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Eight Resorts caught on camera; Taxi Drivers say ‘stop stealing our jobs’

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#TurksandCaicos,February 13, 2021 – Public Service driver license holders say the times are just too rough economically for resorts to be allowed to breach Road Traffic rules and act as taxis, which cuts down on jobs and incomes in an already depressed industry.

At least eight resort complimentary vehicles were caught red-handed dropping guests off at shopping districts, restaurants and tour sites as taxi drivers sat waiting for the opportunity.   The complimentary vehicles were filmed and photographed.

“Stop it!  Because we are already at a disadvantage right now.  We are all looking to feed our families and we are paying our business licenses and you’re taking away from local drivers.  You’re breaking the law,” said a driver who reported what was seen to our news organization and relayed what needs to happen. 

“Drivers are at all of these resorts and watching what is happening to them; it is unfair.”

It is unfair and it is illegal, agreed Wilbur Caley, the director of the Road Safety Department which licenses motor vehicles. 

“I have just written to two resorts about this very complaint.  In the letter I have informed the resorts that the are in breach of Section 5, subsection 2 of the Road Traffic Ordinance,” said Caley in a telephone interview.  “My advice to them was to cease and desist.  You simply cannot do it and I have copied the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police and the TCI Tourist Board on the reported violation.”

The fine for breaking this law is $1,000 and in extreme cases, the license of the complimentary vehicle could be suspended by a court of law.

“There are 300 drivers and since Covid-19 and the country’s reopening, we have not been seeing the same number of tourists.  We are at about 30 percent of the business we had before the pandemic hit. If we are lucky, we get one job a day now and the load is cut in half.  We used to be able to take 10 passengers, now it is five people which is 50 percent.  So we are earning a lot less.“

The driver speaking to Magnetic Media said the new curfew  which runs from 6pm to 6 am is also hurting them too.

“There are drivers who worked mainly at night; I would say they’ve lost 40 to 50 percent of income because they no longer have those dinner runs.”

The Ford Transit and the Chevy E350 are the transport vehicles of choice for taxi drivers in the ground transportation industry.  

“What you could have made in one day, now you have to work two to three days and you have to re-fuel and fuel is more expensive.”

Public Service Drivers have also embraced the changes in health protocols to fit this post-COVID era.  Capacity is reduced by 50 percent; drivers must wear gloves and face covering; there must be sanitizer for use when people enter and exit the vehicles and the electrostatic foggers – which were donated to the drivers by Beaches Resort – continue to be useful. 

“We use the foggers between runs.”

 Complimentary vehicles, owned by resorts are only permitted to shuttle guests between properties. 

News

Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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