Caribbean RoundUp – Caribbean Life Information

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Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government offers to help Barbados with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has assured Mia Mottley’s administration that he will not ban travel to and from Barbados as the nation is facing a sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases despite all the care and meticulous protocols that have been carried out by Her government is struggling to ensure the virus does not spread to the community.

He said the situation in Barbados is being brought under control and new measures are being taken to prevent it from happening again as “your health officials and law enforcement agencies have acted quickly to address the problem”.

In his letter to Mottley, the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister said: “While our border authorities continue to strictly adhere to our protocols for entering Antigua and Barbuda, we will not ban travel to and from Barbados.”

Browne’s letter comes after concerns his Secretary of State Everly Paul Greene raised in November when the Mottley government put Antigua and Barbuda on a list of countries considered to be medium risk for COVID-19.

Greene then said Barbados’ position was unacceptable due to his country’s COVID-19 numbers.

Bahamas

The Bahamas Ministry of Education is asked to repeat the 2020 educational year based on the results of last year’s national exam results.

In a recent statement, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson made the recommendation, referring to exam results, which were down in 2020 compared to 2019.

She recommends that the Department of Education stop, review, cancel, pause and consider repeating the 2020 school year and that social program practices cease immediately.

Wilson said the educational system had failed the children of the Bahamas time and again.

The union leader said the results of the local investigations were not surprising.

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has announced that the UK overseas territory will reopen its borders in March.

The prime minister said in his New Year’s message that with the expected arrival of coronavirus vaccines next week, the country’s most vulnerable people will be protected and, on that basis, the borders can be reopened in the coming months.

He said by March health officials had successfully vaccinated large numbers of the population, including all the most at risk, and if that goal can be achieved, borders should be able to reopen.

However, the Prime Minister stated that all visitors must be vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test, otherwise they will have to be quarantined.

McLaughlin noted that vaccine availability is the surest way to open up the country and economy more generally.

He said the first shipment of vaccines will arrive in early January and the government will then work out the country’s national vaccination plan.

The first batch of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines is scheduled to arrive on board a British Airways flight this week. Governor Martyn Roper said there will be enough doses to vaccinate 5,000 people.

McLaughlin, Roper and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee, will be among those who will be vaccinated to begin the campaign.

Haiti

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping Haitian students better prepared for studying for the 2020-2021 academic year through the distribution of books and essential sanitation.

USAID has partnered with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to distribute French and Creole reading, learning and teaching materials to first and second grade students and teachers in 600 schools across Haiti.

USAID says the initiative will help students study in a safe environment while preventing the spread of Covid-19.

USAID has also partnered with the Caris Foundation and UNICEF to distribute hand washing stations, buckets, soap, chlorine and Covid-19 awareness brochures to 300 schools in five departments.

St. Lucia

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says he will be among the first in St. Lucia to take the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine to allay public fears about the safety of the vaccine, which is expected to be available in 2021 .

U.S. and European regulations have approved vaccines development against the virus that killed at least five St. Lucians and infected more than 330 people.

Chastanet told reporters that while people who have not had to travel may have the option not to take the vaccine, there will be some companies that would require individuals to take a vaccine as the risk of closure at any time will disrupt business .

The Prime Minister said he was pleased that despite the fact that the vaccine is being accelerated, there is a lot of investigation going on.

St. Vincent

Health officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are considering putting electronic wristbands on people who are being quarantined to recover from the Covid-19 virus.

This was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who spoke on NBC state radio last weekend, revealed.

He said health officials were in talks with police to see if the surveillance could be done through the video surveillance system.

Last month, the Department of Health, with the help of the police and the public, spent several days tracking down a visitor from the UK who allegedly violated his quarantine period.

Dr. Gonsalves said the electronic tracking was done in some places, but it wasn’t as effective as it should be.

The Prime Minister commented on this when health officials rolled out a revised protocol requiring travelers from high-risk countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and some Caribbean countries, to quarantine themselves in a hotel for 10 days.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley believes the worst lies behind Trinidad and Tobago.

He said with the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine, global demand and economic activity are expected to return. Improvements are expected in global energy prices and in raw material markets. Employment in the restaurant, entertainment and distribution sectors is expected to slowly decline.

Rowley said his administration would do its best to continue to lead the country to a place of growth and prosperity through the Roadmap to Recovery plan.

“The fresh start that I am talking about will be a reorientation of the economy, a transition into the digital age that creates opportunities for small businesses and increases employment in the field,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that while the Covid-19 vaccines are considered the light at the end of the tunnel, it will take many years for the scars on the global economy to heal.

The Prime Minister said opportunities were also identified in manufacturing, energy services, green technology and agriculture.

– Compiled by Azad Ali