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Fisheries Ministers of CARICOM, Central America join forces to promote ocean-based economic growth – CARICOM Today

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Minister Alvin DaBreo, MInister with responsibility for Forestry & Fisheries, Grenada (CRFM Member); and Carlos Francisco Marin Arriola, Director de Normatividad de la Pesca y la Acuicultura, Guatemala (OSPESCA Member), signing Joint Declaration

BELIZE CITY, FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2019 (CRFM)—After several hours of deliberation at their Second Joint Meeting held in Belize on Wednesday, 2 October 2019, Fisheries Ministers from Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Organisation for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) inked a milestone instrument. The “Declaration on CRFM-OSPESCA Cooperation for Sustainable Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources” signals their resolve to solidify the cooperation birthed at their first joint meeting held in Belize, seven years earlier, in 2012.

Among the agreed areas of cooperation are: monitoring and managing Sargassum blooms which have been adversely affecting the region since 2011; the control of invasive species, with emphasis on the Pacific lionfish; and the development of small-scale fisheries to ensure the protection of livelihoods and food security. The renewed alliance will also support the implementation of fisheries management plans for shared stocks, such as spiny lobster, queen conch and migratory pelagic species; programmes on climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in fisheries and aquaculture; as well as ocean-based fisheries and aquaculture economic activities, including value chain development.

From left, Beverly Wade, Master of Ceremonies, Fisheries Administrator, Belize; Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council and Minister Responsible for Fisheries in Saint Kitts and Nevis; Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize’s Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries; Norma Lobo, General Director for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture, El Salvador, Pro-Tempore Chairman of OSPESCA; Reinaldo Morales Rodríguez, Director Regional de OSPESCA; and Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat

The CRFM and OSPESCA countries have, furthermore, pledged to develop coordinated positions on international processes, such as the listing of threatened and endangered species under CITES; fisheries subsidies negotiations led by the WTO; and the UN conference to develop a legally-binding agreement on conservation, management and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

In signing the Joint Declaration, the Fisheries Ministers also approved the Second Joint CRFM-OSPESCA Action Plan (2020 to 2025), which is a 5-year roadmap to guide collaborative programmes and activities agreed in the declaration by the two sub-regional organisations.

Among the commitments made is that, “The CRFM and OSPESCA Secretariats and Member States will work together to strengthen cooperation to deter, prevent and eliminate IUU [Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated] fishing in the region.”


At the opening of the meeting, Keynote Speaker, Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize’s Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries, said: “IUU Fishing is undoubtedly causing damage to our fish populations in our countries, and we must continue to actively identify and implement tangible and effective actions on a bilateral or sub-regional level to curb these illicit activities.”

Prior to the meeting with OSPESCA, the CRFM Ministerial Council held its Ninth Special Meeting, at which it approved the Regional Plan of Action on IUU Fishing for the Western Central Atlantic region, with a commitment to developing a CARICOM-specific Action Plan. The Jamaican delegation pointed out to their counterparts that IUU fishing recently forced them to impose a moratorium on their conch fishery, resulting in multi-million-dollar losses for the country, its export sector and fishers. Their hope is that the collaboration with OSPESCA will help to effectively prevent and deter IUU fishing in Caribbean waters.

Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the CRFM Secretariat, added that, “It is the recognition that we share a common interest and a common destiny in the sustainable use and protection of the Caribbean Sea and its living marine resources and ecosystems that inspires and underpins the partnership that is developing between the Caribbean and Central American sub-regions in fisheries and aquaculture.”

Hon. Eugene Hamilton, Chair of the CRFM Ministerial Council and Minister Responsible for Fisheries in Saint Kitts and Nevis, said: “It is predicted that 90% of the world’s fish protein will come from aquaculture by 2050.” He, consequently, urged the countries, generally regarded as small island developing states and coastal states, to work together to develop aquaculture.

Norma Lobo, General Director for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture, represented the Minister of Agriculture of El Salvador, Pro-Tempore Chairman of OSPESCA, at the meeting. In her brief remarks, she indicated that this was the first such meeting in which she has participated, and expressed her enthusiasm for learning more about the challenges faced by the region and, furthermore, working together to confront them.

Haughton expressed optimism that, “This growing strategic partnership between our countries, our fisheries institutions and our stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, will yield tangible mutual benefit from our collective experience, expertise and cooperation in addressing the common challenges we face.”

The UNDP-GEF Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project provided financial support to facilitate the convening of the meeting in Belize City, Belize. It has also been providing support to the CRFM, OSPESCA, FAO/WECAFC, UN Environment and other regional organisations to strengthen arrangements for improved governance and management of the fisheries resources and marine environment of the region.

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Garden of Prayer – A Blue Sunday – NOW Grenada

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From swanky shoes to crisp men’s shirts and fashionable ladies’ dresses, members of the Garden of Prayer church on Sunday, 10 November 2019 were decked out in various shades of blue to commemorate their Blue Sunday – a diabetes awareness month initiative.

Every year, to kick off their November activities, the St David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association starts with a church service. Garden of Prayer was the church of choice this year, as it is right on the border of St David and St George, and many residents of St David attend that church. The group asked the church members to wear blue on that day, and they obliged.

Men, women and children wore different shades of blue, while team members gave presentations on Type 2 Diabetes prevention and management and showed a short video on the importance of a healthy diet which consists of portion and carbohydrate control. Additionally, the St David’s Branch of GDA invited everyone to participate in their two upcoming activities which are:

Free Health and Diabetic Clinic on Saturday, 23 November from 10 am to 2 pm at the Monsignor Cyril LaMontagne Community Centre, Perdmontemps, St David, next to St Dominic’s Catholic Church. Testing will be done by the Student National Medical Association and DIGA of St George’s University (SGU). Services offered: Blood pressure testing, glucose reading, eye examination, food examination, nutrition counselling and doctor consultation.

Free Online Diabetes Management Webinar on Saturday, 30 November from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

To participate: Register by going to http://bit.ly/diabetesgnd2019

Speakers:

  • Dr Francis Martin of the Grenada Medical Association
  • Charisse Bristol of the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council
  • Gemma Stewart of the St David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association

Organised by Central Health – Grenada and the St David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association.

Central Health – Grenada

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Grenada installing hydro-meteorological monitoring system

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by Linda Straker

  • 33 new climate stations will be installed as part of Hydrometrics Network
  • Installation began in October 2019 by SUTRON OTT

By February 2020 Grenada will have a fully functional Hydrometrics Network that will provide the relevant authorities with data which will among other things provide early signs that can promote public safety link directly to natural hazards such as floods.

“The development of an improved and effective hydro-meteorological monitoring system is designed to provide real-time or near real-time hydro-met data to support planning, engineering and disaster early warning activities to promote public safety and reduce vulnerability to potential disaster events, as well as improved hazard mitigation,” said a news release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Communications Department.

Trevor Thompson, Acting Chief Land Use Officer said that 33 new climate stations will be installed as part of the network. “That will comprise Synoptic Stations, Climate stations, Agro-Climate Stations, Hydrometric Stations, Hydrometric Stations with Pressure Transducers, Hydrometric Stations with Radars, Groundwater Stations, and Marine Stations or Tide Gauges,” he said.

The installation of the devices began in October 2019.

Through the project which is receiving support from the World Bank and the Climate Investment Fund, 55 rain gauges will be installed to support the automatic weather stations installed. “The stations will record data such as rainfall, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, evapotranspiration, soil temperature, leaf wetness, solar radiation, river discharge, tide levels, groundwater levels,” Thompson said.

Regional institutions whose work will require the use of the information gathered through the network will also have access to the information gathered through the monitoring system. The installation of the different hydrometric devices at various points throughout the country was contracted to the international company SUTRON OTT.

The ministries and agencies collaborating in this project are the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Ministry of Finance, Procurement Unit, Ministry of Climate Resilience, Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information, Ministry of Finance – Physical Planning Unit, Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Ministry of Tourism – National Parks, National Water and Sewage Authority, Maurice Bishop International Airport’s Meteorological Office and the National Disaster Management Agency.

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Road traffic accidents place a major burden on the healthcare system

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • As of September 2019, there have been 1,800 accidents recorded
  • Hit-and-run accidents have steadily risen
  • Loss of income at home due to injuries sustained must also be included

Although there are no official statistics quantifying the economic burden of road traffic accidents on Grenada’s health sector, Senior Medical Officer, Dr Sonia Nixon, said it is putting an additional strain on the resources of the hospital and the state. She said this problem is not unique to Grenada but is cause for concern on a global scale. She quoted statistics provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that 1.24 million people die annually on the world’s roads, with 20–50 million sustaining non-fatal injuries.

Dr Nixon agrees the actual cost for Grenada cannot be easily quantified since it goes way beyond hospital care. She said the additional cost implications outside of receiving emergency healthcare is seldom taken into consideration. “I think it is more than just the cost for hospital care. Is it just Plaster of Paris, or is it 6 hours in the theatre?”

Dr Nixon said the loss of income at home due to injuries sustained from road accidents must also be a factor included in the discussion. “Let’s just imagine for example, you had a really bad accident where you became incapacitated at age 45 where you are the owner of your business. Where you employ 10 people and you have lost the ability to work. Think of what it will cost for long term homecare, but you are not earning. Think about your incapacity to deliver to the national coffers or National Insurance Scheme because you are expected to work for the next 15 years and contribute, but instead, you are no longer contributing but removing.”

Dr Nixon encourages drivers to become safe and responsible drivers on the nation’s roads, which involves knowing your highway code. “Are we prepared to be good drivers, do we understand the [highway code]? So, there are other things that are not necessarily directly related to what it costs to health, but what is costs to the entire country and the entire health system. We really want to encourage people to know your [highway code], to not drive under the influence. We are asking that people become responsible drivers by taking precautions.”

The Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) continues to see steady increases in road traffic accidents. Since speeding is one of the main causes of accidents, Sergeant Ryan Smith — with responsibility for accident investigation — encourages drivers to be aware of the speed limit, and in the event that they are adhering to the speed limit, other factors must be taken into consideration with regards to either the width of the road, obstruction or road conditions.

As of September 2019, there have been 1,800 accidents recorded which include serious and fatal accidents. Figures are still being collected for October 2019.

Sergeant Smith pointed out that hit-and-run accidents have steadily risen. “The resources that we have been employing is stricter enforcement in terms of motorcycle patrols, mobile patrols, speed checks and so on in different areas in what we refer to as accident-prone areas, so we have officers out there. We are more in tune with the causes of accidents and where they occur… what we are seeing is a number of hit-and-run accidents, in that I mean people are getting involved in an accident and are not stopping.”

The Road Traffic Act clearly outlines criminal penalties that will apply to anyone in contravention. According to the act, any person who contravenes or fails to comply with this section commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 75 (1) of the Road Traffic Act section 75 (1), outlines the duty of a driver in case of an accident. It states a person riding, driving or in charge of any vehicle of any description shall, if, owing to the presence of the vehicle on a road, an accident occurs whereby personal injury is caused to any person or damage is caused to any vehicle

(a) immediately stop; and

(b) if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give

(i) his or her name and address

(ii) the name and address of the owner of the vehicle

(iii) the registration number of the vehicle

(iv) the name of the insurance company with which the vehicle is insured

(v) the names of all persons in the vehicle at the time of the accident

(c)report the accident at a police station as soon as reasonably practicable but before the expiration of a period of 24 hours after its occurrence.

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