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Governor’s farewell message – OPptimism, but a need to sharpen the public sector and retain an open economy

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Providenciales, TCI, October 6, 2016 – After three happy years in the beautiful country of Turks and Caicos Islands, Jill and I will be leaving with great sadness next week, on 10 October – and with great relief that the islands were, unlike others in the region, untouched by Hurricane Matthew.  It hardly seems possible that it was almost three years to the day that we were in the House of Assembly for a memorable swearing-in ceremony.

We both count ourselves privileged to have lived in Turks and Caicos. Everyone, from Ministers and opposition leaders to resort owners and taxi drivers, have welcomed us warmly wherever we have gone, from shopping in Provo to walking in Middle Caicos.

It is important to look forward not back, something which I intend to remind myself of as I begin to work outside the Foreign Office.  I am optimistic about TCI.   It’s economy is looking stronger than most in the region, and we have an international brand which is increasingly recognized from New York to London.

It is vital that TCI’s leaders and population preserve its wonderful environment.  There is plenty of space for development, and what has happened in South Caicos, for example, in the past three years with a completely new runway under construction and new resorts is an extraordinary example of TCI’s economic strength.

TCI’s success is based heavily on the fruits of private enterprise, and in the future, as one senior public servant said to me just last week, the civil service needs to continue to raise its game.  It’s good that motivation and training is being increasingly recognized, but there are still vulnerabilities, for example in delivery and customer service, where we need to get sharper.

Similarly it is my hope, and that of Ministers in London, that whoever leads the country after the next election will retain and strengthen the open and corruption free government TCI has developed, and a rigorous and resilient economy.  Our painstakingly achieved reputation, demonstrated by the fantastic achievement of a Triple  B plus rating from one of the world’s largest rating agencies over the last two years, can be dashed quickly. A return to the high spending extravagances of an earlier era could be disastrous.

img_0950Above all my optimism is based on seeing the younger generation of Turks and Caicos Islanders starting to make their mark on the country. The thousands of schoolchildren Jill and I have met across all the islands during the annual Footsteps4Good charity walk, and through the Cadets Corps, have an energy, enthusiasm and charm which could take TCI to a higher level. The country saw how one young man, Delano Williams, carried the baton, literally, at peak level in this year’s Olympics. He told me last month that he is determined, despite the setbacks, to continue to perform at world levels for the foreseeable future. I hope there may be a chance to see Delano compete again in London next year.

As I continue to travel and work in Britain and other countries, I know that there will be plenty of opportunities to sing Turks and Caicos’s praises, and I hope to return to see my optimism translate into a confident, successful and caring country, whether it’s people choose to remain part of the UK, or eventually opt for an independent future.

Thank you to everyone for letting Jill and me, and our daughters and grandchildren, share with you for three wonderful years a little piece of your country’s beauty, charm and purpose.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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