November 30 2020
1ST SITTING OF THE NEW PARLIAMENT TAKES PLACE TODAY
The first sitting of the new parliament, following this year’s general elections will take place here today at the House of Assembly in Kingstown.
Parliament is scheduled to convene at four this afternoon. The new Cabinet will take their oaths of Allegiance, there will be the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly as well as the selection of the public accounts committee.
The Unity Labour Party headed by Prime Minister Hon Dr Ralph Gonsalves was returned to office for a fifth term following the November 5th general elections. Star Radio will carry live coverage of this event.
TEMPORARY BAN PLACED ON POULTRY IMPORTS FROM THE UK
The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Animal Health and Production Division has announced a temporary ban on the importation of all commercial imports of poultry, hatching eggs and fresh, frozen or chilled poultry products into St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Ministry says this due to ongoing outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in the United Kingdom. An immediate ban has also been enforced on the importation of personal imports of live birds, feathers and foods containing poultry products.
All commercial imports of cooked poultry products from the UK may continue provided that they are accompanied by an appropriate veterinary export health certificate. The ban will remain in effect until further notice.
AGRICULTURE MINISTER HON SABOTO CAESAR ASK THE NATION TO EAT MORE LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD IN 2021
This country’s Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar, has asked the nation, to “be prepared to eat more locally produced food in 2021". He stated, that with the reduction in the demand for many local products on the export market, there is no option but to reduce imports, by supporting local producers.
He further noted, that this call has been made before, to "buy local", however, the present negative resultant implications of COVID 19, demand that we are more targeted in achieving this goal of increasing local consumption. The minister adds that while the country produces a large percentage of the food that we consume, the current food import bill is in excess of 100 million dollars.
Minister Caesar further outlined that over the next weeks, the "Commodity Approach" to production will be discussed with all food producing and marketing stakeholders. He noted that there is a need for greater alignment between producers and markets; and the current Extension Service structure in the Ministry of Agriculture does not efficiently advance that cause. Hence, the technicians in the Ministry are currently addressing all possible amendments."
The Minister was confident that stakeholders will be able to take maximum advantage of supplying for the growing tourism sector. Mr. Ceaser concluded that the construction of several hotels, and the opportunity which is within touching distance of having scheduled direct commercial transatlantic flights, will all provide significant opportunities for producers in SVG.
BRAGSA COMPLETES NEW CONCRETE ROAD IN LAYOU
The Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) has completed the construction of a new concrete road in Layou, Central Leeward.
The project saw the construction of a 680 feet long roadway, along with a 110 feet long Curb wall. In addition, 100 feet of Curb and Slipper drains were constructed. The project was carried out at a cost of $179, 000. It was done over a five-month period.
The Caribbean recorded its youngest ever death from the coronavirus (COVID-19) after a six-day old baby died of the virus in Guyana and several other Caribbean countries reported deaths and increased cases of the virus that has killed and infected millions worldwide.
The Ministry of Health said that the two deaths recorded over the past 24 hours included a six-day-old baby, but gave no other details. The other fatality is a 31-year-old woman who died while receiving care at a medical facility. The death toll now stands at 151.
A statement from the ministry said officials have contacted all relatives and persons to facilitate contact tracing and rapid assistance to everyone who may have been exposed to the now-deceased person.
The ministry is also appealing to the general public to respect the confidentiality of those who have died and to allow them to mourn their tragic loss in peace. In Belize, three people died pushing the death toll to 147.
The Office of the Director of Health Services said that the victims included a female in her 80s. It said that a total of 309 samples were processed with 96 new cases being identified, putting the overall total to 5, 743 with 2, 465 being active cases. “There are 59 recoveries today so that 42.9 per cent of the cases remain active,” the authorities said.
Suriname is reporting that there were no new cases over the past 24 hours and as of Sunday evening, there were 16 active cases out of a total of 5,312 corona infections.
The death toll remains at 117 while the number of people in hospitals is seven, the same number in isolation while the non-positives in quarantine is 1,428.
St Lucia continues to recorded cases of the virus with five new cases on Sunday, pushing the total to 257.
CUBAN WHO DISAPPEARED FROM THE CAYMAN ISLANDS FOUND IN MEXICO
Fourteen Cubans who disappeared from the Cayman Islands late last week, have been found in Mexico.
According to a press release issued by the Customs and Border Control Service in the British Overseas territory, on Friday, officials lost track of the Cuban migrants.
The Cubans were reportedly located at sea by the Mexican Navy after which they were taken to a naval base where they received medical attention. The Cubans have requested political asylum in Mexico.
November 27 2020
GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO PERSONS AFFECTED BY RECENT WEATHER EVENTS
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has announced that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be providing support to individuals who suffered damage during the recent weather events here.
Dr. Gonsalves while speaking on his weekly radio program said that a preliminary damage assessment report indicates that there were approximately two million dollars in damage as a result of the weather events which occurred between October 28th and November 1st. Prime Minister Gonsalves says he has given approval for payments to be made to the persons affected
ONE NEW COVID-19 CASE RECORDED
St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday November 26th, 2020, recorded one (1) new COVID-19 case.
The new case is a returning national who arrived with a negative RT-PCR test result from the USA on Saturday November 21, 2020 on American Airlines, tested negative on entry screening and on day five (5) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
The adult was in mandatory quarantine and will be isolated until cleared by two negative tests. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has now recorded a total of eighty-five (85) COVID19 cases, seventy-seven (78) of which have recovered. There are now seven (7) active COVID-19 cases, all imported from countries categorized as “High Risk”.
PM GONSALVES URGES YOUNG PERSONS TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO ACQUIRE SKILLS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES
This country’s Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has again pleaded with young persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines to make an effort to acquire skills in order take advantage of job opportunities which will become available when the hotel industry takes off.
Speaking on his weekly radio program on Wednesday of this week, PM Gonsalves reminded that when Sandals Resorts commences its construction phase of its hotel by July of next year some 1000 persons are expected to be employed. He implored young Vincentians to utilize the opportunities that are available at the various technical institutes here to earn or enhance a skill whether in construction, hotel, farming or fishing industry. Dr Gonsalves urged that the young persons heed his continued call to make themselves marketable.
NEMO COMPLETES WORK ON TSUNAMI HAZARD MAPPING
The National Emergency Management Organization has completed work on its Tsunami Hazard Mapping for communities from Kingstown to Argyle.
According to local reports Director of NEMO, Michelle Forbes says this is part of the organization’s thrust to develop effective evacuation plans for Communities at risk of disasters. Ms. Forbes noted that there are plans to extend the Hazard Mapping to other communities. She also added that Vincentians must be mindful of the threats posed by the La Soufriere Volcano, which is still active.
UNAIDS APPEALS TO CARIBBEAN AND OTHER COUNTRIES TO ADOPT AMBITIOUS TARGETS TO TACKLE HIV/AIDS
The United Nations specialized agency, UNAIDS, is appealing to Caribbean and other countries to adopt ambitious new targets to tackle HIV/AIDS to avoid hundreds of thousands of additional infections and deaths linked to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In its appeal, the UNAIDS warned that the pandemic has pushed the world's AIDS response even further off track, and that 2020 targets are being missed. It urged the countries to learn from the lessons of underinvesting in healthcare and to step up global action to end AIDS and other global health emergencies.
Citing new data showing the pandemic's long-term impact on global HIV response, UNAIDS said that there could be up to nearly 300,000 additional new HIV infections between now and 2022, and up to 148,000 more AIDS-related deaths.
The UN said the Caribbean is second to sub-Saharan Africa in the prevalence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. “The collective failure to invest sufficiently in comprehensive, rights-based, people-centred HIV responses has come at a terrible price,” said Winnie Byan-yima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Implementing just the most politically palatable programs will not turn the tide against COVID-19 or end AIDS. “To get the global response back on track will require putting people first and tackling the inequalities on which epidemics thrive,” she added.
Although countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Botswana and Eswatini have achieved or even exceeded targets set for 2020, “many more countries are falling way behind”, said UNAIDS in a new report, “Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre.”
UNAIDS said the document contains a set of proposed targets for 2025 that are based on the actions of countries that been most successful in overcoming HIV. UNAIDS said if these targets are met,” the world will be back on track to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030″.
The newly elected leader of the main opposition National Democratic Party (NDP), in Grenada, Franka Bernardine, has resigned. Bernardine, who was elected to lead the party on November 3, attributed her decision to medical reasons. Bernardine gave the assurance that the NDP will continue to be her choice of political support. Bernardine was appointed Minister for Education after the NDP won the 2008 general election.
Leading up to that election she was chairman of the civil society grouping which was equivalent to a pressure group. Following the party's loss at the 2013 general elections, she continued to serve as an executive member of the party in the capacity as public relations officer.
November 26 2020
CARICOM CONTINUES TO WORK CLOSELY WITH WHO TO ENSURE A TIMELY DELIVERY OF COVID-19 VACCINES
The Caribbean Community CARICOM is continuing to work closely with the World Health Organisation WHO in order to ensure a timely delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for citizens, when it becomes available.
THIS COUNTRY’S Prime Minister and Chairman of CARICOM Dr. Hon Ralph Gonsalves spoke to this during his weekly radio program yesterday. He said that there have been some positive developments in the news recently regarding a number of COVID 19 vaccines.
Dr Gonsalves further noted that they have been working to have the issue addressed and in his capacity as chairman of CARICOM, he has written to the WHO to highlight and address this situation.
PERSONS WITH PRE-EXISITNG MEDICAL CONDITIONS TO TAKE MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF MOSQUITO BITES
Persons who have pre-existing conditions such as sickle cell disease, kidney problems or heart disease or who previously had dengue fever, zika, or are children of mothers who had dengue during their pregnancy, are at increased risk to develop severe dengue fever.
These individuals and their guardians are asked to consistently utilize measures known to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and to be aware of the warning signs of severe dengue.
According to a release from the Ministry of Health, a total of 1617 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever has been recorded as at November 14 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
A release from the Ministry of Health says that a 10-year-old girl with an underlying heart condition is the seventh person to die here as a direct result of severe dengue fever.
“The Vector Control Unit of the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment continues to implement an intensified integrated vector control programme aimed at reducing the mosquito which spreads the dengue virus, through source reduction,” the release said. The mosquito borne disease continues to affect all health districts, with most cases reported as occurring in persons who live in the Pembroke, Kingstown and Calliaqua Health Districts.
The Marriaqua and Chateaubelair Health Districts are now ranked as 4th and 5th for the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever. Persons in the 0-15-year-old age group continue to account for the majority of cases, with an attack rate of 3.54 per cent in the 5-14-year age group.
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache with pain behind the eyes, a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding.
Home treatments for the vector-borne disease should focus on reducing the fever by using cool, not cold baths; paracetamol, not ibuprofen and maintaining hydration by drinking lots of fluids such as coconut water. The early and consistent use of the papaya leaf extract for five days in persons with dengue fever symptoms is also encouraged.
INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS IN PLACE AS GOVERNMENT PROCEEDS WITH ITS WORK
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves says that all institutional arrangements are in place as the government is proceeding with its work following the recent general elections.
Speaking on radio this morning the PM noted that everything is in place for Monday’s sitting of the House of Assembly, the first to take place following the elections of November 3rd.
The PM also said that on Monday November 30th newly appointed junior Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator Keisal Peters will take her respective oaths.
REACH PROJECT MOVES TOWARDS ITS TARGETS
The Resilient Environment & Agricultural Caribbean Habitats (REACH) Project is moving forward to reach its targets. On Monday November 9th, 2020, a virtual orientation & training session was facilitated by representatives from the CDEMA Coordinating Unit. Over the next two (2) weeks, extension officers of the Ministries of Agriculture Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines will serve as enumerators for a survey, collecting information from small farmers across the two (2) countries as part of a communication audit. The survey is designed to capture the impact of the project on small farming communities, current practices of small farmers in reducing their risks to hazards and suggestions on future work which can be undertaken to help farmers build resilience to external shocks.
The session featured the enumerators, national project coordinators, national focal points and representatives from the CIMA Research Foundation. One of the main strategies discussed was the methods of delivering the survey, given the varying COVID-19 environments prevailing in both Caribbean states. Enumerators will primarily utilise virtual, landline or mobile communication channels for delivering the survey, relying on face-to-face interviews as a last resort. Where face-to-face interviews are required, enumerators were encouraged to follow relevant protocols including but not limited to social distancing, wearing of masks and no exchange of stationery.
The data collected will serve to inform future improvements which can be made to enhance communication between small farmers and relevant national government & regional agencies.
BUCCAMENT BAY SECONDARY SCHOOL TO BENEFIT FROM PAC PROGRAMME
The Buccument Bay Secondary School will soon be among the beneficiaries of the Pan against Crime (PAC) programme.
On Thursday November 26, 2020, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police (RSVGPF) Force in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security and the You-Lou Pan Movement will hand over a quantity of steel pans and a drum set to the institution. The event is scheduled to commence at 2:00 pm and will hear remarks from Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Hudson Nedd. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Hon. Orando Brewster, Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of Central Leeward and Minister of National mobilization, the family, youth, etc.
LIAT TO BEGIN COMMERCIAL SCHEDULE ON NOVEMBER 30TH
LIAT, the Caribbean airline, will begin its commercial schedule on November 30th, with flights operating to al limited number of destinations. The airline will operate flights five days per week to seven destinations across the LIAT network. The seven destinations are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The limited schedule of flights will return connectivity to these destinations which were impacted by the airline’s suspension of commercial services. LIAT will announce shortly the addition of other destinations to the schedule for December 2020.
The airline has completed all the training and regulatory requirements for the territories for the November 30thstart. Also, several new procedures have been implemented to ensure the safety of staff and passengers as well as reduce the risk of transmission of COVID 19. These include the mandatory wearing of masks at check in and onboard, enhancements in its cleaning and sanitizations protocols and new boarding procedures.
Passengers will be able to book flights via the LIAT website (www.liat.com) or the Reservations Call Center. The airline has also published its policy for persons who will want to utilize their credits to book flights during the new limited schedule.
However, passengers seeking refunds will have to await the outcome of the Administration process. The airline, which is currently under administration is being restructured following a decision by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to reorganize the airline