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Greetings Delivered by the Hon Leader of the Opposition National Heroes Day 2015



I greet each of you in your respective places.

It is certainly a privilege to be given this opportunity to bring brief greetings on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Movement and the Official Opposition. I therefore wish to extend my sincerest thanks to the National Honors and Awards Committee.

Another year has passed and each year we meet here to remember, to celebrate, to honor and each year we are charged as individual citizens to be more and to do more from where we stand or rather the place we occupy. This year is no different. I pay homage to the Late JAGS McCartney whose life and legacy continues to speak from beyond the grave. I am especially proud to celebrate him from the platform on which I stand as Leader and on behalf of his Great Party. I recognize that I stand on his shoulders and all those that fought alongside him.

The McCartneys (his wife and children) have a reason to be proud. His brothers and sisters have a right to be proud. North Backsalina and Grand Turk have a right to be proud. But that young man called Slim, Woopie, Barba Jaggie, JAGS belongs to the Turks and Caicos Islands. His dream and vision was for the Turks and Caicos Islands and we honor him today and ought to each day of our lives and not just on National Heroes Day.

In my brief greetings and I promise you that I will be brief, I choose to remember a few things about JAGS that continues to validate his heroic status year after year and that prove to be relevant and the best way forward even decades later.

This year we celebrate 40 years since the Junkanoo Club incident which no one can deny was a catalyst for change in elective representation. That struggle was the sum total of several initiatives and an attempt to change the culture not just of how we were treated as Turks and Caicos Islanders but how we treated each other.

In this climate – in this period which causes us to reflect on us as a people, I charge us to follow in McCartney’s footsteps in how he treated his brothers and sisters. McCartney respected all people – People who society rejected, who some people thought had the wrong last name, or who was of the wrong social class or poor. He respected everyone and included all. We must learn from McCartney how to treat each other for I am convinced that we can only move forward when we do this. We are often confused as to why persons who come to live among us treat us the way they do and why so many people among us disrespect us and without providing excuses, we must look at how we treat each other; how disrespectful we are to each other. We must look within and correct this from within. JAGS respected everyone and dismissed no one.

Secondly. JAGS used education to inspire and ignite a passion for change. No hero manipulates or tells lies lest when that lie is exposed, the flame dies. The issues are in too many respects the same and we seem to have regressed and have lost some gains. We must see the importance of educating our people in all disciplines but more so, on the issues that we as a people face. And when we are aware, we must not be selfish in our accomplishment and seek to hold back but must each one reach one – each one, educate one.
JAGS used education and respect to inspire but above all, he made citizens: ordinary citizens see their self worth and value.

We are at a dangerous place that threatens his dream. Whilst I celebrate the man, the life and the legacy, I caution us to not trample on the dream and the vision. JAGS’ vision was not a secret. He shared his vision. That was how he was able to inspire and ignite flames that shone bright even in the face of danger. In his words “it is not an idle dream…some may think it an impossible task…”. He pledged to not stop fighting until we would have achieved social, economic and political advancement for all – freedom, equality and justice for all.

In realizing this dream, in 2015, there are new and not so new frontiers to conquer and the times and circumstances can in different instances dictate a change of method and strategy but these tenets of the movement I highlight today remain relevant and constant. We must respect each other. We must be educated on and understand the issues as they really are. And we must be taught and learn our own self worth in this struggle. 40 years later, the struggle is real, but it is too real among ourselves. In 1979. JAGS said “we must pull together if only for survival”. I say to you in 2015, that we must pull together if only for survival.

JAGS’ dream is the dream and ought to be the dream of every right thinking Turks and Caicos Islander. His dream calls for unity at all levels.

We must pull together if only for survival.

His dream and his struggle remind us that we need each other.

We must pull together if only for survival.

I say to you that we cannot and will not get anywhere pulling each other down. We cannot attain advancement in this country politically, socially or economically until we realise this. You pull me down, we fall. I pull you down, we fall.

We must pull together if only for survival.

JAGS’ dream reminds us that we must allow a passion to be ignited in us, inspired only by the need for change and inspired only by selflessness. I recognise however that JAGS’ dream is being fulfilled in some areas and I celebrate this because his dream sees a little black girl like me (married to little black boy (handsome little black boy) from the Garden come to a high decision making office in this land.

JAGS’ dream says we all have a part to play regardless of who you are or who people say or think you are; regardless of how much money you have; regardless of your social standing. JAGS’ dream calls for no one to be left behind, trampled on, disrespected, dismissed, lied to or manipulated.

I say to you, what are you doing to advance the cause?

What are you doing to realise the dream?

Have you captured the vision? It is for us all. His vision is no good to us staying buried in the grave. We must capture it and see our individual roles. We must accept and see our individual roles.
Let us honor our National Hero by respecting each other, by bringing each other along, by ensuring each one understands his/her value because this struggle requires all hands on deck.
We are in a frightening place but it is not an impossible task.

JAGS calls out to us today. Can he trust us with his dream? Can he trust us?

Yes let’s celebrate and honor our only named National Hero. Yes let’s celebrate our past but let us fight for the future that he saw for us.

Let us always remember we each have a role to play. We are all legends in the making and we all can leave a lasting legacy of good and wholesome outstanding contributions.

I say Happy National Heroes Day to all of you and may God bless you and may He continue to bless these Turks and Caicos Islands.

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



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



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



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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