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Earthquake Awareness Week to be observed from January 8th – 14th January, 2017



Providenciales, TCI, January 9, 2017 –  The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) will observe Earthquake Awareness Week for the sixth year, from January 8th – 14th, 2017.   The intention is to sensitize residents and visitors to ensure they can effectively respond to an earthquake event.   In addition, the DDME aims to strengthen the Earthquake Preparedness and Response Capacity of the Disaster Management System, by building resilience to earthquake impacts at the National and Community Level.   The overall goal is to have the TCI more resilient to earthquake impacts by implementing the necessary safeguards save lives and protect property.

Dr. Virginia Clerveaux, Director DDME, reporting on the DDME’s progress to date stated that “at the National Level, the DDME has drafted a National Earthquake Contingency Plan 2017, which is based on the CDEMA Regional Earthquake Contingency Model.  This Plan informs Responder Agencies regarding the actions that should be taken before, during and after an earthquake event, in fact, the Plan will be tested through a Table-top Exercise, scheduled for January 12th, 2017, prior to finalizing and submitting for Cabinet Approval.   At the Community Level, DDME will continue to engage educational institutions, through drills and exercises and the general public by disseminating public information via print, radio, television and social media”.

Specifically, several activities have been planned to commemorate the Week, which include:

1. January 8th Church Service – 10:00am, at Rock of Jesus Ministry – Bishop Bryant Cox, Five Cays, Providenciales.

2. January 9th – Communication Tests (Email, Text, Telephone, Satellite Phone, Radio, Whatsapp etc.) & Media Interviews

3. January 10th – Earthquake Drills in South Caicos at various schools

4. January 11th – Earthquake Drills in North Caicos at various schools

5. January 12th –Earthquake Table-top Exercise with Multi-Stakeholder Agencies & Media Interviews

6. January 13th –Hazard Hunt in Various Schools in Providenciales

7. Distribution of Brochures and Pamphlets

8. Publication of DDME Quarterly Newsletter

9. The DDME will also be featured on Radio Turks and Caicos during the week of January 8th 2017 during one of its programmes.

As we observe the Week, it is important to reflect on the victims of the devastating earthquake, which struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010. With a magnitude of 7.0 and a depth of 13km, the earthquake event resulted in approximately 220,000 deaths and severe damages to an estimated 250,000 residential buildings and 30,000 commercial buildings.   Following the devastating earthquake, at least 52 aftershocks, measuring 4.5 in magnitude shook the country, some of which were felt in Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos and Providenciales. According to the Preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment (PDNA) published by the Haitian Government in March 2010, the cost of the damage was at an estimated US$7.9bn, with the reconstruction cost at US11.5bn.

As Haiti and the rest of the world commemorate the seventh anniversary of that fateful day in Haiti’s history, it is fitting that the TCI pause to reflect, share expertise and pledge to do what is possible to ensure that all persons in the TCI are as prepared and ready in the event that the country was to experience a similar event.

earthquake2The question that must be asked whether “it will happen?” rather than “when will it happen?” To answer the latter, it is important to consider TCI’s vulnerability to earthquakes and related hazards.   Taking into consideration the geographical location of the TCI, the Puerto Rico Trench (an active plate boundary between North American and Caribbean Plates), an active plate boundary, makes TCI vulnerable as it is located approximately 150 kilometers to the north of the Trench.   Moreover, the Caribbean is a very active seismic region.   Home to three live volcanoes, over a thousand earthquakes happen annually, although the magnitude of many are too small to feel.   This region has experienced major earthquake events which has triggered several tsunamis; the most notable being Haiti in 2010. In fact, the area between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands average more than a dozen measurable earthquakes every week.

According to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Country Risk Profile for the TCI, the islands are vulnerable to earthquake and tsunami risks, but at a low to moderate level. Earthquakes cannot be predicted with any level of accuracy and we cannot prevent them from occurring.   However, we can be prepared to respond to an earthquake event whether it be in the TCI or abroad.   This theme of preparedness will be the ethos of the activities planned to mark this year’s sixth annual Earthquake Awareness Week by the DDME.   The Department is seeking to raise awareness regarding measures to implement, to ensure that you survive the next earthquake.   As minor preparation can possibly save your life and that of your family, ensure you have a Family Plan to deal with any emergency.

Individual, schools, businesses or community groups interested in learning more about what can be done to become more resilient to earthquake impacts can call the Department’s offices in Grand Turk telephone # 649 946 2177 or Providenciales telephone # 649 946 4521 for more information or to schedule a presentation.

DDME is also encouraging the residents to visit our Facebook and Twitter Page to obtain tips on earthquake preparedness and ways in which you can make yourself, your family and your community more resilient to the impacts of earthquakes.


For further information please Contact: Andrea Been Email Address:
Telephone #: 649 338 3672
Skype: ddmegt

Government Press Office
Waterloo Road, Grand Turk
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tel: (649) 338-3924/ 338-3925
Ext: 3924/3925
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Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce.  Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.

As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.

The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee.  For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB.  As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.

Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.

The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.

As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.

The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts.  On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.

Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.

Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts.  Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.

These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.

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Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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