#Provienciales, February 13, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital has received significant interest from medical interns locally and worldwide in recent years. In an effort to further improve the quality of care and create a pipeline of future medical talent, the private health care management company has officially applied to become a facility, which is accredited to deliver medical internship programs.
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Accreditation process involves the submission of an institutional self-assessment report by the interested facility. The request is reviewed by the UWI Accreditation Committee and where suitable, a team is selected to conduct an on-site assessment to verify the information provided in the report.
Four members of the UWI Accreditation Committee conducted the on-site assessment at TCI Hospital on February 8th and 9th 2019. The visiting team comprised of Professor Trevor McCartney – Chairman of UWI Accreditation Committee and former Chairman of Caribbean Association of Medical Councils (CAMC), Professor Howard Spencer – Registrar of CAMC, Dr Tomlin Paul – Dean of Medical Sciences UWI Mona Campus and Dr Lenroy Bryan – Lecturer, UWI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
During the on-site assessment, the team participated in multiple stakeholder meetings and conducted a tour of Cheshire Hall Medical Centre and Cockburn Town Medical Centre. Chief Executive Officer of InterHealth Canada – TCI Hospital, Daniel Carriere gave remarks on past and present certifications pursued by the health care facility. The hospital has acquired three successive Diamond rankings by Accreditation Canada International in 2012, 2015 and 2018.
In addition, the hospital is currently seeking to become a Baby Friendly Hospital (BFHI) and Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO). The latter program is delivered by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). Governance certifications were also successfully acquired from the Organization of Information Security (ISO) to bolster security practices for hospital information systems.
Chief of Medical Services, Dr Denise Braithwaite-Tennant underscored the value of strategic alliances in health care and the broad range of internal training programs during her presentation. These programs are designed to foster a culture of continuous organizational learning and development, which paves a strong foundation for an internship program.
These include mandatory training programs, code drills, AHA certified courses and continuing medical education (CME) sessions, which are conducted by in-house and international facilitators. InterHealth Canada TCI is also contractually mandated to provide physicians with access to overseas medical conferences to keep academically up-to-date.
Under the internship program, participants are required to undergo a one-year paid rotation across four of the major disciplines. These are general surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology. These programs are carefully structured in accordance with robust standards to ensure participants acquire the clinical competence necessary to meet the requirements for medical licenses upon completion.
TCI Government has issued several educational scholarships within the field of medicine. Correspondingly, remarks were delivered by Edgar Howell, Director of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture and Library Services, and President of the TCI Community College (TCICC), Dr Hugh Fulford. Several local medical students have expressed challenges for the internship component of their studies, said Howell. TCICC has also commenced a nursing program, which will benefit from locally accessible internships. Both education representatives expressed hopes that the medical centres will satisfy the requirements of the surveyors.
Health Registrar for the TCI Government, Dr Derrick Aarons, provided an overview of the role of the health registrar with reference to the relevant ordinance, which makes provision for medical internships. Chief Executive Officer of the Health Regulatory Authority (HRA), Pierre Richardson provided insight into the agency’s role and responsibilities. The HRA was established under the Health Regulations Ordinance 2016 and shall serve as an independent regulatory agency of public and private health care facilities in-country.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Board, Dr Terese Maitland gave remarks on the collaboration between TCI Hospital and the National Health Insurance Board (NHIB), which is responsible for the management of the contributory social health care scheme. The NHI Plan is the health financing mechanism for the delivery of health services in the country, which includes overseas tertiary level and catastrophic care.
Leader of the UWI assessment team, Professor McCartney commended InterHealth Canada for the comprehensive nature of the meetings and other stakeholders for the effort to maintain high standards and regulations. The Canadian company was also commended for the introduction a Public Private Partnership health care model in the Caribbean. The Minister of Health, Honourable Edwin Astwood also attended a portion of the sessions in support of the internship pursuit. The findings of the on-site assessment will be reviewed in the next UWI Accreditation Committee meeting in April or March 2019 and later released to the hospital.
Release: InterHealth Canada
It’s high time to start forming trade unions in the Turks and Caicos Islands
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2022 – I’m of the opinion, TCI is at a juncture in our development where trade unions could be very beneficial to the people of this country.
With that being said, it’s high time to start exploring our options particularly in the service industry to see where it leads us. I applaud the former popular Facebook host Brenesha Cox-Lightbourne, for shedding some light on this topic several months ago.
Currently, we have what I would sum up to be a badly broken workforce system. We need a stronger voice to champion equal rights and equal pay for our people. In actuality, it goes beyond that. There are some serious issues which have permeated a few sectors of our workforce. Issues such as wrongful terminations, health and safety concerns, poor working conditions, employers not paying workers a fair wage or overtime pay, etc.
Case in point: Some companies have employees working on construction sites and high rise buildings, with many of them not wearing the proper safety harnesses or helmets. Do we have enough hired help in our labor department to monitor these practices?
Are we waiting for serious incidents or death to occur before something is done? Our government should be much more proactive in their approach to matters such as this.
Now days, it’s not uncommon to hear about big corporations suppressing wages by touting there aren’t enough workers to meet the demands. I think those arguments have nothing to do with the real truth and I beg to differ.
The truth to the matter is, it’s hogwash. In most cases, it’s because these big corporations are not willing to pay the locals fair wages to keep up with the growing demands and cost of living in TCI.
Having a properly functioning union in the Turks and Caicos, will broaden the opportunity for the middle class to flourish. This will create greater opportunities where everyone can be offered a fair shake at achieving the TI dream.
This should include the government putting in place sound policies that help to build a floor beneath citizens who are willing to work hard.
We realize there will always be varying degrees of sagacity and varying degrees of success. However, let’s try to create a level playing field and avoid building a society where there are the “haves and the have not”. Because, what it breeds is resentment.
A free market society only works when we all have an opportunity to get a slice of the pie and fair income distribution.
Henceforth, to get the ball rolling, what must to be done is to begin having more social dialogue at the workplace and at the national level to educate workers of their rights.
Both the private and the public sector have a key role to play in achieving better local governance, and to ensure workers rights are being enforced in accordance with the international labour standards.
The million-dollar question that still remains is, who will stand up and fight for our rights, be it concerned citizens or a politician with the political will?
Concerned citizen of Grand Turk
COP 15 begins; Turks & Caicos delegation and objectives unknown…
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2022 – Will the Turks and Caicos be in the room when the ‘massive moment for nature’ unfurls in Montreal, Canada? There is expected to be, in the end, a deal to protect animals and their habitats.
COP15 on Biodiversity begins today, Wednesday December 7th and while it was confirmed a TCI Delegation will be attending the event there’s no word yet who is making up that delegation or the objectives for the country, at this edition of the Conference of the Parties.
The Biodiversity Conference is the third UN Conference this year pulling together a Conference of the Parties (a gathering of the supreme governing body of any international convention) the first two being COP 15 on Desertification in May and COP 27 in November.
The Biodiversity Conference is has three main objectives it is aiming to fulfil:
- the conservation of biodiversity;
- the sustainable use of its components and
- the fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The Turks and Caicos islands have taken significant initiative this year to protect its Biodiversity, becoming the first Caribbean country to join the United Kingdom’s Blue Belt Program and hosting the Turks and Caicos’ first ever Climate Change Summit and continued partnerships with the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK.
The Conference which will run until December 19th will also look at the implementation of the protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that deal with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of nature, and the safe transport, handling and labelling of Living Modified Organisms.
It is to be carried live: https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams.
COP15, like COP27 will open an avenue for funding to further biodiversity protection initiatives through negotiating with larger nations.
Photo Caption: The United Nations Biodiversity Conference’s Ceremonial Opening Day press conference. At the head table, Andersen Inger from UN Environment Programme, Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema, Huang Runqiu — COP15 chair, Steven Guilbeault — H.E Canadian Minister of Environment, and David Ainsworth, our Head of Comms. https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams
The Ayes Have it – Youth Parliament in TCI a Rivetting Row over Minimum Wage
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2022 – A raise in the minimum wage was the topic up for fierce debate in this year’s Turks and Caicos Youth Parliament; Young people from across the TCI sitting as various Cabinet Ministers represented the hypothetical interests of residents as both the Government and Opposition argued about the best course of action.
The motion was raised by Lee-Anna Sutton, Minister of Education with responsibility for labour who proposed that the (hypothetical) $6.25 minimum wage be raised to $8.50.
“A raise in minimum wage is justified on moral social and economic grounds– it will provide an improved quality of life for all in the Turks and Caicos” she said referencing all the detrimental effects of poverty on the country including low birth rates and an increased likelihood that young people would be funnelled into crime.
Manville Gardiner, Opposition Leader questioned what percentage of islanders would be benefitting from the raise as many of the jobs in the category were held by expats.
Gardiner, who referred to his party as the ‘Government in waiting’ said the minimum wage was the wrong way to go and explained why.
“The motion says Islanders find it hard to make ends meet. I find it hard to believe that this government thinks that the minimum wage alone is what is standing in the way– our problem is not simply low resources but high costs. The government solution should not just be increasing resources but lowering costs.”
Slamming the bill as thoughtfulness, he dismissed the proposal with: “it aint ready…”
“Our people have to eat secondhand important vegetables that can be grown in our own backyard” the opposition leader said, “The current minimum wage cannot keep up with inflation and that’s a fact– Who will benefit the most from an increase? Our local low income families.” was the response to the opposition’s points by Jatavia Howell, Minister of Tourism.
In a spirited argument, the minister pointed to another tourism heavy destination – Los Angeles – and the benefits of minimum wage increase there including lower turnover rates, less employee absenteeism and stronger staff retention.
On the other side of the aisle, describing the raise in minimum wage as a ‘quick fix’, Andy Missick, Opposition Appointed Member said the government would continue to fail at breaking the cycle of poverty if they employed these short term ideas.
“The raising of minimum wage might slightly reduce poverty but it also comes with many possible implications– we are looking for a long term solution” he maintained.
It was an engaging and feisty afternoon as several members of the governing party including Dixie Smith, Premier of the TCI threw their support behind the bill.
Youth Premier Smith referenced the lighthouse effect that had occurred in other countries in the Caribbean where a minimum wage increase resulted in an overall increase in all wages.
“Let us be realists, low wages in the Turks and Caicos islands pushes households that are already at a threshold into poverty– why earn less when you could earn more.”
The debate continued with contributions from Shakiah Lewis, Minister of Home Affairs; and Adrian Parker, Governor’s Appointed member who were tightly regulated by Alex Taylor, Speaker of the House.
The motion passed 4-2 with one abstaining.
The speed with which ideas and quips were tossed across the floor broke even Madame Speaker’s facade as a laugh escaped once or twice. After the end of the debate, which attracted many supporters in the gallery, all of the young people were allowed to speak on the experience, some admitting cases of nerves rattled them but still pushing forward.
Madame Speaker used her position to encourage residents between 18 and 29 to join the country’s youth parliament “So that the youth will have a voice.”
All the young people were supported by family, friends and elected government members including Anya Williams, Governor (actg); Otis Morris, Minister of Home Affairs; Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education and Youth; E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Akeirra Missick, Member for Leeward and Long Bay who is credited with being a mentor to the Youth Parliamentarians.
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