAY) at 2.00 PM

The National Disaster Preparedness Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) met today, Tuesday September 11th, 2018 to review Montserrat’s preparedness for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles late on Wednesday night, (chain of Islands from Grenada north to the BVI).

In a release from the NDPRAC it says: “The Antigua Meteorological Service (with responsibility for Montserrat) has placed Montserrat on a Tropical Storm Watch and expects the island to be affected by tropical storm force winds.”

“NDPRAC notes that there will be no air and sea access to and from Montserrat on Thursday, September 13th, 2018. Air access is expected to resume on Friday September 14th, 2018, weather permitting, whilst ferry operations are expected to resume on Saturday September 15th, 2018.”

Meanwhile, NDPRAC NDPRAC continues to advise that all residents and visitors secure their properties, businesses and livestock in preparation for the impending storm.

A further update is expected later today when from sources, it is expected they will advise a further downgrading of the storm, but no doubt plans except for schools, government buildings etc. will be firmly determined.

Funeral services for Bertrand Osborne

Meanwhile, funeral and burial plans for Hon. Bertrand Osborne former Chief Minister have been postponed to Saturday.

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WhatsApp Image 2018-09-10 at 8.53.01 PM

Hurricane Isaac 2018 update: Still a Category 1 on path for Caribbean

A toss up – as to which way a curve away from the Islands or a weakening by time it gets to the Islands. Either way the authorities are cautioning “Be Prepared’.
 
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon but is forecast to strengthen in the next day or two. It could begin to weaken later this week as it approaches the Caribbean. (National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane Isaac remained a minimal hurricane on Monday afternoon and continued to track westward on a path that could bring it across the Lesser Antilles by Thursday.

And if that wasn’t enough the National Hurricane Center is also watching a disturbance already in the Caribbean that could become a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

But first Isaac. As of 4 p.m. CDT Monday, Hurricane Isaac was located about 1,090 miles east of the Winward Islands and was moving west at 14 mph.

Isaac maintained winds of 75 mph, making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane.

While Isaac hasn’t gained any strength today that could change over the next day or two. Forecasters said Monday afternoon that they weren’t sure why Isaac hasn’t intensified yet.

The hurricane center said weakening should begin by the middle of the week as Isaac nears the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane center thinks, however, that Isaac will be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the islands.

Isaac is forecast to continue moving west and pick up a bit of speed through the end of the week.

On that path it will move across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. The hurricane center said watches may be needed for the islands on Tuesday.

However, the hurricane center noted that confidence in Isaac’s track forecast is on the low side.

That’s because forecast models are split into two factions on its path.

One set of models suggests Isaac could recurve near or east of the Lesser Antilles and miss the islands all together.

However some of the more reliable models show a consistent westward motion across the islands and into the eastern Caribbean.

The hurricane center is sticking with the westward path for now but added a disclaimer: “Given the spread in the guidance, the confidence in the details of the track forecast beyond the first couple of days is larger than usual.”

Isaac is a small storm, and its strongest winds extend out from the center only about 10 miles.

The hurricane center said the intensity forecast is also difficult.

Storms that small are notoriously challenging to predict because they are more susceptible to environmental changes around them.

Models are also disagree on how how strong — or weak — Isaac will be.

Some models suggest Isaac will steadily weaken as it encounters wind shear in a few days. But yet another one shows Isaac becoming a major hurricane.

Isaac is one of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Monday.

There’s also Florence, which is a Category 4 as of Monday afternoon and forecast to strike the U.S. as a major hurricane this week, and Category 2 Helene, which is in the far eastern Atlantic and not forecast to affect land.

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

The hurricane center raised the odds of development to 50 percent on Monday afternoon and said a tropical depression could form Thursday or Friday in the western Gulf.

It was forecast to stay on a west-northwest to northwest path.

The hurricane center warned those along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to northeastern Mexico to keep an eye on the system.

In addition to Hurricanes Florence, Helene and Isaac there are two tropical disturbances being monitored by the hurricane center. The one in the northwest Caribbean could become a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday. (NHC)

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Police officers and rescue workers search for survivors from a building damaged by a landslide caused by a powerful earthquake in Atsuma town in Japan

Powerful quake paralyses Hokkaido in latest disaster to hit Japan

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By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim
Reuters
People look at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 6, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake paralyzed Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides.

About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed.

(graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2oJz6zd)

The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heat wave within the past two months.

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of red earth and toppled trees piled at the edge of green fields.

The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were strewn about.

“It came in four big jerks – boom! boom! boom! boom!” one unidentified woman told NHK. “Before we knew it our house was bent and we couldn’t open the door.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 25,000 Self-Defense Force troops would be deployed for rescue operations.

The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost its power when Hokkaido Electric Power Co <9509.T> shut down of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake as a precaution.

It was the first time since the utility was established in 1951 that had happened.

Almost 12 hours later, power was restored to parts of Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, and Asahikawa, its second-biggest city.

The government said there was damage to Hokkaido Electric’s Tomato-Atsuma plant, which supplies half the island’s 2.95 million households. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

All trains across the island were halted.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party begins a leadership contest on Friday but said there would be no campaigning through to Sunday. Abe and rival Shigeru Ishiba both canceled campaign media appearances slated for Friday.

‘NOTHING I CAN DO’

Television footage from Sapporo showed crumbled roads and mud covering a main street. Police directed traffic because signal lights were out while drink-vending machines, ubiquitous in Japan, and most ATMs were not working.

“Without electricity, there’s nothing I can do except to write prescriptions,” a doctor in Abira, the town next to Atsuma, told NHK.

Media reported a baby girl at a Sapporo hospital was in critical condition after the power was cut to her respirator. It wasn’t clear if the hospital had a generator.

The quake hit at 3:08 a.m. (1808 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 40 km (25 miles), with its epicenter about 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Sapporo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan’s 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement.

Hokkaido’s main airport was closed, at least for the day. Debris and water could be seen on the terminal floors.

Kyodo news agency said more than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected on Thursday alone.

The closure comes just days after Kansai Airport, another major regional hub, in western Japan, was shut by Typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 people and injured hundreds.

The storm, the most powerful to hit Japan in 25 years, stranded thousands of passengers and workers at the airport, whose operator said it would resume some domestic flights on Friday.

In July, torrential rain in west Japan caused flooding that killed more than 200 people and widespread destruction. That was followed by a heat wave that reached a record 41.1 Celsius and led to the deaths of at least 80 people.

FACTORIES HALTED

Farming, tourism and other services are big economic drivers on Hokkaido, which accounts for just 3.6 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, but there is some industry. Kirin Brewery and Sapporo Breweries both said factories were shut by the power outage.

A series of smaller shocks followed the initial quake, the JMA said. Residents were warned to take precautions.

 

By the afternoon, backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in Atsuma had begun clearing debris.

Japan is situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin.

Northeast Japan was hit by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Hokkaido’s Tomari nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.

Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area. Seismologists have said another such quake could strike the capital at any time.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim; Additional reporting by William Mallard, Osamu Tsukimori, Aaron Sheldrick, Elaine Lies and Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Malcolm Foster; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

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ExxonMobil makes ninth discovery offshore Guyana

ExxonMobil makes ninth discovery offshore Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug. 30, CMC – The US based oil giant, ExxonMobil has announced the discovery of approximately 197 feet (60 metres) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir at the Hammerhead-1  – the ninth discovery of oil in the Stabroek Block  and the fifth within the last year.

President of ExxonMobil, Steve Greenlee says the Hammerhead-1 discovery reinforces the potential of the Guyana basin, where ExxonMobil is already maximizing value for all stakeholders through rapid phased developments and accelerated exploration plans.

“The Development options for Hammerhead will consider an ongoing evaluation of reservoir data, including a well test,” Greenlee said.

Discoveries of approximately four billion oil-equivalent barrels were made prior on the Stabroek Block at Liza, Liza Deep, Payara, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora and Longtail with the potential for up to five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.

A second exploration vessel, the Noble Tom Madden, is due to arrive in Guyana in October to accelerate exploration of high potential opportunities and will commence drilling at the Pluma prospect, approximately 17 miles (27 kilometres) from Turbot.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres .

ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is the operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 per cent interest.

First oil is expected to be produced in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, the government continues to put systems in place for the management of revenues from this new developing natural resource. Just recently, a green paper on the National Resource Fund (NRF) Guyana’s version of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) was laid in the National Assembly.

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Grenade thrown at Parliament building

Grenade thrown at Parliament building

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Aug 21, CMC – Police were guarding the Parliament building on Tuesday after unidentified people reportedly threw a grenade at the building and shots were also heard on Monday.

The Commissioner of the Government, Ocname-Clamé Daméus, said that the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) had been ordered to question all the security officers assigned to building at the time of the incident.

Some of the bullet holes in the Parliament building

He said people who use social networks to incite members of the population into violence will also be questioned as part of the investigation by the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

The authorities said that the grenade model will most likely be determined during the investigation and that several bullet holes can be seen on the building.

They said that four surveillance cameras that had been installed were not functioning at the time of the incident.

One legislator, Senator Willot Joseph, speaking on a radio programme here, said he remained suspicious about the “attack” and supported the argument that the gunshots had been fired from inside the building.

The Speaker of the Senate, Joseph Lambert, also criticised the action of the DCPJ officers who had sought to prevent journalists from covering the incident.

Media reports said that the equipment of some of the journalists were either damaged or destroyed as a result of the actions by the DCPJ.

Posted in Crime, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Government reviewing dress code

Government reviewing dress code

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Aug 15, CMC – Less than a week after the Jamaica government announced it had suspended the no sleeveless policy after reviewing the longstanding practice of prohibiting women wearing sleeveless attire from entry into government buildings, another Caribbean island is following suit.

The Antigua and Barbuda government said it had appointed Social Transformation Minister Samantha Marshall to undertake a comprehensive review of the policy that prohibits people from wearing certain types of clothing when accessing services at government departments.

Marshall said that her ministry has already started the process and is also holding discussions with other Caribbean islands to learn from best practices.

“In the past, we have used what is the old-time sort of thinking in terms of dress code. Right now, we have to appreciate that we serve the people and we have to accept that there are ways in which persons may present themselves,” Marshall told the OBSERVER Media.

She said that if an individual is not dressed in a vulgar manner, he or she should be allowed to conduct their business.

Marshall said that the present policy is not mandated by law, but is a rather a rule that was adopted a few years ago.

“We are in consulting stages, we are hoping that within two to three weeks we can have an initial report to present to the Cabinet and we are hoping very shortly that there will be a change in the policy,” Marshall said.

Last week, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a statement said he has formally given instructions for the suspension of the no-sleeveless policy and instructed a full review of government dress code practices.

“It has been found, that while the practice exists to prohibit persons who wear sleeveless from entering Government buildings through “dress codes” established within particular Ministries, Departments and Agencies, there is no law or official government policy on which these are based. “

“To ensure the formulation of a proper policy, in the medium term, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has been mandated to formulate, subject to consultation, a government dress code policy that is aligned with modern considerations as well as the climatic realities of Jamaica,” the statement noted.

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