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TCI’s Gabriel Saunders and Decomp win University of Waterloo’s Pandemic Challenge



Turks & Caicos – EDITORIAL SUBMISSION – November 9, 2020 – Turks and Caicos Islander, Gabriel Saunders, and his Co-Founders recently won University of Waterloo’s ‘Pandemic Challenge’ with their start-up, Decomp.

The pitch competition, which was held virtually, was co-hosted by entrepreneurial entities at the University of Waterloo – including the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, St. Paul’s GreenHouse (a social impact incubator), as well as Concept, the university’s pre-incubator program.

Rather than requiring student-led ventures to find a cure or focus solely on solving the issue of the novel coronavirus spreading, the Pandemic Challenge encouraged teams to tackle massive problems that have been brought on by the current pandemic.


Some of the problems that the competing start-ups were attempting to solve included food insecurity, health issues in long term care homes, and inefficiencies with remote work.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in single-use plastics. This includes take-out containers and plastic bags, along with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as throwaway gloves, as well as disposable masks, which often contain the plastic polypropylene.

Decomp aims to combat plastic waste pollution through their unique solution, which combines plastic-degrading microbes (i.e. fungi and bacteria) and custom bioreactor technology. The microbes identified have the capability of being able to degrade plastics that take 400-1,000 years to degrade in landfills, in weeks. Bioreactor technology facilitates Decomp creating and maintaining the optimal growing conditions (i.e. temperature, humidity, pH, etc) for the microbes. Plastics will be sorted, shredded and inputted into the bioreactors to be broken down by the microbes.


The biotechnology start-up was chosen as one of three winners of the Pandemic Challenge – winning $3,000 for research and development. Decomp was also selected to enter GreenHouse’s Workplace Innovation Program, which will provide them with funding opportunities, as well as opportunities to work with entities, such as the Region of Waterloo, as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada, in their efforts to build and test their prototypes.  

“I’m extremely proud of our team and all of the work that we have put in,” said Saunders, who pitched for the competition. “It’s an honour to have been chosen as a winner and even more so to have been selected to enter GreenHouse’s Workplace Innovation Program. We’re excited for our next steps and to keep developing Decomp,” added Saunders.

Decomp previously won the University of Waterloo’s Hult Prize Finals in 2019 – the university round of the world’s largest social impact competition. University of Waterloo has consistently ranked as Canada’s most innovative university and is located in Waterloo, Ontario – a tech hub that is commonly referred to as ‘Canada’s Silicon Valley.’

At the time of the Pandemic Challenge, Gabriel was a 23-year-old Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) student at University of Waterloo’s Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business.

Gabriel attended The Ashcroft School (now The International School of the Turks and Caicos Islands) and British West Indies Collegiate (BWIC) in Providenciales, and graduated from Trinity College School in Port Hope, Canada.

He is the son of E. Jay and Drani Saunders.

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Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk



#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk





Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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