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Undecided procedures for TCI Education; COVID-19 Guidelines still in draft

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – August 12, 2020 — A mere 19 days before schools across the Turks and Caicos Islands reopen and the specific path to how teaching will happen in the new academic year in this COVID-19 era remains undecided.

“We have in the past weeks put together several documents which we will make available to you (and to other media houses); the documents were presented to cabinet and Cabinet gave us approval to go ahead and to do further consultations and that is the process we are in now; we will have that finalized by the end of this week and then we will know exactly the way forward,” said Karen Malcolm, Minister of Education.

Guidelines for Reopening of schools in Turks and Caicos provided to schools on Monday August 10, 2020

The Minister, joined by Sharlene Robinson, Premier; Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary of Education and Edgar Howell, the Director of Education, today hosted a Media Q&A session at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales.

A set of press conferences did little to quell concerns about the method of return to the classroom, which remains undecided despite a national opening of schools announced for Monday, August 31.

Premier Sharlene Robinson said this is the usual time of year for Education to communicate on school reopening. Premier Robinson did not agree that the timing of the report was late.

“I think closer to school opening and when the situation is there…” she questioned, “…vocal in the summer months, just to say I am being vocal? Because the options are there, we knew what the options were going to be.  But the consultation, the official consultation would have been lost months out.  Would have been lost months out, that’s the truth and if we want to be honest, we would say that.  So to consult in June for what will happen in September?”

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The Premier continued that the pandemic itself presents a fluidity which makes concrete planning a challenge.

“You’re responding to something fluid.  So today cabinet makes that decision, something drastic happens, we have to reverse that decision or we have to build on that decision.  I know we are anxious, I am not going to at all dismiss it….  We (the Government) get the anxiety but I want us to be fair in our approach.  I want us to be fair, because the options are limited, the options were discussed in March.”

Those options are online or education face-to-face.

The draft guidelines have suggested a combination of both learning styles.

Residents charge the Ministry of Education with wasting the five months of down time and are disappointed that a plan for classroom learning and campus life remains in limbo. 

Education Minister Karen Malcolm said time was not lost; that work was being done behind the scenes.

“We have been working on protocols all during the summer.  The Ministry of Education has put protocols in place as it relates to e-learning, as it relates to the opening of schools where by face to face or blending.  Blending I n that some students are in school or some students are at home.  But we want to ensure that the risk, we know that the risk is there and we want to do our best, as the Ministry of Education to ensure that our children are safe,” explained Minister Malcolm earlier today.

Schools, on Monday, received the 18-page draft ‘Guidelines and Protocols for Returning to Schools’ and are expected to log their feedback by Thursday (August 13). 

Zoom Meetings are also planned for the private schools on Thursday.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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Caribbean News

138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces

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FILE PHOTO

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.

During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.

The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.

The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.

In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.

I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

 

Caption: FILE PHOTO

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Caribbean News

Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.

The Ian Fleming Airport is named for the famous author who penned the James Bond series just miles away from the airport. Never one to miss a theme, InterCaribbean dubbed their flight the JY 007.

The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.

The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare.  It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.

Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.

“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”

The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.

“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”

Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”

InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.

American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.

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