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Travel to Montserrat – beat the mandate

FYI-Update: Travelling from the UK and USA to Montserrat via St. Maarten FOR THE 2021 SEASON.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE

October 25th, 2021,
A Private charter is being arranged which can accommodate a maximum of 14 passengers and luggage. WINAIR will be utilizing the Twin Otter aircraft, The first charter is scheduled for December 4th, departing St. Maarten at 7.40 am, arriving John A Osborne Airport at 8.30 am. Weekly, charters are being planned for.

  1. Persons must first get permission to enter Montserrat and St. Maarten. Obtain permission at www.gov.ms/travel website, and, for St. Maarten website http://stmaartenehas.com/travel. Travelers are encouraged to get this permission at the latest November 15th. Contact Mr. Desmond Meade at 1-954-805-5663 (WhatsApp, Telegram) for further information. All passengers MUST arrive at St. Maarten the day before the charter on December 3rd.
  2. Arrangements are being made for the overnight Hotel to accommodate all charter passengers on St. Maarten. Passengers are responsible for charges for taxis, meals, and hotels.
  3. PASSENGERS MAX LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE IS 35lbs CHECKED LUGGAGE, and 10lbs HAND LUGGAGE.

Disclaimer: Although this route does facilitate the travel of persons who have not been able to vaccinate for medical reasons or for deeply religious reasons, this information is certainly not intended to discourage persons from vaccination. Most health services at this time encourage vaccination against covid 19. Persons are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their healthcare provider.

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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

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Make Mental Health Care A Reality

RELEASE

Make Mental Health Care A Reality

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  11 October 2021.  The rising prevalence of mental health conditions in the Caribbean Region is a serious public health concern[1], and as COVID-19 continues to affect persons across the Region, there is need for urgent action to promote good mental health. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.[2]

World Mental Health Day, observed annually on 10 October, seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.  This year’s theme  Mental Health in an Unequal World with the slogan “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality”, is an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people.

“Lives have changed considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as we are faced with the realities of unemployment, working from home, closure of schools, and not being able to socialise as we used to.  Over the past year the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health especially healthcare and other frontline workers, children, women, families, homeless, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions,” stated Dr. Tamu Davidson, Head of Chronic Diseases and Injury at CARPHA.  

In the Americas, depression continues to be the leading mental health disorder, and is twice as frequent in women as in men.[3]  Mental and neurological disorders in the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and depression, contribute to the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).  Mental disorders can also contribute to unintentional and intentional injury. Patients who are depressed are less likely to take their medicines, and persons with chronic NCDs and disabilities are more likely to be depressed.

Many mental health conditions can be effectively treated at relatively low cost, yet the gap between people needing care and those with access to care remains substantial.   A 2020 survey conducted by the WHO indicated that services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders had been significantly disrupted during the pandemic.[4]

CA RPHA supports its Member States through health promotion with a focus on increasing awareness about mental health and strategies to cope with mental illness, targeting the general population, children and adolescents, the elderly, women and other vulnerable populations.   Emphasis has been placed on prevention, psychosocial support and coping with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year, CARPHA included mental health as a focus of the annual Caribbean Wellness Day.  The Agency collaborates with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Health Caribbean Coalition to increase awareness about mental health and reduce stigma.

Achieving mental health care a reality for all, calls for a whole of society approach.  Civil society, faith-based organisations, and private sector, and community-based organisations can support and promote mental well-being and prevent mental and substance-related disorders. 

  • Health professionals are reminded of their duty of care to all persons, whether they have physical and/or mental issues.  
  • Governments are urged to ensure equitable access to mental health services for all who need it. 
  • Civil society organisations are encouraged to support for public education and awareness about mental illness. 
  • The private sector can provide support for mental health services in employment packages and ensure that workplace policies do not discriminate against persons with mental illness. 

Most of all, we as individuals need to take time for ourselves.  We need to practice healthy living to preserve mental well-being. That includes self-care, healthy eating, physical activity, positive thinking, practicing mindfulness, connecting with friends, family or pets, and mindfulness, or taking time to do something we enjoy. 

There is no health without mental health[5]. This public health day is an opportunity to empower people to look after their own mental health and provide support to others. 

Let’s reach out and support someone with a mental illness .. make it a reality

###


[1] https://carpha.org/What-We-Do/NCD/Mental-Health-and-Substance-Use/Mental-Health

[2] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

[3] https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/promotion-prevention/gender-and-women-s-mental-health

[4] https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2021/about

[5] WHO

Posted in CARICOM, COVID-19, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Vaccine mandate in Montserrat! Really?

As you read the article in this re-post which may be longer than its norm, but necessary because of what it portrays or inform, and previously posted, would you think for a bit:

We first brought this pandemic information to you in January, followed in February along with warnings and advice on how to prevent the ‘virus’ from reaching Montserrat. We at the same time presented early (WHO, etc.) safety and protected measures.

The Montserrat authorities by mid-March 2020, corruptly ignored these messages and reportedly pretended that this was just a passing situation. What followed came what turned out to be the extreme of at best of times poorly handled ‘protocols’ and late avoidance (‘safety’ measures which otherwise carefully or sensibly thought out could have made Montserrat, ‘COVID-19 free’ thru June – September.

What we would like to present here is how many of the persons tested as positive from mid-March were in fact confirmed to be a case; a report of the treatment given on the numbers of those who showed symptoms; the number of those who eventually after being sent home to isolate, ended up (“for treatment”) at the hospital, and what treatment was administered.

We have been dutifully shown the various charts of positives, etc. and recoveries, etc., but we really do not know the numbers of those positives were really COVID-19. (See other articles on this matter)

We would like to know, (a report be issued) issued on how many people died between February and present. The number of those persons who received the ‘COVID-19 vaccine’! And whether any of those persons had tested positive previously or after receiving the vaccine.

 So now, we come to the vaccine and the corrupt efforts to have sick and well, immune or building immunity to the virus, after instilling fear to access it. On the way, we are told by the authorities instructively that the vaccinated does not guarantee inability to contract and transmit the virus to anyone. (Hence the rush to advise the vaccinated to continue wearing masks and observe all safety all protocols). That under the guise of course of further protecting themselves from contracting from the unvaccinated, rather then transmitting it.

(In very simple terms) Roughly our understanding is that the vaccine contains the virus that allows the body to build “resistance” against the virus. The result is that you can get reactions like COVID-19 symptoms and you can get sick (but not seriously, also adverse events, such as dying). The claim is that this happens to an “acceptable” percentage of people because the risk for this outweighs the benefits.

Why should that not be left to every individual to choose? Instead, it is mandated – that MUST be WRONG, taking those simple TRUTHS aforementioned. It is why the matter will end up in the courts, with the less able to do, will cause damage to come.

This reaction is similar to what is happening all over the world where ‘mandates’ are enforced.

Vaccine mandate results in teacher shortage – Antigua Breaking News

Masks, school closures only increase fear of COVID-19 in students, says doctor – Cayman Compass

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Columns, Court, COVID-19, Features, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional0 Comments

MINDFULNESS…, Political Mindfulness!

 by Man from Baker Hill :         

The world has changed!  And I am not sure that persons over the age of sixty should run for political office, except they know how to bridge the modernity gap with respect to fair taxation, globalization, information technology and potential ethnic conflict (even on Montserrat).  But without a doubt, each nation requires a special kind of dynamism at the helm of its leadership or governance.

So I want each person who intends to present him or herself for election to political office in the next general elections to be mindful that the successful supermarkets on Montserrat are not owned by Montserratians. Oh yes, I want every living Politian to explain to the young voters how a thing like this could happen.  How the ownership of the most important and lucrative service in the buying and selling industry could exclude native Montserratians?

I want every politician to be mindful that Montserratians spend more money in the supermarkets than they spend in paying income and property taxes. Oh yes, I want every member of each political party to be mindful of the fact that we do not spend as much money at the hardware stores as we spend at the supermarkets. In fact, Montserratians in aggregate spend more money at the supermarkets than they spend on mortgages.  Yet they are scarcely employed in that in the supermarkets.

I want every politician to be mindful that Montserratians do not control their food supply chain. Oh yes, Montserratians grow and sell at exorbitant prices a few food items.  So I want our politicians to be mindful of the fundamentals of buying and selling and the part merchants play in the collection and payment of the nation’s taxes.   I want every politician to understand and be fully aware of the trust Montserratians place in the hands of merchants. I want every politician to know what constitute the price paid for an item of merchandise.  Of course, each dollar we spend on merchandise has in it a few cents of income tax payable to the department of Inland Revenue. And I want the politicians to ponder whether the aggregate of these few cents is ever paid into the tax department.

Again, I shall repeat! I want our politicians to be mindful that although Montserratians throughout the Diaspora are successful doctors, lawyers, professors, architects, bankers, entrepreneurs and economists, when these Montserratians visit Montserrat they are shocked to see that the food supply chain is not owned by Montserratians.  They realize that buying and selling, the most lucrative enterprises and the simplest form of businesses to operate, the surest business method to become wealthy is not owned or controlled by Montserratians.

I want the politicians to be mindful of our formal and informal education system and to wonder if and when it went wrong.  It will be unbelievable to some that when the Honorable William Bramble left the political scene all the supermarkets, wholesale and retail shops were owned and operated by Montserratians. But that is a fact. So what is the matter?

Don’t we know that…‘buying and selling’ is as natural to the natives of a country, as trees and grass are natural to hills and valleys of that country? Therefore licenses for businesses that operate for the most part in buying and selling should only be given to non- nationals as a last resort.

Is it reasonable to say that…it is politically and nationally embarrassing that refugees, who arrived just a few years ago, own the fastest growing buying and selling enterprise on Montserrat?

And maybe…it is also fiscal ignorance that non-nationals are given a trade license to operate a supermarket to buy and sell when those persons have never paid income tax or a special license on Montserrat!

Now, what is buying and selling? Oh yes, what is this thing? It is a service relationship between a buyer and a seller in which the buyer pays to the seller a price that includes all of the following ingredients. These are the full cost price of the merchandise, the cost to ship the merchandise to Montserrat, the customs duty and port charges paid by the seller, the cost of rent or mortgage for the shop, the cost for the seller’s trucks and cars, the cost for the sellers workers, the cost for shelves and refrigerators, the cost to send the sellers children to school, the cost of all the food and clothes and fun for the seller’s family, the cost for utility and telephone bills, the tax to be paid on the profits made by the seller, the cost of all the buildings and homes owned by the seller and their families and the cost of all the spoiled goods that are sent to the garbage dump.

Although the foregoing has been directed to the political wan-a-bees, it is worthwhile for all Montserratians to be attentive and thoughtful about the matter of ownership of the lucrative business enterprises, especially those that engage in buying and selling.

Furthermore, as the nation gears up to stay or change the political course, the issue of overall mindfulness is relevant. Moreover, yes, relevance in itself is important as Montserratians search for their footings!

And what else will be relevant for political discussions? Building another secondary school in Salem?

Setting a national retirement age? Revisiting the Social Security Amendment of 2009? Starting some form of national health insurance? Believe me; none is more relevant than the lack of success that is apparent with supermarkets – buying and selling businesses owned by natives. WE MUST BRING THIS MATTER TO THE POLITICAL TABLE NOW! And in case you are afraid to do so, just say the manfrombakerhill tell you to be mindful, especially this (next) election year.

And, there is more to arouse the consciousness of voters. For example, you could be mindful of the fact the ordinary contractor on a budget of $500,000.00 employs as much as 10 workers. Even the Montserrat Reporter employs more workers than some supermarkets.

Moreover, consider this! The supermarkets in aggregate collect more money than the GOM collects from income taxes.

Oh yes, mindfulness! Much political mindfulness is expected from each candidate this election year; because Montserratians will… change!

 

 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Features, Local, Man from Baker Hill1 Comment

 (Independent)

WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, seems to be having a recess – we hope…

Andrew GriffinMon, October 4, 2021, 1:31 PM

 (Independent)
(Independent)

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have all gone down in a major outage.

Such problems – especially after they have been ongoing for hours – likely indicates there is a major problem with the technology underpinning Facebook’s services.

And it could last for hours. In 2019, when it suffered from its biggest-ever outage, it was more than 24 hours from the beginnings of the problem until Facebook said it was resolved.
That was on March 13, 2019…

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Entertainment, General, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Trends

Vaccine passports, travel to Montserrat and pressuring the unvaxxed

Contribution 129/21 # 20

Is there an alternative to a quarrel of the vaxxed vs the unvaxxed, with the latter being blamed for the onward spreading of the epidemic?  (Can we travel to Montserrat without being forced to take vaccines?)

BRADES, Montserrat, September 17, 2021 – The breaking news on Friday, September 17 was that “the recently announced policy by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda requiring all arriving passengers to be COVID-19 vaccinated (at least partially), also applies to persons in transit to and from Montserrat.”[1] It further seems that the acceptable vaccines for this are those used in Antigua, i.e. [1] AstraZeneca Vaccine, [2] Sputnik V from Russia, [3] Pfizer (though that obviously may be adjusted, e.g. Moderna, etc.).  This goes with the linked issuing of “vaccine passports” by Antigua, complete with QR codes that tie in with files on each vaxxed person. The only relief is the assurance that “the current arrangement for the acceptance of medical emergencies from Montserrat will remain unchanged.” Premier Farrell of Montserrat, has suggested the need for another gateway for travel to Montserrat. This cluster of developments, therefore, poses significant challenges for Montserratians wishing to travel who have concerns about vaccination, and about our onward relationship with Antigua.

A first concern is that here at TMR, we have already seen from the mainstream, official and credible sources, that both the vaxxed and unvaxxed can catch Covid-19 and can spread it, also both may suffer serious hospitalisation and adverse events.

Where, while for the moment the unvaxxed dominate in hospitalisation in our region including Antigua, in places like Israel – one of the most widely vaxxed countries in the world, some 80% – by August 15th, 59% of those with serious or critical cases were “fully vaccinated,” and there are suggestions that a month later, the proportion is even higher.  This is the main reason why Israel has pushed for a third jab, and millions of Israelis have already taken it.[3] The UK and USA are now beginning to follow that lead.

Similarly, the vaxxed are tested on arrival here and are quarantines, precisely because we know they can catch and transmit the disease. This reflects the “leaky,” “non-sterilising” nature of these vaccines, which do not reliably stop a new infection cold. There is also a challenge that the degree of protection rapidly fades after perhaps six months. Hence, talk of not only the third jab but of an onward train of jabs every year or even every six months.

So, plainly, there is only a questionable basis for discrimination based on the idea that vaccine protection makes such a difference that the travel bans and other coercive measures are justified. For instance, an eighteen-member FDA advisory panel in the USA just voted not to go for the third jab across the board,[4] because of a lack of data and apparently also in part influenced by the known issue of heart damage for young men. As AP reported:

“. . . the advisory panel rejected 16-2, boosters for almost everyone. Members cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and also raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups. Then, in an 18-0 vote, it endorsed extra shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious disease. Panel members also agreed that health workers and others who run a high risk of being exposed to the virus on the job should get boosters, too.”

Antigua’s authorities should be politely asked to explain the travel ban given the facts of breakthrough infection and concerns about known risks and long-term potential side effects.

A second concern is hardly less serious, and can be seen from the Antigua Vaccine Passport:

For, the use of a QR code means that camera-using scanners with network access can immediately connect to detailed stores of information called databases and can then draw out details on one’s health history, other personal information, financial facts, where one has gone, what one has done, etc. Of course, this can then be used to block entry or block one’s ability to buy or sell and more. That is, this feature is therefore a dangerous move towards what we can call the spy-and-control state.  Or, in terms of a well-known Bible text that warns of the dangers of such centralised control and discriminatory action against dissenters:

“Rev 13:16 [The second beast, from the Land] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the [first] beast [from the Sea] or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666 [= Nero Caesar, first Roman Emperor to attack and persecute the church].” [NIV]

The Rev 13:16 – 17 concerns are obviously highly relevant: we are here seeing a rise of centralised, government control that can all too easily be exerted on where one may go, whether s/he can make a living, even what one may or may not buy. That is too much power for anyone to safely handle.

But, is there an alternative to pushing or even mandating vaccines to prevent a disaster that overwhelms our health services and wrecks our economy?

Yes, to see it, let’s compare Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, India, with their sister state, Kerala. Then, onward, with the USA:

The impact of widespread preventative and early treatment with Ivermectin in Uttar Pradesh (pop. 241 million) and Delhi, vs Kerala which did not do so, in India

By making aggressive, widespread early use of Ivermectin, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were able to control and suppress the Delta strain surge and have now reduced new cases and deaths to very low numbers, despite having perhaps 6% of people there vaccinated. This included, for example, giving every family member of a house where a case occurred, preventative doses. Kerala instead, refused to make early use of Ivermectin then stopped it altogether. So, just as in the USA, case numbers did not dramatically fall there.

Let us look at trends with Uttar Pradesh (241 million) vs the USA (333 million), similarly:

This effect of widespread, early Ivermectin use has also occurred elsewhere, but that is being marginalised or even dismissed. But, it is clear from such data that there are low-cost, effective, credible treatments that should be used alongside targeted vaccinations and other measures.

Covid-19 is a solvable problem, solvable without resorting to drastic coercion and polarisation against the unvaxxed.  That is going to require that we re-think the heavily promoted conventional wisdom and shift to a balanced approach, involving preventative dosing of those at risk, early treatments, and vaccines. Such re-thinking is obviously a challenge but it is one we should face.


[1] See GoM https://www.gov.ms/2021/09/17/antiguas-vaccination-travel-policy-also-applies-to-in-transit-passengers-to-montserrat/?fbclid=IwAR1kb8zkZKDMY50Kq-aKfhuXaGZBxZVruzQGy1iiJyNAa_HVF7oCQPIWwuI#

[2] TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/losing-patience-with-the-unvaxxed-vs-playing-with-the-fire-of-leaky-vaccines/

[3] TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/the-emerging-covid-vax-booster-shot-train/

[4] See https://apnews.com/article/fda-panel-rejects-widespread-pfizer-booster-shots-1cd1cf6a5c5c02b63f8a7324807a59f1?utm_medium=AP&utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, COVID-19, De Ole Dawg, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, OECS, 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

Methodist-Church-President

Main churches in Antigua support COVID-19 vaccinations – but where is the due diligence of their representation

Taken at another level when it comes to acts against humanity, these are well documented, even their claim to scientifically; but has the “church(es)” really checked the extent of the science and indeed their faith?

Bishop Everald Galbraith
Apostle Dr. Stephen Andrews

“…hand in hand with the state so that we can conquer this enemy together…”

This is the most frightening situation on our local front so far in this pandemic… but haven’t we been leading to this long?

R C Bishop Yanis

This is so so sad.

Not so much the encouragement, but what it represents in some disguise, if only to be carefully kind because of the apparent lack of due diligence by the churches, arguing the church must stand with science and faith.

Criminal acts against humanity, taking away people’s right of choice as to what ‘medication’ they take for something which carries minimal risks (Risks that are dishonestly represented at that) to theirs, or others’ lives.

Taking that right to choose that will ‘lawfully’ (but illegally) cause them to lose their livelihoods. Who thinks of the consequences of this? It is what the UN ICCPR is all about.

https://antiguanewsroom.com/seventh-day-adventist-churchs-stance-on-covid-19-vaccine/?fbclid=IwAR2V2s3_fzF47MF9FV0Jyii6yxE6_RvnT9hN94LcVXx4_KgP5-qzCn-xg60

Saying: “They are not the Biblical Mark of the Beast and they are safe and effective. That’s the stance of three prominent churches…in Antigua…”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, Science/Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

Best Life

If You Have These Symptoms, Get Tested for COVID—Even If You’re Vaccinated

Best Life

Kali Coleman

Early in the pandemic, we were coached on the telltale symptoms of COVID: cough, fever, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste. But with the coronavirus mutating several times over the last year and now causing some cases in fully vaccinated people, those are no longer necessarily the hallmark signs of infection. In fact, the virus is presenting so much differently amid the spread of the Delta variant that virus experts say you should no longer wait to develop a fever or lose one of your senses in order to get tested for COVID.

RELATED: If You Got Pfizer, This Is When You’re More Likely to Get Breakthrough COVID.

Tiffany Mattingly, RN, the vice president of clinical strategies at The Health Collaborative in Cincinnati, Ohio, told ABC-affiliate WCPO that many people are mistaking their coronavirus symptoms for non-urgent health issues because symptoms of the Delta variant vary from other strains. “Many people think they have sinus infections, that it’s allergy season, that it’s ragweed time, and it’s not. It’s COVID,” Mattingly said.

A sore throat is a common sign of a sinus infection and allergies, but doctors say you should now get tested for COVID if you have this symptom or think you have a sinus infection. According to Mattingly, a major problem with breakthrough infections is that these symptoms are typically much less severe in vaccinated individuals, which means they may be even more likely to wait to get tested.

“By the time that it gets severe enough that someone decides to go get a COVID test, they may have spread it to multiple people, because a couple of days have passed,” she warns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus if they have been infected with the Delta variant, though they are likely to be infectious for a shorter period of time than unvaccinated people.

“Previous variants typically produced less virus in the body of infected fully vaccinated people (breakthrough infections) than in unvaccinated people. In contrast, the Delta variant seems to produce the same high amount of virus in both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people,” the CDC says.

RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In June, researchers from the U.K. released findings from their ongoing ZOE COVID Study, pinpointing what symptoms are more likely from the new, fast-spreading strain of the virus. Sore throat was one of the five most common symptoms among COVID cases in those fully vaccinated. The other common breakthrough infection symptoms now include headache, runny nose, sneezing, and loss of smell.

But sore throat is also now one of the five most frequently reported virus symptoms for those unvaccinated as well. According to the researchers, this shows some clear “changes from when COVID-19 first appeared over a year ago.” The other common symptoms for unvaccinated people during the Delta surge include headache, runny nose, fever, and persistent cough.

“A majority of these [Delta] cases start with sniffles, sore throat,” Gabe Kelen, MD, the director of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins told WMAR, an ABC-affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland. “If you have symptoms, do not assume that this is a summer cold. Even if your symptoms aren’t very strong, what you want to do is make sure you are not spreading COVID to somebody else who is going to have a very bad outcome.”

Posted in COVID-19, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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