#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2021 – The hope is that the crippling impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Travel and Tourism Industry is over. Another hope is that as cruising resumes, every worst case scenario played out in table top exercises would have given governments and industry leaders advance solutions for a safe resumption of the cruise industry.
“We have not been operating yet in the US. Our first ship will sail from the US, officially, in July. You may have heard of some ships operating in the Caribbean home porting out of Bahamas and St Martin, but no one is cruising as yet, out of the US,” said Marie McKenzie, Senior VP of Government Relationships at Carnival Corporation.
Carnival Cruise Line executives on Thursday evening, in speaking at a public meeting held in Grand Turk, gave assurances that the company has done well to build-in new safety protocols, with nearly a year and a half to re-calibrate.
“Not until recently, in late May, early June did the CDC really start working with us on the required protocols for us to operate,” explained Marie McKenzie.
“During those 17 months, we have been making changes on our ships in order to have the facilities that to not only test or identify Covid cases but also to quarantine and do contract tracing if necessary, so today our ships – and frankly, I can honestly say, the entire industry – has done a lot of work to prepare the ships to be able to operate in the event that there is a Covid case on board. For us to operate and never believe we will never have a Covid case is really not realistic; Covid is here to stay with us everyone.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government has also had to re-engineer what matters to visitors in terms of safety and what is necessary to keep the resident population out of Covid-19 danger. Turks and Caicos has managed to reach impressively low levels of infections and high levels of vaccine uptake.
Statistically, the TCI has recorded 2,423 cases of the coronavirus, with nine cases currently active in Providenciales only. The Ministry of Health informs, up to June 17, some 57 per cent of adults had received their first shot of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine.
“One of my roles today, and I will be working with the Hon Saunders (Minister of Health) – your Ministry of Health team. We work with destinations to agree on what those protocols are for entry into your country. So before a ship shows up here in Grand Turk, I would have worked closely with your health teams to make sure that not only are we meeting the CDC requirements to operate but also the requirements of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
At this stage, only operating businesses in Grand Turk are outfitted for new public health requirements in a post-Covid world; hand sanitisers, temperature testers, physical distancing markers, log books and signs requiring face coverings. If these requirements continue in the final quarter of 2021, when the Government hopes cruising to Grand Turk will resume, then it means there is a vast body of work to be undertaken ahead of the ships’ return.
Mrs. Mckenzie explained that in her role as the liaison with the various Governments of Carnival cruise ports, she has already started having these meetings. Carnival, she said, has confidently communicated their standards.
“Your government has already asked us to share what we are doing for protocols on board our ships so they can review that and determine when it is safe for us to return. A ship is not just going to show up here, without addressing the realities of the world today, which is that we are living in a world with Covid.”
Mrs. McKenzie, in response to a pointed question, informed that no protocols have been set for Grand Turk vendors who will either be stationed at the Cruise Center or those who will engage in activities with guests; decisions of that nature are going to be made in tandem with Governments.
“It’s not a unilateral decision of Carnival; I can tell you the ones (destinations) we are visiting today we do not have a requirement that everyone that interacts with our guests must be vaccinated. However, some destinations, their government is requiring that whoever is working in tourism or interacting with guests visiting their islands must be vaccinated.”
The reply was met with applause of many who attended the public meeting, held at the Parade Grounds. Marie explained that Carnival Cruise Line, in all of its decisions is being guided by the science.
“The reason we made the decision on the ships (for vaccinations), what’s really driving that is one, the CDC requirement –which I shared is the regulatory body which dictates how we operate – but the second reason we are doing that, is most destinations in the Caribbean are requiring that we have ships arrive with fully vaccinated persons.”
The last time a cruise ship was docked at the Grand Turk Cruise Center was March 6, 2020; the Carnival Magic came in but no guests were permitted to come off.
Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad
By Shanieka Smith
#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.
The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.
After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.
The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.
Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi
By Shanieka Smith
December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.
This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre. Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.
It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”
Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.
The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.
As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.
Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose
By Dana Malcolm
December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.
Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.
“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.
Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.
“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.
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