Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has called on countries to continue educating persons about Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and to share resources and experiences, so that all can benefit from its implementation and utilization. Like Our Facebook Page and Follow Us On Twitter Addressing representatives from the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Africa, at the 6th Conference of the Urban Regional Information Systems Association at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa, in Montego Bay, on November 14, the Minister emphasised that there is an acute need for countries around the world to utilize GIS technology and its applications in their planning processes. “I am sure that many of us, if not all, are sold on the benefits and use of GIS and know that it will provide us with the tools to engage in the critical thinking necessary to deal with the critical times in which we live. I put it to you that GIS and its supporting technologies can empower us as Small Island Developing States and bring us closer to each other as sister islands within the region,” Mr. Pickersgill told the over 200 delegates at the conference. Alluding to the benefits of using GIS technologies, especially when implemented and used on an enterprise/national basis, the Minister advised that small countries need to take a co-ordinated national approach, as a sectoral and/or piecemeal approach cannot yield the best returns. “Governments therefore need to have realistic long term plans with identified financial support to fund national GIS programmes. What is also needed is a national GIS vision for our respective countries, long term objectives and goals that are constantly being fine tuned, reviewed and implemented in a progressive manner, given the availability of resources. A piecemeal or sectoral-based approach is counter productive to achieving the benefits that may be derived from a national co-ordinated approach,” the Minister argued. “We need to stop implementing GIS related projects and activities in a vacuum. We need to share our resources, experiences and data sets and talk to each other. The answer to achieving successful GIS programmes lies in the sharing, co-ordination and amalgamation of resources. Governments and project executing agencies need to negotiate to have sustainable projects implemented, that will benefit organizations and by extension their countries in the long term,” Mr. Pickersgill added. He pointed out that continuous education on GIS technology has its place, as “too many professionals in GIS related fields in the region are not keeping abreast of changes in technology.” “I am therefore recommending that educational institutions within the region meet to spearhead an initiative to encourage these continuous education programmes for GIS professionals. Indeed, our professionals in the region will soon be left behind, if we do not constantly upgrade our GIS skills sets,” the Minister said “With the changing trade agreements and the opening of borders and economies, as a region we must be prepared to forge ahead to meet the changes head on or inevitably be trampled along the way. It is my fervent hope that the issues I have outlined will be addressed at this conference and that all participants will come away with fresh perspectives and strategies for the strengthening and sharing of geospatial information among our respective countries,” Mr. Pickersgill added. The conference was held under the theme: ‘Spatial Technologies – critical thinking for critical times’.
New York: A 31-year-old Indian-origin man allegedly killed his father with an assault rifle in Philadelphia and was later arrested in Massachusetts following an emergency warning issued by the Harvard University, according to media reports. The accused, Sohan Panjrolia, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, gunned down his 60-year-old father, Mahendra Panjrolia, in their family home earlier in the month, The Philadelphia Inquirer said in a report. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSohan son fled with the weapon in a car that was later found nearby, police said. Philadelphia police said Sohan shot and killed his father with an assault rifle on August 3 evening in their home on the 1900 block of Conwell Avenue in the Bustleton section, the report said. Investigators had previously said Sohan may be using narcotics and should be considered “armed and dangerous”. During the investigation, officials searched Harvard University as Sohan had got a bachelor of liberal arts degree from the university’s Extension School in 2013. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsIn a cautionary measure, Harvard officials issued an emergency alert that warned students to avoid JFK and Eliot Streets, CBS Boston reported. A university police officer found Sohan’s car, which helped locate him, parked near an ice-cream stall, Cambridge Police told the CBS. “It appeared that he wasn’t expecting to be engaged by police at that time. We were lucky here that we caught the suspect unprepared,” Police chief Branville Bard told the news website. Panjrolia will remain in custody in Cambridge pending extradition back to Philadelphia to face murder charges.
(The family of Joey Knapaysweet released this photo and a statement Thursday about his recent death. Above he is seen with his mother Micheline Knapaysweet taken just before his death.)The Canadian PressTORONTO – The grieving mother of a young Indigenous man killed by police in northern Ontario spoke out Thursday, saying the family remains in shock and still doesn’t understand why her son died.In a statement from the remote community of Fort Albany, Ont., Micheline Knapaysweet said the family needs answers about the death of her son, Joey Knapaysweet.“What did he do that was so bad that he had to be shot and killed?” Micheline Knapaysweet said. “I am so heartbroken, with so many questions unanswered.”Police in Timmins, Ont., shot 21-year-old Joey Knapaysweet on Feb. 3, in an as-yet unexplained incident that raised racial tensions in the city and sparked anger from the Indigenous community.The province’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is looking into the incident and has said officers responded mid-morning to a health-care building and a man fled.“There was an interaction between the man and officers, and one of the officers discharged a firearm,” the unit said in a statement. “The man was struck. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.”His death prompted scores of people to attend a vigil – among them Timmins Mayor Steve Black – and denunciation from Indigenous leaders.Joey Knapaysweet was from the James Bay community of Fort Albany – more than an hour’s flight from Timmins. He had gone to Timmins to “seek help in dreams for betterment of his life,” according to his mother’s statement.His mother also released two photographs, including the last one of them together just before he left home.“I cannot sleep at nights, I need answers,” she said. “This is my son, my child.”The family asked for privacy, saying they were not yet ready to speak directly to the media.Black, who urged calm after what he said was a rare shooting, has acknowledged that relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the city took a hit.Knapaysweet died the same weekend as Agnes Sutherland, an ailing 62-year-old also from Fort Albany, who had been in police custody after an incident at a shelter. The Special Investigations Unit is looking into her death as well.The deaths, along with the acquittal last week of white farmer Gerald Stanley in Saskatchewan in the 2016 killing of a young Cree man, Coulten Boushie, have cast a harsh spotlight in recent weeks on attitudes toward Indigenous people.The Stanley verdict sparked protests across the country along with condemnation from the federal justice minister, with critics calling the justice system biased against Indigenous people.