Providenciales, 01 Apr 2015 – As the Department of Social Development and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Home Affairs, continues to recognize Social Work Month 2015, we celebrate the dedicated and committed Social Workers for the roles they have played in the Turks and Caicos Islands in “Paving the way for change”.
The question was asked these serving officers “Why social work?” It is amazing to see that the most common factor is the desire to help others and bring about change in the communities they live and serve.
These are the Social Workers of the Turks and Caicos Islands:
I believe it was Confucius who said “If you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is one philosophy that had stuck with me throughout my Social Work Career. The one thing I have always known I would like to do with my life is to assist others and intercede on their behalf.
I was the youngest one in my class in College. People habitually asked me what I knew about Social Work being so young. Sometimes I would ask myself the same question but after realizing that my zeal to mediate on the behalf of others would not diminish, I knew I had chosen the right path.
Having spent the last eight years as a professional Social Worker, I realize more each day that I am fulfilling my purpose. I am a better person due to my profession. I have learned how to be humble and put the needs of others before my own. Frankly, I would not have it any other way.
I entered the Social Work profession out of a genuine desire to improve the lives of others. Making a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small or how great has always been important to me. As a child growing up, my first career choice was to become a medical doctor and as such, I was mentored by one. I observed my mentor giving of herself to the children of a Children’s Home that was located in close proximity to where she had her private practice. She got so involved to the point where she adopted two of the children from the home.
My parents also were highly involved in the nurturing of other children and caring for persons in need within our community. The influence of these positive role models in my life inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others. Working with different personalities of varying background on a day-to day basis has proven to be challenging and sometimes overwhelming but no doubt rewarding. For me, my work is not just an interest but a divine calling. I have been in this profession for 13 years and in spite of the challenges encountered, I am still very passionate about improving the lives of others.
I reflect on the theme for Social Work Month 2015 “Pave the way for Change” and my reason for pursuing the profession of Social Work. I realized that today it is somewhat different from what drove me to become a social worker ten years ago.
I initially wanted to empower others. Today I have decided to continue striving in this noble profession because it allows me the opportunity to be empowered myself.
The clients I have served and encountered as a Social Worker have amazed me by their unexplainable bravery to fight the odds they daily face by choosing to
Believe despite their persecutions
Dream beyond their current situations
Live in spite of their limitations
I have recently decided to broaden my prospective and adopt the mindset of many I serve and have dared to believe, dream and live. These are the first three steps needed in paving the way for change in this profession and the world in which we live.
To say that Social Work was my first area of interest as a Profession would be disingenuous because my desire was to become a Psychologist. Although this desire was not actualized and has not vanished, I strongly believe that it was my destiny to become a part of the Social Work Profession because of the innate qualities that makes me who I am
Matthew 22:14 says that “Many are called but few are chosen”. Throughout my eight years of experience as a Social Worker, there is no doubt in my mind that one has to be chosen for such a Profession as this. I have always been of the opinion that if everyone contributes positively in the communities they live and help their fellow men by way of giving of themselves and their support, this world will be a better place.
The theme for Social Work Month 2015 “Social Work pave the way for change” not only encompasses what Social Workers have done to bring about change in their communities but also the positive changes brought about within all of us.
Deputy Director, Grand Turk
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I first became fascinated with the field of Social Work by observing a Social Worker who was practicing and working directly in the field. I was amazed and excited with the way she conducted investigations, interviews, interacted and engaged the client on a child abuse case.
I got my foot wet and was introduced to this field as a Clerical Officer/Welfare Assistant in South Caicos in 1999. I grew a keen interest and became inquisitive on how to become a Social Worker. I observed that there were certain skills that one must possess including: compassion, empathy, problem solving, confidentiality, communication and an overall passion and desire to help people help themselves.
What’s most fulfilling about my career is being able to connect, engage and get through to clients; seeing clients follow through with services and eventually leave the system; and providing counseling, mentoring and long-standing programs. We will continue to pave the way for change.
Are you committed to our cause? If so, join us! Become a Social Worker and begin paving the way for change.
Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge
By Shaniek Smith
#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.
It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.
In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced. Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations. The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.
The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season. The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.
In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.
The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI. It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.
“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.
Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.
Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.
Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.
“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.
Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.
He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.
“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.
Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.
Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.
Over 5000 COVID cases on Cruises, CDC investigations launched
By Dana Malcolm
#January 15, 2022 – Cruises have continued across the Americas despite the US Centers for Disease Control dire warning that even vaccinated individuals should be wary of them. Now the CDC informs that Coronavirus cases have been reported on every cruise ship sailing with passengers in U.S. waters.
According to the CDC, all 92 ships with passengers have met the threshold for investigation by the public health agency. In every case, the CDC has either started an investigation or has investigated.
The CDC warned travellers including those who are vaccinated to avoid cruising in December, following the announcement videos surfaced of jam-packed cruise ships with unmasked passengers ringing in the New Year.
Meanwhile, Grand Turk is still welcoming cruise ships. Eleven cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the Grand Turk Cruise Center throughout January, according to the port schedule.
Jamell Robinson, TCI Minister of Health has confirmed that ships have been allowed to dock in Grand Turk with positive COVID cases on board.
He said. “Now in each ship there are stations or places for isolation on board…Just because a vessel has people with Covid-19 on it doesn’t necessarily mean we wouldn’t allow them to disembark.”
The minister explained the number of positive cases recorded on cruise ships that had arrived in Grand Turk was .001 per cent of all guests and they were not allowed to disembark.
So far, Turks and Caicos has turned away at least one cruise liner due to fears of COVID exposure in the capital, which has gone from a handful of active cases to now 111, as of January 14.
The US Centers for Disease Control reported on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases on cruise ships have increased to 30 times what they were in mid-December.
New York, US Epicenter for Omicron “turning the corner”
By Shanieka Smith
#USA, January 15, 2022 – Today, New York is seeing a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, as officials revealed, “we are turning the corner” on Friday in updating on the state of affairs in the city, labelled the epicenter of omicron for the United States.
Before, data from the New York State Department of Health showed that the number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 vaccinated residents in the State, rose from 29.8 in the first week of December to 222.3 last week. Also, the rate of new cases in unvaccinated adults rose from 239.6 to 1,583.1 per 100,000.
New York is a key source market for the Turks and Caicos and much of the Caribbean, which is heavily reliant upon winter travellers. The data showed, too, that vaccine effectiveness against severe infection remained high.
Only 4.59 fully vaccinated adults out of 100,000 were hospitalised with COVID-19 in the week of December 27. However, that number increased, and the hospitalisation rate for the unvaccinated is nearly 13 times higher.
New York’s rolling positivity rate fell below 20% in recent days, but media reports indicate the death toll in the State hit a startling high of 195 for the first time since the mass vaccination rollout.
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