South Caicos, December 10, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Premier, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson on Friday, 6 December 2019 attended the soft opening of the newly built Iris Stubbs Primary School in South Caicos. The school which was destroyed after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 led to the displacement of the students to a temporary location for more than a year.
Due to the damage sustained post hurricanes and the wear and tear over the years, the building had to be completely demolished and rebuilt. The new facility was constructed with resiliency in mind and once completed will be able to withstand hurricane-force winds and flooding and will serve as a hurricane shelter due to this Government’s open floor/collapsible walls policy.
The Premier and Minister for Finance, Investment and Trade, during remarks at the opening expressed that five (5) months after the Hurricanes, TCI Government directed funds to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Government Schools and critical Government offices. TCIG received further gift funding from the European Union and these monies were directed towards this Project.
Commenting on the rebuild the Premier Robinson stated; “I am elated that the Iris Stubbs Primary School now has a brand new and more resilient facility. These teachers and students have had to endure the traumatic experience of two major hurricanes then endured further disruption to normalcy when they were displaced from their classrooms. This new building signifies how much we have been able to achieve since 2017 and how fortunate we are that we were able to bring Turks and Caicos back from devastation without debt.
“These students deserve permanent housing for their education, one that is built to the best standards. Education is key to our country’s development and my Government will continue to invest in the best institutions, curricula and programmes for our children.”
Header: Pictured above (Row 1: left to right): Minister for Health, Agriculture, Sport and Human Services, Hon. Edwin Astwood; Son and Daughter of the late Iris Stubbs: Annie Stubbs & (Former Chief Minister) Hon. Norman Saunders; Minister for Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation, Hon. Goldray Ewing; Minister for Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming and Disaster Management, Hon. Ralph Higgs. (Row 2: left to right): The Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; Minister for Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services; His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin; Former Principals of the Iris Stubbs Primary: Kathleen Durham & Bishop George Fulford.
Insert: Pictured above (left to right): Minister for Health, Agriculture, Sport and Human Services, Hon. Edwin Astwood; Deputy Principal – Iris Stubbs Primary, Beverley Malcolm; Curriculum Development Officer, Rhonda Blackman-Smith; Principal, Iris Stubbs Primary School, Earlene Elliot; The Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; Minister for Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming and Disaster Management, Hon. Ralph Higgs; Minister for Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services; and Minister for Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation, Hon. Goldray Ewing.
Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.
The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.
The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year. In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.
In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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