Category Archives: COVID-19



First responders on the Commonwealth of Dominica will soon benefit from a new supply of face masks donated by the US non-profit Rebuild Dominica. The 6000 masks, costing about $10,000 USD were gifted to Rebuild Dominica by the Caribbean Disaster Relief & Recovery Alliance of which Rebuild Dominica was a founding member. According to CDRRA Treasurer Loughton Sargeant of St. Kitts, “Rebuild Dominica was an early member of the CDRRA which was formed to assist our region in 2017 after Hurricane Irma struck St. Thomas and Tortola.

Now COVID-19 is on the rampage we have to heighten awareness of safety measures and so we are happy to aid our home islands to ensure our people remain safe.” The Chief Administrator for Rebuild Dominica Major Francis, former Commandant of the Dominica Cadet Corps stated in response to the donation, “This fine gesture towards the people of Dominica is most welcomed at this time. We are determined to keep the rate of infection on Dominica low and we promoted the use of sneeze shields early on. Now with this donation we can make sure our nurses, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians and police have protection against this pernicious virus. We thank Loughton Sargeant and the CDRRA for acting in the best spirit of Caribbean unity.”

According to Rebuild Dominica Medical Director Dr. Sam Christian “We believe in the science of masking and other elements of hygiene to fight this Covid 19 pandemic and are gratified that our Caribbean Diaspora is rallying to the cause of the public health emergency in the region.”

Rebuild Dominica wishes to thank the CDRRA, its members, supporters, allies and boosters for this generous gift to the people of Dominica.


by Gabriel J. Christian, Esq.


DEFEATING COVID 19: Dominica-born scientist, Dr. Swinburne Augustine leads groundbreaking research in COVID-19 and other environment-associated diseases at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


It is emblematic of our island’s inability to secure the fruits of its human resource harvest that I only knew of Dr. Swinburne Augustine this year– even though we attended high school around the same time in Dominica. I wish to thank the management and staff of Q95, and the “Global Voices on Q” program initiated and moderated by Sheridan Gregoire for presenting such an illustrious son of the soil on a March 2020 COVID-19 panel discussion aimed at educating our population about nascent COVID-19 global pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Swinburne Augustine was born in Delices, Dominica in 1962, the son of Victor Augustine and Paulina Eloi. His father, Victor, became a Certified Management Accountant with the Canadian Government in Toronto after graduating from the Saint Mary’s Academy (SMA) and University in Toronto. Paulina was a domestic worker and later a restaurant attendant in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Swinburne attended the Delices Primary School which was next to his home. His grandfather owned the only mill in the village to make farine from cassava and toloma from the arrowroot plant. Farine and toloma were food staples in our diet in those days.


READ MORE via Dominica News Online by clicking below!

A Warm Tribute to the Dominica Fire & Ambulance Service for Its Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The headquarters of the Dominica Fire & Ambulance Service hosted a brief but special ceremony at 0900 hours sharp on Wednesday April 22, 2020. It was in honour of the valiant first responders under the auspices of Fire Chief Josiah Dupuis. Deputy Chief Letang chaired the proceedings. Everyone was orderly, appropriately masked and maintaining social distancing.

A Salute to our First Responders: Dominica State College Professor Trudy Christian handing over plaque of appreciation to Dominica Fire & Ambulance Service Chief Josiah Dupuis. The plaque was in memory of Dominica Fire Brigade Station Officer Wendell Mckenzie Christian (1921-2011).

Organized by the Christian family of Dominica, the tribute was held in the memory of Station Officer Wendell Mckenzie Christian, LSM who served nobly from 1954-1981 in Dominica Fire Brigade; as it was called then. Dominica State College Professor, Trudy Christian, presented a commemorative plaque on behalf of the family. Her father, the late Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Wellsworth Morrison Christian, was the first son of Station Officer Christian.

Also in attendance, and providing introductory remarks, was leading fireman, Malcolm Christian, now seconded to the Office of Disaster Management. Retired Station Officer, Oscar Coipel, gave his personal account of the commitment & camaraderie engendered by “Papa Zafa.”

Dr. Samuel Christian offered a historical perspective: “Our father was a soldier in World War II, later a policeman at Fort Young which was then police headquarters, and ended his career in public service as a fireman at this very headquarters. He was dutiful to the Brigade till the end. He is fondly remembered by fire service veterans as one who did his duty, and shared freely of his time, knowledge sharing in fostering mentorship of younger officers.”

“Our Dad told us of the famous fires he fought such as the Hotel Paz blaze and the old Roseau Hospital fire,” continued Dr. Christian. “His most memorable story was when, as Station Officer on duty, he led fire service onto King George V Street on Carnival Monday 1963 to rescue revelers who had been burnt in the tragic carnival fire which killed Eric Shillingford, Eddie Martin and George James.”

That tragedy is vividly chronicled in the pages of ‘Death by Fire‘ by Mr. Gabriel Christian (co-authored by Justice Irving Andre in Canada) who was able to directly provide a well-received long-distance motivational message to the rank & file of the Service.

Dr. Christian touted emergency personnel as the “tip of spear” amongst frontline workers currently battling the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. He ended by expressing a commitment on behalf of his family and the nonprofit organization he serves, Rebuild Dominica Inc., to render future assistance to the fire service. In accepting the plaque, Chief Dupuis saluted the legacy of Station Officer Christian, welcoming the continued support by fellow Dominicans at home and abroad for the fire service, police and the full spectrum of healthcare workers.

In a display of gratitude for their efforts, a pizza treat prepared by Perky’s Pizza was provided to the Fire & Ambulance Service personnel.

(Photo & Video Credits: Mjr. Francis Richards)

COVID-19 and The Opportunity for Caribbean Food Security

The following article is shared from the original post on Forbes:

Five Ways That COVID-19 Has Changed What Food Insecurity Looks Like In The Caribbean

Daphne Ewing-Chow   Senior Contributor   Food & Drink

Caribbean countries are familiar with the risk that comes with a lack of food sovereignty. It has long been the case that between 80 and 90 per cent of all food consumed in the region (in the amount of about $6 billion according to the latest numbers) originates from foreign countries, creating greater uncertainty between the months of June to November when there is an elevated risk of hurricanes.

With COVID-19 the paradigm has shifted. The region is not looking at a national or regional crisis— it is faced with most far reaching global crisis in history, and unlike a natural disaster that has the potential to shut down the cargo ports of one or more Caribbean countries, the region is likely to face reduced and interrupted supplies from its primary source of food— the United States.

Here are five reasons why the lens through which we have typically looked at food insecurity in the Caribbean has changed.

The primary source of foreign exchange has temporarily dried up

Travel & Tourism is a key economic driver and foreign exchange earner in the Caribbean. In Jamaica alone, the sector accounts for 58 per cent of all foreign exchange earnings. Caribbean Economist and Advisor, Marla Dukharan predicts that in a COVID-19 worst-case scenario, the Caribbean region could lose up to 83 per cent of its tourism earnings on average— which would hurt reserves and significantly impact those countries with a high agricultural trade deficit.

According to Dr. William Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank, “the resilience of our foreign reserves will depend on whether countries have foreign exchange buffers, the duration of the travel impact, and the export concentration in relation to travel receipts.”

But even for the less tourism-dependent countries such as Trinidad, the COVID-19 driven reduction in global oil demand will have a significant effect.

For the average country, the uncertainty of the duration of the crisis coupled with the lack of foreign exchange buffers (given the global nature of the economic shock) will have a negative impact on countries’ means of importing food.

Says Marla Dukharan, “We know that our lack of food security means we have to import, so this means we have to earn sufficient foreign currency to purchase these goods from abroad… It means we have to be competitive internationally at whatever we do, in order to continue to earn sufficient foreign currency to import enough to satisfy our growing needs and wants… It means that in a time of crisis, we are at greater risk, if shipping lines, global supply chains, exporters abroad and importers domestically, are affected.”


The Caribbean is facing a potential socio-economic crisis

COVID-19 has created multiple socio-economic challenges simultaneously throughout the region. According to Marla Dukharan, these include “a health crisis, sudden-stop of economic activity, volatile financial markets, weak investor confidence, capital flight, exchange rate volatility, tighter financial conditions, price shocks, lower remittance inflows, and reduced availability of traded goods.” (COVID-19 Caribbean Economic Impact Report).                        

At an individual level, layoffs and the temporary closure of non-essential services means that the population will have less disposable income. The closure of schools will result in children losing access to nutritious school meals.

Fiscally, local economies will suffer from a reduction in tourism-related tax revenues, while coronavirus containment and social support mechanisms will create greater demands on governments.

Socio-economic impacts could be compounded by increases in food prices. Heightened demand for food, reduced production, altered supply chains, transportation issues, heightened restrictions and food safety issues as well as dramatic changes in share and oil prices are all factors that could lead to food inflation.


Output from the United States could be impacted

Caribbean food supply is heavily reliant on imports from the United States. According to data from the International Trade Centre (ITC) the 15 nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) source up to 94 per cent of their food imports from the US market (2018). 94 per cent of all CARICOM imports of cereals, 90 per cent of edible fruits and nut imports, 90 per cent of imports of edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers and 91 per cent of sugars and sugar confectionary imports originate from the United States (2018).

Output from the United States is likely to be impacted by the temporary closure of various food operations as well as the shortage of labour in all areas of the supply chain including production, inputs, transportation, processing and shipping. In harvesting, for example, it is predicted that there will be fewer seasonal field workers. Within the upcoming weeks and months, as key fruits and vegetables come into season, short ripening times and perishability will be compounded by reduced labour.


There could be a shut down in US exports

“As workforce constraints cause a contraction in internal production, panic buyers empty supermarket shelves and import partners conserve their own food supplies, some states could reduce or temporarily discontinue food exports so as to preserve their own food security,” explains Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Director of International Trade and Commodities at UNCTAD.

“The challenge for food security is that under the circumstances, traditional food exporting countries may revisit their export strategies and internal policies towards building reserves and distribution confidence in order to maintain the food and nutrition security of their populations. Trade logistics is also under pressure,” adds Trinidadian Agricultural Economist, Omardath Maharaj.

“Social media is already buzzing with videos of panic buying, food shortages and price gouging in different parts of the world and our early reactions locally. Quarantine, trade and economic slowdown put CARICOM members— more than 18 million people, in an awkward and exposed position in those dynamics.”


There are reduced markets for local agricultural outputs

Quarantines, border closures, food safety concerns and temporary business closures caused by shelter in place orders have affected traditional markets for agricultural output such as food shops, restaurants, vendors, hotels and airlines.

In Jamaica, for example, the Treasure Beach Hydroponic Farmers group in St. Elizabeth, which invested just under $75 thousand on its tomato harvest, of which 95 per cent was destined for local hotels, has been donating thousands of tons of its tomatoes, including specialty cocktail tomatoes, to government quarantine facilities due to the total closure of the hospitality sector.

This could drive heightened competition among farmers to secure alternative markets for produce and could lead to exploitation, reduction in profits and underinvestment in the agriculture sector.


An Opportunity in Disguise?

 Agricultural Economists have argued that COVID-19 food security impacts could be a proverbial “opportunity in disguise” that could be mitigated through increased intra-regional trade.

“We don’t know when international borders will open back up for the region, so we must look within,” says Zachary Harding, Group CEO of SSL Growth Equity Limited (SSL Group) and Board Director of Caribbean Airlines Ltd. “Now is the time for breakthrough regional leadership to tear down the barriers and expedite inter-island food trade in order to be achieve some semblance of food security for our people. Caribbean Airlines and LIAT must work together to create an efficient food cargo network. What some countries need, others have in excess, and vice versa.”

Domestic markets for food also have the opportunity to become more diversified with farmers and agriculturalists finding additional outlets for supply beyond the hospitality sector.

This crisis also provides an opportunity to cut down on the 33 per cent of food that typically goes to waste.

And finally, as the region becomes more economically stable, it has an opportunity to invest in agricultural technologies that can enhance climate and crisis resilience and yields while minimising reliance on limited arable land.

Currently, the United States decides what— and whether— most of the Caribbean eats. Perhaps COVID-19 could present the greatest opportunity in history for the Caribbean to become food independent. With COVID-19, the Caribbean’s over reliance on food imports from the United States is no longer just a crisis of food security; it is a crisis of national and regional security.



Daphne Ewing-Chow

I’m an environmental writer with a focus on food and agriculture, and commute between the Southern Caribbean (Barbados) and the Northern Caribbean (Cayman Islands).

Fasting & Disease Control: COVID-19 BULLETIN #3

Fasting and Disease Control

The COVID-19 Pandemic offers us all an opportunity to reflect on life and change old patterns which I’ll served our health. We have found this article helpful.
International Journal of Health Sciences
Qassim University
Role of Intermittent Fasting on Improving Health and Reducing Diseases
Salah Mesalhy Aly, Ph.D.
Additional article information:
Nutritional status is the major contributors to self-sufficiency, disease recovery and quality of life. Obesity may result from overfeeding, dietetic errors or other multiple genetic, metabolic and behavioral abnormalities, it induce both insulin resistance and pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and therefore consider as the cornerstone of type 2 diabetes. (1)
Intermittent fasting, in which individuals fast on consecutive or alternate days, has been reported to facilitate weight loss preventing the progression of type 2 diabetes (2) and consequently improve cardiovascular risk. (3)
Moreover, Extensive evidence suggests that imposing fasting periods upon experimental laboratory animals increases longevity, improves health and reduces disease, including such diverse morbidities with cancer (4) neurological disorders (5) and disorders of circadian rhythm. (6)
Fasting has been used in religion for centuries. The Daniel fast is a biblical partial fast that is typically undertaken for 3 weeks, and during Ramadan (9th month of Muslim calendar), all Muslims across the world fast during daylight hours of this month where this consider as one of the five main pillars of Islam.
Such periods of fasting can limit inflammation, (7) attenuates pro-inflammatory cytokines and immune cells, (8) improve circulating glucose (9) and lipid levels (10) and reduce blood pressure. (11) In addition to that, studies undertaken in animals and humans have suggested that fuel selection is altered and efficiency of metabolism is improved while oxidative stress is reduced.
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