September 20th 2021
MET OFFICE CONTINUES TO MONITOR WEATHER SYSTEMS
Officials at the Meteorological Office are continuing to monitor weather systems currently in the Atlantic Ocean. It says that Tropical Storms Peter and Rose which are moving across the Atlantic Ocean pose no direct threat to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). However, few passing clouds could trigger isolated showers today and Tuesday and a low-level shearline increases the chances for scattered showers with isolated thunderstorm activity across SVG by Wednesday.
Light-gentle (less than 20 km/h) south-easterly wind-flow could temporarily increase (near 25 km/h) and turn easterly across SVG during Tuesday. Sea-conditions in open water are almost smooth to slight (less than 0.5 m) on the west of SVG and slight (up to 1.2 m) on the east of SVG, with north-easterly swells.
MOH ANNOUNCES SPUTNIK 2ND DOSES NOW AVAILABLE IN SVG
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment wishes to inform the public that Sputnik V component II is available in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Persons awaiting their second dose (Component II) of Sputnik V are asked to call the following health facilities. 1. Kingstown Health Center - 485- 6133 2. Stubbs Poly clinic - 458- 0743 3. Levi Latham Health Complex - 458- 6652 4. Georgetown Health Center - 458-6652 5. Buccament Poly Clinic - 458-7191. While we welcome walk-ins interested persons are ask to call ahead to avoid wastage.
39 NEW COVID-19 CASES
Thirty-nine (39) new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from three hundred and eighty-nine (389) samples processed on Saturday September 18 th, 2021, resulting in a positivity rate of 10.0%.
All cases are contacts of positives or persons seeking care. There are currently sixteen (16) patients admitted for COVID-19 at the AIF.
Six (6) new recoveries were noted over the reporting period. Four hundred and seventy-five (475) cases are currently active and fourteen (14) persons with COVID-19 have died. Two thousand eight hundred and thirty (2830) cases of COVID-19 and two thousand, three hundred and fortyone (2341) recoveries have been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020. In view of the confirmed presence of the Delta, Mu and Gamma variants in the community and the significant increase in the number of new infections, transmission, severe COVID-19 disease and deaths, strict enforcement and compliance with all protocols and recommendations by everyone is strongly recommended. The correct and consistent use of masks, avoidance of crowds, physical distancing, proper hand sanitizing and immunization with available vaccines have all been proven to significantly reduce the risk of being infected, getting sick and or dying from the COVID-19 virus.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said it remains concerned about the different variants of Covid-19 that are currently in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to reports Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer Beache stated that with the Gamma, Delta and Mu Variants present here, it is critical that people follow the COVID19 Safety protocols and get vaccinated.
RSVGPF RECEIVES MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS FROM THE MELISIZWE BROTHERS
A quantity of musical (wind) instruments was donated to the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force band on Thursday, September 16. The donation was made by the Melisizwe Brothers. The lads were present along with their father, Mark James at the handing over ceremony at the RSVGPF band room, Largo Height. Commissioner of Police, Colin John, thanked James and his sons for the contribution made to the Police Band and commended John for his outstanding parenting skills. Commissioner John said that the boys are role models for young people here and urged the teenagers to continue to make the country, their family and themselves proud.
Indicating that he is an ardent follower of the group, Commissioner John applauded them for the excellent work they have been doing thus far. Father of the boys, Mark James pointed out that this is the second time the group has made a similar contribution to the police band and said, “it means a lot to pass on these instruments." James stated that growing up his only exposure to a musical instrument was that of a recorder and revealed that he did not know there were other options beyond that. The father of the musical trio said that as the boys grew, they started their musical journey with a small keyboard that was gifted to them.
James added that during their musical path the boys have been given access and opportunities and it is their desire to ensure that they pass on the gift that was given to them. James emphasised that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will always receive preferential treatment in anything that the musical group initiates.
According to James, the Group decided to partner with the Police Band because of the immense work they do within the community; noting that many children are not in the best positions and music can change someone’s life. James said they concentrated on wind instruments since based on observation; it is one of the specialties of the band. James however disclosed that they will provide other instruments in the future based on the needs of the band.
MINISTER OF FINANCE PROVIDES DETAILS OF FISCAL SITUATION
Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves has provided details of the fiscal situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Minister spoke to this during a call on radio yesterday.
Minister Gonsalves outlined that while the revenue has increased slightly, the expenditure has outweighed this. The finance minister further cautioned that due to the COVID 19 pandemic there is now a global increase in inflation which should be noted.
On the question of the impending reopening of face-to-face classroom sessions in October and now with the increase in covid cases, the Minister said that this may have to be reviewed and there maybe a resurgence of online classes. However, he said that there are some challenges in this regard which they are looking to address.
ROC ON TAIWAN CONTINUES TO PROVIDE SUPPORT IN THE CLEAN UP EXERCISES
The Republic of China, Taiwan is continuing to provide support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the clean-up exercise continues, in the wake of the explosive eruption of La Soufriere Volcano.
The newly-appointed Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China, Taiwan, Ambassador Peter Lan handed over a grant of 1.28-million dollars to the Government on Tuesday, to procure heavy duty equipment to help with the clean-up.
According to local reports while delivering remarks at the ceremony, Ambassador Lan reiterated Taiwan’s commitment to supporting St. Vincent and the Grenadines, during this challenging period.
Ambassador Lan said Taiwan will be supporting three major projects in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves spoke of the strong bonds of co-operation which exist between Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE TO LAUNCE NATIONAL DRIVE FOR STATEHOLDERS
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour will this week launch a national drive to encourage all stakeholders in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to participate in the national vaccination campaign advanced by the Ministry of Health.
Hon. Saboto Caesar, SVG's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries noted that "our workforce of farmers and fishers, if overran by covid-19, may well be the greatest threat to food sovereignty and security in the history of our country." The Minister further encouraged all farmers and fishers to "report to national duty" by ensuring that, as vital development partners, they use every opportunity to be vaccinated soonest.
The drive from the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to include a heavy presence in many rural farming and fishing communities. At these sessions information concerning vaccination will be provided.
Further, access to medical practitioners will be provided to stakeholders who may wish to do a private consultation prior to taking the vaccine.
The initiative will be supported by local clinics which are equipped to administer vaccines to Vincentians.
This exercise by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, comes at a time when the island is witnessing a significant daily increase in the number of covid-19 positive cases.
REGIONAL TRADE UNIONS FOR LIAT REJECT LATEST OFFER BY SHAREHOLDER GOVERNMENTS
Regional trade unions representing former employees of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, say they rejected the latest offer by Caribbean shareholder governments to meet their financial obligations to the laid off workers. The airline laid off an estimated 90 per cent of its staff last year as part of a restructuring exercise and resumed operations on a much smaller scale.
President of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), Donald Rolle, said that the regional unions are united in seeking the millions of dollars owed to the workers and have rejected the latest offer from the shareholder governments. “We had a meeting of regional trade unions that represent the members in the different islands and we have all concluded that we are preparing to write to the shareholder governments a joint communique that will express our position as it relates to the offer on table by the governments and shareholders,” Rolle said on the state-owned DBS radio.
“The offer on table which is to pay the LIAT workers, 50 per cent of their redundancy pay and there is a component that involves compensation by issuing of lands and bonds. “But the unions around the Caribbean have sort of rejected that in its entirety, but we are in negotiations with the governments. We have a position and as it is now we are at opposite ends of the table,” Rolle said. “I can say we are united as unions around the Caribbean…and that gives us some sort of solidarity in moving forward.
Redundancy does not come by 50 per cent, the employer has to pay the employee what is due by law”.
He said emanating from the latest round of talks among the unions, “the consensus is we are demanding the 100 per cent (and) from the union’s stand point and perspective I am very hopeful, (but) that does not make it a reality,” Rolle said.
In June last year, the shareholder governments acknowledged that the Antigua-based LIAT, owed an estimated EC$94 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in severance and holiday payment to its staff, but the court-appointed administrator, Cleveland Seaforth, has already indicated that the company would be unable to meet that payment.
The airline is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Last year, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that a decision had been taken that would allow Barbados and SVG to turn over their shares in LIAT to Antigua & Barbuda for one EC dollar (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Browne, speaking on a radio programme in Antigua, said that LIAT, under administration, had returned an operational profit for the months of July and August and that there is also evidence that a leaner, more efficient LIAT can be profitable.
US STARTS TO FLY OUR MIGRANTS FROM TEXAS BORDER TOWN
The United States has started flying migrants out of a Texas border town that has seen an influx of mostly Haitian migrants over the past week. Three flights landed at Haiti's Port-au-Prince airport on Sunday, each carrying 145 people, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
About 13,000 would-be immigrants have gathered under a bridge connecting Del Rio in Texas to Mexico's Ciudad Acuña. They have been waiting in a makeshift camp in temperatures of 37C (99F).
An emergency US public health order known as Title 42 allows authorities to expel most migrants before they can claim asylum.
Local officials have struggled to provide those in Del Rio with food and adequate sanitation.
Tom Cartwright, of the advocacy group Witness at the Border, who tracks US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights, told Reuters three flights left Texas - one from Laredo and two from San Antonio - on Sunday carrying Haitians back to Haiti.
Border Patrol Chief Raul L Ortiz said 3,300 migrants had been moved from the camp to planes or detention centres. "Over the next six to seven days, our goal is to process the 12,662 migrants that we have underneath that bridge as quickly as we possibly can," he told a news conference on Sunday.
He said the US was working with the migrants' home nations or countries they had travelled through, to get them to accept their return. While most of those at the camp are Haitians, there are also Cubans, Peruvians, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans present.
Many Haitians left the country after a devastating earthquake in 2010, and a large number of those in the camp had been living in Brazil or other South American countries and travelled north after being unable to secure jobs or legal status.
This year has brought further hardship for the impoverished island. In July, Haiti's president was assassinated - and in August it suffered another deadly earthquake. Some of those sent home said they planned to leave Haiti again as soon as possible.
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