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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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Ministry of Agriculture and Lands begins animal health outreach clinic series for 2020

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Given the importance of animal disease control thus, safeguarding global food safety and animal health through the implementation of International Standards for better agricultural practices, the Veterinary and Livestock Division will hold a series of animal health outreach clinics throughout the tri-island state in 2020.

The division recognises the importance of monitoring animal health and preventing animal disease outbreaks and its impact on the economy and safety of the country. Hence, this year’s focus will be on best practices in the prevention and control of priority diseases and animal health.

“The aim of these clinics is to provide good quality veterinary and livestock services to farmers and animal owners. The ministry also sees this as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships with the farming community and animal owners,” said Acting Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer, Dr Kimond Cummings.

The nationwide drive for 2020 commenced with the first Animal health Outreach clinic at the Woburn playing field on Tuesday, 21 January 2020. Officers of the Veterinary and Livestock Division collaborated with officers of the Southern Agricultural District in offering rabies vaccination, deworming medication, wound management, hoof trimming, and best management tips to residents of Woburn and surrounding areas.

Yolande Lord Telesford, Livestock Specialist, attached to the Southern Agricultural District also spoke of the importance of the initiative. “What we have realised is that in this area, a lot of people in the community practice tethering. Based on the number of animals in this area, some of them have one or two animals tied in the same location, which allows for cross-contamination and cross infestation. This is why we went out prior to the clinic to speak to the animal owners to get an idea of their challenges in caring for their animals. It was based on their responses that we saw it fitting to have the clinic in this area.”

Farmer, Eunice Nelson, who got her 43 animals treated expressed appreciation. “I am really thankful for this exercise, right now I do not have to purchase as much medication for my animals or pay a veterinarian to deal with all these animals. I won’t have to worry about the rabies virus that much, as with the dry season mongoose normally run in and out of the land.”

Dr Cummings said that the series of clinics provide an opportunity for officers to explain the diseases and issues affecting livestock and other animals to farmers and animal owners. “As a ministry, this provides us with an opportunity to establish what is on the ground, as a result, we would be able to improve on our prevention and eradication efforts. We would be better equipped to develop a working plan, to execute in case an outbreak arises.”

He added, “The ministry is investing heavily in these programmes because we understand the needs of those farmers, thus ensuring that they have technical assistance and other services.”

During the outreach clinics, animals will be given preventive vaccines, treatment for internal and external parasites, while providing an opportunity to educate animal owners and farmers on at home and on the farm care and nutrition.

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Grenadians represent at Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit

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Young Grenadian leaders Ali Dowden, Garvel Stanisclaus, Terick Frank and Zoë Hagley, represented the Spice Island at the recently concluded 6th Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit (CYLS). 

The young Grenadian delegates represented their respective organisations: The National Democratic Youth Movement (Dowden), the New National Party Youth Arm (Stanisclaus, Frank) and the Commonwealth Youth Council (Hagley).

The 6th CYLS was convened under the theme of “Promoting Youth Economic Empowerment for Sustainable Caribbean Development’ and was held from 21–23 January 2020 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The summit brought together approximately 200 delegates, 150 of whom were youth from 13 countries and territories from across the Caribbean and the Americas Region. The overarching aim of the summit was to provide a platform for young leaders and youth development workers in the Caribbean to engage in a dialogue with stakeholders on how decent can be achieved for youth at national, regional and global levels.

The summit consisted of several presentations, and group discussions on the many issues surrounding youth employment in the Caribbean.

The participants were selected from National Youth Councils (NYC), the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), youth organisations and other key youth development partners and stakeholders; including the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); Commonwealth Secretariat; International Labour Organisation (ILO); United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC); and, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

Following the summit, delegate Dowden reflected on his attendance. He said, “For me the summit was an important opportunity for us young people from around the region, to engage on issues affecting us by sharing our challenges and providing solutions.” He continued, “Now that we’ve all attended, it is my hope that we will return to our respective countries and share the knowledge gained from the summit with our respective youth organisations.”

In light of the presentations and discussions at the summit, all delegates are committed to continue efforts for youth policy development, empowerment, inclusion, engagement and participation. The Grenadian delegates share the hope that the island will soon have its own National Youth Council leading up to the 7th summit in 2022.

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Additional $100,000 fine if Akim Andrew is found guilty of prescribing medication 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Andrew can possibly face hefty fines and prison term under Health Practitioners Act
  • Denied bail and remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.
  • Public to request a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment

19-year-old Akim Andrew will face a hefty fine of $100,000 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years for impersonating a doctor, and “Practicing Medicine without being Registered.”

If proven guilty of prescribing medication Andrew can possibly face an additional maximum fine of $100,000 and a prison term of 3 years in accordance with Section 113 of the Health Practitioners Act 2010.

Section 113 of the act states that “A person shall not prescribe any drug in relation to a medical condition or complaint unless he or she is registered as a health practitioner pursuant to the provisions of this act and is authorised by virtue of the regulations made pursuant to section 119. It goes on further to say that “A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both.”

Former Chairman of the Allied Health Professional Council, Derick Sylvester, called attention to these two penal sections when interviewed on the matter on Thursday, 24 January 2020. Sylvester said the incident is quite unfortunate but indicated that this is an opportunity for the public to be more vigilant and to request to see a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment. “The law requires that every medical practitioner must have their certificate posted in a prominent place so that is something that every person should look for when they go to visit a doctor or any health professional, and this is what the law says in Section 45, which states that the holder of a practicing certificate shall display the practicing certificate in a prominent place in an area where he or she conducts his or her practice.”

Andrew was denied bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate, Teddy St Louis, at the St George’s Magistrate’s No. 1 Court on Tuesday and was remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.

The Allied Health Professionals Council is responsible for vetting applicants before issuing licences to practice in the state of Grenada. In 2018, a call was made by the council’s chairman Dr Nicole Forte, for all Allied Health Professionals in Grenada to become registered as required under the Health Practitioners Act 2010. It is also standard practice for the names of licenced medical professional to be listed in the Gazette.

Sylvester stated the law cannot prevent someone from impersonating a medical professional or to establish an office to offer medical services, however, it is up to the Allied Health Professionals Council to ensure that all health professionals are certified and registered to practice and that the public ensures that they are provided with proof of that certification.

“I wouldn’t say there are loopholes within the system because you cannot stop anyone from just opening an office and say I am a doctor. So there are some things that you cannot do, so you cannot stop someone from doing that but the prospective patient has a duty to ensure that the doctor you are going before, is he someone that someone referred you to, or is it a case where you just walk in and see a sign and you decide to walk into the office? Then if that is the case you should look and ensure that person is qualified and by examining the certificate of that person,” Sylvester said.

A number of health professionals fall under the category of Allied Health including: Acupuncturist, Audiologist, Chiropodist, Chiropractor, Dental Hygienist, Dental Technician, Dental Therapist, Dietitian, Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Herbalist, Homeopath, Imaging Technologist, Masseur, Medical Technologist, Naturopathist, Optician, Occupational Therapist, Podiatrist, Psychotherapist and Psychologist, among others.

Jerry Edwin, legal representative of Akim Andrew, stated that he is prepared to mount a vigorous defence on the behalf of his client whose ambition did not match his educational credentials. He indicated that the incident that led to his client’s arrest is violating the public trust by misleading innocent people at worst, and is no more egregious than other similar situations being perpetuated in Grenadian society where a public official was found to be holding a fake doctorate or a practitioner of naturopathic medicine having a televised programme without having the necessary qualifications.

Edwin refutes the claim that his client prescribed controlled substances or prescriptions, but admitted that his client’s situation is quite sad and one which requires him to be rehabilitated.

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