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TCI Premier Robinson’s address pre-IRMA

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Turks and Caicos, September 6th, 2017 – Providenciales –

“My Fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, Residents and Visitors to our shores.

In the coming hours, we face a storm that is by all of man’s account, is poised to have a devastating impact on countries that it comes into contact with. Turks and Caicos Islands remain in its path and we are readying all systems to be able to endure the storm. Nonetheless, it is my Government’s position that a country is as ready as its people and so yesterday, the Hon Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Health and I made contact with Salt Cay, one of the Islands that is the subject of an Evacuation Order. We were able to travel to Salt Cay and explain the effects of the Order. We are pleased that a very large percentage of the population has left Salt Cay. However a few have elected to remain. Likewise the Minister of Home Affairs and I were able to join Town Hall Meetings in Middle Caicos who for the first time has been the subject of an Evacuation Order and regrettably, the majority has elected to stay. An Evacuation Order is never taken to be taken lightly and we are still hoping and praying that these individuals will comply and will not risk life. Experience has taught us that the remote Islands of Salt Cay and Middle Caicos can easily be cut off from access to assistance and with the magnitude of this Storm, there is a great possibility of loss of and damage to property as well as a great possibility of injury and loss of life. It is always better to be safe than sorry. We call on family and friends to assist in reaching out to relatives and friends and encourage them to comply with the Order. We see similar Evacuation Orders issued for Inagua and parts of Florida.  The Government continues to encourage all residents to continue to rush in your preparations: secure your property, stock up on basic supplies but above all ensure you and your family’s personal safety. Shelters will be activated today and encourage those of you near the sea, in flood prone areas or in homes that you know are unable to withstand strong winds to seek refuge with family and friends in the first instance and then seek shelters if necessary.

Today we had hoped to travel to all of the other Islands today but because of the current circumstances, we are unable to.

The Hon Williams and I also used the opportunity last evening to address the creole and Spanish communities in a joint appearance on four radio Stations urging these communities to also rush in preparation. It remains my Government’s stance that of paramount importance at this time is the protection and preservation of life and though criticized, we have ceased all immigration operations to detain undocumented nationals. It is the right thing to do and we stand by it. I am therefore appealing to all documented and undocumented nationals in this country to seek refuge in safe premises.

I am personally disappointed that there are instances of price gouging and that too many merchants have seen it fit to exploit consumers at this time by raising prices on critical hurricane preparedness items. It is rather unfortunate. We are as a government cognizant of the fact that preparing for the storm on the heels of readying our children for school return can be challenging and we have agreed and as Minister of Finance, I signed a Warrant to allow for the payment of salary advances to Government workers. I ask only that you be wise and remember your obligations post storm. It is not meant to bring undue hardship which if not managed properly but help during a difficult time.
I am again appealing to members of the Private Sector to not be inconsiderate during these times, please allow your staff time to prepare for the Storm. There is a narrowing window and we appreciate that there are services that we continue to wish to access and we appreciate your accommodation but your staff must also be allowed to prepare for the storm. I encourage you to allow essential staff a reasonable and practical shift system that allows them to secure their property and prepare. I pray that many of you will reconsider your positions.

Additionally as Acting Minister of Tourism, I am grateful to the Airlines that have arranged rescue flights for tourists that are on Island. Unfortunately airlift could not be arranged for all but we are satisfied that all Hotels and Resorts have Plans that will ensure as best it can, their guests safety. We encourage all guests to remain indoors and to take all precautions to remain safe.

I am also pleased that the meeting held with stakeholders that included Telecommunication Communities, Airlines, Ferry Services, Utility Service Providers, Hotel Association demonstrated that they too are ready and have activated their individual plans. Government stakeholders continue to work hard to ensure that we as prepared as one can be to endure this storm.

Today marks 9 years since the passage of Hurricane Ike, many of us in the Salt Islands have been sharing our experiences over the years and more so over the past few days. What is obvious is that many are indeed fearful but have used that fear not to paralyze themselves into inaction but to fuel their preparations. As I drove through Grand Turk yesterday and visited key places like the Prison, DDME’s Office and RTC, I was pleased with the level of preparedness. That experience though sad has been the best teacher for many of us and encourage those of you had been fortunate not to experience it to take stock of the level of preparedness of Ike survivors. This storm is the largest storm ever formed in the Atlantic and CNN has dubbed it a different type of animal. I encourage us to not be paralyzed by fear or anxiety but to prepare and pray.

PREMIER CALLS A TIME FOR PRAYER

On September 6, 2008 many of us were praying to God for help from closets, under tables, compromised homes and in less than ideal situations. I am calling on us as a people to call on Him for help and mercy. Man can do as much as we can to prepare in anticipation of a storm but this country serves a God that is bigger than any storm and His voice can command stillness in the firmament that He has established by His hands. Our prayer must be for mercy and whilst many including Pastors in this island have said that this storm must come, we hold fast to our faith praying believing that God in His mercy will hear our prayer and the desires of our heart, not that we deserve it but because His mercies are new every morning and grace continues to abounds. To this end, I am calling on all prayer warriors to congregate at 5pm around this country. I want to encourage us all to leave indoor and pray and praise in open areas around the Islands. In Grand Turk, please go to the Parade Grounds, in Providenciales the Down Town Ball Park, in South Caicos, the Salina, in North Caicos in front of the DC’s Office, in Middle Caicos and Salt Cay, step outside of your homes and let us lift up our collective voices. On all Islands, if you are unable to make it to these locations, step outside wherever you are and pray. We are not looking for numbers, nor taking register, we are being obedient and know that at this stage and level of preparedness, we hand it over to Him publicly and declare it in the open heavens.”

End

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Agreement Signed!  Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals

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#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen.  I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.

The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.

“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.

Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled.  Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.

“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.

Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.

“I really want to thank our employees at the Port.  We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk.  We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community.  The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.

Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market.  Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.

“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better.  New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers.  Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”

The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project.  The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented:  the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.

Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown.   What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.

 

 

 

 

Carnival elation Dec 11

Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26

Carnival freedom Dec 12

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CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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TCI Community College’s Tourism Students attended the NABHOOD International Summit

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#Turks&Caicos Islands, October 14, 2021 –   Students from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College were afforded the opportunity to attend the 25th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show; 8th Annual International Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit – NABHOOD

The invitation was extended through the Premier’s Office in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Tourism.

Chair of the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ms. Michelle Hosten chaperoned 3 students:  Jerrika Francis, Danae Dennie; 2nd Year students pursuing an Associate Degree in Tourism Management at the Grand Turk Campus and Christy Ewing, a 1st Year student pursuing an Associate Degree in Tourism Management at the Providenciales Campus.

The students met CEOs from international hospitality brands and most importantly other students from other Caribbean and International Schools. The benefits of this created a wealth of networking opportunities as well as learning about others. They participated in workshops and sessions and spent time with Tourism centered activities and projects.

Ms. Jerrika Francis shared her memories from the conference: “Attending the NABHOOD Summit was a great experience for me. I got to learn more about the Tourism Industry and I also acquired more knowledge on how I can make it in the industry. It was such an honour that I was chosen to represent my Faculty at this event.”

Caribbean Junior Minister and TCI’s Junior Minister, Ms. Danae Dennie gave these highlights: “Attending the NABHOOD African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and the international Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show has been such a wonderful experience. I was able to gain great insight into the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Ms. Dennie continued, “I learnt that as a woman in the industry I should always be bold and confident in my abilities. I learnt from various CEOs that you can start from the bottom and make it to the very top. I was also encouraged to “make my own room” if there is none that fits my interests.”

Ms. Dennie concluded her sentiments, “The conference was very informative. I was able to speak with many CEOs and Presidents of various tourism organizations. I was even given the opportunity to speak with the Premier of the TCI. I was so grateful for the opportunity. Therefore, I would like to thank the TCI Government for funding this trip. Lastly, I would like to specially thank the Turks and Caicos Community College for giving me the opportunity to have such amazing experiences.”

Christy Ewing who recently entered the Faculty had this to say: “I was one of the students chosen to go to Miami, Florida for NABHOOD’s 25th Annual Summit and Trade Show. I learnt many interesting things and advice that can be used in my career later on. I also met many new people who gave me a wider insight and perspective on things in the tourism industry.”

She continued, “I had the pleasure of meeting with the Premier of the Turks and Caicos, the Hon. Charles W. Misick, who spoke with us and informed us on his plans for the tourism industry. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and will be happy to do it again.”

Ms. Hosten gave an overall assessment of the trip and what the students would have experienced while there: “It was an extremely surreal experience meeting and watching CEOs of major international hotel brands as well as large investment firms and suppliers discussing their rise to the top, what their brand represents, their bottom line during and post COVID.”

Ms. Hosten continued, “Their words of wisdom to students and their willingness to invest in US hospitality institutions without hesitation, especially black America and other minority groups was so profound. They understand where most of their Supervisors and Management pool will stem from so creating systems, programmes and funding in these groups are all worthwhile investments.”

It left a lasting impact on Ms. Hosten: “Being there was like being at the Hollywood of Hospitality players awards and I am most humbled to have been given this chance to carry students to experience this wealth of opportunities first hand and the many avenues in this industry to get there.”

Hon Rachel Taylor met the students upon arrival back to the Turks and Caicos Islands and she expressed her thanks to the Team for ably representing the country and the College. She was thanked for her confidence in allowing the students to be a part of this educational venture.

Students, you got a chance to shine and represent the Turks and Caicos Islands and the TCI Community College. Thank You!

We are TCICC!

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