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TCI: EU tours and praises projects funded; Largest Education sector investor at $21 Million USD

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The $21 million dollar investment of the European Union into the public education sector of the Turks and Caicos Islands was to ensure access of more children to quality and diverse learning – a transformation – which was on display for the visiting Ambassador from the EU Delegation; in country June 20-23rd, 2021.

“We have come here today, to acknowledge the significant marker in the very constructive and fruitful partnership we’ve been building up over the years between the European Union and the Turks and Caicos Islands, lately in particular in the field of education,” said Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen, EU Delegation Ambassador in addressing an audience of school faculty and students, the project’s contractor and high level government officials. 

A site tour and plaque unveiling ceremony was held at the newly constructed Thelma Lightbourne Primary school in Long Bay, Providenciales.  The school opened following the 2021 Easter break when the new government relaxed restrictions.  It allowed children – across the country – to resume in person learning or to incorporate a hybrid approach after Covid-19 forced the dramatic closure of schools a year earlier.

For the past four years, the TCI Ministry of Education has been drawing from the EDF-11 Fund.  A fund initially granted for the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2013; earmarked to Education as a boost to build capacity in schools, which are often oversubscribed.  

“It is a very important day for me to see the result or at least one of the results, the European Union has wanted to do and to support here in the country,” the Ambassador added, “What has been done and what is in the making for the future, it is the Turks and Caicos Islands.  It is the former government, it is the current government, all the stakeholders, the teachers, the staff at the school and anyone involved in the education sector with our program; they’re the ones to be applauded.  What we did from the European Union side, was sign a cheque, giving support, accompanying a process which was really a process of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Today, the Thelma Lightbourne Primary School stands as a tangible symbol of European support of students in the British overseas territory. 

Originally from Belgium, Ambassador Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen, was appointed by the EU in September 2020 and is stationed at the EU Delegation office in Kingston Jamaica; H.E Van Steen, with 25-years diplomatic experience is the ambassador to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

In her first ever visit to TCI, Ambassador Marianne Van Steen had high praises for the destination and high anticipation for the two-school tour which would also take her into the island of South Caicos.

“We will support what we think is important and that is indeed what we did and I am very happy to see that indeed we have done something good.”

The student of Thelma Lightbourne Primary delivered a profound poem, ‘Hey Black Child’ by award winning writer Useni Eugene Perkins.

Education Minister Rachel Taylor was moved by the piece and moved by the premises and acknowledged the work to get to completion.

“I want to take this opportunity right now to commend the former Minister of Education, the Hon Akierra Missick whose vision this was and to also give props to the former government, who actually caused this project to materialize.  And then again to our government for being here to unveil; so you see consistently must develop throughout and we all must give credit where credit is due.”

Also on hand was patron of the school, Mrs. Thelma Lightbourne, a 40-year educator; Hon. Akierra Missick, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development; Hon Josephine Connolly, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage; Hon Kyle Knowles, Member of Parliament for Wheeland and the project’s contractor: JaMalco Ltd, owned by Jermaine Malcolm.

“We have become for the education sector, I think, the biggest donor with 17.52 million, that’s $20 or $21million USD.  It was not just because we were wanting to increase access to education for all children of the island(s) by constructing this school and refurbishing or renovating or improving other schools but in the Government’s sector reform program we also wanted to support the quality of the education by making sure the teachers are being trained and by making sure there is a better match between what the country needs in terms of labour and what the country can offer,” explained H.E. Van Steen.

Her Excellency commended Ministry of Education for now establishing a plan toward full activation of a Technical and Vocational institute. 

The ladies toured the school, approvingly.  The tour followed the plaque unveil, which in sophisticated black and gold is embedded in the wall of the school’s entry way.  He plaque reminds students now and into the future of the generosity and support of the European Union.

“I am very happy to see the school, I am very happy to hear that the access to about 200 to 300 students is now guaranteed,” said the Ambassador, who applauded the room made for Special needs children. 

“It looks state of the art, and I have no doubt it is.  It looks amazing.  I am particularly happy that indeed there are also special facilities foreseen for children with special needs and that is very much in line, with what I have heard is the motto of the relatively new, recently established government that actually says, we do not want to leave anyone behind.”

A similar service was held on the island of South Caicos at Iris Stubbs Primary school; also newly rebuilt thanks to EU funding. 

Iris Stubbs was devastated in the hurricanes of 2017; EU funding supported a completely fresh reconstruction which was completed in December 2019. 

Crime

RTCIPF Press Release: FIVE CAYS MURDER UPDATE  

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#TurksandCaicos, January 25, 2023 – An investigation has commenced into the shooting death of a male.

The murder occurred today (January 24th).

Based on preliminary reports, at around 3pm, the Police Control Room  received a call from a resident stating that gunshots were being heard in Five Cays

RTCIPF officers responded to the given location at Reece Street and found the lifeless body of a male, lying face down on the ground with what appeared to be gunshot wounds about the body.

Based on initial information received, the victim resided at Sand Bar Street, Five Cays.

Officers are at this time gathering pertinent details to ascertain a motive behind the murder of  the deceased.

The public is being advised to notify the closest police station or to contact Crime Stoppers and give any information regarding this murder or  any illegal activity anonymously.

Please note, that Crime Stoppers calls are answered in Miami and in Houston by Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers which is a non-profit and not a police agency.

The calls are anonymous and cannot be traced in the United States or the TCI.

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Crime

Drunk Driver charged says TCI Police

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 25, 2023 – Turks and Caicos’ road fatalities remain at zero.  But a serious traffic accident had residents concerned that an individual may have died.  With those concerns voiced by residents, Police have confirmed to Magnetic Media that while an accident did occur last weekend near the Chicken Shack, no one died.

Press Officer Denyse Renne explained that in the case of that accident a 59 year old Grand Turk man was arrested  for driving with alcohol consumption above the legal limit and that  the Traffic Department is continuing investigations.

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Health

Women 30x more likely for UTIs; Learn More

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

January 25, 2023 – Itchy, uncomfortable and often painful Urinary Tract Infections affects millions of people yearly, the vast majority of them women. In fact ‘UTIs will likely affect almost half the female population at least once in their lives and women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. Also, as many as 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months’ the US Office on Women’s Health explains.

Caused by germs that get into the bladder, UTIs can happen in any part of the large urinary system including the kidneys; ureters; bladder; and urethra, but are most common in the bladder. They are easy to cure with proper antibiotics but can be serious if left untreated. Knowing how to identify a UTI and getting quick and effective treatment can save women and girls a lot of pain. The UK National Health Agency lists the symptoms as

  • pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
  • needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
  • pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
  • needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
  • needing to pee more often than usual
  • blood in your pee
  • lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • a very low temperature below 36C

What many people may not know is that these painful symptoms can affect young children as well, if your baby is generally unwell, has a high temperature, wets the bed or themselves and refuses to eat you may want to ask your doctor to take a look as these are symptoms of UTIs in children.

A quick visit to your doctor and a round of antibiotics will usually clear up the infection and any recurring ones but avoiding UTIs completely may be the best bet for all. UTIs are caused when bacteria often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract the CDC says. The agency also lists a myriad risk factors that can cause this including poor hygiene in older adults with catheters or young children who are potty training causing bacteria to spread. Other risk factors include: Sexual activity; Changes in the bacteria that live inside the vagina, or vaginal flora. (For example, menopause or the use of spermicides can cause these bacterial changes.); Pregnancy; and Structural problems in the urinary tract, such as an enlarged prostate.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in having the common medical condition a UTI, while painful, is easy to treat, make use of the treatment options available to you and don’t ignore the symptoms in the hope that they will disappear as this could make the problem worse.

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