#Jamaica, April 5, 2021 – Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says he is anticipating a greater turnout for the upcoming island-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination blitzes, as additional stakeholders come onboard to assist in encouraging more persons to get inoculated.
“We have included in the mix, the very important role of the political representatives… and the intention is to roll that out across the country where, in another week or so, we are going to have a national blitz in every parish. Essentially, what it is about is to mobilise all stakeholders, to encourage in the first instance, our vulnerable groups to be a part of the… immunization blitz,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was speaking with journalists during Saturday’s (April 3) staging of the second vaccination blitz at the National Arena, where just over 400 persons received the first of two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The blitz is the mass vaccination plan being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to inoculate 1,000 persons in a day at a single location.
Persons, 75 years and older, are now being targeted for vaccinations islandwide, with a reserve list to include members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and individuals over 60 years.
Minister Tufton noted that while Saturday’s turnout was affected by rainy conditions, there is also a “strong vaccine hesitancy” in the country towards COVID-19 vaccinations. Consequently he said the Government is working with several stakeholders, including the church and senior citizens groups, to assist in getting persons inoculated.
“What we really want to get out of this is a unified message to the country, to the people of Jamaica that this is a risk that affects all of us and so it requires a solution from all of us,” he emphasised.
Dr. Tufton also expressed gratitude to several parliamentarians whom he said assisted with Saturday’s proceedings. He further noted that a key player in the mobilsation effort was Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who he said was instrumental in getting approximately 80 of his constituents vaccinated.
In his remarks, Mr. McKenzie said he was optimistic that the Local Government Ministry’s involvement in the vaccination drive “will go a far way in enhancing the programme.” He advised that he will be enlisting the assistance of all 63 Members of Parliament and 230 Municipal Councillors across Jamaica in further bolstering the initiative.
Mr. McKenzie further informed that on Tuesday, April 6, he will be meeting virtually with the Mayors, Inspectors of Poor and other key Ministry stakeholders, adding that Dr. Tufton will also be participating.
“I am giving the full commitment of Local Government in the process as we try to vaccinate as many Jamaicans as we can,” he said.
Mr. McKenzie encouraged Jamaicans not to dispel the false narrative regarding COVID-19 vaccination, stressing that “I took it”, adding that he experienced mild side effects for a few days.
The Local Government Minister said he felt gratified to have been able to bring out a significant number of his constituents to get vaccinated, despite falling short of the 100 targeted. He said when the persons who were inoculated go back to their respective communities and others see that they are fine, this will encourage more individuals to get vaccinated.
Other notable participants in Saturday’s proceedings included: State Minister in the Health and Wellness Ministry, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, and Permanent Secretary, Dunstan Bryan, as well as Government Senator, Natalie Campbell-Rodriques.
Contact: Alecia Smith
138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.
During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.
The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.
The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.
Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.
In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.
I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Caption: FILE PHOTO
International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea
By Dana Malcolm
The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine. The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.
The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.
Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.
“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime. The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.
Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica
By Dana Malcolm
#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.
The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.
The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare. It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.
Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.
“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”
The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.
“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”
Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”
InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.
American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.
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