July 20th 2021
EFFORTS BEING MADE FOR SVG TO BECOME THE CARIBBEAN NEUROSURGICAL BASE
Efforts are being made by the government of this country to have St. Vincent and the Grenadines become the premier provider of Neurology services.
This country’s Prime minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves while delivering the feature address at the opening of the Barrouallie Smart Health Centre, last week said that discussion will soon commence between several stakeholders on having SVG become the Caribbean Neurosurgical Base.
PM Gonsalves also pointed out that SVG is now the center of critical pediatric are in the Eastern Caribbean in partnership with the World Pediatric project, WPP.
HEALTH OFFICIALS EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT VACCINE HESITANCY AMONG HEALTH CARE WORKERS IN SVG
Local health Officials have expressed concerns about the vaccine hesitancy among health care workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer Beache expressed concern, while speaking on a Radio program on Sunday.
Dr. Keizer Beache says more than 25,000 doses of vaccines have already been administered here and noted that the level of reported severe adverse reactions to the vaccine have been very low.
THE LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS MOURNING THE LOSS OF WINSTON SOSO
Musical icon and cultural ambassador Trever Lockhart known musically as Winston Soso has died. According to a release form the Carnival Development Corprtaion, CDC, Winston Soso’s musical journey started in the early 1970s as a member of the Volume 5 which later metamorphized into the Band Clymax. The first ever VincyMas in June – July saw Clymax taking Carnival 1977 by storm.
The following year 1978, Soso burst on to the Calypso stage with his first big hit ‘Congratulations’ and at his first and only appearance in a national Calypso Monarch final, he took the 1strunner-up position. A star of musical brilliance was born.
In a music career spanning four (4) decades, Soso produced several albums with monster hits including Diane, Pan Yard, I Don’t Mind, How Men Love Their Women, Feel to Party, Carnival and Dancing Spell and became known as the “Rolls Royce of Calypso” and by extension Soca. He was this country’s first ever Soca Monarch in 1996 with the song ‘Dancing Spell’ and continued to grace the Soca Monarch stage for many years as a Guest Artiste. In 2012, the masquerade artform paid fitting tribute to Winston Soso when Nelson Bloc presented for Mardi Gras ‘Dat was Soso - A Tribute to Winston Soso which placed 3rdin the Band of the Year competition.
Together with its components, the SVG Calypsonians Association, Carnival Bands Incorporated and Youlou Pan Movement, the Carnival Development Corporation extend deep condolences to the family and friends of the late Winston Soso.
NO NEW POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES REPORTED FOR JULY 18TH
No new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from seventy (70) samples processed on Sunday July 18th, 2021. No new recoveries were noted over the reporting period.
Fifty-four (54) cases are currently active and twelve (12) persons with COVID-19 have died. Two thousand two hundred and sixty-three (2263) cases of COVID-19 and two thousand, one hundred and ninety-seven (2197) recoveries have been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020.
Persons who persist in incorrect or no mask use, remain unvaccinated and participate in mass gatherings will continue to be at risk for being infected and spreading COVID-19. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, compliance with the protocols including the effective use of masks, physical distancing, and the evidence-based recommendations to be vaccinated with the available vaccines is strongly recommended.
SVG-UK FRIENDSHIP TRUST PRESENT EC$330,000 TO SVG FOR VOLCANO RELIEF EFFORTS
The UK-SVG Friendship Trust last Friday presented three hundred and thirty thousand Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$330,000) to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as part of their ongoing commitment to assist with the relief efforts following the series of volcanic eruptions which have had an adverse impact on many lives and livelihoods in the country.
The Trust recognises that this is a challenging time for the Government to provide for the needs of everyone who has been affected not only by the volcanic eruption but also by the novel corona virus pandemic. The Trust is aware of the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters evidenced only a few weeks ago by Hurricane Elsa. Thus, the Trust has stepped forward to support the Government to assist those under its care at shelters across the country and wherever possible to provide further support to those who are leaving shelters to restart their lives.
The Trust partnered with the SVG High Commission, the National Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association UK, and over 7000 donors to raise the funds that were distributed today. It is the intention of the Trust to make further contributions in the near future to help those persons who have been displaced and are returning to their homes. It has also partnered with the St. Vincent Cooperative Bank to provide direct support to over 500 individuals through local partnerships including the Ministry of National Moblisation, Soroptimist International SVG, Je Belle Football Club and the Voice of the Disabled.
The Trust with the co-operation of the diaspora is committed to assisting in the long-term recovery and would continue to do all that it can to support Vincentians who have been affected by the recent events. The presentation was made by Mr. Darrien Ollivierre, the Trust’s local representative to Senator The Hon. Keisal Peters, Minister of State with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, who accepted the donation on behalf of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the Trust would wish to thank all Vincentians in the diaspora and friends of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their generous contribution to assist those in need.
The UK-SVG Friendship Trust is a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK chaired by H.E. Cenio Lewis, High Commissioner of the SVG High Commission in London, UK. The other trustees are Mr. Adaiah Providence-Culzac and Mr. Steve Maingot.
· A joint police operation conducted on Friday, July 16, 2021, by local law enforcement officers have resulted in the recovery of a firearm, eight (8) rounds of ammunition, a quantity of marijuana and two (2) masks.
As part of the quest to rid communities of guns and ammunition, a party of Narcotics and Rapid Response Unit (RRU) personnel conducted a search at a residence in Villa and discovered one (1) .38 Revolver, eight (8) rounds of .38 ammunition, 3351 grammes of cannabis and two (2) masks.
No one was arrested and charged in relation to the discovery but investigations are ongoing.
· Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal accident that occurred along the Nelson Mandela Highway in the vicinity of the Windsor Primary School on Sunday July 18, 2021.
According to investigations, motor vehicle PM214, a blue Toyota Marino owned by Jerome Cain and driven by Chavel Cain of Belair was travelling along the Nelson Mandel Highway from the Leeward side into Kingstown when the driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. The deceased sustained serious injuries which resulted in his death. A post-mortem examination will be conducted on the body to ascertain the exact cause of death. Investigations are ongoing.
MONITORING OF THE LA SOUFRIERE VOLCANO CONTINUES.
Latest reports from the UWI Seismic Research Center says that seismic activity at La Soufrière, St Vincent has remained low since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting on 22 April. In the last 24 hours, only a few small earthquakes have been recorded.
Persistent steam emissions from a few regions inside the crater continue to be the dominant observable feature. Thermal anomalies continue to be detected but do not indicate an explosive event is imminent but that there is a source of heat, most likely from a small body of magma left over, close to the floor of the summit crater.
Measurements of the sulphur dioxide (SO2) flux at La Soufrière were carried out by boat off the west coast on 15 July, with the assistance of the coast guard. Several traverses were completed and yielded an average SO2 flux of 280 tons per day. Work is still ongoing to restore capacity lost during the explosive phase of the eruption. Current activity is consistent with a period of unrest after an eruption. This can continue for weeks to months. While volcanic activity has been on a decline, there is the continued presence of near surface hot spots, daily seismic activity and substantial degassing.
There is a small, but not insignificant, possibility that magmatic activity might restart, should there be an influx of new magma from depth. The volcano is at alert level ORANGE.
SVG HAS BEEN A PIONEER IN PILOTING THE SMART HOSPITAL APPROACH TO HEALTH FACILITIES
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a pioneer in piloting the Smart Hospital Approach to ensure that Health Facilities are more resilient to natural disasters and climate change, this according to representative of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office Sehon Samuel.
Samuel made the statement while delivering remarks at the recent opening of the Barrouallie Smart Health Centre. He said smart facilities have shown huge benefits to addressing the common vulnerabilities in health facilities while also generating significant operational energy savings.
CARICOM HAS “TAKEN NOTE” OF PROTEST IN CUBA
The Caribbean Community (CARIOM) on Monday said it has “taken note” of the protests taking place in Cuba and called for a “return to calm and peaceful assembly and dialogue”. At least one person has died and more than 100 have been arrested, including independent journalists and opposition activists, with President Miguel Diaz-Canel denouncing the distribution of what he said were “false images” of the unrest that rocked the Spanish speaking communist island recently.
Thousands had joined in the biggest protests for decades last week complaining about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government's handling of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has taken note of the protests taking place in Cuba brought about by socio-economic challenges, further exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of natural hazards,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement.
It said the 15-member regional grouping “calls for the cessation of violence and vandalism and for a return to calm and peaceful assembly and dialogue.” “The Community reiterates its calls for the immediate lifting of the trade, financial and economic sanctions as recently reiterated by the United Nations General Assembly,” it added.
St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados have issued separate statements urging The United States to lift the decades old trade and economic embargo on Cuba which they blame for the socio-economic
“All the Embargo has achieved is an unjustified punishment of Cuba and unleashed a series of painful outcomes for its people. It has not succeeded in isolating Cuba from the rest of right-thinking nations in the international community,” said Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr Jerome Walcott. St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves rejected completely what he termed “the attempts by certain unprincipled forces” to reverse the Cuban Revolution.
BARBADOS ESTABLISHES TRAVEL BUBBLE FOR PERSONS COMING FROM SELECT COUNTRIES
Barbados has established a travel bubble for persons coming from select countries as it seeks to curb the spread of COVID-19. The authorities said that the bubble, which went into effect last weekend, will allow fully vaccinated travellers from Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, Montserrat, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, St Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands and Bermuda to enter the island. But they will have to present a valid pre-flight negative PCR test to be exempt from further quarantine or testing upon arrival in Barbados.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Kenneth George, said that the countries in the travel bubble had low COVID-19 positivity rates and low cases per 100,000 population, every fortnight. “We have a system in place to monitor the bubble countries and if their fortunes change quickly, they will be so removed [from the bubble],” he said.
The CMO also noted that Barbados had also expanded its list of countries of concern and that persons, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, who have travelled through or from these countries within the last 21 days, must arrive in Barbados with a valid COVID-19 standard PCR test taken within three days prior to travel. These countries include Haiti, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Suriname and Kenya
In addition, they must have a COVID-19 standard PCR test conducted on arrival at the airport; complete seven days in-room quarantine with no exceptions; be tested on the eighth day and on receipt of a negative test result, can leave quarantine.
The authorities said that all passengers travelling through or from these countries are required to quarantine, at their own expense, at one of the island's designated quarantine properties as listed in the Travel Protocols.
Meanwhile, Barbados recorded 11 new COVID-19 cases including five females from 739 tests carried out on Sunday. There are currently 151 people in isolation. Since March last year, confirmed COVID-19 cases have moved to 4,269 (2,071 females and 2,198 males). The viral illness has claimed 48 lives.
The public health laboratory has conducted 202,157 tests. The number of first doses administered under the National Vaccination Programme is 98,206. Additionally, 73,427 people have received second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. This number represents 27.1 per cent of the population.
DR. ARIEL HENRY SWORN IN A HAITI’S NEW HEAD OF STATE
Seventy-one-year-old Dr Ariel Henry will be sworn in as Haiti's new head of state on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after gunmen assassinated his predecessor, Jovenel Moise, during an armed attack at his private residence overlooking the capital, Port au Prince.
The ceremony to swear in Henry, who Moise two days before his murder had named as the country's seventh prime minister since 2017, will take place at 3:00 pm (local time) at the prime minister's office located on Boulevard Harry Truman.
Interim Prime Minister, Claude Joseph, whom Henry had replaced, agreed on the formation of a new government and will retain his post as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Following the announcement of the agreement between Henry and Joseph, the Order appointing the ministers was published on Monday in the official journal Le Moniteur.
The new Cabinet includes 18 ministers, five of whom are women. Also re-appointed to the government apart from Joseph, are Rockefeller Vincent, the Minister of Justice and Public Security; Michel Patrick Boivert, the Minister of Economy and Finance; and Marie Greta Roy Clément, Minister of Public Health for the Population.
Simon Dieusel Desras, who previously served as Minister of Planning and External Cooperation will now assume the portfolio of Ministry of Social Affairs. The formation of the new government follows the weekend statement by the “Core Group” of international diplomats calling on Joseph to step down and allow for Henry, a medical practitioner, to form a “consensual and inclusive” government.
July 19 2021
MINISTRY OF HEALTH OPENS ANOTHER HEALTH FACILITY UNDER THE SMART HOSPITAL PROJECT
The Ministry of Health last Friday hosted an official ceremony for the opening of another Health Facility under the smart hospital project. The Barrouallie Smart Health Centre was constructed under a project implemented by the Pan American Health Organization and the UK Department for International Development.
Minister of Health, St. Clair Prince in his address at the said the new facility is another improvement on the healthcare landscape in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Minister also spoke to a number of projects at health facilities to be carried out, already carried out or in the process of taking place throughout the country.
Minister Prince also noted that given the volcanic activities and the subsequent closure of the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Complex in Georgetown a Dialysis Center was established in Evesham to continue to provide this service to citizens.
Minister Prince also highlighted that works are being carried out at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
Pan American Health Organization Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Yitades Gibre said PAHO is pleased to be involved in such an important project.
3 NEW COVID-19 POSITIVE CASES REPORTS FOR JULY 16TH
Three (3) COVID-19 positive cases were reported from one hundred and ninety-six (196) samples processed on Friday July 16th, 2021, resulting in a positivity rate of 1.5%. No new cases were reported from one hundred and seventy (170) samples processed on Saturday July 17th, 2021. One (1) new recovery was noted over the reporting period.
Fifty-four (54) cases are currently active and twelve (12) persons with COVID-19 have died. Two thousand two hundred and sixtythree (2263) cases of COVID-19 and two thousand, one hundred and ninety-seven (2197) recoveries have been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020. Persons who persist in incorrect or no mask use, remain unvaccinated and participate in mass gatherings will continue to be at risk for being infected and spreading COVID-19. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, compliance with the protocols including the effective use of masks, physical distancing, and the evidence-based recommendations to be vaccinated with the available vaccines is strongly recommended.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH WORKING CLOSELY WITH MINISTRY OF TOURISM TO DEVISE HEALTH PROTOCOLS FOR CRUISE SHIPS
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Ministry of Tourism to devise health protocols for cruise ships in light of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer Beache while speaking on radio yesterday gave details of this initiative.
The CMO said that as it relates to taxi drivers attached to the Argyle International Airport and the rate of vaccination it is a work in progress but there are some challenges as not sufficient taxi operators are vaccinated. Mrs. Keizer Beache said that hotels are complying with the vaccination campaign. CMO Beache also spoke to the number of vaccines administered nationally thus far.
NEW ACADEMIC SCHOOL YEAR TO COMMENCE ON OCTOBER 4TH
The Ministry of Education has announced the dates for the new academic school year in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The first term will see the reopening of schools on October 4th and which will end on December 17th. This also includes the two-week Christmas break. The second term will run from January 3rd 2022 to April 1st, 2022 and which will include the two-week Easter break from April 4thto 15th. The third term will run from April 19th 2022 to July 1st, 2022.
Meanwhile, Professional Development week for term one will take place on September 20thto 24th 2021.
NTRC TO HOST 6TH ANNUAL MYAPP SUMMER PROGRAM
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) will be hosting its sixth annual summer coding and application development initiative known as the MyApp summer program.
This year the programs will run for One (1) week each during the summer vacation and is scheduled for the period August 9 - 13, 2021 at the Spring Garden Resort and August 16-20, 2021, at the Canouan Secondary from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily.
The program will teach and expose participants between the ages of 13-18 years how to code using a pocket-sized computer known as the micro:bit. This will help participants to gain insightful knowledge in coding as the demand for software developers is increasing.
Application forms are available at the office of the NTRC and via the website www.ntrc.vc. Deadline for applications is Wednesday July 28, 2021. A limited number of applications will be accepted and the registration cost for the program is $20 per student.
HAITI TO SWEAR IN A NEW PRIME MINISTER
Haiti's interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has run the country following the assassination of president Jovenel Moise, will step down and a new government will be formed with Ariel Henry as the new prime minister, an official said Monday. Henry had been tapped by Moise in the days before the president was shot dead in his home in Port-au-Prince in the early hours of July 7.
Joseph will return to his former post as foreign minister in the new government, which will be installed on Tuesday, said a government official close to the prime minister's office.
CARICOM TO FORMALLY OPEN A DIPLOMATIC MISSION IN KENYA
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) will “within weeks” formally open a diplomatic mission in Kenya as the 15-member regional grouping seeks to deepen its relations with Africa.
Caricom chairman and Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, said there is much the region can do at the bilateral level to “unleash the economic and cultural dimension” of its relations with African countries.
Browne said that “Caricom will, within weeks, formally open a diplomatic mission in Nairobi, Kenya. PM Browne said that he has spoken on several occasions to President Uhuru Kenyatta and they are both delighted by this development.
“This mission will serve as Caricom's platform in Africa with a mandate to develop beneficial relations with all countries on the African continent,” Browne said.
Browne also addressed the importance of Nelson Mandela Day, which was observed on Sunday, saying “it is not just a day of flurry speeches as important as speeches are in honouring the great man”. He said he was supportive of the “great initiatives” being launched to coincide with the occasion, adding “especially because they are so relevant to our contemporary world.
“The global campaign on vaccine confidence, the Caribbean wide gender based violence campaign, the centres for victims of gender based violence and food hampers for the food insecure in our communities.
“All these programmes will have a real positive impact with ordinary people facing the challenges of everyday life during this most tumultuous times. Nelson Mandela engaged in transformative politics to lead a real revolution. Let us do no less, let us transform the lives of people around us with our joint efforts between Africa and the Caribbean Community “. Browne said that he was pledging himself and the “office that I hold to this cause”.
MONTSERRAT’S HIGH COURT SENTENCES FORMER CHIEF MINISTER FOR 15 MONTHS
Montserrat's High Court on Monday jailed former chief minister, David Brandt for 15 months after he had earlier been found guilty on six counts of sexual exploitation and one count of perverting the course.
The Court had set sentencing for July 14, for Brandt, who had originally been charged with seven sexual exploitation charges, but the jury could not reach a decision on the first count.
The case against the prominent attorney dates back to September 18, 2015 when Brandt was initially arrested and charged with one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 2010. In 2015, he was charged with conspiracy to have sex with a minor, due to developments that took place between April to September of 2015.
Brandt had always maintained his innocence, declaring that “my day in court will show that is the case, and that I am innocent. These allegations that have been brought against me are totally false.”
But in November 2018, Brandt, who served as chief minister from 1997-2001, was taken into custody by local police assisted by the members the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency (NCA) and several charges were laid against him including two counts of child sexual exploitation and one count of perverting the course of justice. In the midst of the 1997 volcanic devastation, Brandt assumed the position of chief minister, retiring from active politics in 2001. As a member of the Legislative Council of Montserrat, he won a seat in every election since his first attempt in 1983.
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