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

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

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE

December 6, 2021

Winair at J Osborne Airport – 2010

The Alternative Routes Team (ART) would like to advise that there are still a few seats available on Saturday 11th and 18th December 2021 with WINAIR, seating a maximum of 14 passengers.  Additional flights are also being arranged for 8th, 15th and 22nd January 2022.

Persons wishing to travel to St Maarten for international connections to Europe, Canada, the USA can now book seats on the return flights to St Maarten on 11th and 18th December 2021 and  8th, 15th, and 22nd January, 2022 respectively.

  1. Travelers must first obtain permission to enter St Maarten and to re-enter Montserrat. Visit websites http://stmaartenehas.com/travel and www.gov.ms/travel for permission.
  • PASSENGER MAXIMUM LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE IS 35LBS CHECKED AND 10LBS HAND LUGGAGE

Interested persons are advised to contact Mr. Desmond Meade at 1-954-805-5663 (WhatsApp, Telegram) or email: ds3ic34@gmail.com to book flights or for further information.

Disclaimer: Although this route does facilitate the travel of persons who have not been able to vaccinate for medical 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 covid19. Persons are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their healthcare provider.

Please note that the charter flight on WINAIR arriving in Montserrat from St Maarten on December 4, 2021, is now fully booked.  Additional weekly flights are being arranged with WINAIR, scheduled for 11th and 18th December 2021, and  8th, 15th,  and 22nd January 2022, maximum seating of 14 passengers. 

Persons wishing to travel to St Maarten for international connections to Europe, Canada, the USA, to shop, or simply for a STRESS-BUSTER can now book seats on the return flights to St Maarten on 4th and 11th December 2021 and  8th, 15th, and 22nd January, 2022 respectively.

  1. Travelers must first obtain permission to enter St Maarten and to re-enter Montserrat. Visit websites http://stmaartenehas.com/travel and www.gov.ms/travel for permission.
  • PASSENGER MAXIMUM LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE IS 35LBS CHECKED AND 10LBS HAND LUGGAGE

Interested persons are advised to contact Mr. Desmond Meade at 1-954-805-5663 (WhatsApp, Telegram) or email: ds3ic34@gmail.com to book flights or for further information.

Disclaimer: Although this route does facilitate the travel of persons who have not been able to vaccinate for medical 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 covid19. Persons are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their healthcare provider.

Posted in Advertisements, Classified, COVID-19, Entertainment, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Vaccination passport app shares personal data of users with Amazon and Royal Mail

Vaccination passport app shares personal data of users with Amazon and Royal Mail

Vaccination passport app shares personal data of users with Amazon and Royal Mail – Daily Record

The NHS Scotland Covid status app (Image: PA)

There is missing (that we have not shared yet) leading up to this situation; but this is not just happening by chance, all by design; maybe just conveniently accepted by authoritarian controllers and power hungrys…, wait for the challenges! Where are the believers in God? Has money (and the NOW) replaced salvation for His people that is through grace and His Spirit?

Civil liberty campaigners and opposition politicians have reacted furiously to the Sunday Mail revelations.

The Scottish Government ’s controversial vaccination passport shares the personal data of users with a host of private firms, the Sunday Mail can reveal.

Proof of inoculation is now required by law to get into football grounds or nightclubs north of the border, despite plans for a scheme having been scrapped in England.

We have learned the NHS mobile phone app which presents the personal medical information in the form of a QR Code shares data with companies including Amazon, Microsoft, ServiceNow, Royal Mail and an AI facial recognition firm.

Civil liberty campaigners and opposition politicians have reacted furiously to our revelations.

Sam Grant, head of policy and campaigns at Liberty, said: “Vaccine passports create a two-tier society and already many people in Scotland have been coerced into getting a vaccine passport in order to attend events and access certain parts of society.

“It’s extremely concerning that, in doing so, data has been shared with third parties without people having the option to opt-out or without even being made aware that this is happening.

“This only furthers the wide concerns people already have around vaccine passports. (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/vaccine-passports-travel-to-montserrat-and-pressuring-the-unvaxxed/ )

“We all want to keep each other safe and Liberty has always supported reasonable and proportionate measures to combat Covid but vaccine passports are not a solution.”

Privacy information on the vaccination passport app reveals personal data of users will be shared with NetCompany, Service Now, Jumio, iProov, Albasoft, Amazon Web Services, CFH Docmail, Microsoft Azure, Gov.uk Notify Service, and Royal Mail. It is claimed that not all of the firms can “access” the data, even though it is “shared”.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats have repeatedly warned the Government that data protection is virtually non-existent – a simple screenshot was enough to bypass whatever ‘security measures’ the system had in place.

“The launch was a shambles and the IT system struggled to cope.

“Everyone has the right to medical privacy, nobody should ever have to provide part of their medical history to a bouncer or a series of private companies. That is just simply absurd.”

Scottish Conservatives’ Murdo Fraser said: “There have been serious data privacy concerns with the SNP’s vaccine passport app since the word go.

“The news that users’ personal data will be shared with so many private companies is extremely worrying.

“This will only serve to further erode public trust in the SNP’s shambolic vaccine passport scheme.”

A comment on the above story:
EDed_macd24 OCTOBER 2021: The plan all along; track and trace, trace and manipulate. Vitamin C is far superior to their weak vaccine, and totally proven by science too.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

@afwlitfest-good-night-MNI

H. E. presents…

Good Night Montserrat

Enjoy a Hybrid AFW LitFest This Week 

BRADES, Montserrat (November 14, 2021) – Whether you live in Montserrat or thousands of miles away you will have the opportunity to experience the 13th Alliouagana Festival of the Word. 

The official dates are November 18 to 20, however, activities begin from Monday the 15th under the theme Our Future, Our Stories. 

Festival Coordinator, Nerissa Golden of Goldenmedia said she was delighted to be facilitating another exciting programme to celebrate our love for books and the people who create them. 

Starting Monday at 10 a.m. the Public Library in Brades will host a week-long exhibition called Write Montserrat: A Literary Retrospective of Our Island’s Authors. The collection will showcase the works of local authors in a variety of genres. 

On Monday at 7 a.m, the Good Night Montserrat series sponsored by the Governor’s Office will begin on Facebook. 

“We invited book lovers to submit a video of themselves reading their favourite children’s stories. We have received submissions from around the world and are excited to share them with our fans,” Golden revealed. 

Residents are encouraged to gather along the Carr’s Bay main road on Thursday, November 18, at 10 a.m. for the Book Parade. This colourful street parade allows primary school children to bring their favourite storybook characters to life. 

The Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell Memorial Lecture will be aired on Friday evening on the festival’s Facebook page. Two engaging panel discussions make up the programme starting at 7:30 PM. 

The Saturday morning workshops begin online at 10 AM and focus on various aspects of digital publishing from idea to final production and sales. These workshops are brought to you with the support of the Montserrat Public Library. 

Books by eight Montserratian authors will be celebrated at the Saturday evening gala. Starting at 6 PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, this elegant evening is a fundraising event and will highlight the new works of authors including Edwin L. Martin, Shirley Osborne, Norman Ryan and Jennifer Joseph. 

The 13th annual Alliouagana Festival of the Word is sponsored by the Montserrat Arts Council, Goldenmedia, Governor’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Digicel, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, and Friends of AFW LitFest.

Follow the 2021 literary festival activities on Facebook at AFWLitFest or via #AFWLitFest. 

Nerissa Golden
CEO/Creative Director
Goldenmedia LLC

Posted in Advertisements, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Featured, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Youth0 Comments

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Brexit poll: Boris dealt huge blow as more than HALF of UK adults want to REJOIN EU

BREXIT BRITAIN and Boris Johnson have been dealt a crushing blow after a bombshell poll revealed more than half of UK adults would vote to rejoin the European Union if another referendum was to take place.

By PAUL WITHERS17:09, Fri, Nov 12, 2021 | UPDATED: 17:09, Fri, Nov 12, 20211.2k

Angela Merkel says she will ‘miss Emmanuel Macron’

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The UK voted by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent to split from the bloc during the historic referendum in June 2016. Both sides signed an11th hour post-Brexit trade deal at the end of last year that put an end to the UK’s 47-year membership of the European Union – with the Prime Minister insisting Brexit Britain will flourish as a sovereign nation. But a significant poll from Savanta ComRes suggests the tide is quickly changing, with huge doubts now creeping into the minds of those that voted to leave the continental bloc.

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The survey of 2,231 UK adults from November 5-7 shows if another referendum was to take place, 53 percent of UK adults would vote to rejoin the EU.

This is up four points from when the polling firm asked the same question in June, when just under half (49 percent) said they would vote for the UK to once again become an EU member.

Significantly, just under half (47 percent) maintain they would not vote for the UK to rejoin the EU – down four points from the last survey five months ago.

Perhaps most notably is the result among those who voted Leave during the 2016 referendum 2016 – one in ten (10 percent) would now vote to rejoin, with a fifth (20 percent) of Conservative Party voters also voting to rejoin.SponsoredForge of Empires – Free Online GameIf You Are Above 30, You Need this Strategy Game. No Install.by Taboola

brexit uk rejoin eu boris johnson
Brexit news: The poll showed more than half of UK adults want to rejoin the EU 
(Image: GETTY)
brexit rejoin eu
Brexit news: The poll showed a shift towards YUK adults wanting to rejoin the bloc (Image: GETTY)

From those who decided not to vote in the referendum more than five years ago, more than eight in ten (82 percent) said they would now vote to rejoin the EU.

Four in 10 (40 percent) of UK adults would support a referendum on whether to re-join the EU within the next five years, while just a third (34 percent) were against this idea.

Fifteen percent of Leave voters would support a referendum within this time frame, with 14 percent of Remainers saying they would oppose one.

Only eleven percent of Remainers and a fifth (20 percent) of Labour voters would vote to stay out of the EU in a referendum.

READ MORE: Brexit POLL: Should Frost just trigger Article 16 now? VOTE

brexit uk eu
Brexit news: The poll is a major boost for Remainers (Image: GETTY)

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The proportion who would now vote to re-join the EU in a referendum rises to more than three quarters (77 percent) of those aged 18-34 and eight in 10 (80 percent) of 2019 Labour Party supporters.

Support for holding such a referendum in the near future rises to nearly half (49 percent) of those in this younger age group and almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Labour voters.

A fifth (21 percent) of Conservative voters also say they would support this.

Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes, said the sharp rise in UK adults now wanting to join the EU shows a number of issues linked to Brexit over recent months are now starting to take their toll.

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Brexit news: The poll is a major blow to Brexit Britain (Image: GETTY)

brexit boris johnson uk eu

Brexit news: Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will flourish outside the EU (Image: GETTY)

He warned the high level of support among younger voters to rejoin the EU, as well as the high percentage who would now back a referendum, “indicates that the Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon”.

Mr. Hopkins said: “Five years on from the Brexit referendum, this polling suggests a country that is equally divided, but with the momentum shifting towards a majority who would now vote to re-join the EU.

“Indeed, a four point rise since June of those who say they would vote to become a member again is striking.

brexit moments
Brexit news: The five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: GETTY)

TRENDING

“This indicates that issues such as disrupted supply chains and spats with fellow European leaders overfishing and vaccines may have cut through, although the results are still on a knife-edge.

Mr. Hopkins added: “While many feel like the issue is best put to bed, the high levels of support for re-joining amongst younger voters, as well as the significant proportion who would back having such a referendum in the first place, indicates that the Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon.

“And, if it were to happen, all eyes will be on those who did not vote in 2016 and younger voters who may have not had the opportunity to, who are both overwhelmingly in favour of the UK becoming a member again.”

RELATED ARTICLES

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MedicalNewsToday-logo

Vaccines protect from severe disease but do not stop all transmission

New research examines the risk of household transmission of the Delta variant, despite vaccination. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

TMR Adapted

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/delta-variant-vaccines-protect-from-severe-disease-but-do-not-stop-all-transmission

  • The COVID-19 vaccine effectively prevents severe illness and death.
  • The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS-CoV-2 is spreading globally in populations with high vaccination rates.
  • 1 in 4 fully vaccinated people who have exposure to the Delta variant in the home are likely to get the infection.
  • The peak viral load of the Delta virus does not differ between fully vaccinated and nonvaccinated individuals.
  • The elimination of the Delta strain of the virus takes place more quickly in vaccinated individuals.

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variantTrusted Source is the most widely spread variation of the virus, accounting for about 99.8% of cases in the United Kingdom. The highly transmissible Delta variant is spreading globally, including in populations with high vaccination rates.

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in protecting from severe disease and death. Research has also confirmed that fully vaccinated individuals have a lower risk of infection with both the Alpha (B.1.1.7)Trusted Source and Delta variants compared with unvaccinated people.

However, to date, vaccination has not limited the spread of the Delta variant. A new study, which appears in The Lancet Infectious DiseasesTrusted Source, has found that vaccination alone is not enough to stop the household transmission of the Delta variant.

Researchers from Imperial College London, the UK Health Security Agency, and the Manchester Foundation NHS Trust collaborated to carry out this “real life” study of household transmission in the U.K.

Vaccines are ‘not a silver bullet’

The researchers recruited 621 people over 12 months from Sept 2020. Of these individuals, 163 (26%) had a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The team used genome sequencing to identify the variant:

  • 71 participants had a Delta variant infection
  • 42 had an Alpha variant infection
  • 50 had a pre-Alpha variant infection

The scientists used the secondary attack rate (SAR)Trusted Source to study the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in households. The SAR for exposed household contacts for the Delta variant was 26%, regardless of vaccination status. However, the researchers found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 Delta virus compared with roughly 38% of unvaccinated household contacts.

Dr. Simon Clarke, who is an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading and was not involved in the study, says:

“These findings show that the vaccines remain an effective way to drive down [SARS-CoV-2] infection, but they are not a silver bullet. Infection in the wider community can still be amplified by transmission at home.”

The ability of the vaccine to prevent infection with the Delta variant in the household was roughly 34%.

Interestingly, the study found vaccination status to have no effect on the maximum amount of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta virus present, known as the peak viral load. Other studies have found similar viral loads in nasal swabs, irrespective of vaccine status.

“These similar peak viral loads in vaccine breakthrough infections may explain why infected vaccinated people were just as likely to pass on infection as infected unvaccinated people,” says Prof. Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London.

Despite no difference in viral load, the body reduced the amount of SARS-CoV-2 Delta in the airways more quickly in vaccinated people than in unvaccinated people.

How Delta can spread among vaccinated people

Speaking with Medical News TodayDr. Sarah Pitt, principal lecturer at the School of Applied Sciences, University of Brighton, explained: “What is interesting about this study is because they followed people up for 3 weeks, they could see how much virus they were shedding and for how long […]. This could be a useful finding, as it might provide new information about how long people should self-isolate for once they have tested positive.”

The researchers noted that the time between the completion of vaccination and study recruitment was longer for PCR-positive contacts than for PCR-negative contacts. This is an important finding according to Prof. Penny Ward, an independent pharmaceutical physician, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London.

She says that this may indicate that “waning individual protection may occur from 3 months rather than the 6 months currently scheduled for booster doses.”

The researchers note that they only included the contacts of symptomatic individuals in this study. Despite each of these people being the first member of their household to have a PCR-positive test, it is possible that another household member may already have had the infection.

According to Professor Emeritus Keith Neal of the University of Nottingham, this study helps with “understanding why Delta is now the predominant variant worldwide. Delta is able to spread between vaccinated people in a way previous variants did not.”

The research shows that the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can transmit from fully vaccinated people, who can have similar amounts of it in their airways as someone who is unvaccinated.

However, the amount of the virus in the airways of a fully vaccinated individual clears more quickly, suggesting that the risk of transmission lasts for less time than it would if they were not vaccinated.

Dr. Clarke says: “[T]he fact that a vaccine reduces someone’s chance of getting [the infection] in the first place means that while the vaccines don’t provide complete protection against transmission, they are not completely ineffective.”

For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.

Posted in COVID-19, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Science/Technology0 Comments

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CXC Executive Search – Vacancy

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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.

Posted in Advertisements, Business/Economy/Banking, Classified, COVID-19, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Colin Powell dies at 84

‘Don’t feel sorry for me,’ Powell said as the end approached

‘Don’t feel sorry for me,’ Powell said as the end approached

By Bob WoodwardToday at 9:34 p.m. EDT

Colin Powell dies at 84

As death approached, Colin L. Powell was still in fighting form.

“I’ve got multiple myeloma cancer, and I’ve got Parkinson’s disease. But otherwise I’m fine,” he said in a July interview.

And he rejected expressions of sorrow at his condition.

“Don’t feel sorry for me, for God’s sakes! I’m [84] years old,” said Powell, who died Monday. “I haven’t lost a day of life-fighting these two diseases. I’m in good shape.”

0:00/0:40Colin Powell to Bob Woodward: “Don’t feel sorry for me”

Over 32 years beginning in 1989, after the U.S. invasion of Panama, I conducted about 50 interviews with Powell, who was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first Black secretary of state. The last interview was a phone call, three months ago on July 12, for 42 minutes and recorded with Powell’s agreement.

Of his visits to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he said, “I have to get all kinds of exams and I’m a former chairman, so they don’t want to lose me, so they make me come there all the time. I’ve taken lots of exams and I get there on my own. I drive up in my Corvette, get out of the Corvette and go into the hospital. I also go to a clinic to get the blood tests taken. I don’t advertise it but most of my friends know it.”

Colin L. Powell, former secretary of state and military leader, dies at 84

We quickly switched to defense issues and foreign policy. I asked him about President Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops completely from Afghanistan.

“I thought we had to get out of there eventually,” Powell said. “[We] can’t beat these guys. Well, let’s get it over with. Afghanistan, you’re never going to win. Afghans are going to win.

“They have hundreds willing to fight and die for this country of theirs. That’s why I don’t have any problem with us getting out of there. We can’t go from 100,000 [U.S. troops] down to a few hundred and think that’ll prevail.”

At one point during our phone call, Alma Powell, his wife, called to him.

“Hang on a minute,” he told me. “I’m on the phone, Alma!” he said, shouting back to her, and then in a whisper he added, “She never liked me talking to you, but here we are.”

In Powell’s memoir, “My American Journey,” he recounted how he and I had talked in 1989. He wrote in his book that my story in The Washington Post the next day “was not inaccurate, but neither was it helpful.”

He added, “I continued dealing with Woodward, though Alma warned me to handle with care.”

His thoughts on Afghanistan were among several ruminations on current foreign policy issues.

“How does anybody think that North Korea would find a way to attack us without us destroying them the next morning,” he said, “How can anyone think equally of Iran. Iran and North Korea cannot be our enemies because they cannot stand the results of such a conflict. We’re going to be terrified of these people? No. Would they dare?”

“But sometimes you get a leader who’s suicidal,” I said.

“True. True . . . The Chinese are not going to let us start a war with North Korea. They love North Korea. They want North Korea. I don’t. North Korea doesn’t bother me. Let the little jerk [Kim Jong Un] have his parades and what not. He’ll never try to attack us because he knows it would be assisted suicide.”

“And I felt the same way about Iran. I felt the same way for the most part about Russia. They can’t afford it. They’ve got [145] million people. We’ve got 330 million people.”

We returned to one of the defining moments in his life and discussed how the Persian Gulf War had taken only 42 days. The ground war component lasted only four days before President George H.W. Bush declared a cease-fire. The U.S. and coalition forces overran Kuwait and southern Iraq, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s army, routed the Iraqi Republican Guard, dictated the terms of peace and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. Kuwait was liberated. American casualties were 137 killed in action and seven missing in action.

“That’s close to it,” Powell said. “Had another couple hundred killed in accidents.”

Overall, given the low American casualties, he said of the war, “I’m so proud of that I can’t see straight.”

Powell continued, “Before the ground war started, I went to a White House meeting and pulled [Secretary of Defense Richard B.] Cheney and the president aside. And I said, ‘You know, I got to tell you about something, the ground [war] is about to start.’

“ ‘And I need to warn you a little bit, that when we lose an airplane, it crashes and I lose one guy. If they hit a tank, you’ll see four burning guys come out of it and you will see terrible things in ground war that you will never see in air war. So be prepared for that and be prepared to respond to it and defend us when we’re in ground war.’ I didn’t know it was going to be as easy as it was or as well-prepared as it was. And they took that seriously.”

Iraq War role was a stain on Powell’s record — one he openly said he regretted

I mentioned that in a journalism class I teach, one of the students asked, “What does the truth accomplish?”

“This is scary,” Powell said. “You just scared the hell out of me if this is what our kids are saying and thinking. Where are they getting it from? Media?”

President Donald Trump was not reelected, he noted, “but Trump refuses to acknowledge that he wasn’t reelected. He has people who go along with him on that.”

What about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol?

“It was awful. He was going in there to overturn the government.”

I asked Powell, “Who was the greatest man, woman or person you have ever known? Not . . . a leader, not necessarily, but the inner person. You know, the moral compass, the sense of propriety, the sense of the truth matters. Who is that in all of your life? Who?”

“It’s Alma Powell,” he said immediately. “She was with me the whole time. We’ve been married 58 years. And she put up with a lot. She took care of the kids when I was, you know, running around. And she was always there for me and she’d tell me, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ She was usually right.”

Claire McMullen contributed to this report.Updated October 18, 2021

Complete coverage: Colin Powell dies at 84

Obituary: Colin L. Powell, former secretary of state and military leader, dies at 84 of complications from covid-19

Latest: ‘Don’t feel sorry for me,’ Powell said as the end approached

In Health: Colin Powell had been treated for a cancer that severely impairs the immune system, lowering coronavirus vaccine effectiveness

Reaction: Powell praised by U.S. politicians from both parties as trailblazer, trusted adviser to presidents

Colin Powell and Iraq: Iraq War role was a stain on Powell’s record — one he openly said he regretted

From The Post’s archive: Republicans saw Colin Powell as their presidential savior in 1996. He couldn’t see himself that way.

Posted in International, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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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

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