Don’t let the migration target millstone drag back the British economy

Missed targets are often cause for concern and embarrassment for the ministers involved. In the case of immigration, however, it should be celebrated.Net immigration from the EU has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years, at 87,000 in the year to March, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Yet a rising number of non-EU migrants means net migration remains almost three times above the upper range of the government’s arbitrary target of reducing numbers to the “tens of thousands”. Don’t let the migration target millstone drag back the British economy Friday 24 August 2018 9:00 am whatsapp It has been a drumbeat from business for years: immigration is not a zero sum game, and we can all benefit if it is handled properly. Yet it bears repeating, not least because the government is showing signs of a welcome u-turn: removing the immigration target would be a triumph of good policy. The “tens of thousands” target has been a millstone around the neck of the Tories since it was made official government policy almost by accident. Drop it before it drags back the economy. The discomfort within the Cabinet is increasingly clear. Sajid Javid, with his liberal instincts, was an unlikely choice to to serve as Home Secretary in a May government, but his particular distaste for limiting immigration is clear from the grimace whenever “tens of thousands” is mentioned in his vicinity. Liam Fox, meanwhile, says it will be reviewed after Brexit.If the government has backed itself into a corner, it may be offered a back door out by an independent review of the economic impact of migration. We know what any review will find. The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that immigrants provide a net benefit to the economy. Immigrants are workers; immigrants are the bearers of skills and knowledge from abroad; immigrants are taxpayers; immigrants are the creators of extra demand in the economy.Much of the government’s current predicament can be traced back to May’s predecessor, David Cameron. He signed up to the “tens of thousands” target despite knowing that it would be harmful to the economy if achieved. The thing is, he never intended to meet it. However, his political game-playing legitimised the arguments of those who do seek to limit immigration.There may be localised cases where migration has had a negative effect on wages or public services (although this is contested), but this is a failure of government distribution of spending, not an inevitable consequence of immigration.Meanwhile, unemployment is at four-decade lows and businesses are hoarse from their warnings of skills shortages. As our feature on London’s booming tech sector today makes clear, firms look with horror at the idea of further restrictions on bringing workers in from abroad when there are roles to fill. Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryUndoHealthyGemBaby Has Never Eaten Sugar Or Carbs, Wait Till You See Her TodayHealthyGemUndoZen HeraldEllen Got A Little Too Personal With Blake Shelton, So He Said ThisZen HeraldUndoBeverly Hills MDPlastic Surgeon Explains: “Doing This Every Morning Can Snap Back Sagging Skin” (No Creams Needed)Beverly Hills MDUndoinvesting.comThe Military Spent $1 Billion On this New Vehicle, And Here’s The First Lookinvesting.comUndomoneycougar.comDiana’s Butler Reveals Why Harry Really Married Meghanmoneycougar.comUndoMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailUndoTotal PastThis Woman’s Obituary Was So Harsh, Her Son Was Left ReelingTotal PastUndoVitaminewsShe Had No Clue Why The Crowd Started Cheering HerVitaminewsUndo Jasper Jolly whatsapp Share More From Our Partners Astounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comWhy people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxesnypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the read more

As a bat-killing disease spreads westward, volunteers gather data on Southeast Alaska populations

first_imgEnvironment | Science & Tech | Southeast | WildlifeAs a bat-killing disease spreads westward, volunteers gather data on Southeast Alaska populationsJuly 11, 2019 by Ari Snider, KFSK – Petersburg Share:A cluster of little brown bats exhibiting the symptoms of white-nose syndrome. (Photo courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)Volunteers in Petersburg and several other Southeast Alaska communities are taking a tally of the region’s bat population for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The agency launched the project in 2014 and has been racing against the clock to get accurate data before a deadly bat disease reaches Alaska.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.These surveys begin precisely 45 minutes past sunset — which, in late June in Southeast, means the route starts at around 10:30 p.m. Sunny Rice, a marine advisory agent with the Alaska Sea Grant, starts by heading out on Mitkof Highway.The beginning of the route takes Rice down dirt logging roads for more than an hour. She has a magnetic cylindrical recording device attached to the roof of her car, with a wire running into a handheld GPS tracker. The survey relies on the recorder to take an acoustic snapshot of the bats, which use high-frequency sound to navigate and hunt for prey. Fish and Game then compiles all the snapshots to get a bigger picture of the region’s bat population.Rice sets off down the logging road, winding through National Forest land in the middle section of Mitkof Island, hoping to hear some bats.A satellite image shows the locations of bat calls recorded for the survey. (ADF&G website screenshot)Tory Rhoads, the Fish and Game biologist overseeing the survey, said the main objective right now is to find the caves where the bats roost for the winter. That’s partly to better monitor for white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects roosting bats.“And since we only know of 10 bat overwintering roosts in the whole state, it’s really hard for us to monitor for white-nose syndrome,” Rhoads said. “Which is why one of the key things we’re focusing on is locating more of these areas.”White-nose syndrome has decimated bat populations across the country. So far, the disease has not reached Alaska — but it is creeping westward, and several cases have turned up in Washington state in recent years.Rhoads said the driving surveys will hopefully act as an early warning system if white-nose syndrome does arrive here.“And if we were to see sharp declines in the number of calls conducted on surveys during times of the year we would expect a lot of activity, that would be kind of a red flag for us and something we would investigate further,” she said.Fish and Game’s monitoring project has been going on since 2014, and it’s currently active in seven Southeast communities. In Petersburg, all you need to do to sign up is stop by the library to fill out some paperwork and pick up a box of audio recording equipment.Chris Weiss works at the Petersburg Public Library and is the local coordinator for the project. She said this year they’ve had less participation than they’ve had in the past.“Part of the problem is that a lot of people who’ve done it in the past are just not in town, either any longer or this year,” Weiss said. “They just have not been in town during the times that we’ve needed them.”A small bat is pictured with White-nose syndrome. (Public domain photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)Out on the logging roads, Rice and wasn’t hearing any bats. She did, however, count about a dozen porcupines. Then, finally, an unmistakable burst of echolocation clicks came through the speaker — slowed down and rendered audible to the human ear by the recording equipment. Soon the calls were coming in left and right.In the end, Rice thinks she heard more than 30 bats. As the project continues, Rhoads said the next step is getting a general sense of where the bats overwinter. At that point, she said they hope to bring in scent-tracking dog teams to zero-in on the exact location of the roosting spots.Share this story:last_img read more

2021 Edison Festival of Light Parade canceled

first_imgWATCH: Fort Myers lotto looter on the run with stacks of scratchers June 16, 2021 RELATEDTOPICS Advertisement AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 comments Thief scoops up tip jar at Fort Myers ice cream shop June 16, 2021 Dealer found guilty for selling drugs in Fort Myers June 17, 2021 FMPD surrounds home after shooting June 12, 2021center_img AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 comments FORT MYERS, Fla. — The 2021 Edison Festival of Light Parade has been canceled, organizers announced Friday morning.Citing coronavirus concerns, they decided not to move forward with the parade, which was scheduled for February 20, 2021.“It was not a decision that came lightly. We are passionate about this parade and it is our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of attendees and participants this year more than ever,” said Board President Steve Sizemore.Some of the smaller Edison Festival of Light events that allow for social distancing measures will still take place in February. Advertisement“We hope that the COVID-19 threat is gone or reduced by February but we don’t have a crystal ball. For planning purposes, we had to decide now. We opted for better safe than sorry,” Sizemore said.The Edison Festival of Light is Southwest Florida’s largest and longest-running festival. The event was estimated to draw in 250,000 spectators and nearly 2,000 participants. Advertisement AdvertisementTags: Edison Festival of LightFort Myersparadelast_img read more

Several New Brunswick companies hit with cease-trade order

William Watson Priest, of Nackawic, N.B.; Christopher Raymond Phillips, of Nackawic, N.B.; 613247 N.B. Ltd.; Priest Phillips Management Corp.; DLC Priest Financial; Priest Financial Group; Priest Phillips Professional Corp.; and Centum Home Mortgage Corp. A temporary cease-trade order has been issued by a panel of the New Brunswick Securities Commission to two individuals and to several companies based in the Nackawic region. The hearing scheduled for 18 November, was not held because the respondents agreed to the terms of the order beforehand. IE Staff Mouth mechanic turned market manipulator Keywords Cease trade orders,  EnforcementCompanies New Brunswick Securities Commission Share this article and your comments with peers on social media BFI investors plead for firm’s sale PwC alleges deleted emails, unusual transactions in Bridging Finance case Related news Facebook LinkedIn Twitter The order prohibits Priest, Phillips and the companies listed above from soliciting money from anyone for any investment-related activity. The order also prohibits the respondents from relying on any exemptions to New Brunswick securities law. Priest and Phillips are prohibited from becoming or acting as a director or officer of any issuer, registrant or mutual fund manager. This order will remain in effect until otherwise ordered by a panel of the NBSC. The respondents are: read more

Paying for health care in old age biggest worry among Canadians: poll

first_img Two thirds of Canadians say their biggest concern as they get older is their health, but less than a quarter report that they’ve planned or saved up for health costs in retirement, according to a survey conducted for Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF). The 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index found that 66 per cent of those surveyed said deteriorating health was their biggest worry going into old age. Only 22 per cent said they had made financial plans for unexpected health emergencies once they stopped working even though more than half (53 per cent) said they worried about the cost of drugs and medical treatments. Forty-seven per cent said worried about needing more long-term care than they have the money for, while 45 per cent said they fret over whether they’ll outlive their savings. Among a subgroup of 444 retirees polled, 69 per cent said they did not stop working on the date they planned, with 41 per cent of that group citing health concerns as the mean reason they had to leave work early. Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada, says people often think they will always have the option to work longer past retirement but that isn’t always the case when a health issue arises. “The statistics show your retirement date may arrive sooner than you expected,” he said. “Simply working longer to make ends meet may not be possible after serious health events force many Canadians to leave the workforce, triggering a surprise retirement date.” Of those who say they went through a major health event, 42 per cent said it resulted in either some or significant hardship, while 25 per cent said it had reduced or wiped out their savings. The online survey of nearly 2,800 Canadian adults between the ages of 18 to 80 was conducted between June 18 and July 2 for Sun Life Financial by Ipsos Reid. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population. Snowbirds win legal battle to reinstate out-of-province medical coverage Canadian Press Earnings surge for Great-West Lifeco in Q4 Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Survey finds Canadians aren’t sure how much they’ll need for retirement Keywords Retirement,  Long-term care insurance Related news Share this article and your comments with peers on social medialast_img read more

Police and Military Personnel Must Submit Information for Voting on Aug. 21 – EOJ

first_imgRelatedPolice and Military Personnel Must Submit Information for Voting on Aug. 21 – EOJ RelatedPolice and Military Personnel Must Submit Information for Voting on Aug. 21 – EOJ Police and Military Personnel Must Submit Information for Voting on Aug. 21 – EOJ UncategorizedJuly 21, 2007 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is appealing to members of the Police Force and the Military, and Election Day workers to submit all relevant information to the office in order to facilitate a smooth voting process on August 21 when they go to the polls.Speaking with JIS News, Public Education Officer at the EOJ, Tekese Gilpin-Allen, emphasised that it was vital that these persons get their information updated, so that they could be registered for voting.She pointed out that the EOJ would extract three separate lists from the general voters’ list for police personnel, election day workers and the military in order for these persons to be able to vote before election day.Mrs. Gilpin-Allen explained that the reason why these persons vote before the announced date of the general election, is to ensure that they are available to serve in their various capacities on election day.“The police officers’ voting process is similar to the general election but with a few differences,” she noted, adding that police personnel did not necessarily vote in their constituencies on election day, like civilians, as “they may not be stationed in their constituency, therefore, the EOJ will have to get their ballots to them.”According to the Public Education Officer, the ballots would be sent to a polling station located in the division in which the police officer is stationed. She explained that after each ballot is cast, it would be placed in a sealed envelope and then sent to the EOJ’s head office, at the close of the poll. However, when members of the public go to vote on election day, these ballots will be sent to the respective returning officers across the island.She informed that some 50 polling stations across the island would be opened on August 21 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for those persons to vote, while on election day (August 27), civilians are allowed to vote between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.While encouraging all registered persons to exercise their franchise, Mrs. Gilpin-Allen pointed out that persons who are registered to vote on August 21 must do so on that day as they would not be able to vote on election day.“For persons who are registered to vote on August 21, who did not get to do so, they will not be permitted to vote on the general election day. This is because their names will not appear on the general voters’ list, as it was already extracted to be placed on a separate list,” she stressed.On August 21, all polling stations will have Presiding officers, Poll clerks and Indoor and Outdoor agents.center_img Advertisements RelatedPolice and Military Personnel Must Submit Information for Voting on Aug. 21 – EOJlast_img read more

Families of Accident Victims Will Not Be Neglected – Vaz

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), with responsibility for Project Implementation and Service Delivery, Daryl Vaz, has assured that the families of the 14 persons who died in the truck accident in the Rio Grande Valley, Portland, on December 19, would not be neglected in their time of bereavement.He also emphasised that the Government would work closely with its agencies and non-Governmental organisations (NGOs), to ensure that the best care and protection are provided for the children they have left behind.Mr. Vaz was speaking at a meeting with residents of Mill Bank and surrounding areas in Portland, on December 23.Eight of the persons who died were residents of Mill Bank, while three were from Comfort Castle and three from Ginger House.The State Minister pointed out that the Government would be underwriting the cost of the funerals for the 14 persons who died in the accident.He said that a special team has been selected to work with the affected families in planning the funerals, and that all the funeral expenses would be handled through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.Mr. Vaz noted that a special fund has been launched by the Government to take care of the welfare of the children of the dead persons, and that both the OPM and the Ministry of Agriculture have already contributed $500,000, each.He also added that the Ministry of Education and the Child Development Agency have been requested to make a full assessment of the children’s living condition, in order to determine their needs.At the same meeting, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the Ministry feels a special attachment to the tragedy, as all the persons who died, were members of the farming community.Expressing condolences to members of the affected families, Dr. Tufton said the adverse conditions under which farmers are forced to operate, sometimes place them at great risk, and presented them with strong challenges.He said one of the developments which should result from the tragedy, is the putting in place of appropriate infrastructure, which would enable farmers to transport their produce, without having to encounter the risks with which they are presently confronted.Dr. Tufton pointed out that in addition to the money contributed by the Ministry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), would be embarking on a number of initiatives, aimed at providing additional help for the relatives of the victims, to enable them to overcome any difficulties which might arise from the tragedy. RelatedFamilies of Accident Victims Will Not Be Neglected – Vaz Families of Accident Victims Will Not Be Neglected – Vaz UncategorizedDecember 25, 2008 Advertisementscenter_img RelatedFamilies of Accident Victims Will Not Be Neglected – Vaz RelatedFamilies of Accident Victims Will Not Be Neglected – Vazlast_img read more

Forging ahead with better services for Adelaide train passengers

first_imgForging ahead with better services for Adelaide train passengers Passengers can expect better, safer and more frequent services on Adelaide’s rail network from the end of this month with experienced private operator Keolis Downer taking over running the trains from the 31st of January.Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, has met with the both the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and a representative from a breakaway group of local train drivers, to discuss the upcoming transition and future employment and training opportunities.During the meetings this week, Minister Wingard made it clear the timeline won’t be shifting and that the current offer on the table for drivers to transfer over to Keolis Downer won’t be changed.“As it stands a total of 83 drivers have accepted an offer of employment with Keolis Downer and another 88 remaining on the Government payroll will be made available to Keolis Downer to ensure essential public transport services continue to be delivered to the community,” Minister Wingard said.Drivers who’ve accepted a job with Keolis Downer have secured permanent on-going employment with no loss of terms or conditions, a transfer of all entitlements, free public transport travel, and a $15,000 incentive payment.They have also secured a commitment of no forced redundancies for the next three years, and the right to transfer to the future operator at the end of KD’s contract.Late last year a new enterprise agreement was also reached providing a 2 percent per annum pay rise for train drivers and other rail staff.The RTBU had been pushing for a $65,000 incentive payment and a 4 per cent per annum pay rise over four years despite both nurses and tram drivers accepting a 2 per cent rise just months earlier.“From next month Keolis Downer will also start delivering training programs for drivers to join the workforce.“Experienced drivers from other networks will undertake a 22 week program and will be ready to join the workforce in August.“Further intakes for 33 week-long programs in May and September 2021 and also early in 2022 for new drivers will mean that progressively drivers made available to Keolis for the transition will no longer be required and will be moved into roles elsewhere in government.“More than 1,000 applications were received by Keolis Downer for train driver positions and it’s clear there’s plenty of people excited and eager to join the sector.“The Marshall Government was elected to deliver better services and that is why we’re investing in our public transport network – to deliver better and more frequent train services.“This transition will not only deliver better services but will also mean very significant savings to SA taxpayers. We estimate around $118 million will be saved over 12 years which we can reinvest into other important projects.“The new Flinders Line has now opened, offering more than 12,000 additional trips per year, including late at night and on weekends.“We’re all about getting people from A to B faster so they can spend more time with their families and doing what they love. Public transport should be a convenience.“Keolis Downer has an exceptional track record of running successful public transport systems across Australia and around the world and I look forward to seeing our public transport patronage grow as a result.” /Public News. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Adelaide, agreement, AusPol, Australia, community, elected, employment, enterprise agreement, Flinders, future, Government, infrastructure, Minister, pay rise, running, SA, SA Government, South Australia, Transportlast_img read more

PPE kit seam sealing machine unveiled in Rajkot

first_img Add Comment Related Posts PPE kit seam sealing machine unveiled in Rajkot The cost of this machine will be 50 per cent lesser than those imported.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani launched the first indigenous seam sealing machine, which helps in manufacturing PPE kits.After launching the machine via video conference, Chief Minister Rupani congratulated the producers of the machine and the doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for this invention and said that medical staff is currently battling against the coronavirus and it is important to keep them safe.While giving the information about the hot air seam sealing machine, Director of Macpower CNC, Rupesh Mehta said that right now India is importing this machine from abroad, which has a higher cost and it takes about three to four months to get delivered, as per a statement.Mehta said, this indigenous seam sealing machine has been produced under the guidance of IMA, Rajkot, within a very short duration.The cost of this machine will be 50 per cent lesser than those imported. In the first batch, the company will manufacture 200 units of the machine at a cost of Rs 4 lakh.Dr Mayank Thakkar who is a part of the COVID-19 task force of IMA said, “It is necessary to seal the sewing part of PPE kits otherwise there is a possibility of virus transmission from this part. Kit becomes 100 per cent secured when it is completely sealed. This machine will make the PPE kits 100 per cent waterproof.”According to the statement, this machine made in Rajkot will soon be available in the market at affordable prices which will provide enough supply of such machines to the manufacturers of PPE kits in India. Macpower CNCPPE kitRajkotVijay Rupani Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healpha Comments (0) News Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025 Share MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals By ANI on May 13, 2020 Read Article Heartfulness group of organisations launches ‘Healthcare by Heartfulness’ COVID care app The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine storylast_img read more

Jamaican Makes Her Mark as UN Peacekeeper

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Oberlene Smith-Whyte, is making an impact as a United Nations peacekeeper, winning the respect of her colleagues and even insurgents in some of the most inhospitable countries around the globe.United Nations Peacekeeper, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Oberlene Smith-Whyte.The police officer, who has made the Government and people of Jamaica proud, through her work in war-torn countries such as Namibia, Liberia and Darfur in Africa, describes her missions as “adventures of a lifetime.”Relating her mission experience during the First Official Commemorative Ceremony and Exhibition of International Day of UN Peacekeepers at the Hilton Kingston hotel in New Kingston recently, DSP Smith-Whyte tells a story of hardships, violence, but eventual triumph and peace.She recalls the dread she felt at the briefing before leaving for that first mission to Namibia. “We were told when we were going to Namibia that we (might) not come back to Jamaica,” she tells her audience. “We were told that we were all going to die.”She remembers wives and mothers crying for their sons and husbands as they departed the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston for the African country, out of fear that their family members would not return home alive. “But we went, we saw and we conquered,” she says proudly.The trip to Liberia was even more terrifying and life threatening, she recalls.“We thought we would not survive. Everybody wanted to come home, some people cried and said they wouldn’t make it, that they want to go back to Jamaica,” she says.But, it was in Darfur, where she spent two years, that she was to make a significant impact. A province of Sudan, Darfur, since 2003, has been ravaged by ongoing guerilla conflicts, with killings, torture, rape, and destruction of homes and farms, stemming from long-standing tension between the country’s black population and the nomadic Arabs.Despite international outrage, Darfur remains one of the world’s worst human rights and humanitarian catastrophes.With more than 2.7 million people having fled their homes, and living in camps around Darfur’s main towns, with little access to basic amenities, DSP Smith-Whyte explains that it was a complete culture shock when she arrived in the country. “Darfur, I can tell you, (it is like) the beginning of time,” she relates. “This was where we got the real experience of mission life.”She says that during her stay in Darfur, all 100 female peacekeepers shared a massive tent.DSP Smith-Whyte says that the inhumane and disrespectful manner in which women are treated in the Sudanese region broke her heart. “My first day out in the village, I returned to my tent and I cried uncontrollably,” she says.She explains that in Darfur if it is suspected that a woman is having an extramarital affair, she is mutilated. “A limb is cut off and she is left to die,” she says. “One hundred per cent female mutilation and circumcision is practiced in Darfur and they (do not have access) to medical services. They use hot water and scissors, a razor blade, a piece of old knife or anything that is sharp to do that job and it is up to the woman to survive or bleed to death.”The deputy superintendent says she and the other Jamaican peacekeepers, particularly the women, did everything they could to make the lives of the women of Darfur a little bit easier during their stay in the country.While in Darfur, DSP Smith-Whyte was selected to serve as a Team Fight Commander, a position equivalent to a Divisional Commander in Jamaica and the highest rank any Jamaican woman peacekeeper has achieved so far. She says that her selection was greeted with some opposition. “I was told that I would not succeed, because this is a patriarchal society and no woman can come here and make it,” she says.She reveals that during the mission, she visited the town of Tawila, which has been dubbed ‘Deadly Tawila’ because of the horrific acts of violence that occur in that area. “Tawila has a number of rebel groups and only one of the groups signed the Darfur peace agreement, all the others are against the UN,” she says. “So our task, as UN peacekeepers, was to get them onboard to be a part of the peace agreement,” she says.DSP Smith-Whyte explains however that because of the known viciousness and fearlessness of the rebel groups in Tawila, her team members refused to accompany her on patrols into the area. “This was understandable because of the difficult nature of Darfur. You could go out and never come back, you could be kidnapped, that has taken place quite frequently,” she says.“So, I took it on myself to go out,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘my Government sent me here and I have to do something in Darfur before I go back home.”The Team Fight Commander arranged a meeting with the military commander in Darfur and begged him to accompany her to meet with the rebel groups. “The commander said ‘yes I will come with you to meet the rebels’ and from the 90 police officers that I commanded in Darfur, only one volunteered to come with me.“Even the one language assistant that we had said he would not come with us, because the rebel group that we were going to meet was very feared,” she says.DSP Smith-Whyte says that as they neared the location of the rebels, the members began to surround her team.“We were down in a valley and we started seeing all the rebel vehicles start coming in and positioning themselves strategically. My heart was (beating fast). I said ‘Lord this seems to be my last day on earth, why did I come?” she recalls.She says the members of the rebel group began to push them around, interrogating them and intimidating them with guns. “I was fearful and nervous,” she says. .but when the time came for me to talk and I introduced myself as a Jamaican and told them that the Jamaican Government sent me there, they said ‘you stop there my sister, you are welcomed.”DSP says from that first meeting she was able to develop a relationship with the rebel groups and their leaders in Darfur, which eventually led to them signing a peace treaty with the UN. She says she developed a reputation as an efficient and capable Jamaican peacekeeper and did much to raise the Jamaica flag even higher.“We have no idea in Jamaica, what Jamaica means to people abroad. You tell someone you are Jamaican and 50 per cent of your job is done, we need to protect that,” she implores.Chief Unda She says at the end of her two years in Darfur (her stay was extended an extra year) the same men she was told would never accept her, held a demonstration to convince the authorities to again extend her term. “They called me Chief Unda’, that is the name they called the men in the highest rank, that is what they started calling me. Me, who they said would not have succeeded because I am a woman, but I set out in my mind that I would make a difference, because I am a Jamaican.”DSP Smith-Whyte says her aim is to not only help to bring peace and security to war-torn countries around the globe, but to also inspire women and girls from all walks of life. She also wants young Jamaican girls to know that deep down inside, no matter their socio-economic background or educational achievements, they all possess the ability to accomplish their dreams and overcome life’s obstacles.Jamaica’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions began in the 1980s with 23 Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) officers deployed to Namibia. Since then, Jamaica has increased its presence to having its nationals serve under the UN flag in some of the most difficult and hostile areas of the earth.Over 60 peacekeepers from Jamaica, since 1989, have joined the UN and contributed substantially in bringing peace and stability to troubled countries around the globe.Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have participated in peacekeeping missions across the globe, including in El Salvador, Liberia, Lebanon, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Namibia. They have been engaged in tasks such as promoting reconciliation, strengthening the security sector and the rule of law and supporting democratic elections.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in collaboration with the JCF recently hosted Jamaica’s first official ceremony to commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The Day is celebrated annually on May 29.The Jamaican peacekeepers were presented with certificates in honour of their invaluable contribution to various UN peacekeeping missions. Jamaican Makes Her Mark as UN Peacekeeper Foreign AffairsJuly 7, 2010 RelatedJamaican Makes Her Mark as UN Peacekeeper RelatedJamaican Makes Her Mark as UN Peacekeepercenter_img RelatedJamaican Makes Her Mark as UN Peacekeeper Advertisementslast_img read more