North & Middle Caicos, TCI, February 8, 2017 – Grab your binoculars for an Eco-adventure to the islands of North and Middle Caicos. An archipelago of 40 islands and cays boasting the slogan, “Beautiful by Nature”, the Turks and Caicos is a dream come true for naturist. The two largest islands in the chain, North and Middle Caicos, are islands of abundant natural beauty. North and Middle Caicos have remained largely undeveloped, and retain a quiet, rural, village atmosphere.
On the northern coast, the islands feature a mixture of dramatic cliffs and caves interlaced by miles of stunningly beautiful and secluded beaches. In the heart of the islands, fertile soil gives birth to a lush vegetation of fruit trees, pine forests and farmland. To the south, one of the UK’s largest Ramsar sites for protected wetlands runs through a good portion of North, Middle and nearby East Caicos, resulting in approximately 210 square miles of uninhabited and unspoiled marine and terrestrial ecosystem, making these islands an Eco-adventurers paradise, with bird watching at its heart.
These areas host a variety of native and migrant bird species such as the rare whistling duck to sandpipers, plovers, osprey and pink flamingos. In fact, North Caicos boasts the largest flock of flamingos in the Turks and Caicos Islands at the aptly named “Flamingo Pond Nature Reserve” where the pastel-colored birds frolic in their natural habitat.
Should you take a quick daytrip over to North and Middle Caicos via the TCI Ferry (only $50 round trip), be sure to take a binoculars and a camera to capture all the action. Whether you book a guided tour of the islands or rent a car and self-explore, here are a few stops recommended by Turks and Caicos National Museum for amazing bird finds:
- In Kew, the Government Farm is a good place for Anis, Cattle Egrets and migrants.
- A walk in Oak Tree Park in the centre of Kew may reveal a variety of bird life, including warblers and Cuban Crows.
- At Wades Green Plantation a number of land birds, including the Key West Quail-dove and migrating warblers can be seen.
- At the eastern end of North Caicos, before the causeway to Middle Caicos, the road passes through an extensive marsh of low Red Mangrove bushes which offers good opportunities to see a variety of water birds, including White-cheeked Pintails.
- The Conch Bar Village Pond, part of the Conch Bar Caves Nature Reserve, attracts a family party of West Indian Whistling Ducks, a rare bird that gets its name from a distinctive whistling call.
- Along the dramatic coast at Mudjin Harbour in Conch Bar, look out for Pelicans, Osprey, Kestrel and various scrub birds.
- Bambarra Beach is another good place to see Pelicans
- On a trip to Lorimers towards the residential end of Middle Caicos, you’ll come to Haulover Field Road which passes through recovering tropical dry forest, and is a good place to spot the greater Antillean Bullfinch and Thick-billed Vireo endemic sub-species, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Bahama Woodstars, Bananaquits and other scrub birds.
Both North and Middle Caicos are the best also for spotting the Cuban Crow, a bird restricted to the Caicos Islands and Cuba, and the Bahama Woodstar, shared between Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas.
To assist your bird watching adventure while visiting the Turks and Caicos, grab a copy of the guide booklet, “Bird Watching in Paradise – Middle & North Caicos; Turks & Caicos Islands: A guide to bird watching and heritage sites”, with full color photographs of birds, maps and guiding text, can be purchased from the National Museum gift shop and other outlets on island. The guide series also features individual booklets for bird watching in Providenciales, South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
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TCI Health Launches COVID Booster Shot program
#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands launches its COVID-19 vaccine booster programme commencing on Monday 4th October 2021. This comes following the approval by Cabinet, of the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Strategy which was submitted by the Ministry of Health for consideration.
Members of Cabinet including the Governor, Deputy Governor, Honorable Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health were in strong support of the vaccine booster strategy which will provide greater protection to those vulnerable individuals within the country who had previously been fully vaccinated more than six months ago and who are most at risk of severe effects of the disease.
1) Chronic non-communicable diseases clients
2) Elderly – Adults 50 years and over
3) Health care and frontline workers
4) Caregivers of the vulnerable
All persons in the groups listed above would have to have completed the two-dose series more than 6 months ago to be eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine. Eligible persons should reach out to their health care providers to schedule their booster dose.
The booster vaccine programme rolled out in the UK on 20.9.2021 and in the USA on 24.9.2021. On 9th September, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK, issued the following statement; “We know that a person’s immunity may decline over time after their first vaccine course. I am pleased to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be used as safe and effective booster doses. This is an important regulatory change as it gives further options for the vaccination programme, which has saved thousands of lives so far. The regulatory decision followed a careful review of available data on safety and effectiveness of booster or supplementary vaccine doses by the MHRA and the independent Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), which advises the government.”
The TCI is currently progressing on its fifth tranche of the vaccine which was received from the UK and anticipates the receipt of additional doses of the vaccine to support the ongoing roll out of the vaccine to all eligible residents as well as the booster programme.
The vaccine is critical to the ongoing national response to the COVID19 pandemic. The vaccines are safe and can prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization. All eligible persons are encouraged to get vaccinated to continue protecting themselves, their loved ones and the wider community. All eligible persons who are unvaccinated are encouraged to take the vaccine.
JAMAICA: Bustamante Hospital for Children Gets Specialty Beds From Chase Fund
#Kingston, September 28, 2021 – A bed is one of the most important pieces of furniture in any healthcare facility and forms a large part of patient care and recovery. The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, through a generous donation of $4.4 million, has gifted the island’s only public children’s hospital, the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), with 15 specialty beds.
“Those beds were used a day after they were delivered and have helped BHC tremendously, because they came when we started to see an increase in the patients,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BHC, Camile Wallen-Panton, tells JIS News.
“The BHC, unlike other hospitals, has not been badly impacted by the patient load due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but at the same time we have seen a rise in other illnesses,” she added.
Mrs. Wallen-Panton points out that the beds were allocated to the various wards and explains how they met the required bed specifications.
“The beds that we received were the right specifications. They have the required two-side rail that can be adjusted, and they also have safety wheels that can be locked to make the bed immobile. The beds are outfitted with an Intravenous (IV) stand and are beautifully coloured, which brightens the ward,” she notes.
The CEO shares that the donation was greatly welcomed by staff, patients and parents.
“It is very important that our local hospitals are fitted with adequate beds. You can see the added stress on the patients, parents and caregivers whenever there is a shortage of beds,” Mrs. Wallen-Panton says.
“Our patient load is always growing, and from time to time, furniture and equipment outlive their useful time and they must be taken out, so when an institution such as the CHASE Fund answers our needs, patient, parents and staff salute them. They have made a huge difference in how we serve,” she adds.
Mrs. Wallen-Panton highlights that the hospital administration believes continual improvements in patient care are crucial and welcomes partnerships and collaborations to achieve this.
“As the only dedicated children’s hospital that serves Jamaica and the other English-speaking Caribbean islands, the BHC has to be prepared at all times to accept referrals that require secondary care,” she explains.
“The hospital currently has 23 services, including emergency, medical and surgical, and the social services that cater to the holistic needs of the patients we serve, and we are always trying to find ways to improve on our service delivery,” she notes.
The CEO reiterates her appreciation of the CHASE Fund’s investment in the healthcare sector and wishes the entity success in all its current and future projects.
Acquisition of the beds for the BHC forms part of a larger project by CHASE Fund, valued at $110 million, to purchase beds for secondary-care institutions within the South-East Region.
The facilities include Kingston Public, Victoria Jubilee, Spanish Town, Linstead, Princess Margaret and National Chest Hospitals, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, and Hope Institute.
Meanwhile, CEO of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, tells JIS News that the donation of beds to hospitals, including the BHC, falls under the CHASE Fund’s Health mandate.
“In funding health projects, we are always mindful of how many people a project will benefit, whether it will improve access to healthcare and will result in better healthcare delivery and how our intervention can improve efficiency and the overall health system in Jamaica,” Mr. Heaven says.
He notes that the CHASE Fund is pleased to have aided the operation of the only specialist paediatric hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean, which sees approximately 70,000 patients per year, catering to children from birth to 12 years of age.
By: Colleen Dawkins
Cuban Nationals Apprehended in Bahamian waters
#TheBahamas, June 24, 2021 – A group of Cuban Nationals are currently being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Center after they were apprehended in the south west Bahamas by a US Coast Guard vessel earlier this week.
The fifteen individuals were captured after being sighted on Anguilla Cay on Tuesday 22 June. They were taken aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, CHARLES SEXTON, and handed over shortly after 7:00 pm to the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Jataro McDonald.
The Cubans were subsequently brought into the capital early Thursday morning, where they were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to maintain a vigilant presence while patrolling and protecting the territorial waters of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and working with other law enforcement agencies.
Photos shows: Cuban nationals shortly after their arrival at the Defence Force Base, Coral Harbour on Thursday June 24, 2021. (RBDF Photo by Petty Officer Al Rahming)
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