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ZIKA Press Release

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cabinetProvidenciales, 05 Feb 2016 – The number of Zika cases continues to increases in the Caribbean and Latin America region and more countries are becoming affected, The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services is please to say that the Turks and Caicos Islands is currently Zika free.
The Premiere, Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services, the Hon., Dr. Rufus W Ewing advises that TCI Government in its commitment to ensure that the Turks and Caicos remains Zika Free, Cabinet yesterday approved emergency funds in the sum of $327,433.00 to procure additional resources, chemicals and step-up on manpower in the fight to ensure that TCI remain Zika Free.
The funding will be used to purchase mosquito nets for our vulnerable Populations such as pregnant women, the elderly. In addition, the Government also intend to bulk purchase mosquito repellents which would be distributed to the above mentioned vulnerable group’s households throughout the islands.

The Department of Environmental Health will also be purchasing additional fogging machines and several hand-held industrial fogging machines which would permit more effective fogging operations throughout the islands, particularly within communities and areas which are not easily accessible with vehicles.

Cabinet also granted approval for a reduction in the tariff for the purchasing of held fogging machines, as such the public and the commercial establishments on island are encouraged to import hand-held fogging machine, and individuals are also encouraged to purchase these items and as frequent as necessary engage in fogging of their premises.
However, the Government recognize that fogging alone will not be the solution. Part of the solution is to prevent the adult mosquito from finding suitable areas with settled water to lay their eggs. In an effort to address this, The Turks and Caicos Government in collaboration with the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) and other civic groups will be conducting a National clean-up Campaign. Communities and resident are encouraged to clean their back yard, place the trash in front of their property and arrangement would be made to remove the trash.

All persons, community groups, church groups, schools, adult’s young and old asre encourage to come out and be part of the Nationwide clean up exercise in an effort to ensure that TCIG remain Zika Free. This is a matter of National urgency and all persons are encouraged to take part and do their part in keeping TCIG Zika free. Speaking on the Zika threat was TCHTA’s Executive Director Stacy Cox who noted, “Last week we attended a webinar with CHTA, CTO and our Caribbean counterparts where information on the virus and preventative measures were disseminated. We will be in constant communication with CHTA and will share any pertinent information with our local stakeholders including health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases found in our region.”
Cox added, “One takeaway from the meeting was the importance of educating our residents about ways to control the mosquito population. TCHTA as the largest tourism and hospitality body in the nation will therefore be increasing our public awareness and training among our employees and will be taking proactive measures to combat Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.”

The Ministry further advises that protecting yourself from mosquito bites will help you to stay safe from contracting Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika and if travel is essential to areas experiencing these diseases, especially for pregnant women, remember to exercise extreme caution to avoid mosquito bites.

To Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites:
Apply insect repellents on exposed skin liberally
When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito net
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home by:
Check around buildings for anything that could hold water, inspect your home and yard weekly
Turn containers over or cover them
Get rid of or cover old tires
Properly dispose of all garbage/refuse
Cover boats, children’s pools, water drums and rain barrels etc.
Clean rain gutters and make sure they are flowing properly
Check screens for holes
Empty standing water from containers such as flower pots or buckets

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Caribbean News

Grants for farmers

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#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony.  For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.

This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment

In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support

  • Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
  • New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
  • Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD

To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.

Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.

Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.

I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.

My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.

Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister

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Bahamas News

U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Bahamas News

Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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