#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2017 – Providenciales – La’Shano Pierre of Five Cays, Providenciales is doing the kinds of things we want to see more and more young men of this country or of any country doing. Pierre, at just 17 is investing in and taking responsibility for his personal development through sports and tertiary level education.
The former member of the Rising Stars basketball club and first year student at Manchester College in the UK, where he is studying Business Management, is a stand out athlete and earned high grades and was therefore shocked when he was not among the 2017 Government scholarship winners. Perplexed and gravely distressed, young #La’ShanoPierre was like Nehemiah of the Bible who appeared so downcast that the king was forced to ask his usually diligent server, what was wrong.
Mike Stolow, owner and manager at Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl in Five Cays, similarly noticed the depressed demeanor of Pierre and he too asked his noble employee, what was wrong. The discouraging news moved Mr. Stolow in a way that moved mountains for young La’Shano and what just moments before had seemed an insurmountable obstacle was erased by a caring heart, a kind question and a benevolent gift.
“The owner always encouraged me to keep my head up and push forward to achieve my goals. As we approached the beginning of the school year, I was certain that I would be selected to return to England, since my grades were very high. However, I received the list of students chosen, and my name was not on it. Needless to say, I was so despondent and it showed on my face when I arrived at work. That’s when the owner pulled me aside and told me that Bugaloo’s would cover the cost of my next academic year. He said he was proud of my academic achievements and my work ethics at #Bugaloo’s and I deserved to go. This uplifted me in a way I will always remember,” said La’Shano, who had worked at the restaurant over his summer breaks.
In a heartfelt story to #MagneticMedia, the young man sets the stage. Pierre was born and raised in Five Cays and like so many others of his generation and community, loves the sport of basketball.
Bugaloo’s was already an appreciated entity because it supported youth programs and sports development.
“From a very young age my friends and I could always count on Bugaloo’s support and sponsorship at various basketball tournaments locally and abroad. When I was unable to go to the YBOA basketball nationals, because of a lack of funds, Bugaloo’s stepped forward and sponsored me. Throughout the years they have always kept in touch with us to make sure we were heading along the right path. When I came home from studying abroad for the summer, they offered me a job so I could save money for my upcoming school year.”
It turns out that this amazing report from La’shano was more than a story of a student who got a scholarship from a kind company, but a beacon of an example of how corporate TCI can be and has been actively involved in cultivating fine citizens by ensuring they are there to pick them up, even when they are let down.
“Throughout my time at Bugaloos one of the things I valued the most was the positive mentoring sessions on life and business management, which really enhanced my knowledge helping me to reach my goal of becoming a future entrepreneur. I went from despair to joy because someone believed in a young man from Five Cays. I hope to be a role model for all the young men of Five Cays who are so often forgotten.”
When the king helped Nehemiah, who was downcast and broken to fulfill his dream of leading the men of his nation in the rebuilding the wall of Israel, which was the heritage of their forefathers, it lead to a rebuilt people pulled from degradation and shame.
Mike Stolow may not be a royalty as modern times would define it, but his king sized heart and his king sized gift to a young man on a mission to build his life as an example of what is possible, even out of Five Cays, is as regal and resplendent as it gets.
“First of all, I would like to Thank God for his blessings upon my life, also I would like to thank my Family and friends and every member of the community for their support. The opportunity that Bugaloos has brought before me goes to show that no matter who you are once you are focused and determined opportunities will come your way.”
La’Shano Pierre of Five Cays was sad because he had gotten some terrible news; but he cleaned himself up and mustered the courage to face the day. Young La’Shano went to work, and through his grit, earned much more than a day’s pay, he earned the respect of this journalist, our organization and even more significantly at the time… the admiration of his mentor, employer and sponsor: #MichaelStolow who gave the kind of gift only a king could give.
“I would once again like to thank the owner and the team at Bugaloos as well as the members of my community. Thank you for your support and the opportunity you have given me. I assure you that I won’t disappoint.”
And as we pray for La’Shano, a budding Business Manager, to continue to do well at university in the United Kingdom, we are certain that just as he has promised, he will not disappoint.
Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge
By Shaniek Smith
#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.
It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.
In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced. Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations. The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.
The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season. The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.
In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.
The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI. It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.
“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.
Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.
Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.
Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.
“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.
Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.
He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.
“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.
Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.
Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.
Over 5000 COVID cases on Cruises, CDC investigations launched
By Dana Malcolm
#January 15, 2022 – Cruises have continued across the Americas despite the US Centers for Disease Control dire warning that even vaccinated individuals should be wary of them. Now the CDC informs that Coronavirus cases have been reported on every cruise ship sailing with passengers in U.S. waters.
According to the CDC, all 92 ships with passengers have met the threshold for investigation by the public health agency. In every case, the CDC has either started an investigation or has investigated.
The CDC warned travellers including those who are vaccinated to avoid cruising in December, following the announcement videos surfaced of jam-packed cruise ships with unmasked passengers ringing in the New Year.
Meanwhile, Grand Turk is still welcoming cruise ships. Eleven cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the Grand Turk Cruise Center throughout January, according to the port schedule.
Jamell Robinson, TCI Minister of Health has confirmed that ships have been allowed to dock in Grand Turk with positive COVID cases on board.
He said. “Now in each ship there are stations or places for isolation on board…Just because a vessel has people with Covid-19 on it doesn’t necessarily mean we wouldn’t allow them to disembark.”
The minister explained the number of positive cases recorded on cruise ships that had arrived in Grand Turk was .001 per cent of all guests and they were not allowed to disembark.
So far, Turks and Caicos has turned away at least one cruise liner due to fears of COVID exposure in the capital, which has gone from a handful of active cases to now 111, as of January 14.
The US Centers for Disease Control reported on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases on cruise ships have increased to 30 times what they were in mid-December.
New York, US Epicenter for Omicron “turning the corner”
By Shanieka Smith
#USA, January 15, 2022 – Today, New York is seeing a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, as officials revealed, “we are turning the corner” on Friday in updating on the state of affairs in the city, labelled the epicenter of omicron for the United States.
Before, data from the New York State Department of Health showed that the number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 vaccinated residents in the State, rose from 29.8 in the first week of December to 222.3 last week. Also, the rate of new cases in unvaccinated adults rose from 239.6 to 1,583.1 per 100,000.
New York is a key source market for the Turks and Caicos and much of the Caribbean, which is heavily reliant upon winter travellers. The data showed, too, that vaccine effectiveness against severe infection remained high.
Only 4.59 fully vaccinated adults out of 100,000 were hospitalised with COVID-19 in the week of December 27. However, that number increased, and the hospitalisation rate for the unvaccinated is nearly 13 times higher.
New York’s rolling positivity rate fell below 20% in recent days, but media reports indicate the death toll in the State hit a startling high of 195 for the first time since the mass vaccination rollout.
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