Horses dropping dead in Grand Turk; Police and Agriculture open investigation
#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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.”
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
Woman who lost foot is Alexandra Truwit, Yale Grad & All American Swimmer
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – A champion swimmer, marathon runner, Ivy League graduate and world traveler with a huge smile– that is Alexandra Truwit; at only 22 years old, she has a whole life ahead of her, one that may have now been made exponentially harder by the loss of her foot in an incident which continues to be unconfirmed, but reported as a shark attack off the coast of Providenciales.
Magnetic Media learned Truwit, who is a very experienced swimmer, was on a private charter captained by an employee of Big Blue Collective (not a Big Blue Charter). She was bitten by what eyewitnesses think could have been a Caribbean Reef Shark and her foot below the ankle was completely severed.
It’s a heartbreaking incident exacerbated by the young woman’s obvious love for- and proficiency in- the water.
The Yale website describes Truwit as a Two-time USA Swimming Academic All-American. Featured as a ‘Teen Titan’ in her high school, she was one of ten young people chosen for the school’s magazine.
Truwit, who has a twin brother, cites nail art and baking as her life joys. Already having survived ‘mono’ as a teen, she volunteers as a Special Olympics “hugger” and started a Special Olympics club at her high school.
She was airlifted from the Turks and Caicos on the day of her accident and there have been no updates on her condition so far. Residents in the TCI and the US have expressed via social media their best wishes for the young achiever and must now wait, hoping for the best possible outcome.
One resident said, “So sorry Alexandra you had to encounter such a traumatic experience while on vacation on our beautiful Island. I am praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for you, hopefully, the surgeon can work their magic for you.”
Governor’s Appointed Member touts Civil Service Upgrade during Budget Debates
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – There are sweeping changes coming to the civil service this year after years of complaints about delays and understaffing.
“For the year 2023/24, the office of the Deputy Governor has a very ambitious public sector transformation centered around improving service delivery and the customer experience.”
This came from Governors Appointed Member Willin Belliard, as he rose in the budget debates on Thursday May 18 to detail the revamp.
Phase one of E-procurement which will allow for the virtual submission of tenders is to be implemented. Along with that will come E-Jobs, a similar system touted to make job applications virtual, swift and easy.
Implementation of the Human Capital Procurement Program is also on the list of deliverables. Human capital is sorely lacking in the Turks and Caicos across the public and private sectors with hundreds of vacancies sitting open and resignations continuing to pile up.
Public servants will also find it easier to enroll into the all new Public Sector Pension Plan with the advent of a portal to remove the need for paper based applications.
The previously announced pay grading exercise is on the table to be completed and a Contract management unit has now been created to manage the delivery of projects that taxpayers are funding.
Residents of the Turks and Caicos have complained bitterly about the state of the civil service in the country for years. From police records to the treasury, the service is characterized by low staffing, frustrating wait time and long lines.
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