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Guests are welcomed, but respect TCI Marine life or face fines says DECR

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#TurksandCaicos, April 5, 2021 – The DECR is hoping a recent appeal will work to reduce the non-natural interactions between some guests on marine excursions and the country’s marine inhabitants.  In a warning notice, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources takes a firm stance in protection of animals and their habitats.

“The Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) are aware of a number of instances where watersports operators have allowed their guests to interact with marine life (in particular marine mammals) in an inappropriate manner.

The Department takes this opportunity to remind all vendors on the water that the Fisheries Protection Ordinance 10.08, and its Regulations, National Parks Ordinance 10.01, and its Regulations, govern all Waters and National Parks in the Turks & Caicos Islands.”

Conservation laws make it illegal for people to feed marine animals or aim to attract them with the enticement of food tossed into the ocean.  When it comes to marine mammals the law is also outlined in the notice:  ‘No personal shall engage in fishing for, molest or otherwise interfere with any marine mammal. Similarly, the following activities are prohibited within all national parks, nature reserves and sanctuaries, and will not be tolerated.’

The activities to which the Department refers are these:

  • The taking of any animal or plant by any method on land or at sea except to the extent permitted in any fishing zone;
  • The destruction of, or damage or injury to, any animal or plant;
  • The removal of sand, rock, coral, coral-rag or any calcareous substance;
  • Anchor damage to coral reef structures living or dead and associated marine plant and animal life.

Breaking this law is not only frowned upon from an environmental perspective but heavily penalized under Turks and Caicos law. 

“As per the regulations, any person who contravenes any provision of these regulations commits and offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $50, 000 or to a term of imprisonment of twelve months or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

The message is clearly a clarion call for preservation to be paramount and one for a stronger commitment by those who earn a living on the waters to keep TCI’s part of the Atlantic Ocean free of violation or intrusion; the message is to be picked up boat excursion operators.

“We recommend that, for the safety of the wildlife as well as your guests, the promotion of such activities be amended forthwith to align with the legal requirements as set out above.”

Added to the notice were the rules for Whale Watching and Dolphin Spotting.

  • Just FLOAT! When you are near marine mammals the best is to just float. They will come near you if they want to. Show respect by just floating.
  • Do not splash with your arms or legs excessively.
  • Do not try to touch them, under any circumstances. Dolphins, in particular, are very loving and affectionate with each other but that doesn’t mean they want to be touched by a human, any human. No matter how much love you have for them, it is disrespectful to touch them. 
  • Do not free dive into their space: this is for your safety and theirs.
  • Do not dive down towards a resting group of marine mammals. If you dive down towards them and they haven’t noticed you, while resting, they will wake up and get startled. They need to sleep to function right, please don’t dive down towards them.
  • Do not to feed them. Apart from being illegal (Fisheries Protection Ordinance Reg 9(1)(g), this is very dangerous.
  • Do not begin interaction or play games with dolphins. Wild dolphins like to play games with each other. Dolphins do not initiate this game with a human, it is the humans who start the interaction. Let’s be observers and be content with it. 
  • Stay away from pregnant female marine mammals. If there are any pregnant females, there will also be a courageous alpha protector / escort watching nearby and they can get aggressive if they think that there is any threat to those pregnant moms.
  • If a marine mammal charges at you (just like bull would) get out of the water immediately. You have done something that has made the individual aggressive.
  • Do not litter. This means that if you dropped anything (hair tie, snorkel, fins, etc ) you must retrieve it from the bottom and if you can’t reach the bottom you must find someone that can. Protecting their habitat is also protecting the marine life.
  • If you ever see anyone doing anything that could hurt marine mammals, anything on this short list, please speak up and educate the offenders. Take the time to explain to them in a nice way, and why they should change their behavior. 

Caribbean News

No Room for Failure; Leaders report to UN Security Council on Haiti Stabilisation Mission

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

July 19, 2024 – The new Haitian Government says its focus is on addressing gang violence and food insecurity, ensuring free elections through constitutional and political reform, and rebuilding public trust in the police.

Prime Minister Garry Conille told the United Nations (UN) Security Council recently  that the newly deployed Kenyan police will be crucial to helping control gangs, and moving toward democratic elections, as he described their initial days in the capital “extremely, extremely positive.

“More than ever Haiti must mobilise all the necessary and available resources to make this transition the last one, a transition that could set it on the path toward peace, security and sustainable development,” the PM told the Council.

With the help of the international police force, PM Conille is tasked with stabilising the country in preparation for democratic elections in February 2026. He said Haiti intends to “redefine our approaches” to build “strong and effective institutions” by the time the police leave Haiti.

In February, gangs launched coordinated attacks on government infrastructure, including roads, prisons, and the Port-au-Prince airport, eventually leading then Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign in April.

Violence on the island has resulted in the displacement of 580,000 people, more than half of whom are children, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The World Food Program reports that more than four million Haitians face food insecurity.

The Prime Minister told the Council that the international police force will require “close coordination and constant communication between all the parties involved to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Meanwhile, head of the Kenya-led international force, tasked with curbing gang violence in Haiti, Godfrey Otunge said on Monday that “there’s no room for failure” and that the United Nations-backed police mission was committed to ensuring democratic elections in the Caribbean nation.

“We have a job that we are committed to do, and we intend to achieve this by working closely with Haitian authorities and local and international partners dedicated to a new Haiti.”

The U.N.-backed mission, to which the United States has pledged over $300 million in support, will have 1000 police officers from Kenya, and will be joined by police from the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Jamaica.

The force will total 2,500 personnel.

Haitian police chief Normil Rameau also addressed the nation on Monday, saying the U.N.-backed mission is focused on reclaiming all areas from gang control, reinstating police presence in regions lacking authority and assisting Haitians displaced by the gangs to return home.

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Caribbean News

Hurricane Help; Money donated to Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – The relief efforts in countries affected by Hurricane Beryl have been bolstered by a donation of US$800,000, from the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Executive President of the financial institution, Sergio Diaz-Granados said it is hoped that the funds will assist needs during the “critical period” in the immediate aftermath of a “very powerful and destructive Hurricane. The grant serves to address this emergency, through the designated Ministries and official Governmental channels,” in the five countries, he said.

Barbados and Jamaica will each receive $250,000, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will all receive $100,000. The Bank said it is essential that global awareness be elevated about the vulnerability to Climate Change in the Caribbean.

It said “decisive action” needs to be taken to tackle the effects of Climate Change, with emphasis on policies and investments in adaptation, as well as risk management tools, and it will continue to work closely with international partners, to gather data, produce specialised knowledge, innovate, and offer financial solutions to strengthen resilience in the region.

In early July, Hurricane Beryl ripped across the Caribbean, with winds of 150mph tearing roofs from buildings, uprooting trees, and devastating the islands in its path. At least three islands reported that more than 90% of the homes and buildings either destroyed or severely damaged, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported. All three are within the chain of Grenadine Islands, where the hurricane roared into the Caribbean on the southern end of the Windwards, between St. Vincent and Grenada.

Since the devastation, the United Nations (UN) and its partners have launched a US$9 million response plan to provide urgent humanitarian aid to 43,000 people in Grenada and Sanit Vincent and the Grenadines.

UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Simon Springett said “swift action” is imperative to meet the “pressing needs” of people whose homes and livelihoods have vanished overnight, he said.

Mr. Springett, who visited Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, after they were struck by Hurricane Beryl, said that the devastation is “immense and heartbreaking,” and he spoke to many families, and It is likely that utilities will take a long time to be restored,” the Resident Coordinator stated.

The response plan will help to both support immediate life-saving and early recovery efforts. The UN and its partners, who are supporting the Governments’ response, have identified shelter, food and health care as being among the top priorities.

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Caribbean News

RBC donates $175,000 to Hurricane Beryl relief efforts

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PORT OF SPAIN — In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, RBC Royal Bank (RY on TSX and NYSE) (“RBC”) and RBC Foundation USA announced a donation of C$175,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross in support of Caribbean and U.S. relief efforts.

The devastating hurricane impacted several Caribbean and U.S. communities where RBC operates, including Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Tobago.

RBC’s contribution will support emergency relief efforts, including shelters, hygiene kits, and social assistance to those in the affected communities.

“The intensity of Hurricane Beryl this early in the season is concerning and our thoughts are with the individuals affected in the Caribbean communities as well as in the U.S.,” said Chris Duggan, Head of RBC Caribbean Banking.

“At RBC, we believe it is our responsibility to support our communities in times of need. Our donation to the Red Cross, will provide immediate assistance to those impacted, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to recover and rebuild.”

Commenting on the Caribbean generosity as well as that of our larger RBC community, Duggan added: “The response of the RBC Caribbean Banking employees, as well as that of our larger RBC community has been generous and unhesitating. In response to the disaster, our colleagues are coming together in many unique and incredible ways and donating personally to help those affected.”

Those that would like to support the relief efforts can donate to the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

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