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Historically here, Public-Private Partnership brings first CCTV to the Turks and Caicos

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 1, 2018 – The criminal element is already shaking in its boots, Magnetic Media is told, following the reveal on Tuesday of CCTV cameras now installed across Providenciales; the Police Force and its Partners gave a media tour on Tuesday of the hub – and it was impressive. 

James Smith, Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police led the tour and explained that the system is both Closed Circuit Television and a joint 911 Control Room, which will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a Police Force Silver Commander.

“…able to pre-position resources; they’ll be able to put in place measures to prevent things happening or to react quickly when they do happen.  So this is a big deal for us, this is a fundamental stake change in the security of the country and of course, Provo is just the first step.  The Government has funded not only these CCTV cameras but they are going out to bid now for the second phase which will take Grand Turk into it and eventually we will get North and South Caicos as well.”

The cameras were described as a versatile technology which allows managers of the site to program, search and see minute details as they happen.

“This is a different kind of camera; it focuses on the number plate of a car…”   

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government, said the Commissioner, is working on Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) software which will change how motor vehicles are numbered in the country and it will complement the CCTV system.

Stan Hartling, investor and developer of the Hartling Group which owns three resorts in Providenciales spoke on behalf of the Sponsors of the new CCTV system, he was joined by Mark Durliat, another major resort investor from Grace Bay Resorts.  The Sponsors were roused to action last year after a spate of crime which attracted negative attention to Destination Turks and Caicos.  The group, on the record, expressed grave concerned about the impact of crime on tourism and resolved to support Government and Police in the abatement of crime in a most tangible way.

“It gave me the confidence that we as a country, the core business people understand the importance of the Police and of safety in this country if we are going to be sustainable.”  Mr. Hartling, explained that an online fundraiser was an amazing feat, “I think it was that in less than seven days, we raised about $600,000 specifically to be targeted toward national crime prevention.  We got immediate response and we had great meetings with all levels of government:  Governor, Premier, Deputy Premier, Commissioner of Police.  And what became evident to us – we were all getting panicked when were at that time last year when some of the crimes were increasing and it included home invasions and some armed incidents and the initial reaction is fear and then playing the police.   And it became evident to us that that was not necessarily the issue, we have some amazing people on the Police Force that really needed some help with additional resources and it became evident that normal ways to procure those were going to be timely and longer than some of us wanted.”

The private sector group was intimately involved in the complete overhaul of the 911 center, where re-wiring and retro-fitting was undertaken.  The revamping of the center was completed in record time; under three months.

Mr. Hartling said there was also concern for the Police officers who would have to respond to crimes in progress, including to suspects who would likely be armed and dangerous.

“So part of this group has bought very high grade defense-level Taser guns and I know the training has taken place, body-cams for police officers so that they can feel that what’s happening is being recorded and it helps for evidence in court, makes people a little bit more accountable when they are around these officers… so we still have funds there, so if there is something that the Commissioner needs we can respond within four hours if we have to.”

The Governor, who heads up National Security for the Turks and Caicos called it a moment of celebration.

“Modern policing requires, I think, three key ingredients: the human factor, the technical factor and the community factor.  Without the human factor, that is, well-trained, committed police officers under effective leadership nothing will be possible. TCI benefits from having in the RTCIPF, a local police force which is increasingly on top of its game.”  His Excellency, Dr. John Freeman congratulated the Commissioner of Police, James Smith, “My thanks to them and to him.  Without the technical factor, a police force is hobbled from facing down the criminals and would-be criminals. The RTCIPF is benefitting from increased technical capacity enabling it to be fit for the task, for that – thanks –  and I readily express them, are due to TCIG without whose support and very significant budgetary allocations none of these improvements including the CCTV project would be possible.  Without the community factor, a police force can never deliver optimally and community support takes many forms. A Police Force is not separate from the local community; it is part of it and relies upon it.  The Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force needs support if it is going to deliver on public safety.”

Governor Freeman said the private sector involvement and financial contribution to the CCTV project is a demonstration of the Community supporting the Police.

“I want to acknowledge and applaud that support by the business representatives here this morning.  I hope that all of us in these islands will benefit from this new facility.  Benefit in a way that really matters, namely enhanced security and public safety.”

CCTV video from as many as 106 specific areas in Providenciales is being beamed back to the Control Room, with the video segmented into zones.  During the tour it was explained that the cameras are in a testing phase now, but are already live and recording.

The Control Room is established at the Digicel headquarters in the Turks and Caicos.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Education

Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge

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By Shaniek Smith

Staff Writer

 

#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.

 

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Health

Government apologizes to Churches for NEW Covid-19 Testing rule

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#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – The TCI Government is apologizing for including the Church in a new raft of restrictions which mandates unvaccinated congregants be tested in order to be allowed to attend church events however, there is no change in the rule.  The rule is now delayed start for another two weeks following an announcement issued by the Ministry of Health on Thursday evening.

The apology came from Premier Washington Misick in a statement late Wednesday, where he apologized for bunching the church in with restaurants, lounges, bars and discotheques which also have to follow the regulation.

Church pastors speaking with Magnetic Media expressed shock at the announcement which was revealed, on Tuesday, as a cabinet approved decision which also includes mandatory testing for the unvaccinated to attend funerals.

While there has been no official statement from the Turks and Caicos Islands Christian Council or the Pastors Fraternity it was clear that some of the church community seemed prepared to stand firmly against the measure.

The Premier has promised that there will be consultation going forward; beckoning to Churches to comply with the temporary rule which he said would help to curb the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

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Health

Cruising & Caring for Health and Wealth

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – As the cruising industry in Grand Turk continues to get back into full swing with an anticipated four cruises or more per week, Turks and Caicos Islanders who work in the industry will again be interacting with thousands of foreign nationals on a weekly basis.

Normally this would be a cause for celebration and it is, but with the world in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and especially in light of the newest variant, the rules have changed.

As researchers find more information in regards to Omicron it is becoming increasingly clear that while the variant may be slightly milder than others its transmissibility is a major treat to populations, economies and health systems everywhere.

The following are tips that will help balance TCI tourism workers’ income and their safety, or as government often puts it, “lives and livelihoods”.

 

Prior Preparation.

Masks have become a part of life since the beginning of the pandemic, some wear them for safety, others because they are mandated. Nearly all of us have experienced that ‘oh no’ moment when we realize we’ve left our mask behind, it’s a funny anecdote to represent our new normal in theory.

In reality it can be dangerous, life threatening even, to be without protective measures especially for vendors who interact with international visitors all day long.

This means prior preparation is key. Outfit your stall with masks and the recommended cleaning agents, have extras on hand so you never get caught without. If possible put the required distance between your own stall and your neighbors. If possible create dividers for yourself and tourists that will allow you to interact safely. Place reminders in the form of signs around your stall so guests are not tempted to flout safety measures.

 

In the Moment

Cruise days can be hectic, there are so many people and so little time but as you rush to make your sales or braid hair it is important to keep safety protocols in mind.

Always maintain social distancing between yourself and guests, this is especially important in high volume situations like this as guests can be asymptomatic.

If you operate a business that will not allow you to do so e.g. hair braiding, keep your mask on at all times and insist that your guests do so as well.

Limit the amount of guests allowed in your space at once.

Establish rigorous and frequent cleaning protocols, as guests move around in their excitement they may forget to sanitize. Clean surfaces regularly with the recommended products to prevent lingering traces of anything dangerous.

 

Aftercare

When guests have departed and it’s time to close up shop don’t skip any steps that could undo a successful day of safe practices.

Wash your money, it may seem strange but bills are made from durable paper that is not susceptible to tearing or water-wear. Washing your bills and coins gently will not hurt them but will protect you from any lingering viruses. Clean regularly touched areas and items. Get tested regularly, that way if you do get infected you will be in the know early. If you feel ill, immediately self-isolate and test to confirm if you have COVID or not. Deep clean your stall regularly, disinfecting as many areas as you can.

Covid-19 has forced us into a new normal but Turks and Caicos Islanders are resilient, it is possible to balance safety and profit, remember to wash your hands and obey all the protocols so the TCI can come out of this Pandemic with as little losses as possible.

 

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