Caribbean RoundUp

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Barbados

Sandals Barbados officially welcomed its first guest last week following a near six-month closure.

An excited UK couple who were visibly blown away by the reception they received from the management and team members, all of whom adhered to the physical distancing protocols.

The arrival continued in the evening as all guests were accommodated at Sandals Royal Barbados anxious to begin their stay. General Manager of Sandals Barbados and Royal Barbados Ramel Sobrino said that after much anticipation, he was extremely pleased to see guests returning.

He said that team members were also delighted with the re-opening, as many of them were thrilled to be back on the job and ready to welcome some familiar guests.

Sobrino said the team members have been trained in the Sandals Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness which is in keeping with the Government protocols.

The Sandals Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness was established in collaboration with the local and international health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Bahamas

The Royal Bahamas Force, the Royal Bahamas Marine Division and the US Coast Guard are continuing a search and rescue mission for several Haitians and Jamaican nationals reportedly missing at sea.

The police said they received an alert that a 27-foot vessel was taking water nine miles south of Chub Cay in the Berry Islands and on arrival they found the vessel partly submerged with several persons in the water clinging to it.

Twelve persons were subsequently rescued and there is an ongoing search to find the remaining persons.

The rescued migrants were transferred to HMBS Coral Harbor to be processed and checked by medical personnel in advance of handing them over to police and immigration officials for further investigation.

Guyana

President Dr. Irfaan Ali expressed disappointment that social media was being used in the South American country to promote racial tension and warned that his government “will not tolerate it.”

The race issue came to the forefront recently after two cousins of African descent were brutally murdered in the backlands of West Coast Berbice.

The body of 17-year-old Haresh Singh, a grandson of one of the suspects, was also found in the backlands next to his burnt motorcycle.

In his latest statement, Ali said, “it deeply grieves me, therefore, when I see almost every day on social media, the degree of race-baiting, racial hate and racial hostility, which pervades the social media platform.”

Ali said he had spoken to Attorney General Anil Nandlall and has directed him to ensure that the full force of the law is employed and is applied to those who pursue this criminal behavior.

Grenada

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has reported that suicide is on the increase on the Spice Island and this year has seen a new record in the number of people taking their own lives.

According to statistics from the RGPF, which investigates suicides, the increase in suicides and attempted suicides started in 2015.

In 2015, five suicide deaths were reported in Grenada, up from one of two in previous years and this year the numbers have peaked at 10 attempts and six out of that amount actually succeeded.

The parish of St. Patrick has recorded the highest number of suicides in 2020 with with three of the four deaths reported nationwide.

Minister of Social Development, Delma Thomas said there is need for public education around suicide prevention because of the added stress people are facing due to COVID-19.

She said her ministry recognizes that this was a time of high stress and anxiety for many persons who may be faced with financial problems, unemployment, breakdown in intimate relationships, domestic abuse, and grief are just a few of the challenges people battle with daily.

Suriname

Suriname has recorded new deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19), pushing the total to 95, while other regional countries were reporting additional positive cases of the virus that has killed hundreds of Caribbean nationals.

Suriname now has 571 active cases out of a total of 4,611 positive cases of the virus

So far 85 people were declared cured, making a total of 3,935…nine are in intensive care units.

Health authorities in the Dutch-speaking country said there are 489 positive cases in isolation and 40 non- positives in quarantine.

Two CARICOM nationals are the latest COVID-19 positive cases in Barbados.

Officials said a 20-year-old Jamaican woman tested positive on arrival at the airport aboard a Caribbean Airlines flight last week, while a 42-year-old Guyanese woman, who arrived on Sept. 7 aboard Trans Guyana, also tested positive after a second test.

The authorities said there are now 11 people in isolation and 165 have recovered. Barbados has recorded 185 cases, comprising 96 females 89 males.

Guyana has recorded 56 deaths from the virus, while Trinidad and Tobago is reporting 62 deaths as of last week. A total of 3,500 people have tested positive for the virus.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has passed legislation making it mandatory to wear face mask to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus or face a fine of TT$1,000.

The Public Health Ordinance was amended to make provisions for fixed penalty notices for offences under the Public Health Ordinance, which was passed in both Houses of Parliament recently.

Attorney General Faris al-Rawi explained that the ordinance allows for a formula of a fixed penalty regime to be applied by way of regulations.

He said the regulations, can be adjusted from time to time, as needed.

The AG said for failing to wear a mask will attract a penalty of $1,000 for the first offence and for the second offence $2,000, and by way of a third violation is $5,000.

He said government initially went the route of using moral suasion as it pertains to the mandatory wearing face masks covering the mouth and nose to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Trinidad and Tobago recorded 66 COVID-19 deaths as of Monday, Sept., 21, 2020, while a number of people tested positive were 3,900 since testing began earlier this year. The total number of active cases are 2,183 cases.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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