Experience Cayman, the Cayman Islands’ first virtual festival, has released its final line-up, with just under 100 virtual experiences highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs now live on th...

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced pilot projects with the private sector in Caribbean countries, Indonesia, and Vietnam to advance innovative solutions to reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters. "These projects are aimed at helping the humanitarian community understand how the private sector can make investments to mitigate the risk of disasters, increase businesses’ participation in community disaster-preparedness plans and policies, help reduce the social and economic impact of disasters, and support communities’ efforts to recover and rebuild after disaster strikes," USAID said in a release Wednesday. The USAID-funded pilot programmes are designed to help governments and civil society develop stronger relationships with private-sector actors and develop mutually beneficial projects that strengthen the resilience of entire communities. The pilot programme for the Caribbean will see non-profit organisation The Global Knowledge Initiative, with support from Boston-based consulting firm 1Row, working to increase private-sector engagement and investmentto reduce the risk of disasters and improve the response to them. "This pilot will help channel private-sector contributions to disaster-preparedness by helping companies recognise that disaster-resilient communities help their bottom lines." The Global Knowlege Initiative is a Washington-based non-profit organisation focused on maximising what’s available to solve pressing global development problems like food insecurity, environmental degradation, and disease control and prevention. In Indonesia, Miyamoto International will work to strengthen the private-sector’s preparedness for earthquakes and other natural disasters and integrate the business community into national and local planning to mitigate their social and economic impact. In Vietnam, the Asia Foundation, in partnership with ISET International, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Vietnam Institue for Development Strategy, will bring together key private-sector, local government, and civil society actors to design collaboratively and launch multi-stakeholder pilot projects to strengthen flood-mitigation efforts and improve the management of water networks in the coastal city of Quy Nhơn, in Bình Định Province. USAID reported that it responds to an average of 75 disasters in more than 70 countries every year. "Through collaboration with the private sector, USAID can harness innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship to improve the efficiency of humanitarian assistance."

Grantley Adams International Airport (FILE)

Barbados' Travel Health Notice level has dropped by two levels. As it relates to travel and COVID-19, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) nowranksBarbados as Level 2. The island was downgraded from a Level 4 warning at the end of last month and some islands which have remained at Level 4 have questioned the new rating. According to the CDC, lowering a Travel Health Notice (THN) level only occurs if the country can satisfy certain criteria. A destination is eligible to move to a lower level when it meets the primary criteria for a lower level for 28 consecutive days (2 incubation periods). The incubation period is the time it can take for a person to develop infection after being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. When a destination meets primary criteria for 28 consecutive days, then secondary criteria are reviewed. Secondary criteria are met when hospitalization rates are stable or decreasing and cumulative testing positivity rates are in line with primary criteria data. A destination’s THN level is lowered if both primary criteria and secondary criteria are met. If secondary criteria are unavailable or are inconsistent, the destination remains at its current THN level and is reevaluated. A moderate rating means for adestination like Barbadoswith a population of more than 200,000 that its Incidence Rate(cases per 100,000 people over past 28 days) is between 5–50 and itsCase Count(over past 28 days) is between 10–50. As it pertains to secondary criteria, the CDC site says that the Centre "useshospitalization ratesandcumulative testing positivity rateas secondary criteria to validate the primary criteria. Both primary and secondary criteria are measured over 28 days. Secondary criteria data are obtained from official sources, such as ministry of health websites. CDC reviews secondary criteria for all destinations, regardless of population size."

Digicel international, a platform that makes the distance between the Diaspora communities worldwide and their loved ones back home a bit shorter, is taking a step further and enabling international money transfers all over the world. Now, anytime customers visit digicelinternational.com or the Digicel International app, they’ll be able to Send Money to different locations, Top Up a loved one’s phone, send them a Digital Card, pay Bills, and much more. “We already connect millions in the Diaspora with friends and family in over 30 countries with our Top Up service, and we know they also send remittance. We saw an opportunity to put both services on the same website and app. Digicel International is about digital money, financial inclusion, and the connection between those overseas and those at home,”said David Curneen, Group CEO for Digicel Financial Services. Digicel International’s launch is a crucial component in the Digicel Financial Services mission of building a financially inclusive cashless economy. The platform facilities different day-to-day transactions, empowering customers to use digital money as a currency regardless of being on the sending or receiving side. Digicel Financial Services also built a family of mobile wallets across the Caribbean and the South Pacific. From doing p2p transaction to receiving international remittance, these mobile wallets provide a way to make fast, reliable, safe, and convenient daily financial transactions at any time, anywhere. Digicel Financial Services mobile wallets permit their users to store funds and have them available at all times. Send Money, Top Up, Digital Cards, and Bill Pay can be accessed via the website digicelinternational.com or by downloading the app in the App Store orGoogle Play Store.

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European Union lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favour of a “right to disconnect” from the internet and email, with around one-third of people now working from home across the 27-nation bloc due in large part to coronavirus restrictions. In a resolution, the parliamentarians argue that disconnecting from work should be a fundamental right and they want the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to draw up rules allowing people to take time out from the pressures of working at home. “The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and we must update our rules to catch up with the new reality,” said Maltese Socialist lawmaker Alex Agius Saliba, who led work on the resolution. “After months of teleworking, many workers are now suffering from negative side effects such as isolation, fatigue, depression, burnout, muscular or eye illnesses,” he said. “The pressure to always be reachable, always available, is mounting,” he said, resulting in unpaid overtime and burnout. The resolution, which is non-binding, was passed by 31 votes to 6 against, with 18 abstentions in the European Parliament’s Employment Committee. It must still have to be rubber-stamped by the full house, then submitted to the commission and national EU governments for possible endorsement. In it, the lawmakers argue that the culture of being “always on” and the growing expectation that workers should be reachable at any time can hurt work-life balance, physical and mental health, and well-being. They say home workers should be able to disconnect without facing repercussions from their employer.

The ongoing inquiry by the Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) into the recent departure of a group of Cuban migrants from the jurisdiction, has confirmed that the electronic monitoring technology and the operating procedures utilised by the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) are working effectively, as designed. The inquiry was sparked by the disappearance of fourteen Cubans from the Cayman Islands on November 23. The group, that had been seeking asylum in the Cayman Islands, was later located in Mexico. According to the DPSC, connection was lost from the electronic monitoring devices that monitored the 14 migrants who had been living in rental properties. The DPSC had previously extended the Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Programme to the CBC, enabling them to use the wearable tracking technology to monitor the Cuban nationals. The Programme is utilised successfully by a number of stakeholder agencies within the criminal justice system to monitor offenders in the community, including the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Judicial Administration and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service. Per established protocols, the Electronic Monitoring Centre at the DPSC contacted CBC as the supervising agency, to report alerts that were detected which indicated that a number of persons under CBC’s supervision that were being monitored, appeared to have been engaging in movements outside of the terms and conditions of their release from detention. CBC, with the assistance of the Cayman Islands Coast Guard, responded to the alerts but it is clear from the investigation that the Cuban migrants had already left the Cayman Islands territorial waters. According to reports from Quinatana Roo, Mexico, the Mexican Navy rescued the group and took them to the military dock to later be transferred to the Naval Base, where they were received by medical personnel, provided with medical attention and referred to the National Institute of Migration. The group then requested political asylum. In a press release put out by CBC, it was stressed that not only were the electronic monitoring devices working effectively when the Cuban migrants disappeared, but "It is important to note that migrants requesting asylum in a foreign country are not considered criminal offenders and their treatment and processing are governed by the UNHCR 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol on the Treatment of Refugees." The boat in which the undocumented Cubans were aboard, "Captain Joshua" was of blue wood and about 30 feet long, with an inboard engine and registration S-10806638.

Experience Cayman, the Cayman Islands’ first virtual festival, has released its final line-up, with just under 100 virtual experiences highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs now live on the festival website. The December line-up features a festive twist on many of the experiences, encouraging the Cayman Islands community to support local as they celebrate the holiday season. Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure with support from the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the Cayman Islands Small Business Association, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and Celebrate Cayman, the festival focuses on fostering love for all things local and bringing the spirit of the season to the community. “We are very pleased to have such a large cross-section of local industries showcased through Experience Cayman, including retail, food and beverage, music and culture, hospitality and wellness,” says Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Hon. Joey Hew. “With many businesses still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s so important to make a conscious effort to support local, especially during the holidays.” Virtual arenas within the festival include a Heritage Corner hosted by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Cayman Kitchen hosted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Shopping Village hosted by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, The Campsite, Sand Garden hosted by the Cayman Islands Small Business Association, The Bandstand hosted by Celebrate Cayman, The Waterfront, Family Playground and Heritage Corner hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure. All participating vendors also feature in The Marketplace directory, making it even easier for residents to support them offline. For those wanting to learn more about local businesses, Experience Cayman LIVE will bring all the fun of the virtual festival to life in George Town. On Saturday, December 5 from 4:00pm to 11:00pm, around 30 business will take over Cardinall Avenue, to showcase and sell their goods while also ringing in the holiday season. “Experience Cayman LIVE is a great way to get to know the faces behind the many incredible, independent business we have on island,” adds Colin Lumsden, the Ministry’s George Town Manager and Revitalisation Initiative Coordinator. “By purchasing from these businesses, you are not only able to walk away with a unique, beautifully made gift but, you’re also supporting a member of your community and their family. And that really is the spirit of the season.” To explore the Experience Cayman virtual festival, visit www.gov.ky/experiencecayman or follow Experience Cayman on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ExperienceCayman) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/experience_cayman).