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PDM labels PNP Administration Speech from the Throne as ‘Flowery’

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Providenciales, 06 Mar 2015 – Nothing more than a flowery speech is how the Opposition Leader, Hon Sharlene Robinson described the Speech from the Throne delivered in the House of Assembly yesterday,

“We noted, Mr. Speaker, last year that 69 of the 74 of the commitments made were not fulfilled while only five last year had updates, five were even removed from the Budget. Last year’s Throne Speech Mr. Speaker contained 46 promises and of course, quick glance of this year’s Throne Speech, we see four were completed, eight were mentioned again, some issues Mr. Speaker have seen no progress and have just dropped off the radar altogether.”

Robinson said the government continues to fall short on actually doing what it says it will do and that her PDM side is concerned on the constant boasts of the surplus when the country’s infrastructure is falling apart.

“Why do we boast about the surplus and everything in this country seems to be broken down. The roads are pretty much pot holes especially on the island of Grand Turk, and we are grateful for the little paving we see being done, but we have to remember the number of tourists we have passing through here…”

The Throne Speech did address greater focus on consumer protection laws, yet the Opposition said there continues to be no real progress report on people-centered accomplishments including doing more to see electricity costs reduced.

“Mr. Speaker, no mention again of the energy policy and transportation. Mr. Speaker our people are still buckling under high energy costs and that maintains its position as one of the greatest deterrents to doing business in the islands.”

Hon Sharlene Robinson reminded that 2014 was dubbed the Year of the Young Person; she said this year’s Throne Speech failed to focus on important areas for the Youth.

“The promise was: ‘My Government would begin the upgrading of existing sporting facilities around the islands, including the installation of proper lighting to encourage the safe use of these facilities,’ but Mr. Speaker no mention of sports.”

Terms like ‘lip service’ and ‘talks’ were used to respond to the Speech from the Throne which was delivered by the Governor and written by the governing Progressive National Party.

“But it is our responsibility on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker to hold the government to account not just for the promises contained in its manifesto but in its Throne Speech and what it says to the people of this country and in whatever other forum.”

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Omicron results in 267,000 case record for USA, eclipsing even Delta

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, December 31, 2021 – The US has broken its record for most daily coronavirus cases with a massive 267,000 cases recorded on Tuesday. The information was courtesy of data prepared by the New York Times about infection rates.

The Omicron variant now accounts for more than half of the cases in the country.

Information the Times released said, “The country is averaging more than 260,000 new cases a day, surpassing the peak levels from last winter. Infection rates are especially high in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. Though breakthrough infections are common with Omicron, scientists say vaccinated people, especially those who have received booster shots, have protection against severe cases and death.”

Despite the steep increase there is a silver lining. The same data that shows the increase also shows that hospitalizations and deaths remain at a steady rate and that rate is much lower than variants like Delta.

Amidst the drastic increase the Centers for Disease Control has slashed its recommendations for quarantine days in half, after which a COVID patient may leave quarantine without testing. There has been much controversy surrounding the issue with accusations of capitalism being slung toward the entity.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended the decision saying, “What we do know is about 85 percent to 90 percent of viral transmission happens in those first five days, which is why we really want people to stay home during that period of time.”

She said masks should be worn for five days after quarantine to prevent the final 10 per cent to 15 per cent of possible transmission.

Walensky did not explain the efficiency of a 10 quarantine vs the new five day quarantine or say if this was expected to lead to an uptick in cases.

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Deadly Salad Mix Recall in US; TCI seems unaffected

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#December 24, 2021 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating an outbreak related to packaged salads that have killed about three people, and 22 have been hospitalised due to fears over Listeria infection.

As a result, Fresh Express has recalled salad products from approximately 19 states on Monday.

Recalls were made in Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Massachusetts.

The brands recalled are Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field, and Wellsley Farms Organic.

The CDC advised that anyone who has purchased the recalled items should discard them and properly sanitise their refrigerators to avoid contracting the associated bacteria called listeria.

Listeria may cause headaches, stiff neck, confusion, and fever.

Local grocer, Sunny Foods confirmed that the recall does not impact his store and it may be the same for others in country.

The TCI Government had not replied up to news time to a query about whether the recall affects this market.

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TC Reef Fund gives a Financial & Projects Report

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, the local environmental non-profit, announced a successful fiscal year.  Approximately $114,058 dollars was raised in 2021. The expenses of the organization, however, outweighed the revenues. For the fiscal year, it was about $128,984 dollars.

The largest source of revenue came from donations designated for specific projects. Nearly half of the fiscal year’s revenue came from individual donations and memberships.  Don Stark, Chairman of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said the ongoing success of fund-raising contributed to hiring their first full-time Executive Director in 2021, Mrs. Alizée Zimmermann.

“I have been very happy to become a major part of the TCRF as the Executive Director,” said Alizée Zimmermann. “TCRF has accomplished so much since 2010 and I hope that we will continue to be a leader in environmental advocacy not only in the TCI, but also regionally. We are already considered a regional leader in the battle with SCTLD. I am also happy to say that in 2021 we have expanded our volunteer network to over 100 residents who donate their time to assist TCRF with our various projects.  We could not accomplish the things we do without the support we receive from these generous volunteers.”

Since 2010, when the organization was founded, $1.4 million dollars have been raised without the government’s contribution.  About $924,000, which is, 67 per cent of the money, has been used to support environmental projects in the TCI.

Its largest project, which started in 2012, is installing and maintaining dive and snorkel boat moorings. Stark said the project’s cost is now at 287 thousand dollars.

“That’s $287,000 that TCRF has essentially donated to the TCIG, since once we install a mooring in a marine park, it becomes Government property,” said Stark.

He added that over $43, 000 had been invested in education and outreach programs.

Alizée Zimmermann, Executive Director of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said they expanded their volunteer network to over 100 residents.

The Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease project, which dominated the expenses, came to almost $37,000. Also, moorings which were over $24,000 accounted for a large part of the project expense.

The third-largest project expense was the Smith’s Reef Rehabilitation and Improvements project. It was about $10,585 dollars for the year.

 

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