To contribute to economic growth and recovery efforts, Microsoft commissioned FrontierView, a global market intelligence and advisory firm for multinationals, to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on industries in different Caribbean countries. The “Roadmap to Economic Recovery: The Caribbean” details how new technologies can help governments, businesses, and citizens to accelerate recovery and emerge stronger from the pandemic and achieve higher income levels. Economic recovery in key sectors As a region, it is likely to take several years for the Caribbean’s economy to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. However, it is important to note that there will be significant differences between industries. Among those with faster recovery times are construction (infrastructure projects), the pharmaceutical industry, medical technology equipment, and agriculture with pre-pandemic income levels reached during the first quarter of 2021. By contrast, retail, manufacturing, extractives, construction (residential and commercial), and hospitality and tourism would not recover this level of income during 2021. "The health emergency took digital transformation to a whole new level, condensing years of technological progress over a period of months. Now, as Caribbean governments, businesses, and citizens adapt to a new normal, technological capabilities such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and process automation will be critical to increasing their resilience to face new scenarios and accelerating their recovery to a sustained growth phase," emphasised Herbert Lewy, general manager of Microsoft Caribbean. Investment in technology accelerates operational growth FrontierView's study identified technology investments that would accelerate the recovery of 14 sectors, including the government, according to their current needs and investment profiles: - Transformative investments: highlights companies that entered the pandemic with a strong financial position, were not as heavily impacted, or perhaps even accelerated their sales during the pandemic. This robustness will enable them to pursue much more ambitious digital transformation plans. Here we have the IT and telecom, health (pharmaceutical and medical equipment), financial services, and utility sectors. The technologies that stand out are: i. Remote collaboration, process migration, and customer interaction solutions to new online platforms. ii. End-to-end digitalisation of the supply chain and automation of industrial processes. iii Creation of own platforms for e-commerce and strengthen data platforms and the use of AI for personalised customer targeting. - Productivity solutions: companies in this group were heavily impacted by COVID-19 or were in less favourable financial positions. These companies will focus more on finding process efficiencies and accelerating their sales during the recovery phase. Industries impacted include agriculture, construction, mining, manufacturing, and retail (non-durable). The technologies that stand out are: i Demand and revenue predictive analytics tools. ii Penetration of online channels such as e-commerce, online marketplaces, and omnichannel strategy creation. iii. Data collection and analysis platforms to generate information for decision making. - Cash generation solutions: companies in this category are in the most delicate position, having been most aggressively impacted by the pandemic. They should prioritise investments that help them protect or generate cash flow to ensure their commercial and financial viability. Industries in this bucket include retail (durable goods), restaurants/leisure, hospitality/tourism, and oil & gas. The technologies that stand out are i. Virtual agents and e-payment solutions. ii. Tools to manage the project life cycle and demand forecasting based on predictive metrics. iii. Digital tools for portfolio management and sales effectiveness. - Cost-conscious transformation: this category applies solely to the public sector, as governments have taken a major hit during the pandemic, but they still have a strong capacity and willingness to invest. Despite plunging revenues and a slow recovery ahead, governments can more easily finance bold, transformative investments by tapping into debt, public savings, and fostering public-private partnerships (PPPs); however, these must be cost-conscious and effective actions to preserve fiscal credibility and strengthen the recovery. The technologies that stand out are: i. Healthcare procurement solutions and digital tools, including telehealth, to expand access to health resources at a lower cost. ii. Digital tax solutions that modernise the system, reduce fraud, curb evasion, and promote formality. iii. Digital platforms to promote remote access to government services; citizen support through AI-powered chatbots. Access the full report To access the complete report that analyses the response, technologies used in response to COVID-19 and technological investments to accelerate economic recovery in various sectors of the Dominican Republic, you can access the document through the following link or in this address:

Digicel international, a platform that makes the distance between the Diaspora communities worldwide and their loved ones back home a bit shorter, is taking a step further and enabling international money transfers all over the world. Now, anytime customers visit or the Digicel International app, they’ll be able to Send Money to different locations, Top Up a loved one’s phone, send them a Digital Card, pay Bills, and much more. “We already connect millions in the Diaspora with friends and family in over 30 countries with our Top Up service, and we know they also send remittance. We saw an opportunity to put both services on the same website and app. Digicel International is about digital money, financial inclusion, and the connection between those overseas and those at home,”said David Curneen, Group CEO for Digicel Financial Services. Digicel International’s launch is a crucial component in the Digicel Financial Services mission of building a financially inclusive cashless economy. The platform facilities different day-to-day transactions, empowering customers to use digital money as a currency regardless of being on the sending or receiving side. Digicel Financial Services also built a family of mobile wallets across the Caribbean and the South Pacific. From doing p2p transaction to receiving international remittance, these mobile wallets provide a way to make fast, reliable, safe, and convenient daily financial transactions at anytime, anywhere. Digicel Financial Services mobile wallets permit their users to store funds and have them available at all times. Send Money, Top Up, Digital Cards, and Bill Pay can be access via the website or by downloading the app in the App Store ore Google Play Store.

Comedian Majah Hype broke his silence, taking to Instagram Live to defend himself against allegations from his ex.

Majah Hype has declared that he is not a woman beater, days after his former fiancée accused him of being violent towards her. “I still have love for Kirby today,” he said, breaking his silence via Instagramto address the allegations from Latisha Kirby. “I have no reason for that. I am not a woman beater and I never thought about being a woman beater,” the comedian said. Stating that he loved Kirby and wanted the best for her, Majah Hype denied all of his ex’s allegations. In fact, he claimed he was the victim. “I warning every man out there, don’t allow women to hit you, don’t let women subject you to being abused,” he said, stating that he was ashamed as a man. He said he never cheated on her and admitted to having one “sexual experience” with another woman. While admitting that he did go through Kirby’s old phone because he was suspicious of her suspicions of him, he denied leaking any sex tape. “I know Kirby has a son, no way in the world would I release any video of her in a compromising position, not only would it make her look bad, it makes me look bad,” he said. Turning the tables on Kirby, Majah showed screenshots of conversations and images found on her phone, including one with a popular soca artiste, claiming he has to tell his truths. Criticising Kirby for airing her issues on Instagram, he asked: “What was your real motive? To get followers? If you were healing you would take the real actions to heal. Counselling and therapy is healing, that is what I am gonna get,” he said. He ended his live with a reading of Psalm 23.

Mariah Carey is among the big international acts to have graced the Jazz and Blues Festival stage.

After a four-year hiatus, theJamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will return in a virtualformat January 28 to 30, 2021, organisers have announced. The event, which is renowned for its rich music and cultural offerings,is now licensed to Adrian Allen of Steady Image in partnership with Marcia McDonnough of Touchstone Productions, both original members of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues team, with years of experience in various aspects of event production. Organisers have promised that thethree-day event will deliver a spectacular digital presentation across multiple platforms featuring local and international acts, totally free to viewers. Allen, who is also the executive producer of the virtual music festival, is buoyed by the buy-in from patrons to the new virtual format of music events. “The world has now embraced virtual events as the norm, especially for music events, and we are excited to be bringing back the magic of the Festival, and Jamaica to our global audience. Coming from the world of creating Immersive content, this presentation will be just that. Different, engaging and will provide a great opportunity to expand our audience base," Allen said, adding "Our partners are excited by that prospect and the promise of a presentation like no other, delivered by some of the world’s musical icons.” McDonnough said shewas "beyond excited” over the return of the festival. "Jamaica Jazz is a passion for me. It’s been a part of my life for so long and its absence created a deep void which was never replaced. Being offered this opportunity to bring it back at a time when the entertainment world has been so overturned by COVID, has been such a wonderful gift, and to accompany that with a showcase of Jamaica for the world to see brings me a tremendous sense of satisfaction and pride," she said. TheJamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has over the years featured a number of international music stars including Celine Dion, Air Supply, Lionel Ritchie, Mariah Carey, Babyface and Diana Ross.

Laboratory studies show that toothpastes containing zinc or stannous and mouthwash formulas with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9 per cent, according to Colgate-Palmolive Company. The studies are part of a Colgate research programme that includes clinical studies among infected people to assess the efficacy of oral care products in reducing the amount of the virus in the mouth, potentially slowing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. In the laboratory studies -- the first to include toothpaste -- Colgate Total and Meridol toothpastes neutralized 99.9 per centof the virus after two minutes of contact. Colgate Plax and Colgate Total mouthwashes were similarly effective after 30 seconds. The studies, completed in October, were conducted in partnership with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s (NJMS) Public Health Research Institute and Regional Biosafety Laboratories. The results suggest that some toothpastes and mouthwashes may help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by temporarily reducing the amount of virus in the mouth. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We’re at the early stages of our clinical investigations, but our preliminary laboratory and clinical results are very promising,” said DrMaria Ryan, Colgate’s Chief Clinical Officer. “While brushing and rinsing are not a treatment or a way to fully protect an individual from infection, they may help to reduce transmission and slow the spread of the virus, supplementing the benefit we get from wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.” Said DrDavid Alland, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, who led the Rutgers NJMS study along with colleagues Drs. Pradeep Kumar and Riccardo Russo: “Given that saliva can contain amounts of virus that are comparable to that found in the nose and throat, it seems likely that SARS-CoV-2 virus originating in the mouth contributes to disease transmission, especially in persons with asymptomatic COVID-19, who are not coughing. This suggests that reducing virus in the mouth could help prevent transmission during the time that oral care products are active.” ]Concurrent to the laboratory study, Colgate sponsored a clinical study involving some 50 hospitalized subjects with COVID-19. This study demonstrated the ability of Colgate Total (with CPC and zinc), Colgate Peroxyl, and Colgate PerioGard mouthwashes to substantially reduce the amount of the virus in the mouth temporarily. The researchers plan to share their findings in December. Additional Colgate-supported clinical research studies on toothpaste and mouthwashes are in early stages at Rutgers, the Albert Einstein Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry, with some 260 people with COVID-19 participating in these studies. “Colgate is collaborating with numerous investigators throughout the globe to conduct clinical research to explore the potential of oral care products to reduce oral viral loads as a risk reduction strategy,” DrRyan said. “We think oral care has a role to play in fighting the global pandemic, alongside other preventive measures.” Said DrMark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: “With this pandemic, the more we understand about the virus, the more effective we can be in fighting it, so I am excited to see the impressive research program Colgate has undertaken. We need to continue to take the precautions recommended by health authorities, and with these studies we may demonstrate an additional way to address the transmission of disease among people in close contact, particularly in dental practice. That would be an important advance.” Colgate said it is committed to leading in science and to ensuring that its products address health challenges and meet consumers’ needs.

Photo: (from left to right) – KIND volunteer Karen; Graciela Garcia, KIND team member; Acting Principal, Cunupia Secondary, Dennis Lalla and Mark Siboo, Brand Manager, AMCO.

In the midst of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Always® has completed the donation of 135,000 pads in Trinidad and Tobago. These were donated to secondary schools and to non-profit organisation Kids In Need of Direction (KIND) for COVID relief efforts with its #EndPeriodPoverty campaign. The campaign began in March 2020 to help increase access to feminine hygiene products for girls in challenging economic circumstances so they can stay confident and stay in school. The distribution was halted due to the COVID-19 restrictions as schools were closed in order to manage the spread of the virus. The distribution resumed recently, and for the second consecutive year, Always® partnered with KIND to distribute period products in an even more meaningful way, namely, the donation of an increased total of 115,000 pads to five secondary schools (four in Trinidad and one in Tobago). The efforts ensure that each female student receives Always® feminine products to last an entire school year. The schools were identified by the Ministry of Education: Rio Claro East Secondary, Cunupia Secondary, Toco Secondary, Success Laventille Secondary and Roxborough Secondary School. Always® once again partnered with KIND to help deliver a total of 20,000 pads to assist some families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reshma Geawan, P&G Business Unit Head at AMCO said the company was more than happy to assist with the campaign distribution and pledged to continue to assist where necessary. She said: “We know that this has been a difficult year for everyone which is why we remain committed to providing period products to our girls and those in need. Period poverty is not a new phenomenon and we promise to play our part in helping to circumvent period poverty.”