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Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica

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Certification Program To Provide International Marketability Of Construction Industry

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To enhance the marketability of nationals within the Construction industry, the Dominica Coalition of Service Industries (DCSI) and the Builders and Contractors Association of Dominica (BCAD) have launched a Caribbean Vocational Qualifications Skills Assessment And Recognition Certification Program for construction workers.

In an exclusive interview with GIS News, Executive Director of the DCSI, Lester Riviere, revealed that the DCSI is responsible for developing the standards of the non-tourist service sector. One of the areas of focus is the certification of persons involved in the construction industry.

“The Coalition of Service Industries is an agency….especially responsible for professional development, export development, certification and standards for the non-tourist service sector in Dominica. One of the key initiatives with which we’re involved right now is a certification programme for the construction industry.”

Riviere listed, “carpentry, masonry, concrete and steel fixing, equipment operations and maintenance, electricals, general construction, plumbing and pipe fittings. These are the areas being covered under the CARICOM CVQ Programme.”

He explained that the programme is “a prior learning and assessment programme targeted at working individuals with a number of years of experience in the industry

The Executive Director noted that is necessary for individuals within the industry to be certified, in order to be better suited for marketability within the region and internationally. This qualification will also play a key role in developing individuals’ strengths.

He also encouraged all persons within the industry to come out and get certified.

Interested persons should contact the Dominica Coalition of Service Industries at 440 8740 or visit their offices on Hanover Street in Roseau.

Community Employment Programme Launched in Mahaut

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Individuals of the Mahaut Constituency can now earn a living from developing their communities.

The Community Employment Programme, an extension of Government’s National Employment Programme, was officially launched in the constituency on Monday June 16th.

Addressing the launch, Parliamentary Representative for the Mahaut Constituency, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore, said that one area on which the programme will focus is that of community tourism. He expressed his elation at the development of the Rodney’s Rock area.

“It is a historic location which places emphasis on community tourism development. I was very happy that a number of you came to me months ago with an idea to do it voluntarily however those volunteers are going to be paid a stipend so we can develop Rodney’s Rock and make it what it ought to be. Make it a national sight, unique environment and the place to be.”

Hon. Blackmoore also informed that much emphasis is being placed on vocational training as those interested in learning the skill of stonework were invited to a meeting in Canefield.

“Stonework is a trade that is dying out in our community, it requires some skill but also draws in good pay. A number of persons from Mahaut and Massacre came to the meeting at Canefield and as a consequence we are now seeing the engagement of a number of young folks from the Mahaut constituency learning bricklaying.”

Blackmore revealed how happy he was to see that in the midst of the young male stoneworkers there were also females.

The Community Development Programme has also employed individuals to work as education mentors as well as to assist in community beautification projects.

According to the MP,the development programme, a component of the N.E.P, is testament to the Labour Party Administration’s quest to uplift and empower individuals.

“We believe that ordinary people, given the opportunity, can do extraordinary. So initiatives such as the N.E.P create opportunities for citizens to contribute to mainstream society. Nationals can contribute to society by having a good education or skill. There’s nothing wrong with having bue collar job, the most important thing is to do whatever you do with the highest degree of excellence and money will follow you.”

According to the N.E.P Coordinator, Gloria Joseph’s report, over 65 constituents from the area will be employed under the programme, with an excess of $730,00 being made available by Government for stipends.

Equipment for the 6-12 month contract programme was presented at the launching ceremony as well as cheques for the first three months of salary payments.

Elimination of Infested Fields Is Key In Curbing Black Sigatoka

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The Ministry of Agriculture says the elimination of infested fields plays a key role in curbing the spread of Black Sigatoka spores.

At a press conference earlier this month, Head of Plant Protection and Quarantine Services, Ryan Anselm revealed that the Ministry Of Agriculture is legally protected by the Plant Protection And Quarantine Act of 1986 to eliminate these infested fields.

Anselm also noted that although there has been slight resistance in the elimination of these fields most nationals have been cooperative.

“In the past we had about 95% compliance because you will always find reluctant people because we’re talking about people’s livelihoods. There are cases where the fields are abandoned but there is still a little output but farmers ought to take the necessary phytosanitary measures on your field like sanitation and de-leafing. If that is not done, the farms become a [home] for the disease.”

He said, “We have to do this exercise, it is very important. It is a little late but with support from the National Employment Programme, we’re going to undertake that very important action.

Anselm stated that the farmers have been notified in writing about the clearing of these fields.

The Ministry of Agriculture has also been assisting farmers who want to diversify from banana and plantain crops.

His Excellency Bahij Mansour is Israel’s New Ambassador to Dominica

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Israel's Ambassador to Dominica, H.E Bahij Mansour presented his credentials to Dominica’s Head of State, H.E Charles Savarin in a ceremony at the State House on Monday June 16th.

The Ambassador said, “I am overjoyed to be here with you and I hope that the relationship between Dominica and the State of Israel will be better in the future [and] can deepen cooperation between the two countries…especially in agriculture, communication and energy [development]. I am here to try to [reinforce] this relationship and I hope that in the coming years, the relationship will [grow stronger]. This year I hope that CARICOM will come to Israel because they are going to be in Turkey next month so I hope that [a representative]will come to Israel and thus we can improve our relationship and create a new platform.”

President of Dominica, h.e. Charles Savarin assured the new Smbassador that Dominica values the bonds of friendship which spans several years.

The island’s Head of State described Israel as a beacon to countries in the region and the world.

He said, “Israel has been able to make the desert bloom and develop cutting edge technology which through bilateral development cooperation it seeks to share with the rest of the developing world particularly in areas of agriculture, food security, poverty alleviation, agribusiness, health, education, sustainable development and e-Government.”

Long-term Health Effects Of Chikungunya

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The dreaded Chikungunya virus is believed to have long-term health effects on its victims. This is according to Dr. Candia Jacob, District Medical Officer for the north.

Dr. Jacob was speaking at a panel discussion in Cottage last week.

“Chikungunya has the ability and tendency to continue for years so after about the first 10 days of the disease – presenting with the headache and the fever – people may begin to feel better the old sick feeling goes away, the fever is gone, no more vomiting, the rash is gone, they’re not itchy anymore, the painful glands are gone and you feel fine. But out of the blue, you just feel sick again, the symptoms return, maybe not the fever or the rash but the joint pains last. People develop arthritis.”

Dr. Jacob says Chikungunya could have extreme effects on pregnant women including spontaneous abortions, brain infections in the unborn child and transmission to the baby during birth.

In geriatric patients, there is a high risk of fatality.

As a result of those lasting effects: chronic swelling and pain, Dominica’s health care system is also being heavily impacted.

“You’ve been hearing a lot about chronic illness with reference to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma but Chikungunya also becomes something like that. For two, three or even five years after initial infection, there are reports of serious joint pains and swelling and that reduces their productivity. Persons may also feel depressed. The symptoms come in waves: you may be fine one minute, tomorrow you’re depressed and your hands hurt,” the Doctor said.

The doctor sought to answer one of the more common questions asked by Dominicans.

“Everybody describes their symptoms then the next question is, ‘Doctor you think that’s a mosquito for true? You really think it’s a mosquito carrying Chikungunya?’ Everybody asks the same question. I like to say it’s not the mosquito, the mosquito is just like LIAT, it’s the people in the plane. It’s not the mosquito giving you the sickness, it’s really the virus being carried by the mosquito. Now we know a lot about viruses because you get the cold, it’s a virus giving you the cold; somebody contracts HIV/AIDS and it is also a virus. So if you have accepted that HIV/AIDS which may be a fatal disease if not treated, is a virus why is it so hard to believe that a virus carried by a mosquito can make you that sick and can make so many people sick?”