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FortisTCI rate increase application goes to the public for consultation

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#Providenciales, June 21, 2019 – #TurksandCaicos – A determination on whether or not FortisTCI will get that rate increase for which the company has applied is inching closer to completion; now, the public is being asked to weigh in on the controversial application.

“As part of the process to inquire into the reasonableness of the proposed variation of the prescribed tariff of rates by FortisTCI Limited and Turks and Caicos Utilities Limited the general public is now informed that the inquiry is open to the public and that any interested person may attend the inquiry and may make written or oral representations to the person holding the inquiry, pursuant to section 39(5) of the Electricity Ordinance.”

The mission of Governor appointed, J Paul Morgan P.E., CEng. Is to conduct an inquiry into the reasonableness of the FortisTCI and TCU Ltd. Rate Variation Application. 

FortisTCI, since July 2018 informed the general public that it made a rate increase request; looking to get approval for an average of 6.8% more on electricity bills. 

That request was declined by the Governor in August of 2018.  

Morgan, who has over 40 years of experience in utilities, engineering, utility regulation, management and consulting, was appointed last month.

The public is invited to given written and oral submissions.

A TCIG media released advised: “If you wish to make a written presentation, it should be submitted on or before 24th June 2019. All written submissions must be emailed to the following addresses jeffreypaulmorgan@gmail.com or jason.abraham@avisobviconsulting.com with the caption “Submission to the FortisTCI Proposed Rate Variation Inquiry.” 

However, to speak to Mr. Morgan in person, there was this instruction:  “If you wish to make an oral presentation at the inquiry your intention should be communicated to Mr J Paul Morgan, and should include a reference to your specific concern as it relates to the reasonableness of the proposed variation of the prescribed rates of tariff by FortisTCI Limited and Turks and Caicos Utilities Limited, on or before 26th June 2019.

Please note that oral presentations at the inquiry shall be   limited to 15 minutes per person. The public is also informed that the inquiry which is opened to the public is scheduled [to commence on the 2nd and 3rd July 2019, at the Gustavus Lightbourne Sport Complex, Providenciales, from 4pm to 8pm.”

FortisTCI in multiple official reports and public meetings explained that the request for the rate increase was largely as a result of the catastrophic impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on electricity infrastructure nationwide.

“The rate variation application seeks to restore the company to a stable financial position following the impact of the 2017 hurricanes. The financial impact on FortisTCI of Hurricanes Irma and Maria is estimated at $42 million.”

In considering the rate variation application, the Government explains that consumers are classed in two categories: Residential and All Others.  The rate increase request is between 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent for residential customers and for All Others, the increase is requested at 7.9 percent. 

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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News

New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Rules governing Justices of the Peace in the Turks and Caicos are now significantly stricter after the passing of the amendment to the Magistrates Amendment Bill in July 2022.

Despite the fact that Justices of the Peace are allowed the same powers as a magistrate previously the only requirement for their appointment was the discretion of the Governor and that they be under 65-years-old.

That power has now been transferred from the Governor to the Chief Justice.

Justices of the peace have always by law been allowed to receive complaints, sign charges and issue warrants for the apprehension of persons charged with criminal offenses. They can also issue search warrants summons and administer oaths.

Considering the potentially unchecked execution of these powers, the attorney general’s chambers lobbied for a change in the system.

“These are very wide powers and there is no framework for the supervision and regulation of the whole of justices of the peace in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The amendment rectified this and the Chief Justice now has the power to make binding rules and regulations governing the appointment of JPs, a code of conduct disciplinary action and orientation and periodic training for JPs.

In addition, to maintain separation of powers the governor will be stripped of the power to disallow laws made by resident magistrates. That power now belongs to the Chief Justice.

Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, TCI Attorney General maintained that the amendment was short but necessary.

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Health

Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Young people in the Turks and Caicos are very sexually active and while there are no concrete statistics, the newest members of the Rapport all said “Yes” to the question about whether there is rampant sexual activity.

“As a young person I totally agree that they are having a lot of sex,” Arean Louis said.

This is particularly concerning given wider statistics point to a very young age group which is still contracting HIV/Aids.

“Caribbean statistics are showing that between the ages of 15 and 25 those have the highest amount of HIV rates.”

A five person delegation was this past  week representing the Turks and Caicos Islands at the International Aids Conference, staged in Montreal, Canada July 29 – August 2, 2022.

Young adult members of Rapport TCI all agree that youth in the TCI must be made aware of HIV and other STIs. Arean Louis, Denae Dennie and Arielle Neely spoke to Magnetic Media on their way to the International AIDS Conference.

All three agreed that our young people are having a lot of sex.

“I would say that our young people are having sec the only thing that I would say is I hope that they are letting their partners know their sexual history, their status, and that they’re being safe.” Dennie said.

Louis added, “As we talk about HIV and AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands we most definitely need to bring awareness to our young people because there is no set age— kids nowadays just like to experiment.”

He stressed safe sex, using protection and abstinence to maintain sexual health.

“What we aim to do is keep them safe here, we’re tired and we don’t want to see anymore STD and STI new cases in the Turks and Caicos.”

Dennie says she still thinks there is fear surrounding HIV but with education and protection, the world can get to zero new cases and it was something she was looking forward to.

The final member Arielle Neely explained that there were not enough tools and resources to educate youth.

“There are not enough tools or enough record to educate them. Our parents think they’re doing a good job by telling us don’t have sex but telling us don’t have sex isn’t enough. You have to teach us about birth control planned parenthood.”

The three members had high hopes for Rapport and stressed that they need more members to make an effective change on sexual health in the TCI.

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