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First group of Turks & Caicos Reef Fund volunteers trained to Attack coral reef disease



#TurksandCaicosIslands – March 6, 2020 — On February 6, 2020, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) conducted it’s first training session with volunteers who will assist in fighting the deadly stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD).  SCTLD is a highly contagious and fast killing new coral disease that was first observed in South Caicos in January 2019, on the reefs of West Caicos in May 2019, in Grace Bay in August 2019 and on Grand Turk reefs in November 2019.  The TCRF finally received permission from the TCIG’s Department of Environment and Coastal Resources to begin treating diseased corals.

Training begins. Photo by Turks & Caicos Reef Fund

“We have our starting team of eight volunteers who are experienced divers and who have flexible schedules who can now start attacking this deadly disease,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF.  “These eight spent a day learning to identify the susceptible species, differentiate SCTLD from other coral diseases, how to prepare the antibiotic treatment and, finally, how to administer the treatment.”

The cause of SCTLD is unknown but is believed to be a bacterial pathogen.  Research in Florida where they have been dealing with the disease since 2014 have found that the most effective therapy is an antibiotic called, amoxicillin (if you have kids and they’ve ever had an ear infection, this is the most common antibiotic used to treat that problem). The antibiotic is mixed in a base (either shea butter or a special base developed by a company in Florida just for this purpose).  The antibiotic paste is then applied to the margin around an infected leision on a target coral head.  The researchers in Florida have found this approach to be between 67% and 80% effective in stopping the progression of the disease.

L-R: Ralph Higgs, TCI Minister of Tourism and Environment and Don Stark, Turks & Caicos Reef Fund, chairman

“Because this is a treatment done on a coral head by coral head basis, it is very time consuming,” said Alizee Zimmermann, Project Manager for the TCRF’s treatment effort.  “We are going to need more volunteers who are experienced divers, who have flexible schedules and who do not have a penicillin allergy to tackle this potentially devastating problem.  We also need a lot of eyes on the reef, so we will be conducting special training sessions for volunteers who may not fit the requirements to be one of the treaters, but who can help us gather data on the extent and progression of the disease by doing what we call “roving diver surveys.  A special training session for that type of volunteer will be held in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, we are planning our first trip out to treat corals later this week.”

Roving diver surveys are a simple technique which involves swimming in a line at a fixed depth for a minimum of 10 minutes and counting all the corals in an area approximately six feet wide.  The susceptible species are tallied as undiseased, potentially diseased, diseased, or dead.  A large number of volunteers are needed to conduct these surveys all around the TCI.  Any diver interested in becoming a roving diver surveyor should contact the TCRF at

“We are extremely grateful to those businesses and individuals who have stepped up to the plate to help finance this effort,” said Mr. Stark.  “This is going to be an expensive proposition we are undertaking and hope that we can entice other businesses and individuals to help with donations.;  Anyone interested in donating can contact TCRF directly at or at 347-8455.”

SCTLD affects 20 species of corals that create much of the structure of our coral reefs.  These include brain corals, pillar colors and boulder corals. It is not thought to affect sponges or soft corals such as sea whips and sea fans, but these species do little to provide coastal protection or habitat for fish and other animals that live on the reefs.  When a stony coral dies from SCTLD, it begins to erode and the structure of the reef begins to decline.

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Opposition Leader strong admonition to New RBC Manager



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – The Opposition has proposed to the new Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), that the institution open new branches in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), with services that can lead to financial inclusion.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Edwin Astwood says while the Managing Director has his welcome to the TCI, he said a meeting she had with significant Government officials, has been keenly noted, especially for RBC’s involvement in funding key Government projects, and for “talks to progress further than this, I believe the discussion on Financial Inclusion must take place.

“Providing much-needed access to banking services to individuals and businesses in our underserved communities. This can help improve financial literacy and access to financial products for the family islands population outside of Providenciales,” the Opposition Leader said in a statement.

He added that a discussion on Supporting Economic Development, must also be on the table, as a “caring Government” would have been soliciting the respective bank for more access to capital for the people on TCI-owned businesses, stressing that the Opposition is cognizant of the fact that by offering small to medium-sized business loans, banks can support entrepreneurship and economic development in communities throughout the TCI.

Further, he said access to capital is crucial for small businesses to start and grow, and by providing loans, banks can help stimulate local economic activity and job creation, underscoring that when banks invest in rural districts through branches and business loans, they contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the community.

“Small businesses are often the backbone of rural economies, and by supporting them, banks can help these communities thrive. I believe that banks doing business should be concerned about Building Customer Relationships. Opening branches in our family islands and underserved communities of Providenciales and providing business loans can help banks build long-term relationships with customers,” he said

He argued that by being present in the community and supporting local businesses, banks can establish trust and loyalty among residents, which can lead to increased customer retention and satisfaction.

Mr. Astwood in his strident statement, said citizens deserve better from banking institutions, and the people of Providenciales where the banks are located deserve better, and “our people in the family islands deserve better, therefore the TCI deserves better, and that is a PDM Government who will work to foster a healthy and inclusive financial system that includes serving the interests of all our people in all our islands,” he said.

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Norman B Saunders Airport Opens, opportunities touted by Gov’t



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – Employment and business opportunities are now looming in the South Caicos, and Government officials are urging young people, along with entrepreneurs to prepare themselves and maximise the openings.

Speaking at the renaming of the of South Caicos Airport to the Norman B. Saunders Snr. International Airport, Deputy Governor, Hon. Anya Williams said the Government is diversifying the economy, and expanding tourism to all the outer islands.

“You have to be part of that. For this airport to operate as an international airport, we need additional staff. We will need immigration officers, custom officers, fire officers, and we will need other staff,” the Deputy Governor said.

She added that the Government is providing small grants, assistance in preparing business plans, and technical advice for the setting up of “your businesses. Prepare to come back home because your island will need you,” she told her audience.

The Deputy Governor noted that having had the opportunity to work with Mr. Saunders, she found him to be a great “encourager, and someone who is so smart and articulate,” and always take the opportunity to “grant wisdom” to others, and “I developed so much respect” for the former Parliamentarian, she said.

For Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, the new airport is a catalyst for progress, as the Government has signed an agreement with American Airline, while major resorts are entering the area, and “plans are afoot to have an activity here, that you have never seen before in South Caicos,” he said.

Declaring that young people should “get ready,” the Premier said, “this is your moment, so, South Caicos, I want you to appreciate what you see here, I want you to treat it properly and well, and all of you, young people should strive to leave a positive legacy,” as Mr. Saunders has done, he said.

Mr. Misick also said Mr. Saunders who became Chief Minister of the Turks Caicos Islands (TCI), from 1980-1985, with responsibility, among other things, as well as  Immigration, Fisheries, Civil Aviation, went “above and beyond the call of duty,” in the performance of his duties, and “we are all better for it. Naming this airport in his honour, is only a very small token” of the recognition he should be given, the Premier said.

In his response, Mr. Saunders said he enjoyed all the moments in public live, and “we believe that South Caicos will be the next big spot, and area for tourism. I trust that this place will be the gateway to other islands, and I am confident that everything I did, was for the benefit of this country,” he said.

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Caribbean News

C&W Business to connect ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Media Hub  



Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (May 23rd, 2024) – The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will feature a first-of-its-kind remote Media Hub at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.

And more than 200 traveling journalists are expected to cover the pinnacle event on the cricketing calendar and they will experience unparalleled connectivity and seamless connections, courtesy of C&W Business.

C&W Communications, the parent company of C&W Business, is the Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider in the Caribbean for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“This groundbreaking facility will ensure that media professionals have access to high-speed internet and reliable telecommunications services, enabling them to cover the event seamlessly and efficiently,” said Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, B2B, C&W Communications.

“We are very proud to be providing these connections through which the stories of this prestigious event will be told around the world. Our company has a long and proud association with cricket in the West Indies and we eagerly look forward to this next chapter.”

The Media Hub will serve as a central location where journalists can view all tournament matches and participate in a full range of in-stadia media activities.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class experience for the world’s press, and we are committed to delivering the best connections over the Caribbean’s best network. Our installation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is at an advanced stage and we have overbuilt it with added bandwidth and redundancy,” added Collette.

“This is a great moment for the Caribbean, and we are honored to play our part in welcoming the press and facilitating all their connectivity needs at the first-ever Media Hub for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.”

Part of the Liberty Latin America group of companies, C&W Communications is the leading entertainment and communications provider in the Caribbean with operations in 20 markets with the brands Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business and BTC. The company’s services are underpinned by over 50,000 kilometres of the most modern subsea and terrestrial fibre networks in the region.

Flow has also been announced as the presenting partner for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean.

More than nine hundred volunteers from across the West Indies will participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme, which will serve as a cornerstone for supporting various aspects of the tournament including hospitality, logistics, and fan engagement.

As the Presenting Partner for the Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean, Flow will also play a pivotal role in ensuring volunteers are fully prepared to elevate the experience when tens of thousands of fans, media, players, and officials visit the West Indies in June.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 blasts off on 1 June with the tournament’s first match featuring USA taking on Canada at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Full match fixtures are available HERE.

Match tickets, including party-stand tickets for Caribbean fixtures, and hospitality packages are available at Box offices across the Caribbean are now open and tickets are available for sale there. Locations and operating hours are available HERE.

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