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Antigua & Barbuda
AGROTOURISM GROWS IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
In order to further promote tourism in Antigua and Barbuda and develop the agro-tourism industry, the agro-tourism sector began collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Tourism requested FAVACA's assistance to provide training to groups in the tourism and agriculture value-chain in Antigua and Barbuda. Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, Professor and Researcher at the University of Florida and the Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Institute, traveled to St. John's, Antigua June 24 - July 1, 2012. Upon arriving in Antigua, the FAVACA volunteer toured several local agro-tourism establishments and talked with proprietors and operators about implementing new safety measures for tourists while on the farms. The volunteer gained a better understanding of the current value-chain processes and their limitations. Pennington-Gray's taught farmers and extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture about agro-tourism basics and successful applications globally, regionally, and locally. The volunteer also discussed the benefits of partnerships and essential relationships for agro-tourism to thrive in the country. Farmers were very interested in creating farm tours and understood the need to start networking with taxi drivers and tour operators to help sell their product. A similar training was provided to taxi drivers and vendors to help provide a better understanding of agro-tourism and the opportunities created through tour packages and farm visits. A similar seminar for VIPs and tour operators was conducted and most participants understood that agro-tourism could lengthen visitors' stay and attract specialty tourists such as birdwatchers. Pennington-Gray also spoke to Ministry of Tourism staff to discuss agro-tourism trends and diversification. The industry needs to work with all value-chain actors on pricing and offering quality services and products. Pennington-Gray also met with members of the media to help them understand their role in promoting agro-tourism.
SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE TEAM ENACTED IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
For nearly ten years, the Directorate of Gender Affairs has collaborated with the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and Americas (FAVACA) on curbing issues of domestic violence in Antigua & Barbuda. Through numerous trainings from FAVACA experts in the field, the Directorate of Gender Affairs has been able to enact legislation to help prosecute domestic violence offenders while also putting into place a comprehensive program of action to deal with domestic violence. Since 2005, Antigua & Barbuda have been struggling with an increasing number of cases of rape and sexual assault.
Until now, victims of sexual assault and rape do not have a central location to receive care, treatment, or support which would enhance the investigation and prosecution of cases. Evidence collection is done at police stations most of which do not have personnel available during the evenings and victims have to wait until the morning to meet with a forensic expert to take samples. This lag time between the assault or rape and the collection of evidence often renders samples useless. To further amplify the problem, many forensic teams do not have proper knowledge in evidence collection causing much of the evidence collected by the police to be deemed inadmissible in court and the charges brought against defendants to be dropped. The courts dropping cases due to inadmissible evidence has a twofold affect: 1) future victims have less trust and confidence in seeking help from the police and therefore don't report the crimes, and 2) the same perpetrators of assault and rape continue committing the same crimes.
In November 2009, FAVACA supported the 2009 Florida Nurse of the Year Pam Kelly of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay to travel to St. John's, Antigua to provide a workshop on guiding communities in overcoming challenges to responding to sexual assault by improving the coordination of services for victims across professional disciplines and agencies. Particular attention was focused on the long-term objectives that a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) can pursue and sustain over time. Kelly met with health care professionals, law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, counselors, social workers, members of Parliament and advocates to provide each agency with training in best practices, victim interviewing techniques and evidence collection. A sexual assault team was created along with defining the team's mission statement and a mutually agreed upon list of best practices and plans to achieve those best practices. Upon her return to Florida, Kelly and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay donated one hundred (100) rape kits and sample forensic examination sheets to allow them to develop further standards.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs requested Pam Kelly of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay to continue her work with SART by training 18 sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) to collect forensic evidence on children, adults, and adolescents. From November 21-27, 2010, Kelly provided a forty-hour International Association of Forensic Nurses' training on sexual assault to prepare nurses for certification and clinical practice. The 18 SANE nurses trained will work in rotation to provide 24 hour coverage at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and will be called into the emergency room at the Mount St. John Medical Center (MSJMC) to provide examinations to victims of sexual assault. A mentorship program was also designed as a result of the training to allow other nurses and recently trained SANE nurses to obtain and enhance their clinical skills. In addition to the mentorship program, nurses will have the ability to attend additional trainings from Kelly through Skype teleconferencing. To ensure the nurses have the ability to practice collecting forensic evidence, Kelly left a variety of tools for the Directorate of Gender Affairs: a digital camera and memory card to photograph evidence and share with police and prosecutors, woods lamp and pelvic mannequin for practice, and Toluidine blue dye for exams. Kelly was also able to have the Florida Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) sponsor the head of SANE for one year to help her develop standards of practice and support. The IAFN have a variety of tools and documents that will be invaluable in helping to advance the SANE program in Antigua and Barbuda.
Kelly was asked to re-engage the SART team, a grouping of key stakeholders such as the Minister of Health, prosecutors, law enforcement, and medical personnel, to review a list of unresolved issues that will need to be enacted to advance the SANE. Issues such as the making photographs collected by SANE members during an exam admissible as evidence, examining consent issues for unconscious or intoxicated individuals, and developing standing orders with MSJMC for sexually transmitted infections (STI), pregnancy, and HIV to be reviewed, standardized and adopted by law enforcement, prosecutors, Ministry of Health, the Mount St. John Medical Center, and SANE nurses.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAINING IN ANTIGUA
The Directorate of Gender Affairs is committed to building a country in which women and men enjoy their full rights as individuals and are equal partners in shaping the economic, political, social, and development of their country. In the past several years, Antigua has seen an increase in sexual assault on women however due to insufficient training of police and medical personnel, cases are rarely brought to court due to lack of proper evidence collection. Therefore, the Directorate of Gender Affairs requested training to female nurses and sexual examiners in evidence collection for sexual assault cases. Pam Kelly of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay traveled to Antigua November 8-14, 2009 to provide the much needed training to female nurses and sexual assault examiners. Additionally, police officers and policy makers were also involved in the training to showcase the need for exams to take place in a medical facility instead of at police stations.
ANTIGUA SEEKS FIRE ANT SOLUTION
Julie-Ann Laudat, Technical Specialist of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda requested assistance for local farmers in developing an integrated pest management solution for the red imported fire ant - Solenopsis Invicta. First reported in Antigua in 1995, the fire ants are considered a major agricultural and urban pest with implications resulting in lower yields. Retired state entomologist Dr. Robert Woodruff of Gainesville, previously with the Florida Department of Agriculture, traveled March 5-7, 2006 to provide workshops to technical staff on control techniques effective in Florida. Woodruff traveled to several affected areas of the island with Ministry staff to place traps and talk with farmers. Several chemical and biological controls were discussed and data collected for the formulation of an overall pest management strategy.
ANTIGUA SEEKS END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.
Antigua's Directorate of Gender Affairs, in the wake of a recent attack on a female senior officer of government, staged a national conference and rally November 24-25 to raise awareness, and influence lawmakers on gender violence issues. The conference coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Over 100 women and men from 20 public and private organizations participated. Return volunteer consultant Dr. Mary Ann Jones, consulted November 22-26, 2005. Her technical assistance included development of a strategic plan to reduce the victimization of women and presentations at the national conference on: Overview of Violence Against Women: Nature, Extent, Causes and Consequences; Prevention and Response Strategies; and Integrated Approach to Eliminating Gender-Based Violence. Media coverage included ABS Television 10 and a front page article in The Daily Observer.
FLORIDA EDUCATOR GUIDES ANTIGUA TEACHERS TO INCORPORATE DRUG PREVENTION IN CURRICULUM.
Clarence Pilgrim, coordinator of the National Drug Information System at the Office of National Drug Control & Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP) in Antigua, requested assistance with developing standardized drug prevention materials for primary and secondary school teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Volunteer consultant Jayne Greenberg, Ed.D., executive director, Division of Life Skills and Special Projects, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, worked with five local officials to develop the framework of the outreach materials September 28 - October 1, 2003. It is envisioned that the information gained at the workshop will foster creative substance abuse prevention programs and projects that teachers can implement in their curriculum. Funding for this project was provided in part by the INL Office of the US Embassy - Barbados.
ANTIGUAN WOMEN LEARN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.
In collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) Trust for the Americas’ Women in Technology Program, Jaile Lima, computer specialist at Miami Coral Park Adult Education Center, and Daniel Arista-Salado, a free-lance IT consultant in Miami, traveled to Antigua to provide training in information technology. Ms. Sheila Roseau, executive director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua requested the FAVA/CA volunteers to provide training in basic computer applications, website design, spreadsheet, and power point training. This training is a follow-up to the OAS “Network Academy”, wherein an OAS volunteer was in Antigua for 3 months training women in computers. The volunteers held a successful week of training for 12 participants October 20-26, 2002.