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TCI: Educators and Education Officers now better equipped to protect vulnerable children

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#Providenciales, July 27, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Library and Social Services  with the support from the European Union is working to ensure Education Officers and school Principals are better equipped to identify and cope with children who may be exposed to or suffering from violence and abuse.

Ms. Heidy Williams is the Education Officer with responsibility for Early Childhood Education and she explained that a recent training session successfully demonstrated to participants their key roles and responsibilities when it comes to safeguarding children, “Child protection and safe-guarding refers to the protection and safe-guarding of all children against violence.

It ensures that systems are in place to prevent, identify and stop violence that are already happening. Violence against children can be in the form of poor nutrition, poor health care, lack of affection, unresponsive care, child maltreatment, neglect, corporal punishment, exposure to violence and abuse (physical, emotional, sexual).”

Hurting children can now be much better served due to the techniques and strategies learned during the training session. Ms. Williams said a component of the program called, Courageous Conversation, had a major impact on the educators.

“Holding Courageous Conversations is the process of having the confidence to be bold and direct in order to show awareness and bring about change to a situation, recognizing that the implications can be difficult but the outcomes are generally positive.”

Admittedly, when these situations arise, they can be disconcerting and downright uncomfortable. 

Ms. Williams notes that “these components are extremely important to the Ministry because children are most vulnerable to violence and these adverse experiences early in life can impair the brain architecture. Early stress due to violence elevates the stress hormone cortisol and this can disrupt brain development altering academic performance and causing harmful mental and physical consequences that can last into adulthood.”

Ms. Williams further expressed that even one incident where a child is impacted by negative events or environments are viewed as too much.

“With the challenges of sporadic incidences of violence against children, the Ministry of Education recognizes the need to be proactive in guaranteeing the safety and well-being of children into adulthood,” said Ms. Williams who added that, “the training even helped Education Officers and Principals to understand how to begin Courageous Conversations. The method we are using is known as the ‘OARS Approach’.  It is an acronym for O- open ended questions; A- Affirmation; R- Reflective listening and S for Summarizing.  Emphasis was placed on how to interview, noting the importance of preparation, opening comments, body language, how to respond, listening and tone of voice.”

Public and private school principals and Education Officers were equipped with the skills of active listening without interrupting, how to interview, how to analyze a situation and the risk involved, how to stay neutral, methods of getting one’s attention, words to avoid when interviewing parents, helping them to find solutions to problems and methods of communicating to children in an age appropriate manner.

The training was facilitated by Barnardo’s, a British charity dedicated to protecting vulnerable children and organised for the Turks and Caicos from May 4-6, 2019 by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

“Improving the Education System in the TCI…..Together we can do it”

#magneticmedianews

#protectingvulnerablechildren

#improvingeducationinthetci

Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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Caribbean News

The Shore Club makes Travel + Leisure 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – The Shore Club is the perfect place to escape the cold with your family according to well-known travel magazine, Travel + Leisure at least.  The Turks and Caicos resort was featured in the worldwide magazine’s January feature last month.

“It’s hard to overstate the grandness of our accommodations,” travel writer Hannah Selinger gushed as she described the luxurious Shore Club experience that retails for around $750 per night.

The resort owned by Stan Hartling, 2021 TCI Humanitarian of the Year, was lauded for its use of local materials including coral harvested in Long Bay on which the property resides.  The writer was particularly impressed with the expansive space and multiple amenities at the resort which even when significantly booked “never feels even remotely full”.

She described the food and the entirety of her experience as ‘extremely satisfying’.

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