Full Champion’s Week schedule

first_imgIt’s time to celebrate the season at the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion’s Week from Las Vegas.Here is a full schedule of events, including links for live-streaming events.All times are ETTuesday, Nov. 28Champion’s Week6-7:30 p.m.: NASCAR driver autograph session at NASCAR Fan HQ8-9 p.m.: Champion’s Week Kickoff with series champs at NASCAR Fan Lounge12-1:30 a.m.: Appreci88ion Event with Dale Jr.Wednesday, Nov. 29Champion’s Week1-3 p.m.: NMPA Myers Brothers Awards5:30-8 p.m.: NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco11 p.m.-2 a.m.: NASCAR After the LapThursday, Nov. 30Champion’s Week2:30-4 p.m.: NASCAR driver autograph session at NASCAR Fan HQ8 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards (NBCSN will provide full, tape-delayed coverage beginning at 9 p.m.)Wednesday’s Champion’s Week events will also be live-streamed for Las Vegas. Check out the links for each event below.Wednesday, Nov. 29Live-Stream Links1-2:30 p.m.: Myers Brothers Awards (Watch)5:30-8 p.m.: Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco (Watch)11:45 p.m.-12:45 a.m.: Glass Case of Emotion LIVE from NATL (Watch)last_img read more

Former Firefighter Seeks Capital, Grants for First-Responder Company

first_imgLocal and state government officials would have access to satellite communications, a mobile command center, hazardous material team, a helicopter, generators and more during a disaster, Mr. Klein said. The company will deploy around 125 workers plus resources to anywhere in the Continental United States from Spring City, Mr. Klein said. A five-story command center is planned for the site, with construction starting later this spring, said Birch Arnold, president of contractor RBA Construction. Mr. Klein said he hopes to receive donations to build memorials to fallen firefighters and other emergency personnel. Mr. Klein said he plans to approach Congress this spring to obtain federal funding, and has had preliminary discussions with several state governments about contracting to assist with disaster response. Mr. Klein said he is discussing his company at 10 a.m. today with local officials in Dayton, although he already has spoken with Spring City Mayor Mary Sue Garrison. EMERGENCY RESPONSE SERVICES The company can serve as a 911 call center for a community that has lost its communications infrastructure during a disaster, Mr. Klein said, by using a satellite to route the calls through its Spring City facility. He has discussed his $75 million to $100 million concept with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, he said, and is close to signing several investors. The company has ordered the first of 38 custom-designed Chevrolet C-8500 trucks for its response fleet, said Joe Fox, a commercial sales representative for Chevrolet. “If he can bring the players together, it would be a wonderful concept for the Spring City area,” Ms. Garrison said. “I think it’s a concept whose time has come, but finding investors will be an issue.” “I researched the response efforts at the World Trade Center, Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and Hurricane Katrina,” said Marc Klein, chief executive of Governor’s Mobile Tactical Command Inc. “We found there were a lot of communications problems.” About 45 medical, rescue and mechanical experts are ready to relocate to Spring City from around the nation once the company launches, he said. He will hire up to 460 workers, most locally, when the company launches. “At the Trade Center, everyone rushed there and there was no control for several days,” Mr. Klein said. “At New Orleans, the entire infrastructure collapsed and there was no command structure. At the Murrah Building, the fire chief maintained control throughout the process.” The truck body components can be outfitted with equipment for firefighting, rescue work or medical services. The trucks have sufficient fuel capacity to drive cross-country without refueling, Mr. Fox said. He selected Tennessee because the Volunteer State is more centrally located to the majority of the continental United States than Florida, he said. He and his wife, Katherine, settled on Spring City in 2007 after they drove through the area. Mr. Klein said he spent three years researching his concept and writing a business plan. The Governor’s Mobile Tactical Command will become operational this summer or fall once he has secured funding. Governor’s Mobile Tactical Command has a patent pending on a security badge that all its personnel would wear at a disaster scene, he said. The badge uses GPS tracking to locate the worker if he is injured, Mr. Klein said. Each badge will have the worker’s biometrics data for added security, he said. Governor’s Mobile Tactical Command also will dispatch a command center, communications equipment, plus surgical, firefighting, emergency medical services, security, clergy and food services teams. The response team will include disaster response experts to advise local elected officials and emergency commanders. SPRING CITY, Tenn. — A retired Florida firefighter is launching a company to assist emergency workers being deployed to major disasters anywhere in the nation, building his business to address past shortcomings in response efforts. Governor’s Mobile Tactical Command has taken an option to buy a parcel of land in Spring City next to the future General Shale Brick Inc. brick plant, said Teresa Boyer, broker-owner of Best Realty GMAC, the company’s real estate agent. Local officials will have access to the badges and can require contractors doing clean-up work to use the badges when dealing with homeowners, which can prevent price gouging, Mr. Klein said. Mr. Klein will film a television segment in March on unified tactical command systems with retired Army Gen. Alexander Haig. Mr. Klein last fall relocated to Spring City from the Orlando area, where he worked 31 years as a firefighter and training officer. The company will establish an emergency response college, The College of Field Command & Operations, in Spring City, and is seeking accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education, he said. Mr. Klein said he taught emergency vehicle operations at the University of Central Florida. “We’re here to assist the local, state and federal governments at their time of need,” Mr. Klein said. “We can run the infrastructure if the community has collapsed.”E-mail Jason M. Reynolds at [email protected]last_img read more

Win a free bike from State Bicycle Co. & ride to work with Phil…

first_imgIf you’re interested in bike commuting but don’t have the gear or confidence to do so, State Bicycle Co. has the medicine. They teamed up with former pro cyclist, Phil Gaimon, to offer you the chance to win a free bike – plus personal instruction from Phil on how to safely and quickly get from home to your destination.State Bicycle Co. and Phil Gaimon Ride You To Work!State Bicycle Co. is known for their affordable steel bikes, and now they’re taking it one step further – offering you the chance to win one for free. If you want to get in on the action, check out the YouTube video below with details (and a dose of humor) to make this dream your reality.To enter the contest, click through the landing page link below. Note that the contest is only open to US residents age 18 or older.StateBicycle.comlast_img read more

See Pics from Opening Night of Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 15, 2017 View Comments In the Blood’s director Sarah Benson and scribe Suzan-Lori Parks snap a sweet opening night pic. Frank Wood, Michael Braun, Jocelyn Bioh, director Sarah Benson, Signature Theatre Artistic Director Paige Evans, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, Saycon Sengbloh, Ana Reeder and Russell G. Jones. The Red Letter Plays: In the Bloodcenter_img Related Shows Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood opened at off-Broadway’s at the Pershing Square Signature Center on September 17. Stars Saycon Sengbloh, Frank Wood, Jocelyn Bioh, Michael Braun, Russell G. Jones and Ana Reeder hit the red carpet to celebrate their performances in this contemporary take on The Scarlet Letter. The show has already been extended through October 15. Peek the pics and then catch the compelling play! In the Blood star Saycon Sengbloh hits the red carpet.last_img read more

Tickets Are Now on Sale for the Broadway Premiere of Six

first_img Six View Comments (back row): Adrianna Hicks, Abby Mueller, Anna Uzele and Andrea Macasaet; (front row): Samantha Pauly and Brittney Mack(Photo: Liz Lauren) Tickets are now on sale for the highly anticipated Broadway premiere of Six. The main-stem transfer of the Olivier-nominated musical will begin previews on February 13, 2020 ahead of a March 12 opening night at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the hit musical centers on the six ex-wives of King Henry VIII, who headline an electrifying pop-concert spectacle—flipping the narrative on the one-sided story from our history books.Reprising their performances from the North American premiere production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater will be Adrianna Hicks (The Color Purple) as Catherine of Aragon, Andrea Macasaet (Heathers) as Anne Boleyn, Abby Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) as Jane Seymour, Brittney Mack (Memphis) as Anna of Cleves, Samantha Pauly (Honeymoon in Vegas) as Katherine Howard and Anna Uzele (Once on This Island) as Catherine Parr.Six is directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage, with choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, music direction by Katy Richardson and music supervision by Joe Beighton. The production features scenic design by Emma Bailey, costume design by Gabriella Slade, sound design by Paul Gatehouse, lighting design by Tim Deiling and orchestrations by Tim Curran. Star Filescenter_img from $79.00 Related Shows Abby Muellerlast_img read more

Mayors call for clean water, housing, help with opioids

first_imgBurlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon, Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard, and Montpelier Mayor John Hollar at the State House Wednesday. City of Burlington photo.Vermont Business Magazine The list of legislative priorities the leaders of the state’s cities has is long and pretty much the same as the last few years, including opioid use assistance, clean water, and money to refurbish downtowns. The Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) today announced its 2018 legislative session goals and its commitment to collaborate on and advocate for these areas of common interest for their cities and towns. At a news conference in the State House Cedar Creek Room, the Coalition released its legislative policy summary for the 2018 legislative session.Priorities includeCatalyzing Efforts to Address Opioid Use DisordersSupporting Urgent Mental Health ReformsImplementing a Common Sense Approach to Clean Water FundingSupporting Measures Designed to Help Preserve Vermont’s Incredible Natural EnvironmentReforming the Police Training Curriculum in VermontSupporting Housing and Downtown Tax CreditsThe VMC was created in 2013 by Vermont’s eight Mayors. Six Mayors must concur on any recommendation for the Vermont Mayors Coalition to take a position.The eight Mayors of the VMC are:·       Dave Allaire, Rutland·       Mike Daniels, Vergennes;·       Liz Gamache, St. Albans;·       John Hollar, Montpelier;·       Thom Lauzon, Barre;·       Seth Leonard, Winooski;·       Paul Monette, Newport; and·       Miro Weinberger, Burlington.The Mayors offered the following statements about the issues of common interest they are collaborating on and advocating for during the 2018 legislative session:Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon: “From Saint Albans to Barre to Brattleboro, Vermont’s investments in our downtowns and housing stock are paying huge economic and social dividends. Vermont’s Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit program has been an incredibly effective and efficient redevelopment tool for cities and towns across Vermont. An increase in this common sense program will yield even greater returns. In addition, as we all look forward to deploying millions of dollars in new housing capital as a result of the 35 million dollars housing bond, the Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program will ensure that the importance of investments in our existing housing stock isn’t overlooked. These strategic investments will ensure the availability and affordability of hundreds of homes for years to come.”Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger: “Vermont continues to lead the way in fighting the opioid epidemic, but there is still much more we can and must do to save lives and turn the tide of this terrible crisis. The Mayors Coalition is united in believing that increasing access to the data in the State’s prescription monitoring system, expanding medication assisted treatment options in prisons and emergency rooms, and reviewing our treatment protocols will make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of Vermonters.”Montpelier Mayor John Hollar: “I’m pleased to join with Vermont’s other mayors in support of these important public health initiatives. Mayors see firsthand the need for policy changes in the areas of substance abuse, mental health and clean water.”St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache: “Clean water is vital to economies and communities in our cities and towns. Pollution, particularly in Lake Champlain, is having a negative effect on the quality of life of many Vermonters. I’m proud to stand with the Vermont Mayors Coalition to protect our waterways and support the creation of a statewide Clean Water Authority to implement Vermont’s total management of daily load in a way that is effective, fair, and efficient.”Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard: “Let us be clear that Vermont is competing for a piece of the modern economy and the 21st century workforce that is critical to driving our State’s future. We must be unrelenting in our dedication to invest in sustaining and creating vibrant, livable communities where each generation of Vermont has an opportunity to thrive. The VMC recognizes the importance of supporting homeownership opportunities for Vermonters, creating financial tools for our village and downtown centers, and developing initiatives to improve our State’s aging housing stock. These priorities are the backbone of our State’s effort to be competitive while also doing it ‘the Vermont way.’ Continued investments in housing and economic development will ensure we are a state where our residents love to live, our businesses are able to grow, and our communities thrive.”Legislative Session Goals2018 Legislative SessionThe Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) is advocating for state action to support municipalities in the following six areas:Catalyzing Efforts to Address Opioid Use DisordersThe VMC supports the efforts of the Scott Administration to continue the work of prior administrations and improve the State’s response to what has become the most pressing public health crisis of our time. The Mayors believe that specific changes detailed below are urgently needed to begin addressing this crisis.Expand access to the information in the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS).  Vermont should leverage the power of transparency by using our rich and comprehensive prescription monitoring data to inform assessments and decisions made by doctors, elected officials, public health professionals, government agencies, researchers and members of the public.  At a minimum, the VMC supports the UVM Medical Center (UVMMC) data transparency efforts internally and the Medical Center’s proposal to responsibly expand access to VPMS to allow for research to be completed on prescription habits.  Vermont should look to best practices in Massachusetts and other states to establish new standards for expanded access.Continue State efforts to restrict the over-prescribing of opioids.  The VMC applauds the State’s recent promulgation of new, restrictive prescribing standards and is encouraged by the early results.  Nonetheless, until definitive evidence exists that prescribers have stopped creating new addictions, additional controls should be considered, including:Banning advertising and physician marketing of opioid products and related products.Notifying the prescriber and the medical board every time a prescription kills.Requiring all insurers to implement pre-authorization requirements for any new opioid prescription of more than three days’ duration.Expand medication assisted treatment (MAT) in Vermont prisons. The Department of Corrections has already implemented changes in recent months to improve prisoner access to medication assisted treatment. The Mayors appreciate the Department’s efforts, and believe that further steps are necessary to save Vermonters’ lives. Specifically, the Mayors call for the Department to take the following steps, and urge the Legislature to provide the limited additional necessary funding required to:Apply a consistent treatment regime across all Vermont facilities that includes eliminating the 120-day limit on MAT treatment for individuals incarcerated;Clarify and consistently apply a transition protocol, to include MAT medications and naloxone, for those departing prison with a history of opioid use disorder; Expand assessment for MAT eligibility to include crimes with an opioid use disorder nexus; andSupport a pilot allowing two Vermont prisons to become certified and accredited opioid treatment programs (OTPs) while utilizing best practice assessment protocols. Upon entry into a correctional facility (regardless of sentencing status), all inmates will undergo an addiction (co-occurring) assessment to identify diagnosis and appropriate treatment protocols to include MAT.Establish standards for immediate start of MAT in all emergency departments and supportive follow-up.  Such new protocols are being implemented by UVMMC as a result of the CommunityStat collaboration in Burlington.  Vermont should consider supporting this promising strategy for expanding the State’s effective Hub and Spoke treatment effort.Request a study reviewing Vermont’s short-term residential treatment protocols in comparison with national best practices. Vermont is a compassionate state that exerts great efforts to help those struggling with addiction. The investments we as a community make should be structured to provide the best possible opportunity for success. Answers to important questions, however, are not clear – does a less than 30-day treatment regime work well for addressing opioid addiction? What protocols or practices work best in other states, and does Vermont use similar approaches? What are treatment outcomes in Vermont, and do they differ from what other states experience? The Mayors believe that there is some evidence that short-duration treatment programs are ineffectual for opioid use disorders, and that the Legislature should task the Agency of Human Services with reviewing best practices, considering implementing changes based on this review, and reporting back to the Legislature prior to the next session.Mental Health ReformsThe VMC believes Vermonters with acute mental illness are unable to access consistently the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.  Increasingly, the lack of adequate access to appropriate mental health care places our constituents at an unacceptable risk of harm.  It also makes it more difficult for our first responders and medical providers to protect and care for our citizens, at significant monetary and non-monetary costs to our cities and towns. The mental health treatment crisis is most visible in our hospital emergency rooms, where patients often wait days for an inpatient or other appropriate residential treatment settings to become available.  This compromises providers’ ability to care for these and other patients and families in need of emergency medical care. An increasing number of patients with mental illness enter the health care system through the criminal justice system, often after an encounter with law enforcement officers and a court appearance.  Those encounters carry unique risks and burdens to patients, officers, and court staff alike.  In the absence of an appropriately sized mental health treatment system, many patients are not receiving appropriate care.Cities and towns are working hard to address the mental health crisis.  For instance, we are providing our first responders with specialized training and partnering with mental health treatment providers to make crisis counseling available on our cities’ streets and in our citizens’ homes.  But those efforts cannot effectively help the most acutely ill citizens who need a higher level of care.The Mayors support policies and investments that improve inpatient and other residential mental health treatment capacity for Vermonters in need, particularly those who have become involved in the criminal justice system. The Mayors call for:The prioritization of construction of a State-owned and operated facility to provide court-ordered mental health assessment and treatment to criminal defendants (a so-called “forensic facility”). The temporary repurposing of an existing State facility while a permanent facility is constructed to address the inhumane, often long-term placement of the mentally ill in hospital emergency departments. Clean WaterIn 2015, the State of Vermont passed the landmark Vermont Clean Water Act (H.64), designed to protect Vermont’s lakes and streams from excess nutrients such as phosphorus.The Mayors strongly support the creation of a statewide Clean Water Authority to implement Vermont’s total management of daily load (TMDL) plan in a way that is effective, fair, and efficient.  The Mayors continue to support a target for State funding a percentage of each TMDL investment area and to believe a tiered per parcel fee that reflects each parcel’s usage and impact is the fairest and most sustainable funding mechanism to support clean water.The VMC remains strongly opposed to the State increasing the sales and use or rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverage taxes, as those are already primary sources of municipal revenue. To the degree that the State continues to fund cleanup efforts through a real estate transfer tax, the State should strongly consider the use of a transfer tax assessed against the Seller, rather than the Purchaser.Environmental/EnergyDuring the summer of 2017, members of the Vermont Mayors Coalition joined Governor Scott and many leaders from around the State to launch the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. The Coalition’s goal is to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and to mitigate the impact of the Federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses, and community members have joined the Coalition and in doing so have committed to reduce carbon emissions in an effort to help Vermont meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025.In the spirit of this effort, the Mayors call on the Legislature to take two steps in 2018:Support a study of the Essex Plan, a revenue neutral proposal that would capitalize on the remarkable Vermont power grid and its renewable energy foundation to help the State reduce carbon emissions while lowering electricity costs.Prioritize continued investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, to make electric vehicle alternatives even more desirable.Reforming the Police Training Curriculum in VermontThe Mayors again call on the Administration to review the training curriculum, certifying exams, and structure of the Criminal Justice Training Council. Vermont has good reason to be proud of its police agencies and the initial training those officers receive at the Police Academy in Pittsford, Vermont. The Academy trains officers to serve a wide range of communities across the State. The Mayors believe those communities should have a voice on the Council that runs the Academy, and urge the Legislature and Administration to consider revising the existing appointment structure of the Council to give Vermont’s cities and towns a voice in the training their officers receive, given the unique needs encountered in policing Vermont’s population centers. The Mayors also believe the Criminal Justice Training Council should have a clear oversight authority within State Government, whether the Attorney General or the Commissioner of Public Safety.Housing and Downtown Tax CreditsThe Vermont Mayors Coalition looks forward to working with all our partners and with Legislature to expand our efforts to grow the economy and build strong communities. The Mayors call on the Legislature to:Support a $250,000 increase in downtown and village center tax credits that offset the costs of rehabilitation and major investments in elevators, sprinklers and other code improvements needed to make downtown buildings safe and accessible. Vermont’s Mayors have seen firsthand how downtown tax credits positively affect communities and entire regions. The State historic tax credit program is one of the most effective redevelopment programs the State offers – with every dollar of tax credit leveraging an average of $17 in outside investment. These investments have helped transform communities – supporting new housing, attracting new businesses, fostering business expansions, and creating good jobs in downtowns and villages across the state. We are pleased that the Governor is committed to downtown revitalization and is continuing to make investments to make them stronger.Support a $625,000 Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program to improve the quality and quantity of housing in and around downtowns and village centers. Despite the $35 million housing bond and the good work of many Vermont-based institutions to improve and increase the supply of housing in Vermont, there is a growing gap between existing housing availability and need. More public investment in homes that are affordable, desirable, and within a reasonable distance of work, schools or shopping, is needed to attract and house the young families and the workforce needed for businesses and communities to thrive. The Governor’s proposal to pilot a homeowner tax credit will show that strategic investments will help communities address this need by improving the quality and quantity of housing opportunities in and around downtowns and villages. It will also help improve an aging housing stock and aid homeowners.Support $125,000 tax credit increase for Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program. Vermont’s first-time homebuyers have long struggled to afford a home due to the ongoing disconnect between high home prices and wages. The Vermont Legislature added funding to the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit in 2015 for the creation of a statewide down payment assistance program to be administered by the VT Housing Finance Agency. This has been an invaluable tool getting first time borrowers into homeownership, however, due to higher than expected needs from primarily young homebuyers, demand for the program has been more than double the initial projections.  To continue serving this need, an increase of $125,000 in State housing tax credits which is a five year credit for investors. The repayments of the DPA loan, which are due on sale or refinance, will create a revolving loan funds for future assistance. Source: Mayors Coalitioin 1.24.2018last_img read more

Viewpoint: The inherent danger of judicial evaluation commissions

first_img Viewpoint: The inherent danger of judicial evaluation commissions December 15, 2007 Regular News Viewpoint: The inherent danger of judicial evaluation commissionscenter_img Justice Charles T. Wells In September 2006, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis established a special Committee on Judicial Evaluations, consisting of a diverse group of judges, lawyers, and laypersons. Judge Peter D. Webster of the First District Court of Appeal chaired the committee. The committee was charged with studying methods of judicial evaluation and making recommendations for the process of judicial evaluation in Florida. The committee collected what it believed was all of the available, relevant material from various jurisdictions with respect to past and present judicial evaluation programs, including information and evaluation tools from The Florida Bar, local bar associations, the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, the American Judicature Society, and the University of Denver Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. After assimilating the materials, the committee heard from individuals who had insight into and experience with judicial evaluation programs. These individuals included Seth Andersen, executive vice president of the American Judicature Society, Judge Philip Espinosa of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Judge Patricia Cottrell of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and Judge Jacqueline Griffin of Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal. Each of these individuals was very informative as to the positives and negatives of judicial evaluation programs.Based upon this research, the committee voted 13 to 6 that no programs beyond those currently in place in Florida should be recommended. The committee concluded that the current self-assessments by Florida judges and the assessments of the judiciary conducted by the Bar and local bar associations combine to provide the most beneficial, practical, and effective vehicle and impetus for improving the quality of Florida’s judges and disseminating relevant information to the public of the evaluation programs reviewed. Those on the committee who voted against recommending the creation of a judicial evaluation commission or similar entity principally focused on the potential danger to judicial independence posed by such judicial evaluation entities.I fully agree with the committee’s recommendation. From my studies of judicial evaluation programs, which began on Florida Bar committees in the 1980s, and from considering the materials and presentations provided to the most recent committee, I have concluded that judicial evaluation programs that incorporate a judicial evaluation commission or similar institutional entity present a grave danger to judicial independence. Judicial evaluation commissions have several inherent problems: Who should judge the judges? How should those individuals be selected? What criteria should be used to evaluate the subject judges? How can the evaluation process be structured to avoid influencing a judge’s decision-making in an individual case?In their article, “A Fresh Look at Judicial Performance Evaluation in California,” Rebecca Love Kourlis and Jordan M. Singer state that the “integrity of judicial evaluations is only as high as the integrity of those performing them.” This observation is correct beyond debate. The core theoretical value of the American judicial system is that decision-making is to be done by a judge who is unencumbered by influences external to the case at hand. The practical reality though is that there are innumerable forces constantly working to encumber and influence judges’ decision-making. Political and financial interests are at stake daily in our courts. It is natural and certain that the supporters of those interests are going to try to promote and protect those interests by influencing a court’s decision-making. Searching for ways to exert such influence is inevitable in view of the power of court decisions affecting those interests.Yet, rather than protect judges from outside influences, judicial evaluation commissions further expose this decision-making process to outside influences because a judicial evaluation commission is a ready target for special interest groups. I understand that the proponents of judicial evaluation commissions maintain that such a commission can be insulated from special interests by requiring that the membership be selected by the chief justice of the state court and be composed of nonpartisan individuals drawn from public interest groups and retired judges. But Florida’s experience with judicial selection causes me to conclude that a permanent, truly independent commission is not politically realistic.Florida adopted merit selection of appellate judges in the 1970s and held its first merit retention election in 1978. The method of selection was made a part of the judicial article of the Florida Constitution. In the event of an appellate opening, the plan called for a judicial nominating commission to screen candidates and recommend a list of qualified candidates to the governor. The governor was required to appoint a judge from that list. The original composition of the judicial nominating commissions was three members selected by The Florida Bar Board of Governors, three members selected by the governor, and three members selected by those six members. There was a requirement for lay membership among the nine. However, the membership of the judicial nominating commissions was defined by statute, not by constitutional provision. And in 2001, the Florida Legislature decided that the statutory scheme should be changed to give the governor the authority to appoint all members of a judicial nominating commission. This change obviously increased the potential for political influence in the selection of judges from the original appointment process.I recognize that judicial selection is generally a political process and that this change in the method of appointment of members of judicial nominating commissions is understandable as a political change in that political process. But, in my view, the same political influence would not be appropriate with respect to appointments to judicial evaluation commissions. If a commission is organized, even if the original appointment method is acceptable and sufficiently involves judges themselves in the process, there can be no bulletproof guarantee that the judicial evaluation body will remain free of legislative or executive influence. Again, special interest forces are constant in their need and desire to influence judicial decision-making. From the perspective of special interests, becoming involved in the evaluation of judges would without question be an effective way to influence court decisions.I do not believe that the doctrine of separation of powers would survive judges being evaluated by a commission appointed by the other branches of the government — either the executive or the legislative. Our government depends on three strong branches and the natural tension between the judiciary and the other two branches of government. I am strongly committed to judicial restraint and the duty of courts to respect the roles of the executive and legislative branches. But, by the same token, the executive and legislative branches must not encroach upon independent judicial decision-making. Courts are called upon daily to rule upon the actions of the executive branch. Courts are likewise called upon to rule upon the constitutionality of legislative acts. The role of the courts is to protect personal rights against intrusions by the other branches of the government and to protect the branches from intrusion by one another. The danger to judicial independence is self-evident if another branch is allowed to acquire appointment control over a commission that evaluates the judges who make those rulings.An additional concern is whether evaluation of judges outside of the appellate process will become an ex parte factor in judges’ decisions in individual cases. If a nonparticipant evaluator enters a judge’s courtroom, the judge’s reaction to that evaluation becomes an extra-record factor in that case. The parties have no way to question the evaluator or to assess what, if any, influence the evaluation is having on the judge during their litigation.I conclude that the appellate process remains the preferred method of dealing with a judge’s adjudication and management of individual cases. The appellate process best protects the rights of the parties to have their case decided on the record developed in that case. Furthermore, I conclude that judicial conduct which is dishonest or in violation of the judicial code is properly reviewed and addressed through a judicial disciplinary body, which in Florida exists as the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Certainly, I recognize that there is misconduct by judges not remedied by the appellate process or by judicial disciplinary institutions. I know that unfortunately there are some judges who are not free from bias, who do not have the required temperament to be a judge, or who are arrogant, discourteous, or disrespectful to those who appear in their courtrooms as parties, witnesses, or jurors. There are judges who do not start proceedings on time, who do not make decisions on a timely basis, or who do not spend the time or have the skill to perform the judicial role that the public depends upon and has a right to expect. Likewise, I appreciate the very real dilemma for judges who have to run for election in large metropolitan areas such as Miami-Dade County, in which the electorate presently has no widely accepted method for evaluating judicial candidates standing for election. However, I believe these issues are best addressed by utilizing peer groups that work with judges rather than by the creation of a commission to oversee judges.In my experience, local bench-bar committees composed of judges and lawyers who are respected by other lawyers and judges in their local communities are the most effective way to ensure that high quality judges serve the people of Florida. I have also observed that bar-created surveys and polls provide useful feedback to individual judges and can be used to disseminate information about the role of judges and judicial performance to the public. This approach does not carry with it the risk to judicial independence that I believe is inherent in judicial evaluation commissions. Accordingly, I encourage Florida and other states to foster peer evaluation rather than risk compromising the critically important independence of the state judiciaries. Justice Wells assumed his duties as justice of the Supreme Court on June 16, 1994, after being appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles. He served the court as chief justice from June 2000 through June 2002. This column originally appeared in the California Courts Review, a publication of the Judicial Council of California.last_img read more

Construction unemployment rates improve in 32 states

first_imgSeptember not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 32 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released Monday by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).According to Associated Builders and Contractors’ analysis, Arizona decreased its construction unemployment rate by one percent, and by 1.3 percent in year-over-year change.The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 0.3 percent lower than a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).This was the lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2000, when it was 4.6 percent. BLS data also reported that the industry employed 208,000 more people than in September 2015.“September 2016 marks the sixth year of uninterrupted monthly year-over-year rate decreases in the national construction unemployment rate that began in October 2010,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These industry-specific unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, so it is important to note states’ performance on a year-ago basis. The year-over-year improvement in the national unemployment rate as well as in the rates of 32 states demonstrates the steady improvement in the construction job market over the past year.”Like August, the historical pattern for change in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from the month before is ambiguous. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, through 2015, the change in the September rate from August has fallen eight times, risen seven times and been unchanged once. This year’s September increase of 0.1 percent adds an eighth year that the rate has risen from August.Eighteen states did post declines in their estimated construction unemployment rates from August. Five states had unchanged rates.View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate, their year-over-year improvement in construction employment and monthly improvement in construction employment.View states unemployment rate for all industries.The Top Five StatesThe states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest they were:1.    Colorado2.    South Dakota3.    Idaho and North Dakota (tie)5.    MassachusettsFour states—Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts and North Dakota—were also among the top five in August. Colorado had the lowest rate among the states in September at 2.4 percent, the state’s lowest September unemployment rate on record.South Dakota, with a 2.9 percent construction unemployment rate, moved up to the second lowest rate in September and also had the second largest year-over-year drop, down 1.3 percent. Idaho and North Dakota tied for the third lowest rate in September with a 3 percent rate, up from fifth lowest and down from the lowest rate in August respectively. Massachusetts tied with South Dakota and Arizona for the biggest year-over-year improvement by shedding 1.3 percent from its construction unemployment rate in posting the fifth lowest rate in September at 3.3 percent rate, also the state’s lowest rate.Wyoming dropped from the top five in August and experienced the largest monthly and year-over-year jump in its NSA construction unemployment rate—up 2.7 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively—to 5.3 percent.Meanwhile, Vermont fell from tied with Idaho for fifth lowest in August to tied with Michigan for 13th lowest in September with a 4.3 percent rate. Vermont also had the fourth largest monthly increase, up 1.1 percent from August.The Bottom Five StatesThe states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:46.    Alabama47.    Pennsylvania48.    Rhode Island49.    New Mexico50.    AlaskaAll of these states were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in August.Alaska, with a 10.1 percent rate, had the highest estimated rate in September and saw the second largest increase from August at 2.5 percent. On a positive note, Alaska’s September 2016 rate was its lowest September rate since 2002. New Mexico had the second highest construction unemployment rate in September, 8.6 percent, although it also had the second largest monthly drop in its rate—down 0.9 percent. Rhode Island had its lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2007, but was still the third highest rate in September at 8.5 percent. Pennsylvania had the fourth highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in September, 8.1 percent, and the second largest year-over-year increase among the states, up 1.5 percent. Alabama had the fifth highest estimated construction unemployment rate in September, with a 7.6 percent rate, its second lowest September rate since 2007 (just above 2015’s 7.5 percent).To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.last_img read more

Opening Ceremony – Media Advisory

first_img Apr 15, 2020 An Opening Ceremony for the Thirty-Eighth CARICOM Heads of Government meeting will be held on Tuesday 4 July 2017 from 5:00 p.m. at the Grenada Trade Centre, St. Georges. Accredited media representatives are invited to cover this ceremony.  The proceedings will also be streamed Live on the CARICOM Face Book page –   https://www.facebook.com/caricom.org/ and the CARICOM News Blog, CARICOM Today – http://today.caricom.org/ The Opening Ceremony will be addressed by: Press Release re: Ninth Special Emergency Meeting of the… CARICOM Heads: Addressing trade and economic issues… You may be interested in… Feb 19, 2020 Jul 5, 2019center_img Promote citizen security to shore up CARICOM’s… CARICOM has role to play in Venezuela situation says PM… Jul 4, 2019 Incoming CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of GrenadaOutgoing CARICOM Chairman, President David Granger of GuyanaNew Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr. Hubert MinnisNew President of Haiti, Mr. Jovenel MoiseCARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Grand Anse and beyondToday, we continue to place the spotlight on Grenada ahead of the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. We flash back through Grenada’s milestones as a champion of closer integration among the territories of the Region. The Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government will…July 4, 2017In “Antigua & Barbuda”Follow the Opening Session – 29th CARICOM Inter-Sessional – Monday morningCARICOM Chairman, President Jovenel Moise of Haiti will address the Opening Session of the 29th Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government at the Marriott Hotel, Port-au-Prince, on Monday 26 February at 9:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. ECT). Immediate-past Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador…February 25, 2018In “General”WICB, CARICOM agree on way forward for cricketCARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie (centre), Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to his left; Dr. Hon. Keith Mitchell, the host Prime Minister and CARICOM sub-committee chairman for Cricket (right), the Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister…April 22, 2015In “Antigua & Barbuda”Share this on WhatsApplast_img read more

Sink or swim? Islands innovate to thrive in a high-stress world

first_img CARIFESTA XV in Antigua and Barbuda postponed to 2022 Oct 1, 2020 “It’s going to be a long and painful process,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We just have to rely mostly on our resources, and to find creative ways to generate income to continue the recovery efforts.” In the face of serious and growing threats, experts detect a sea change in many of the world’s 57 small island states and other remote island economies that share development challenges. They are finding innovative alternatives to lurching from one crisis to the next – whether the problem is extreme weather, mass tourism, plastic waste, water shortages or migration. Barbuda, aware it will take time to get back on its feet even as this year’s hurricane season began in June, aims to stay safer in future – like many of its Caribbean neighbors. Brennan Banks, Red Cross operations manager for the Irma response, said the aid agency plans to build a new office on Barbuda that can double up as an emergency shelter. It is also offering free first-aid training to locals and fixing up rainwater-collection systems, while working with the government to improve early warning on the two islands. Such solutions – often developed at least partly with islands themselves – are already improving lives, and protecting communities and environments on a small scale. But their fledging efforts need far more funding to make a difference – and lessons learned in these living laboratories must be shared widely, say officials and resilience experts. SHELTER IN A STORM Hugh Riley, secretary-general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, believes the region is better prepared for this year’s hurricane season, even if it is still vulnerable. “Every time we have an incident of some kind, we learn from it,” he said. “The whole business of rebuilding stronger has resonated with us, rebuilding better has resonated with us, rebuilding smarter has resonated with us.” Recent improvements include better government coordination, communications systems that work more smoothly, and faster evacuation plans, he said. According to a June report from the World Bank, building back from a disaster stronger, faster and in a way that includes everybody can yield major dividends for small island nations. Doing so would reduce losses in people’s wellbeing by an average 59 percent across a sample of 17 island states, it said, compared with 31 percent for all 149 countries in the study. For Antigua and Barbuda, the reduction would be as large as 78 percent. Co-author Stephane Hallegatte said the benefits of reconstruction that also protects against future disasters are comparatively large for small islands because they face a high level of risk and exposure to storms and other natural threats. Many tend to have low-quality housing unable to resist even moderate hazards, the World Bank economist noted. “There is a lot of potential for improvement,” he said. “There are very cheap opportunities.” Those can be as simple as giving local people who repair their own homes tougher roofing materials, and teaching them how to attach the roof more firmly so it stays on in high winds. When the British Virgin Islands were blasted by Hurricane Irma in September, more than a third of the territory’s 7,000 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage, authorities say. Construction workers have flocked in from all corners of the Caribbean, working marathon shifts to rebuild. But materials – from windows to plywood and galvanized roofing – are only arriving in dribs and drabs from Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, with delays of up to three months. The government is working on a new building code tailored to more extreme weather, and has set up a $15-million assistance program to help lagging residents build back. Yet some in the relatively affluent British overseas territory, which has a population of just 32,000, are falling through the cracks. SPONSORED “It’s as if the hurricane happened yesterday,” said 55-year-old government employee Albert Wheatley, surveying the debris of his pink wooden house now overgrown with weeds. “And I don’t know when this will change.” One way to cut long waits for financial help after a disaster is to use social welfare systems to channel cash to recipients, said the World Bank’s Hallegatte. After top-strength Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in February 2016, the government used its three main social assistance programs to deliver top-up payments, equivalent to three months of regular benefit, to help residents recover. But many small island states have “very little” in terms of social welfare, Hallegatte noted. Disasters can trigger the establishment of such schemes, however, and the World Bank is now seeing greater government interest, he said. “If there is one place on Earth where you really want to design your social protection system considering natural disasters … that will be small islands,” he added. Resilience advisor Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy said helping islands withstand the pressures they face requires a broad view, encompassing everything from nature and culture, to economics and the law. The Island Resilience Initiative he leads is working with Palau, the Marshall Islands and Fiji in the Pacific to track their progress toward the global development goals agreed by the 193 U.N. members in 2015, and decide on priority projects. The aim is to pave the way to an approach “much more angled on resilience and ‘precovery’ rather than constantly talking about recovery” after disasters, said Sarkozy-Banoczy. In the British Virgin Islands resort of Cane Garden Bay, the onslaught of Hurricane Irma made residents realize rapid development to cater for mass tourists disgorged by cruise ships had damaged their natural defenses, putting them in harm’s way. They have since formed a volunteer committee to restore coral reefs, wetlands, mangroves and ponds that trap rainfall running off hillsides, to protect the village from future floods and storms and preserve its natural beauty. “You have to have a balance, or you lose what you love,” said local celebrity Quito Rymer, a reggae singer-songwriter now rebuilding his restaurant and hotel wrecked by the hurricane. “We have decided to take things in our hands.” CLIMATE CHALLENGES Scientists say warmer air and warmer seas around the globe are increasing rainfall and wind speed in storms – and may have intensified the two top-strength hurricanes that battered the Caribbean last year, causing about 235 direct deaths and losses estimated at $130 billion. In its latest flagship report published in 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pointed to rising sea levels as one of the most widely recognized climate change threats to low-lying coastal areas on islands and atolls. Combined with extreme events like storm surges, it identified “severe sea flood and erosion risks” for islands, with saltwater degrading groundwater supplies. Other risks from hotter seas include increased coral bleaching and reef damage, which could undermine coastal protection, fisheries and tourism, hurting island communities and costing jobs, scientists said in the report. Mindful of those risks, some islands in the Caribbean – the world’s most tourism-dependent region – are looking beyond beach holidays for fresh ways to entice tourists, from music festivals to fertility vacations and sports camps. Kate Brown, executive director of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), an alliance spearheaded by island leaders, believes many islanders are painfully aware of climate change and wider environmental threats. In Vanuatu, Palau and the Seychelles, for example, they are already acting to manage the risks – whether by introducing locally managed marine reserves or banning plastic bags and straws, she said. “You can go to a village virtually anywhere, and they understand that climate change is impacting them,” she added. “Heaps of changes are being made … There has been a big shift away from waiting for other people to do things.” PEOPLE AGAINST PLASTIC One area that has seen a “huge push”, said Brown, is action to clean up plastic waste, which is polluting the oceans to the tune of 8 million to 13 million tonnes per year. Eight million tonnes is like covering an area 34 times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island to ankle-depth, according to a study by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California-Santa Barbara. On the Indonesian island of Bali, tour guide Wayan Aksara joined, and later became chairman of Trash Hero Indonesia after getting a growing number of complaints from clients about rubbish on its once-pristine beaches. The community group, which has more than 20 chapters across Indonesia and about 12 on Bali, uses social media to organize weekly garbage collection events for volunteers. “There is a plastic problem in Bali … We need time but we (have) started already,” Aksara told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Big things start from small things.” On Ibiza, a Balearic island off Spain’s east coast known for its clubbing scene, activists are pooling efforts to raise awareness of the growing plastic problem among its 144,000 residents and 3.25 million annual visitors. Love Ibiza Now, one of about 20 organizations in a “Plastic Free Ibiza” alliance started in late June, is promoting beach cleans, tote bags and biodegradable straws, for instance, and recruiting villa rental agencies, restaurants and top DJs to help sell an eco-friendly approach to tourists. “The thing that makes this do-able is the small size of the island,” said Sarah Drewer, who runs online communications for Love Ibiza Now. “The message has to be really simple and without judgment.” SMART AND SUSTAINABLE To manage scarce resources better and grow their economies cleanly, some islands are turning to smart technology and digital solutions. On drought-prone Mallorca, another of Spain’s four main Balearic islands, the small town of Esporles is experimenting with the “Internet of Things”, installing sensors to monitor water consumption and help detect leaks faster. It plans to extend its antenna-based network to check on air pollution and ease parking problems in busy summer months. “I think the data gives us very valuable information – to analyze it and understand the next steps we need to take,” said the town’s 30-year-old mayor, Maria Ramon Salas. Meanwhile, across Europe’s islands, authorities are aiming to adopt renewable energy technologies to shrink the expense of providing electricity and cut their climate-changing emissions. Energy costs on the continent’s 2,400 inhabited islands are between 100 and 400 percent higher than on the mainland, Christopher Jones, senior energy advisor at the European Commission, told an April conference on “smart islands”. But in the past five years, renewables – from solar plants with battery storage to offshore wind turbines – have become cheaper, and switching to them creates jobs, he added. “Today we have extraordinary opportunities,” he said. “We are at the start of an energy revolution on islands.” The tiny Greek island of Tilos, for example – which suffers regular power cuts – is betting on a new hybrid wind and solar power plant to meet its electricity needs. Until this summer, Tilos got all its electricity from a diesel power plant on the island of Kos, 69 km (43 miles) away – which struggles to meet demand in the peak tourist season. Mayor Maria Kamma hopes Tilos’ Europe-funded push for a self-sustaining clean energy supply will go beyond keeping hotel lights on, and ensure residents “have a very good standard of living”, allowing them to work there all year round, deterring young people from leaving and even enticing newcomers. Experts say a rise in renewable energy provision on islands also could help entrepreneurs like former development worker Joanna Edghill. She and her husband set up an electric car company on the Caribbean island of Barbados five years ago. Their business, called Megapower, has since sold 300 electric vehicles and set up 50 charging stations plus a handful of solar car-ports on the 34 km-long island – and is now expanding in the region. Faced with high fuel import costs, “the Caribbean is ripe for the electrification of transportation”, said Curtis Boodoo, an academic working on the issue with the CARICOM regional group of 15 countries. GROW YOUR OWN Sourcing an adequate supply of food can also send import bills sky-rocketing for islands in the Caribbean and beyond. In many places, residents and visitors get most of their food from shipping containers, said Ian McNeel, who co-founded Slow Food Barbados, which promotes local organic produce and runs school programs to reconnect children with farming. Poor families in Barbados can spend up to three-quarters of their income on food, often buying low-quality imported products that contribute to bad diets driving obesity and diabetes, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). But some Caribbean farmers are working to reverse that trend by reviving traditional crops and sharing their knowledge, said Arno Boersma, manager of the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. They include award-winning Belmont Estate, a 17th-century plantation on Grenada that produces organic cocoa and spices, and runs farm tours, a restaurant and a museum, he noted. Besides a shortage of home-grown food, many islands also suffer from insufficient drinking water – but the islanders of Kavaratti, capital of the Lakshadweep archipelago, a group of 36 islands in the Arabian Sea off India, are making their own. Once forced to use brackish water as the sea seeped into their limited groundwater supplies, they now have a locally developed desalination plant. “The best part is that we can close our eyes and drink a glass of water without worrying about falling ill,” resident Khadeeja Lavanakkal told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Buoyed by the project’s success, the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology set up two more desalination plants on Lakshadweep islands in 2011, and is now building six more, hoping to power them in future with the ocean’s energy. REFUGEES WELCOME? The common wisdom is that as environmental pressures worsen with climate change – making it harder to fish, farm and find clean water – some island populations might be forced to look for a new home. In the Pacific, that has raised ethical questions about whether larger countries like New Zealand should offer humanitarian visas to so-called “climate migrants” – a policy now under consideration. Some low-lying islands, such as Kiribati, have bought land elsewhere with a view to moving whole communities, while Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands has plans to shift its capital to a safer location. But in other regions, where sea level rise is less of an existential threat, some islands are seeing migrants arrive, not leave – and governments are grappling with how to handle them. Trinidad and Tobago, for example, has received asylum requests from about 3,300 Venezuelans struggling to survive amid a political crisis and harsh recession at home, according to April data from the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). Ambulance driver Miguel Vegas, 39, is seeking refugee status for himself and his family. “We just want permission to work. We want to pay taxes,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The government of the twin-island nation is working on a new asylum system, as lawyers say the current process does not meet international obligations to protect asylum seekers. But the influx of Venezuelans is causing anxiety over whether there are enough jobs and social services to go round. On the Greek island of Tilos, which has welcomed about 30 Syrian refugees fleeing war back home, restaurants and other businesses offer the newcomers work in the tourist season. But there is little employment for the rest of the year. Abdulkader Hamo, a Kurdish refugee who left Syria with his family last summer, says his children are happy on Tilos, where they go to school and are no longer afraid of air strikes. Nonetheless, he is considering moving elsewhere. “There is no work here. It’s not great for a family,” he said. Anastasia Giannakopoulou, a social worker with Greek aid group Solidarity Now, said refugees face the same difficulties as the 550 local residents, “living in a small place”, with some seeking work on other islands in winter. The authorities are committed to creating job openings for everyone, such as a planned cheese factory using milk from island goats that will employ 15 people, including six refugees. “This is a really sustainable and profitable business which can withstand the passing of time, and grow by adding more refugees in future,” said Tilos’ Mayor Kamma. A HAND UP While there is no shortage of solutions to island problems, not all are moving at the same speed, creating a hunger for more knowledge and finance, experts say. “We need to figure out how to give a hand up to those that are going to struggle,” said GLISPA’s Brown. Many island treasuries, especially in the Caribbean, are massively indebted, and lack the cash to build back better after disasters or pursue a more sustainable economic model. Some Caribbean islands are selling citizenship and passports to foreigners for chunky donations or investments. “It’s bringing in an enormous amount of money, and it’s helping us to reduce our debt burden in a very serious way,” said Keith Mitchell, Grenada’s prime minister. After the 2017 hurricanes, Saint Kitts and Nevis offered citizenship for a family of four in return for a $150,000 payment to a relief fund. Those involved say vigorous vetting eliminates applicants with criminal backgrounds, on international watch lists or involved in money laundering. But analysts say security risks remain and tax loopholes are easily exploited. Overall, islands face big hurdles in attracting donor funds and private investment, noted the World Bank’s Hallegatte. Their governments often lack the staff to prepare and sell projects to potential backers. The investment sought is often too small to appeal, and the cost of making deals and doing business is very high due to remote locations, he added. But international development banks can help by working with islands to group diverse resilience projects and market them to investors as green bonds, Hallegatte said. Regional insurance pools are also helping island states get quick cash to kick-start recovery after a disaster – although they have attracted more governments in the Caribbean than the Pacific so far. Under one innovative financing model, eight Caribbean island states have set up national trust funds to protect biodiversity and manage natural resources wisely – and are putting in their own cash to match donor contributions, noted GLISPA’s Brown. Yet despite “exciting” developments, there remains a gap in securing investment on the scale required, she added. “There’s a huge amount of resources needed for islands to get to where they want to be, and also just to become more resilient to all the changes that are going on,” she said. Reporting by Megan Rowling in Barcelona and Mallorca; Sophie Hares in Grenada and Barbados; Sebastien Malo in the British Virgin Islands; Gregory Scruggs in Trinidad and Tobago; Isabelle Gerretsen in Tilos, Greece; Anuradha Nagaraj in Lakshadweep, India; and Michael Taylor in Bali, Indonesia; writing by Megan Rowling; editing by Laurie Goering, Robert Carmichael and Belinda Goldsmith. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate; change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/ Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When the Caribbean island of Barbuda was battered by Hurricane Irma last September, about 90 percent of homes were destroyed or damaged, and the entire population had to be evacuated. Since the school year ended last month, the pace of families returning from neighboring Antigua – where many lodged with relatives or in state-run centers – has picked up, even though reconstruction is unfinished, the Red Cross said. Almost half of Barbuda’s roughly 1,800 people have gone back, as the cash-strapped, twin-island nation works on ways to protect people from future disasters while waiting for promised aid funds to rebuild homes – which could take years. On Caribbean Statistics Day, PM Mitchell Hails Unwavering… Oct 9, 2020 Greater Focus on Regional Agriculture center_img Oct 7, 2020 Oct 15, 2020 You may be interested in… CDF, IRENA Collaborate to Boost Low-Carbon Investments in… How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months awayOP-ED By Irwin LaRocque and Achim Steiner*  Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only…November 17, 2017In “Anguilla”CDB approves US$29M to rehabilitate infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Irma in Antigua and BarbudaDecember 14, 2017, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved US$29M in funding to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to assist with recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Irma in September. The funds will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct…December 15, 2017In “Antigua & Barbuda”CARICOM Secretary-General – saddened by deaths from Hurricane IrmaSecretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has expressed his sadness at the deaths caused by Hurricane Irma in its path through the region. “I am saddened to hear of the loss of life the Secretary-General said.  “I extend my sympathies to the families of the deceased and…September 7, 2017In “Anguilla”Share this on WhatsApplast_img read more