Several students and a teacher were on Thursday rushed to hospital following an explosion at the Mona High School in St Andrew, Jamaica. Police sources in the area confirmed that there were reports of an explosion which is believedto have resulted from an experiment that went wrong. Details surrounding the incident remain unclear, however the police are conducting investigations into the matter.

The Pitons in St. Lucia

The 2017 tourism performance saw Saint Lucia breaking all records with total visitor arrivals climbing to an all-time high of 1,105,541, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) on Wednesday. The island also recorded the highest growth in 2017 among the CTOmember countries, registering an 11% increase. 2017 was characterized by sustained growth in the industry, with stayover arrivals at 386,127 and the cruise sector recording a 14% increase, reaching 669,217, an additional 81,264 visitors despite the 8-month closure of the Pointe Seraphine Berth 1. Commenting on the figures, Minister of Tourism Information and Broadcasting Dominic Fedee, said: “The tourism industry continues to be an incredibly important and vital part of the Saint Lucian economy. We are happy with the levels of growth witnessed and as we continue our marketing efforts, we as well look to maximizing the impact of tourism on our economy”. The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority worked assiduously with the CTO and trade partners to overcome the indirect challenges faced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, ensuring all markets that the destination was safe and available for travel. At the close of 2017, The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) in Travel Trends Report for 2018, the most important document issued in the UK travel industry selected Saint Lucia as one of the top 12 destinations for 2018.

The Cayman Islands Government on Tuesday announced the appointment of Sharon Roulstone as Interim Director of the National Human Resources Department. Roulstone who is set to start her new role on March 12 2018, was seconded from the Office of the Ombudsman to fill theposition. The new National Human Resources Department is charged with delivering durable employment and opportunities for the advancement of Caymanians through development, training, internship, apprenticeships and partnerships with private sector businesses. Additionally, the department will have responsibility for the processing of work permits, permanent residency and Caymanian Status applications. “The Government is grateful to Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, for her willingness to agree to this secondment,”said Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service, Franz Manderson. “We recognise this will be a great loss to her office, particularly so early in its development, but Ms. Roulstone is uniquely qualified for this important undertaking and we look forward to her leadership in this pivotal role,” added Manderson. Roulstone earned her law degree with honours from the University of Liverpool in England in 1994, and became an attorney at law in 1996. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Law degree with the Truman Bodden Law School. Roulstone has served in the Cayman Islands in numerous public service board appointments such as the Chairperson of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands, the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company Ltd (CINICO), the Work Permit Board with Cayman Islands Department of Immigration and on the Public Service Commission. In addition following service as Deputy Chairperson of the Civil Service Appeals Commission from January 2007, to February 2011, she was appointed to chair the commission until the end of her term on December 31 2012. Roulstone’s public service also extends to the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) where she has previously volunteered her skills and insight to assist in the delivery of services to a wide range of customers. “When I was approached about this opportunity, I immediately knew it was the right thing to support Ms. Roulstone’s secondment,” Ombudsman Hermiston explained. “A large proportion of the complaints we receive in this office relate to immigration and work permit issues. It is in everyone’s best interests to have someone with Ms. Roulstone’s reputation and background leading reform in this area. Sharon has fit in very well with our office and we look forward to her return at the end of this secondment,” she added. Chief Officer for the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration, Wesley Howell, says Roulstone’s passion for public service, along with her public and private sector experience are key ingredients that make her the type of change leader necessary to make the new department successful. “Ms. Roulstone’s diverse experience as an attorney at law, entrepreneur and former chairman of the work permit board makes her highly credible and capable of dealing with the full spectrum of stakeholders that the new agency will have, including Caymanian employees, the wider community, Government agencies and private sector entities,” Howell said.

KFC-lovers in parts of the UK were dismayed after the company experienced a temporary shortage of chicken due to delivery issues. The BBC said in a report Monday that hundreds of outlets were closed as a result of a supply disruption. There are approximately 900 UK restaurants, 80 percent of which are run by franchisees. KFC chicken was delivered via a South-African owned company called Bidvest, however, due to a change in contractwhich came into effect last Tuesday, some of the restaurants began running out of chicken. The company tweeted to followers that the issue should be resolved soon. "Hi Kevin, We deliver our chicken fresh to our restaurants and unfortunately have had some hiccups with delivery today. We are reluctant to open any restaurants without the full menu available. We're very sorry but the Colonel is working on getting this fixed," the company said via Twitter. "The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants," KFC said on Twitter. "We've brought a new delivery partner onboard, but they've had a couple of teething problems - getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex!" it added, apologising to customers for the inconvenience." "We won't compromise on quality, so no deliveries has meant some of our restaurants are closed, and others are operating a limited menu or shortened hours." The statement listed KFC restaurants that were still open despite the problems. The distribution network uses software developed by the firm Quick Service Logistics (QSL). DHL said: "Due to operational issues, a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed. We are working with our partners, KFC and QSL, to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience."

The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands and the YMCA (Y) of the Cayman Islands have renewed a contract allowing the Y to continue managing and operating the Extended After-School Programme (EASP). The Y began operating the programme in September 2015. Since then, it has provided parents with a safe after-school environment for their children during the critical after-school hours, many of whom rely on this essential resource. The EASP goes well beyond basic childcare, as the objectives of the programme are to improve participants' social, emotional and academic competencies and provide activities with a focus on character development and instilling core values. “The Y is a great example of the community coming together to support, shape, and guide our youth by providing them with the tools necessary to reach their best selves,” said Minister of Education, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly. “We are looking forward to working closely with the Y over the next 2 years to continue to enhance our after-school structure,” she added. "After-school programming was highlighted as a key need when the Y came to the Cayman Islands five years ago and truly reflects the mission of the Y," stated YMCA Operations Director, Gillian Roffey. "The primary purpose of the YMCA is Youth Development and through the EASP, we aim to maximise the potential of every child. We are so pleased to have been given the opportunity to continue to impact Cayman's youth through this programme, teaching them life skills and contributing towards the development of influential leaders for our future, “ Roffery added. Roffey said that there have been several areas of particular focus of the EASP that have contributed to the programme’s progression over the past two years. These include an enhanced programme curriculum, greater parental involvement, and improved relationships with school leaders, expanded community partnerships and initiatives. There has also been a persistent focus for staff and volunteers on quality assurance and safety. “The YMCA is committed to working diligently and making the necessary adjustments to build on the strengths of the EASP and ensure alignment with the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education - producing greater, measurable results,” Roffey said. “We are grateful to the Ministry of Education and for all of the corporate and private support that makes this programme possible, investing in our most critical asset – our youth,” Roffey added. The programme is currently offered at 9 Primary and High School sites, servicing 15 government schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, and provides constructive after-school activities for as many as 1600 students.

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), in partnership with Cayman Islands Meals on Wheels sold over 2,000 raffle tickets for the 30th annual Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival raffle, raising a total of $10,490. The total amount raised is split between the two organisations, with the funds going towards supporting the various activities of each. “We’re pleased the Taste of Cayman raffle was such a success this year,”Tiffany Dixon-Ebanks, Executive Director of CITA said. “Thanks to our chosen charity, Meals on Wheels and their amazing volunteers for not only helping to promote this year’s raffle and selling tickets, but for the tireless work they do each and every day, providing free, hot and nutritious meals to those in need all over Cayman," she added. “As we celebrated Taste of Cayman’s 30thyear, we felt it fitting to partner with a charity which is food focused and Meals on Wheels also do an incredible job of reducing loneliness and bringing the community together,” Ash McKnight, Member of Event Committee and CITA Board said. “We’re delighted that everyone came out to support them by purchasing raffle tickets,"McKnight added. Erin Bodden, General Manager of Meals on Wheels said the organisation was thrilled with the amount raised. “At Meals on Wheels, we are committed to enhancing the lives of those we visit, helping them maintain independence, as well as encouraging hope and wellbeing through our volunteer programme. With the funds raised from the Taste of Cayman raffle, we will be able to provide over 1,000 meals to those in need and spread awareness in our community," Bodden said. The raffle’s grand prize of a trip to the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) in Miami, including round trip flights on Cayman Airways and hotel accommodation, was won by Ms Gail Bell. As well as admission to SOBEWFF, she and her guest will be treated to various culinary experiences and cooking demonstrations including the Goya Food Grand Tasting Village, Bacardi presents Walshy Fire’s Rum and Bass Beach Party and the Beachside BBQ, hosted by Chef Michael Symon. “There were so many wonderful items up for grabs in this year’s raffle, from staycations and spa vouchers to gift certificates for some of Cayman’s best restaurants,” Ms. Dixon-Ebanks said. “We are very grateful to our CITA members who donated these amazing prizes and trust all winners will be excited with their gifts.” “Congratulations to Ms Bell for her win of this year’s Grand Prize, I hope her and her guest really enjoy their experience.” Taste of Cayman 2018 sponsors include Camana Bay, AI Rentals, Save the Date,Digicel, Flava, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Home Gas, Island Heritage, Cayman Airways, Britcay, Periwinkle and Hew’s Cleaning Services, among others.


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