Archive | Health


Secondary school student in brutal attack on mother

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC –Education Minister Anthony Garcia said that the necessary resources and experts from the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education will be sent to a secondary school, south of here, after a student is reported to have severely injured his mother in a fit of rage over school work earlier this week.

crimmeeGarcia said that the Ministry had received a report regarding the incident in which the 15-year-old Presentation College student allegedly chopped his mother almost severing one of her arms, and also inflicting multiple wounds to her head, chest and arms.

The student has since been taken into police custody following the incident on Wednesday night.

Police said that the woman had been found at the house by her husband on his return from work on Thursday and that the student had been found in a nearby village after fleeing the house.

The mother has since undergone emergency and the Head of Central Division, Senior Superintendent,  Inraj Balram described the incident as very disturbing.

“It is appalling for a 15-year-old who is attending a prestigious school to resort to that kind of violence against his own mother. I am pleading with people who have troubled children to seek counselling for them,” Balram is quoted in the Friday edition of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

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Former health minister renews call for decriminalising marijuana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC – Former health minister Dr. Fuad khan Friday renewed his call for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medical purposes.

“Trinidad and Tobago needs to join the march towards decriminalization of marijuana, particularly for medical use” Dr. Khan, an opposition legislator, said in a statement in which he noted that as of this year several countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, and some U.S. jurisdictions, had done so.

marijuuuThe global community is Friday observing International Day of Cannabis, commonly referred to as “420’ and Dr. Khan said “on the occasion of 420, I once again renew my call for the decriminalization of the use of marijuana”.

The opposition legislator, a medical practitioner, said that in his contribution to the budget debate last year “ I pointed out the many benefits to the economy by legalizing marijuana, its medical uses and the need to desist from criminalizing young men in particular for using small amounts.
“ I went to great lengths to show the benefits but the current government has constantly ignored all calls for changes to the law. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley when asked about the legalization of marijuana in 2015 said that while the issue might be “fashionable” at the moment, it isn’t a priority for his government.”

Dr. Khan said that the government’s “continuing failure to broach matters of national importance has become a serious drawback when it comes to our society evolving based on science, pragmatism and common sense.”.

He said Trinidad and Tobago has some of the highest rates of cancer, hypertension and diabetes in the region and if marijuana licences are granted, the country can begin to benefit from the positive medical benefits.
“Patients with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions will be able to have access to legal marijuana, not having the added burden of trying to evade law enforcement,” Khan said, noting that while the debate continues on the efficacy of medical marijuana, several major research have been undertaken to understand the positive effects of the marijuana.

He quoted the findings of several research studies on the issue insisting that Trinidad and Tobago must move swiftly to separate marijuana from the very real and dangerous illegal drug trade and allow the people who use it as medicine to do so without being incarcerated.

“Marijuana smokers are not second class citizens. Adults have the legal right to consume alcohol, tobacco and other legal drugs but are criminalized if they choose marijuana, a natural herb. That is neither reasonable nor fair,” Dr. Khan added.

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Belize Attorney General has advice for United States on drug problems

BELMOPAN, Belize, Apr 20, CMC –Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte has a few words of advice for the United States, particularly as it relates to dealing with its drug problem.

“I have …said that the US also needs to work on their demand, maybe if they will stop using so much drugs, we wouldn’t be selling any, according to them,” Peyrefitte told television viewers here on Thursday night after acknowledging that he had now fully read the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released by the US State Department late last month.

Michael Peyrefitte

In the report, Washington named four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major illicit drug-producing countries. It noted that the Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica were also major drug-transit countries.

According to Washington, a major illicit drug-producing country is one in which 1,000 hectares or more of illicit opium poppy is cultivated or harvested during a year; 1,000 hectares or more of illicit coca is cultivated or harvested during a year; or 5,000 hectares or more of illicit cannabis is cultivated or harvested during a year.

But Peyrefitte said that the United States has ‘not presented to us any evidence why is it they believe that.

“It’s based on what? Based on what they are saying we are a major transshipment point of drugs? We don’t have any information from them as to what is the foundation of that analysis. They don’t share any information with us.

‘If they know, if the US knows who is bringing drugs into Belize, then let us know and we will arrest those people because drugs are illegal. So, what information do they have that they are not telling us about? We don’t know.

“But like I said, that is their opinion. It is a black eye, yes, because they are an elephant and we are a flea in world politics and geo-politics. But at the same time I think it is very unfair and very cowardly that you would pass a judgment like that on Belize without any evidence to show on what based that opinion on,” the Attorney General said.

He said that the Dean Barrow government has daily contact with Washington but that “they tend to want information but don’t give information.

“As long as we are not treated equally or operate on an equal footing, then what can we do? All we can do is to try and fight crime the best that we can.
“If there is an illegal activity, we go to stomp it out and we bring the people to court, they have their day in court and the justice systems decides. But until then, I do not accept any other country’s assessment on my country without at least trying to do some good with that assessment,” Peyrefitte added.

Several other Caribbean countries have also disputed the US report.

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Four Caribbean countries to benefit from CDB project to aid disability community

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mar 23, CMC – Four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will benefit from a project aimed at providing reliable data to inform and strengthen their programming targeting the disabled community.

The CDB said that its board of directors had approved the project to support disability assessments in Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

disability“Under the project, these countries will benefit from workshops designed to train participants in the conduct of disability assessments, disseminate assessment findings and obtain feedback on those findings, and discuss strategies for more effectively addressing disability in the region,” the bank said.

“We know that persons with disabilities continue to face stigma, discrimination and exclusion, and are vulnerable to poverty, despite their ability to function in the society and the economy.

“It is therefore imperative that we invest in creating enabling environments for disabled persons, in order to reduce these vulnerabilities and advance multidimensional progress in the Region,” said Daniel Best, CDB Director of Projects.

He said this developmental focus forms an important part of fulfilling regional and national commitments, and is a critical linchpin of the ‘no one left behind’ principle that underpins the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

People with Disabilities (PWDs) as defined in Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disibilities, include “those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

The CDB said that these barriers include inaccessible infrastructure, inaccessible communication, limited reasonable accommodation and assistive aides, stereotypes, and weak enforcement of treaty, legislative and policy commitments.

CDB said through the disability assessment project, seeks to minimise these barriers by addressing disability data deficits in the region.

The region’s premier financial institution said it aims to achieve this by providing robust disability data in social, economic and political domains; examining the differential impact of disability and its intersection with other vulnerabilities associated with sex, age cohort, – children, youth, elderly and working age), ethnicity, and race (as relevant – and identifying constraints and enablers to equal participation of PWDs compared with persons without disabilities in growth sectors of the formal and informal economy.

In addition, it will also be examining vulnerabilities to natural disasters, economic shocks and climate change.

The first phase of the intervention is scheduled to commence in 2018 and is expected to be implemented over a 30-month period. The findings of the assessments will enable CDB to develop more targeted evidence-based projects and knowledge products and services to support disability mainstreaming in the Region, and will identify opportunities for development cooperation between CDB, its BMCs and other development partners.

The CDB said that the other countries in the Caribbean will benefit under a subsequent phase of the project.

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Hon Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

National AIDS programme managers, civil society leaders and development partners commit…



 …to support country ownership for HIV response sustainability  – stakeholders call for more attention to be paid to vulnerable groups in the context of declining external support

Hon Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, concluded the Sixth Meeting of National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers and Key Partners in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, 14 March 2018. The meeting came two years ahead of the 2020 deadline for reaching the 90-90-90 targets—90% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 90% of diagnosed people on treatment and 90% of those on treatment virally suppressed.
The forum opened on Monday March 12 with a Feature Address by the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Minister Deyalsingh noted that in light of reduced technical and financial support from international partners, the region must collectively mobilize domestic resources especially for the support of prevention and the elimination of HIV-related stigma and discrimination among key and vulnerable populations.
These sentiments were echoed by the participants including National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers, Chief Medical Officers, Permanent Secretaries, development, and implementing partners, including civil society organizations that work with people living with HIV and key population groups and youth.  
In closing remarks, Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, Director, National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases Programme at the Bahamas Ministry of Health, proposed integration of HIV care into other healthcare services in order to assure sustainability of the HIV response.  She highlighted that participants recognized integration as one potential solution for improving the accessibility of health services and suggested that it could help countries meet the demand for increased HIV-related treatment, care and support services in the context of scaling up to “Treat All”. (“Treat All” involves offering treatment to all people diagnosed with HIV regardless of CD4 count.)    
“Caribbean countries are diverse and integration will need to be tailored for each country context,” stated Dr Forbes, “HIV should never have been completely separated from the health agenda and synergies need to be fostered with sexual reproductive health services”.
She further stated that integration requires healthcare worker training on “Treat All” as well as the meaningful and sustained involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). For example, there should be leadership and inclusion of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and key populations on the prevention, treatment and care needs of their communities.  Dr. Forbes noted that there should be a focus on quality of care, with steps taken to ensure that members of key populations can access sexual and reproductive health services including HIV and AIDS prevention. 
She posited that to achieve integration the region should conduct south-to-south collaborations and draw on regional expertise for training healthcare workers on the front-line response.   
Dr Forbes emphasized the integral role of civil society organizations, “CSOs we have not forgotten you”, she stated. “You must be placed and supported in the planning and implementation process which only strengthens the argument for the need for social contracting and crystalizing this in policy.  This is how we will sustain the regional response”.  
She concluded with an urgent plea for heightened government involvement in funding the HIV response. She advocated that governments need to own the HIV response and in owning it, they need to make the investments needed to reach the prevention, testing and treatment targets that will set the region on course to end AIDS by 2030.
“I make a respectful but urgent plea to our governments to commit to, as well as finance, their National and Regional AIDS response”, stated Dr Forbes. “Without an urgent strategy to sustain the response we risk leaving many vulnerable groups behind and undoing the gains we have made in reducing HIV transmission”.  



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Mott McDonald

De Ole Dawg – Part 1: 2018 – What are Montserrat’s Economic realities, challenges and opportunities?

How can we build on the research published in the December 15, 2017 Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy document?

BRADES, Montserrat – As we all know, Montserrat’s economy took a very hard blow from the volcano disaster. That was multiplied by gaps and delays in emergency management response and the resulting loss of 2/3 of our population. We also lost access to 2/3 of our land, much of our key infrastructure and therefore a big slice of our productive capacity. So, if we are to soundly rebuild Montserrat’s economy we need to soundly understand what happened to us. This makes the December 15, 2017, Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy document[1] doubly important. Here, let us look at an adjusted version of one of their tables, with some additional calculations:

This table tells our economic story by making a comparison between our economy in 1994 and in 2016, with a telling side-light from the Antigua Economy:

  • Our economy (in “real” terms) as indicated by Gross Domestic Product (GDP)[2] is just over half as big as it was on the eve of the volcano disaster.
  • Apart from Finance and Transport, the private sector collapsed well beyond the 50% or so that would imply just a scaling down; in some sectors it is less than 20% of what it was.
  • The structure of our economy has clearly changed drastically, due to a dramatic collapse of key productive sectors.[3]
  • It has stayed there for many years because of a want of investor confidence and lack of key growth-enabling infrastructure that we are still fighting to put in place over twenty years later.
  • The public sector has more than doubled as a percent of our economy, moving from 19.3% in 1994 to 45.8% in 2016. (This reflects the impact of the annual UK grants under the legally binding UN Charter Article 73 obligation to “ensure . . . advancement” and to “promote . . . development.” As the 2012 FCO OT’s White Paper shows, this is the main reason for the longstanding UK policy that “reasonable assistance needs” of OT’s have “a first call” on the UK’s International Development Budget. [Cf. pp. 13 and 17.])
  • As a result, our GDP is not a “natural” one driven by a buoyant private sector, it reflects this annual support to our economy. Such is not sustainable.
  • In simple terms, if we are to return the same level of public sector to being 20% of our economy in 20 years, our economy would have to more than double, from EC$153 millions to EC$ 350 millions.
  • A compound interest calculation (yes, CXC Maths is good enough) will show this requires an average growth rate of 4.2%.
  • So, it is reasonable for Mott-MacDonald to target a 3 – 5% annual GDP growth rate. ECCB would prefer to see 5 – 7%.
  • However, if Montserrat is to move ahead, we must put in place key infrastructure, build our productive capacity,[4] provide incentives and reassurance that will rebuild investor confidence, and support a wave of enterprises that take advantage of our major opportunities: tourism, geothermal energy, the rising global digital services economy, and the like.[5]
  • A comparison with Antigua and Barbuda will show that on a per person (“per capita”) basis, our average income has increased by 13%. However, while in 1994 we were at 105% of the Antigua figure, by 2016 we fell to 98% of the increased Antigua figure. (As, Antigua’s GDP/Capita rose by 21% in the same twenty-two years whilst ours rose by only 13%.)
  • this strongly suggests that DfID has had a basic yardstick for annual support under “reasonable assistance needs,” keeping us on a comparable level to Antigua.
  • DfID Ministers and Officers have also repeatedly made it clear that unless they see sound proposals, credible capacity and sound governance reforms (including of financial management) they will not have good reason to invest in major infrastructure projects.
  • This brings us back to the need for a charter of good governance working with a development partnership memorandum of Understanding that will lay out how we are going to move ahead together.

With that in hand, let us briefly look at a modified SWOT table from the Mott-MacDonald study:

Glorified common sense, almost a no-brainer once we see the sort of data we now have in hand. Any economic development framework going forward must reckon with these issues and opportunities. That means we have a basis for national consensus, so let us now move forward together. 

[1]           See GoM:

[2]           See Investopedia:

[3]           See TMR reference resource:

[4]           See TMR, DoD:

[5]           See TMR, DoD:

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Floyd Green

Government provides counseling,relief following fire at children’s home


KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan. 16, CMC – The Government is providing counselling and relief supplies for children and staff of the Walker’s Place of Safety following a massive fire here late Monday that claimed the lives of two children.

Floyd Green
Floyd Green

“The Walker’s Place of Safety was completely destroyed by fire late last night. The loss is quite devastating as two children died in the fire. Steps are being taken to contact the parents and to start counselling for them,” said Floyd Green, the junior minister in the Education Ministry.

He told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that counselling is being provided for the displaced children and staff because, “as you can imagine, they are completely devastated”.

He noted that “the priority now is to guide them through this difficult time and ensure that we get the essential items that they need. We have already started to get critical supplies, such as medication for those children who are ill. We are moving now to find a suitable location, so that we can move the children and ensure that they are more comfortable”.

Green said investigations have been launched to determine the cause of the blaze, which destroyed the privately owned facility located on Lyndhurst Road in the Corporate Area.

The place of safety serves as a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12 years old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.

“The fire service has also commenced their investigation. We are awaiting their report. The Child Protection and Family Services Agency will also do their own investigation to see what transpired,” Green said.

Posted in Environment, Health, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments


Beverage manufacturers urged to cut sugar content

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13, CMC – Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw has  issued an appeal to beverage manufacturers to lower the sugar content in their products or force the Government to take action.

sugarraShaw, who was addressing a scientific symposium on fiscal measures to prevent obesity/non-communicable diseases (NCD), on Thursday, said they can either respond voluntarily “or we as a Government can respond to the needs of the country through appropriate policy prescriptions.”

“There has to be a willingness on the part of the producers of beverages to lead the way, set the examples. Don’t wait for the tax act to force you to do it. They need to start reducing the sugar contents even before fiscal measures are contemplated,” he added.

He said that the Government is concerned about the sugar content of products being marketed to children.

He noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that countries implement guidelines as it relates to the production of food and beverages in order to reduce the amount of sugar, and imposing taxes to encourage manufacturers to take the appropriate actions.

The Minister pointed out that policy measures already being implemented by countries across the region are reducing the amount of sweet beverages provided to schoolchildren and, ultimately, having a positive impact on the social and economic fabric of such societies.

Shaw said that although several programmes have been initiated to reduce NCDs, a more aggressive stance is needed to get more partners to join the fight in reducing the lifestyle-related diseases.

He argued that with Jamaica spending US$170 million annually on chronic diseases, the country must act so that more funds can be available for infrastructure improvement to health facilities and the upgrading of healthcare services.

Urging action from beverage manufacturers, the Finance Minister noted that they are armed with research about the “impact of your product on your consumers. We want you to be more responsible in what you include in these products.”

He also urged consumers to “put themselves in informed positions to make healthy choices, because it is your health that is impacted.”

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C M O Dr Kernanet-Huggins - 2014

Hospital plans ready to go in 2014

Below is a video presentation (one of very few) hosted by Mrs. Sujue Davis at Government House, where Chief Medical Officer Dr

Former C M O Dr Kernanet-Huggins – 2014

Kernanet-Huggins explained the hospital plans, consulted, discussed and approved, ready for the hospital which was to be completed by 2017. Now in 2018 we are now asked to look at options for another study.

So how do they compare and then the question why a new study? True the new study is said to have incorporated parts of the previous. What difference the cost of that money would have made if put into the things which would give us a better hospital?

To come are a few pictures of one of the many ‘fine’ hospitals in the UK. Remembering that prior 1994 there was a spanking new Glendon hospital next door to the old hospital…

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alcohol contam

killed after drinking home-made alcohol

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 30, CMC – At least 28 people including 15 Haitians were killed after consuming home-made alcohol containing methanol, health authorities have confirmed.

Minister of Public Health, Marie Greta Roy Clement, confirmed the deaths following a visit to the General Hospital, adding that 15 people from the Dominican Republic had also died.

alcohol contamHealth authorities said that several Haitians have been hospitalized and at least two of them have lost their eyesight.

The confirmation of the deaths come a day after the Departmental Health issued an alert relating to cases of intoxication and deaths following the consumption of adulterated methanol in several border municipalities including Los Cacaos, Las Carreras and Saltadère.

Clement and her colleague Pierre Marie du Meny, the Minister of Commerce had also warned the population against the consumption of any liquor based on methanol.

“The two ministries are deeply concerned by this situation and that concrete steps are being taken on the ground to stem this recurring problem before it spreads to other parts of the country,” they said in a statement, adding that efforts have been stepped up to deal with the situation  especially during this period of end-of-year celebrations.

The Directorate of Civil Protection said that several cases of intoxication due to the consumption of adulterated alcohol have been recorded in several districts and is urging “people to take a lot of care in what they drink during the holiday season.”

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