Grand Turk, 16 Oct 2014 – Our islands are uniquely beautiful by nature. Therefore, the onus is on us to preserve it for future generations. Consider this: the average household produces one to two 19 gallon bags of rubbish in one week. Now consider the amount of rubbish that is produced on your street…then your district…then your island…then our country. Imagine most of that rubbish being scattered about your island. You may live on an island that has a schedule for garbage collection; where residents keep their properties and their surroundings tidy; and there are no uncaring persons polluting the environment with garbage and refuse. Then you can claim our slogan, “Beautiful by nature.”
As Shadow Minister for Health and the elected member for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay, I am hereby appealing to the residents on our islands to join me in my campaign to keep our islands clean. We can quantify the advantages of a clean community. The benefits run the gamut from an economic stand point to a healthy environment.
We rely on tourists who come to our shores. Do we want them to take one look and decide never to return? We can play our part by practicing healthy, cleanly habits. Let us adopt these two slogans and make them our mantras:
Put it in the can, man;
Keep our islands clean, green and pristine.
Litterers and dumpers are not welcomed in our beautiful by nature islands. Each resident can make a difference by adhering to practices that enhance our beauty rather than detract from it. We may not see road signs that warn of fines for littering, but that should not deter us from becoming civic minded, nonetheless.
“Out of all those hundreds and hundreds of islands lying in the seas and oceans of the earth, the Turks & Caicos are our islands. Grand Turk is my little one, so we just got to be aware of them and take care of them.” This is my personal creed.
I implore those among us who do not care about our islands and the environment to desist from destroying their beauty. We must all do our part, especially the Government, who I see as turning a blind eye to this situation of pollution within our islands.
On any given Cruise ship day on Grand Turk there are thousands persons on the streets, moving around, sightseeing, taking pictures, and visiting places of interest. What are they seeing and photographing? Should they see the garbage accumulating on a vacant lot opposite the old police station, near the Museum? Is this the image that the Minister of Tourism wishes to sell as the lasting image of Grand Turk? Is this what the Minister of Environment considers to be “Beautiful by Nature”? Is this how the Minister of Government Support Services lend support to the environment? And is this what the Minister of Health considers to be promoting a healthy life style? Does this Government really care about any of this? From my observations, it does not look so. I, along with other private citizens and groups, have been assisting in cleaning our island. However, we need the Government to do its part. My advice to the Government:
Provide adequate resources to the departments responsible for garbage collection and cleaning;
Promote caring for the environment;
Enforce laws for protecting our “Beautiful by Nature Country”, please.
Hon Edwin Astwood
Shadow Minister of Health
MP for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay