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TCI: Strangers tried again to find Alandre, still no sign of teen boy

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#Providenciales, September 26, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Two search teams fanned out from two marinas in Providenciales, unprepared to give up on finding, at the very least, the body of a teenaged boy who went missing while swimming with friends last Thursday.  Most who showed up for the final search do not even know young Alandre Pierre personally.

The search for 17-year-old, Alandre Jean Pierre by a team of officials including the Marine Police, Dept of Coastal Resources, Department of Disaster Management & Emergencies, private residents and the US Coast Guard was called off over the weekend. 

The boy was still unfound said a police update issued on Monday afternoon. 

The family of young Pierre arranged one of the search efforts, which started at the Turtle Cove Marina with an appeal on Facebook; it was a combination of friends and strangers with one goal in mind.

“Basically, I feel as if this could have easily been one of my friends, my relatives.  I think this is a young boy who actually assisted me while I was working at the Red Cross.  He volunteered his time,” said a young woman named Kensey, who added, “Hopefully we can find closure for the family and we sympathise with the situation and a lot of us are just volunteers and this is a great way to show, you know, regardless of the fact that he was Haitian or not… it is just showing unity, that we can come together for a greater cause, putting aside all of that negative talk.”

“I was hoping we could find this kid.  I don’t know him personally, but if it was me, I would hope somebody would try to find me and not just give up in a couple of days.  It just doesn’t make sense, we are just hoping we can find him, explained Khalil Taylor, a young man who volunteered to scour Providenciales beaches and waters ways. 

Even a professional swim instructor joined the search party and says the tragedy demands a sensible response; for swimming to be added to all schools’ curriculum.

“I used to swim (competitively), not a diver but I am willing to lend my expertise and hopefully we can find the guy so that the family can find closure.”

 Lenin Hamilton is the swim coach and a founder of the TCI Aquatics Club; he grew up in The Bahamas though he now resides with his family in Providenciales.

“I would also suggest that between Hurricane Dorian and this event of a teen missing at sea, we should have swimming in the curriculum in case anything of these things happen again at least they will have some form of survival skills to manage rip currents like this,” said Coach Hamilton.

On the day Alandre went swimming with friends at the Bight Park beach, there were warnings of hazardous conditions, monster swells and dangerous rip currents.  The weather report advised to stay out of the water.  Now his friends, his family are devastated and bewildered.

The Turks and Caicos Boating club, left from a marina further east; the Blue Haven Marina.

“Well we have decided to give it one more shot to find the missing teen.  The TCI Boat Club has partnered with Catch the Wave charters to make one last run out there to see what we come up with,” said Albert “Froggie” Williams on Wednesday when we spoke to him. 

Froggie, one of the lead organisers of the TCI Boat Club Poker Run, actually postponed the highly anticipated event to October 5 due to the rough surf and hazardous conditions caused by the storms churning in the Atlantic basin. 

Froggie shared the plan for his crew of six, “We are going to follow the currents for that day but basically, we are going everywhere.”

A follow up with Froggie today revealed, that indeed Alandre was not found; the TCI Boat Club and Catch the Wave search for the teenager ended around 1:30pm on Wednesday.

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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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