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Turquoise Gold; how TCI’s slice of the Atlantic Ocean does more than boost Tourism

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#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2021 – Dig ten feet down and you will find turquoise gold!  Hidden in the porous limestone bedrock of Providenciales is same stuff which has rocketed Turks and Caicos Islands to superstar status when it comes to luxury tourism.  It may surprise Provo residents that the enveloping commodity and pristine natural resource serves another practical purpose; it is the same safe, tasty, reliable drinking water flowing from our taps.

Turks and Caicos’ slice of the Atlantic Ocean is also the life sustaining water used to clean, cook, drink and grow gardens thanks to Provo Water Company, which has been supplying city water since 1997.

As the company commemorated its 10th year of Drinking Water Week, executives agreed to a throw-back to a decade ago with Magnetic Media and it is a refreshing story.

“Ten years ago we had probably 120 miles of pipeline, currently we have 136 miles and there is additional pipeline scheduled for the next two to three years in various areas. Communities like Five Cays, Blue Hills, Chalk Sound – just about everywhere and that is just additional pipeline that we’re putting in to make sure we can connect new customers,” said Robert C. Hall, the personable Managing Director of Provo Water Company.

Mr. Hall, during the interview, often referenced the company’s 20-year development plan; a plan which embraces the liberties of being wholly, a privately owned company. 

Just under a decade ago, Provo Water Company bought the Turks and Caicos Islands government’s 46 per cent stake in the water company for a reported $7.5 million; today it is a healthy set-up which in 2018 peaked at distribution of two million gallons of water in a single day.   

“We are looking at how we are going to supply the islands for the next 20 years and the major component of that plan is a second water plant on the northwest side of the island,” explained Mr. Hall at the Provo Water Company’s accredited laboratory overlooking western Leeward Highway. 

The 20 year plan obviously does more than look at expansion, it also considers contingency.

“The objective is to be able to supply the island from either director if that need arises.  So if we had a catastrophe in Grace Bay, we would be able to supply the island from northwest end and vice versa,” said Mr. Hall, who is an engineer by profession.

Ten years ago there were 3,500 consumers in the system; today there are 5,500 and technology is helping to manage these customers in Providenciales.  Provo Water Company does not tally per recipient of the service; they count their consumers by how many subscribers are signed onto the service.  Which means, there are far more households and businesses than reflected in 2021cumulative customer figure.

“We are able to produce just under four million gallons of water per day.  Currently we are using about – in this particular time – 1.1 to 1.2 million gallons per day.  So we’ve got built in capacity obviously to accommodate any growth in the short to medium term.”

Reverse osmosis of the salty ocean water is the process used to transform our turquoise gold into nourishing, drinking water; a process which requires its own story.  Suffice it to say, what is produced by source and sister company: Turks and Caicos Water, would be meaningless if there was nowhere to store it.

Right now, there are 2.5 million gallons stored at the plant in Grace Bay.  Another one million gallons is held at the storage tank near FortisTCI, the electricity supplier, off Leeward Highway.

“We are currently the owners of the land on the roundabout near CIBC, and there are some additional storage and pumping facilities that will be built there very shortly; we are hoping to start that this year. So that is a part of the project of trying to get water to and from both ends of the island.

We always have to be ahead of the curve, because the demand will always be there and the capacity to supply that demand has to always be ahead.”

In our series, we explore more advancements in the past ten years; including the biggest splash for Provo Water Company:  the introduction of artificial intelligence and technology.

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Cuban Nationals Apprehended in Bahamian waters

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#TheBahamas, June 24, 2021 – A group of Cuban Nationals are currently being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Center after they were apprehended in the south west Bahamas by a US Coast Guard vessel earlier this week.

The fifteen individuals were captured after being sighted on Anguilla Cay on Tuesday 22 June. They were taken aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, CHARLES SEXTON, and handed over shortly after 7:00 pm to the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Jataro McDonald.

The Cubans were subsequently brought into the capital early Thursday morning, where they were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified. 

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to maintain a vigilant presence while patrolling and protecting the territorial waters of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and working with other law enforcement agencies.

Photos shows: Cuban nationals shortly after their arrival at the Defence Force Base, Coral Harbour on Thursday June 24, 2021. (RBDF Photo by Petty Officer Al Rahming)

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and view our Youtube channel)

-rbdf-

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U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS GOVERNOR ASKS FLORIDA COUNTERPART TO CONSIDER VACCINATION CHECKS FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS

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Governor Albert Bryan Jr. cites concerns around unvaccinated cruise passengers arriving in the Caribbean

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (June 11, 2021) – Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Albert Bryan Jr. has made a plea to his Florida colleague, Governor Ron DeSantis, to honor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and reconsider the state’s legislation, which could impact the health and wellbeing of millions of Caribbean residents when cruises to the region resume.
As increasing numbers of Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Governor Bryan believes that ensuring the cruise industry reopens with vaccinated passengers is essential to the tourism economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean.
Congratulating the Florida governor for his commitment to health, civil liberties and economic revitalization, Governor Bryan called for an exception – one that would enable vaccination checks for outbound passengers on cruise ships, which do most of their business on the open seas and directly impact the multiple Caribbean islands they visit.

“The bill you signed into law (which goes into effect July 1, 2021) may negatively impact the United States Virgin Islands and other port of call destinations in the Caribbean region,” said Governor Bryan, who highlighted CDC approvals for cruise ships to begin sailing this summer from U.S. ports with strict health and safety guidelines, such as the vaccination of 95% of passengers and crew members

With Florida serving as the nucleus and biggest embarkation point for cruises in the United States that dock in the U.S. Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean, the Governor indicated that “our ports … are in direct line of fire,” adding that while the two hospitals in the U.S. Virgin Islands are equipped to care for the Territory’s residents, they lack the resources to address a potentially larger public health crisis. “The lack of infrastructure puts us at a disadvantage for any crisis – health or mother nature. This is true of not only the Virgin Islands but most of the countries in the region,” the Governor penned.
With this reality, the governor expressed his concern for all citizens in the Caribbean region: “This is why I implore you to reconsider with a lens to the negative impact that your legislation may have on residents in the Caribbean … the cruise line and tourism employees, many of whom are of Caribbean descent, are now almost fully vaccinated and ready to get back to work.” 

“Please consider the exemption proposed above so … Caribbean (destinations) can feel safe on arrival and disembarkation of cruise passengers and crew. This will be a big win for the people of the Caribbean and the Caribbean expatriates that live in your state. It is my hope that you can assist us in moving in the same direction while respecting regional health liberties,” he affirmed. Governor Bryan has also shared a communiqué with the leadership of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) inviting support from regional leaders to work with the USVI in finding an agreeable path forward to welcoming cruise ships and their passengers back to the islands in as safe a way as possible.
About the U.S. Virgin IslandsFor more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Instagram (@visitusvi) and Twitter (@usvitourism), and become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI). When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel – including on-line check-in – making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.

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TCI: International Nurses Day Messages

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#TurksandCaicos, May 17, 2021 – “As Chief Nursing Officer for the Turks and Caicos Islands, I salute all nurses in their respective roles and place of work within the country. I do not have to remind you that we are living in unprecedented times; with the continued challenges of COVID-19, a disease that threatens our healthcare system, the health and wellbeing of our community and our local economy here in these islands and by extension the rest of the world.

Scientists, and medical professionals continue to grapple with strategies and research to determine best practices for fighting this global threat, to find a cure, or at least a preventative method which is effective in “freeing our smiles” from the daily restraints of the face masks, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which have become necessary measures to protect and preserve life in your field of work and at home. Increased demands have been brought about by the need for: continued contact tracing, clinical management of hospitalized patients, the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and community testing for COVID-19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In spite of these increased challenges, you, the nurses of the TCI, continue to persevere, with a heart of love, care, commitment and dedication; working collaboratively with your medical colleagues, to provide quality care to residents and visitors to these Islands. I am extremely proud of you, and express my profound thanks for your outstanding and continued service. Most certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the spotlight on our health care system and the need for nurses to become more involved in the critical role of planning for the future of healthcare in our country. May God continue to bless and protect you and your families, as you continue in your work for the future of our healthcare system, and may God continue to bless our beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. Happy Nurses Day.”

Chief Nursing Officer, Mrs. Jackurlyn Sutton

 “I congratulate the Nurses of the TCI on the sterling work they have been doing and most notably their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme chosen for this year is just as fitting as the theme for last year, “Nurses A Voice to Lead: A vision for Future Healthcare”.

You are without question the backbone of the healthcare system, and without you, we would not be able to offer Universal Health Care or Universal Access to health for our TCI population.  Nurses make up the largest cadre of health care personnel in the TCI, and I would like to reassure them that as their Minister of Health, I will make every effort to ensure that policies and strategies are implemented to strengthen nursing education in the TCI, thereby creating opportunities for our young people who wish to pursue their first degree in nursing and to be able to accomplish that success in the comfort of their home. I would also seek to advocate for continuous improvement in the working environments and remunerations for nursing professionals.

I empathize with those countries in the region and around the world who have lost members of the nursing workforce during this pandemic, but we are so grateful to God that none of you have been severely affected by this disease. I sincerely appreciate the commitment and dedication you have demonstrated particularly during the pandemic and wish you a blessed and meaningful Nurses Day.

 The Hon Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. E. Jay Saunders

 “It is with much gratitude that I salute nurses globally, regionally and especially those serving this great nation.  For many nurses in the TCI, it is our first pandemic and for others, it is certainly our longest.  In my address to nurses last December, I charged all of us to be thankful to God for his divine protection over the past months.  We have since completed a year and we are still under His cover; we have not lost any of our colleagues to this awful and selfish disease, we are all still here.  I thank each of you for your passion and drive, and I especially thank those of you who have suffered personal losses during this most difficult time, for staying the course.”

“Giving up was easy, but you didn’t. I am truly thankful for your resilience.  To my nurses in Primary Health Care, you know that my heart belongs to you. I love and appreciate you.  It is impossible for me to thank this small team for all that they do. You have been stretched beyond measures, but you have persevered.  Thank you for being Nightingales and Seacoles. I thank the families of these unsung heroes for giving them to this country to achieve what many great nations were unable to, with more resources.  We reflect on those that have gone on before, for allowing us to stand on their shoulders. I charge all of us to use this week to reflect on the past year; use the time to give thanks and to search ourselves to see how we can be better at doing what God has called us to do.  Happy International Nurses Day to you all!”

Alrisa Gardiner, Primary Health Care Manager  

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