UPDATE: Four confirmed dead in quarry explosion in Saint Lucia

PRESS RELEASE – Tuesday’s massive explosion in Cul-de-Sac triggered the full mass casualty response from the Victoria Hospital as the casualties came steaming into the Accident and Emergency Department.

A total of 15 patients presented at the hospital suffering from various injuries with some requiring immediate surgical procedures.


One patient succumbed to his injuries while others were stabilised.

Additional nurses, doctors, ancillary and admin staff responded quickly to manage the injured as well as the friends and family members who arrived on the scene.

Read more at: St. Lucia News Online

Work moves apace to develop Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code

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A Regional Project Team (RPT), established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.

The launch and the first face-to-face Working Meeting with the contracted consultant will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the RPT which consists of 19 Members.

The RPT is tasked with developing the REEBC, as well as its associated application documents and Minimum Energy Performance standards for buildings. To do so, the RPT will review the Minimum Energy Performance Standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the Development of Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM Member States. The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by Member States as a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code. (more…)

Introducing banana pasta

Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
‘Anything you do with normal flour you can do with banana flour. You are replacing the white flour with a healthy alternative. It has a sweet taste but there’s no sugar. I’ve found that when you dry out products, you get a little sweetness.’ – Tonya Ifill
IF ONE ENTREPRENEUR has her way, more consumers will be setting aside their wheat, cassava and sweet potato products for those made with green bananas.

Tonya Ifill, owner and operator of Carlesa’s Enterprises pioneered flour and pasta made from the unripened fruit. Ifill was attending Agrofest when she spoke with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

She got the idea while participating in an agro-processing course at the Guyana School of Agriculture. As a group project, participants had to come up with a product that was new to the South American country.

“I did sweet potato and brown rice pasta and got my cousin to export a pasta machine from Canada and I was ready. When I came back [to Barbados], I was looking for something different to work with instead of the same sweet potato and cassava. I researched green bananas, asked around for some and started my trials and it took off from there,” she said.

Read more at: Barbados Nation

Regional experts lay groundwork for unified response to vector-borne diseases

Regional experts meet to discuss strategies to create a Vector-Borne Disease Network
Regional experts meet to discuss strategies to create a Vector-Borne Disease Network

“Although Dengue has been in the Region for years, with the introduction of Chikungunya in 2013, and now Zika, vector-borne diseases (VBDs) have become very prominent, taking centre stage,” stated Dr Karen Polson-Edwards, Acting Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Dr Polson-Edwards was speaking at the opening of the first meeting of the Surveillance and Vector Control Working Groups of the Caribbean Vector-Borne Diseases Network (CariVecNet). The Agency, as coordinator of the Network, hosted 20 experts in vector control and vector-borne disease surveillance from ten CARPHA Member States.  Personnel from Institut Pasteur, Guadeloupe; Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) were also in attendance.  From 13 – 14 March, delegates discussed the formation and operations of the Network and drafted two-year work plans for both working groups.

The Network will act as an avenue for exchange of surveillance information on the circulating vector borne diseases, and collaboration on vector control and research topics such as insecticide resistance and community-based intervention.  Additionally, the Network will work on the standardisation of operating procedures and training for the diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and control of vector-borne diseases in the Caribbean, with the expected long-term outcome being better prevention and control of VBDs. (more…)