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TCI: More active Hurricane Season predicted and DDME gives thorough update on its readiness

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#Providenciales, June 7, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Warmer seas in the tropics mean there will be more storms for the Caribbean region, including the Turks and Caicos Islands informed Dr. Virginia Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies.  

“The forecasters are now predicting, six hurricanes, up from the previous prediction of five in April.  The projected number of named storms including tropical storms, has also increased from 13 to 14.  However, the prediction of two major hurricanes remains unchanged.”

The slight change in the forecast was announced by meteorologists with Colorado State University and while the number of major hurricanes remains at two, Dr. Clerveaux on Tuesday in a DDME Hurricane Season press conference reminded that really, one is more than enough to bring grave destruction. 

“Whether this year be a slightly below season, a near normal season or an active season it is important for every resident of the Turks and Caicos Islands to prepare as if they are expecting a direct impact of a major storm.  It is easier to scale down than to scale up preparations.”

The Director, in a comprehensive presentation assured that if there were a storm to cause communication catastrophe, the Turks and Caicos Islands are ready. 

“In 2017, satellite phones proved to be an invaluable asset in the coordination and response activities as a result of this, all critical agencies can now boast of having satellite phones to be used as a back up in the event of a communication failure.  We have created a data base which contains the sim numbers for these satellite phones and the person it has been assigned to.  Persons have also been training in how to effectively operate these satellite phones.”

Turks and Caicos Islands also has three BGANs; Broadband Global Area Network devices which are held at the Grand Turk office of the DDME, the Providenciales Office of the DDME and at the Governor’s Office.

“Which allows us to use a satellite in order to transmit information by phone or the internet after an emergency,” Dr. Clerveaux added, “this further strengthens our emergency communication capabilities should there be a major disruption to our normal communication networks.”

The Director said, “Having a plan in place, being familiar with the plan helps to improve efficiency in coordinating and responding to emergencies.”

Attending the press conference held Tuesday at the DDME office in Providenciales were Minister of Tourism with new responsibility for Disaster Management, Hon Ralph Higgs and Deputy Director of Public Works, Gavin Thomas.

There is no tropical cyclone activity expected in the next four days according to the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.  The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season began on Saturday June 1 and ends on Saturday November 30, 2019.

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Demolition coming as South Base to Undergo Testing for Asbestos

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Turks and Caicos, July 18th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government would like to advise the public of Grand Turk, that a consulting firm has been contracted to carry out testing of the buildings on the South Base Compound for the presence of asbestos.  A week of testing began Wednesday, July 10. This is to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and to protect workers, residents, and the public from possible asbestos exposure risks once comprehensive works on the base commence.

This is the initial consultation necessary to determine the methodology for the demolition and disposal of derelict buildings in the assessed area.  It is believed that low-risk micro-fibres are present in some of the buildings, owing to the period of construction and the types of materials used during that era.  Testing will confirm whether asbestos is present and if so, at what levels.

As a precautionary measure, signs have been erected to advise the public to avoid entering any of the dilapidated structures; as building materials containing asbestos, if disturbed, can release tiny asbestos fibres into the air.  Currently only the consultants are authorised to traverse the buildings until further notice.

Residents of Grand Turk have for years demanded that Governments address the unsightly area. The requests were mainly in relation to the aesthetics of the buildings. However, the interventions were deferred at various times for varying reasons.

The South Base is a huge compound, by island standards, with an area containing over twenty-one (21) building sites. It was formerly used as a United States Government base, and then as administrative offices by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. Some of the structures were renovated and are in acceptable condition, whilst others were destroyed over the years by hurricanes and normal wear and tear. 

The South Base, which has mostly been left as a decrepit and ghostly development of obsolete structures is finally being remedied. The area, which is a main thoroughfare for tourism and commerce when cleaned up, will provide space for numerous governmental and civilian uses.

Residents of Grand Turk sharing the optimism of a prospective demolition should adhere to this notification and any precautionary warnings erected for their health, safety, and well-being.

Subsequent phases of the works will be published via a public tendering.

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FortisTCI makes a case for Rate Increase in Media Meeting

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Ruth Gardiner Forbes, President and Chief Executive Officer of FortisTCI

Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

Turks and Caicos, July 17, 2024 – President and Chief Executive Officer of FortisTCI, Ruth Gardiner Forbes says it is very necessary for the company to be granted the 6% increase that it has requested, because it has absorbed many costs in previous years.

Devon Cox FortisTCI

The company is the main electricity provided in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), and the CEO shared that the rate adjustment will aid FortisTCI in meeting the demands of an expanding economy, and growing costs to operate.

If granted, the proposed 6% increase in electricity rate, would mean that an additional $2 to $15 per month for the majority of residential customers, explained Forbes.

While addressing a recent media event, the CEO stressed that “this rate increase is necessary, and we have had to make a lot of investments to keep up with the growth,” she said.

Adding that several factors contribute to the need for increased rates, including cybersecurity risks, wildfire risks, supply chain challenges, and evolving regulatory requirements, she said “this is one of the most difficult things that we have to do, is go to our customers and ask for an increase every year.”

She said the existing circumstances have forced the company to seek the proposed adjustment, and that the rate increase is necessary, as “we have to make the application because amidst all this growth, we have had to make a lot of investments to keep up with the growth,” she told the forum.

The CEO reasoned that given the importance of retaining reliable service, it is not plausible for the TCI to have a headline that says “we are experiencing blackouts,” and the company does not receive a guaranteed 17.5% return, although the rate is allowable by contract, the average return on rate base for the past five years was 3.9%, with the highest being 5.1%.

FortisTCI Execs

The company’s Director of Energy Production, Alvejes Desir, gave details of the impact of the depth of the water at the port on fuel supply costs, adding that limited depth restricts the size of ships that can deliver fuel, leading to increased transportation costs.

He said FortisTCI has made significant investments in renewable energy sources, aligning with the Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy (R-NETS) approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.

The company recently installed a new dual-fuel generating unit capable of using natural gas, a lower-carbon energy source, and is awaiting the Governor’s appointment of an independent inquirer to review the reasonableness of its proposal for a rate hike.

It has also requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to review the reasonableness of its application, a process that was also followed in a previous rate dispute in 2017.

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“Airside Walkway Canopy at Howard Hamilton International Airport Progressing Smoothly”  

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands –The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is pleased to provide an update on the construction of the Airside Walkway Canopy at Howard Hamilton International Airport. This project, which commenced on May 15, 2024, is led by Facilities Manager Kirkley Williams, and involves a dedicated team of 10 skilled workers.

The construction of the Airside Walkway Canopy is progressing smoothly and is on schedule for completion by August 13, 2024. The organization is highly satisfied with both the progress and the quality of work being done.

Key Features of the Walkway Canopy Include:

  • Isolated concrete columns and beams
  • Interior block and concrete walls
  • Timber roof structure covered with plywood, peel and seal membrane, and metal standing seam

The primary objective of the Airside Walkway Canopy project is to facilitate quicker aircraft turnaround times, significantly enhancing operational efficiency at the airport. Additionally, the new walkway will provide a more comfortable environment for passengers, improving their overall airport experience.

Despite the challenges faced during construction, such as working during ongoing airport operations and night shifts, the team has successfully managed to maintain progress without compromising safety or quality.

“We are committed to creating a more efficient and comfortable airport experience for our passengers,” said Facilities Manager, Kirkley Williams. “The Airside Walkway Canopy reflects our mission to enhancing our facilities and services.”

The project also incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly features, aligning with TCIAA’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.

The TCIAA looks forward to the completion of the Airside Walkway Canopy and the positive impact it will have on both passengers and airport operations.

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