TORONTO, Canada, Tuesday August 30, 2016 - The Canadian government yesterday updated its travel advisory for nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, among a list of countries across the world.
And it's the Zika virus that's responsible.
The government has urged its citizens travelling to the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, to "exercise a high degree of caution".
It suggests that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should avoid travel to those countries.
"If travel cannot be avoided or postponed strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed due to the association between Zika virus infection and increased risk of serious health effects on their developing foetus," the travel advisory states.
Zika is caused by a virus which is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her developing foetus. In addition, Zika virus can be sexually transmitted, and the virus can persist for an extended period of time in the semen of infected males.
Symptoms of Zika virus can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days and the majority of those infected do not have symptoms. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection although trials are underway.
The World Famous Frigate Bay Strip will be undergoing major upgrades and enhancement shortly. That's according to Minister of Tourism Hon. Lindsay Grant.
Minister Grant mentioned the exciting new developments at the Frigate Bay Strip recently.
"The government considers that we have to do our part so we have just broken ground more or less not officially as yet but probably in the next month or so for the 7 million dollar infrastructure we are placing on the frigate bay strip in St. Kitts to enhance the tourism product," he informed.
Minister Grant said he expects plans will be put in place to "replenish and re-energize" the beaches in Frigate Bay and along the coastline which have been damaged by coastal erosion.
The Frigate Bay Strip is the hub of island nightlife, food and entertainment in the Federation. Bars and Restaurants such as Mr X' Shiggidy Shack, Vibes Bar and Grill, Boozies, Buddies, Inons', Breezes and the Docks are just some of the establishments currently housed at the strip.
The $7 Million upgrade will likely include a boardwalk, parking and amenities.
The Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris led Team UNITY Administration announced on Thursday they entry of another off shore University to St.Kitts-Nevis.
In a Cabinet Briefing issued on Thursday afternoon it was stated that Cabinet considered and approved an application for a new university to be built in St. Kitts and Nevis. In doing so, Cabinet took note of the growth in the offshore education sector and its benefits to the economy through housing, entertainment and other areas.
With over 3000 students across 7 Universities The Off-Shore education sector in St.Kitts-Nevis accounts for roughly 14% of the federation's economy.
There are seven off-shore schools in St. Kitts and Nevis, six on St. Kitts and one in Nevis. Accredited off-shore education institutions are International University of Graduate Studies (IUGS), International University of Nursing (IUON), International University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine (IUHS), Medical University of the Americas (MUA), Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Medicine and Health Sciences (UMHS) and Windsor University School of Medicine.
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN):Special Olympian hopefuls on St. Kitts and Nevis will participate in their National Games starting this Wednesday at the Kim Collins Athletics Stadium.
Nadine Natta, Special Olympics Association Board Member, told WINN FM that around fifty athletes will contest a number of events with a view to qualifying for the Special Olympics National Summer Games Sheffield, England in August 2017.
"From St. Kitts and Nevis we have about fifty athletes who will be participating in the Games. We will have athletics on Wednesday, including walking, running and other events. On Thursday we head to Nevis for floor hockey or bocce and on Saturday we have the swimming competitions at the St. Christopher Club in Frigate Bay," she said.
On Wednesday the events begin at 9:30 am and run until 5pm and on Saturday the swimming completion will take place at the St. Christopher Club from 9:30am to 3pm. Teams from Connecticut and St. Maarten will be competing with the local athletes. The teams will all comprise adults and young children.
The Association is extending an invitation to the general public to attend the games and show their support for the Special Olympians. The 2015 contingent to the games returned home with several medals.
"We're asking the general public to come on out and support these events; they are all free of cost so we want you to come and show support for these athletes, cheer them on, and show them that we care about Special Olympics."
Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 25, 2016 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is preparing to tap further into diplomatic channels as it engages the Government of Canada to restore visa-free access for nationals traveling to the North American country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Mark Brantley, said that while no formal discussions were held with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his recent family vacation in Nevis, there is a plan to "engage Canada formally."
"We have unfortunately been delayed in that engagement because of the elections in Canada," Minister Brantley said, referring to the October 2015 Federal Elections which saw a change in government. However, the foreign affairs minister indicated that he has since met on the sidelines with his Canadian counterpart in Malta and had discussions on several matters.
St. Kitts and Nevis also has a formal presence in Canada in the person of High Commissioner, Her Excellency Shirley Skerritt. Minister Brantley said last year's opening of the High Commission in Ottawa, Canada's capital city, highlighted the government's commitment to strengthen the existing relationship and springboard discussions on the restoration of visa-free travel.
"I can't make promises but I feel optimistic that we will overcome this particular hurdle," the foreign minister stated. "I think that it is important to restore it because it is important for our reputation; it is important for our people to be able to travel freely to as many countries as possible.”
St. Kitts and Nevis enjoys good standing in many international circles and according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the twin-island federation is one of the leaders in economic performance and projected growth in the Caribbean and Central America.
Senior Diplomat Brantley said that it is key, to build on St. Kitts and Nevis' positive reputation by seeking out new opportunities to establish diplomatic ties and also increase the federation's visa-free access to more countries.
"We are very close to concluding visa waiver with Russia," he said. "We are pursuing that with Ukraine, with Indonesia. We, just last year, got visa free access to Brazil, [and] we are pursuing it with South Africa."
Authorities are also working with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to have representation in South Africa. Efforts are being pursued to establish diplomatic relations with Senegal. Minister Brantley added that Nigeria is an important "center of power" on the African continent and that continued engagement at the honorary consul level will continue. Establishing honorary consuls in Ghana and Ethiopia are also being considered, he said.