Dominica a land ‘brutalised’ – reflection on the fury of a hurricane

Dominica Hurricane Maria damage downtown buildings (OECS)By Peter Richards

(CMC) – When I lived in Dominica, nearly two decades ago, it would take me at least 15 minutes to walk from the capital, Roseau, to Loubiere in the south.

Yesterday, it took me nearly two hours. I had no choice. Transportation was impossible given the widespread disaster that Hurricane Maria brought to this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) island that was just emerging from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika two years ago.

Unofficially, the death toll from Monday’s hurricane that, in the words of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit “brutalised” the island, is as high as 60, depending on who you meet. But, so far, the official death toll is 28. The figures vary because the authorities have not been able to visit some of the villages that were hit by the storm with winds in excess of 180 miles an hour.

As I joined in the exodus of people making the daily walk to Loubiere and other villages such as Point Michel, Grand Bay, Bagatelle, Petite Savanne and Soufriere, among others, the talk centred on many people who were killed on Monday night and have since been buried.

Read more at: St Lucia News Online

Region focuses on climate smart agriculture

(Photo via BGIS)
(Photo via BGIS)

From September 14 to 15, technocrats, policy-makers and agricultural planners put their collective heads together to come up with suggestions as to how best to strengthen innovation agriculture systems to withstand the effects of natural or man-made disasters.

The officials, drawn from countries across the region, participated in panel discussions and other interactive sessions while attending the 11th Meeting of the Regional Planners’ Forum on Agriculture – Innovation Systems for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

During the opening ceremony, Programme Manager for Agriculture and Industry at the CARICOM Secretariat, Nisa Surujbally, reminded participants that Hurricane Irma, which swept through the Region as a category five hurricane, highlighted the need for smarter agricultural planning.

“Hurricane Irma underscores even more, the need for Climate Smart Agriculture to be a main component of agricultural planning and national disaster preparedness plans.  We have been working assiduously to mainstream climate change and disaster preparedness into the policy framework for the agricultural sector both nationally and regionally,” she pointed out.

Read more at: Barbados Government Information Service

Health checks for CARICOM staff members during Caribbean Wellness Week

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s corridors, Conference Room and Staff Lounge were transformed into one-stop mini-health clinics for a week in observance of Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) 2017. From September 11 – 15 members of staff of the Secretariat staff benefited from medical services and wellness activities at its Georgetown, Guyana, headquarters.

Love That Body: Securing a Future Generation through Eating Healthy and Not Smoking was the theme of this year’s observance.

Health care officials from Guyana’s Ministry of Health, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Da Silva’s Optical and the Guyana School of Dentistry conducted health checks including; Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation, immunisations, blood pressure, glucose and HIV testing, as well as dental and vision screening.

Fun, interactive games were played to increase awareness of the importance of exercise. Seminars were also held on breast, cervical and prostate cancers; nutrition and exercise. Quite significantly, an Outpatient Clinic, outfitted with two doctors, was set up for staff to discuss health issues. Medication was available from a mini Pharmacy. The Georgetown Chest Clinic visited on Wednesday to brief staff on the latency of Tuberculosis and the importance of getting tested. The week’s activities wrapped up with a Zumba dance exercise activity on Thursday and a games afternoon featuring cricket, football table tennis and scrabble on Friday, September 15.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person and are of long duration and generally of slow progression. The five main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks and stroke), certain cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), type 2 diabetes, and mental disorders. (Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases)
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Barbados’ future lies in CARICOM – Morris

 Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris with students (Photo via BGIS)
FLASHBACK: Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris with another group of secondary school students (Photo via BGIS)

Barbados’ ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Robert Bobby Morris, is of the view that this country’s future lies in the 15-member bloc.

Morris told this morning’s presentation ceremony of an essay contest organized by the Caribbean Organization of Tax Administrators that the regional grouping presented young Barbadians with a number of opportunities, therefore they should begin to view themselves as citizens of CARICOM and not just Barbadians.

“I hope you learn a lot about CARICOM because it is our future. It is a community and it is also a single market and both are very important to you and your future development, because you are not going to be developing really in a world of Barbados, your future is CARICOM,” Morris told students of Ellerslie Secondary School, where the ceremony was held.

The former trade unionist pointed to the number of Barbadians working in other Caribbean countries simply because they could not find work here, as evidence that the integration movement can be beneficial.

Read more at: Barbados Today