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Raising the Guardians of the Caribbean Internet

CaribNOG 12 off to a successful start in St Maarten

 CAPTION: Bevil Wooding, co-founder of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) delivers opening remarks at the organisation's twelfth regional meeting, at Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, October 24, 2016. Looking on, from left, are Shernon Osepa, Internet Society; Albert Daniels, ICANN; and Kevon Swift, LACNIC. PHOTO: CaribNOG

CAPTION: Bevil Wooding, co-founder of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) delivers opening remarks at the organisation’s twelfth regional meeting, at Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, October 24, 2016. Looking on, from left, are Shernon Osepa, Internet Society; Albert Daniels, ICANN; and Kevon Swift, LACNIC. PHOTO: CaribNOG

PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten—Even with its minor geographical footprint, the Caribbean has a major appetite for the Internet. More and more, Caribbean citizens are reflexively heading online to do their everyday essentials. In order to keep pace with that digital predilection, the modest community managing the region’s networks has to keep building serious capacity.

“There has to be a deeper pool of human resources in the Caribbean with technical expertise,” says Bevil Wooding, co-founder of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG).

“More people with less technical knowledge are using Internet-based technology, trusting that it will be safe. And so, a group of people have to ensure that that trust is well founded.”

Wooding was speaking at the opening of CaribNOG’s twelfth regional meeting, held at Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Philipsburg from October 24 to 26.

“We have to secure the region’s networks and look out for threats in different ways now that we are at this stage of the Internet’s development. And that’s why a group like CaribNOG is so important at this time. We become the guardians of the Caribbean’s Internet development.”

CaribNOG 12 is part of Internet Week Sint Maarten, a five-day conference focused on developing the Caribbean Internet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) jointly held the first three days of the week with CaribNOG.

“When we started working to develop capacity in the region, we soon realised that CaribNOG had the same goals, and so we quickly decided that by working together, we could accomplish more,” said Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean at ICANN.

Daniels was one of several regional experts to conduct hands-on sessions on topics including cyber security, Internet governance, IPv6 adoption and Internet exchange points.

The three-day gathering is supported by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union; the American Registry for Internet Numbers; Packet Clearing House; ArkiTechs and The BrightPath Foundation.

Internet Week Sint Maarten will close with Sint Maarten on the Move, a two-day event jointly hosted by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses registry (LACNIC).

The weeklong conference is coordinated by the St Maarten telecommunications regulator, BTP. It is open to the public and free of charge, with a live video stream for remote participants.

 

ICANN backs Caribbean technology development

Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers delivers remarks at the organisation’s LAC-I-Roadshow, at Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, October 24, 2016.

A global Internet giant is partnering with a Caribbean-based group to advance regional technology development.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is joining forces with the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) to build the capacity of the region’s technical community.

ICANN coordinates the Internet’s system of unique addresses. The global nonprofit organization is dedicated to ensuring an open, stable and secure Internet.

“When we started working to develop capacity in the region, we soon realised that CaribNOG had the same goals, and so we quickly decided that by working together, we could accomplish more,” said Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean at ICANN.

Daniels was speaking at the joint opening of ICANN’s LAC-I-Roadshow and CaribNOG’s twelfth regional meeting, held at Sonesta Great Bay Resort, Philipsburg from October 24 to 26.

The spirit of collaboration goes far beyond ICANN and CaribNOG. It includes several other major players in the global Internet landscape, such as the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) and the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN). LACNIC and ARIN are the two regional Internet registries that share responsibility for the Caribbean sub-region.

“We are pleased to be working together with Carlos Martinez, Chief Technology Officer of LACNIC, and Mark Kosters, Chief Technology Officer of ARIN, to deliver training on critical issues such as domain name system security,” Daniels said.

The U.S. government helped create ICANN in 1998 with the goal of building a stable, multi-stakeholder organisation that could take over the management of the Internet’s naming and number system. To accomplish this goal, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration partnered with ICANN to transition important coordination functions, known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, to the private sector. On October 1, the IANA stewardship function was formally transitioned to the global multi-stakeholder community.

At LAC-I-Roadshow, Daniels presented on technical issues like cyber security, and policy issues such as the IANA stewardship transition. The slate of international experts conducted hands-on sessions covering a broad range of topics, including Internet exchange points.

The LAC-I-Roadshow and CaribNOG 12 are part of Internet Week Sint Maarten, a five-day conference focused on developing the Caribbean Internet.

The three-day gathering was supported by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union; the American Registry for Internet Numbers; Packet Clearing House; ArkiTechs and The BrightPath Foundation.

Internet Week Sint Maarten ends with Sint Maarten on the Move, a two-day event jointly hosted by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses registry (LACNIC).

The weeklong conference is coordinated by the St Maarten telecommunications regulator, BTP. It is open to the public and free of charge, with a live video stream for remote participants.

Silicon Caribe to stage first Caribbean Bloggers Week

cbwdigitalinfluenceblog-690x509SiLiCON CARiBE the award-winning Caribbean Tech Media and Events brand, will stage the first annual Caribbean Blogger’s Week across the Region and Diaspora, from December 5th to 10th, 2016. It will celebrate and showcase the power of Digital Influencers of Caribbean + Caribbean descent, who are Bloggers, Podcasters, Instagrammers, YouTubers and other types of Digital Creatives.

The event which is staged 90% online, will profile and interview emerging and rockstar Digital Influencers; publish educational how-to and how-I-did articles from expert bloggers;  release The Status of Caribbean Blogosphere Trend Report; launch an Official Caribbean Blog directory plus host two Twitter Chats. The week will culminate with Blogger Meetups hosted by top Caribbean Bloggers in Kingston, Port of Spain, New York and London.

Caribbean Bloggers Week is our newest event and our intention is that it inspires the increased development, marketing and distribution of more original Caribbean Digital Content. You see, it is of great value that more of us, come to understand the value and opportunity of owning a blog, an independent digital media platform, for which you can set your own agenda. A platform where you can produce text, audio, photo and video digital content, build an engaged and loyal audience and achieve amazing things, including a profitable business,” said Ingrid Riley, Founder of SiliconCaribe.

SiliconCaribe is the multi award-winning Caribbean Tech Blog that’s been chronicling and showcasing how the Caribbean does Tech by covering Caribbean Technology News, Startups, Mobile Trends, Digital Culture and Digital Business since 2007. The Media entity has also staged  over 90 different type of Caribbean Tech events for Entrepreneurs and Creatives.

Under this year’s theme, “The Power of Digital Influence,” Caribbean Bloggers Week is on a mission to raise the visibility and viability of Caribbean Content Creators, Tastemakers and Marketers and increase the understanding and collaboration between them and Caribbean and Global brands.

I’ve been blogging here at SiliconCaribe.com for just over 9 years myself, and one of the things that I truly love about blogging paired with social media, is the ability to create great content, engage and build a loyal audience and become an authority in your space, which is the foundation of digital influence,” says Riley.

Caribbean Bloggers Week online and in person schedule of activities, will also examine how Digital Influence is growing in the Caribbean and Diaspora, the current trends, who are some of rising and leading digital influencers; what makes them so powerful ( their reach, resonance and relevance); how they already are reshaping how entire industries work and how marketing budgets are being spent.

ABOUT SILICONCARIBE

SiliconCaribe is Caribbean Tech Media and Events Brand, that’s been chronicling and showcasing how the Caribbean does Tech since 2007. Every month readers from primarily the Caribbean, United States and Europe read the blog that covers Caribbean technology, innovation, startups, social media, mobile, digital business and digital culture.

SiliconCaribe is also the leading producer of Caribbean technology events for Startups, Caribbean Businesses and the Caribbean Tech Industry and Diaspora.  The entity has produced over 80 Tech Meetups+ Pitch events, three Caribbean Tech Conferences, three Caribbean Hackathons, Mobile App Competitions, Online Twitter Chats and one Startup Weekend.

Contact: Ingrid Riley : ingrid@getconnectid.com | 1 876 864 2440

UWI Regional Task Force on Zika tracks rare neurological disorder

Thomas Langerak, PhD student at Erasmus Medical Centre, Holland, second from right, demonstrates the use of the new Caribbean database for Guillain-Barré syndrome to (L-R) Dr Azad Esack, Consultant, Neurologist, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mount Hope (EWMSC); Dr Sherry Sandy, Lecturer in Adult Clinical Medicine at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine (UWI); and Dr Avidesh Panday, Consultant, Neurologist, EWMSC, Mount Hope. The meeting took place at the Adult Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, September 29, 2016.  
Thomas Langerak, PhD student at Erasmus Medical Centre, Holland, second from right, demonstrates the use of the new Caribbean database for Guillain-Barré syndrome to (L-R) Dr Azad Esack, Consultant, Neurologist, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mount Hope (EWMSC); Dr Sherry Sandy, Lecturer in Adult Clinical Medicine at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine (UWI); and Dr Avidesh Panday, Consultant, Neurologist, EWMSC, Mount Hope. The meeting took place at the Adult Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, September 29, 2016.

(By Gerard Best)

The Caribbean has moved one step closer to uncovering the link between the Zika virus disease and a rare neurological illness.

Once an obscure pathogen, the mosquito-borne Zika virus quickly spread to more than 40 countries in the Americas after an outbreak in northeast Brazil in early 2015. The outbreak could pose an economic burden of $3.5 billion on Latin America and the Caribbean alone, according to a World Bank estimate.

Zika is now widely feared for causing microcephaly—a birth defect in which children have malformed heads and severely stunted brain development. The virus is also linked with an uncommon neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which involves extreme muscle weakness and eventual paralysis.

Much is yet to be understood about the syndrome and its link to Zika, in part because it is so rare. A study published in The Lancet in April found “evidence for Zika virus infection causing Guillain-Barré syndrome.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the Zika virus is “strongly associated” with the syndrome, but has stopped short of declaring it a cause of the condition.

Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August suggests that even asymptomatic Zika infections could bring on Guillain-Barré syndrome. In seven countries that experienced Zika outbreaks, there were also sharp increases in the numbers of people suffering from a form of temporary paralysis. From April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, a total of 164,237 confirmed and suspected cases of Zika and 1474 cases of the Guillain-Barré syndrome were reported in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Suriname and Venezuela.

A new Caribbean-based initiative, launched by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in partnership with the Erasmus Medical Centre in Holland, aims to shed even more light on the relationship between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Researchers from both institutions are working together to collect data on confirmed Guillain-Barré syndrome patients who are also confirmed Zika patients. The data can be used to generate meaningful insights into how the two illnesses are linked.

“What are the chances that if you have the Zika virus, you will develop Guillain-Barré syndrome? That’s something that we want to know,” said Thomas Langerak, a PhD student in Virology at the Erasmus Medical Centre who is researching the neurological complications of the Zika virus.

In October, Langerak visited the UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences in Mount Hope, Trinidad to meet with neurologists, medical researchers and laboratory technicians interested in collecting data for the international research project.

“We are collecting the data through an online, secure database. Only investigators will be given access to upload and view data. All the data is private and anonymous, and everything is done with the full consent of the patients,” Langerak said.

The project in Trinidad and Tobago is the first step to establishing a Caribbean-wide network of data contributors.

“You need quite a large group to be able to say something about an infection and a complication of the infection. And so, our aim is to collaborate with more Caribbean islands so that we have a larger number of patients involved in the study, so that we can have faster answers and more trustworthy results,” Langerak said.

He added that the Virology Department at Erasmus would be offering to conduct laboratory tests on samples for Zika and the Guillain-Barré syndrome antibodies for any researchers in the Caribbean contributing to the online database.

The launch of the Caribbean Guillain-Barré syndrome database comes a few months after the establishment of the UWI Regional Task Force of Zika, an initiative spearheaded by Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles. The creation of the Task Force is intended to improve information-sharing among Caribbean countries, in order to reduce duplicated effort and maximise scarce resources within the region.

The 11-member Task Force includes Eric van Gorp, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Centre. Van Gorp was among 70 delegates who met in Bridgetown, Barbados in May to hammer out new ways to harmonise the Caribbean’s response to the Zika virus and other public health emergencies.

The Task Force is chaired by Deputy Principal of The UWI Cave Hill campus and experienced medical researcher, Prof Clive Landis.

“It is our hope that the regional Guillain-Barré Syndrome database will assist Caribbean countries to confirm the association between Zika and adult neurological syndromes and to strengthen the working relationship between The University of the West Indies and the duly designated public health agencies of the region when confronting high-level threats to the region,” Landis said.

More information on the Caribbean Guillain-Barré syndrome database is available on the official UWI Zika Hub at uwi.edu/zika.

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Supports Haiti/Bahamas Hurricane Relief

MIAMI – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is urging the region’s tourism industry stakeholders to assist with both immediate and sustained relief efforts to support the people of Haiti and parts of The Bahamas which were hardest hit by Hurricane Mathew this month.
“Our neighbors in Haiti and The Bahamas have borne the brunt of this powerful storm and the recovery and restoration process will be long and difficult,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of the regional trade association.
Working with the national hotel and tourism associations in Haiti and The Bahamas, CHTA is directing tourism industry stakeholders to local organizations which are coordinating on-the-ground relief, accepting and directing donations of cash, equipment and supplies.
According to Troubetzkoy, a two-step approach is important for the destinations to rebound as quickly as possible. “First, we must meet the immediate needs of people. Beyond that, we need to support long-term efforts which are essential to sustained recovery”.
To do this, CHTA is developing a fundraising initiative through the online auction channelCharityBuzz.com with which CHTA previously collaborated on a relief and recovery project for Dominica. Regional hoteliers are invited to donate room nights for the auction to benefit residents in Haiti and The Bahamas who are struggling to put their lives back in order. Room nights can be contributed by contacting CHTA’s dedicated auction email atch4haiti@gmail.com.
In Haiti, Hurricane Matthew is reported to have claimed almost 1,000 lives and devastated the agricultural and fishing sectors, the island’s flora, natural attractions, schools and homes, leaving thousands of families homeless and unable to meet basic human needs.
In The Bahamas, reports indicate that the most severe damage occurred on Grand Bahama Island, North and Central Andros, and the Berry Islands.
National hotel and tourism associations have reported international airports are operational as are major seaports which will assist in the recovery operations and in welcoming visitors to those areas which were least impacted.
The majority of the hotels in The Bahamas are operating while others expect to be fully operational over the next several weeks. Similarly, in Haiti, 90 percent of the hotels are operating since the northern part of the country was not as severely affected as in the southwest part of the nation.
Items of greatest immediate need include: tarpaulin, building supplies, mattresses, bed linens, hygiene kits, water, diapers, evaporated milk, infant formula, wipes, baby clothes, soap, shampoo, shoes, solar powered lamps, non-perishable items, rice, flour, oatmeal, sugar, tuna, canned spaghetti, sardines, fruit cups, peanut butter, jam and corned beef
To assist with immediate relief, national hotel associations in The Bahamas and Haiti have advised that cash or in-kind contributions can be made as follows:
Haiti
Donations of Cash or Goods:
FOOD FOR THE POOR: www.foodforthepoor.org (Cash Donations)
SOW A SEED: www.sowaseedonline.org (Cash Donations)
MEDISHARE: www.projectmedishare.org  (Cash Donations)
PRODEV: www.prodevhaiti.org (Education Focused – there has been considerable damage to schools. Cash donations can be made on the website. For contributions of equipment and supplies contact info@prodevhaiti.org).

Goods can be donated by shipping them to: 777, Route Nationale # 1, Titanyen, Haiti
Telephone: 786 375-1234

The Bahamas
Donations of Cash:
Bahamas Red Cross – USD Monetary donations can be deposited through Destination CHASUS33, (IBK) JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, ABA021000021; Payable to Bank: /001 1 188448 (BBK) ROYCBSNS RBC Royal Bank Bahamas Limited.
Beneficiary Name: The Bahamas Red Cross Society, Account Number & Branch/ Transit / Account number 05165/ 289 423 6 – John F. Kennedy Drive Branch
Donations of Supplies/Goods:
For details on shipping goods/supplies duty and tax free, visit http://bit.ly/2dx1ZaP
About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing tourism interests for national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working together with 1,000 hotel and allied members and 32 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their business. Whether navigating new worlds like social media, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, data and intelligence or looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues that matter most.
For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.