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TCI proving COVID Safe; 21,000 tests so far with only 94 testing positive

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – March 21, 2021 – Tourists are living Covid-19 safe lifestyles when they vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the luxury resorts report that testing is averaging around 1,000 per day with no positives for the virus on most days.

“There is no place in the region safer than Turks and Caicos for vacations.  It’s like our guests are living in a safe bubble and now with the great work of the Ministry of Health, local numbers are down as well; so to me, Turks and Caicos is the safest vacation spot,” said Ken Patterson, CEO Seven Stars Resort.

Patterson informs his resort, which sits on World’s Leading Beach, Grace Bay has conducted 6,228 tests since the travel requirement came into force for the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in January 2021.

“Since January 25, we have tested 6,228 people and over that time only eight people have tested positive.  When they did, we turned that information over to the Ministry of Health which tested them again using the PCR method,” informed Patterson.

Like other resorts, there is a contingency plan for isolation and quarantine of guests who do end up with a positive for the coronavirus. 

Since the new travel requirements of leading source markets have kicked in, the TCI Ministry of Health Covid-19 dashboard reveals there have been 20,896 tests performed and 94 of those tests are returning positives for Covid-19.

Evidence that mandatory public health regulations for physical distancing, face mask wearing, reduced capacity at restaurants, bars and on pleasure boats are working to stave off any surge in cases of Covid-19; an enviable feat for the tiny islands which sit about 90-minutes, by plane, off the southern coast of Florida.

A report by Magnetic Media raised alarm and was a wrong reflection of the Ministry of Health situational report.  The Ministry explained that actually, the positives shown on the dashboard are reflective of new tests performed in a day and not positives for the coronavirus. 

“Nine hundred and two tests were carried out on March 19, 2021, with a total of three positive results reported for that date (0.3%).  The number of positives pale in comparison to the number of negatives.  Positive cases undergo confirmatory testing at the National Public Health Laboratory and are included with the total number of positives reported,” said a Saturday statement issued by the Ministry.

The Ministry of Health adds the rapid antigen testing, approved for 21 sites around the Turks and Caicos since January is taking samples from both locals and guests.

Vaccine distribution in the Turks and Caicos is also well underway, with over 32 percent of the adult population having had their first jab of the UK-gifted Pfizer/BioNtech brand of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Ken Patterson said most of his staff has already been inoculated; as many as 11,283 people across seven islands in the British overseas territory have receive the first shot 

Magnetic Media, on Saturday, issued a statement explaining the misinterpretation of the data on the dash board.  Our apologies for any inconvenience the report would have caused.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

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TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 19th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Grand Turk. All other members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the terms and conditions for an application from a land surveyor for a licence.
  • Approved the making of the Revised Edition of the Laws 2021 (Commencement Order) 2022 subject to the approval of the House of Assembly; laws will be now be made available free of charge to members of the public on the Attorney General’s website. Physical reproductions will continue to be sold.
  • Discussed proposed amendments to the Insurance Ordinance as drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers and consultation with the industry.
  • Approved for the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be introduced to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
  • Approved the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee Budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for office furniture and supplies; confirmed annual payments for the annual membership costs to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Agencies (FIA) and annual costs of the FIA’s travel costs for the Egmont annual meeting.
  • Approved a three year rental lease agreement for the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, religious Affairs and Gaming, and the Tourist Board and Department of Culture in Providenciales.
  • Approved a lease agreement for a temporary HQ for the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in Providenciales.
  • Was updated on the proposed merger of NIB/NHIP Compliance and Collections. Further consideration was requested before Cabinet can take a decision.
  • Noted the award of the following contracts in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Ordinance:
  1. PN 005600, TR 21/48, Furniture and equipment for Mental Health Facility – Grand Turk
  2. PN 005611, TR 21/30, Ballistic Vests for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force

III. PN 005614, TR 21/37, Bellefield Landing Civilian Safety Project – Safe Boat Slips

  1. PN 005627, TR 21/53, Furniture and Equipment for Public Works Programme Management
  2. PN 005630, TR 21/08, Vehicles for Government (resubmission)
  • Approved for a request from American Airlines to waive the import customs duties and customs processing fees for replacement parts for an aircraft that had an emergency landing on Providenciales to be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
  • Noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) for legislative amendments to be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the TCIAA. Cabinet requested further consideration. Proposed amendments will be considered by the House of Assembly for approval in due course.
  • Approved the grant of a long lease to an applicant for a funeral home and cemetery on 60003/231 PT (2.5 ACRES)

 

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Turks & Caicos Islands Government retains it BBB+ credit rating

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – On the 29th of March 2022, Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) released the results of the review of the 2021 sovereign credit rating for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). S&P has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating for long-term bonds, denominated in both domestic and foreign currency, of BBB+. Additionally, the agency also maintained the outlook as Stable for the TCI.

The Rating Agency advised that the stable outlook takes into account that the country’s economy will continue to recover given the strong performance of tourism and will improve in 2022. Furthermore, S&P believes the TCI will continue to adhere to prudent financial management and limit borrowing, and that fiscal reserve balances will increase during the next two years. Additionally, the rating agency also expects continuity in TCI’s institutional relationship with the U.K.

In its report, the rating agency advised that the rationale for the rating was a result of the Country’s institutional and economic profile. That is, the economic recovery led by resurgence in tourism and continued institutional stability. S&P indicated that despite the short-term pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the TCI Government’s prudent actions, aided by the U.K.’s swift transfer of vaccines, allowed international travel to resume as early as the first quarter of 2021. The combination of the Government’s swift response, coupled with pent-up demand in key source markets, led to a strong recovery in tourism, which in turn, has led to a better-than anticipated economic recovery. S&P estimates GDP per capita to be $23,674 in 2021, up from $20,757 in 2020 – a 14% year over year increase. Tourism remains the core pillar of the economy, indirectly accounting for about 65% of GDP.

S&P indicated that the ratings could be revised upwards if better-than-expected GDP increases and continued favorable growth prospects were to substantially boost economic resilience. Additionally, the rating agency also stated that they could also raise the ratings if better availability of timely data, especially on external flows and stocks, were to boost transparency and indicated that TCI enjoyed a significantly stronger economic or external position.

However, if the rebound in tourism is interrupted or turns out to be weaker than expected, leading to prolonged stress on revenues, this may cause the TCI Government to run persistent fiscal deficits that could materially worsen public finances. This could lead to a down grading of the rating.

Commenting on the rating, Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade, Hon. E. Jay Saunders, stated that “I am happy and extremely proud that S&P saw fit to maintain our country’s credit rating at BBB+, particularly at a time when many countries had theirs downgraded – mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the strength of our economy, and particularly, our government’s prudent handling of it. We have taken particular note of S&P’s comment that they could raise the ratings on better availability of timely data, and we are working towards achieving that.”

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Limited space but Pine Cay Project helps the return of DECR Junior Park Warden Program

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – The 22nd staging of the Junior Park Warden Program is set for this July and your kids can be a part of it!

Sponsored by the Pine Cay Project the program was started in 2000 and Department of Environment and Coastal Resources representative Amy Avenant says it has been wildly successful so far with several students going on to become professionals in the environmental field.

This year students age 10-12 will be hosted from the 4th to the 8th of July and teens 13-16 will be hosted from the 11th to the 15th of July. The program will be held at the National Environmental Center on lower bight road. Admission as usual is free but spaces are limited.

“Due to safety and ensuring that everyone gets a quality experience we have to limit the numbers” she explained.

The early birds who do sign up will be able to take part in kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, learning to swim and snorkel and sessions with environmentalists.

“We have some experts that come in, previously we’ve had Catherine Hart from the Turks and Caicos Turtle project and whale projects come speak to children and tag a turtle with them.” Avenant said.

This year the focus is climate change and instead of just the regular “gloom and doom of climate change” Avenant says the DECR will be focused on climate action and how children can become climate activists.

“We will be focused on teaching them how to use their voices through effective and kind activism.”

Despite the Turks and Caicos’ small size Avenant says we have power in numbers and as a region can demand change from larger countries that can turn the tide of the climate emergency

“We are educating students on the serious implications we face as an island but also what they can do to quite frankly stand up and save their home for themselves and future generations.”

Interested parents can email Amy to apply at aavenant@gov.tc.

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