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Two switches shut down; FortisTCI assures they were ready in this week’s unexpected power failure



#Providenciales, June 7, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – A series of switch failures is what led to the two power outages of Tuesday June 4 and Wednesday June 5; for some residents it meant more than 24-hours without electricity and for FortisTCI it meant pulling the back-up out of stock. 

FortisTCI’s CEO, Eddinton Powell held a press conference this morning at the headquarter office on Leeward Highway in Providenciales, where media learned that it was failure of one switch and then another which caused the two black outs.

“The first outage began on Tuesday June 4, approximately 8:54 a.m. and service was fully restored to all customers by 10:37 a.m.  This outage was the result of failed electrical equipment at the main substation.  A second outage began on the same day in the late afternoon at approximately 4:52 p.m., following the failure of another critical path high voltage switch on the transmission system to the company’s substations, which serve customers via underground cables.”

Mr. Powell called the latter switch ‘critical path switch’, responsible for dispatching 35 kV of electricity; a high voltage switch which would take more work and a longer time to restore.  It is also the switch which feeds the Grace Bay Substation, which carries electricity to Leeward and Leeward Palms; all three areas were longest without electricity earlier this week.

“You just can’t move those transmission and distribution lines that are connected to that switch.  In effect what we had to end up doing, and this is why it took so long is we had to replace that entire switch. Replacing that switch, programming the new switch, using heavy equipment and cranes to move that switch into place because these switches weigh tons.  You’ve got to bring in specialty cranes to move the switch and then that took time to reconnect all of this transmission and distribution line.”

Mr. Powell confirmed that no part had to be brought in; that foresight on the part of FortisTCI ensured that the company was ready to respond to what was an unexpected technical failure.

“I want to ensure all of our customers that this country has a very good utility, not withstanding the incidents we’ve had,” Mr. Powell also shared that, “In the case of the last outages where our customers were, in some cases, out for 24-hours, we had to replace that entire equipment and we had that equipment in stock.  We did not have to bring that in and that is another indication of how well you plan for these kinds of things because you can have critical equipment in stock for years and it doesn’t move but until you that time when you need it, you need to have it and we had it.”

Public reaction to the prolonged power outage was varied, but comments on social media mainly lambasted the electricity company for the system failure, the inconveniences it was causing and a lag in communication with the general public. 

The CEO apologised, thanked the public for its patience, thanked the team for a job well done and repeated that the Turks and Caicos has a very good utility company in FortisTCI.

Forty staff members worked to restore the electricity, which while off for a full day in Grace Bay impacted households, schools, tourism operations and businesses.

Electricity was restored on June 5, 2019 at 7:46 p.m. “without further incident.”




Caribbean News

Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit partners with the Department of Trade to deliver Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training



Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, May 19th, 2023 – On Thursday, May 11th, 2023, Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit (BSU); partnered with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition to host the Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training. In attendance were nineteen business owners; who participated in the free, interactive training held at Blue Haven Resort from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

The training was facilitated by Ms. Lisandra Colley, Director of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition. During the training, the participants learned the following:

  • Essentials of accessing the international market
  • Basics of exporting and the benefits of exporting for MSMEs
  • Export opportunities to access the Canadian and UK markets
  • Requirements and procedures for the exportation of goods to Canada and the UK
  • Understand how to use Canadian and UK government interactive tools to export

Commenting on the Training, Director of Trade, Lisandra Colley expressed, “Bolstered by its trade-related technical assistance pillar, the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition (DTIFC) aims to provide capacity building training and seminars to equip businesses across the TCI to fully participate in the domestic and international trading systems. The partnership between the DTIFC and Invest TCI to host the Seminar ‘Export Opportunities for MSMEs’ epitomizes our shared commitment to empower micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Through this collaborative effort, we provided participants with the essential knowledge and tools needed to access international markets and leverage preferential trading arrangements. By understanding the benefits of exporting, identifying potential markets, and grasping the requirements and procedures for successful export, participants are better equipped to seize opportunities in the Canadian and UK markets and worldwide.”

Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, also provided her feedback on the training “To strengthen the awareness of trade opportunities for MSMEs, the BSU will continue its partnership with the Department of Trade. We invite all entrepreneurs and small business owners to participate in our next collaborative training, to be held Thursday, September 12th, 2023, titled Incorporating Product Standards for Sustainable Trade.

Additionally, we welcome all businesses to take advantage of the free services offered by the Business Support Unit, namely Business Planning, Training, Counselling, Administrative Services, and MSME Programme Recipient Support. We provide the support you need to ensure your business is resilient and sustainable. Let us help you take your business to the next level.”

For more information on Invest TCI events, visit or follow us on social media at @investtci.

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Caribbean News

TCIG not calling Woman’s injury a ‘Shark Attack’



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos, May 25, 2023 – Where and How?  Those are the questions now arising from Wednesday’s marine incident which left a young woman without her foot. The police and one local business say it was a shark attack, another government agency, the DECR was much more vague.

In a press release around midday Thursday, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources said, “A 22-year-old female visitor from Connecticut was severely injured while snorkeling… The matter is still under investigation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.”

Missing from that press release any mention of or warning to be careful of sharks.

Big Blue Collective on the other hand in a statement to Magnetic Media that same day said this:

“Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity,” they continued, “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation.”

The communications team at Big Blue Collective stressed to us that this was not to be used to characterize the TCIs waters. Both DECR and Big Blue reminded the public that these incidents are very rare.

The DECR said the incident happened in an area known as the Bone Yard Dive Site, part of the Princess National Park; a protected marine environment.

Photos of the victim’s injury show that her foot, severed completely at the ankle, was thankfully recovered whole.

The Police report had inaccuracies and was retracted last night. However, not before news media locally and abroad reported the facts as laid out by them.

The TCI Hospitals’ statement said, “The patient received immediate medical attention by our Emergency Response trauma team. The patient’s injury is considered serious and, after a period of stabilization, was transferred to a tertiary care facility for further management on that evening, Wednesday, May 24th 2023…”

Sources told our news team the nature of the injury requires a multi-agency investigation to sort out what exactly occurred in the water.

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Caribbean News

Big Blue Speaks, says Caribbean Reef Shark responsible for severed foot



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, May 25, 2023 – As international media houses report on the recent marine accident in Providenciales where  a young woman lost a foot, Big Blue Collective Eco Tours is attempting to set the record straight as they defend the marine life and safety reputation of the Turks and Caicos.

They say the young woman was not on a charter trip with their establishment as reported by some media houses, rather she was on a private vessel when she was mistaken for food by what they think to be a Caribbean Reef Shark.

“The extremely rare and unfortunate incident that happened yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 24th May, 2023, in the Turks & Caicos Islands, outside the reef, involving a snorkeler and a shark, occurred during a private trip. Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity.”

The communications team at Big Blue spoke to Magnetic Media on May 25th, the day after the incident. They expressed concern for the victim and her family, maintaining that her safety was the first priority.

They say that it was a very rare freak incident, “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation. We applaud all the efforts of our team, the paramedics, and the emergency first aid responders. Our thoughts are with the victim, their family and loved ones at this time.”

Reports on Thursday explained an investigation was opened to determine how the Connecticut woman was injured; however Big Blue informs only the Police quizzed them for information on the incident.

We are told the young woman was lucid enough to get back to the boat for help when she realized she was injured.  Immediately the team on the boat, which included Big Blue employees, though it was not their charter, jumped into action, retrieving her foot and trying to staunch the bleeding from her limb.

Big Blue told us she was transferred into medical professionals’ care within minutes. Big Blue and the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources are both stressing that incidences of this nature are extremely rare in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and cannot be used to judge the swimming, snorkeling, or overall experience in the country’s waters.

In addition certain marine animals are protected by law in the Turks and Caicos, and should not be hunted or killed for sport, or any other reason without a proper license.

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