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Cry for help; TCI Residents stuck abroad feel forsaken

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – August 10, 2020 — Coming home has never been harder and believing the Turks and Caicos is open for tourism business has never been so unbelievable.

Easily fingered as the culprit, is COVID-19, which is responsible for 732,000 deaths world-wide; some 20 million people have been infected.

Still, everyone agrees that life must go on and though it is generally accepted the ‘new normal’ will sometimes make unconstitutional demands, Turks and Caicos Islanders are today questioning the fairness and logic of what they are mandated to do in order to return to their homeland.

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Concerns are mounting and frustration is high specifically about the timeframe given for the negative COVID-19 PCR test which must be submitted with other documents through the TCI Assured portal for travel approval. 

The Turks and Caicos Ministry of Health requires the test be done and presented within five days of travel to the territory.  The five-day window includes the day test swabs are taken.

Illogical; returning citizens say because getting a test done and returned within five days is next to impossible.

In one case; a Grand Turk native is for the third time waiting to have the requisite test completed.  Two negatives have been presented, one missed the deadline and the second was questioned as legitimate.  Although, it was ultimately determined that the test result was valid, it took two days.  Which meant the applicant, travelling home on connecting flights was now six-hours outside of the five-day window.

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No consideration was given to the delay experienced as the test result was authenticated by the Ministry of Health, we are told.  Due to the competitiveness to secure a coronavirus test, the earliest date for the new appointment is nine days from now.

In another case; a Providenciales native has negative results of tests for the family but the earliest connecting flight puts them, mere hours outside of the five day window.  They were told by the TCI Assured portal managers they will have to test again in the transit destination before coming home.

The challenge is the transit destination has quarantined them for 14-days; which means they have no way of getting out to take the tests and are still denied entry by the country they call “home”.

In yet another situation; an 11-year old child is trying to come home to Provo.  It is explained the test was taken on August 4, the results were received August 9 and earliest travel home is (tomorrow) August 11.  The applicant was denied by TCI Assured because they have tallied the five days from time of test taken to date of travel; which is seven days. 

Fortunately for the 11-year old, the test is free.

Tourism is also taking a hit as the process proves too tedious for many guests; these tourists are aborting their mission to escape to the Turks and Caicos Islands and cancelling bookings.

The residents have all put pen to paper several times; explaining their circumstances. While those emails and messages have gained them some sympathy, there is no meaningful change which grants permission for a return home. 

All are amenable to a 14-day quarantine and further testing upon arrival.  All feel let down and discarded by ‘home’.  All are running out of cash and time.

It is a cry for help and a hope that these appeals are met with not only sensitivity, but urgency.

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.

Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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News

New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Rules governing Justices of the Peace in the Turks and Caicos are now significantly stricter after the passing of the amendment to the Magistrates Amendment Bill in July 2022.

Despite the fact that Justices of the Peace are allowed the same powers as a magistrate previously the only requirement for their appointment was the discretion of the Governor and that they be under 65-years-old.

That power has now been transferred from the Governor to the Chief Justice.

Justices of the peace have always by law been allowed to receive complaints, sign charges and issue warrants for the apprehension of persons charged with criminal offenses. They can also issue search warrants summons and administer oaths.

Considering the potentially unchecked execution of these powers, the attorney general’s chambers lobbied for a change in the system.

“These are very wide powers and there is no framework for the supervision and regulation of the whole of justices of the peace in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The amendment rectified this and the Chief Justice now has the power to make binding rules and regulations governing the appointment of JPs, a code of conduct disciplinary action and orientation and periodic training for JPs.

In addition, to maintain separation of powers the governor will be stripped of the power to disallow laws made by resident magistrates. That power now belongs to the Chief Justice.

Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, TCI Attorney General maintained that the amendment was short but necessary.

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Health

Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Young people in the Turks and Caicos are very sexually active and while there are no concrete statistics, the newest members of the Rapport all said “Yes” to the question about whether there is rampant sexual activity.

“As a young person I totally agree that they are having a lot of sex,” Arean Louis said.

This is particularly concerning given wider statistics point to a very young age group which is still contracting HIV/Aids.

“Caribbean statistics are showing that between the ages of 15 and 25 those have the highest amount of HIV rates.”

A five person delegation was this past  week representing the Turks and Caicos Islands at the International Aids Conference, staged in Montreal, Canada July 29 – August 2, 2022.

Young adult members of Rapport TCI all agree that youth in the TCI must be made aware of HIV and other STIs. Arean Louis, Denae Dennie and Arielle Neely spoke to Magnetic Media on their way to the International AIDS Conference.

All three agreed that our young people are having a lot of sex.

“I would say that our young people are having sec the only thing that I would say is I hope that they are letting their partners know their sexual history, their status, and that they’re being safe.” Dennie said.

Louis added, “As we talk about HIV and AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands we most definitely need to bring awareness to our young people because there is no set age— kids nowadays just like to experiment.”

He stressed safe sex, using protection and abstinence to maintain sexual health.

“What we aim to do is keep them safe here, we’re tired and we don’t want to see anymore STD and STI new cases in the Turks and Caicos.”

Dennie says she still thinks there is fear surrounding HIV but with education and protection, the world can get to zero new cases and it was something she was looking forward to.

The final member Arielle Neely explained that there were not enough tools and resources to educate youth.

“There are not enough tools or enough record to educate them. Our parents think they’re doing a good job by telling us don’t have sex but telling us don’t have sex isn’t enough. You have to teach us about birth control planned parenthood.”

The three members had high hopes for Rapport and stressed that they need more members to make an effective change on sexual health in the TCI.

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