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Senior education official wants more attention to be given to young teachers



Simeon Joseph is the Senior Programme Officer in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development

Senior Programme Officer in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Simeon Joseph believes that more focus should be placed on teachers, particularly young teachers.

Joseph made the remarks while delivering the feature address at a World Teachers Day activity which was organized by the Dominica Teachers Association (DAT) recently).

 “Too often our focus is on the student and student learning, and students’ outcomes and school achievements, and standards without concurrently giving some due attention to our teachers, particularly our young teachers,” Joseph told the gathering.

He added, “This generation of teachers bring much to the table if we sometimes stop and ask what do you need to teach…?”

Joseph is suggesting that the time has come for a wakeup call for those who tend to simplify the problems facing the teaching profession, “particularly our young teachers.”

He said through interaction and observation of these young teachers, he has found that their needs are vastly different.

“More teachers seek more frequent feedback on their teaching than their more veteran colleagues, but they also want more assistance from their peers, their Principal, and their administrators,” the senior educator stated. “Young teachers want more time and opportunities to improve their practice through meaningful collaboration.”

He said young teachers believe that their effectiveness cannot be measured through test scores alone and noted that they are enthusiastic about new networking technologies that can improve teaching and learning.

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Portsmouth youth set example in selflessness




from left: Anielia Viville and Meekella Joseph

Anielia Viville and Meekella Joseph of Portsmouth took it upon themselves to clean the entire Benjamin Park on their own as their contribution for Community Day of service this year.

Anielia is a first former of the Seventh Day Adventist School (A.W.S.D.A) and said she was inspired to do the clean up after being encouraged by one of her teachers to do a good deed for her community.

She said her friend Meekella, also a first former who attends St. Johns Academy, later decided to take up the task with her to clean the park.

“This was the first time I participated in a cleanup. Giving back to my community felt fulfilling and I look forward to another activity like this one,” she said.

“Cleaning the park with just my friend was not too exhausting but at the end I must admit we were tired. The heat and manual labor wasn’t an easy task. However, at the end of the day we were elated to see such a great difference we made in four hours.”

Although they believe they accomplished their goal they expressed some disappointment in the persons who passed by and did not offer to help, as they had hoped they would, but still felt the project was a success overall.

Anielia and Meekella advised Dominicans especially the youth to keep their country clean and green to avoid excessive use of technology and should look towards cleaning Dominica and giving back to their communities.

They have also decided to clean Benjamin park yearly and they wish to encourage others to help with this big task.

The owner of the YAZZ Variety, Ms Jenny Polydore, rewarded them both with beverages and commended them for a job well done.


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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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