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One day record 289 COVID tests; TCI Health Minister updates the House of Assembly

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#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – November 5, 2020 — The highest single day of COVID-19 testing in Turks and Caicos was the day before Halloween, October 30 and the results were far from scary; they were quite satisfying for the Ministry of Health. 

“On Friday past, October 30, we completed more than 289 tests on that day; 142 performed in the National Public Health Laboratory and 147 performed in the Private Laboratories. This is our highest single day of testing to date.  From this testing day, we identified 2 new cases of COVID-19,” said Minister Edwin Astwood during his ministerial statement in the House of Assembly on November 3.

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Turks and Caicos has continued to experience declines in new cases of the coronavirus.  The decrease follows a string of restrictions including curfews, limited numbers on social gatherings at hang outs and restaurants and a TCI Police-enforced ticketing system.

The Minister of Health believes the low number of positives from community testing supports a low prevalence of COVID-19 within Turks and Caicos; and he believes behavioral changes of residents have been key to keeping new cases down.

“As I mentioned on Thursday Press Conference, Mr. Speaker, we are seeing a decline in the rate of growth in COVID-19 cases, which is a positive early sign. It is proof that collectively, by making simple changes to our everyday lives, we can reduce transmission, bend, and flatten the curve. It is another reminder of our collective power. But, unfortunately, this is not a cause for relaxation,” said the minister on Tuesday.

Restrictions have been eased and include a later curfew; now at 12 a.m. ending at 5 a.m.  Other relaxed restrictions were announced in a press conference last Thursday.  Minister Astwood repeated them during his House of Assembly presentation: “Restrictions on businesses: From yesterday, the 2nd November, 2020, to 5:00 a.m. on 16th November 2020; All businesses shall suspend operations to the general public at 11:00 p.m.; and funeral services and burial grounds from 2nd November 2020, to 5:00 a.m. on 16th November 2020, a maximum number of forty persons may be permitted to attend a funeral service, provided that such funeral services shall be held outdoors. Wedding Ceremonies: from 2nd November 2020, to 5:00 a.m. on 16th November 2020, a maximum number of forty persons may be permitted to attend a wedding ceremony, indoor or outdoor. Restrictions on domestic travel: From 2nd November 2020, to 5:00 am on the 16th November, 2020, there will be NO RESTRICTIONS on Domestic Travel.”

The opening of domestic travel on November 2 marked the first time since March residents and guests have been able to freely travel between the islands of the TCI.

The Minister reminded residents to continue practicing the healthy protocols which have worked to stem the spread of the virus, which has killed at least six Turks and Caicos residents.  It was made clear that personal behavior and the positive case rate will continue to govern whether or not restrictions continue to be rolled back or if they are tightened for the sake of public health.

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“Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear: that the Government is very concerned about any addition to the COVID numbers, and would continue with the phased opening of the country. I want to reassure all that your Government is looking seriously at the spread, and determining, what our next steps should be. I know that – after more than half a year, we are all tired of COVID-19 and the restrictions. But, Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 is not tired of us, so we must remain vigilant Mr. Speaker.”

During a press conference today, November 5, the Ministry of Health confirmed there are currently seven active cases of COVID-19 in Turks and Caicos; six of which are in Providenciales and one new case in North Caicos which was identified through community testing. Ninety-eight percent of the 705 cases are listed as recovered.

There are no COVID-19 hospitalisations in Turks and Caicos.

Education

The Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) Results

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#TurksandCaicos, June 28, 2022 – The Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Services extends sincere congratulations to all primary school students from both Government and Private primary school who were successful in the 2022 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).  The Ministry encourages all the students  to continue doing their best to achieve academic and personal excellence as they transition to high school.The Minister of Education, the Honourable Rachel Marshall Taylor stated, “I am immensely proud of the performance of our children in the recent sitting of the CPEA.  I congratulate each of you because, despite the challenges we faced during the last two years, you’ve done well.  We are creating an environment to enable your success. You must be willing to work hard if it is your desire to be successful.  I wish you well in your journey through  high school.”

The Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment was administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), to students completing Grade 6 throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands on May 12 and 13, 2022.

A total of four hundred and sixty (460) candidates were entered for the assessment in Language, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. Of the 460 candidates; Fifteen (15) withdrew and eighteen (18) candidates were absent during the administration of the assessment. Therefore, four hundred and twenty-seven (427) students were assessed.

The assessment scores represent a combination of the internal (School-Based Assessment) assessment and the external assessment which consisted of multiple-choice items assessing literacies in the four subject areas. Each paper carried a maximum of 75 marks for an overall total of 300 marks. The internal assessment carried a total of 200 marks.

Based on the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment scoring, the following results are reported:

–         Developing Competence: 0-40%

–         Competent: 41-80%

–         Advanced Competence: 81-100%

For country-specific purposes the scoring has been modified as follows:

–         Developing Competence: 0-40%

–         Near Competence: 41-60%

–         Competent: 61-80%

–         Advanced Competence: 81-100%

Of the four hundred and twenty-seven (427) candidates who were assessed, twenty-six (26) or 6.08% are developing competence; one hundred and seventy-five (175) or 40.98% are near competence; two hundred and one (201) or 47.07% are competent, and twenty-five (25) or 5.85% demonstrated advanced competence.

Fifty-four percent (52.92%) of the candidates who sat the assessment scored grades in the range 61-100% demonstrating Competence or Advanced Competence in the literacies that students should acquire on completing primary school.  When the candidates who demonstrated Near Competence are added, the overall pass rate for the country is 93.9% representing 401 candidates

While the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant move to virtual teaching and learning have no doubt impacted the candidates, the performance of the cohort is commendable.

Analysis by School

Sixteen primary schools (9 public and 7 private) entered candidates for the CPEA . Nine (9) schools have candidates who demonstrated Near Competence, Competence or Advanced Competence. Eleven of the sixteen schools have one or more candidates who demonstrated Advanced Competence.

A’Navia Mantock of the Ona Glinton Primary School and Vivian Parker of the Provo Christian School have both demonstrated Advanced Competence scoring 450 marks out of the possible 500 marks.

Below is The CPEA Results – Order of Merit by School – Rank by Score

 

Score             Percent

Eliza Simons Primary School

Johanna Jean                                               401                 80.2

Adeena Gilbert                                            399                 79.8

Kaymia Jacques                                           399                 79.8

Ona Glinton Primary School  

A’navia Mantock                                        450                 90.0

Mavarii Selver                                             428                 85.6

Gabrille Stern                                              427                 85.4

Faith Preparatory

Matthew Ramjeawan                               415                 83.0

Kendruy Sanchez                                       398                 79.6

Kennedy Batchelor                                   350                 70.0

Iris Stubbs Primary School

Terrance Mitchell                                       422                 84.4

Keyasia Lightbourne                                  382                 76.4

Theana Joseph                                            378                 75.6

Adelaide Omeler Primay Schoool

Mathline Belony                                         394                 78.8

Sharwinna St. Elroy                                   363                 72.6

Tyerah James                                               359                 71.8

Charles Hubert James Primary School

Danae Hernandez                                      433                 86.6

Mirsendy Obei                                            353                 70.6

Tykeem Gardiner                                       324                 64.8

Doris Robinson Primary School

Alexavier Forbes                                         337                 67.4

Enid Capron Primary School

Akayla Seecharau                                       422                 84.4

Carlisha Pierre                                             376                 75.2

Taisha Louis                                                 369                 73.8

Ianthe Pratt Primary School

Sarah Forbes                                               432                 86.4

Eshton Cherizard                                        398                 79.6

Nehemie Fenelus                                       396                 79.2

Oseta Jolly Primary School

Conroy Whittaker                                      397                 79.4

Daewayna Hall                                            392                 78.4

Janeli Gustave                                             382                 76.4

B.E.S.T. Institute

Antwan Ford                                               442                 88.4

Davia Stubbs                                               437                 87.4

Osshonn Saintil                                           428                 85.6

Community Christian Academy

Kalean Seymour                                         416                 83.2

Charles-Michael Forbes                            402                 80.4

Ojed’harlie Jolissaint                                 370                 74.0

Elite School

Murian Georgeson                                     368                 73.6

Edrina Louis-Giles                                       354                 70.8

David Lorestil                                               347                 69.4

Provo Christian School

Vivian Parker                                               450                 90.0

Mickayla Daniel                                          434                 86.8

Roniel Diaz                                                   411                 82.2

Richmond Hill Preparatory

David Forbes                                               425                 85.0

Felisha Lafleur                                             413                 82.6

Nataliyah Musgrove                                  402                 80.4

Shining Stars Preparatory

Johathan Blythe                                          439                 87.8

Rhon-Anjae Champagne                          438                 87.6

Jireh Walkin                                                 421                 84.2

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News

A Natural Racing Experience Thrills Senses, Protects the Marine Environment and Producers Winners

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 27, 2022 – Human beings have been enamored with the ocean since the beginning of time and the robust tourism product of the Turks and Caicos is proof of that,  but only a few of us venture away from the sand to swim long, lovely laps in the ocean.

“It just somehow makes everybody a little friendlier; everyone is a lot happier when they swim in the ocean.” A founder of the annual Race for the Coch Eco Sea Swim, Ben Stubenberg, confessed that after swimming in the open water many people don’t want to go back to a pool because the (sea) water is “so perfect.”

This view may have a little something to do with the huge turnout for the Eco-Sea Swim races held on Saturday June 25 (2022).

Stubenberg, a swim instructor and avid open sea swimmer himself opened up to Magnetic Media about what it feels like to drive your body through the pristine waters, unencumbered, pushing your own physical limits for the most exhilarating exercise experience.

“All of your senses are engaged and you feel a connection with nature that you don’t get from standing on land.” He said, “This is something that you feel because there’s really no limits; its as far as you can go, it’s quite unlike a pool.  This is salt water, you float better…it’s engaging with nature in a way that you can’t otherwise do when you’re swimming in a pool.”

In its 12th year, “Race for the Conch” Eco-Sea Swim is a registered non-profit in the Turks & Caicos Islands. The organizers explained that proceeds from sponsorships and race fees go to support The Provo Children’s Home, local learn-to-swim programs, the Reef Fund, and initiatives to support special needs children in the family islands.

The 2022 staging pulled in 135 swimmers in its biggest ever showing, 13 of whom were children from the Turks and Caicos. Adult, teen and even preteen swimmers came from the US, Canada, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos to participate in four races:  A 2.4 mile; a 1 mile; a half mile, and a 100m kiddie race.

The top-ranked adults for the 2.4-mile races were Joseph Shields for the men and Alicia Uhl for the women.

Lenin Hamilton Jr and Taylor Schiffern won the one mile for men and women respectively and  Lenin Hamilton Jr and Celia Wolf topped the half-mile.

Over the years, organizers have maintained that they wanted to have a more environmentally conscious race.

“We decided that as part of the race we wanted to have a commitment to a more ecologically friendly race that was more in line with our philosophy of trying to make the earth and the ocean a better place…we take that part of it very seriously. It’s not just something added on because it sounds ‘trendy,” said Stubenberg.

There are several ways the organizers set out to do this.

Only reef-friendly sunscreen is allowed on the beach and they provide ‘Stream to Sea’ sunscreen created by a local partner company called ‘Whole Health”. Race for the Conch Eco Sea Swim also serves its refreshments in biodegradable containers, often the rehydration drinks are coconut water coming straight from coconut trees, with no packaging needed.

Additionally, even the coveted conch trophies and medals are made by local artist Stanford Handfield crafted from actual conch shells from the TCI’s slice of the Atlantic Ocean.

Though the race is not yet totally eco-friendly, Stubenberg hopes Race will evolve to having a  zero carbon footprint very soon.

 

Photo credit:  Photo by Paradise Photography

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Over 3000 Vehicles can be fined for wrong or no license plates says, DMV Director

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 27, 2022 – The grace period for incorrect license plates or vehicles partially outfitted with the new Turks and Caicos Islands license plates is over.  The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) last week issued a notice which warned that vehicle owners need to either collect their plates, order the proper plates or put on the license plates they already have at the front and rear of vehicles.

“Vehicles that are currently carrying plats that do not fit the description as outlines are not in compliance with the Road Traffic Ordinance.  Licensees are therefore asked to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles  to obtain the correct license plates immediately, failure to do so may result in drivers being ticketed,” said the notice.

Wilbur Caley, Director of the DMV said there are estimated to be over 18,000 motor vehicles in the islands and some 15,400 plates have been issued, with only around 180 plates to be collected in Grand Turk  and a few still waiting for their owners in Providenciales.

“Some of those or a majority of the remaining 3000 have not come in to renew or license their vehicles and are currently driving around with a red or other colour or no plate on their vehicle.”

This is against the law and carries a $300 fine, said Caley.

“We have sufficient plates to issue to persons.  WE have approval to issue temporary plates where we don’t have the substantive plate in stock,” explained the Director.

This is important to state as there was a time when the Road Safety Department could not keep pace with the demand for license plates once the new ones were introduced in 2019.  Road Traffic police officers would stop motorists without plates, view paper work to ensure there was payment and a licensed driver was awaiting their new plates, but now that grace period is over.

“There are a number of vehicle owners driving around that have not come in to have their plates changed.  We have stock to issue those plates.”

Office hours at the department are Monday through Thursdays, 8:30am – 3:30pm and on Fridays, the offices closes earlier at 3pm.

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