Stark warning issued to Caribbean concerning climate change

(Image via Jamaica Observer)
(Image via Jamaica Observer)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – A warning has been issued to governments across the Caribbean to do more to make countries resilient to climate change as there is a price to pay if nothing is done.

According to a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the Caribbean is “in the front line” and at greater risk from more severe impacts than many other parts of the world because of its geographic location because most regional states are smaller islands where people live close to and depend on the sea.

The Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017, which was conducted by scientists and researchers said more intense storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are major threats to all regional economies and pose a danger to lives as well, both directly and indirectly.

“As the seas, reefs and coasts on which all Caribbean people depend are under threat, much more needs to be done to protect these resources and the authors recommend building more resilient environments to prepare for, and protect against, climate change,” the report noted.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

CARICOM collaborates to host workshop on implementing SDGs in St. Kitts and Nevis

Jpeg
Workshop participants

Environmental stakeholders in St. Kitts and Nevis are being taught how to implement and mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a workshop organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in partnership with the St. Kitts and Nevis Department of Environment.

The workshop is an activity under the European Union and UN Environment funded programme for capacity-building related to multilateral environmental agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-MEAs programme).

The three-day workshop is being held at the Ocean Terrace Inn in Basseterre. It opened on May 16, 2017, with remarks by the Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources, Environment, Cooperatives and Human Settlement, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dr. Thérèse Yarde, Project Coordinator, Caribbean Hub Capacity Building related to Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). (more…)

CARICOM Observation Mission gives The Bahamas elections high marks but notes pre-election day concerns

Exif_JPEG_420
Head of Mission Ms Josephine Tamai (front row, 2nd left) and some of her team members on election day

The CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission to the 10 May 2017 General Elections in the Bahamas has praised the polling day activities, describing them as being “of a very high standard comparable with anywhere else in the Region”.

The Mission, in its Preliminary Statement, reported that polling stations opened on time,  were fully staffed and were conveniently located and easily accessible to the voters including the disabled.  They also noted the adequate supplies of material, and adequate security which they said contributed to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities.

The Mission however found that activities prior to Polling Day cast a shadow over the electoral process.

“For example, the unexpected change of the Parliamentary Commissioner just days before the election was a concern. ” the Mission’s Statement said, although it noted that this did not seem to have affected the quality of the election.

ceom_3_Bahamas
Team members who were assigned to Freeport, Grand Bahama

Other pre-election day concerns, including the late publication of the advanced poll register, voters inability to confirm beforehand if their names were on the advanced polling list and the incorrect polling station numbers being written onto voters card, can be addressed with the introduction and use of modern technology in the registration process, the Mission indicated.

The eleven-member CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission was led by Ms Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer of Belize, with Mr. Orette Fisher, Director of the Elections Commission of Jamaica as her Deputy.  The other Members, who all have election management and observation experience, are nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.  They were supported by two staff members of the CARICOM Secretariat

The Free National Movement (FNM) led by physician Dr. Hubert Minnis won a landslide victory in the polls, taking 35 of the 39 seats at stake.

See Preliminary Statement:  PRELIMINARY_STATEMENT_The_Bahamas_Elections_2017

 

Roots and tubers: A potential cash cow in the Caribbean

Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of 1 year (Photo via Spore)
Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of one year (Photo via Spore)

Root and tuber crops (RTCs) such as arrowroot, cassava, dasheen, eddoe, ginger, sweet potato, tania and yam are farmed throughout the Caribbean and remain a staple of traditional diets. Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and some eastern Caribbean countries are self-sufficient in RTCs with Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines leading regional exports.

However, with the capacity to create value-added products for local consumption and export, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has identified cassava, sweet potato and yam with the highest potential for development.

RTC crops can withstand up to 98 per cent of hurricane disasters and have good potential even as regional climate patterns change, as planting material can be sourced locally, and farmers are familiar with RTC production. RTCs are also valued for their ‘good’ complex carbohydrates, which provide better glycemic indices (food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar), compared to imported refined carbohydrates; they are also high in dietary fibre and low in calorie count, which are important considerations for health-conscious markets in Europe.

Read more at: SPORE

COTED urged to reassess orientation of external trade

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A review of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) external trade relations, strengthened capacity, and Member States’ strong support of each other will ensure that the Region is in a better position to confront the challenges it faces.

This is the view of Suriname Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn, Chairman of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) now underway at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana.

In remarks at the opening of the two-day Meeting Thursday morning, the Minister alluded to global development challenges, including the consequences anticipated from the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union (EU).

“For us to be better equipped and face all these challenges we must first work on strengthening the capacities of our communities and strongly support each other, to achieve economic growth and welfare for all of us in the Region”, Minister Welzijn said.

(more…)