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ALL BLOOD DONATIONS THIS PAST YEAR TO BE TESTED FOR ZIKA

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Providenciales, TCI, August 29, 2016 – Two developments regarding the Zika Virus will change what happens at blood banks and how quickly government health departments move to get their samples tested.
 Magnetic Media was with two media releases Friday which will significantly impact business as usual at health facilities within the Western Hemisphere.  The Food & Drug Administration or FDA of the United States has determined that all blood donations of the past year must now be tested to ensure that they are Zika-free.  The screening will impact every blood bank as Acting Chief Scientist at the FDA, Luciana Borio, advised and I quote: “We are issuing revised guidance for immediate implementation in order to help maintain the safety of the U.S. blood supply.”  End quote.
This move was determined three days ago, on Friday and revises a previously issued FDA notice in February to test only active Zika zones of the country.  Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research also said, “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.” End quote.
On Friday night, a notice from CARPHA, which runs the lab testing all or most of the Caribbean’s suspected cases of Zika told government health departments that they have to get samples in within five days of them being taken.  Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director said the Zika virus has been reported in 45 Caribbean and Latin American States, with almost all CARPHA member states having confirmed cases and shared that, “…samples collected, sent and received after the 5-day period may not be valid for PCR testing. However, since dengue and chikungunya are still circulating in the Region and the symptoms are similar, CARPHA routinely tests all samples for these three (3) diseases.”  End quote.
CARPHA is also promising a one week turn around in results and advised the general public, that the Health Agency does not take samples directly from civilians. “Therefore, persons exhibiting symptoms of Zika such as fever, rash, red eyes, muscle pains and joint pains, should visit their health care provider.”  Add to this, CARPHA is telling its member nations not to send every sample it gets; we reported last week that the Agency is inundated with cases.  Priorities are pregnant women, children under 5 years and people older than 65 years old.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency’s laboratory is located in Trinidad and Tobago; the Turks and Caicos is among the nations dependent upon this lab.
 

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PREPARE FOR PRICE SPIKES AT THE PUMP: OPEC TO MAKE MAJOR GAS PRODUCTION CUTS 

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#TurksandCaicos, October 5, 2022 – A significant jump in gas prices may be looming as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is expected to cut production in its meeting on October 5th. Gas prices rose more than $2 dollars on Tuesday in anticipation of the meeting.

Gas prices had soared to incredible highs in early 2022 following sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and western countries subsequently shunning the oil and gas provided by the Eurasian nation.

This year oil remained steadily above $110 a barrel for the most part from February to July even rising to $130 a barrel briefly in March and everyone felt the pinch eventually.

Gas Prices in the Turks and Caicos rose more than $1.68 reaching highs of $8.10 and power bills in June caused widespread panic and outrage in residents, prompting calls for the government to investigate and birthing forgiveness programs for the swaths of families unable to pay the bills in full.

The TCI has still not quite recovered from the ultra high prices earlier this year based on the government’s monthly gas price index and $2.5 million was just allocated to put a cap on fuel prices for domestic customers.

Now according to analysts at Reuters, oil production may be cut up to 1 million barrels per day. Currently oil prices are trading well below 100 dollars but all eyes are on the OPEC meeting to be held in Vienna.

With demand staying strong across the globe as the Russia-Ukranian war drags on, quarantines and lockdowns become a thing of the past, and upcoming sanctions to Russian crude oil consumers must brace for what analysts say will likely be a jump, once again, in prices.

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Virginia Mourns Black Community Leader Murdered on Vacation in Turks & Caicos 

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#TurksandCaicos, October 5, 2022  – Kent Carter was an army veteran and the first Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Arlington Virginia.  An established realtor in his native US and described as a ‘stand up guy’, Kent was an active leader in his community— until last Sunday when criminals in an effort to take out rivals, uncaring of innocents, sprayed the vehicle he was traveling with bullets.

For months Turks and Caicos community leaders have been warning that gun violence is robbing us of our bright young men, now another nation has been robbed as well. It has been confirmed that Carter leaves behind a wife and at least one young daughter.

Kent’s death was confirmed by the NAACP Arlington Branch on Wednesday in a notification of loss.

“NAACP Arlington Branch mourns the tragic and unexpected loss of our 1st Vice President, Kent Carter, who passed away Sunday, October 2, 2022, while vacationing abroad.”

In the immediate hours after the announcement the story was picked up by multiple major American media houses including Fox News and tributes began to pour in. Virginia Senator Don Beyer described it as a ‘terrible loss’. Across the board from political organizations to county board members, to homeowners whom he had helped close on properties the environment was one of shock and disbelief.

Magnetic Media has observed the effect Carter, who described himself as a proud ‘girl dad’ had on the individuals around him. He participated in food drives, black upliftment sessions and was a regular vacationer to other places worldwide. Carter was not only a social activist he was a top realtor in his area and his personal social media is filled with smiling photos of families and individuals he helped to make homeowners, calls to action and social outreach programs.  The outpouring of grief was astounding.

His neighbor Robert York described him to Fox News.

“Just a really great, standup guy, you know? One of the best neighbors you could have,” he said “He and his family, just really great neighbors. So this is just incredibly sad news.”

After enjoying a jet ski ride on Sunday October 2nd he was headed back to his hotel when gunmen rained bullets on the vehicle he was traveling in with when the operators of the rides who were themselves the target of the attack.

Indiscriminately cruel are the words that must be used to describe these criminals to whom innocence has proved to be no deterrent and proximity enough for a death sentence.

The tragedy raises tough questions. How many of our young men are involved in the ‘gun and drug trade’ which National Security officials have fingered for the attack? How deeply are they embedded? How many of them are on the streets in reasonable day jobs?

The government was aware of the issue at least as weeks ago at the very onset of this violence the premier rejected the idea that the young men involved in crime were not able to support themselves saying rather that they were trying to take shortcuts to wealth.

“In this microwave generation where instant gratification surpasses everything else there are too many young people who don’t want to go through the process and work hard. If you’re not prepared to do it the old-fashioned way and to be honest you’re making a shortcut that could potentially end in an early grave.”

 

Photo Credit: NAACP Arlington Branch

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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