Colors: Blue Color

Le Plaza Hotel's General Manager Marc Pierre-Louis hails Naomi Osaka's stunning victory at the US Open as "an achievement of which all Haitians should be incredibly proud."

Speaking in the euphoric aftermath of the 20-year-old's 6-2, 6-4 upset of 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams last weekend, the Haitian hotelier congratulated the first-time champion, whose father, Leonard Francois, is Haitian.

"Haitians all over the world, including here in Port-au-Prince, were watching the match and cheering throughout. Naomi played brilliantly to beat one of the greatest tennis players of all time, somebody whom she has idolized since childhood. That took nerves of steel," he said, while also highlighting the lifetime grit, tenacity and brilliance of Serena Williams, one of his favorite players.

"Naomi competed with confidence and all people of Haitian descent should be celebrating her victory," Pierre-Louis asserted.

While Osaka competes for Japan - the country of her birth and her mother's homeland - Pierre-Louis noted that the blossoming women's singles star is always quick to recognize her Haitian heritage, especially since she grew up with her Haitian grandmother in the United States.

"She is clearly proud of her Haitian heritage and it's inspiring to see her acknowledge it and its influence on her. The people of Haiti would be honored to welcome Naomi for a visit to celebrate our first Grand Slam champion properly, and for Haitian youth to be inspired by somebody they can identify with," he said.

Notable talents of Haitian heritage, including Bruny Surin and Barbara Pierre (athletics); Orlando Calixte (baseball); Joachim Alcine (boxing); and Vladimir Ducasse (American football), have achieved success in the sports world. "Because they represented other countries doesn't stop us from saluting them and sharing in their success," said Le Plaza's general manager.

"Naomi Osaka is the latest addition to this illustrious list and we'll continue to watch her progress," he affirmed.

A pioneering project to transform the lives of people in the Congo rainforest has secured a funding boost of £1.4million.

The University of Wolverhampton will work in five Congo Basin countries with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) as part of the project.

The £1.4m funding has been awarded to the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).

University experts will support forest governance with partners in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo on the project for the next three years.

The project was launched in 2017 when CIDT secured funding of £5million from the European Union.

New match funding to the project from the UK Department for International Development will support partners to collaborate with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to ensure effective engagement and response from forest law enforcement agencies, law makers and judiciary.

The next phase of the Citizen Voices for Change (CV4C) project will be launched in October with a workshop in Congo Brazzaville.

Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Programme Manager for the Citizen Voices for Change project, said: “We are delighted to have secured £1.4m from the Department for International Development for this important project in the Congo Basin.

“The aim of the project is to work in partnership with local organisations and communities to ensure private sector companies are working within their contracts and operating within EU timber regulations governing deforestation and legal exports.

“The new element of the project with partners Interpol focuses on effective engagement and response from forest law enforcement agencies, law makers and judiciary in national forest policy processes.

“This is a strategic new project component which will strengthen the role and visibility of the project and its partners in the region as champions of good forest governance.”

Caribbean nations must do more to help cultivate the gifts, talents and abilities of its young nationals.
Recognizing two award-winning culinary students of St. Lucia's Soufrière Comprehensive Secondary School, Bay Gardens Resorts Executive Director Sanovnik Destang stated that both the public and private sectors ought to provide greater "financial and shepherding support" to the young people of the region.
Last week Destang's resort group hosted a dining and fundraising experience to celebrate the achievements of St. Lucian students and culinary champs Karina Abraham and Cheyenne Hippolyte, who recently won the prestigious 2018 Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge competition in Barbados.
"We really do not do enough as a country to celebrate our stars, the people who bring home gold for us ... and felt compelled to go beyond simply hosting an event," Destang said, explaining that the occasion helped to showcase the culinary styles and masterpieces of the island's chefs, while raising funds to support the educational needs of Abraham and Hippolyte.
With the support of industry partners - including the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association's Tourism Enhancement Fund, Serenity Vacations & Tours and Orlando's Restaurant & Bar - Bay Gardens Resorts provided an assortment of prizes such as day passes, sea cruises and vacations, which were auctioned as part of the fundraiser, held at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa's Hi Tide Restaurant.
In addition to benefiting from the proceeds of the auction, the young chefs' culinary creations will be celebrated at Hi Tide Restaurant restaurant for the foreseeable future. "We will take their award-winning dish, put it on our menu, recognize it as their dish, track the sales from it through our accounting system, a portion of which will go towards their education," announced Destang, who is a Certified Public Accountant.
Bay Gardens Resorts' management team was joined by representatives of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association; Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet resorts; Herod Stanislas, Parliamentary Representative for Soufrière and Minister in the Ministry for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation; and Leonard Montoute, Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment.
The Executive Director welcomed the announcement from Minister Stanislas that the government would cover the students' Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) fees for the next year.
At the dinner, patrons enjoyed a three-course meal featuring the winning dish from the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge. In addition, the resort chain's award-winning Executive Sous Chef Peter Lawrence, whose accomplishments were also heralded during the evening, presented a starter -  the winning dish from the 2014 Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition embellished with his culinary flair and experience.
Under the direction of Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa's Executive Chef Nicodemus Joseph, a former St. Lucia Culinary Team Captain, the chefs also prepared a dessert from scratch, utilizing locally sourced "mystery basket" ingredients, including Piton beer, guava wine, local "mammee apple" apricots, local bacon and edible begonia flowers (known locally as "bread and cheese").

Global industry professionals and travel consumers have shown their appreciation for Sydney's natural beauty, iconic landmarks, first-class food and wine scene and exciting events and festival calendar by voting it as Australasia's Leading Destination in the 25th Annual World Travel Awards.

Event organisers said the accolade recognises the commitment to excellence that the city has demonstrated in all areas over the past twelve months.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said he was delighted that Sydney had been named the leading destination amongst such a strong field of contenders in the region.

“Australasia offers such diverse and high quality tourism experiences, and the fact that Sydney has taken out top spot in the World Travel Awards reinforces that it truly is a destination for everyone,” Mr Marshall said.

“In the year ending March 2018 Sydney again achieved its highest volume of international visitors, nights and expenditure on record exceeding the four million international visitor mark for the first time,” he said.

“There's so much more to our great city than our iconic Harbour Bridge and stunning Opera House, and visitors are seeing that for themselves.”

“When it comes to beautiful weather and outdoor adventures, innovative dining experiences, world class events and warm and inviting hospitality, Sydney can not only rival destinations in Australasia but also globally.”

“Sydney is also the gateway to an enviable line-up of rural and regional experiences and I encourage visitors to New South Wales to also go beyond the city and experience more of what our amazing State has to offer.”

The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Sydney's award as Australasia's Leading Destination was presented last night at a sold out gala ceremony at the luxurious InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.

Through a rare surgery not commonly practiced in the Americas, Health City Cayman Islands' orthopedic surgical team, led by Chief Orthopedic Surgeon and Joint Replacement Specialist Dr. Alwin Almeida, repaired a rugby player's shoulder with a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure utilizing an advanced technique not yet available in the United States or Canada.
The surgery is called an arthroscopic Latarjet, and is the minimally-invasive adaptation of a commonly-used surgical procedure in orthopedics and sports medicine.

The beneficiary of this surgery was Cayman Islands national rugby player Edward Westin whose shoulder had dislocated more than 100 times after years of repeated injury. Even after corrective surgery, the joint was so damaged that it would dislocate in his sleep.

Dr. Almeida explained: "They do Latarjets in the U.S., but arthroscopic Latarjet is less common. The technique that we used was a special technique, which was [first] described by Dr. Pascal Boileau (from France). This is probably the first time it has been done in the (Caribbean and Latin American) region."
The Latarjet operation, also known as the Latarjet-Bristow procedure, is a surgical procedure used to treat recurrent shoulder dislocations, typically caused by bone loss or a fracture of the glenoid. The procedure was first described by French surgeon Dr. Michel Latarjet in 1954.
The arthroscopic Latarjet is one of the most difficult surgeries in shoulder arthroscopy and only a few surgeons in the world have the training to perform this technique.
The Health City orthopedic surgical team used both surgical implants and techniques which have been pioneered by the UK-based global medical device company Smith & Nephew and used throughout Europe.
Dr. Almeida explained: "It hasn't been done in the U.S. with that particular implant. The 'double button' technique is not available in the U.S. yet ... it's only going to be launched there next year."
After examining Westin and reviewing his medical records, Dr. Almeida thought he was a good candidate for the surgery. Westin had a condition called recurrent dislocation of the shoulder. He previously had surgery on his left shoulder which failed. He was reluctant to try again, but then he met Dr. Almeida at a 2017 press conference where Health City Cayman Islands announced the hospital's sponsorship of the "Big Game", an annual rugby event in the Cayman Islands.
Westin described the process that led him to the pioneering procedure: "He (Dr. Almeida) actually goes to the same church as me, and so I explained ... my injuries. I have dislocated my shoulders multiple times over the last few years, and he said whenever I have a break in my playing just to get ahold of him and come down to Health City and get them checked out."
"Edward is a special guy, he was one of my most challenging cases so far," Dr. Almeida said.
Ninety percent of the body's dislocations are shoulder-related since it's the most unstable joint in the body. Once the shoulder is dislocated, there is a 40 to 50 percent chance that the shoulder can dislocate again. Dr. Almeida noted the severity of Westin's condition: "It got to a point where it would dislocate even in his sleep, and he told me that it had dislocated probably more than 100 times."
After going over his records, the surgeon decided on the best procedure to help treat Westin's condition. "I studied the images and the surgery that was done on the left side and we realized he had undergone a surgery known as arthroscopic Bankart surgery. But the problem with him was really the bone loss. His glenoid socket was so small, and to add to that, the added bone loss that he had made it even smaller. So he had a very unstable shoulder," Dr. Almeida explained.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) was out in full force recently for the second formal meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery.

As this year's hurricane season approached its peak months, a number of the Association's senior officials were among more than 350 leaders from government, business, and civil society who participated in the important discussions convened by President Bill Clinton on August 7 amid various Caribbean nations' continued revival from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass led a delegation that included CHTA Immediate Past President Karolin Troubetzkoy; Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Ledesma; Chief Marketing Officer Matt Cooper; Director of Membership Development, Martha Valdivia; and Director of Communications, Adriana Serna to the CGI forum at the University of Miami.

As part of CHTA's multi-pronged and ongoing efforts to help islands recover from last year's devastating hurricane season, the Association's representatives contributed to many executive sessions which focused on continuing preparations for this year's storm activity and on addressing long-term recovery needs. Various sessions aligned with CHTA's strategic vision, including Being Prepared for Quicker Assistance, Building Long-Term Resilient Energy Systems and Investing in Workforce Development.

"This second meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative was extremely beneficial and we were pleased to engage with diverse partners as CHTA continues to actively participate in the recovery of hurricane-hit Caribbean destinations," said CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass.

"We are now assessing potential opportunities for collaboration to support our strategic focus areas and member needs and, over the coming months, CHTA looks forward to further outreaches to connections made during this important event," she added.

CHTA's involvement in CGI's deliberations followed closely on the heels of its announcement with nonprofit organisation, Tourism Cares, that their joint initiative - the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund - has raised more than US$275,000 in charitable donations to build long-term recovery and enhance the ability of hurricane-impacted destinations to rebound as quickly as possible. Donors' generosity has facilitated assistance to Caribbean nationals for training and education, restoring destination capacity, the physical restoration of tourism-related infrastructure, social enterprise development, job creation, hotel training, voluntourism, marketing and public relations support, and the environment.

Meanwhile, CHTA has produced a Disaster Preparedness Manual, which is in the process of being released to industry stakeholders. The purpose of the guide, financed by both the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund and Expedia, is to supplement local efforts to develop communications preparedness and the response and recovery process for CHTA members, national tourism organizations, and public and private sector industry stakeholders before, during and after a potential disaster.

Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, expressed his gratitude for a token presented to him by His Excellency Asif Anwar Ahmad, British High Commissioner to Jamaica and the Bahamas, during a recent courtesy call to the Minister’s New Kingston office.

During the meeting, the ambassador confirmed that he will make a presentation at the upcoming Tourism Resilience Summit, being hosted by Jamaica on September 13 at the University of West Indies.

The event is taking place under the theme “Tourism Resilience through Global Synergies,” and will address events that disrupt tourism, such as climate change, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, and cybercrime.

The summit will gather key global stakeholders and thought leaders at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica.

“This summit forms part of my ministry’s efforts to build resilience within the region and globally. Resilience building has become even more crucial in a world that is hyper connected and as such more susceptible to climate change, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism and cybercrime,” Bartlett said.

The summit will “seek to assess existing and emerging disruptions related to tourism management globally; examine the risk of these disruptions to the global tourism product; and identify a synergetic strategic and operational framework for mutual partnerships between and among major governmental, non-governmental and business entities to address as well as develop mitigation strategies for these global disruptions,” according to a statement from Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism.

The online registration to participate in Tenerife's Santa Cruz Maratón is now open. Taking place on 11 November, the fifth edition of the race follows four successful events, which saw increasing number of participants year on year. This year's race will see thousands of athletes heading to the streets of Santa Cruz, Tenerife's capital city, on Sunday 11 November for a fun sporting event, which is suitable for runners of all abilities. The Santa Cruz Maratón has once again seen record entry numbers, with 2,500 runners having already registered after just three days of registration opening!

The Santa Cruz Maratón boasts an enviable coastal and flat course with almost no incline, making it an ideal event for both amateur athletes who are looking to make a start in the running world and established runners looking for a challenge. The event features three different running categories: 42km race, 21km race and 8km race.

The flat course is considered one of the best in Spain, with every category guaranteeing athletes a spot of “sightseeing” during their race. The futuristic Tenerife Auditorium Adán Martin, the Market Nuestra Señora de África, the Tenerife Arts Space (TEA) and the García Sanabria Park will be some of the main tourist attractions of Santa Cruz that participants will pass on the course.

A University of Wolverhampton academic has taken his cyber security expertise to South America recently.

Professor of Cyber Security and Director of the University of Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI), Prashant Pillai attended a Cyber Security Summit in Sao Paolo, Brazil and was one of a number of key speakers from around the world.

Nearly 200 people attended the global two-day conference which brought together industry professionals, thought-leaders, IT managers, government officials and analysts to focus on cybercrime, machine learning, identity fraud, the insider threat and security metrics.

Other noted speakers included David Brassanini, FBI Chief of Operations and Rafael Salema, Leader of the Cybernetic Exportation Team in the Brazilian Air Force.

Professor Pillai talked about the challenges and opportunities facing security for the critical national infrastructure, looking at threats faced by power, water and transport networks. He works with over 20 academics at the University who are researching Cyber Security, Data Science and Cyber Physical systems.

With almost 16 years’ research experience specialising in the areas of communication networks, cyber security and intelligent algorithms, Professor Pillai has led several projects funded by the European Union, Innovate UK, European Space Agency and the British Council.

He said: “The Summit was very well attended with delegates from the private and public sector, academia and armed forces giving an excellent platform to discuss the ever rising threats in the critical infrastructure area.

“This is a global problem faced by developed and developing countries. The WCRI specialises in security for critical national infrastructure with a current focus on detection, prevention and innovative solutions for large scale co-ordinated attacks on complex systems.”

Sri Lanka needs further help to strengthen its human rights promotion and protection. That's according to the country’s Human Rights Commission, which has called on the Commonwealth Secretariat for technical assistance.

Its Chair, Dr Deepika Udagama made the Commission’s request during a meeting with Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who is on her first official visit to the country.

Dr Udagama described the Secretariat as ‘an ally on human rights in Sri Lanka’ providing help with, among other things, models of reconciliation post-conflict, how to deal with torture, as well as advising it on civil and political rights.

During her three-year term as chair, which comes to an end later this year, Dr Udagama said that the Secretariat had assisted her commission immensely.

For example, it brought in experts to help the constitutional assembly on the protection of economic, social and cultural rights in the new proposed Bill of Rights. The Secretariat ensured that Sri Lanka participated substantively in the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, allowing the country to connect with other member state commissions. It also helped to get the Commission accredited.

But the Commission needed further help, she said.

“One thing is that the Commonwealth has developed very many good practices and standards on democracy and human rights. The Secretariat brings together countries from the Commonwealth, common legal traditions, common traditions of governance and democracy, so it's very important for the Secretariat to be engaged. It's mainly in the area of technical cooperation.

"Another [area] is about raising human rights awareness within the community, providing us with techniques that could be effective using technology for such purposes. There’s a lot that could be done.”

Secretary-General Scotland congratulated the Commission for being accredited ‘A’ status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. This means that Sri Lanka has complied fully with the United Nations Paris Principles, which provide the international benchmark by which national human rights institutions are accredited.

“This is excellent news for Sri Lanka’s government, its people and your Commission,” said the Secretary-General. “We focussed our efforts in supporting the Commission in regaining its ‘A’ status, but we should also credit President Maithripala Sirisena, who began the constitutional reform process in 2015. By strengthening the process of appointing members to independent commissions, including this one, the President enhanced transparency and accountability.”

The Secretary-General said that the Secretariat would continue to work in partnership with Sri Lanka when it came to human rights, as set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland is about to set out on her first official visits to three Commonwealth member countries in South and South East Asia, during an 11-day trip.

In all three countries the Secretary-General will have discussions with head of government, ministers and other public figures on priorities and commitments agreed by leaders at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, and will update them on the strategic implementation of the work to be undertaken.

In Sri Lanka, Secretary-General Scotland will discuss ways in which the country can work even more closely within a Commonwealth context on issues related to trade, connectivity and other national priorities.

During her time in Brunei, among other engagements, the Secretary-General will deliver a public lecture at the University of Brunei Darussalam. She will also acknowledge the very significant contribution Brunei makes towards partnership by offering the Commonwealth Third-Country Training Programme which assists in building the capacity of Pacific island member states of the Commonwealth.

Secretary-General Scotland will then visit Bangladesh. Included in her programme is an address to the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies on the theme ‘The Commonwealth Advantage – progress and potential’.

“Sri Lanka, Brunei and Bangladesh are greatly valued members of the Commonwealth family,” said the Secretary-General ahead of her travel, “I look forward to acquainting myself more closely with the many encouraging and positive developments taking place in the region – and with challenges which the convening power of the Commonwealth can help to tackle.

“Next year, Sri Lanka will host the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting. This will again be an opportunity to share best legal practice from throughout the commonality and yet rich diversity of our Commonwealth family in order to improve access to justice for all our citizens.”

Experienced Caribbean hotelier Daryl Aaron has been appointed general manager of the newly opened Bay Gardens Marina Haven hotel in St. Lucia.
Aaron, who has worked across the Caribbean in a variety of hospitality management positions, joins the leadership team of Bay Gardens Resorts, which expanded its portfolio to four hotels with the acquisition of the property, located within close proximity to Rodney Bay Marina.
Bay Gardens Marina Haven opened in mid-July following a soft renovation and staff training to align service delivery at the property with Bay Gardens' award-winning standards. Located in St. Lucia's Rodney Bay area, Bay Gardens Resorts also includes three Green Globe-certified hotels: Bay Gardens Inn, Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa.
Aaron, who was educated and trained in London, Trinidad, St. Lucia and her native Dominica, holds two decades of hospitality experience and has worked at Chaguaramas Hotel & Convention Centre, and Paria Suites & Conference Center in Trinidad; as well as Castaways Beach Hotel, Rosalie Bay Resort, and Anchorage Hotel, Whale Watch & Dive Centre in Dominica.
A former executive member of the Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association, Aaron said the hotel is a great location for groups, including weddings, anniversary celebrations and meetings. "We are also right across from the marina, with numerous restaurants and bars, where you can have a diverse St. Lucian food and beverage experience," she said, noting that the hotel serves many yachties, who "after being on a boat for an entire week or two, look forward to a nice hot shower, comfortable bed and a good St. Lucian meal."
The hotel, which has a nautical theme, has been receiving positive reviews during the first few weeks of operations. Writing on TripAdvisor, a New Jersey guest conveyed: "My family stayed at the hotel for four nights over the weekend. The management and staff were excellent - very professional, welcoming, friendly, and helpful. The amenities were all quite good. Breakfast was excellent with varied Caribbean healthy choices every day. We got passes to the Splash Water Park which was a fun experience and more challenging than it looks. Overall, a satisfying stay. Will definitely stay there again."
Bay Gardens Marina Haven is within a five-minute drive of Bay Gardens Inn and Bay Gardens Hotel and 10 minutes from the Beach Resort. Marina Haven guests enjoy the full benefits of a Bay Gardens experience, including six complimentary one-hour passes to Splash Island Water Park, the use of beach chairs, the ability to charge consumption across properties to their rooms, and free non-motorized water sports. Complimentary shuttle service is provided between all Bay Gardens Resorts facilities.

Today Zimbabwe holds presidential and parliamentary elections on Monday in which the top two contenders, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, have promised to revive an economy under Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

Having elections for the first time without Robert Mugabe as a candidate is a change several generations of Zimbabwean are getting used to.
It should be hoped whoever will win, would be wise to work with all talents in Zimbabwe to allow those qualified to contribute. It takes leaders and openness to take this country out of economic collapse.
It may be a wise decision for a future president to announce a general amnesty and a fresh start for everyone.  Zimbabwe needs to address the future and not the past. Most likely, the travel and tourism industry will have a major part in it.

Zimbabwe’s former leader 94-year-old Robert Mugabe has refused to back his successor just a day before the country’s historic vote today. Mr. Mugabe addressed the nation for the first time since stepping down in November and declared that “I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power.”

Zimbabwe has 5.7 million registered voters who are expected to cast their ballots at 10,985 polling stations dotted around the southern African nation.
Voters directly elect a president, 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councilors. Sixty women will be appointed through proportional representation to the House of Assembly while 60 people will be appointed in the upper Senate chamber via the same system.Voting started at 7am and will end at 7pm. Vote tallying and counting starts immediately after the close of polls and results for council, parliament and president are posted outside each polling station.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will announce winners for parliament in their constituencies, while results for president will be announced at the commission’s headquarters in Harare within five days of voting.A presidential candidate requires 50 percent plus one vote for an outright win. If no candidate gets that, a runoff will be held on 8 September between the top two contestants.

So far the election is progressing peacefully, and long lines in front of polling stations are the norm.The country is in urgent need of healing. It appears a hunt on former leaders, economic hardship and anger are making leading this Southern African nation impossible.

The Commonwealth Observer Group described Pakistan’s General Election as an ‘important milestone’ in the history of the nation, following two consecutive democratically-elected civilian governments completing their full terms.

Final results are yet to be released by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In an Interim Statement released on the Group’s observations of the election, the Chairman Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, former Head of State of Nigeria commended the people of Pakistan for exercising their right to vote.

More than 50 million Pakistanis came out to exercise their franchise, despite terrorist attacks claiming more than 200 lives in the weeks prior and on the election day itself.

The Chair said, “The 2018 General Election was an important milestone in strengthening democracy in Pakistan… We commend the voters, the Election Commission, polling staff, political parties, candidates, their agents, the security forces and all others for their respective roles.”

The Commonwealth Observer Group arrived in Pakistan on 18 July. Members held a wide range of consultations with the Electoral Commission, political parties, government officials, citizen observers, members of civil society, the media and the diplomatic community, as well as the military, before they were deployed to polling stations across the country. These included locations in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Karachi and Hyderabad.

Announcing its interim findings, the Group noted a clear improvement in election laws since the previous elections. For example, the new Elections Act 2017 gave more independence and autonomy for the election commission and new measures to enhance women’s political participation.

“We noted that women responded to these reforms positively and voted in greater numbers compared to earlier elections. Women also played a commendable role in the administration of elections,” Gen. Abubakar said on election day. “We observed that the Election Commission was generally well-prepared for the polls in most areas and that the process was, on the whole, well-administered.”

However, there were key areas for improvement. Counting methods, the results transmission system, and inconsistency in applying electoral procedures, were amongst several areas highlighted.

The final report, including recommendations, will be submitted in a final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who will forward it to the Government of Pakistan, Election Commission of Pakistan, political parties taking part in the elections and all Commonwealth Governments. The report will then be made public.

The Commonwealth Observer Group was constituted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General to consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. It determines, in its own judgement, whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Pakistan has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth, and other international commitments.

One Caribbean Television has announced its weeklong live broadcast of carnival celebrations in Toronto, Barbados and Antigua from Thursday, August 2 through Tuesday, August 7, 2018.
This year, One Caribbean Television partners again with the Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival for its 51st anniversary celebration. For the past six years, the network has covered Toronto Carnival, one of North America's largest cultural events, attracting millions of attendees every year.
In addition, the network's team is providing live coverage of both the Barbados Crop Over Festival and Antigua's 61st carnival celebration.
Throughout Carnival Week, One Caribbean Television will offer live coverage of events, interviews and feature stories to highlight the people and pageantry that make carnival one of the world's most popular celebrations, bringing the vibrancy and warmth of the Caribbean to the globe.
To reinforce that message, the weeklong coverage will also showcase highlights of previous carnival celebrations in Curaçao, New York, Puerto Rico, St. John, St. Thomas and Trinidad.
One Caribbean Television, a 24/7 television network known best for its extensive weather coverage, also carries news, sports, travel, lifestyle and entertainment programming along with the best and widest Caribbean carnival coverage anywhere. The channel is currently seen on cable systems throughout the Caribbean and in several major cities in the United States.

The Commonwealth’s team of observers has begun its assessment of the electoral process in Zimbabwe, leading up to general elections on 30 July.

Chaired by the former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, the group is composed of 23 eminent people from across the Commonwealth. They include specialists in law and human rights, as well as gender, youth and media engagement.

“As independent observers, our mandate is to consider factors that affect the credibility of the electoral process and report on whether the vote has been conducted according to the national, regional, and international standards to which Zimbabwe has committed itself,” said Chairperson Mahama in his arrival statement. “We will perform our role with impartiality, independence and transparency.”

Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003. In May, the current President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, wrote to the Secretary-General asking her to initiate the re-admission process. In the same letter, he requested the Commonwealth to observe the July elections. The final report of the observer group will contribute to the Secretary-General’s informal assessment of whether Zimbabwe should re-join the Commonwealth.

For Chairperson Mahama, Zimbabwe’s commitment to democratic principles is especially important. “It was here in Harare, in 1991, that Commonwealth Heads of Government issued a seminal declaration committing their countries to a set of principles, including democracy, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, just and honest government; and fundamental human rights,” he stated.

There are 130 registered political parties - of which 57 will be contesting the elections. For the first time, four women are among the twenty-three Presidential candidates.

The two most prominent parties vying for seats are the current ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change - Alliance (MDC Alliance).

Commonwealth observer missions assess whether electoral processes are credible and transparent. They promote good governance, reinforce democracy, protect human rights and the freedom of citizens to choose their leaders.