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Advanced Voting proposed for upcoming TCI Elections; Coronavirus patients to have separate polling

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Dudley Lewis, TCI Elections Supervisor

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 22, 2020 — Amid fears of rapid Covid-19 spread on the voting day, the Elections Department proposed advance polling for Coronavirus patients and those in quarantine centres to curb the possible spread of the deadly virus.

According to a statement by the Department of Elections, those who have tested positive for Coronavirus, and quarantined, will be permitted to vote a day before the general elections late this year or early next year.

The proposed amendments to the Election Ordinance prescribes several measures to avert the risk of a rapid spread of the virus during the polling process.

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In light of the Coronavirus presence in the island region, the amendment to the TCI Election Ordinance aims at maintaining voters’ safety during the pandemic.

In the statement sent to the public on October 13, 2020, the Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis urged members of the public to provide feedback through hard copies or email addresses provided in the statement.

According to the statement sent out last week, voters who wish to vote should apply for approval from the supervisor within ten days of the statement.

The statement further explained any individual approved by the supervisor to vote in the advance poll would enjoy full support and rights, identical to those upheld on general election day expected late this year or early 2021.   

However, the approved voters will be required to authenticate their approval to participate in the advance polls or be denied the chance to vote at the advanced poll.

“A voter who is approved to vote at an Advance Poll shall be allowed to vote in like manner as he would have been entitled to do on the day appointed for taking the poll, except that he shall not be allowed to vote at advance poll unless he produces proof of approval to vote at Advance Poll,” reads part of the statement.

The elections supervisor also stated that there are safety protocols in place instituted by the top Medical Officer in a bid to control and regulate Coronavirus positive voters and those in the quarantine facilities.

Additional safety protocols have also been established for voters diagnosed with Coronavirus, and those under quarantine are hopeful of participating in the advance polls.

The Proposed Safety Protocols

According to the Department of Elections statement, any voter tested positive or from quarantine who wishes to take part in upcoming advance polls should make and submit an appeal to the Elections Supervisor within ten days from the day the statement was issued, but not later.

When the request is accepted, the voter should inform the officials from the Ministry of Health about his/her intention to go to the polling station before leaving the isolation facility for the officers to prepare.

Besides that, the voter will also be required to produce proof of permission to participate in the advance polls before gaining access to the polling station.

Additionally, the voter should use a private or personal car to go to the polling station.

While at the station, he or she must put on an N95 or KN95 mask covering the mouth and nose, gloves, face shield, and a disposable gown.

The voter should also keep a physical distance of at least six feet from others at the station as much as is practical.

Moreover, the advanced safety protocols state that the voter should comply with all other protocols set at the station and wash their hands with soap for at least 20-seconds to kill any covid-19 virus that might have come into contact with the hands.

General Election training; file photo

Also, traveling to and from the quarantine facilities by the voters is restricted to direct routes only, and the voter should return to the isolation centres immediately after casting a vote.

After the polling exercise is over, the used polling stations will undergo deep cleaning in preparation for the main polling day.

If the proposal is approved, the advance election polling process is expected to kick-off at 8.00 AM and wrap up at 4.00 PM.

Consultation on the proposal concluded October 21.

By Magnetic Media Editorial Department

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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