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Education Officials in the OECS take action to address COVID-19

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OECS Media Release

Decision makers and key players in the area of education in the Eastern Caribbean held the first session of a series of virtual meetings on March 17, 2020 to discuss a Regional Education Sector’s Response Plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OECS Ministers of Education, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Education Officers and Directors, along with the Registrar of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the Managing Director of the online learning platform Notesmaster attended the virtual meeting held last week.

In the main, the participants agreed to take measures as follows:

  • transitioning schools to online learning and ensuring the access of teachers and students to the necessary equipment, infrastructure and technologies;
  • exploring Public Private Partnerships to ensure the strengthening of necessary systems for virtual learning;
  • envisioning the best options to facilitate pending regional and national student assessments and exams;
  • exploring the possible repatriation of students stationed at dorms across the campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) which closed after the COVID-19 outbreak; and
  • seeking alternative arrangements through the locations of UWI Open Campuses in the OECS Member States to facilitate tertiary level exams;

The Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules outlined the coordinated efforts of the Member States to ensure the continuity of student learning and to reduce the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector in the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Jules also highlighted the collaboration with Notemaster:

“We are pleased that Notesmaster offers their free online learning platform along with training for principals and teachers on how to use this tool. While this is being explored, it is important that the region pays close attention to the digital divide to ensure that all students are able to benefit from these interventions.” Dr. Jules commented. 

The education officials agreed to subsequent virtual meetings with regards to a continued regional response and to update the general public on the strategies which will be put in place as the situation evolves. These efforts to support educators, students and their families are most welcome.

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Art & Entertainment

Dominica’s 2020 World Creole Music Festival, Cancelled

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Dominica’s 2020 World Creole Music Festival, Cancelled 


Roseau, Dominica – (September 9, 2020) The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, through the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) has been monitoring the situation across the globe in relation to the spread of COVID-19.  

A decision has been taken to cancel Dominica’s top signature event, the World Creole Music Festival. The event, which was carded for October 23, 24 and 25, 2020, would have been the 22nd edition. In 2019, the World Creole Music Festival recorded over 20,000 attendees and has served as a robust economic stimulant for the island. 

The Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, the Honourable Denise Charles, during an interview on August 28, 2020 officially announced the cancellation of the event stating “We would have loved to have the World Creole Music Festival, but as you know these are challenging times and the health and safety of our citizens is priority and, as a result, the government has taken the responsible decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival for 2020.” Miss Charles also reminded patrons of the importance of the established protocols for COVID-19, “We have to adhere to the protocols, as a government, we cannot encourage mass gathering activities until things are under control,” the Honorable Minister asserted. 

The decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival was extremely comprehensive. The Dominica Festivals Committee engaged in thorough consultation with members of the Dominica Festivals Committee and approximately forty diverse stakeholders, all of whom have played a critical role in the implementation and success of the festival over the years. Given the current world pandemic, an assessment was done of the status of the current source markets to include Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and by extension Europe (France, England) and North America. The analysis encompassed the number of COVID-19 active cases, boarder restrictions and overall ability of individuals to travel. It was concluded that there is much uncertainty as it relates to airline frequency and capacity, and that new protocols for travel and mass gatherings may hinder the experience for patrons significantly.  Consideration was acutely given to the fact that travelers may have less disposable income and that generally, businesses who usually invest in the event may not have funds available for sponsorship due to their own challenges related to the pandemic.

The World Creole Music Festival has increasingly met its annual objectives as a signature event in Dominica by creating awareness for the destination and, along with other signature events held annually, contributing to approximately 10% of annual stay-over arrivals in Dominica. The event records performances of over fifteen acts across the three nights and in many cases showcases up to ten different genres of music. Therefore, this decision was not easy or straightforward. Stakeholders were presented with up to four options regarding the augmentation of WCMF 2020, and the pros and cons of each option were carefully weighed. The ability of the event to fulfil its overall objectives, especially where economic activity is concerned, was given measurable consideration, hence leading to the decision to cancel.  

We wish to take the opportunity to thank all patrons of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival locally, regionally, and internationally for their continued support and understanding. Look out for the next edition of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival, scheduled for October 29, 30 and 31, 2021.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

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About Dominica: Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a, and not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a haven for adventure travelers seeking a unique vacation that includes: hiking and adventure, cultural events/festivals, diving and water sports, whale/dolphin watching and canyoning adventures. Dominica lies south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean. Air travelers can connect to Dominica on Air Antilles, Air Sunshine, Caribbean Helicopters, Coastal Air Transport, Hummingbird Air, LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, or WINAIR from the surrounding hubs of Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and U.S. Virgin Islands.  If travelling by sea, travelers can connect to Dominica on L’Express Des Iles ferry service from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Lucia.

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COVID-19

Safety First? Bahamas bans US Tourists

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Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee says the government’s priority remains the health of the Saint Lucian public.
This comes on the heels of news that the Bahamas has banned entry to American Tourists as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States.
Will Saint Lucia take similar steps?
Let’s find out.

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Local News

Fly By Night ! NWU Speaks on behalf of disgruntled LIAT staff

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The national workers union representative for LIAT workers here in Saint Lucia, met with staff Monday to discuss their future given the bleak outlook painted by LIAT shareholder governments since the inception of the COVID 19 pandemic led to the loss of key traveller revenue. The blow, has left the already cash strapped airline crippled and workers anxious over what the future may hold for the company.

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