Connect with us

News

Editorial: Permission Granted, Responsibility Squandered

Published

on

#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. 

Health

Ministry of Health Opens Mental Care’s Center for Hope

Published

on

By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 9, 2022 – For the first time in history The Turks and Caicos islands has a designated mental health facility and Dr. Alicia Malcolm, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence has the keys to prove it.

The all new Center of Hope opened with flair on Thursday December 8.

For now the Health Ministry says the facility can accommodate a maximum of 30 individuals and is ‘specifically designed for persons with mental health or substance use disorders that require:  residential treatment services, community mental health step down services or forensic mental health services.’

It is expected this new facility will be the conduit linking support agencies of Government and offering expert care to families in the Turks and Caicos Islands, who are coping and often overwhelmed by the toll of mental health issues.

The tragic death of Garrick Tucker, as a rare but heartbreaking example comes to mind with a realization like this one.  Tucker, who struggled with mental instability and whose mother had pleaded desperately for help online mere hours before her son would die in a car crash, fueled calls for a space for the mentally challenged.

“The primary objective of the facility is to provide treatment, psychosocial rehabilitation, and links to support networks and other services.  Additionally, the facility will provide person-centered, recovery and rights-based approaches in mental health by upholding key principles that are important in the delivery of mental health services,” explained the ministry in a statement.

The Center of Hope was labored over by both PNP and PDM administrations and dates back to 2016.   Former health minister, Jamell Robinson had announced delivery of the center by the end of 2022 and on Thursday it finally opened.

The opening could also signal the a return home of  some of the country’s mental health patients living overseas, ushering in an era where specialized care could be delivered nearer to loved ones.

In the case of Garrick Tucker, it was explained that procedure and placement were issues in the case, but also professionals.

It is less clear who will staff the site as TCIG continues to struggle with severe staff shortages compounded by a globally competitive environment for qualified individuals in the field of medicine and education.

Nonetheless, Center for Hope’s opening is a milestone in health for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The event was attended by Anya Williams, Acting Governor; Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services and stakeholders from the TCI Hospitals, Police Department, the Judiciary and Social Development.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Crucial Public Meeting coming with new Dellis Cay Owners; construction set for early 2023

Published

on

By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 9, 2022 – It will no longer be the tiny island with decaying homes, languishing amidst a scandalous transaction when construction resumes on the infamous Dellis Cay Project as early as the first quarter of 2023.

Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services made the announcement at a town hall meeting in North Caicos on November 29th in response to a resident’s query about the development.

With the help of a stated injection of $200 million, the picturesque property is expected to transition to one of international glamour and prestige.  But first, it will be a great opportunity for those in the construction industry with some 300 jobs expected to be generated during the building phase.

“The owner for Dellis Cay wanted a meeting this week but it was conflicting with our town halls so they’ve scheduled a meeting for the first week of January,” Musgrove explained “He wants to come here and his main focus is housing so it’s a great opportunity for the people of the twin islands.”

Musgrove said the owner wanted to discuss housing, boating, opportunities for construction workers and more, including tourism-based businesses.

“They want to start in the first quarter of next year…” he said.

Dellis Cay which is just off the coast of North Caicos was sold off under the Michael Misick administration. A huge luxury project was started on the private cay by Dr. Cem Kinay, a Turkish hotelier before everything came to a grinding halt in 2009.  Allegations of corruption linked to a reported $ 500,000 donation to Misick marred the deal, sent the property into receivership and back onto the market.

This past July, Dellis Cay was purchased by the Desarollos Hotelco, owners of the Ritz Carlton on Grace Bay. At the time news broke of the sale, construction was slated to get started within 12 months.

No sale price was made public for the the 560-acre private island, which Desarollos Hotelco brokered through Engel and Völkers Turks and Caicos from Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation (TTUTC); TTUTC held the property in receivership.

Hope is now reignited as Dellis Cay is poised to be yet another luxury development strongly linked to and dependent upon North Caicos islanders.

Minister Musgrove, as the Member of Parliament for the twin islands of North and Middle Caicos encouraged residents to attend the January 2023 meeting with the new owners.

“Please I want everyone to be there so we can listen and say what we want; and whoever has housing and whoever has cars boats that we can help organize that.”

A hotel is also planned for the Cay in the near future.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

BTC marks World Tourism Day 2022 with TCICC

Published

on

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Students from almost 10 schools in Providenciales were given an opportunity to rediscover the Turks and Caicos Islands through the eyes of a tourist as the Turks and Caicos Community College and Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC) resort partnered to observe World Tourism Day 2022 at the institution’s campus.

Even as the students were given a front-row seat to the variety of offerings that the leading all-inclusive family resort had to offer the thousands of visitors to its shores annually they also explored the numerous employment opportunities available in the tourism industry.

The career day-styled tourism showcase event saw members from the BTC’s watersports, food and beverage, entertainment, Red Lane Spa®, human resources, and the learning and development departments highlighting the multitude of offerings for guests at the resort while shining an important light on the opportunities and the viability of building a career with the resort.

In sharing the variety of the career offerings at the resort, general manager James McAnally shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos welcomes thousands of visitors each year and our team is dedicated to providing them with a memorable visit based on the numerous offerings from watersports to the multitude of dining options.  On the other side, our resort also provides a complete career package for individuals in different areas on their professional journey. We also continuously provide training for every team member in order to allow them to achieve their ultimate career goals, particularly but not limited to being industry leaders. Partnerships like this with the Community College are a part of our tourism in schools initiative across our brands.”

The leader of the almost 2,000 Beaches Turks & Caicos team members on the island of Providenciales lauded his team for the tremendous leadership values in helping to train the students who are welcomed each year as part of the resort’s summer internship programme. “We continue to welcome almost 200 students annually as part of our internship programme; many of whom have found fulfilling employment with us. Our training programmes are geared towards lifting those we employ to a world class standard that enables them develop to their fullest potential within the industry,” McAnally added.

Chair of the faculty of Hospitality and Tourism department at the Community College, Michelle Hosten shared that, “Tourism for the TCI is arguably the main source of income for the residents of this archipelago. The objective for this event is primarily to bring awareness to the minds of our young people. The programme offerings that we have here at TCICC are geared towards providing tertiary training with a practical perspective whereby our students are given the real-world experience of the industry.”

“Each year, we continue to receive tremendous support from Beaches Turks and Caicos to provide an avenue for our students to be trained in the industry through the internship programme. Within our associate’s degree programme, we provide hospitality management, tourism management and culinary arts. BTC has allowed our students from all these areas receive hands-on training extensively, to receive a practical component to their theoretical knowledge,” Hosten shared.

Fifth form student from the Clement Howell High school Gerdly Lundy when asked about her experience at the event shared, “My classmates and I have learnt that we can’t expect to reach the head of the industry without ensuring that we have an established foundation. Our school has formed a partnership with Beaches Turks and Caicos which allows our senior students to have internship experiences at the resort. Seeing the different teams from BTC here today was refreshing as they have shown us as students, that there are many career opportunities available within the company and in the industry.”

Owenta Coleby, human resources manager at BTC added, “Our team at the seminar led by Antoinette Thomas, recruitment and compliance specialist ensured that the information needed to make informed career decisions was readily available. The team of leaders shared with those in attendance the value of choosing the right career within this industry and to know that joining the Beaches Turks and Caicos team will be the best career decision that they could make.”

Facilitator of the Tourism Club at the Clement Howell High and Social Studies teacher, Rebecca Shaw explained the value of having the students participate in the event. “Our students are being groomed not only to be employees, but to create employment for themselves. The tourism industry is such a dynamic field that it will allow them to be exposed to the different aspects of what the industry has to offer and to create their own niche within the sector. The partnership with Beaches Turks and Caicos has shown tremendous growth over the years as the resort continues to open its doors to allow our students the experience in the many areas of the industry.”

Antoinette Thomas closed by adding, “Being able to share practical demonstrations with these students about some of the offerings that we have at the resort was refreshing for them. They were able to have that opportunity to interact with professionals from the different departments, some of which are not often viewed as traditional tourism career areas. With BTC, we allow continuous training for all our team members, not only within the local region but also at our other resorts in other islands in the Caribbean region. We believe in development of all our team members as we inspire them to become the best within their particular vocation.”

 

Release: Beaches Resorts

Photo Captions:

Header:  Antoinette Thomas, Recruitment and Compliance Specialist (right) presents a gift to a student from Shining Stars Preparatory School at the World Tourism Day 2022 the TCICC

1st insert:  Andrea Brown, (left)Chef at BTC shares a pastry with a member of the public at the World Tourism Day 2022 with Eric ‘Fortune Cookie’ Johnson (centre) Sous Chef at the resort looks on

2nd insert:  BTC Watersport Manager Mark Henley shares diving tip with some students at the TCICC World Tourism Day 2022

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING