Director of the UWI’s Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC) Dr Barbara Carby explains that this initiative is a direct response to the pressing need for more effective and timely percolation of existing knowledge to those who can make a real difference in creating a safer and more resilient Caribbean.
Caribbean Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to consider management plans for two vital fisheries, a protocol on small-scale fisheries and a policy on gender equality mainstreaming at their 12th Meeting, scheduled for Friday, 18 May 2018 in Montserrat.
At the upcoming meeting, Hon. David Osborne, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in Montserrat, will assume chairmanship of the CRFM Ministerial Council from Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture in Guyana.
High on the agenda are two fisheries management plans that the Ministers will be asked to approve: the Sub-Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Blackfin Tuna and the management plan for fisheries conducted using fish aggregating devices (FAD), which is a growing fishery in the region.
The Ministers will also consider a protocol developed under the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries. The main objectives of the protocol are to enhance food security, improve the socioeconomic situation of fishworkers, and achieve sustainable use of fishery resources, through the promotion of a human-rights based approach.
In addition, the Ministers will discuss a regional policy aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in fisheries development, and management policies and programmes in CRFM Member States.
Milton Haughton, the Executive Director of the CRFM, said, “The focus of this Ministerial Council meeting is on building resilience and equity in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. The Ministers will, therefore, discuss and decide on a number of policy instruments designed to strengthen management and conservation of key fisheries and their ecosystems, and enhance governance through equity and equality, inclusiveness, and participatory planning and decision-making processes.”
The Ministerial Council will also consider a proposal to collaborate with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), to look at ways in which the region can access international support and funding to reduce ghost fishing in Caribbean waters. Ghost fishing becomes a concern when gears continue to fish after getting lost during natural disasters such as hurricanes.
At Friday’s meeting, the Council will review progress made in implementing its earlier decisions, as well as the overall status and trends in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Advancements in fisheries research and development, the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, aquaculture development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening will also be discussed.
The 12th Meeting of the CRFM Ministerial Council will serve to advance recommendations coming out of last month’s meeting of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, the technical and advisory arm of the CRFM.
The Dominica Library and Information Service (DLIS) is observing Library Week 2018 from May 14 to 18 under the theme, ‘Notwithstanding, We Continue to Serve.’
As Dominica recovers from the impact of Hurricane Maria the focus is on the essential role of libraries in the rebuilding effort, the role of libraries as safe spaces for vulnerable groups and the response of the DLIS to support the information needs of citizens post disaster.
Major activities include informative sessions using online magazines and other e-resources, an online exhibition of the DLIS journey post Hurricane Maria, recognition of donors and Disaster Preparedness Day to be observed on Thursday May 17, 2018.
Due to the passage of Hurricane Maria the Library Service lost over twenty five thousand volumes of books and ninety-five per cent of its furniture and equipment. All service points of the DLIS were impacted with the Roseau Public Library and the Portsmouth Library sustaining extensive damages to physical structure. The roof of the Documentation Centre building that housed the National Archives sustained flood damage and a number of records sustained water damage.
Since then the DLIS has resumed services at the National Documentation Centre, National Archives Unit, the Portsmouth Library at Portsmouth Secondary School, the Roseau Public Library at the Documentation Centre Building providing reference, Internet, computer, and homework assistance and circulation of books to the general public, the Portsmouth Mobile Library on Bay Street, the Grand Bay Public Library at the Grand Bay Community Center and the Marigot Library located upstairs the village pharmacy.
The DLIS has also conducted an Art Therapy Workshop, sessions on Information Skills for Grade 6 students, a CARBICA Post Hurricane Consultancy & Workshop and provided technical assistance to school libraries.
Other new services launched by the DLIS in the past year include a new barcode-readable Membership Card, personal online accounts that contain reader history and the ability to reserve books and update accounts and access to E-Resources, online magazines and databases.
In the upcoming months the DLIS hopes to complete rehabilitation of the Portsmouth Library and re-establish sustainable services, reintroduce internet and computer services at the Marigot and Grand Bay branches, advance efforts to build a safer, modern and resilient Public Library in Roseau, continue the archival collection digitization project, enhance service provision to support students’ research needs through E-library platforms and enhance capacity of staff through training and specialization.
The Library Service wishes to thank the organizations and groups that supported its operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Getty Foundation donated $55, 000.00 and the Belize Development Corporation $23,983.93 towards restoration of Portsmouth Library, the Noble Caledonia Charitable Trust donated $60, 376.50, the Joshua-Jelly-Schapiro & Friends, $1, 162.10 and the Friends of Jamaica, $3, 000.00. The DLIS also received a grant of $6, 460.14 from the Caribbean Association of Archives (CARBICA) for placement of UV protected glass windows at the National Archives Unit, $24, 605.56 worth of equipment and materials from the American Embassy, Barbados to support the American Corner, replacement of the Consolidated Index Stock by the UWI Cave Hill Campus, 1000 books from Mr Peter Dick and Friends of the United Kingdom and 2,131 from Book Aid International. An additional 1374 books were received through Private and Organisation donations and friends of the DLIS.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will, on Tuesday 15th May, observe the region’s first-ever Climate Change Day.
This observance has its origins in the growing recognition of the impacts that climate change is having, and will continue to have, on OECS Member States, as well as in a partnership recently established between the OECS Commission and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This partnership focuses on raising awareness of climate change issues, in general, and international climate change issues, in particular.
This first OECS Climate Change Day will place emphasis on the school populations in participating Member States as today’s youth will someday assume lead responsibility for addressing the challenges posed by climate change and, even now, can play an important role in educating their parents and peers.
Activities planned for the Day include ministerial addresses, radio interviews, press releases, school visits and workshops.
For its part, the OECS Commission will provide coverage of CC Day, along with relevant content, on its website via the following link. The Commission will run daily online quizzes from now until Tuesday 15th.
These quizzes may be accessed both on the above page and on the Commission’s Facebook page.
Photographs, video clips and other content provided by Member States will be uploaded to the aforementioned web page.
Hoteliers and other key stakeholders in the tourism industry have expressed frustration with insurance companies over delayed payments. The lag, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) says, “is preventing many hotels from moving forward with reconstruction and restoration.”
The tourism industry contributes to nearly 35 percent of Dominica’s gross domestic product (GDP) and serves as a major source of employment for residents. In 2016, the World Travel and Tourism Council noted that three out of every 10 workers are employed within the tourism industry.
After Maria struck in September 2017, the sector took a hit for the worst. A post disaster needs assessment revealed that of the estimated US $930.9 million in damages, 19 percent of losses were sustained in the tourism sector. Before Maria, the Discover Dominica Authority had on record 73 properties or 909 export ready guest rooms available. As of October 2017, 32 properties, that is 51 percent of the total room stock or 467 guest rooms, have been assessed as moderately damaged but are able to operate.
To continue operations, hoteliers admit that they are depending on insurance payouts for the cash injection needed to commence or complete rehabilitation works.
“The lengthy delay in the insurance settlement process is not only frustrating and stressful, but, expensive and debilitating.” Remarked one Hotelier. “Everyday that our buildings are left uncovered, causes even more deterioration. We are 1-month shy of the beginning of another hurricane season, and our property is even more vulnerable today than ever before. With this lack of urgency from our insurer may cost us our business, which then impacts the economy, less VAT collection, no capital tax collection, less employment, therefore less inputs into social security and an overall decline in economic activity. it is a no win situation for our beloved Nature Isle…”.
A recent survey conducted by the DHTA of 20 properties – representing 276 exportable rooms or 30 percent of the pre-Maria room stock, revealed that an alarming “75 percent of claims have not been paid out.”
According to the DHTA President, this coupled with the closing of the VAT/Duty concessionary period which was introduced after the disaster, we are seriously concerned about our members’ and stakeholders’ ability to bounce back and fulfil the mandate of becoming the first climate resilient country in the world.”
Given the importance of tourism, the association believes that “delayed insurance payments are detrimental to the industry and country. We see hotels, restaurants, dive and tour operators scale back their operations to barebones while they wait for settlements… that will frustrate anyone”
Mr. Kevin A Francis, Executive Vice President remarked that the DHTA has sat down with insurance providers and brokers to understand the issue at hand. “We have had a few meetings with the insurance industry to understand the challenges that the insurers themselves are facing as there is always two sides to a coin. Some of the information coming out of these meetings were eye opening for both sides of the issue and we are now working closely to ensure that payments are received.”
The DHTA has also teamed up with their Gold Level Corporate Partners; CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers to help in this regard. “CGM, our Gold level corporate partner, is working with the association and the members to help mitigate some of this frustration with the insurance industry. They are assisting members in claim settlement, capacity building in understanding insurance procedures, appeals for advance payment etc. The DHTA continues to push our member issues and show value to the membership.”
The DHTA will soon begin its staple seminar series; ACTalks, that focuses on member interaction and information series, as members seek to make some sense out of this bad situation.
By Elias Leah Shillingford, DAWU – Acting General Secretary
Brothers and Sisters,
A few years ago, my message to you was entitled, “ LEST WE FORGET”. In that message I called upon us to NOT FORGET, May Day, which is celebrated every year as, “International Workers’ Day, meaning that it is a Universal Day of Work stoppage.
Today, I look back at the most powerful expression of a movement which occurred at the first International Workers Congress in 1889. At that Congress four hundred (400) delegates who were in attendance decided that the eight-hour day would be the first demand on their agenda. I note the determination of the delegates as they worked together to achieve their goals. In the end, they succeeded. I say this to inform us of the fact that a Trade Union Congress is very important for the achievement of a better working environment for any people and nation, but more importantly, the “power of agreement”.
Throughout the years, trade Unions around the world have been working together to achieve major advances in workers’ rights. They have demonstrated successes through strength of unity. With the application of a similar approach to cooperation, collaboration or even alliance, Trade Unions in Dominica could deliver results that would have a lasting impact on the lives of Dominican workers and their families. There is much more to be gained out of unity as opposed to isolation. The benefits would accrue to the workers and that is the ultimate goal of unions established to serve the people. Let us embrace the “strength in unity.
Many years ago, I sat in meetings with Anthony Frederick Joseph, the first General Secretary, and founder of the Dominica Amalgamated Workers Union, on the topic – A Trade Union Congress. Today, we are at the same juncture, as the past, with still no agreement to a TUC. Recently three (3) of us (Union Leaders), met on two separate occasions to discuss the TUC, and have been able to agree on some matters, like the Agency Shop Ordinance, Redundancy payment and the ceiling, Subvention to the Labour Movement, as well as appointments to Chairman’s Panel. Despite these agreements, we are still not ready to form a TUC. This Union acknowledges that we need to do more, and I call on my fellow Union Leaders to give the TUC priority.
May Day celebrations in addition to other key activities, consultations and initiatives that can be undertaken jointly are lacking due to an absence of the TUC. For instance, there have been lost opportunities for joint Union response and action to Government’s request on consultations and solicitations on matters of Labour, and policies that would affect the Nation in general. These lost opportunities seriously demonstrate the need for a TUC.
Having said this, I believe that the time has come for the Trade Union Movement in Dominica to “re-strategize and restructure”. With the decline of serious activities over the past years, it is possible to conclude that we have lost ground, or even stopped in time.
Some of the successes of prior years were linked to the vibrancy of the trade union movement. I recall the years that we met at the Windsor Park, spending the day, listening to speech after speech from invitees and locals holding placards, shouting chants and singing songs. In the Caribbean we are now enjoying the results of these efforts, including the Collective Labour Agreement and ILO Conventions and the Decent Work mandate. Having achieved these milestones, it is important to NOT FORGET the significance of the May Day celebrations in honour of the work done and lives lost to get us where we are today. The Trade Union Leaders and Workers, in Dominica need to continue to appreciate the significance of this DAY and not allow it to pass unrecognized. A “re-strategize and restructured” labour union system with a TUC would allow for more action on May Day.
The Workers and Employers in Dominica now have Collective Labour Agreements to operate by, making it very easy for both parties to enjoy not only the forty (40) hours work week, but many other benefits. The Unions have good mandates for their members, and throughout the year, not only May Day, the Unions continue to look after the needs of their members. However, there should be an alliance among the Unions and without the TUC, some Employers take advantage of workers, violating the Collective Labour Agreements, and many times renege on promises made.
In honour of May Day and in light of some of the examples highlighted above, the Dominica Amalgamated Workers Union will arrange to speak with the “workers”, on Non Communicable Disease (NCD’s), from a Bible based perspective. This topic will biblically explain how the Spirit Soul and Body operates as one, and by extension maintain good health, success and prosperity.
The Workers will be informed of the date and time of the event.
UNICEF and WFP sign an agreement to strengthen governments’ cash-based transfer programmes to respond to emergencies
DOMINICA, 3 May 2018 – UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Directors for Latin America and the Caribbean today signed an agreement to support governments in the region to be better prepared and equipped to use cash transfer programmes to assist their population during emergencies.
UNICEF’s Marita Perceval and WFP’s Miguel Barreto signed the agreement in Roseau, Dominica, at the start of a workshop to review the emergency cash-based transfer programme the two agencies supported in the Caribbean country, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
In emergencies, transfers – either cash or vouchers – allow affected people to determine and prioritise their own needs and strengthen their autonomy and dignity. Additionally, they stimulate local economies and revitalise markets, thus promoting resilience in affected communities, as seen in Dominica.
The three-month programme the Government of Dominica implemented with the support of the two agencies in the aftermath of the Category 5 hurricane Maria provided emergency cash transfers to 25,000 affected people, including 6,000 children. Payments helped families meet their basic needs, including food, clothes, hygiene items, school supplies and reconstruction materials.
“Emergency cash helped vulnerable Dominicans who had lost so much get back on their feet again. The cash was a lifeline for affected people but it also allowed them to regain priceless strength and hope,” said Mr. Barreto. “We know these programmes work and can be used effectively by Governments, with our joint UN support, to prepare for and respond to future emergencies,” he added.
“When we take care of a child in an emergency, we are not only giving immediate protection, we are making sure that she can develop to her full potential,” said Ms Perceval. “Dominica’s pioneering experience using cash transfers as a response to emergency breaks the barrier between humanitarian and development work, and is a testament to what the collaboration of UNICEF and WFP, under the Dominica’s government leadership, can accomplish for the region.”
In the document signed today, the two regional agencies agree to collaborate in preparing feasibility assessments to determine if a cash-based response is useful in a given country or context, and co-financing cash-based transfer programmes. Both agencies will develop and/or strengthen key programme tools to implement cash-based transfer programmes in an emergency context; programme implementation and capacity strengthening of government partners; as well as monitoring and evaluation.
BY GERARD BEST
PARAMARIBO, Suriname. May 2, 2018—Data privacy will be among the items topping the agenda at an upcoming Caribbean Internet Governance Forum to be held by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in Suriname this month.
The meeting is part of an effort by several Caribbean countries to establish and strengthen policies to ensure that Internet users’ personal information is collected, shared and used in appropriate ways.
It will take place from May 21 to 23, days before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the European Union on May 25. The GDPR is a regulation on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. But Caribbean stakeholders are already preparing for the fallout across the region’s geopolitical space.
“Although the GDPR comes into effect in Europe, its effect will be felt in the Caribbean, because the region includes Dutch, French and British territories, all of which fall under the EU jurisdiction, and will therefore have to comply with the GDPR from as early as May 25, 2018,” said Nigel Cassimire, Telecommunications Specialist at the CTU.
Because the GDPR has significant penalties for companies found in violation of its data privacy regulations, the law could adversely affect Caribbean companies doing business with European companies.
“The onus is on European companies doing business with anyone in our region to ensure that whoever they do business with have measures in place that will enable them to remain compliant with the GDPR. For the Caribbean, it is urgent for us to understand what requirements will be placed on us,” Cassimire said.
The forum will be held in Suriname, a former colony of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which became an independent nation in 1975.
The agenda will include a range of issues, including service resiliency and network neutrality.
The Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), along with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) are pleased to join the global community in celebrating International Labour Day on 1 May, 2018.
Our partnership within the EU-funded project known as “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to fulfil their EPA Obligations” has been a fruitful one. The journey has been one of growth, insight, negotiation, stock-taking, reassessing and renewed commitment to the stated objective.
Social dialogue is critical to achieving decent work. Decent work is the driver of economic development and social justice. We believe that strong national and regional Workers’ and Employers’ organizations around the negotiating table make for a stronger CARIFORUM. Social partners have a key role to play, along with Governments, in creating wealth and ensuring its equitable distribution across all sectors of society. This is the best way to achieve stability and lasting peace.
Every opportunity must be seized to ensure that all members of society benefit from complex agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM and the European Union (EU) that sound abstract yet have a lot to offer for everyone in concrete terms. The decent work agenda is firmly rooted in all of the EU’s economic partnership agreements so that free trade also means fair trade. The role of trade unions and employers’ organizations is critical in the implementation and monitoring of the decent work aspects to ensure positive effects of the EPA onjobs and enterprises, achieve a level playing field on today’s global marketplace, and prevent a global social race to the bottom.
The CEC and CCL have issued joint position papers on issues of common interest which both regional organisations and their affiliates will use to inform their participation in regional and national social dialogue platforms. These policy positions are in the respect of Occupational Safety and Health; minimum wage policy; and social protection. This solid bi-partite stance is a milestone since generally, employers and workers tend to be on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Another milestone is the invitation issued by CARICOM to the CEC and CCL to participate in the upcoming 37th meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Guyana from 2-5 May, 2018. The CEC and CCL will have a chance to be part of these high level discussions which will provide input into policy decisions to be adopted regionally.
The ILO and EU are pleased to have played a supporting role in building capacity in the region, bolstering efforts already being made to achieve a just deal for everyone. Now that the project is ending on 01 May, 2018 it is time to celebrate together our achievements in furthering tripartism, which combines the dynamism of the market economy with a strong emphasis on human security, on education and on social well-being, as we commemorate International Labour Day.