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TCI: Communication Boost to DDME ahead of Hurricane

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#TurksandCaicos, July 22, 2021 – The breakdown of essential communications is one of the most widely shared characteristics of all disasters. Whether partial or complete, the failure of telecommunications infrastructure leads to preventable loss of life and damage to property, by causing delays and errors in emergency response and disaster relief efforts.

The adverse effect of Hurricanes Ike and Hanna in 2008 severely damaged the emergency communications infrastructure in Grand Turk, South Caicos and Providenciales. In 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Turks and Caicos Islands and brought extensive destruction to the still-recovering emergency communications infrastructure.

Investments in modern telecommunications infrastructure have provided powerful and flexible tools to enable the Turks and Caicos Government to cope with crisis, and quickly relocate and restore displaced or disrupted communications capabilities.

Today we can begin to phase away from the traditional methods of mounting antennas on lamp poles and on the sides of building structures to obtain the required height and positions. The conventional Antenna Towers are not ideal for our geographical location since they are fixed to the ground and are unable to be moved before a storm, hence they sustained severe damage during past hurricanes.

Based on lessons learnt, three Mobile Antenna Towers were procured from Aluma Tower Company to enhance the emergency communication operations of the National Emergency Operations Center. The official handover and commissioning ceremony for these mobile antenna towers took place on Monday 19th July 2021, at the DDME Providenciales Office.

Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams reflected on Hurricane Irma disruption to communication across the Islands in 2017. She highlighted the importance that emergency communications play in disaster preparedness and response and commended the DDME for the accomplishments made towards enhancing emergency communications in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

These retractable mobile towers are critical assets that reduce the impact of physical destruction to DDMEs emergency communication infrastructure during a disaster. It allows seamless preservation and swift restoration of emergency communications after a storm/hurricane.

During the ceremony, the Honourable Arlington Musgrove, Minister with the responsibility for Disaster Management delivered remarks and stated that he is proud of this strategic investment.

“While there is much more work that needs to be done in the future, I am confident that we are building the foundation to develop a robust and reliable Emergency Communications System with the required redundancies in the Turks & Caicos Islands. During this first phase, three mobile antenna towers were procured and stationed on Providenciales, South Caicos and Grand Turk. For the second phase, we will purchase an additional three (3) mobile antenna towers to place on North Caicos, Middles Caicos and Salt Cay.”

He went on to encourage other Departments, and Private Sector agencies, to invest in mitigation and preparedness throughout their organizations.

This positive development is a major achievement for the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies and by extension the Turks and Caicos Government.

Director (Actg.) Mike Clerveaux concluded that the “…DDME in our quest to build and foster investments in Disaster Management will continue to pursue further innovation to build a resilient future for these islands.”

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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