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Gov’t to foot $64-million bill for Jamaicans returning home TODAY

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#KINGSTON, May 5 (JIS): The Government will absorb the entire cost of approximately $64 million for the mandatory State quarantining of nationals returning to Jamaica on Wednesday (May 6) under the controlled re-entry programme.


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, addresses a virtual press conference at Jamaica House on Monday (May 4)

The 14-day quarantine costs US$100 per person, per day, for three daily meals and accommodation.

It is a requirement for nationals who have been stranded abroad due to Jamaica’s borders being closed to incoming passenger traffic since March 24, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said the Government will only be footing the cost for this group of returning citizens in light of their various situations.

“It has… been decided by the Cabinet that in recognition of the particular challenges, the particularities of this week’s arrivals, and the circumstances under which they have been operating over the past two months, that the Government will absorb the full cost of State quarantine. So this week’s arrivals will be supported in their entirety by the Jamaican Government,” she said during a virtual press conference at Jamaica House on Monday (May 4).

Mrs. Johnson Smith stressed that this is a significant cost, which should not be downplayed, noting that “you can’t put a dollar figure on the importance of our nationals, but we are recognising that it is time and we are doing our part to have them come home”.

Marella Discovery 2, file photo

The returning citizens, who will arrive on a TUI Charter flight, will comprise 114 from the United Kingdom (UK), including approximately 75 crew members currently on board ships docked in the UK. These are inclusive of the 43 members of crew of the Marella Discovery 2 as well as six other ships owned by that cruise line.

The Marella Discovery 2 cruise ship was in Jamaican waters for refueling on April 2, when a request was made for the Jamaicans on board to disembark for repatriation, but the vessel left before the Government’s approval could be conveyed.

 “The additional 40 [persons] will be comprised of Jamaicans stranded in the UK who have been affected by the global pandemic in different ways and who have been in touch with the High Commission or with the [Foreign Affairs] Ministry regarding their particular challenges,” Mrs. Johnson Smith said.

She informed that the Government is also working on returning a cohort from the United States “and we are focused on persons who are having the most challenging of circumstances”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister noted, however, that the $64 million does not cover the other logistical costs “such as the cost of the security forces to transport persons to the quarantine facilities, testing, the health monitoring that takes place, the temperature-taking every day at the appropriate times, the logging, and the monitoring to ensure that if there is any development of symptoms, persons are then moved to isolation facilities”/

As part of the normal arrangements, Jamaicans applying for re-entry to the country via the jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm website, are required to make a contribution of US$20 per day, which is 1/5th of the actual cost, or make arrangements in respect of meals while in State quarantine.

More than 5,000 Jamaicans have been stranded overseas due to the local border restriction. So far, over 4,600 Jamaicans have applied to return home through the jamcovid19 website.

JIS NEWS BY ALECIA SMITH

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138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces

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FILE PHOTO

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.

During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.

The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.

The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.

In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.

I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

 

Caption: FILE PHOTO

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International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine.  The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.

The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.

Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.

“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime.  The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.

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Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.

The Ian Fleming Airport is named for the famous author who penned the James Bond series just miles away from the airport. Never one to miss a theme, InterCaribbean dubbed their flight the JY 007.

The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.

The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare.  It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.

Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.

“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”

The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.

“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”

Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”

InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.

American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.

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