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What is the role of the Turks and Caicos’ recently appointed Nat’l Security Permanent Secretary?

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Tito Lightbourne, Permanent Secretary of National Security

#TurksandCaicosIslands – The Turks & Caicos Islands Government is on January 23, 2020 announced the appointment of Tito Lightbourne as the Permanent Secretary of the new National Security Secretariat.

A media release explained that Mr. Lightbourne joined the Public Service in April 2007 as a Budget Analyst in the Budget Department subsequent to attaining a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Florida International University in 2005 and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Nova South Eastern University in 2006.

Tito Lightbourne, TCI’s newest Permanent Secretary. Appointed to National Security in January 2020

Successively, Mr. Lightbourne then moved on to the Human Resource Management Directorate (formerly Office of Public Service Management) as a Human Resource Officer in 2009, Executive Administrator within the Office of the Chief Executive in 2010, Director-Democratic Services within the Office of the Deputy Governor in 2012 where he still serves today as Executive Director.

Coincidentally, Mr. Lightbourne’ s first appointment to the Public Service was under the supervision of the then Budget Director, Mrs. Anya Williams who is now the Deputy Governor for the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service and Mr. Lightbourne’ s immediate supervisor since both of their appointments in 2012.

Commenting on his new appointment, Mr. Lightbourne stated; “I am deeply humbled and honored to serve in the position of Permanent Secretary, as this is one of the most senior roles in the TCI Public Service. This role will specifically focus on developing and enhancing the National Security Infrastructure of the TCI under the remit of the National Security Council (NSC), equally reporting to the Governor and Premier. Moreover, this coordinated and meticulous approach to resolving matters of National importance is new to the TCI and will build on some of the existing inter-agency working groups, such as the Joint Law Enforcement Taskforce (JLET) amongst others.”

“In addition, I am also very grateful to the Governor’s Office, Office of the Premier and the UK for the work that has already been undertaken in this area and the support provided by way of a seconded National Security Advisor to TCI.”

Commenting on the appointment, Her Excellency, Deputy Governor, Anya Williams said; “It gives me great pleasure to formally congratulate Mr. Tito Lightbourne on his appointment as the Permanent Secretary of the new National Security Secretariat. Tito has served as the Executive Director of my office during my entire tenure as Deputy Governor and over the past 7 years has demonstrated sound professionalism and astute leadership in the carriage of his duties.

“As the Executive Director and Accounting Officer for the Office of the Deputy Governor, Tito held direct oversight responsibility for the Office of the Deputy Governor itself, the Contracts and Performance Management Unit, the Human Resource Management Directorate, the Training Unit and the Cabinet Secretariat. In addition, as the Senior Executive to the Head of the Public Service, he was responsible for engaging at a senior level with all ministries and departments across government to follow up ongoing delivery, performance and other initiatives matters across government, thereby giving him insight into the operations of the entire government.  He has led on policy and program development in a number of key areas as a member of the working group on Pay & Grading, Pensions and Gratuities and Procurement to name a few.  Has served as a key member of the Procurement Board.  Has been the Manager of the Civil Service Professional Development Fund since its inception and has been an all-around great team member and leader in his respective field.

“I am grateful to Tito for his service over the years and could not be more proud of his accomplishments. Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion Tito! I look forward to working with you in your new capacity as the Permanent Secretary of the National Security Secretariat where I know you will do extremely well!”

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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