#TurksandCaicosIslands – April 19, 2020 — The Ministry of Health is pleased to inform the general public that the Government is now in receipt of our first PCR analyzer; MIC qPCR Cycler- 4 Channel Unit. This machine was cleared out of customs on Friday afternoon, April 17, 2020. This analyzer is now in the Government’s Public Health Laboratory.
Virtual training for the Medical Laboratory Technologists on operating, care, and maintenance of this particular PCR analyzer will immediately take place.
The PCR test is the gold standard throughout the world for testing and confirming the presence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. It detects the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. That is only possible if the virus is present and someone is actively infected.”
In contrast to antibody testing, PCR tests directly detect the presence of the virus, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies, towards the virus. By detecting viral genetic material, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.
“PCR is the most accurate and conclusive test for early detection of the virus in persons who are infected.
Testing with the COVID-19 PCR Analyzer is intended for use by trained clinical laboratory personnel specifically instructed and trained in the techniques of real-time PCR and in vitro diagnostic procedures.
Before the general use of this analyzer begins, the laboratory is mandated to perform all quality assurance measures; negative and positive controls must be run; validation of the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the testing system.
The first batch of patient samples tested on the PCR analyzer would also be sent to the respective reference laboratories for comparing and contrasting results, which is also a part of our quality assurance.
The PCR analyzer can perform 48 test per batch, each batch can be analyzed in the fast time of 25 minutes. Additional time would be required for sample extraction and preparation.
The Ministry of Health, is jubilant that the Government now has the ability to immediately carry out additional testing on: persons currently in quarantine, contact persons of positive or suspected cases, persons in need of urgent medical care, and persons who may qualify to be placed in quarantine. In addition, the Ministry of Health is now in the position to roll out the strategy and protocols for wide spread community testing throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands, which will give Government and Health officials accurate information on the prevalence of this Coronavirus strain in our country.
It is my Government’s mandate to fully form, and coordinate, local and international multi-sector partnerships with all key stakeholders, in our local fight of this global COVID-19 Pandemic. This includes private healthcare providers and private laboratories.
To this end, my ministry is finalizing the regulations, protocols, and guidelines aimed at ensuring there are proper reporting and notifying, and that the necessary provisions are in place for ensuring the that all COVID-19 testing carried out for TCI residents are carried out in accordance with accepted international guidelines and quality standards, and that the relevant public health protocols are adhered to.”
As Minister of Health, I am committed to continued strengthening of the response to COVID-19. As such, the Ministry will be receiving more PCR analyzers, and is actively reviewing all COVID-19 Antibody Quick Test for procuring the most reliable testing system, for inclusion into our existing testing protocols.
The Ministry of Health will continue to update the general public on further developments in this area, and all other aspects of this COVID-19 Pandemic.
TCIG Press Release
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Students not in school cite Fees as Roadblock
Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Concerning reports are coming out of Providenciales regarding the placement of students as the new term got started.
Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent, had the opportunity to speak with several young people who were supposed to be in school. Instead, they were hanging out close to home, as they said they couldn’t afford the fees of the private schools they had been placed in.
Edgar Howell, Director of Education, during an August 31st press conference, had indicated that at least 26 students were awaiting assistance with placement in private high schools and 35 students were awaiting placements in primary schools. Parents should have heard from the ministry within days.
“The schools are full and they don’t have any more money to continue the [private] schools they were going to. So, this bright September morning these children are actually just idle,” he explained.
By law (Education Ordinance 2009), all children between four and 16 years old in the Turks and Caicos Islands are considered of ‘Compulsory School Age’ meaning, they must be enrolled in an institution.
It has long been the practice of the Ministry of Education to place students in private schools and subsidize the fees when space has run out in public schools. This year was no different.
“The Ministry continues to provide assistance to the parents through the private school subsidy program and 375 students are being assisted for the 2023/24 school year,” Howell explained.
It’s not clear if these students were a part of that number.
We have since reached out to representatives at the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Education for information on students who are not in school, how many remain unable to fit into public school classes and what provisions are in place for those students; there has been no update.
Grand Turk residents say they suffered lack attention from TCIAA
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Upgrades are underway at the JAGS McCartney International Airport but Grand Turk Residents say they were subject to subpar conditions for far too long; the comments came at a town hall meeting hosted by the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority in the capital on Thursday September 21, at Dillon Hall.
“I am speaking on behalf of Grand Turk residents. It is unacceptable for the Airports Authority to treat residents how they do,” one resident told TCIAA executives at a town hall meeting in Grand Turk.
The airport was hit during Hurricane Fiona in late 2022, resulting in a destroyed roof and serious damage to the terminals from extensive flooding plus damage to the domestic and international arrival areas, deeming the area unfit for use.
The hurricane damage last year only exacerbated the destruction wrought by previous storms including 2008’s Hurricane Ike and 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The JAGS McCartney International was reopened for domestic arrivals just this past June after phase one of a restoration project. The international terminal was scheduled to open soon after but repairs are still ongoing. Residents told TCIAA executives, the work was simply not executed quickly enough.
“The lack of attention that they paid to the JAGS McCartney Airport after the hurricane, having the residents of this island come in like we’re from a third world country for months? It’s unacceptable for residents of this island for you all to leave us like that,” a resident maintained.
Ongoing updates include fixing the perimeter fence and parking lot as well as the fire station. Residents appeared grateful but cautiously optimistic.
“We see the plans that you have— which is good, and we hope that the next time we have a disaster we don’t have to be waiting for months [and] be treated like that.”
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