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Suspend intended CAL lease of Boeing aircraft, T&T Opposition urges

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Suspend intended CAL lease of Boeing aircraft, T&T Opposition urges

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The main Opposition United National Congress (UNC) yesterday urged the Trinidad and Tobago Government to “take immediate action to suspend” the intended lease of 12 of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which has been involved in two fatal crashes over the past six months.

The latest incident occurred on Sunday when Ethiopian Airlines’ Flight 302 crashed soon after take-off, killing all 149 passengers and the eight-member crew. The digital flight data recorder from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya, has since been located.

In a statement, the UNC said it was calling on the Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, who has responsibility for the civil aviation authority, “to do as other countries have done and implement a ban on airlines utilising this particular aircraft as a precautionary measure.

“While the UNC understands investigations into the latest fatal crash are still being conducted, it must be noted that several airlines and aviation authorities worldwide have either grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet or have restricted the aircraft model from entering or exiting their airspace,” the party said.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in a statement that it was suspending operations of all Boeing 737 Max aircraft across Europe.

It said it would also ban all commercial flights by third-country operators in its airspace.

“EASA is continuously analysing the data as it becomes available. The accident investigation is currently ongoing, and it is too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the accident,” it said.

The State-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL), in an updated statement since the crash on Sunday, said the accident has raised speculative concern regarding the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft.

“The airline industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, and there are rigorous processes and regulatory procedures to follow before any aircraft is brought into service. Caribbean Airlines will incorporate the procedural and training elements necessary to comply with all regulations and instructions before any new aircraft is introduced to its fleet.”

CAL said that it currently “does not have the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft as part of its fleet” and that it uses the Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft.

“Caribbean Airlines stands by its commitment to put the safety of its passengers, crew and operations,” it said in the statement.

Boeing, in a statement yesterday, said that while safety is its number one priority, it has “full confidence in the safety of the MAX.

“We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with all of them to ensure they have the information they need to have confidence in operating their fleets or returning them to service.

“It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time and, based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” the aircraft manufacturer added.

The UNC said that while CAL “has assured that safety checks would be made prior to putting all aircraft into service, the Government should hold on spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Boeing 737 Max 8 until investigations are completed”.

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He is only 23 and has stage four colon cancer

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He is only 23 and has stage four colon cancer

Young man seeks help to pay for treatment

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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Nine years ago, Matthew Gordon suffered the pain of losing his father to colon cancer. Now, the 23-year-old’s life is being threatened by the same disease.

On October 12 he got the dreadful diagnosis the cancer eating away his body is at stage four.

Gordon, who is now in Black River Hospital, is to learn from his doctor this Friday the cost to start chemotherapy, but he has a major problem he cannot find the money to start the treatment. As such, he is seeking financial help in his effort to combat the vicious disease.

The Jamaica Observer saw confirmation of Gordon’s diagnosis from Villa Medical Centre in Mandeville where he underwent a test on October 12.

The diagnosis has revived memories of the pain he endured after his father died in 2010.

“I went to Maggotty High School [but I] didn’t graduate [as] I dropped out. I wasn’t a bad child but I was troubled due to my father’s death, and because of the trauma I resorted to anger, instead of speaking to someone,” Gordon, who is from St Elizabeth, told the Observer last week.

“The area I lived in was also not okay at the time and when the police came in and introduced the Police Youth Club I was recommended for the Charge Up Programme done by the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, and from that I became a youth club aide. I went on a one-week training programme, changed my life, started working in youth clubs, rebuilding them, and so forth,” he said.

When the reality of his diagnosis sunk in, he said he told God that he was placing everything in His hands.

“I was calm. I wasn’t fretting when I found out,” Gordon said.

He recalled that he had been feeling ill for quite some time but because of financial difficulties he had to delay doing a medical test that later revealed his condition.

“I felt sick from the 13th of July. I was back and forth at the hospital doing blood tests, ultrasounds, faeces tests, which all came back negative. I decided to go do a colonoscopy on the 4th of October but I didn’t have the money so I had to push it back to the following week,” he said.

That test was paid for by a friend and mentor, who opted not to be named.

Even though the diagnosis came as a shock to Gordon’s family and friends, he is still hoping for the best.

“I feel great today, knowing that I have accepted Jesus Christ. I have a little doubt, though, because of the cancer. I can’t eat at all. I can only drink and I have to take my time due to my condition right now,” he said.

“It has started to spread to my liver and some walls in my rectum. I need some prayers, support and donations,” he said.

“This thing is not a blow over and I am young. I’m trying my best to not fret or cry. My family doesn’t really have it, so it’s quite a challenge for me but I am trying to be strong,” he said.

The news has proved devastating for his mother Denise Gordon.

“I don’t have words to explain how I feel,” she told the Observer last week.

The mother, who has been unemployed for about six years, said that she used to operate a cook shop, but things had taken a bad turn and she has not been able to revive the business.

Gordon’s mentor described the young cancer patient as someone with a passion for volunteerism and is hoping that he will get the financial assistance needed.

Yesterday, St Elizabeth South Western Member of Parliament Floyd Green told the Observer that he visited Gordon in hospital last Friday.

“His mother was there, and apparently there is a history of cancer in the family. He was in good spirits and trying to stay positive,” Green said, adding that Gordon was active in youth clubs in St Elizabeth.

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Cruise line bans passenger for taking selfie on railing

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FLORIDA, USA (CMC) — Royal Caribbean Cruises says it has banned a passenger for life after she was seen taking a selfie on the railing of Allure of the Seas as it approached Labadee, Haiti, last week.

“Earlier last week, on the Allure of the Seas, a guest was observed recklessly and dangerously posing for a photo by standing on her stateroom balcony railing with the help of her companion,” said Royal Caribbean in a statement last Friday.

“Security was notified, and the guests later debarked in Falmouth, Jamaica as a result of their actions, and are now banned for life from sailing with Royal Caribbean.”

On its website, Royal Caribbean said, “Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility.

“All guests must attend the mandatory muster drill and follow all other safety instructions issued by the captain,” it said. “Should anyone become aware of someone being injured, or of unsafe or possibly illegal behaviour during their cruise vacation, they should immediately report this to the ship’s security staff or other ship management.

“This may be done through the ship’s telephone or by seeking the assistance of a crew member. If you do not immediately report an injury or unsafe/illegal behaviour this delay may cause ship’s personnel to be unable to effectively respond to the situation,” the website added.

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Region pushes culture as sector for development

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NIAMEY, Niger (CMC) — As the 79-member African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries negotiate a post-2020 relationship with the European Union (EU), culture is being presented as an untapped sector that can contribute to the further development of the region.

“When you look at the Caribbean, in particular, Caribbean music has had a lot of influence on African music, Caribbean intellectuals are well-known throughout Africa and even outside of Africa,” said Leonard-Emile Ognimba, the ACP’s assistant secretary general.

Two years ago, ACP culture ministers through the “Brussels Declaration”, recognised the central role of culture as a driver of economic growth and sustainable human development.

The issue was further discussed at the fifth meeting of ACP ministers of culture here and falls within the special context of the negotiations for a new Cotonou Agreement, the accord that links the ACP and the EU countries. The existing agreement expires in 2020.

The four-day meeting, which ended yesterday, took place under the theme ‘Strengthening and Diversifying Partnerships for ACP Cultures’.

Ognimba told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the ACP has highlighted the role of culture in endogenous and sustainable development and is insisting that a strong cultural dimension be included in the cooperation strategies and policies.

He said culture is a cross-cutting issue which encompasses new areas, including development issues.

“It is a matter of particular interest to the ACP group of states, which have a vision that is, poverty reduction and therefore this includes development.”

The senior ACP official said he is speaking about the issue from a development standpoint, noting that in Brussels, ACP ministers of culture, apart from the artistic aspects of culture, have made particular stress on development.

“This, because culture is seen as an essential force for economic growth in our countries. It is an essential factor in job creation, particularly for young people and women.

“In a nutshell, culture is an essential and major area of the partnership of yourself and the European Union. And it is on that basis, in fact, that together with the EU we have come up with a new ACP-EU programme on culture,” Ognimba told CMC.

But as the ACP focuses on the economic value to be garnered from cultural expressions, the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) is of the opinion that the Caribbean has a comparative advantage in culture and creativity.

The programme manager for culture and community development at the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, Hilary Brown, said the Caribbean “has produced so much and has made its mark on the global arena in a way that is way above our size.

“So we believe that culture and creativity is a very important area for us to advance,” said Brown, who was attending the meeting in this West African capital.

She said Cariocm also focused on culture as a means of economic advancement and is using its annual festival, the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), as a platform to do that.

At the national level, governments have been adopting policies in an attempt to maximise the economic potential of cultural expression.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries in St Lucia, Donalyn Vittet said that while her island’s tourism sector has been “growing by leaps and bound”, the question remains regarding positioning culture and the creative industries “to be able to actualise the policy decisions and objection of tourism as an economic driver”.

The senior public servant told CMC that she saw the conference as an opportunity for her to be able to take home the guiding principles used under the ACP for the development of culture and creative industries and see how they can be used to enhance St Lucia’s policy decisions.

The meeting comes at a time when the European Union has allocated Euro 40 million for the development of cultural industries in the ACP countries.

Brown told CMC that Caricom is particularly interested in taking a regional approach regarding the funding, adding “We feel that there needs to be more equity in the way that resources are distributed and accessed by the three [ACP] regions and so we are really very keen on advancing available modality for providing resources regionally to the three ACP regions”.

Vittet echoed similar views, saying it is important for Caribbean countries to have a voice in talks like the one that took place here.

“The Caribbean should have a stronger focus in terms of the equitable distribution of those funds. And so while we have been bypassed as being the smaller contingent within the ACP countries, our voice has not been diminished. And so this forum provides an opportunity for the Caribbean to speak and then for the Caribbean to act,” she told CMC.

Vittet said, too, that St Lucia was also focusing on updating its culture policy, which dates back to 2005 and that Castries was approaching the review “in a way that we can encapsulate some of the new technologies, new ideas and the development of our sector”.

The hope is not just to get artisans on the national stage but to place them on the map, she said, adding that success in this regard would put St Lucia on the map and help the destination with its branding and marketing, but pointed out that the idea is “not to water down our culture to meet tourism”.

Another Caribbean technocrat at the meeting was Jamaica’s director, cultural policy and monitoring, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Marisa Benain, who said, while she does not see culture as a “magic bullet” for the Caribbean, “it is as close to that in terms of development.

“I think it should really be placed at the centre or at the core of strategic development and economic development for the region.

“If you look at our resources, the culture of the Caribbean people is magical and it is globally accepted and loved, and I think we have to use the culture as a centre piece for the advancement of the economy and the overall development,” she told CMC.

“I am pleased to see more counties are developing and crafting national culture policy. So it seems that we are heading in the right direction. I hope that the momentum is sustained and that it doesn’t change what we already know is possible,” she added.

At the same time, executive director for the Jamaica-based non-governmental organisation, Kingston Creative, Andrea Dempster Chung said the conference provided an excellent opportunity for exchange and south-south collaboration.

She told CMC that she was exploring opportunities for artistic exchange between the Caribbean and the other ACP blocs and has had some conversations in that regard.

She was especially encouraged by her discussions with some visual artists from the Pacific, noting the common issue of the impact of climate change on Pacific and Caribbean countries — small island developing states.

Chung added that she sees the arts as a real lever for national development.

“I think it is a very, very untapped resource. A small island like Jamaica has a disproportionately large culture; we are a cultural superpower without even trying. Everybody knows about reggae music, but how are we using that to advance our people?

“I don’t think we are really using it as best as we could. So, definitely, the cultural industries and the creative industries is a lever that can bring our countries’ national development forward if we focus on it and use it in that way,” Chung told CMC.

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