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TCI Governor on the Science of COVID-19; Statement made April 1

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – FULL STATEMENT :

Good evening Turks and Caicos, it’s the Governor speaking, speaking on behalf of both myself and also the Premier. The Premier will talk on Friday about the support and stimulus package.

From me a Wednesday evening update for you. This is our fifth day of lockdown and curfew.  So far so good – and the first thing to say is thank you. We are collectively doing the right thing.  It’s causing, we know, inconvenience and in some cases serious hardship.  Most people I speak to understand instinctively why we are doing this but we thought we would use tonight to try and describe the underpinning facts of why we are doing what we are doing.

The Science:

If you can bear it, a quick science lesson – because it’s the science that is guiding us on this. You’ll have heard lots of people describe ‘flattening the curve’.  As far as I can, I want to describe to you what that means and why what we are doing does this.

All virus’s spread at different rates.  There is a scientific scale of measuring infection – this isn’t random – so, for example, measles is ‘nine’ which means that we would expect one measles case to infect nine others.  For Influenza the infection rate is 1.3.  If the rate is ‘one’ then one person infects one other person.  A figure less than ‘one’ means the disease is in decline and may die out.   

COVID19 is thought to be around 2.2. Much less infectious than measles but considerably more infectious than influenza. What this means is that, on average, one infected person passes it on to 2.2 other people. As with all statistics that quote averages this means that there may be many people that only pass it on to one, and one person that passes it on to many, but as I say the global average is 2.2

You see this in the way COVID19 spreads. One person infects two, two people infect four, those four infect eight (in fact because it’s an infection rate of 2.2 it’s now starting to become more than simply doubling) so let’s say that eight cases becomes 17 and then 17 becomes 37. You get the picture, we now have a very dramatic rise as we saw in Italy and in cities such as New York.  It’s out of the cage and it’s spreading and multiplying at a factor of 2.2. Not good.

The number one purpose of everything you are doing is to change the maths on this spread. What we need to do is bring this down from 2.2 to certainly under 1.5, in truth we want to get it to under one.  But Below 1.5 we can start to impose ourselves on this virus and bring it under control. We have to do that because our medical services can manage a much flattened curve but they couldn’t possibly manage the sort of increase I described as it grew at 2.2

The good news is that all the medical opinion we can draw on – here in the Island, public and private, and that expertise we can draw on elsewhere, including some very eminent epidemiologists in the UK, tell us that TCI is doing all the right things to achieve this. We got ahead of it and we clamped down on it, and if we can hold the line we are going to not only get through but present an example to the world about how to do this.

Separate to this there is a secondary benefit. The better the lockdown we achieve, the more chance there will be that we generate in the population a slow-burn immunity that builds over time. These will be people who have in some way been exposed to the virus but have either had no symptoms or very mild symptoms. 

It’s reasonable I think for us to assume, given how large our tourist sector was, that the virus must have been on the Islands before it was first properly identified. Some immunity will have been starting to develop.  

With testing – coming in from the UK and also being procured from the US – there’s sophisticated modelling that can explain this and as we reach a tipping point we will know that. While there will continue to be cases in TCI, there will be sufficient immunity in the population to prevent its rapid spread here. We will be seeking data to make smart decisions around this.

With the Territory having developed its own immunity – with the borders still closed – we can start to restart the local economy and get money moving through and round it. Businesses will be able to open. Fear of each other will subside.

Indeed, these Islands are small enough, the measures we have all taken together restrictive enough, and the data we may be able to collect around immunity important enough, that it may well be that TCI becomes an example of how to do this – that does our brand – as an extraordinary place and a healthy place to visit – no end of good.

It also allows us to start to see a medium term future where a tourist visiting TCI who we know is safe can come to an extraordinary destination that they know is not only beautiful, but is safe. But let’s be honest with each other that’s some way off in the future although something we are working towards.

Adjustment to the Regulations

Laws can help moderate and guide behaviour but it’s by far best when a people know why they are doing something than be told to do something. Self-denial, self-discipline and good judgement are so much more powerful than say the threat of vehicle confiscation. Please, err on the side of caution. Because you can do something doesn’t mean you necessarily should do something. 

We said we’d keep everything we were doing under review and we have been. Broadly we think we are in the right place.  Matters that have now become clearly the way to do things – which haven’t caused enormous inconvenience but have severely cut down traffic and movement – we yesterday captured in law; so, for example, you may not drive to your place of exercise.

We have removed takeaways, drive-throughs and restaurants from being described as an essential service. From the last few days it’s clear they aren’t – we can get by until the end of this period without them, wonderful as they are.

We do it based on medical and Policing advice.  With TCI Islanders and Residents being the sociable society we are, some risk becoming the equivalent of the local bar, the spot some meet and engage, and it also gives a license for movement we could not reasonably police.

This covers every form of takeaway, no exceptions.  There is the possibility of the Governor granting exceptions but I think that will be unlikely over this period of lockdown unless it’s in direct support of an effort to alleviate hunger.

It’s also now clear in the law that you have to be on a route from your home to your allowed destination (a supermarket is the best example). Much of this ‘law’ wasn’t required because people were demonstrating great common sense but it is a tidying up exercise for those who might take advantage, a week or so in.  Beyond that we’ve kept matters very much as they are. It’s working.

We had an interesting piece of false news start to generate today. It wasn’t malicious just wrong and it originated from a South African website – that isn’t a recognised authority on medical statistics. 

To be clear, we still have only 5 (five) confirmed cases in TCI.  The authoritative way to know – what our health professionals on the front line know – is the TCI dashboard that we disseminate daily and is on the MOH website. Please stick to TCI sources, we hold the data because we collect the data. We want the public to know.

This wasn’t malicious or dangerous it was just wrong. There have though been several instances on social media recently that haven’t just been wrong they’ve been dangerous. Before focussing on the tiny number who are malicious amongst us, let me say somethuing about the vast majority.

This is not the time to stifle decent debate – indeed the future of these Islands are starting to be decided during this time in terms of whether we remain safe, recover, and can once again prosper. 

But what this short period is not, is an opportunity for us to stigmatise anyone who has COVID19. For all you know you may be one of the fortunate that had it, suffered few if any symptoms, but passed it on to others. Or – if we all lose control of this through our casualness – it’s very probably true that it will be someone very close to you, who you love, that ends up with this virus. It doesn’t discriminate.

If you see someone originating or spreading hate or misinformation, designed to cause fear, then there is now a Police Unit – well skilled in following leads across the internet – that you can report to. Their email is: pofscovid19@tcipolice.tc. That’s pofscovid19@tcipolice.tc

Stopping the Sloops

I’ll finish on one point I flagged yesterday on Social Media. A large sloop of many hundreds was turned around yesterday on the High Seas between here and Haiti. I was on a call today with the US Ambassador and US Coast Guard in Bahamas; the number of combined assets we have operating presently in this space has significantly increased.  That frustrating battle continues every night – we should be more proud of those involved in this work tonight, than ever. But for those who can connect to Haiti do send them the message. You have our continued attention and you will be stopped.

As of tonight we are okay. We are in a much better position than many others. In terms of health, we can see a route through this, not through hope but through understanding the science, determined to capitalise by doing this once and doing this right. That’s what you are doing TCI; you are a resilient lot and resilience is the order of the day for the next few weeks. The reward is there if we stay firm; as firm we must.

Day five is drawing to a close and day six is soon to begin – soon we will be announcing the end of the first week. We can do this.

Good night TCI

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News

SheLeads launches global hiring App from the Turks and Caicos Islands

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – An app that does your hiring for you; it’s every hiring manager’s dream and it’s real. Even better? It’s home grown and born in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Hiring app SheLEAD HR Solutions was created in a collaboration between Turks and Caicos Islanders: Sheba Wilson and Roger Harvey.

Harvey, who is the founder of Go to Web Solutions, a new startup software company, explained that they brainstormed the system when they realized how TCI islanders were applying for jobs.

“The whole idea came about when we noticed applications in the TCI typically applied for a job by email— and that’s been a very inconvenient process.”

It meant printing out applications for all the applicants which might then get lost and keeping meticulous track of email addresses, phone numbers etc. In an effort to make recruitment better for the organization and the candidates SheLead was created. It is a powerhouse of an app, what the system offers is a tailor made and user friendly interface specific to each company that employers can manipulate easily.

Sheba Wilson, expert HR Manager with over a decade of experience explained the process.

“The hiring system is basically an HR solution that is geared towards streamlining the hiring process as well facilitating onboarding.”

Wilson explained this made the a fully functioning electronic process with communication in real time.

“Candidates are able to receive updates as soon as they input information and as soon as the hiring manager uploads them–– it cuts down a lot of the time that human resource departments have to spend with regard to making telephone calls or sending emails with follow up questions— because all of that functionality is included in the software,” she explained

The actual process of using the app is extremely easy.

Applicants upload their application and documents to the app and receive an automated response after which the HR manager can see that application, determine whether there are documents missing and or whether the applicant should be shortlisted for an interview.

When the decision is made, the HR manager or hiring manager updates the app and the applicant receives a text and email advising them of the updates.

Wilson explained that not only would this system make communication more effective between companies and potential employees it would make that communication faster as well. She said poor communication was a repeated issue which potential employees had with companies.

“We know that it is a very rigorous process but this particular software helps to take away all of the heavy lifting and creates a very streamlined process for the candidate and the company.”

There are additional features like personality compatibility tests to see whether applicants are a right fit. Applicants can also upload videos, get reminders about documents and use countless other features.

The app takes the hiring process from start to finish with minimal input from the applicant and the HR manager. The applicant can even receive their offer letters through the app.

“The feedback has been phenomenal. We have tried it out in quite a few markets and The feedback has been positive so far,” said Harvey.

Employers who use the app get a branded portal and can add QR codes to advertisements for positions which when scanned send applicants directly to the portal where they can upload their applications.

The app is already getting recognized for its brilliance and is picking up customers left and right. Grace Bay Resorts is a bonafide client and the developers are currently courting the TCIG. International clients are knocking on the door as well.

The TCI grown app is an ingenious idea and seems poised for success. To her fellow Turks and Caicos islanders Wilson said, “Don’t downplay yourself. Don’t ever believe that you are less than.  You have the innate talents and abilities that God has given you. What you need is the confidence to step forward and do what you have to do. Sometimes we allow fear to stop us, we think ‘oh I am just a small town Island girl who is going to take me seriously?’ It starts with confidence and there’s power in collaboration. Don’t be afraid to partner with other Turks and Caicos islanders,” she urged.

The app is available on the App Store and Google play   and comes at no cost to applicants; only employers pay and employers are eligible for a free demo.

For small companies the two executives explained the starting price for the most basic package would be under $250 a month.

You can learn more here.

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EYE OF FIONA VERY NEAR THE SOUTHWEST COAST OF PUERTO RICO… FIONA CONTINUES TO STRENGTHEN

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0400 PM EDT Sunday September 18, 2022 Valid until 1000 AM Monday September 19, 2022

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – At 200 PM AST (1800 UTC), the center of Hurricane Fiona was located near latitude 17.8 North, longitude 66.9 West. Fiona is moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph (13 km/h).  A northwestward motion is expected to begin later today and continue through Monday, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest on Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will continue to pass near or over southwestern and western Puerto Rico this afternoon and evening.  Fiona will then move near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Monday, and near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts.  Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours while Fiona moves near Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and over the southwestern Atlantic.

POTENTIAL IMPACTS


  • WINDS: Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Turks and Caicos Islands by late Monday or early Tuesday. High likelihood of tropical storm force winds for South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
  • RAINFALL: 2 to 5 inches. Rainfall is expected to be heavier in the more eastern islands (South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay). These rains will cause localized flooding of roads, properties, and communities.
  • SURF: Swells generated by Fiona will reach the Turks and Caicos Islands by Sunday night.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PUBLIC

  • Use this time to download the DDME Alert App for significant weather alerts and for useful information on how to prepare for various hazards. Click the link: http://onelink.to/qe7vn2
  • Reduce hazards in and around your property, such as overhanging trees, clogged drains, and unsecured items that can become missiles during high winds.
  • Review your Family Emergency Plan and your Business Continuity Plan.
  • Discuss with family members what actions they should take if impacted by hazards arising from the adverse weather.
  • Prepare your emergency supplies to last at least 3 – 7days.
  • Assist neighbours and the elderly in prevention and preparedness activities.
  • Continue to monitor the DDME website and Social media pages for official weather updates.

The TCIAA Meteorological Department and the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies will continue to monitor this system and advise the public accordingly.

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Turks and Caicos Deputy Premier attends Trade Forum to promote business with Africa

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – “Imagine a world where the largest African export to the Caribbean is no longer slaves.”

Under these words and in an effort to promote increased trade and strengthen relationships between the private sectors in Africa and the Caribbean the first ever AfriCaribbean trade and investment forum was held  in Bridgetown, Barbados from September 1st to 3rd.

Spearheaded by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Export Barbados (BIDC) and Invest Barbados the event brought together between 750 to 1000 delegates, investors, bankers and other stakeholders from across Africa and the Caribbean under the theme, ‘One People. One Destiny. Uniting and Reimagining Our Future’.

Nigerian author Dike Chukwumerije opened the event reminding the gathered of their shared history.

“You can bind the hands and feet of men and women but you cannot bind their hearts” he said.   Chukwumerije’s bone chilling poem was a perfect opener for the linkages based event.

“The bones that connect us all to the continent can never be broken—we are one people scarred by one trauma nailed to one cross followed by one stigma and our voices will not be heard until we project them together.”

On the opening day the President of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank Professor Benedict Oramah introduced the event and what it aimed to do.

“Trade can be used for good or evil— We would be stupid not to recognize that Africa’s borders have been extended to the Caribbean. We would have ourselves to blame it for you failed to realize that we are the same people and therefore can constitute one integrated market.” he said.

Bajan Prime Minister Mia Mottley in giving the keynote address said, “We have come here cognizant that our people have worked together for over a century in the various Pan African conferences, political cooperation, though essential, is not sufficient for the journey that must be made to reverse the underdevelopment of Africa and the Caribbean.”

Highlighting the current common battles that the two regions face including COVID,  inflation and debt Mottley vowed, “We the children of independence have determined that we shall not allow another generation to pass without bringing together that which should never have been torn asunder.”

She maintained that despite hardship we must take our destiny into our own hands now as one people working together.

“We have the capacity to remove the middle man, to remove the middle leg and forever remove the scars of the middle passage.”

Mottley insisted that our destiny to be great nations was within our grasp if only we would take it.

“We have the collective brainpower, creativity and the innate discipline and the capital to make that difference now.” she said.

Over the course of the three day event several panel discussions will be presented geared towards partnership in:

  • accelerating industrialization and manufacturing;
  • developing special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks;
  • improving infrastructure, financing and trade logistics, including regional integration;
  • creating the conditions to accelerate private sector investment;
  • promoting trade and tourism; and
  • improving agricultural productivity and expanding agribusiness opportunities and food security.

The event was attended by countless dignitaries E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands; Carla Barnett Secretary General of CARICOM; Albert Muchanga, commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission; and hosts Bajan Prime Minister Mia Amor Motley and Bajan President Dame Sandra Mason.

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