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Caribbean Students Apply To Tennessee State For Grant Program

NASHVILLE, Tennessee— More than 200 graduating high school students from the Caribbean have applied to Tennessee State University under a tuition assistance grant program, the school said.

The applicants are from the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and other Caribbean nations, the university said in a news release.

High school graduates must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average to qualify for the grant program.

The university’s student body includes people from about 34 countries but few from the Caribbean currently, the school said.

Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, who represents the president’s office for the grant program, said students may also study online if they choose to stay in their country. The program is also open to nontraditional students.

Tennessee State already has dual enrollment partnerships for underserved students in several African countries. Students there take online courses in coding and creating concepts taught by Tennessee State professors.

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UK’s Prince William Says He Wants to Serve After Caribbean Criticism

LONDON (Reuters) — Prince William has said he is committed to service and “not telling people what to do” after a tour of the Caribbean that was marked by protests over the British empire and criticism that the trip reflected a throwback to colonial times.

William released the statement at the end of an eight-day tour with his wife Kate to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas that included protests and calls for reparations payments by Britain and an apology for slavery.

Some British and international media have also criticised some images from the tour, such as the royals shaking hands with Jamaican children through wire fences and standing on an open-top vehicle to observe a military parade that recreated an image of Queen Elizabeth doing the same thing in the 1950s.

“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future,” William said. “In Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon.”

William, second in line to the British throne, had travelled to the Caribbean with Kate to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years as monarch. But it came as some countries consider cutting ties with the British monarchy and after Barbados dropped the 95-year-old queen as head of state and became a republic.

Elizabeth remains queen of 15 realms, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

William, whose official title is Duke of Cambridge, said he and his wife wanted to serve.

“For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.”

He added that he was also not thinking about who would lead the Commonwealth of Nations, a group of 54 countries, almost all of which are former colonies of the United Kingdom, which is primarily focused on promoting democracy and development.

The queen is the head of the Commonwealth and while the role is not hereditary, it will pass to William’s father and heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

—REUTERS

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Caribbean Leaders Grateful That COVID-19 Vaccine Has Trickled Down To Them, Thanks Largely To India

ROSEAU — As the leader of a small Caribbean island still struggling to rebuild nearly four years after a devastating hurricane, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit never thought he would get a hold of COVID-19 vaccines swiftly. Then a call to India changed everything.

Last week, an airplane carrying two consignments of Covishield, the India-produced version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, landed in the Caribbean. One was for Barbados, which would receive 100,000 doses, and the other for Dominica, which received 70,000 doses.

“I must confess that I did not imagine that the prayers of my country would be answered so swiftly,” said Skerrit, who plans to use some of the supplies to vaccinate many of his 72,000 inhabitants in Dominica and share the rest with neighboring Caribbean islands.

Dominican Republic Vice President Raquel Pena said Thursday that India had donated 30,000 doses to her country. That’s on the heels of 100,000 doses India donated to Barbados and the 70,000 doses donated to Dominica earlier this month.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a text message Saturday that 12,000 people had been vaccinated on the island, mainly the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Dominica are among a handful of Caribbean and Latin American countries that are benefiting from the generosity of India, a pharmaceutical giant that isn’t a traditional foreign partner in the region but has started to use its drug making capabilities to bolster its image globally.

While the COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy has been met with mixed responses in some corners of India, it is being welcomed in the Americas, where countries have been forced to turn to China, Cuba and others to cope with the pandemic in one of the world’s hardest hit regions after being shut out of the United States market.

Poorer countries have been unable to compete for vaccines with wealthier nations which quickly sealed deals with drug makers, and many parts of the Caribbean and Central America are still weeks away from starting their campaigns. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness last month accused rich countries of “hoarding” vaccines.

Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley said last week that he is not happy about how the global rollout of COVID vaccines is going.

“We are more than a little bit concerned that there is … or is to be … hoarding and price gouging,” of vaccines, the Prime Minister said in a press conference on Thursday with the head of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Caribbean Leaders Grateful That COVID-19 Vaccine Has Trickled Down To Them, Thanks Largely To India
Cayman Islands Governor Martyn Roper on Facebook.

Cayman Islands Governor Martyn Roper live streamed his COVID-19 vaccine injection to the world in January.

“This is the easiest thing I’ll do all day,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said as he waited nearby for his turn.

That the Cayman Islands, a small British dependent territory 10 times smaller than the state of Rhode Island and with a population just under 65,000, would have access to a COVID-19 vaccine before more independent and populous countries in the region such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, or even nearby Cuba, isn’t just good fortune, but a bit ironic: This may be one of the few times colonialism is paying off.

Once a dependency of Jamaica on behalf of the Crown, the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven, is among a handful of overseas territories in the Caribbean that for a change are reaping the benefits of their dependency status after years of complaining about a lack of assistance.

From the U.S. territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, to the British overseas territories of Cayman and the Turks and Caicos, to the Dutch territory of Aruba, some Caribbean nationals are finding that still being tied to the “mother country” is good thing during this global pandemic.

“We feel good that we have a good relationship with the mother country, the U.K.,” Cayman Health Minister Dwayne Seymour told the Miami Herald, ahead of his vaccination Thursday alongside the others in a bid to convince islanders the vaccine is safe. “We’re proud of the job that we have done, but I think we need to praise our relationship with the U.K. and being fortunate enough to have that relationship affords us to receive the vaccine so early.”

While nearly 60 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in the United States, most nations in the world have vaccinated hardly anyone. Trinidad and Tobago finally immunized its first front-line worker on Wednesday — but that was only possible because India donated doses to Barbados, which in turn handed out small batches to several of its Caribbean neighbors.