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TCI: INTERCEPTION OF ILLEGAL MIGRANT VESSEL

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#TurksandCaicos, March 22, 2021 – The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services in collaboration with the Immigration Department of the Turks and Caicos Islands, is pleased to announce the successful interception of an illegal migrant vessel inbound for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

On Sunday 21st March 2021, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the Enforcement Unit within the Immigration Department was contacted by the 911 Operator who stated that the Marine Branch of the Royal Turks and CAICOS Islands Police Force had intercepted an illegal migrant vessel in the Lil Bluff area of Providenciales, with approximately 8 persons on board.

As a result of this information, the Officers prepared themselves to receive these illegal migrants at South Dock, Providenciales, as confirmed by the 911 0perator. The Enforcement Unit, within the TCI Customs Department was also contacted.

Around 4 a.m. two Police Marine Branch vessels arrived at the dock with a blue boat in tow with a large number of persons on board.

It would be determined later that the vessel was carrying 138 illegal migrants, which comprised 106 males and 32 females.

All persons were initially examined by the Ministry of Health official present at the dock, prior to being loaded onto the vans for transport to the Detention Center for further processing.

At 6:00 a.m., the process of transporting all migrants to the Detention Center was completed and the officers later proceeded to the North West Point and Priton Housing Phase 1 and 2 areas of Providenciales to conduct further checks in search of evidence of a possible landing. However, nothing was found.

The Radar Operator later confirmed that there was no sighting of another vessel.

Honourable Arlington Musgrove remarked that; “These voyages are very unsafe and can lead to substantial loss of life. Please stop this and seek to gain entry the correct way. As you all can see, we will catch you and we will prosecuted and repatriate you. As I said before, we are putting measures in place to bring a stop to this illegal practice.”

All of the illegal migrants are expected to be returned to Haiti today Monday 22nd March 2021

To date, the Immigration Department has spent over 2.3M from its repatriation vote.

The public is reminded to continue to provide tips or any information related to this or any other illegal landing. We encourage the public to submit information or tips anonymously in English, French or Spanish to www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Kindly note that Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.

Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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