PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos – The Procurement process has long been bemoaned as tedious and the reason some projects and government work seem to take forever when it comes to seeing the light of day. Still many residents agree with a recent posting by former North and Middle Caicos candidate and attorney, Mark Fulford who said work needs to get started on reconstruction of government sites.
Fulford pointed to the Grand Turk located, JAGS McCartney International Airport, which he explained he has recently visited. The businessman said this of the facility, “Coming through the airport is an unreal experience, but it has been nearly two months since the hurricanes have hit. Why has the government not started to pump money into our Capital to get it up and running. Wasn’t that what the British troops were doing? There is no evidence of that.”
Fulford is asking why the CCRIF claims monies collected, a reported $13.6m, are not being spent to spruce up Grand Turk, adding that one’s baggage at the airport is offloaded onto the side of the road and that there remains a gaping hole in the terminal building.
The scathing rebuke for the lack of reconstruction work at the JAGS McCartney International has elicited reaction from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, TCIAA.
“All Airports within the TCIAA Portfolio were affected by Hurricane Irma and then again by Hurricane Maria. Proper assessments have been carried out to access the amount of damage caused by the storms and all efforts are being made to have full restoration as soon as possible. The TCIAA is in fact a Governmental body and is indeed bound by the Public Procurement Ordinance and other relevant policies and procedures that must be followed in order to proceed with works.”
Fulford’s appall did not stop at the airport though, he was critical of the situation of Government entities which have been either left homeless or have had to be relocated, many times. Fulford said the officers have no access to important files, some are without electricity and internet connectivity and said the haphazard working conditions are the reason the Treasury’s system in Provo keeps going down; it has led to excruciatingly long lines.
Fulford, a member of the Opposition PNP also had a list of suggestions including: do away with the red-tape of bureaucracy and issue government office rebuilding contracts; buy commercial generators and use them to power government departments until power is restored; upgrade existing computer servers with a dedicated generator; provide temporary satellite internet boxes for various government offices and remove hurricane debris by issuing contracts for the work.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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