Government to pursue strategies to reduce Jamaica exposure to natural disasters

Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, has announced that the government is taking steps to ensure that the country is able to withstand the effects of natural disasters in the post-International Monetary Fund (IMF) era.

“Jamaica has done too much work and made too many sacrifices to leave us completely exposed (…) to the potential fiscal impact of natural disaster,” Clarke said.

Jamaica ended its borrowing relationship with the IMF in 2016 and entered into a precautionary Stand-by Arrangement with the multilateral that will end in 2019.

But, like the rest of the region, Jamaica is vulnerable to natural disasters and the country is often forced to find billions of dollars to recover from devastating hurricanes. This often places significant pressure on the national budget.

Read entire post Gov’t to pursue strategies to reduce Ja exposure to natural disasters | Loop

Barbados seeking to build disaster resilience

These points were raised on Monday by Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, as the island joined the rest of the world in observing World Tsunami Awareness Day 2018 under the theme: Reducing Economic Losses.

Speaking during a seminar at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve, Ms. Hinds said the aim of the Technical Standing Committee on Coastal Hazards was to see Holetown, St. James designated as the first tsunami ready community in Barbados.

She explained that efforts to achieve this goal were being done by utilizing the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) strategy which focused on four areas – institutional strengthening; research and knowledge management; mainstreaming disaster risk management in key economic sectors; and community resilience.

Read entire article Barbados Seeking To Build Disaster Resilience | ReliefWeb

What Sperm Whales can teach us about humanity

Sperm whales are only at the surface for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time, yet photographer Brian Skerry is able to capture beautiful moments of these giant undersea predators.

He experienced the rare opportunity to photograph a social gathering of six sperm whales near the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. He witnessed fascinating behavior such as whales playfully biting each other, rolling around, and babysitting. This assignment made Skerry realize that sperm whales are complex animals that have identity and personality, and exhibit traits similar to human beings.

World Food Day 2018 – What does food mean to you?

The Food and Agriculture Organization is working toward a zero hunger target and encouraging everyone to participate in their own way to helping achieve that goal.

World Food Day: 16 October 2018. World Food Day is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger. Held annually on 16th October, people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate worldwide hunger from our lifetime.

Barbados | Place for Relaxation Seekers

This article was published on PECB Insights Magazine.

Imagine dipping your feet into crystal clear waters, and mentally float away to the sounds of gentle waves and tropical breezes of Barbados – the most vibrant Caribbean island. As a place that offers a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and history, Barbados for many of its’ visitors becomes a once-in-a-lifetime memory that is cherished forever.

Every place in Barbados has a story, and every day in these places is an opportunity to discover something new. The beautiful beaches, the turquoise clear waters, the breathtaking views, the star-stunned nights, and the killer rum punch all contribute to making this place a great destination for those who seek to explore the unknown, and encounter culturally rich experiences. Bajan food is a must. I found a lovely restaurant called Brown Sugar, which offered wonderful food and a perfect dining experience. Caribbean music boasts many genres, most of which present an upbeat and festive atmosphere.

You can get a great sample at Evah Blaze radio (get the app on Google Play and iTunes).


A splendid tropical experience

The “Relax you are in Barbados” sign, which I noticed as soon as I got out of the plane, marked the beginning of an adventure that I found myself completely immersed in. Radisson Aquatica hotel, located close to Bridgetown in the Needham’s Point peninsula, with its beautiful location right on the beach and a dining area located over the water, further enriched my visit to Barbados. Its’ very friendly and helpful staff made me feel as I was staying at a friend’s house. As I was waiting at the reception, there were 3 people waiting to be served and only 2 people were at the front desk. A lady approached me saying “It won’t be long sir”. I kindly replied, “Take your time, this is Barbados.” I was given a room with a fantastic view and I loved waking up every morning, pulling back the curtains and enjoying the view of the golden sand.

As I opened the windows, I marveled at the postcard-worthy panorama in front of me. The sea was only a few feet away, and I could feel the ocean breeze and hear the sound of the waves.

Also, I had read about the racehorses bathing each morning right on the beach where the hotel was located, and it was absolutely lovely to wake up at 6 am to watch the horses, take pictures and just enjoy the moment. The afternoons in Barbados could be spent enjoying the pools, swimming in the sea, or simply exploring every inch of this island. Also, a nice tour of the Careenage in Bridgetown capped a perfect afternoon. The rum punch drinks were a bonus.


A Life of Bleisure

I traveled to Barbados for business reasons, as I went to deliver an ISO 22301 Lead Implementer training for Massy Group employees, a huge corporation offering a variety of products and services, including retail, insurance, automotive, information technology, energy, and industrial equipment.

I always enjoy the opportunity to extend my business trips to also explore places like Barbados.Delivering this 5-day training in this unique place gave me the pleasure of being able to perform my job, while seeing and experiencing a mind-boggling array of different Caribbean delights. I always enjoy the opportunity to extend my business trips to also explore places like Barbados. What I enjoyed most was that every time Brian drove me to work, I was able to see different corners of Barbados and hear different stories. I held on to the exquisite moments that I spent on this Gem of the Caribbean as we rode back to the Grantley Adams International Airport and I tried to relive this experience in my mind for a few moments before returning to reality.

My brief stay at Bridgetown, Barbados Island will always remain a treasurable memory, and if you will ever decide to visit this place, I would advise to value those little things and interactions, swim with wild turtles, drink some rum, enjoy every beach, dance with the locals, and explore every inch of this stunning island.

Disaster preparedness, business continuity and the role of insurance

This frightening statement underscores the importance of business continuity planning and disaster preparedness particularly after the terrible 2017 Hurricane Season experienced in the Caribbean.

“Only one in twenty five business affected by severe disasters ever reopen the doors again”Two back to back category 5 Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, brings to the fore the importance of Insurance not just for homes and personal property, but for Businesses. At the Chamber 133rd Annual General Meeting it was revealed that in the region estimates are that only 20% of all buildings are insured and approximately 80% of that group are under insured.

Understanding how firms, large and small can mitigate their risks and give themselves a chance to regroup and continue in the event of disasters, natural or manmade is the purpose of a one day symposium being organized by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture titled “Disaster Mitigation in a New Climate: Business Continuity and Insurance” on 8th May 2018 from 9:00am-3:30pm at the Finance Administrative Centre.

Read entire article Disaster preparedness, business continuity and the role of insurance | St Lucia News Online

Caribbean – Become a Certified ISO 27001 ISMS Lead Implementer

Master the implementation of an Information Security Management System

Information security is the practice of preventing unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, inspection, recording or destruction of information. Information security’s primary focus is the balanced protection of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data while maintaining a focus on efficient policy implementation, all without hampering organization productivity.

Join us in Port of Spain on 04-08 June and become a Certified ISO 27001 ISMS Lead Implementer!

ISO 27001 Information Security Management System

This five-day intensive course enables participants to develop the necessary expertise to support an organization in implementing and managing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) based on ISO 27001:2013. Participants will also gain a thorough understanding of best practices used to implement information security controls from all areas of ISO 27002.

Join us in Port of Spain on 04-08 June for the ISO 27001 ISMS Lead Implementer training event.


Creating a safety culture in Latin America

A prevalence of high-risk industries such as mining, exposure to powerful pesticides in agriculture and the exacerbation of risks due to climate change, these are just some of the factors that contribute to occupational health and safety hazards in Latin America. But a culturally rooted lack of awareness and engagement is perhaps the greatest danger of all.

Posted on  |  By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

With some 130 million workers earning their livelihoods in conditions of informality and one in ten not having access to social protection), it is little wonder that health and safety is not always top of mind for employees in the Latin America region. However, some organizations are taking the lead in challenging the mindset of many of their workers to bring their health and safety performance to the next level.


Here, we talk to experts in Latin America about “where to from here” with ISO 45001, the new International Standard on occupational health and safety management systems.

Occupational health and safety concerns all of us… It is about the lives and well-being of our colleagues,” says Sergio Henao Osorio, Organizational Change Manager at Ingenio Pichichí S.A., one of Colombia’s leading sugar cane manufacturers. “But the key issue in Colombia is that there is not a true health and safety culture in the workplace. That is one of our challenges, but it is also one of the pillars of our mission: to make it a key value for all our staff, and something we honour in all our activities.

Ingenio Pichichí S.A., which has a staff of 792 plus 995 contractors, boasts an accident rate well below the 7 % average in Colombia and is one of the highest-performing organizations in the industry when it comes to safety. “Our aim is to achieve a zero-accident rate,” explains Sergio, “therefore, we are continually working on ways to encourage self-responsibility, the use of protective equipment, providing the best technologies and generally promoting an overall safety culture.

Be among the first to become a Certified ISO 45001 Lead Auditor!

The new ISO 45001 Lead Auditor training is now available! See our featured training opportunities below or check our complete schedule for more!

A prevalence of high-risk industries such as mining, exposure to powerful pesticides in agriculture and the exacerbation of risks due to climate change, these are just some of the factors that contribute to occupational health and safety hazards in Latin America.

Read entire article Creating a safety culture in Latin America |

The Canada-Trinidad terrorism link

Every year, many Canadians flock to Trinidad and Tobago to escape the harsh winter climate. In addition, there are some 70,000 Canadians of Trinidadian stock, including one of the hosts of CBC’s The National, Ian Hanomansing, and pop singer Amanda Marshall. The ties between the two nations run deep.

Radicalisation and homegrown terrorism specialist

Alas, these ties also extend to terrorism.

Few Canadians remember a serious terrorist plot that unfolded in Canada decades before 9/11, and even before the first World Trade Center bombing which was an attack that brought the terrorist threat from Islamist extremists to the attention of many. In 1991 five men, including several Trinidadians, were accused of planning to bomb an Indian cinema and a Hindu temple in the GTA supposedly to protest Indian control over Kashmir, but were thankfully stopped before they could set their plan in motion.

They belonged to Jamaat ul Fuqra (JuF), an Islamist extremist group that is virulently anti-Indian and is believed to have been headed by a Pakistani cleric named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. JuF has been listed as a terrorist entity at various times and goes by the name “Muslims of America” in Canada, the US, and…Trinidad. They establish communes of like minded believers, including converts and released prisoners, where there are allegations of ‘paramilitary’ training: they even created one not far from my cottage in the Madawaska Highlands of Ontario.

”We in Canada have to ensure that our immigration system has the resources and knowledge to identify and keep bad actors out.”

Following their trials three were convicted and received prison sentences. The foreign members of the cell were later deported while the Canadians, including Glenn Neville Ford, who was acquitted, returned to the JuF compound in central/eastern Ontario. Tyrone Cole, a.k.a. Barry Adams, a Trinidadian living in Texas, was sent back to Trinidad where he most probably continued his work for JuF (there is a JuF presence on the islands).
What brought this up recently was a foiled attempt to attack Trinidad’s Carnival. Local police have not come out and clearly linked the plot to terrorism or to the JuF, but an event like this represents everything Islamist extremists loath: music, dancing, i.e. people having fun. More worryingly, Trinidad occupies the #1 spot of countries in the Western Hemisphere in per capita foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq (130 out of a population of 1.3 million) –  I and many others have talked about the challenge of what to do about those foreign fighters if and when they elect to come home (and was the subject of my second book). One of the drivers of this wave of extremism is yet another group, Jamaat al Muslim, a largely African American convert sect in Trinidad that launched a failed coup attempt in 1990.
‘1990’ MAGAZINE: Cover of the magazine on the 1990 coup attempt which was published by the Trinidad Express Newspapers.

There are three primary lessons to draw from the incidence of Islamist extremism in Trinidad and Tobago and what it means for our country:

a) Islamist extremism can occur wherever there is a critical mass to draw in and direct supporters and where there is a charismatic leader (i,e, a Tyrone Cole) with the right stuff to provide ideology and inspiration.

Thus even Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean country seldom associated with terrorism, can surge to the top under the right conditions

b) We in Canada have to ensure that our immigration system has the resources and knowledge to identify and keep bad actors out.

Following from the earlier point, it is not just Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan you have it worry about since the threat can arise from anywhere

c) Authorities must have the power to remove people who pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In this case convicted terrorists who were not citizens were deported on the termination of their sentences. Why can we not do the same in the national security certificate cases? And why do so many naive Canadians take up the fight for terrorists in this country? There are hundreds of thousands of legitimate immigrants and refugees and we cannot allow the few bad apples to spoil the bunch. They need to go.

I do not want to overplay the terrorist threat to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago. At the same time we need to acknowledge that the threat is variable and that we must remain vigilant.

We in Canada have to ensure that our immigration system has the resources and knowledge to identify and keep bad actors out

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Phil Gurski

President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting. Phil worked as a strategic analyst in the Canadian intelligence community for over 30 years, including 15 at CSIS, with assignments at Public Safety Canada and the Ontario Provincial Police. He specializes in radicalization and homegrown Al Qaeda/Islamic State/Islamist-inspired extremism.

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Mexico’s spyware scandal is a gift for organized crime

Recent revelations about the government of Mexico’s widespread use of spyware to monitor adversaries in the press and the human rights community represent a gift for organized crime.

The New York Times first reported in June that Mexican journalists, lawyers, human-rights activists and their families had been targeted by government-owned spyware, which would allow eavesdroppers to monitor virtually all aspects of their digital communications.

The computer program reportedly used deceptive and highly personalized messages to lure targets into activating the spyware. These include contaminated links purporting to deal with a visa issue, claims of proof that a spouse was having an affair, and warnings about a commando squad outside a target’s house.

>> SEE ALSO: Canadian security agency will soon be able to launch cyber attacks against terrorists

According to the Times, NSO Group, the Israeli company that manufactures the software, sold it to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto under the condition that it be deployed only against terrorists and criminal groups. The government has not confirmed that it used the software to target the reporters and activists, but experts have been virtually unanimous in declaring government agencies the only plausible authors of the hacking.

InSight Crime Analysis


This latest scandal from the Peña Nieto administration represents a massive self-inflicted wound in its fight against organized crime.

Most immediately, the revelations give criminal groups an invaluable window into the government’s anti-crime operations. At the very least, this is a warning to drug traffickers as well as their lawyers, money launderers and business partners to avoid electronic communications, and to be on guard against phishing attempts.

For more sophisticated organizations, knowledge of the identity of the company behind the Pegasus software, and the details about the software itself, could provide clues that allow it to be countered. The exposure of the Peña Nieto administration’s activities is akin to telling an adversary not only where an imminent attack is to come, but also detailing the makeup of the invading force.


Read entire post grey

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