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Minister of Tourism attends launch of Darwin Initiative ‘Saving the Iguana Islands’

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Turks and Caicos, April 12, 2017 – Providenciales – On 7th April 2017, the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ralph Higgs joined the National Trust as they prepared for the launch of the Darwin plus Initiative entitled ‘Saving the Iguana Islands’.

The National Trust in partnership with other stakeholders including the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds(RSPB), San Diego Global Zoo and Department of Agriculture amongst others, have, over the years diligently work to conserve the endemic Rock Iguana, and other native reptile species to secure a future for these unique and highly threatened species – which are iconic for the Turks and Caicos Islands and serves as a major attraction for both locals and visitors alike.

The project has received support from the Darwin plus Initiative in the form of £200k with £170k matched funding by RSPB and San Diego Zoo Global for a three year period. The organizations will collectively work to improve and control alien invasive species on Little Water Cay (‘Iguana Island’), particularly rodents and feral cats which are a threat to the iguana populations. Biosecurity for Little Water Cay and Big Ambergris Cay will also be designed to ensure that these invasive species and other potential harmful species do not become established and threatened the iguanas and other native reptiles.

Minister Higgs in his remarks stated; “My love, respect and admiration for the work and successes of the National Trust is well known and documented, the Darwin Initiative has the experience to make the Rock iguana project in TCI a resounding success.”

The Darwin Initiative funds projects that help countries rich in biodiversity to meet their objectives. Projects typically address threats to biodiversity such as: over-exploitation, invasive species, habitat degradation and loss, climate change mitigation and adaptation and pollution.

The Minister confirmed the Ministry’s and Government’s continued support to projects such as these and also indicated his desire to see the Trust and Darwin Initiative partner on future projects.

Press Release: TCIG

 

 

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Bahamas News

Students display culinary skill and creativity in Bahamas Young Chef Competition

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Lamont Missick with judges and teachers

#TheBahamas, October 19, 2021 –  – Despite setbacks and limitations due to COVID-19, Lamont Missick, H.O. Nash; Gerardo Annacius, Anatol Rodgers and Brianna Butterfield of Kingsway Academy, overcame the odds and finished first, second and third respectively in the second phase of the recent 29th Annual Bahamas Young Chef New Providence District Culinary Competitions.

With hybrid lessons and just two weeks of in-person classes supervised by teachers, the three students, who are enrolled in Family and Consumer Science Education, stepped up to the plate and earned the right to enter the upcoming third phase (National Round) of the annual contest.

Now into its 29th year, the annual district competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education along with Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, was held at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School, October 7 and 8.   Under the watchful eyes of judges who are all professional chefs — Clement Williams, Jimmy Dean, Chief Judge Gerald Rolle, Hazel Rolle, and Celeste Smith — the students were required to use Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour to prepare a dish and dessert based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots.”

Following the grueling round in the kitchen and interviews by the judges, Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer congratulated the students and parents, and offered advice to the teachers.

“We appreciate all of the time and effort that you put into your children. This competition is a true partnership between home, school and industry. The chefs are willing to give their input and give them [the students] the benefit of their experience.

“We have three young persons who are very much into what they are learning in school. They are putting their best foot forward. All of them are automatically in the national round,” said Ms. Turnquest.

“COVID-19 is forcing us to use technology in new and creative ways. You are now able to bring industry professionals into your classroom almost on a regular basis who don’t have to leave where they are to get into your classroom to give the students the benefit of their knowledge.”

She urged the students to use the judges’ critiques to refine and elevate their dishes.

“You saw the experience of working in the kitchen with persons viewing and walking through while you are working. That is something valuable. Take advantage of it and we’ll see you again for the National round. Congratulations to all of you today.”

 

Lamont Missick, 14,

Flour dish: Pineapple upside down muffin

Rice Dish: Land and Sea Rice

Lamont said he used the opportunity to sharpen his culinary skills.

“I realized my love for culinary arts from the age of 8. I remember watching Ratatouille, and hearing that “anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great. I aim to be great and one day become and executive chef in my own restaurant,” said the ninth grader.

 

Brianna Butterfield, 14

Flour dish: Sugar apple almond muffins

Rice dish: Spinach Carrot Rice Cup with grouper pineapple sauce

“I love to cook and I wanted to boost my cooking skills,” said Brianna.

 

 

Gerardo Annacius dubbed his dishes ‘Fall ‘n’ Love’.

Rice dish: Conch and shrimp rice ball with plantain and coconut deep fried in coconut topping

Flour dish: Toasted bennie spiced cream puff with native pumpkin and coconut crème filling topped with ginger caramel

 

All of the judges commended the students on their dishes and encouraged them to continue to work hard.

Lamont was praised for his organized and sanitized kitchen-station. Also noted was his flavorful ‘spot on’ rice dish from which exuded flavors of conch, lobster, salt beef and coconut milk.

Chef Williams encouraged him to improve his presentation and move away from serving rice the old fashioned way of “cupping” in a bowl.

The judges were impressed with Annacius’ theme: “Fall ‘n’ Love’ and gave him pointers on how to improve his dish and dessert.

“You experienced a slight setback in the kitchen and your dessert dish did not come out as expected — but you did not stop, you made an effort to present something. Your dessert was flavorful; it did not rise like it should but you executed based on what you had,” said Chef Smith.

 

By Kathryn Campbell

(BIS Photos)

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Frontline workers and athletes hailed for their roles in battling COVID-19

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#Kingston, October 19, 2021 – The performance by frontline health workers and Olympians from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo has benefitted Jamaica tremendously.

This from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Hon. Olivia Grange who made the comment while speaking at a virtual National Heritage Week Thanksgiving Church Service held Sunday (October 17) at the Waltham Park New Testament Church, 65 Waltham Park Road, Kingston, under the theme, ‘Saluting our Heroes…Safeguarding Our Legacy.’

During the service, there were virtual scripture readings by Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness and the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding. The service was aired on local television stations and streamed on the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s social media pages.

Minister Grange said that the work by the two groups, health care workers and athletes, “have benefited our nation immensely in the COVID-19 [coronavirus] pandemic times.”

She read comments from a newspaper article by nurses in St Ann, who had explained that although their jobs posed many challenges, “they were working towards a greater good”.

“It is a good feeling to know that we would go down into history as a set of people who did what we could do to alleviate the pandemic. It is a good experience to be part of this life changing time for the country,” Minister Grange recounted from the article.

The Minister said that the athletes should also be commended for giving Jamaicans “much to cheer about by their performance” during the pandemic.

“They represented us so well, that Jamaica ended up with nine medals putting us sixth place in track and field and 21st overall out of 206 competing nations. All of that against the background of the pandemic which had severely disrupted their training schedule,” she said, adding that the athletes should also be praised for setting a good example by getting vaccinated prior to the games.

Minister Grange urged Jamaicans to use Heritage Week to show respect and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of not only the National Heroes, but also for the “heroes of today.”

“It is important that we celebrate our National Heroes and the everyday heroes who make such a difference in our communities,” she added.

She said that the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Awards 2021 which has been pre-recorded to observe the gathering limits of COVID-19 protocols, will be aired on National Television on Monday, October 18.

In his virtual remarks at the national thanksgiving service, Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen said that Jamaicans should treasure and build on the legacy left “by those who have helped to shape our nation.

“Today we continue to use the inspiration and opportunities created by our heroes as well as the traditions of our parents to be our guide, to open new horizons of social progress, economic growth and individual excellence,” he said.

Release: JIS

Contact: E. Hartman Reckord

 

 

 

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Health

Over 75 per cent Fully Vaccinated, Over 800 Boosted says Chief Medical Officer

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#TurksandCaicos, October 19, 2021 – “This week’s COVID vaccine report as of 11th October records a total of 28 529 persons or 82% of the population have received the first dose of the COVID19 vaccine with 26 233 persons being fully vaccinated which represents 75.1% of the eligible population. 4 Importantly, since the launch of the TCIs COVID-19 vaccine booster strategy which was launched on 4th October 2021, a total of 816 persons have received their booster doses.

The Ministry of Health continues to promote the COVID-19 vaccine which is readily accessible and free of cost to residents as a critical defense against COVID19 and a tool which will help the TCI to get back to the new normal amidst the ongoing pandemic.

We don’t have to look far to see what an enviable position the TCI is in as it relates to our access to the COVID-19 vaccine through the UKG. To date, we have received 5 tranches of the vaccine with additional deliveries being arranged in order to ensure that our resident population is protected.

Many countries both near and far are still struggling to meet the demands for the vaccine by their citizens and are experiencing challenges in accessing sufficient quantities of the vaccine to protect vulnerable groups as well as the wider population.

Each country continues to place a focus on the vaccine as a means of managing the pandemic in order to reduce both deaths and hospitalizations. Although we have come far in this regard in the TCI, we can still do better. We need more persons to become vaccinated.

Those who are eligible should get vaccinated to protect those who cannot get vaccinated such as young children below the age of 12 years. We owe it to our fellow citizens to do what we can as individuals to protect the wider community. We still have room for improvement as it relates to persons who would be considered vulnerable as well as younger persons whose uptake remains relatively low.

Pregnant women are another group I would like to highlight as the data around the world has shown that pregnant women who are unvaccinated against COVID19. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. In the UK, it has been recently reported that pregnant women who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 account for almost 20% of critically ill coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals, in a statement from the National Health Service.

One in five patients receiving treatments through a special lung-bypass machine since July were expectant mothers who have not had their first shots. The vaccine as we have said before, is safe for persons who are trying to conceive as well as women who are pregnant. The vaccine is safe in these groups and can reduce the risk of infection and protect both mother and baby. It can also offer protection to the babies through the transmission of antibodies generated in response to the vaccine.

All pregnant women in the TCI are being encouraged to become fully vaccinated.”

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