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Reduction in number of Jamaicans denied access to Trinidad

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith says that there is a reduction in the number of Jamaicans denied access to Trinidad and Tobago.

 “In respect of free movement of persons, thanks to Jamaica’s strong advocacy and the effectiveness of our technical team …there is a protocol to treat with community nationals being denied access at the borders, that’s being finalised,” Johnson Smith said at a press conference held at her ministry today.  

She said that her ministry is positive about the improvement in the number of Jamaicans denied access to Caricom member states, especially Trinidad and Tobago, which was a key concern. Johnson-Smith said that “460 Jamaicans were denied access in 2016, but this was reduced to 289 in 2017.”

 For 2018, only 63 Jamaicans have so far been denied access to Trinidad and Tobago, Johnson-Smith said, adding that there is a also a reduction in the number of complaints from Jamaicans entering other member states, with only one complaint this year regarding Barbados.

Meanwhile, the minister presented a new brochure available to the public and urged Jamaicans to use it as a guide on how to travel through the region as a skilled-worker.

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IDB launches call for proposals from startups in the Caribbean

IDB launches call for proposals from startups in the Caribbean

 

WASHINGTON, Jun. 20,   CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched a call for proposals that will reward the most disruptive ventures in Latin America and the Caribbean that are using innovation to improve lives.

The Washington-based financial institution said the selected startups will participate in Demand Solutions Chile, which will take place on November 21 in Santiago, Chile.

Demand Solutions is the IDB’s flagship innovation event that brings together “the world’s most forward-thinking minds to share creative solutions to the development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the statement said.

In this edition, the IDB said startups can participate in two thematic areas.

In the first, they must provide solutions in four categories related to the cultural and creative industries: Design with social sense: sustainable fashion, smart fashion, urban art, wearable technology; and multimedia that improves lives: videogames, digital content, audiovisual content.

The other categories are: New technologies: 3D printing, blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics; and export of services to global markets: production and commercialization of cultural content, export of goods and creative services.

The IDB said the 10 most innovative startups in the creative industries will be selected to participate in Demand Solutions Chile with all expenses paid for one representative per startup.

The first place will receive financial support to continue with its development, the IDB said.

Additionally, the IDB said this edition of Demand Solutions will also reward five startups that provide solutions to water and sanitation challenges in the region.

Since 2009, the IDB said along with Fundación FEMSA it was awarded the Water and Sanitation Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean “to recognize and stimulate the most innovative solutions in the water, sanitation and solid waste sectors.”

The startups interested in participating in Demand Solutions must present a solution proposal to a development challenge before July 15, the IDB said.

It said the representatives must be over 18 years old.

Winners will be notified by mail in early September 2018.

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PAHO begins debate on strategies, plans for improving the health of the Caribbean

PAHO begins debate on strategies, plans for improving the health of the Caribbean

WASHINGTON, Jun 20, CMC – The Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has begun its 162nd session at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for the Americas in order to discuss strategies and plans of action to improve the health of the Americas, including the Caribbean.

Chaired by Panama, PAHO said the committee will meet until June 30 to discuss strategies and plans, developed in consultation with its Member States, which guide regional cooperation.

“As we look towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as well as our own Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas, 2018-2030, there are some imperative priorities to be addressed in the next five years,” said PAHO’s Dominican-born director Carissa F. Etienne.

PAHO said issues to be discussed during the Committee include: action plans to ensure the health of women, children and adolescents; the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer; and the human resources required for universal health access and coverage.

“We must collectively recommit ourselves to developing resilient health systems and ensure the delivery of quality, affordable and people-centered health care services,” said Etienne at the opening of the meeting.

PAHO said the Committee will also address issues around entomology and vector control, and the strengthening of tobacco control measures in the Americas.

“In spite of our current successes in the health area, we cannot fail to recognize that there are many persons who still cannot afford to pay for the medicines and treatments that they need,” Etienne said. “Our principal charge must be to help to significantly diminish these unmet needs.”

Representatives from the nine Member States that compose the Executive Committee – Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Canada, Chile: Colombia; Panama and Peru – will also receive progress reports on issues including on road safety; the reduction in maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity; integrated child health; climate change; eHealth; bioethics; health and international relations.

The deliberations of the Committee will determine the final agenda to be addressed during the 56th Directing Council, that will take place September 24-28 this year, PAHO said.

The Executive Committee functions as a working group of the Pan American Sanitary Conference and the Directing Council of PAHO. It comprises nine Member States elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference or the Directing Council of PAHO to serve for three-year periods.

The Executive Committee meets twice a year or more frequently if there is a special request of the director of PAHO or at least three Member States.

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Regional leaders to attend opening of Grenada’s new parliament building

Regional leaders to attend opening of Grenada’s new parliament building

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jun. 20, CMC -Almost 14 years after it was destroyed by the category three Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Houses of Parliament will have a new home with the official opening of a new parliament building on Thursday.

The event will be attended by regional leaders – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, of Trinidad and Tobago , Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Caricom Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque .

Local diplomats are also scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Press Secretary Kisha Alexander-Grant said that other leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony that is being held 100 days since the New National Party returned to office following the March 13th General Elections.

The new building which is located in Mt. Wheldale is built within close proximity to the residence of the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The building was constructed  with funds from the Governments of Australia, Mexico  the United Arab Emirates and Grenada.

Representatives from the donor governments are also scheduled to witness the opening which takes the form of a joint sitting of the both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament.

The former Parliament building called York House that was  located on Church Street was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Since the devastation, Parliamentary sessions were temporarily held at the Grenada Trade Center while the offices of Parliament are housed next door in a ministerial complex.

Designed by Caribbean Office of Caribbean Architecture, the EC$23 million  (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) ,environmentally friendly building was built by Quinnco Design and Construction.

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Barbados PM wants to deepen cooperation with sub-regional group

Barbados PM wants to deepen cooperation with sub-regional group

By Ernie Seon

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jun. 19, CMC – The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, has signaled her intention to deepen political and economic cooperation with the nine nation Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

In her first address outside of Barbados since assuming office, Mottley told representatives of the 65th Meeting of the OECS Authority which began its working session here Tuesday, that her administration wanted mutually beneficial solutions to critical issues such as climate change, freedom of movement and transportation challenges.

She told the gathering which included leaders of all nine member OECS states, with the exception of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of  Dominica who was expected later Tuesday, of the  need to resolve climate change issues, pointing to the influx of sargassum seaweed as an opportunity for economic benefit, rather than treating it as a problem that affects our coast and tourism industry.

“We have had to confront it as you do across the rest of the region, but we believe that our best efforts are when they are cooperative and to that extent our ability to harvest the sargassum weed collectively and maximize what ever economic benefits we can get from it rather than treat it as a nuisance that affects our coasts and tourism industry, is the way in which we would like to pursue discussions.”

She said that freedom of movement was another pressing concern, and finding a way forward for the regional airline LIAT.

She said from her country’s perspective, one of the troubling concerns was the inability of persons who were in-transit in Barbados for more than two hours, to clear immigration.

“It makes no sense, because it hurts the extent to which those who visit our shores are capable of contributing to our economic activity in our country.

“To that extent prior to traveling here, I have asked what are the legal obstacles preventing the movement of people who are in-transit within our air and sea ports, who are being precluded from leaving the ports, but I am yet to receive an answer that makes sense,” she told the leaders.

“If you are at a point of entry for 6 or 8 hours there is no reason to be treated as a prisoner of war within the precincts of our region,” Motley insisted.

On the issue of inter-island transportation the Barbados leader said she looks forward to engaging with the OECS leaders, ” and particularly fellow shareholders and soon to be other shareholders in the context of regional carrier, Liat.”

She however noted that she would do so, cognizant of the fact that modalities  that were relevant decades ago cannot continue to be relevant as countries enter the third decade of the 21st Century.

Motley suggested that a review of government structures was absolutely critical if the region is to ensure the viability of an airline that serves as the lifeblood of this region.

“Similarly it is time that we stopped just talking about inter-island ferry transportation and get on with establishing this vital service.

“I am aware that unless we get to the stage where we can facilitate the movement of not just people, but vehicles and cargo we will not reap the full benefit of the space we have the honour to occupy.”

She explained to facilitate such an undertaking when it comes there needed to be mutual recognition of insurance, licenses, and the equal ability for the region to see how far it is prepared to go for mutual recognition of domestic incorporation, “so as we don’t impose on citizens the additional cost and time of having to go through these exercises again, simply to facilitate free movement across the region.”

Meanwhile,  Mottley and the heads of Governments of the OECS were also meeting Tuesday  in caucus for dialogue on better ways of collaboration between Barbados and the OECS.

The agenda for the 65th Meeting includes critical areas related to climate change among them the problem of sargassum where the OECS hopes to initiate a regional approach.

“We are going to be discussing ways in which the member states can work effectively together to do clean-ups of the beaches and areas affected by sargassum but more importantly how do we turn this problem into an opportunity,” said OECS Director General Dr. Didicus Jules told journalists Monday.

He said building resilience in the Caribbean is also high on the agenda in terms of, not just infrastructure but economic, social and community resilience.

A presentation is expected by the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator Group which has been assisting the Caribbean in becoming the first climate smart region. During the OECS meeting, the work programme of the OECS will also be under review.

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allan Chastanet will hand over to incoming chairman, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

The OECS is made up of seven full Member States, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts Nevis, St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and three Associate Member States: the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Martinique, all of whom are expected to be represented at the summit.

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Premier not seeking re-election at upcoming party convention

Premier not seeking re-election at upcoming party convention

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jun. 19, CMC  – Premier Dr. Orlando Smith has announced that he will not be seeking re-election as leader of his National Democratic Party (NDP) at the upcoming convention on the weekend.

Dr Orlando Smith

Smith, 73,  who made the announcement in a broadcast late Monday, said he made the decision after ‘much thought and prayer’ and after discussions with family and colleagues.

“And so, when the NDP comes together in its upcoming Convention, I will not seek nor accept the nomination to lead the party into the next election,” the premier said.

“There is so much work left to do. With this decision, I will be free to dedicate 100 per cent of my time and attention to that task….while my journey as the Premier and leader of the territory will come to a close at the end of this government’s term in office, the mission that was launched so many years ago lives on.”

The decision made by the Premier means that the only confirmed contenders to succeed him as party leader are Education Minister Myron Walwyn and Health Minister Ronnie Skelton.

During this weekend’s convention candidates will also be contesting the offices of vice president, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, chaplain, chairman of the youth movement, and chairperson of the women’s association.

CMC/kb/2018

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New policy aims to get teenage mothers back in school

New policy aims to get teenage mothers back in school

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun. 19, CMC – The Ministry of Education has implemented a  new policy  to ensure that  teenage mothers have the opportunity to go back to school while receiving support at home and from their community.

The policy manual was handed over on Monday  by officials from the Ministry and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The policy which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, also had the input of other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Security and faith-based organisations.

Sandra Granger

Addressing the handing over ceremony at the National Center for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) , First Lady, Sandra Granger, called on the policy-makers and educators to uphold and protect the rights of children and adolescent mothers who have suffered sexual abuse.

“We have to speak of these things and see it as violence against our children. We also have to… ensure that their rights are recognised and upheld; that our legal and our social protection agencies protect these children with the full majesty of the law… the children come first and it is their future that we have to ensure… That is enshrined in our Constitution.”

According to Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, teenage pregnancy is a complex issue which results from a number of factors. These can be poverty, gender inequality, violence, lack of education and difficult relationships with parents and family members. She said this must not prevent them from acquiring education.

“As the government, our motto is that every child matters. With this policy there will be no need to repeat the past because the future for adolescent mothers in Guyana will become bright because legally the barriers that prevail will be a thing of the past and indeed illegal. Leaving the path open to an education for all,” Minister Henry told officials present.

UNICEF representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet said Guyana ranks the second highest in teenage pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. She said the creation of the policy is a key milestone and the next step is implementation. She signalled that opening the doors is not sufficient, and communities and stakeholders need to understand and be supportive and knowledgeable of reproductive health in Guyana.

“They need to know that they are protected and they are cared for so all the supportive mechanisms like education, health and justice has to support that and we hope so and we wish the best for Guyanese particularly the youngest,” Fouet said.

The policy has been in the works for approximately one year and sets out clear guidelines to ensure that mothers are not denied the opportunity to re-enter the formal school system, to continue their education.

It aims at not only managing the reintegration of the adolescent mothers but it is to also advance the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.

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CARICOM and Cuba to strengthen relations in key areas of cooperation

CARICOM and Cuba to strengthen relations in key areas of cooperation

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun 14, CMC – The Cribbean Community (CARICOM)  and the government of Cuba have both pledged to continue to strenthen relations in matters related to trade and the arts.

This was the outcome of talks between CARICOM’s  Assistant Secretary General, Human and Social Development  Dr. Douglas Slater, and  Cuba’s Vice Minister  Rogelio Sierra Diaz, when they met at the CARICOM Secretariat on Wednesday.

The issues related to a Disabilities Project, the extension of Art programmes at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica, and trade.

In the discussions on the Disabilities Project, Slater, who spoke on behalf of CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque,  noted that a tri-lateral  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), among the Government of Guyana, the Government of Cuba and CARICOM had already been signed.

He explained that there was a decision to implement the Project in phases and outlined that a Centre has been constructed by the Government of Guyana and a  team from Cuba is already in  Guyana working on the Project.

He said when the initial phase was completed in Guyana and there was a clear way forward, the Project would be extended to the other CARICOM Member States.

In response, Diaz said firm steps had been taken and there was a lot to be thankful for. He said it was now important to acquire the equipment needed.

In relation to the phase of the Project that would extend it to the other CARICOM Member States, he said that the CARICOM Secretary-General and staff would play a key role in achieving the goals of that phase.

Both parties agreed that there were still some details that needed to be refined between CARICOM and Guyana.

The Cuban Vice-Minister also gave the assurance that Cuba would provide support, knowledge and training, but emphasized that the project belonged to CARICOM.

Turning to the matter of the extension of programmes in the School of Art at the Edna Manley School in Jamaica, the Cuban Ambassador said the Government of Jamaica had been contacted and the areas in which Cuba could provide assistance were identified. He explained that it was being proposed that there might be some additional infrastructural requirements for the project to move forward and various options to address this challenge were being explored.

Slater expressed an interest in further engagement on the matter and also gave an assurance that the CARICOM Secretariat would engage with the Edna Manley School to explore the available options.

Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox who was also present, spoke about a trade and economic partnership agreement that had been regionally applied in 12 Member States and highlighted that Haiti had now expressed an interest in joining the agreement.

We have commenced our engagements with Haiti in this regard and we will have further engagements with Cuba regarding their inclusion and that should happen in the very near future”, Cox said.

In relation to a Joint Commission in which the second protocol was signed in November 2017, he advised that Member States needed to accelerate their efforts to satisfy the legal requirements to be party to the Commission.

Under the agreement, more than 300 Caribbean products would have fees removed for export to Cuba.

The Cuban Vice-Minister said he understood that there were legal protocols that would have to be addressed, but implored CARICOM not to allow them to create further delays.

The goal of the protocol is to improve trade relations between CARICOM and Cuba.

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Police investigating murder of woman who came to St. Vincent to bury her mother

Police investigating murder of woman who came to St. Vincent to bury her mother

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jun 16, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines police are investigating the death of the 69-year-old sister of social commentator Renwick Rose, whose body was found bound and hanging at the home of another brother.

Police said that the New York based Antonia “Toni” Rose had arrived here to attend the funeral of her mother, Germaine “Granny” Rose, who was buried on May 26.

Her body was found Friday at the home her brother, Dexter Rose and his wife, Lotier. The murdered woman’s body was found by her sister-in-law when she returned to the house, where Antonia has been home alone on Friday.

Police say they are working on the theory that she was robbed then murdered.

Meanwhile, police have also launched an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old student, whose body was discovered on Saturday.

Police said that the female student died at hospital after she was found hanging.

The death of the student comes less than two weeks after a Mesopotamia man was found dead in similar circumstances.

On June 5, the mother of the 20-year-old resident of Glenside, Mesopotamia, found his body hanging at their home, police said.

Posted in Crime, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

Over thirty St. Lucians deported from US, UK and Martinique

Over thirty St. Lucians deported from US, UK and Martinique

CASTRIES, St Lucia Jun. 18,  CMC-Thirty-six S t Lucians  have been deported from the United States, the United Kingdom and Martinique since the beginning of this year.

This was disclosed on Monday by the Head of the Immigration Department, Assistant Superintendent, Sean Alexander, who said the deportations stemmed from several offences including  illegal entry, possession of drugs, going to Martinique with invalid insurance documents and overstaying the allotted time granted.

According to the Immigration official, local authorities are usually alerted when S t Lucians are being deported from places like the United States, the UK and Canada.

He said the information provided includes the date of arrival and flight details.

Alexander noted that on arrival here, the deportees are interviewed by immigration officials and members of the police Special Branch.

He said the deportees are then monitored for some time, in cases where they had a criminal conviction.

Concerning St. Lucians who have overstayed their time in another country, the police official indicated that they are not monitored unless they were convicted of a serious criminal offence in the country from which they were deported.

Alexander said that the intention is to ensure that the deportees are not engaging in criminal activities once they return home.

CMC/es/kb/2018

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