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Editorial: Permission Granted, Responsibility Squandered

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#TurksandCaicos, February 11, 2021 – There are around eight constitutional freedoms which the public has given up in the name of public health protection and patriotism.  The governor and the government have been allowed to maneuver these freedoms in a way that it mitigates and marshals the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Criticisms have been that many of these decisions lacked consultation, creativity and consideration.  Early on, enforcement lagged as rules and regulations had to be created and manpower had to be recruited.  When the protocols for enforcement did come, the decision was to create a ticket system.

It was soft then.  It is way too soft now.

While there have been a decent number of tickets issued by the Task Force and Police Force; including those in the amount of $5,000 to businesses breaching closure, face mask and capacity regulations; these have hardly served as a deterrent and cases are rocketing with six people dead in under a month.

It has been said on national platforms by Edwin Astwood, TCI Minister of Health, that the cases we are experiencing in 2021 are the result of poor decisions and large gatherings over the holiday season of 2020.

There were outbreaks across government facilities including at the Prison which led to the Police Department becoming contaminated.  The TCI Hospitals in both Providenciales and Grand Turk experienced a cluster, which mushroomed.  At least two hotels  were cited as having had outbreaks and by the first week of January, the TCI regressed. 

The US Centers for Disease control placed the country back at Level 4; a hard won victory clawed back by the health regulatory agency and a risk rating which guided the US State Department’s decision to also give the Turks and Caicos, a Level 4 Travel Alert, this month.

The parties which were fun at Christmastime had now become deadly in the New Year.

Three women, including two who passed away between Tuesday and Wednesday and three men, including a serving member of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force are all dead. 

The precious members of our society are dead and gone after being infected with Covid-19, which is suspected to have spread across the islands following “ill-advised” shindigs which continued into the second week of January.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision they say and it is certainly worth noting that the ‘bad move’ may have come when the Turks and Caicos Government decided to relax measures during the holiday season, despite clear trends of a rise in coronavirus positives as a result of residents returning from travel already infected.

The fact was shared in December 2020 by Dr. Nadia Astwood, the country’s Chief Medical Officer.

Unlike many other, more cautions jurisdictions, the Turks and Caicos lifted the curfews and business closures on New Year’s Eve from midnight to 2 a.m.  Giving party-goers a no-holds-barred  license to gather for long periods of time, likely in cramped quarters, without masks or physical distancing on what is the biggest party night of the year. 

The fines were no deterrent.

The public has given the Government the power to curb the infection rate, save lives and protect the economy by withholding civil liberities.  With that power, the Government is expected to use every resource possible to apprehend anyone or short-circuit anything which is causing an upset to life.

That has not yet happened. 

To questions on whether technology is being used; the answer is no. CCTV cameras are left to record vacant roadways and not employed in the contact tracing process.

It was not only admitted that contact tracing is a dismal effort but people doing the work are either being abused or described as not at all vigilant.

To queries on instituting tougher penalties like criminal charges and prison time; the Minister of Health has informed this is under consideration.

The mobile app touted in the earlier days of the pandemic never came and no one explained why.

To the restrictive measures being announced, every fortnight now, there is no evidence of ‘science’ being used to substantiate decisions being made.  At this point, the Turks and Caicos Cabinet – which has enjoyed an uninterrupted full salary – appears to have developed amnesia about what the people of this British overseas territory are entitled to as a democratic society.

  • Freedom of Movement
  • Freedom of Assembly and Association
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of Conscience
  • A right to Education
  • A right to Peaceful enjoyment of property and protection from deprivation of property
  • Enforcement of these fundamental rights
  • And a Right to Lawful administrative action

Instead, the vast majority of people are distressed by limited financial support from Government; by limited personal income due to the crippling regulations; by the impact of Covid-19 on their children’s educational and emotional development and their own state of mind given the fear of the virus and the trepidations which linger as the country begun roll out of the vaccine.

The fear of offending relatives, friends, co-workers, millionaires, celebrities, big businesses and voters has hampered a more direct dealing with those who breach regulations to the detriment of the country.

Economic activity is therefore held hostage by a few.  Public health is therefore threatened by a few.  Return to some semblance of a regular life for children is therefore stolen by a few and allowing it, sadly, is our Government.

We need to criminalise Covid-19 public health infractions.  We need to put people in jail who take these life-saving measures lightly.  We need a Government which will demonstrate it respects what we have allowed in setting aside constitutional rights in order for them to protect us and the lives we have built.

It has got to be a crime for people to do this much damage to our beautiful by nature, Turks and Caicos Islands.

And it has got to stop; the treatment of law abiding, decent and patriotic residents who often find themselves the scapegoat, suffering in silence while the reckless minority get away with causing people their good health, their good money, their good loved ones and our good life.

CAPTION: Traffic Clog:  A long ride home for residents of Providenciales on day one of a seven-day curfew which begins at 6pm and ends at 6am daily.  The snap measure to curtail COVID gave residents little time to prepare and that meant long queues at food stores, water depots and on the highways as thousands of residents in hundreds of motor vehicles tried to get home in the one hour between getting off at 5pm and being at home by 6pm. 

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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Provo Water Company Boosts Water Distribution Infrastructure in Providenciales with Key Improvement Initiatives

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PROVIDENCIALES, TCI, APRIL 9, 2024: Provo Water Company (PWC) remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the water distribution network in Providenciales by making significant progress on various improvement projects while innovatively addressing short-term distribution challenges.

The company is currently working on two projects to enhance water distribution on Providenciales. The first project will see the installation of a new city water transmission main line from the TCWC Production Plant along June Plum, Gardenia Way, Kakeka Streets, and Garden Loop to the Leeward Highway, extending from the Long Bay Hills Drive junction to the roundabout near Crackpot Kitchen. This pipeline upgrade will provide increased water supply to the network and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2024, enhancing water reliability and ensuring better service for the community.

The second project, which is set to be completed by the end of September 2024, will focus on upgrading the fittings at major water junctions along the Leeward Highway. These improvements to the water supply network’s central artery will increase water flow to the Suzie Turn Reservoir, and enhance water availability and quality for customers located west of Turtle Cove.

These projects not only tackle the current water distribution issues causing nightly restrictions but are also essential components of PWC’s long-term strategy to support the island’s population growth and flourishing tourism industry. In the immediate term, the organization has resourcefully repurposed a newly built water tank located in the Industrial Park area. Originally designated for a future project, the water company has utilized the new tank as an additional source to replenish the Suzie Turn Reservoir, addressing the water supply issues that began in March.

In response to the new development, Managing Director Robert Hall stated, “We are pleased to have found a way to utilize this water tank as a temporary aid in addressing the high-water demand. The activation of this tank reaffirms our commitment to fulfilling the water requirements of our community in response to the growing demands of our customers and stakeholders.”

Situated in the heart of the Industrial Park area, the new tank boasts a capacity of 1.5 million gallons. This tank will work hand in hand with the Suzie Turn Reservoir to meet the water supply needs in the northern and southwestern areas of Providenciales, bridging the gap until ongoing projects deliver a lasting solution.

Once the two current projects have been completed, the new water tank will serve a critical role in a future project and in safeguarding Providenciales with an emergency water supply during crises like hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“This water system investment speaks volumes about our proactive approach to directly addressing water challenges. Through expanding storage capacity and optimizing distribution efficiency, we are well-positioned to deliver reliable, high-quality water services to our customers,” Hall said.

He also added that, amid these efforts, advocating for water conservation practices is crucial. Small actions, such as fixing leaks, using water-efficient fixtures, and practicing mindful water consumption, can play a significant role in safeguarding our valuable water resources.

In addition to these initiatives, the organization will continue to optimize and promote its robust educational campaigns and community engagement programs aimed at raising awareness about water conservation and the importance of sustainable water practices. By empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to make informed choices about water usage, Provo Water Company aims to foster a culture of responsible water stewardship that benefits both the environment and future generations.

“As we move forward, we remain committed to serving our community and look forward to the positive impact that these new initiatives will bring to this island.” Hall concluded.

For additional details about Provo Water Company and its water efficiency and conservation initiatives, visit its website, provowater.com and social media pages at @ProvoWaterCompany for tips and announcements, or contact our customer service team at customerservice@provowater.com.

 

Pic: Provo Water Company’s Managing Director, Robert Hall, and team working to expand water storage capacity to optimize distribution efficiency.

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Bahamas News

Saxons Brass Section Thanks CWCO for Continued Commitment

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS (April 9th, 2024) Behind the vibrant costumes and electrifying beats of Junkanoo parades are committed members, mentors, and supporters such as Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO). In a heartfelt acknowledgment of years of generous support, the Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited the water supplier to present a plaque of appreciation.

Jeremy Adderley, speaking on behalf of High Voltage Brass, said, “Without CWCO’s support, we would not have had the brass costumes needed to compete and secure our two-straight victory. Their support also helps us as we plan lessons for our young members to enhance their musicianship skills, not just for Junkanoo but for college and beyond.”

Adderley highlighted that the plaque is a token of High Voltage Brass’ immense gratitude for CWCO helping the Saxons Superstars keep culture alive and for being a steadfast partner in developing future leaders.

He added, “Every year, it is a struggle to make it to Bay Street. Many of our members are eager to participate, despite their circumstances, and every year our group continues to grow. Thanks to CWCO’s generosity, we look forward to continuing to grow and succeed alongside their great team and establishment.”

Henderson Cash, CWCO’s General Manager, said, “Receiving this plaque from the Saxons Superstars is a profound honor for us at CWCO. It symbolizes the strong relationship we’ve built over the years, rooted in mutual respect and a shared commitment to preserving Bahamian heritage.

“Our support for the Saxons Superstars’ brass section is emblematic of our broader mission to invest in our community’s vibrancy and the potential of its young people. We are deeply committed to continuing this support and fostering the traditions that make our culture so unique.”

 

Photo Caption: The Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO) to present a plaque of appreciation.

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