A native Turks and Caicos islander is nearly extinct and if a conservation strategy is not activated and taken seriously, we could lose this natural resource forever in twenty years. Some hard hitting truths about the endangered Caicos Pine tree were presented in a media meeting yesterday.
The Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew, announced that 95% of the Caicos Pine tree – which is found on Pine Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos – is gone; decimated by an invasive bug which we cannot just spray away with pesticides.
Dr. Mark Hamilton, research leader on the project said the mission is to get the public caring about the Caicos Pine, growing the Caicos Pine to better health though nurseries and to save as many seeds as possible.
Not only are we seeing the Caicos Pine devoured when they are less healthy, the tree is losing its uniqueness as the genetic signature which makes it distinctive to this jurisdiction are disappearing.
Both the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture – Hon Porsha Smith and the Governor, His Excellency, Peter Beckingham were there to support the launch of the National Tree Restoration Strategy which is backed by $300,000 in UK Funding; recently awarded to the TCI.
Missing in House Meetings, BVI law requires By-Election soon
By Dana Malcolm
#BVI, August 4, 2022 – The British Virgin Islands will soon have a by-election to contest embattled former premier Andrew Fahie seat in the House of Assembly(HOA). Fahie will likely lose his seat in the coming weeks as the speaker of the house confirmed she will not be granting the ex-premier anymore leave to miss sittings of the House according to local media.
Fahie is forbidden from leaving Miami while he awaits his court appearance on drug charges after being arrested along with fellow countrywoman, Olenvine Maynard in a DEA operation.
No member of the HOA is allowed to miss three consecutive meetings without leave from the speaker of the house in the BVI. Once the time expires a by election will be triggered
Fahie has plead “not guilty” to the drug charges against him and remains in Miami at the home of his two daughters who along with his wife have had to surrender their passports.
The BVI narrowly avoided a partial constitutional suspension earlier this year after a UK led Commission of Inquiry found widespread instances of corruption in the government.
Dr Natalio D. Wheatley continues as Acting Premier of the British Virgin Islands.
A pristine bay in Exuma contaminated in Diesel Spill, Bahamas Gov’t opens investigation
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, July 25, 2022 – Bahamian companies are making significant progress in their effort to clean up a 35,000 gallon fuel spill in some of the most pristine waters in the world: Exuma.
By Thursday afternoon 11,000 gallons had already been removed and the rest is expected to be siphoned out by Friday. The spill was noticed about 4am Wednesday morning during a fuel transfer which was on its way to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).
Chester Cooper, in acting Prime Minister capacity at the time of the messy spill in his constituency. Cooper flew into Exuma with a team of ministers and media to assess the damage. Bahamian-owned, Sun Oil was the source of the diesel leak.
“It was on its way to BPL but ended up here in the cove. We are happy that it appears to be contained,” said Cooper, obviously concerned but expressing relief for the manageable scope of the spill.
In a statement shared with Bahamian media houses Sun Oil said ‘at 4am Wednesday morning crew members onboard the MT Arabian, a vessel contracted on behalf of Sun Oil Limited to deliver diesel fuel, discovered a leak during the discharging process. The crew deployed absorbent pads and containment buoys near the shoreline at sunrise.’
Cleanup is being led by the crew of the vessel with mechanical assistance from BPL whose trucks are holding the fuel.
Utilities Minister Alfred Sears gave this report last week on the cleanup efforts.
The fuel is contained to one area, thanks to the booms, said to be the bay of the Exuma Sailing Club.
In photos, while it does appear to be contained, the turquoise of the fuel free water is a jarring contrast with the now brown-black of the contaminated water and residents say the odor is equally putrid and far reaching.
Bahamian Reporter Marlena Leonard said she could smell the odor in the bus on her way to the site and residents told her they could smell it all the way in town.
Aerial images shared by the Bahamian Ministry of Works on Twitter are heartbreaking, showing the extent of the spill stretching from the bay to the open ocean.
Bahamians have taken to Twitter expressing distress, one said
“In the interest of my mental health, I am required to pretend that I did not see news about that oil spill in Exuma.”
Another said, “An oil spill anywhere in this country should spark outrage but something about seeing it happened in Exuma just feels different—“
The was a concerted effort by high ranking officials to see the scene and debrief the media. Officials from Sun Oil, BPL, the Ministry of Environment, Utilities Minister Alfred Sears, various other government officials and Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper attended the scene yesterday morning. Prime Minister Philip Davis was in Miami at the time attending a CANTO telecommunications conference.
Turks & Caicos and World trending up in COVID cases while Africa experiences big drop
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, July 15, 2022 – Covid-19 cases are trending up globally and in the Turks and Caicos. There were twenty one new cases between July 3rd to 9th and 61 positive cases on the island overall according to the most recent COVID-19 report. This is the highest reported total weekly case count since the beginning of May.
Global deaths on the other hand have a risen over 1,500 compared to two weeks ago
Brazil and the United States consistently record some of the highest case numbers in the Americas. The US had 722,000 new cases and Brazil had 396,000 new cases. Both countries along with Chile continue to record the highest death toll in the Americas.
The African region saw a major drop in cases a 33 percent decrease compared to the previous week, deaths were 17 percent lower.
Unfortunately the Eastern Mediterranean region including countries like Tunisia, Iran and Morocco saw a 78 percent increase in people who died due to Covid-19.
The BA.5 variant has not overtaken Omicron as the most dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus but infection linked to BA.5 are rising.
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