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Fulford calls for establishment of COVID19 Medical Council

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – August 26, 2020 — SUBMITTED – After a careful analysis of the daily Ministry of Health (MOH) COVID-19 updates for the week of August 17th, one needs no convincing that the Ministry of Health needs urgent nonpartisan private sector help in tackling this pandemic.

In our beloved TCI, concerns have heightened to uncontrollable levels, as we continue to observe the tremendous increase of positives cases. During the week of August 17th, 2020 in the midst of daily double digit increases of COVID19 positives, we have seen a number of troubling signs such as:

  1. The key MoH Lab Official charged with testing was terminated, without any public explanation for his immediate dismissal. Many are suggesting this is cause for concern;
  1. Private facilities were directed to stop doing covid19 tests due to the abrupt introduction of a new policy without wide consultation with the industry.
  1. The Police Force announcement of positive covid19 cases within the Force administration where several members were placed into quarantine.
  1. The MoH temporarily shut its office in the epicenter of the virus- Provo, for deep cleaning because its own staff tested positive.
  1. The public was advised that community spread continues.
  1. Without any explanation we note a drastic and sudden increase of recoveries on the dashboard in the past 48 hours.
  1. The MoH ran out of COVID19 Tests; the Minister was warned about this happening, when my article scrutinised the donation of 10,000 of our country’s much needed Covid19 test kits to the Bahamas.  I had specifically asked for an inventory check of test kits on hand and had questioned whether we were giving away supplies that we ourselves needed in order to increase our on-island testing capacity. To date, the only answer received from the Minister of Health in that regard, is still in question, as the amount he stated had been given to the Bahamas was extremely lower than the amount officials in the Bahamas declared they received from our Government.
  1. The MOH Covid19 dashboard continues to show it is not adhering to key established guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) which is “to test and isolate all confirmed cases, even mild cases in health facilities, to prevent transmission and provide adequate care”.

So my question to the Minister of Health and the MoH Oofficials, is why are we not isolating all COVID19 positives in a facility? this is a crucial part of WHO’s recommendation that seem to be falling on deaf ears in the TCI and clearly is one of the main reason contributing to the rise of this dreadful disease within our communities.  If we are to tackle the fight of COVID19 head on, this  government must be seen as one that is spending the people’s funds on the necessary facilities and systems to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our people.

A PROPOSED SOLUTION

I am recommending the MoH immediately establish a Nonpartisan Covid19 Medical Council (CMC) made up of Physicians and Health Care Professionals from both the Private and public Sector. The CMC should be tasked with effectively monitoring and responding to covid-19 pandemic in the TCI. The CMC responsibilities should also involve a range of efforts relating to the diagnosis, response, and treatment of COVID-19 and supporting solutions to bring an end to this crisis. 

The MoH must remember, that this pandemic is far from nearing an end, as there are various other aspects it will need a pool of resourceful professionals within the industry to lean on in the coming months, with regard to new tests for COVID-19, new therapeutics, and the long awaited vaccines which may soon be available.

Covid19 is EVERYBODY’S business and if we are to combat this pandemic, the government must find a way to enlist as much of our own local expertise to overcome the widespread effects of this illness and save the health and overall wellbeing of our nation’s populace.

The CMC  will allow for a wider Action-Tank to provide swift and rapid suggestions including a way forward for facility isolation of COVID19 positive patients. Whilst I welcome this week’s MOH  most notable adjustment of the dashboard role reflecting cases by island, it is evident that this fight cannot be undertaken by them alone. The hope is that the CMC will greatly assist MOH as the challenge to combat COVID19 continues to evolve. We are all in this fight together and must remember that the health of our nation is the wealth of our nation.

We can only emerge from this emergency be working together. It is my sound advice that the MoH should establish our own Covid19 Medical Council and should do so now.


Mark A Fulford

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

Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.

In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is warning them to cease and desist.

“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.”  It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries.   And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis.  This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.

“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.

And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.

“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”

If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says  is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’

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Caribbean News

Former Prosecutor in Turks & Caicos Office of the DPP banned six months from practicing law

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – Former TCI employed lawyer at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sophia Thomas has been suspended from practicing as a lawyer for six months from November 1st according to Jamaican media.

The Jamaica Gleaner says Thomas was sentenced in her native Jamaica after becoming the first prosecutor in the country’s history to be found guilty of professional misconduct.  That guilty verdict was from earlier this year.

The case was brought against her in 2017 by the accused in a fraud case.  Thomas was found to have ‘violated the canons of professional ethics’ during the case which had to be thrown out because of the mix-up.

Despite this very serious charge, the Director of Public Prosecutions moved forward with hiring Sophia Thomas in October 2021.  In late August and amidst public outcry, it was determined that it was best for Thomas to resign the position until exonerated.

Despite the damning verdict and decision, it is likely the embattled lawyer will appeal.  In August her attorney Hugh Wildman told Magnetic Media that not only did he have concerns about expertise of the lawyers in the case, his client was declared guilty before proceedings were even over.

As reported by Jamaican media and confirmed by Wildman, Thomas presented a photocopied document to the court.  Thomas said it was the original but there were at least 11 discrepancies between it and the actual original.

Apparently the original could not be found and the witness who penned it was asked to rewrite it resulting in the changes.

In addition to the suspension, Thomas is ordered to pay legal costs amount to $400,000.

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News

Budget deficit projected by Finance Minister Saunders; new spending to FortisTCI & TCI Police

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – In his presentation to Parliament, the Deputy Premier and Finance Minister announced a budget deficit which includes FortisTCI and the Royal TCI Police equally sharing $5 million aimed at paying consumers’ electricity bills and beating back deadly crime.

Deputy Premier and Finance Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. E. Jay Saunders addressed the Second Supplementary Estimates Expenditure for the financial year 2022-2023 in his speech at the House of Assembly on Monday afternoon. Sanders presented these estimates per standing orders 32, sections 118 and 51 from the TCI constitution.

“Globally, 2022 has been challenging for everyone,” the Deputy Premier said as he started his speech.

He proceeded to discuss proposals from the second supplementary appropriations bill.

Saunders said the estimates propose a revision of the revenue upward by $1.45 million bringing it to a total of $404.2 million. Expenditure will also be increased by $18.4 million.

The governor explained that funding for these revisions will be taken from the country’s cash reserve, which will result in a budget deficit. Although deficit budgets for this financial year are being proposed, “we do plan to return to surplus budgets in the medium term if not before,” Sanders continued and reassured the citizens that this will not become a trend.

Saunders stated that sustainability ratios are still being met even in deficit, and the islands’ liquid cash reserve is currently at $240 million. This equates to 212 days, which suggests that the Turks and Caicos islands would survive for 212 days if no money was coming in.

“My goal as minister of finance is to extend that to 365 days,” said the Deputy Premier.

He said he believes that these proposed supplementary estimates will not only continue to address inflation in the islands but also provide some relief for the most vulnerable citizens. He mentioned that the surge in crime – addressed earlier by the Premier – is a major issue and the estimates will allow the government to respond “aggressively”.

Rebuilding better after hurricane Fiona is also a priority for the government as too much is being spent on repairs rather than building sustainably. The Deputy Premier said this would be addressed in his next budget speech and throughout the rest of the year.

The Deputy Premier continued by addressing a few of the initiatives to that government funds would be allocated. A sum of $2.5 million will subsidise a portion of FortisTCI bills for the billing period from September to December. Saunders explained that this would assist residential customers while the government aims to find long-term measures to cut electricity costs.

Another 2.5 million will be used to combat the crime surge by way of raising police subsidies, purchasing equipment and increasing staff. Saunders said one outcome is sure from this “it is our victory, not theirs” referring to criminals on the islands.

Other initiatives included a stimulus for residents, hurricane relief, tourism, professional development, and foster care and social welfare benefits.

Jay Saunders closed his speech by encouraging the citizens from Joshua 1:9, “I would like to encourage the good people of the Turks and Caicos islands… despite the trying times that our country is going through, to be strong, to not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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