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Arson suspected in HJ Robinson High fire in Grand Turk; top floor ravaged by flames

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imageProvidenciales, 29 Jan 2016 – Magnetic Media has confirmed that there is strong suspicion, even evidence that the fire which has gobbled up the top floor of the new HJ Robinson High school Administration block was arson.

It is said, the fire which reportedly started around 3 am began in the Prinicipal’s office, and that the security camera was smashed.

Right now, the fire is still raging, school is closed and the JAGS McCartney International Airport is closed. The airport is shut down because the airport fire truck is what is on the scene right now, trying to extinguish the fire because there is no domestic fire unit.

The block, which was opened just before the 2015/2016 academic year housed the Principal, Vice Prinicipal’s and records offices – all hard copies of the students’ records are believed destroyed by the fire. Also up there, the library and computer lab – both were just outfitted with thousands in books and computers last week.

We spoke to the Member of Parliament for this area of North Backsalina, Hon Edwin Astwood who said he is heart-broken at the fire and upset that the years and years of requesting a domestic fire unit during House of Assembly budget debates had not been answered.

Astwood also shared that he believes the depleted police force has contributed to this break in and fire.

“I was very disheartened when I got to the scene around 4:30am to see the school burning and knowing that it is alleged to have been set on fire by somebody. I have made numerous requests for a domestic fire unit for Grand Turk; we are always told, ‘it is in the pipeline.”

Astwood told Magnetic Media, in a telephone interview this morning that men from the community helped to move furniture out of the classrooms and that FortisTCI was there too with its cherry picker trucks to help to elevate the airport’s firemen.

This is the second government school to see some destruction due to fire in recent years; the Ona Glinton Primary in Grand Turk was gravely damaged in a blaze which crippled school operations for years; that fire was November 21, 2010.

Up to the time of this report, there was word that due to the ability of someone to save the security system’s DVR recorder, Police have a person of interest in custody.

The event is described by most in touch with Magnetic Media as “sad, sad, sad.”

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Government Considers Vaccine Requirement for New Admissions to Infirmaries

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#Jamaica, December 7, 2021 – Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government is considering a vaccine requirement for new entrants to the island’s infirmaries, once admissions resume.

“What we are looking to do is that once we start to readmit persons to the infirmaries, one of the conditions that will be laid out is that new cases coming into the infirmaries must be fully vaccinated before they are admitted,” he said in an interview with JIS News.

“We have to do that to safeguard the population in our infirmaries,” he pointed out.

He said that the Ministry is also looking at allowing visits to facilities by fully vaccinated family members during the Christmas season.

“Last year, we partnered with Digicel and we used technology as a means of allowing loved ones to communicate with their relatives inside of the infirmaries. This year, we are looking to see if we can do it on a limited, face-to-face basis, once we have agreed… where people, who would want to visit their relatives in the infirmaries… must be fully vaccinated,” he said.

“I also want to stress that they must come with a negative COVID test that is [taken within] 72 hours, and we will limit visits based on appointments,” he pointed out.

“So, you would make your appointments, you would come at the time given and we will be creating areas such as the therapeutic park [being built at the Trelawny Infirmary], as a means of allowing loved ones [to visit] during the festive season once we have worked out the protocols. That is the approach we will be taking,” the Minister outlined.

Mr. McKenzie said the Government will always be sympathetic to the plight of the poor, noting that those with loved ones inside the infirmaries can be assured that they are being cared for by a committed and dedicated team of professionals.

He said that while 70 per cent of the island’s infirmary staff has already been vaccinated, every effort is being made to get the remaining 30 per cent on board, noting that taking the vaccine has proven to be the most effective way to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

 

Contact: Garwin Davis

Release: JIS

 

 

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Caribbean News

Minister Bartlett Elected Chair of Inter-American Committee on Tourism

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#UnitedStatesofAmerica, December 7, 2021 –  Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has been elected by acclamation as the new Chairman of the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR).

Minister Bartlett came out ahead of the candidates from Paraguay and Ecuador for the chairmanship at a meeting on Tuesday (November 30).  Both countries will now serve as Vice Chair of the CITUR.

Chair of the OAS’ Inter-American Council for Integral Development, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Audrey Marks, congratulated Minister Bartlett on behalf of the member states.

“I wish you… much success in the work that you will be leading as we begin deliberations to prepare the draft work plan based on the Declaration of Paraguay towards the reconstruction and rebuilding of tourism post coronavirus (COVID-19),” she said.

Minister Bartlett, in his response, called on all member states to work together to complete the plans and policy programmes that they had started.   This, he said, “would require a greater sense of innovation, as we cannot continue with things as they are”.

“We must now seek to find new ways to deal with new disruptions that seem destined to follow this pandemic,” he added.

Minister Bartlett thanked member states for the confidence placed in him by way of his election to the chair of the committee.  He pledged to be a strong, fruitful, and vibrant chairman and called for the support of each member state.

“We have so much to do, and I know the Americas are depending on us to chart the way to recovery and to thrive after recovery,” he said.

 

Contact: Derrick Scott

Release: JIS

 

 

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Facts laid out in Beach Vending Bill Debate by Tourism Minister Connolly

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

 #TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2021 – Tourism Minister Josephine Connolly says the policy that birthed the controversial Beach and Coastal Vending bill was conceived under the PDM administration.

Connolly was speaking in the House of Assembly on November 30 when she made the claims.  She said the policy had been around since 2020 and had been in circulation among tourism stakeholders and publicly via the DECR up to June this year.

“The bill was circulated in 2020 up to three times. In June of this year the policy was again circulated. And the DECR held meetings to discuss the policy and some of the changes.”

Connolly claimed that the policy which had been drafted by the previous administration and had then been intentionally ignored by them.

“…Mr Speaker, I met on my desk a draft policy on beach vending prepared by the previous government. It had sat there gathering dust, not because it was not needed but because the previous government did not want to deal with it,” the Minister said after laying the Bill for its second reading.

Connolly insisted however that she was up to the task of seeing the bill through.

“They let it slide; leave it for the next guy, but I am the next guy and I am not shy.”

She went on to reference a specific issue affecting vendors. She said currently, vendors only needed a business license to operate on the beach. This resulted in vendors tying up several booths and denying other vendors a chance.

She claimed the bill would fix this as each vendor would only be allowed one license to operate on the beach, thus increasing fairness.

 

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