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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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Turks and Caicos Islands school sports season 2023/24 officially opens in September



Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, September 19, 2023 – After an active summer of events, Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) season 2023/24 will open with TCISS Football for Boys and Girls on September 30, 2023.

The opening ceremony of TCISS Football will take place at the TCI Football Association on Venetian Road, Providenciales and we will commute to the National Stadium for the games. Games will take place weekly on Fridays and Saturdays. After making their debut last year, TCISS Girls Football will run concurrently with Boys Football on a split pitch from September through October. The championship games are slated for October 28, 2023.

Last year’s Girls’ football champions were the Marjorie Basden High School after defeating the British West Indies Collegiate 2-1. The Boys’ champions were the Clement Howell High School who beat out the Elite High School who forfeited the game 1-0. All current students, fans and alumni are encouraged to watch the games weekly each Friday and Saturday, with tickets for Adults $5 and Children $3.

TCISS Boys Basketball quickly picks up after the Football season ends, spanning from early November 2023 to January 2024. Home and away games are one the highlights of this event, affording all teams a chance at a ‘home-court’ advantage throughout the season. As is tradition in TCISS, schools will be randomly selected and placed into pools to compete. Ultimately the strongest teams will meet at the championships. The reigning champions are the Clement Howell High School who defeated the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School 92-56 for the gold.

In a double-team affair, TCISS Girls Softball will launch a few weeks post Boys Basketball’s commencement, for a season which lasts from November 2023 – January 2024. This means softball and basketball seasons will run concurrently like last year, and tickets will allow entry to both games. The reigning champions are the HJ Robinson High School who won the championships 14-6 in their hometown Grand Turk against the Wesley Methodist High School. The championships will return to the nation’s capital next year, in honour of last year’s champions.

Ending the TCISS season will be the Track and Field events also known as Athletics. The Athletics opener will be the Track and Field Development meets. Historically this has been segmented into two meets: Sprints and Throws, Distance and Jumps.

Following will be the TCISS Inter-High Track and Field Championships also known as Nationals in March 2024 then the TCISS Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships also in March. Last year’s champions of Inter-High was the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School and for Inter-Primary the Ona Glinton Primary School. After being implemented last season, TCISS Track and Field champions are determined by a medal count with gold holding the most weight.

TCISS 2023/24 Sport Schedule

  • TCISS Inter-High School Football Boys, TCISS Inter-High School Football Girls – September 30, 2023 – October 28, 2023 (Providenciales)
  • TCISS Inter-High School Basketball – November 2023 – January 2024 (All-Island)
  • TCISS Inter-High School Softball – November 2023 – January 2023 (Season Games – Providenciales. Semi-finals & Championships – Grand Turk)
  • Track and Field Development Meets – February 2024
  • TCISS Inter-High School Track and Field – February – March 2024 (Providenciales)
  • TCISS Inter-Primary School Track and Field – March 2023 (Providenciales)

The full TCISS event schedule and further updates will be found on the TCI Sports Commission’s website

For the latest news on the TCISS, fans can follow on Instagram (@tcisportscommission) and Facebook (Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission). To share your experience with TCISS on social, use the hashtags #TCISS and #morethanjustsports.

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Court Ruling leaves Young Son without Mother, Father killed in 2022 violence



Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Reporter


#TurksandCaicos, September 19, 2023 – A young son is left without a father, taken through gun violence and his mother, now deported back to her home country of Jamaica.

A Jamaican woman, ANDREA ROSE MARIE ATKINSON, now in her late fifties, who was married to a Wheeland, Blue Hills, Providenciales native, appeared before the Hon. Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin.

Atkinson was charged on August 7th with remaining in the Islands beyond the permitted time.  The Chief Magistrate (CM) asked the lady if she would like an opportunity to get legal representation?  She said, your Honour, I just want to get this over with because “mi can’t take da cell no more” “mi bin lock up now fa sa much days, mi just a plea guilty and go back to mi Yard.”

The lady, communicating in her native, raw Jamaican patois tried to explain to the CM that she once had a permanent resident certificate (PRC) but after the divorced she was trying to get a work permit.

She said, yes, she overstayed but she was trying to make herself legal.

The woman asked the CM for some time to sort out her son and her things before they send her home.  The mother of a boy child told the chief magistrate that she didn’t know where her child was because since law enforcement arrested her and took her into Immigration lock-up and since, she has not seen or heard from her son.

This matter was heard in August.

Investigation by this reporter uncovered that the son, a Turks and Caicos Islander, was taken in by one of the deceased sisters; therefore an aunt to the boy.

The CM sentenced the Jamaican woman ANDREA ROSE MARIE ATKINSON to a fine of $2,000.00 to be paid immediately in default, she will serve 90 days imprisonment.

He also recommended deportation; giving the former PRC holder seven days to sort out her son and her belongings.

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The First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly of the Turks & Caicos Islands


 The Opening Ceremony for the First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly occurred on the 14th September at 10 o’clock in the forenoon with its usual pomp and fanfare.

During the proceedings, the Honourable Premier and Minister for Public Policy, Hon. C. Washington Misick, moved the motion that the House of Assembly be suspended to allow for the reading of the Speech from the Throne, presented by Her Excellency, the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.

The Speech from the Throne, having highlighted some of the Government’s accomplishments since being elected to office on 19th February 2021, culminated with the proposed Legislative Agenda to be considered for the upcoming legislative year which included, but is not limited to:

Constitution (Amendment) Order;

Retiring Allowance (Amendment) Bill;

Community College (Amendment) Bill;

Gaming Control (Amendment) Bill;

Business Licensing (Amendment) Bill;

Real Estate Licensing Bill

Immigration Bill; and

Crown Land (Amendment) Bill

The Speech from the Throne took a long-term perspective and placed emphasis on fulfilling the objectives of the Vision 2040 document and the Government’s strategic plan to move the Turks and Caicos Islands towards developed country status within the next two decades by investing in projects and policies that will result in a more robust triple-bottom-line economy.

The Speech from the Throne also addressed short to medium term deliverables; highlighting that the Government has twelve (12) high-priority projects being progressed.  It posited that the National Delivery Unit (NDU) is tasked with assisting project owners and implementers advance the Government’s priorities. The value added by this Unit is the facilitation with streamlining of project management processes to ensure the most efficient timelines and use of available resources – all for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The day’s proceeding ended with a motion entitled: Write-Off of TC Invest/TOLCO Loan that was tabled by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable E. Jay Saunders. The motion which sought to write off $10.8 million in debt accumulated by scores of borrowers was passed.  This write-off was a welcomed intervention by many Turks and Caicos Islanders, laden with debt obligations for over 11 years following the divestiture of the former TC Invest Agency.  The write-off directly affects over 150 borrowers but is indirectly beneficial to many more.

For some, giving them a second lease on life, which, when property ownership is considered can be extended to inter-generationally.

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