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No School Reopening Plan Ready from TCI Ministry of Education

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Run-down playground at Enid Capron Primary School, Five Cays, Providenciales - PHOTO TAKEN August 9, 2020

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 9, 2020 — Covid-19 forced school campuses across the Turks and Caicos to be closed since Easter but Government has squandered that five-months and is not ready with an approved plan for Education in the new normal; thousands are disappointed as school is proposed to begin in three weeks.

“For the past couple of months we have been working with them to establish protocols with the best practice methods to getting children back in schools,” said Edwin Astwood, Minister of Health, Agriculture, Sports & Human Services when asked about his partnership with the Education.

It was a reply, bereft of details when school reopening has already been announced for August 31.

Frustrating for families and schools is that despite the sacrifices to follow Emergency Orders and coronavirus health protocols, they are still facing the 2020-2021 academic year with uncertainty.

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A two-week Easter break turned into months and months away from traditional learning for thousands of students, their teachers and faculty. It also transformed homes into schools; many parents admittedly were ill-equipped to balance working from home or having no work at all and becoming teacher extraordinaire. 

On Friday, during a press conference, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education – who were both present – could offer no plan and no assurances about what learning at school campuses will look like for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The plan was not ready for presentation at the press conference, which was carried live on local TV and social media.  The plan has also not been presented to any schools, anywhere across the country – public or private.

There are 42 schools nationwide.  The Minister of Education, Karen Malcolm will begin touring and consulting with schools this week.  It was said an update will also be given by the Minister within the week.

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“We have been doing consultation throughout, but we are doing a wider consultation as to where persons minds are,” said Premier Sharlene Robinson.

“We are aware that people are eager, we are also aware that parents have determined themselves that their children will not be coming into the physical space. Let us be real in Turks and Caicos, we cannot achieve social distancing with the numbers of children we have in classes, so we need to take a unique approach to what we have existing in Turks and Caicos.”

These illustrated uncertainties underscore the dire need for the process of reopening to have long been started.

Regionally, Education Ministers had begun sharing their strategies for a return to school since June. 

FILE: PDM Cabinet Ministers, Magnetic Media photo – July 2020

“The Minister would have presented protocols and a reopening strategy to Cabinet; she will be going out with her team to consult but again we are watching what is happening around the world, this is dynamic.  We can plan but things can change.  The Minister has already highlighted some of the concerns we have but there will be consultation in this week,” said Premier Sharlene Robinson.

In Jamaica, there is a staggered approach, including a simulation day to test whether ideas on paper will actually work.

In the Cayman Islands, a School Reopening Guidance document has been available online since June 24; it addresses start dates and learning styles for students from preschool age.

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School re-openings are delicate in this post-COVID world.

Institutions will have to ensure there is proper physical distancing; increased janitorial services; sufficient handwashing stations; protection especially for those with underlying health conditions; adequate personal protective gear; clear and consistent communication and they must ensure the environments remain conducive to quality learning experiences and healthy social development for all.

Even the most persnickety precautions can be undermined by one COVID-19 infected person. 

It therefore seems a high-risk roll of the dice by the Ministries responsible for education, youth, health and sports to have not focused greater attention on a reopening plan, which by now would have been shared with the public and supported by a public information campaign. Very easily, the leading place to contract COVID-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands could shift from workplaces to school campuses; a lesson even the most astute student would want to avoid.

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.

TCI News

FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates

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FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates. The request was submitted to Her Excellency the Governor today. The Company’s submission proposed a 6% rate increase across service territories.
The appointment of an inquirer forms part of the rate review process outlined in the Electricity Ordinance. Interested persons can make representation during the inquiry. Once completed, the inquirer provides a report to FortisTCI as the public supplier and to Her Excellency the Governor with its recommendations.

The Company’s proposal for revised electric rates was submitted to the Governor on February 14, 2024, and was supported by substantial information. As part of the rate review process, Her Excellency, the Governor, requested additional information through the Energy and Utilities Commissioner, and the Company met all additional requests.

FortisTCI understands the difficulties that customers can face with electricity bills. For this reason, the Company works hard to ensure that electric rates have remained as stable as possible. The Company invests responsibly and maintains an efficient operation, providing customers with one of the most reliable electricity services in the Caribbean.

FortisTCI maintains that revised electric rates are necessary at this time to expand the electricity system and maintain reliable service to customers, amid rising energy demand as the Turks and Caicos Islands economy continues to grow. Like other businesses, external pressures such as persistent high inflation and high interest costs have also impacted the operation. These are the primary reasons for the electric rates review.

Before the current submission of revised rates, FortisTCI had requested one general rate review in twenty years. This was to help recover significant investments made after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The rate increase was granted after the appointment of an Inquirer, who determined that the Company’s request was necessary and reasonable. The inquirer’s report also highlighted that FortisTCI had prudently managed its costs and operation.

Similarly, the Company welcomes an open and independent examination of its current request for revised electric rates. FortisTCI will hold information meetings across the islands to discuss its proposed revised rates, providing customers with opportunities to have their questions answered. The schedule of meetings will be published on the Company’s social media pages.

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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Swearing-In Ceremony, six added to TCI Police Force

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Six police constables were today sworn into the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

Four experienced officers- Germaine Scott, Sandenia Francis, Tyrone Cox and Blake Hooker, along with Special Constables Rashaunda Cooke and Raymond Clare took their oaths during a brief ceremony at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.

The officers pledged to uphold justice, protect the community, and diligently serve their duties with pride and integrity.

Commissioner of Police (ag) Christopher Eyre addressed the constables, applauding the efforts of those currently serving and indicating that they are now part of dealing with the challenges facing the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly that of illegal migration.

Mr Eyre said: “In this region, we face the humanitarian tragedy affecting Haiti, and our hearts go out to those affected on that island. Unfortunately, due to the collapse of Haiti’s government, we have seen the prisons being overrun and over 5000 prisoners escaping.

“We also face challenges from illegal migration to our shores. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Rodney Adams and I have been working feverishly to coordinate with other law enforcement colleagues to secure the TCI borders.

“I am proud of this Force and how we have stepped up to the challenges. I look forward to seeing you and also seeing you excel as part of the team”.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Rodney Adams, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendall Grant, Human Resource Officer Sgt. Tashauna Wilson, and Chairman of the Police Welfare Association Sgt. Jepson Victor were also at the swearing-in.

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