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Letter to the Editor: What about Beaches Turks & Caicos?

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#October 28, 2020 – Letter to the Editor

The Editor, I listened to the press conference today (October 27 – Premier Press Conference) and heard a lot about nothing at all. The TCIG continues to act like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand, talking a whole lot of fluff while not talking about the one thing people want to hear about which is, when will Beaches opening and what are you doing to get Beaches open.

Everywhere you go the talk is about when Beaches will open, but not one word in today’s press conference until the reporters had to ask. Why is the government acting blind to the suffering of people who are without jobs, and without incomes. Why is it always kicking the can down the road, and acting clueless whenever someone ask about the closure of the hotels particularly Beaches.

People are fed up. People want to get back to work and people want to see money flowing again. It is no wonder that the people in Beaches are fed up too, and you can see it in the public statements the resort is making. So why did Beaches have to take off its gloves to get any response from the TCIG. It is like the what Magnetic Media wrote just a few weeks ago this is the no reply government.

All the talk of what a good job the government has done and diversification and reserves and all of that is just fluff, it does not impress  anybody, and certainly not those people who have no job to go to when tomorrow comes. It is almost insulting to hear the TCIG say that this process is going as fast as it can. The media personnel themselves seemed taken aback by this response, because if this issue can’t be resolved after three or four years then heaven help us.

As for continuing to blame COVID for all the problems, well while that may have been true early in the year, the fact is that hotel sector in countries all over the Caribbean are opening up now and guess who is leading the charge to open, none other than Sandals and Beaches.

Antigua is open. Jamaica is open, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia. Beaches and Sandals have brought back out thousands of people in those islands, and they had to work with those governments to get it done. So when they complain of incompetence on the part of the TCIG is it so hard to see why. The TCI has the biggest and best of the resorts but yet we can’t get it reopened. That means no airlift, no jobs and no revenue.

Saying you care about restoring the economy is one thing, but being able and competent enough to do it is another. From all we have heard about this issue it seems like a very straightforward matter. It does not seem to be as impossible as the government continues to claim.

People are tired of hearing about matters before the courts, and now we hearing of mediation. In fact with respect to the mediation Beaches said it was ready for November 8th and then we hear TCIG pushed it back November 18th. If the resort is to open on November 18th,  how could you push back the mediation to November 18th, Make no sense. Is the TCIG serious? Isn’t this exactly what the resort has complained about?

In any event mediation does not promise a solution; it just promises that this matter is going to drag out further, because if it has to go to Cabinet and to the House of Assembly as is reported, then we may not see Beaches reopen this year AT ALL. Let that reality sink in, because the TCI could be facing a very blue, blue Christmas and an uncertain New Year.

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.

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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