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Turks & Caicos Gov’t answers the 15 COVID-19 Questions directed at countries by the WHO

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#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – March 5, 2020

1. Are we ready for the first case?

Yes. We have isolation rooms in both hospitals. We’re asking the public that if they suspect that they have the virus, they are not to go to the hospital but to call the Ministry of Health Coronavirus hotline, 232-9444 or 338-0911, and will provide advice and guidance. If required, we have identified the new Mental Health facility in Grand Turk as an isolation facility and also the Blue Hills Clinic in Provo – minor works are to be completed before the facilities can be fully utilized. The government has also looked at the possibly of securing vacant commercial properties as an additional alternative.

2. What will we do when the first case arrives?

If a suspected case was identified today, we have the proper protocols in place in order to respond. In addition, we have isolation rooms located in both of our hospitals for persons requiring care.

3. Do we have an isolation Unit?

Yes. As mentioned, units are operational at Cheshire Hall and Cockburn Medical Centres. There are also units at the newly constructed Mental Health Facility in Grand Turk which will be used if needed.

4. Do we have enough medical oxygen, ventilators, and other vital equipment

Yes, we do have the vital equipment that can cope with an initial outbreak. The Health Emergency Management Unit within the Ministry of Health is advanced into the process of procuring additional Oxygen, Ventilators and other vital equipment such vital signs monitors, IV Stands and a PCR machine which would enable us to test locally. However, due to this emergency there has been a slowdown in the global supply chain, affecting availability and prices.

5. Will we know if there are cases in other parts of the country?

The Ministry or Health is committed to providing information to the general public as it relates to the TCI. Information will be shared as and when it becomes available.

6. Is there a reporting system that all health facilities are using and a way to raise an alert if there is a concern?.

Yes. The Ministry of Health through the National Epidemiology and Research Unit currently has a very robust Syndromic Surveillance System which works very closely with all private health care facilities and all government facilities, TCI hospitals and a number of resorts. From as early as January all sites were alerted to be vigilant for persons meeting the case definition of COVID-19.

7. Do our Health workers have the training and equipment they need to stay safe?

Refresher training is ongoing for all Health Workers in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Currently there is a supply of PPEs such as N95 masks, face shields, gloves aprons, goggles, coveralls and gowns available for use in country. Additional supplies are also being sourced to supplement stocks on hand.

  • 8.Do our Health workers know how to take samples correctly from patients?

All the Public Health Nurses and Doctors are comfortable and well-trained in obtaining samples for testing.

  • 9. Do we have the right measures at airports and border crossings to test people who are sick?

Screening is ongoing at the air and sea ports. Cruise ships have to notify us before entry of any ill persons on board as a part of their routine reporting requirements and we would not allow any ship with the virus to land. If there are any suspected cases, vessels would not be allowed to disembark their passengers or crew. If required, testing would not take place at our ports of entry but specimen collection can take place there. We have assigned additional staff to the airport in Providenciales and will be enhancing our surveillance at the cruise port. Additional temporary staff are also being recruited.

10. Do our labs have the right chemicals that allow them to test samples?

Like many countries in the region, our Public Health lab is not able to test locally at the moment. We are exploring the swiftest options for such testing. We have already established protocols in the meantime at the Caribbean Public Health Agency laboratory and are seeking to partner with other countries to support our testing capabilities. A PCR machine is required to test locally and the Ministry of Health is in the process of procuring a machine. The equipment for sample collection is in country.

11. Are we ready to test patients with severe or critical disease

Once we receive the PCR Machine, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) would assist with refresher training and we will have the capacity to test in country. In the meantime, we would use established protocols to test samples.

12. Do our hospitals and clinics have the right procedures to prevent and control infections.

Our Health facilities have a very strong Infection Control Programme and we are also guided by new guidelines provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) in relation to COVID-19. We have a draft Policy in place and training of our health personnel is ongoing.

13.Do our people have the right information; do they know what the disease looks like?

The Ministry of Health commenced a public education campaign COVID-19 on the 22nd of January 2020. Messages have been distributed via social media, radio, WhatsApp and through community visits. The Ministry is currently working on video messages to be distributed. Schools are also being educated about the virus and how to protect themselves from it, this activity began on 21st February. Sessions with churches on COVID-19 began on 23rd February. Ministry officials have also appeared on radio talk shows concerning COVID-19. Frontline government staff along with other public service providers have been receiving information on COVID-19 and also have been advised to have hand sanitizers for, not only staff, but also the public that they serve.

14. Are we ready to fight rumors and misinformation with clear and simple messages that people can understand?

Yes. We continue to respond to damaging rumuors through a combination of activities, including but not limited to, press conferences (held on Monday, 2nd March, 2020) and media statements; text messages through FLOW and Digicel, along with messages through platforms such as WhatsApp and the use of social media. We ask the public to only seek advice from credible sources.

15. Are we able to have our people on our side to fight this outbreak?

We are increasingly confident that the general public understand that combating this public health emergency is everyone’s responsibility. We firmly believe that by the government continuously sharing information with the general public on a timely basis, and responding to their concerns, that we can yet further build support. The answer to these questions can be viewed in that light.

PRESS RELEASE: TCIG MINISTRY OF HEALTH & TCI GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

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Sports

Inter-High and Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships set to end TCI School Sports Season 2023/24 with a bang

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, February 19, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) Track and Field season is in full effect and post the completion of the Track and Field Development meets, the tension has intensified.

On February 10 and 17, the TCAAA alongside the TCI Sports Commission hosted Track and Field Development Meets, to allow athletes to compete and see where they fare up against their peers before the ultimate Nationals. The Distance and Jumps meet took place first with Sprints and Jumps following the following Saturday.

Athlete to Watch

CARIFTA Medalist Love Joseph did not compete in the Distance and Jumps meet, however, he has competed in a few regional meets this year. Joseph won the 800m and 1500m at the Diana Lynn Thompson Invitational on February 10 in Nassau, Bahamas. In the 1500m, he ran 4:22:17 which is a season’s best but not his personal best. In the 800m, he achieved a personal best time of 2:05:86. He now attends the Clement Howell High School, last year competing for the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School.

He also achieved a personal best time of 4:15:37 in the 1500m at the Youngsters Goldsmith Track and Field meet at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on February 3, 2024.
Inter-High School Track and Field Championships (Nationals) | February 29 – March 2
The three-day event will take place at the National Stadium on Venetian Road from Thursday to Saturday, slated to be a showstopping weekend. Junior athletes will not just be competing for a place on the podium, they will also be vying for a spot on the National Team to compete in the CARIFTA Games. This year’s CARIFTA is set to take place in Grenada from March 30 – April 1.
Following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight. Last year, the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School came out on top with 18 Gold, 22 Silver and 13 Bronze medals. Clement Howell High School followed with 16 Gold 6 Silver and 10 Bronze medals with Marjorie Basden High School in third with 12 Gold 9 Silver and 8 Bronze medals.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

How to Watch
Entry tickets will be sold at the booth, $10 for adults and $5 for children per day. The event will be livestreamed from the TCI Sports Commission and FLOW our streaming partner’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It will also be broadcast via radio on RTC 89.1 FM.
Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships | March 19 – 21
This year, primary school students will once again get their chance to show what they are made of. The Primary School Championships bring in a high number of schools participating with 18 schools partaking last year. Likewise, following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight.
The two-time champions Ona Glinton Primary School clinched the win in 2022/23 with 19 medals total – 8 Gold 6 Silver and 5 Bronze. Second Place Ianthe Pratt Primary School took home 20 medals – 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze while Richmond Hill Primary School placed third with 12 medals – 7 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

Upcoming events in the Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) 2023/24 Sport Schedule

  1. TCISS Inter-High School Track and Field Championships – February 29 – March 2, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)
  2. TCISS Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships – March 19-21, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)

The full TCISS event schedule, standings and further updates can be found on the TCI Sports Commission’s website https://www.gov.tc/sports/our-events/tci-school-sports.

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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Crime

Three Arrested, Drugs Seized in North Caicos

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Serious Crime Unit detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have arrested  three men and seized a quantity of marijuana and cocaine during anti-crime operations in North  Caicos. 

Senior Officers and Magistrates issued Authorities and Warrants to Search four premises from  noon on February 14th to 3 pm today (February 16th). 

Three males, two of whom are aged 21 and an 18-year-old, were arrested for murder.  Investigations remain ongoing. 

Head of the Serious Crime and Public Protection Unit Superintendent Dean Holden said: “Our  team’s dedication and intelligence-led policing continue to play a significant role in disrupting  criminal activities.  

“Our operations will remain ongoing throughout the TCI as we continue to pursue leads and  ensure those responsible for causing fear are held accountable within the confines of the law. Our  communities deserve to feel safe, and we won’t rest until that goal is achieved.  

“I wish to also thank members of the public for their continued support and information ”. 

Additionally, Tactical Officers conducted a series of operations in Grand Turk. Several field searches were conducted in Over Back, and several items relating to ongoing  investigations were found, including a firearm. 

The public is asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at  231-1842, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and anonymously give any information on  illegal activity.

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Caribbean News

Deputy Premier Spot on, TCI TODAY Removed from EU Blacklist

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Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Sixteen months after being added to the European Union’s Black List for non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, the Turks and Caicos Islands is now off that list.

“Today,the Council removed The Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles and Turks and Caicos Islands from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.”

The release explicitly states that in the case of the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas, “ever since October 2022, deficiencies in the enforcement of economic substance requirements had been identified in both of these jurisdictions by the OECD Forum of Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP).”

It was recommended for remedy to the deficiencies has now been “converted from hard to soft recommendations,” said the statement.

That pivot was fundamental in the de-listing of the two countries said the information from the Council.

“…which allowed the Code of Conduct Group to consider these jurisdictions with no or only a nominal corporate income tax.”

When Magnetic Media spoke to E. Jay Saunders, Turks and Caicos Deputy Premier and Finance Minister in March 2023 he had full confidence that it was only a matter of time before the TCI was given a more favourable position with the EU. 

“There is no question about it. I’m confident that by February 2024, we will be off the list– I’m completely confident and there are no lasting repercussions.”   

 It had been sub-par computer systems that landed the TCI on the list.  The Deputy Premier, at the time offered that the EU was being too dramatic and its language, disproportionate surrounding the issue. 

That black listing and gray listing is often viewed as a black eye in the financial services sector, therefore this announcement today is vindication for the TCI and a huge plus for the Fintech ambitions of the Misick-led government.

 Twelve others remain with the unsavory categorization including Caribbean neighbours: Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands; Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda.

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