#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – December 17, 2020 – A starting loan of $80 million dollars is approved by the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly and it will help to mitigate the economic fall-out resulting from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local economy.
Losses sent the Turks and Caicos into recession and demanded that funds be found to fill the hundreds of millions of dollars lost in government revenue.
Premier Sharlene Robinson, on Wednesday December 16, informed the House, that it took a mere seven weeks of a competitive bidding process following the October announcement of the need for the loan, to agree on the Republic Bank Ltd as the best lender.
The loan is for up to $80 million at a per annum interest rate of 2.9 percent. Turks and Caicos has 12 months to repay the loan and can borrow an additional $100 million with no additional fees or penalties, said Mrs. Robinson, TCI Premier and Minister of Finance.
The Opposition Leader believes it took the PDM Administration too long to move to secure the loan.
“It is surprising that it took us until October to be able to reach out to financial institutions,” said Washington Misick, who is also the former Minister of Finance, “We could have seen this coming and could have better prepared to provide relief to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands based on those projections. The good thing about numbers, the good thing about financial planning is you could always present what is called flexible budgets, scenario analysis that would say what the worst situation is, the best situation is and more likely situations.”
Mr. Misick is convinced the Turks and Caicos will need more money and shared the Opposition will support the measure largely because of those who would be adversely impacted if the borrowed funds were any further delayed.
“…for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and particularly the persons who would most likely be impacted, by the inability to pay government expenses in the absence of having this stand by line of credit
There was also concern and caution expressed by the Opposition Leader about when Turks and Caicos would begin to see some semblance of normal in the leading industry of tourism.
“It is anticipated that tourism would be in full swing by the middle of December, which is where we are now my understanding is the average occupancy rate in the islands is around 35 at the most 40 percent. So, I’m hoping – as I have spoken to the budget in April – that again we are not being over optimistic about what the real situation is.”
Misick agreed that the cost of the borrowing is reasonable.
Republic Bank is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and is a publically traded company on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE).
Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out
By Dana Malcolm
#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
New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs
By Dana Malcolm
#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.
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.
Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe
By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm
#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.”
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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