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TCI still at Level 4 COVID risk, but why?

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#TurksandCaicos, May 19, 2021 – This morning the Turks and Caicos Islands remain at Level 4 alert on the Centers for Disease Control’s rating which informs:  ‘Travelers should avoid all travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands, because of the current situation … that even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and Americans should avoid all travel to the TCI.’

It has long been stated the classification for the Turks and Caicos is too harsh and today, with active cases down to three and hospitalisations at three, it makes one wonder what it takes to be considered a safe destination, from the CDC’s vantage point.

TCI Ministry of Health data reveals that from the start of May to now, only 13 positives for Covid-19 have been found out of 1,159, gold standard PCR tests performed by the National Public Health Laboratory. 

The Minister of Health has informed that the infection rate is below the three per cent threshold and even lower when the antigen tests are factored in. 

In roughly 18 days, which is from start of the month to now, there have been 15,434 antigen tests performed; this is largely of guests to the Turks and Caicos and carried out by any one of 15 authorised testing centers which includes some resorts. 

Yet new infections remained low at 13. 

Aside from a new Covid-19 case in South Caicos, captured on yesterday’s dashboard, all virus patients had been restricted to the most populated island of Providenciales, which started the month at 26 and is now down to two. 

Deaths have thankfully remained at 17 and when it comes to the uptake of the vaccine; the jump in seven days was 1,583 when you compare the May 2nd and May 9th vaccination dashboards.  This put the Turks and Caicos a mere 5,485 people off the goal of 70 per cent or 25,000 adults (fully) vaccinated in order to achieve the so called, ‘herd immunity’. 

The Level 4 travel warning is hurtful to tourism, the #1 industry; there have been cancellations and concerns about the safety of the destination.

When former Premier, Sharlene Robinson announced on January 12, 2021 the country had returned to the CDC’s Level 4 high-risk-list; the Turks and Caicos was experiencing a surge in new cases and fresh outbreaks in the islands.  Active cases were 185, with double digit growth almost daily.

At the start of his journey in February as the minster for health, Hon E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier of the TCI said the goal would be to increase testing, increase vaccinations and hopefully see a lower infection rate due to the various restrictions and protocols in place.

It appears the goals are met and being met, yet the Turks and Caicos – with the dramatic changes, sees no change, at least not yet. 

Government

Washington MISICK challenged, and holds onto Leadership of the PNP

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#TurksandCaicos, February 24, 2024 – Magnetic Media can report that WASHINGTON MISICK has emerged and remains LEADER of the governing Progressive National Party.It has been a contentious battle today at the PNPs National General Congress (NGC) for party leadership with interest coming from: Jas Walkin, the party’s 2021 campaign manager who this week publicly withdrew his bid; Dameko Dean, former Wheeland candidate who had published an article revealing his quest to lead the PNP and E Jay Saunders who today unsuccessfully challenged MISICK for the role.Saunders has tried for leader before and has served as the party’s deputy leader, at the pleasure and selection of Washington Misick since June 2019.The run for party leader was a risky maneuver by Saunders, son of former PNP Party leader and Chief Minister Norman Saunders.Delegates cast votes, giving E Jay Saunders 58 votes and Washington Misick 88. The elder statesman convincingly retaining delegates’ confidence.It is also reported that, based on the PNP Constitution, Saunders needed 70% support from delegates in a preliminary run off.  He was unable to secure that much backing.A constitutional motion to change the selection process of the deputy leader to a delegate vote reportedly failed.It is therefore unclear what the immediate future, politically is for Saunders whose party and government roles are hinged on Washington Misick’s prerogative to have him or someone else in these posts.However Misick is already promoting a strict focus on uniting the party following the NGC meeting held at the Shore Club.

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Crime

TCI Community College staff struck and robbed, another chased in car by attackers

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – Attacks against several of its staff members last week have forced the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to reassess its security.

“The college is robustly ending in immediate steps to review and reinforce our campus security protocols,” said a February 16 letter to staff seen by Magnetic Media.

The letter puts the date of the incidents as February 15th at one of its Providenciales campuses.

In the first,  a male member of staff was attacked and his car stolen after he left a meeting. When Magnetic Media queried police about the event, they released additional details of the robbery.

We were told around 9:15 pm, Thursday February 15, a 39-year-old male and his colleagues were leaving the TCI Community College Campus, Princess Drive, Providenciales, when a group of men surrounded his vehicle.

The man, noticing that one of the men had stopped at the rear of the vehicle, approached him to investigate and was struck on the head. In the immediate aftermath, the assailants escaped in the victim’s car, leaving the TCICC staff member injured at the scene.

The victim was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center by police officers, and up until news production time, the car had not yet been recovered.

Following this incident, the Community College also revealed that a car chase had taken place.

A female member of staff this time, was chased down by suspected criminals as she left the campus. The employee managed to outdrive the people pursuing her and arrive safely at her destination, but she was described as shaken.

Now both, police officers and campus administration are urging residents to remain vigilant, especially when heading into their cars at night.

Safety tips that can help residents avoid attack, robbery, injury, or worse include:

  • Stay alert when heading to your vehicle; don’t be distracted by your phone; pay attention to your surroundings.
  • if you see anything or anyone suspicious, do not investigate on your own; go back and get a security guard or similar personnel to assist.
  • Have your keys ready in your hands before approaching your car, so you can enter the safety of your vehicle immediately.

The police have not yet arrested anyone for the robbery attack against the employee.

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News

Royal TCI Police share CAREER DAY Highlights

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – On Thursday, 8th February 2024, between 9 am – and 2 pm, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force attended a Career Day event at the Enid Capron Primary School, Five Cays, Providenciales.

Under the theme “Be aware, choose a career”, the RTCIPF showcased the many career options available in policing.

Members of the Community Policing Unit, Safeguarding and Public Protection, Anti-Gang and Drugs Unit, Marine Branch, Traffic Enforcement, Air Support Unit and Mechanical Department were present.  Officers answered questions posed by the young, impressionable minds.

Insp Ensa Wilson lectured students on various topics, including: “Good Touch, Bad Touch”, alerting adults to inappropriate situations and the importance of calling 911.

Students were asked questions following the lecture and were given RTCIPF tokens.

Sgt. Kavin Mars, along with PC Fitzlewis McDonald and Kiyon Doughty of the Anti Gang and Drug Unit, freestyled “Don’t Huff, Don’t Puff, Don’t Do That Stuff” and warned students of the dangers –health and legal – of using drugs.

Superintendent (Community Policing and Divisions) Dwight Gardiner commended the school’s initiative and applauded the representation of officers present.

Supt. Gardiner said: “Career Days often highlight the importance of community policing and underscore law enforcement’s vital role in fostering trust, collaboration, and safety within neighbourhoods.

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