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TCI already preparing for ‘Above Average’ Atlantic Hurricane Season says Minister Missick

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#TurksandCaicos, April 5, 2021 – A National Hurricane preparedness meeting was held early in March and now the Public Works Department is doing its part in order to ready the country for what is forecast to be an above average Atlantic Hurricane season, informed Hon. Akierra Missick, Minister of Infrastructure, Housing, Planning and Physical Development. 

“Mr. Speaker, my team and I participated in the First National Hurricane Preparedness meeting on March 9, 2021, and as a result of that meeting Mr. Speaker, Public Works Department has already begun to prepare the required checklist of works to be carried out for this year’s Hurricane Season, which is again predicted to be very active.

Mr. Speaker, as a part of that checklist, our team has already completed the inspection of all shelters. Mr. Speaker, I am happy to inform this Honourable House that a number of Government owned shelters have recently been refurbished and outfitted with standby generators, with the assistance of a generous donation from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO),” said Hon Akierra Missick on March 30, in the House of Assembly, Grand Turk.

Shelters have already been inspected and will get the mandatory equipment to be readied ahead of National Hurricane Preparedness month, traditionally commemorated in May in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Mr. Speaker, the remainder of Government Approved and Private Shelters require minor repair works, which are being scoped and prepared to be sent our through the Public Procurement Process (PPP for quotations.

Mr. Speaker, it is our intention to procure fire extinguishers (which are a requirement) for all of our shelters in the new Financial Year. As a result of the protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health Mr. Speaker, additional washing stations and automatic hand sanitising machines are being procured for the all shelters to assist with the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, alerts for the approaching hurricane season are to begin on May 15, well ahead of the official start of the season on June 1, informed the National Hurricane Center. 

Additionally, businesses in the hurricane belt including the Americas, the Caribbean region and the United States are being advised to prepare for the worst.  Expert forecasts pin it down to 16-20 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes. Of the storms projected to reach hurricane strength, three to five are predicted to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher storms).

Turks and Caicos, having had a dismal encounter with Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September of 2017 is working toward boosting resource capacity at Public Works and the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, DDME advised the Minister.

“Mr. Speaker, also by way of information, the Ministry of Infrastructure is in the process of procuring new Satellite Phones and Handheld Radios for our offices throughout the islands, these would ensure that we are able to be in contact with staff during and following the passage of a storm.

Mr. Speaker, the final update I would like to give by way of purchases that we have made to assist us in our Disaster Preparedness efforts, is to advise that the Public Works Department has procured several pieces of heavy equipment, inclusive of a tractor with attachments, portable fuel tanks, verge cutters and mulching machines.

The new heavy duty equipment and communications systems are expected, said Minister Missick, to be in country by July. 

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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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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