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Optipharm & One Good Deed celebrates World Sight Day 2019



Optipharm Eye Centre and One Good Deed Foundation celebrates World Sight Day 2019 under the theme “Universal Eye Health”

World Sight Day 2019 will be acknowledged on Thursday October 10th under the theme “Universal Eye Health” and the call to action “Vision First”. World Sight Day is an international event coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The goal of this day is to raise awareness of the fact that approximately 75% of blindness and vision impairment is avoidable and to encourage all necessary institutions to play an active role in supporting universal access to eye health.

World Sight Day has been an official IAPB event since 2000 and together with the World Health Organization (WHO) the ‘Vision 2020’ initiative was launched, whose aim is to eliminate avoidable blindness globally by the year 2020. Imagine a world where nobody is needlessly blind or visually impaired, and those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential; this is the target of Vision 2020. Since the implementation of Vision 2020, there have been several Global Action Plans, with the latest being “Universal Eye Health” from 2014 – 2019. This is a global plan to achieve reduced prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019, which is a more realistic target than complete elimination by 2020.

In 2015, 253 million people were reported either blind or visually impaired. However, since 1990 to 2015 there has been a 1.21 % decrease in the prevalence of these eye conditions, from  4.58% to 3.37%. It is important to know that the vast majority of vision impaired people, approximately 89%, live in low or middle income countries and approximately 55% of those affected are women.

Optipharm Eye Centre and the One Good Deed Foundation is committed to the work in preventing, correcting, improving and treating vision impairments. It is also our desire that blindness and vision impairment be prevented once avoidable. We have been doing our part, by participating in World Sight Day for several years, through  education, promoting awareness, free vision screenings and health fairs. These activities have been a part of the annual calendar of all our regional offices and we continue to seek to educate the public so no one has to live without seeing tomorrow once it can be prevented. We encourage the general public to have their annual eye examinations and diagnostic tests done, wear protective, preventive and corrective lenses as prescribed by your ophthalmologist, take medication as prescribed and know your family’s optical history. There are several eye diseases that can be traced through family history, it is important to let your doctor know and do the necessary tests early. Optipharm Eye Centre offers many services, including refraction testing for spectacles, diagnostic testing for glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and other conditions. We also offer sun and computer eyewear and clinical and surgical services. Make your sight your top priority, as we recognize World Sight Day, join us in the fight for your vision.

Don’t delay!  Proper sight today can become vision impairment tomorrow if we don’t protect our eye health. Additionally, we are working on our Telemedicine services, which is a mobile based app, allowing customers to consult with us in their time of need, including situations of disease outbreaks.

Our consultant Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist) Dr. Benet C. Henry is always ready to take care of you. Visit Optipharm Eye Centre on 23 Great Marlborough Street, or call us at 767-440-8486/ 285-8676 or visit us at to book your appointment.

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Border security for Dominica ramps up in Antigua and Barbuda




The Customs and Excise Division in Antigua and Barbuda has initiated protocol safety measures because of what they say are security threats in Dominica.

According to reports from the OBSERVER Media Group in St Johns, they received a leaked internal memo which asked Customs officers to comply with a request to fully examine both people and goods coming out of that country.

The memo, dated November 19th 2019, reads “effective immediately, all passengers and goods coming out of Dominica via all ports of entry including Transit Shed, DWH, Air Cargo Shed or baggage section must be subject to 100 per cent examination”.

Comptroller of Customs in Antigua and Barbuda, Raju Boddu is quoted as saying that this is standard internal practice whenever there is a perceived security threat in CARICOM states.

“In these types of situations, we need to be cautious and look out for miscreants and the harmful goods that cross our borders,” he said, adding that other regional countries had been asked to implement these measures.

The comptroller could not divulge the exact reason for the heightened security but shared that: “It could be direct results from riots in Dominica, it could be based on some internet reports that we would have gotten, it could be anything but I cannot reveal to the public”.

He said that there could also be a “bigger problem”. Boddu made it clear, however, that the department was not preventing anyone from travelling to and from Antigua and Barbuda, but said: “We have many brothers and sisters from CARICOM living here, including Dominicans, and their safety and security is very much our business.”

It is not a blanket examination, he stated, explaining “we have a system of risk assessment. We would look for the plausible risk assessments which were done in the past and we also depend on the alerts from our member countries within the CARICOM”.

He further stated that as Customs departments across the region continue to communicate through secure networks, alerting each state of possible threats to security, changes will be issued on the treatment of goods and people from the “Nature Isle”.

“We are not stopping anybody coming and we are very much aware of the protocols regarding the movement of persons and goods. We are not averse to any of our CARICOM brothers and sisters; we’re all one,” he stated.

It is not clear how long these measures will be maintained, but according to Boddu, “as the situation improves and as the community of border security agencies keep talking, we will know exactly when to stop it and to ease up”.

The measures follow days of protests over electoral reform which have included clashes between law enforcement and civilians in Dominica.

The protesters, and other Dominicans, are demanding that President Charles Savarin intervenes and facilitates some measure of reform to include some form of voter ID and the cleansing of the electors list, even if it means postponing the date of elections to the maximum extent provided for by the Dominica constitution (February ) following the dissolution of Parliament.

Many fear that the protests could escalate if those demands are not met.

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Suspended NYC president says he will not step down




Paul Baron 

In defiance of his suspension as the National Youth Council President, Paul Baron has said that he will not step down.

The NYCD said in a statement that on October 15th, 2019 Baron was warned that he should refrain from any action that constitutes him representing the NYCD as President until its next General Assembly which is due to be held in April next year.

However, according to the NYCD, Baron ignored their request and he was subsequently suspended as President because of his involvement in political activities which are deemed unacceptable in his position.

But in response, Baron said he is not intimidated by “individuals who rather seek to feast” on his demise than building people up.

He said his suspension came because he endorsed “a certain individual whom I deeply admire and look up to as a role model”.

Baron is referring to his endorsement of Dominica Labour Party Candidate for the Salybia constituency, Cozier Frederick.

He said his statements were misconstrued by the media and it created a frenzy where the Chief Youth Development Officer and a certain Freedom Party politician (Jeff Bellot) called for his resignation.

He explained, in his release, that even after asking for forgiveness from his executives and Dominica’s youth, there has been a persistent effort by individuals to incriminate him by stirring up the executive board, pushing for his suspension.

“They had no grounds on which to do so, as the constitution gives me the inalienable right to affiliation. I must remind the general public that I am the legitimate and legally elected president until such time that a general assembly is held, which is constitutionally due in April of 2020,” Baron said.

Baron said he is “grossly disappointed in the actions of those persons who should be leading Dominica’s youth, adding that their actions to destabilize the National Youth Council for their own political gains is shameful.”

Baron is accused of violating the NYCD constitution, based on Section 3, Article VIII (Code of Conduct) of the NYC constitution which addresses the issue of political expression and affiliation by Executive members.

This section acknowledges that an Executive member is free to have his/her independent political affiliation and to attend any political gathering.

However, it also clearly states, “No member of the National Executive shall demonstrate openly in public forum, media appearance, political platform, or at such public events, show his partnership to any political party as this may have the potential to undermine the integrity and independence of the NYC.”

The beleaguered Baron maintains that this particular by-law is only applicable to the Standing committees of the National Youth Council.

He said he is not on any Standing Committee, neither are there any functional standing committees; so, the basis on the suspension of the duly elected President is “unconstitutional, null and void.”

On Tuesday, 19th November 2019, Baron spoke against a protest in Roseau organized by United Workers Party supporters.

He explained that the protest affected young people and that was his sole reason for speaking about the matter on DBS Radio.

“Again, because of these statements, I am being perceived of doing something wrong,” he stated.

Baron said he has only used his position to drive development for the benefit of young people in Dominica.

“I continue to form strategic partnerships with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that Dominica’s youth have a voice,” he added

 Meantime former NYCD Executive member, Jeff Bellot, the man who first called publicly for the resignation of Baron is commending members of the NYCD Executive for their decision to the NYC president. He has also called on Baron to apologize to the NYCD executive, other NYCD members and the youth in general, “for violating the Council’s constitution.”

“And finally, Bellot said, “we can put this behind our back and the National Youth Council can go on [with] its business and try to do what is most important: what it was put there to do which is to take care of helping young people in this country,” Bellot remarked.

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Feast of Christ the King to be celebrated at Diocesan level after six years




The celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is set to be held on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at Windsor Park Sports Stadium under the theme, ‘Stewardship as a way of life’.

Christ The King is a very significant event for Catholic Christians as they acclaim Christ as king of their lives.

Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Center, Monsignor William John Lewis said at a news conference on Tuesday, the goal of the celebration is to deepen the sense of their own catholic identity and to promote greater solidarity between the parishes.

He said normally, Catholic churches would keep their celebrations in their own villages.

“The goal of the celebration is to bring the whole catholic community together as a sign of our unity and to deepen our sense of communion, to emphasize the importance of collaboration and to renew our commitment to our Lord, Jesus Christ and to his church,” the Catholic priest explained.

Monsignor John Lewis stated that there is going to be a praise motorcade coming from the various parts of the country with the idea of each community joining each other.

Persons will then assemble on the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard and from there, will process to the Windsor Park Sports Stadium with a drumming session.

During the morning mass celebration there will be welcoming remarks, a time of prayer and the celebration of the mass which will be the main event.

The afternoon session will feature an extravaganza themed ‘Baptize and Sent’ which will include an award ceremony recognizing two individuals from each parish who have given extensive service over the years.

It has been 6 years since the Catholic Church last held this celebration on a national level, and, according to Monsignor Jno Lewis, it is expected to be something grand.

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