New DIGICEL St. Lucia CEO Nikima Royer Jno Baptiste
New DIGICEL St. Lucia CEO Nikima Royer Jno Baptiste

Vaccination card

An official vaccination card which is expected to resemble the Dominica Drivers licenses will soon be available to citizens who have taken the jab. According to the head of the National Vaccination Unit, Dr. Keevian Burnette, the unit is looking to introduce the "more secure and authentic card" which will feature a photo for identification, name, date of birth, the COVID-19 vaccination number as well as the number of doses, the manufacturer from which the individual has received the vaccine, booster doses, and a QR code which will help the ministry sign in to the database to authenticate the card.

"All of that will be one of the aspects that will help us to diversify a bit in terms of having thin paper cards that can be easily manipulated or fabricated for personal use", he said.

Efforts are being made to have the card in circulation before the hosting of the special entertainment events which start on February 20, 2022.

#### Royer-Jno Baptiste transferred to St Lucia

Nikima Royer-Jno Baptiste, the first female, and Dominican national to be appointed in the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Digicel's Dominica operations, as of February 1, 2022, has been appointed CEO of Digicel's St. Lucia operations. A Digicel veteran- serving as chairman of Digicel's group business continuity management team since 2018, was transferred to head the St. Lucia team from Digicel Dominica where she has served as CEO for the last five years. No announcements have been made as to who will replace the Dominican CEO.

Covid 19 samples sent for testing

Several samples of COVID-19 cases have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to determine whether the Omicron variant is present in Dominica. Though Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre says that it is "very likely" that the variant may already be spreading on the island, given the rapid rise in local cases, he said that his Ministry is awaiting official confirmation from CARPHA, who has sent the samples to the University of the West Indies for sequencing. He further noted that all the samples sent in December came back positive for the Delta variant.

Thea Lafond jumps into the history book again

National triple jumper, Thea Lafond, has once again jumped into the record books, and this time, she has not only set a new Dominica national record but also a world lead result. The young athlete who has continuously placed Dominica in the limelight with her outstanding ability, jumped 14.62 metres to secure 1st place at the recently held Dr. Martin Luther King Collegiate Invitational at the Albuquerque Convention Center located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, setting a new mark in the United States, and the best mark by any triple jumper in the world for 2022.

According to the Dominica Olympic Committee (DOC), despite this phenomenal achievement, Lafond said "I didn't like the 14.62m jump. I see many places to improve and that is what I plan to do. It is going to be a packed year with two world championships, Commonwealth Games, and NACAC Championships. I plan to make an impact at all of them."

$30 million now available for entrepreneurs

Effective this month, small business owners will have the opportunity to take advantage of a $30 million loan facility at the Agricultural Industrial Development (AID) bank, says Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. According to the Minister of Finance, the funds are expected to "help entrepreneurs and boost business and economic activity in our country."

Calling on young business owners to take advantage of this opportunity, which Skerrit says will "reinvigorate their businesses to ensure continuity and survival in these precarious times," he said that initiative will bring a new business idea to life, "to take that first step into business ownership and make a contribution to your personal and professional growth and of course, to the national development."

Skerrit appealed to the staff at the AID Bank who are responsible for processing the documents, to avoid sending business owners "back and forth" and to be transparent with the application process.

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