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Horses dropping dead in Grand Turk; Police and Agriculture open investigation

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#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 6, 2020 — The Agriculture Department and TCI Police today announced that they have teamed up to determine what has led to the deaths of horses in Grand Turk and the Department, which falls under the Ministry of Health says these recent equine death reports are new to them.

Posted on Facebook on June 16, 2020 by Akti Guy

“From preliminary reports, this is a new occurrence and is not related to any other event involving horses recently in Grand Turk. Several of the horses exhibiting signs of ill health and succumbing are privately owned. We are therefore appealing to all horse owners to confine or enclose their horses particularly in light of the incumbent weather conditions being experienced presently. Do not allow your horse (or animals) to roam in pursuit of food, as they can consume items that can be detrimental and result in fatalities.”

However, other reports indicate this claim by the Agriculture Department to be far from true.  The Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or TCSPCA informed followers of popular social media talk show host, Robert Hall, that their organization had reported on the peculiar deaths and neglect of horses since May.

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“This is a tragic and very upsetting situation. On behalf of the Board of Directors we would like to state the following:  Firstly, we have been involved with the Chukka situation since the first week of May when we received alarming videos from Grand Turk residents about the physical condition of the Chukka horses. We contacted Chukka’s representatives on numerous occasions as well as alerting the Department of Agriculture, who has 2 Veterinarians on staff. On June 23rd, 2020, The Department of Agriculture demanded that we cease any further communication with Chukka representatives, as they would be conducting an investigation and would be issuing a report on their findings.

Chukka, which operates a number of tourist adventures, primarily for cruise line passengers is believed to have abandoned the animals once cruises stopped docking in Grand Turk due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Facebook, Magnetic Media also found images of a couple feeding a small group of horses; the horses appeared to be severely malnourished.  The images were posed on June 16, 2020.

Horses being fed by Good Samaritans; Grand Turk, TCI posted to Facebook on June 16, 2020

Still, the Department of Agriculture pointedly distances itself from the statement by the TCSPA and said it only learned of the deaths on August 1, 2020.

Robert Hall, a former government minister and former Speaker of the House of Assembly posted cell phone video on Facebook; that video has been viewed over 1,800 times. 

In his background, a horse is visible and barely able to stand. Eventually, the apparently weakened animal collapses to the ground and wallows in the dirt. 

Mr. Hall addressed potential viewers; informing that as many as six horses had already died over two days.  It was his belief, the two in his video and photos on that day (August 1) would be added to to the casualties.

It is widely believed that the animals had consumed rat poison.

In the statement, the Department of Agriculture advised:  “We are kindly asking the public, to contact the Department of Agriculture (See contact information below) if animals (not only horses) appear to be ill, lying down or dead. Please do not attempt to touch any animal seen in this state. Do refrain from feeding roaming horses at this time as their digestive system are very sensitive to sudden changes in diet.

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It must also be noted that there are no confirmed reports that COVID-19 was found or can affect horses,” said the statement.

Officials ruled out that COVID-19 was killing the animals and that intentionally or maliciously harming the horses is a serious crime included in Section 48 of the Animal Health Ordinance 2012.

“Any person who commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction for a first offence to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both fine and imprisonment, and, for a subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both fine and imprisonment.”

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

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Demolition coming as South Base to Undergo Testing for Asbestos

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Turks and Caicos, July 18th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government would like to advise the public of Grand Turk, that a consulting firm has been contracted to carry out testing of the buildings on the South Base Compound for the presence of asbestos.  A week of testing began Wednesday, July 10. This is to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and to protect workers, residents, and the public from possible asbestos exposure risks once comprehensive works on the base commence.

This is the initial consultation necessary to determine the methodology for the demolition and disposal of derelict buildings in the assessed area.  It is believed that low-risk micro-fibres are present in some of the buildings, owing to the period of construction and the types of materials used during that era.  Testing will confirm whether asbestos is present and if so, at what levels.

As a precautionary measure, signs have been erected to advise the public to avoid entering any of the dilapidated structures; as building materials containing asbestos, if disturbed, can release tiny asbestos fibres into the air.  Currently only the consultants are authorised to traverse the buildings until further notice.

Residents of Grand Turk have for years demanded that Governments address the unsightly area. The requests were mainly in relation to the aesthetics of the buildings. However, the interventions were deferred at various times for varying reasons.

The South Base is a huge compound, by island standards, with an area containing over twenty-one (21) building sites. It was formerly used as a United States Government base, and then as administrative offices by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. Some of the structures were renovated and are in acceptable condition, whilst others were destroyed over the years by hurricanes and normal wear and tear. 

The South Base, which has mostly been left as a decrepit and ghostly development of obsolete structures is finally being remedied. The area, which is a main thoroughfare for tourism and commerce when cleaned up, will provide space for numerous governmental and civilian uses.

Residents of Grand Turk sharing the optimism of a prospective demolition should adhere to this notification and any precautionary warnings erected for their health, safety, and well-being.

Subsequent phases of the works will be published via a public tendering.

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FortisTCI makes a case for Rate Increase in Media Meeting

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Ruth Gardiner Forbes, President and Chief Executive Officer of FortisTCI

Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

Turks and Caicos, July 17, 2024 – President and Chief Executive Officer of FortisTCI, Ruth Gardiner Forbes says it is very necessary for the company to be granted the 6% increase that it has requested, because it has absorbed many costs in previous years.

Devon Cox FortisTCI

The company is the main electricity provided in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), and the CEO shared that the rate adjustment will aid FortisTCI in meeting the demands of an expanding economy, and growing costs to operate.

If granted, the proposed 6% increase in electricity rate, would mean that an additional $2 to $15 per month for the majority of residential customers, explained Forbes.

While addressing a recent media event, the CEO stressed that “this rate increase is necessary, and we have had to make a lot of investments to keep up with the growth,” she said.

Adding that several factors contribute to the need for increased rates, including cybersecurity risks, wildfire risks, supply chain challenges, and evolving regulatory requirements, she said “this is one of the most difficult things that we have to do, is go to our customers and ask for an increase every year.”

She said the existing circumstances have forced the company to seek the proposed adjustment, and that the rate increase is necessary, as “we have to make the application because amidst all this growth, we have had to make a lot of investments to keep up with the growth,” she told the forum.

The CEO reasoned that given the importance of retaining reliable service, it is not plausible for the TCI to have a headline that says “we are experiencing blackouts,” and the company does not receive a guaranteed 17.5% return, although the rate is allowable by contract, the average return on rate base for the past five years was 3.9%, with the highest being 5.1%.

FortisTCI Execs

The company’s Director of Energy Production, Alvejes Desir, gave details of the impact of the depth of the water at the port on fuel supply costs, adding that limited depth restricts the size of ships that can deliver fuel, leading to increased transportation costs.

He said FortisTCI has made significant investments in renewable energy sources, aligning with the Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy (R-NETS) approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.

The company recently installed a new dual-fuel generating unit capable of using natural gas, a lower-carbon energy source, and is awaiting the Governor’s appointment of an independent inquirer to review the reasonableness of its proposal for a rate hike.

It has also requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to review the reasonableness of its application, a process that was also followed in a previous rate dispute in 2017.

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“Airside Walkway Canopy at Howard Hamilton International Airport Progressing Smoothly”  

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands –The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is pleased to provide an update on the construction of the Airside Walkway Canopy at Howard Hamilton International Airport. This project, which commenced on May 15, 2024, is led by Facilities Manager Kirkley Williams, and involves a dedicated team of 10 skilled workers.

The construction of the Airside Walkway Canopy is progressing smoothly and is on schedule for completion by August 13, 2024. The organization is highly satisfied with both the progress and the quality of work being done.

Key Features of the Walkway Canopy Include:

  • Isolated concrete columns and beams
  • Interior block and concrete walls
  • Timber roof structure covered with plywood, peel and seal membrane, and metal standing seam

The primary objective of the Airside Walkway Canopy project is to facilitate quicker aircraft turnaround times, significantly enhancing operational efficiency at the airport. Additionally, the new walkway will provide a more comfortable environment for passengers, improving their overall airport experience.

Despite the challenges faced during construction, such as working during ongoing airport operations and night shifts, the team has successfully managed to maintain progress without compromising safety or quality.

“We are committed to creating a more efficient and comfortable airport experience for our passengers,” said Facilities Manager, Kirkley Williams. “The Airside Walkway Canopy reflects our mission to enhancing our facilities and services.”

The project also incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly features, aligning with TCIAA’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.

The TCIAA looks forward to the completion of the Airside Walkway Canopy and the positive impact it will have on both passengers and airport operations.

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