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Turks and Caicos is first to add Disaster Management to the Tourism portfolio

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#Providenciales, May 17, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The pair of officials called it a natural fit which will lead to greater synergy and stronger lines of communication between two critically-linked agencies; Tourism as the leading bread-winner for the Turks and Caicos Islands now directly houses the Department of Disaster Management & Emergencies, DDME which undergirds all industries in any worse case scenario; and the shift is pioneering. 

“I believe that this marriage is timely, it is bold and persons from across the region are giving kudos to the Turks and Caicos for having the foresight to have all of  these very important environmental, tourism, economic drivers under one ministry working together in a collaborative fashion,” said Ralph Higgs, Minister of Tourism during a press conference on Wednesday.  

In response to Magnetic Media’s question about the landmark move from Home Affairs to Tourism, Director of DDME, Dr. Virginia Clerveaux said, “We are the first to add Tourism and Disaster Management, however tourism and disaster management have been working together throughout the region for years.  I think we are unique in the fact that when you look at the make-up of our Ministry it’s tourism, it’s environment, you see the name quickly and then you begin to think of the maritime sector that is also critical to us in the Turks and Caicos Islands and then you’re looking at heritage and you’re thinking about the UN perspective and protecting your heritage sites and how they can be impacted by not only man-made but also natural events,” she continued with, “The Department of Disaster Management, we come as if we are the overall co-ordinator…”

The relationship between the entities is not new, nor had it been dormant; there are many settings on a national level where the departments of environment, maritime and disaster management are required to give expert input. 

In hurricane season, DDME serves as a strategic advisor for the tourism sector and admittedly, the half a billion dollars in damages and losses in Hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017 accelerated the need for the union.

“There has been a good working relationship between the Department and the DDME and tourist Board for several years, one of the pluses of this union now is that all of the information needed to address tourism related matters will be contained of one umbrella,” explained Minister Higgs, who is a former Tourist Board Director.

DDME Director Dr. Clerveaux supported the remarks from her new Minister with, “It is important that we protect our investment.  One major storm with a magnitude of what we experienced from Ike, Irma or Maria can spell a disaster in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  The environment, the tourism industry, the travel industry are our most vulnerable sectors, not just in the Turks and Caicos islands, but throughout the world and therefore putting policies in place and working with our Tourism sector and working with the Environmental Agencies to ensure that we protect our natural resources is one of the best things that we can do, in terms of sustainable development management.”

Minister Higgs agrees and told media that he is pleased that the DDME can feed the ministry’s interests more directly.

“I think with this marriage now we can publicly celebrate that we have a complete ministry, as the Director said, over the years there has been a lot of collaboration and a lot of synergy, a lot of working together to ensure that in the event that there is a disaster, our number one industry which is tourism is not destroyed beyond repair.  I believe with the marriage of the DDME (to the Ministry of Tourism, Gaming, Environment and Maritime Affairs), we will take a very proactive approach to ensuring that the people of this country, our visitors to this country, knows the risk of any disaster and they know the vulnerabilities and they ensure that they have measures in place.”

Dr. Virginia Clerveaux as Director of the Department has been hailed at home and abroad for the efficient and effective management of the DDME, especially in the aftermath of the hurricane season’s most fierce storms on record.  Dr. Clerveaux takes with her to Tourism a team of 10 and the shift came in a TCI Cabinet shuffle which placed the DDME under the Tourism, Environment, Heritage and Maritime umbrella.

“This merger will ensure that there is more synergy and there is greater communication between the natural resource enforcers and the agency that has to coordinate response in the event of a disaster.”

The media meeting was held at the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies Providenciale headquarters and handed over to Minister Ralph Higgs were the policies governing the DDME and its Disaster Management strategies.

#magneticmedianews

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#tcidisastermanagement

Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Education

Next Year, more courses, more staff, new location for TVET says Minister Taylor 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – TVET offerings in the Turks and Caicos will definitely increase, especially for incarcerated people according to Minister of Education Rachel Taylor.  Taylor was responding to queries from a resident about the limited course offerings in a Town Hall meeting on Monday November 21st.

“By next year you will see more programs being offered, not just at the prison, but also at the community college.” she said.

Mentioning that the Turks and Caicos Community College already offered courses like Commercial Food Preparation, Customer services as well as Electrical Engineering, but not some others like masonry, she said that the one thing they were working on was synchronizing courses between high schools and higher education.

“We will have to align the courses that are offered in high school also in the community college.  Persons may not be aware but the Caribbean Vocational Qualification is actually level one of TVET, so when our students finish with the carpentry and the masonry and data entry, they can move into level two at the community college.”

In order to make that happen there are several things the government must do, she explained.

“Currently, we have to get onboard additional manpower at the community college [that] has already been budgeted.”  She said that interviews were already taking place for adult learning assessment officers and a larger space at Alliance Business Plaza had been procured.

“We have recently purchased Club Pillows, which will be our new Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, which will provide us a better outlet to introduce additional courses.”

Referencing the new program geared towards inmates, she said, “The first phase of the MOU is the introduction of the Commercial Food Preparation and Customer services so we will definitely increase the offerings.  We will have that dialogue with the inmates in terms of the — kind of training they would want to receive.”

Increased TVET offerings had been one of the major requests from young people during a recent youth survey.  The Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute has also been flown into the TCI to consult and help broaden the offerings provided in the technical, vocational programme.

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News

Claudine Ewing Appointed CEO of United Way TCI

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November 25, 2022 – United Way Turks and Caicos is pleased to reintroduce Ms. Claudine Ewing as our Chief Executive Officer.

Inciting change and promoting growth are major attributes of one that leads a Nonprofit Organization; attributes that is regularly exhibited by Ms. Ewing, who was among the founding leaders of this 4 years old Non-profit Organization, she held the post of Executive Director for 2 years and was able to incite change and growth for many young people through our various programs and initiatives. During the severe period of Covid she was forced to leave, to become a caregiver for her parents who demanded much of her time.

However, her love for philanthropic work always held a place in her heart and she knew that one day she needed to continue on the path of changing the lives of young people for the betterment of our country.

Ms. Ewing’s ability to be a creative thinker, forge relationships with community partners, promote volunteerism, leverage the community to be consistent and get involved, are just some of the qualities that she bring to this role in such crucial times to strengthen the fabric of our community.

Ms. Ewing said “ I’m excited to be back on the team and even more excited to get our program initiatives back up and running, with creative ideas and community conversations that will have everyone engaged. “

Chairman of the Board, Mr. Mark Fulford said “As a Board we are please to pledge our support to our Executive Director Ms. Claudine Ewing. We encourage the community to get involve, as we reignite our Program Initiatives and continue to forge relationships with fellow Non-profits to have a greater impact in our community”.

 

About United Way Turks and Caicos:

United Way Turks & Caicos was established in 2018 by a group of Turks and Caicos Islands business leaders, together along with an established international donor. Our vision for ‘giving back’ and contributing to society is aligned with United Way World wide’s mission and values. This was the driving force behind the desire to replicate the success of the United Way model in the Turks & Caicos Islands. United Way Turks & Caicos Islands is comprised of 15 Board Directors within diverse sectors of our society and business community.

Together we set the goals for UWTCI and envision a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through Education. Our Mission is to improve lives by cultivating and inspiring the caring power of the community to advance the common good of all which is being executed by an Executive Director and Staff supported by hundreds of volunteers.

 

Contact info: 6493334545

EDtci@unitedwaytci.org

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