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Delta Variant confirmed in TCI says Ministry of Health



#TurksandCaicos, August 4, 2021 – Turks and Caicos is advised to keep the guard up, as the Delta Variant has now been detected in the country and at least three of the cases are from Community spread.  One case is imported. 

Turks and Caicos sent eight samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency lab in Trinidad and Tobago to test for the Delta Variant; 50 per cent or four of the results came back positive for what is described as the most infectious variant of Covid-19. 

The information came in a Sunday press release and, after all of the individuals who would have had the variant are completed their quarantines and are now recovered from the coronavirus.  One of the cases is imported, detected in a tourist who was unvaccinated. 

The three others were local; so there was community spread of the Delta confirmed Health Minister, E. Jay Saunders.  Of the four cases one person was fully vaccinated; the individual was from the local community. 

The Delta variant is so infectious that it is not only being contracted by fully vaccinated individuals but is being spread by them according to some data. 

Advice is for the fully vaccinated to continue to wear masks; mask wearing mandates in the Turks and Caicos are still a part of the health regulations, so it remains the law to don face coverings. 

Turks and Caicos has so far been confirmed with three of four Viruses of Concern or VOCs.  The UK strain or Alpha; the Brazilian strain or Gamma and now the India strain, also known as Delta. 

The announcement about the detection of the Delta strain came as the Turks and Caicos finds itself a mere three percentage points away from having 70 per cent of residents fully vaccinated. 

According to the Minister of Health on Sunday, 67 per cent of residents are now vaccinated for the Coronavirus.  Some 71 per cent have had one jab. 

Grand Turk up to Monday had one new case of Covid-19; now at four active cases after spending weeks at zero.  Providenciales has 24 cases of the Coronavirus active.  Hospitalizations remain at zero in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Meanwhile, details from a CDC report have emerged with striking and concerning findings about this new “fittest and fastest” coronavirus variant.

The Delta variant is as contagious as the chicken pox, spreads as easily as the common cold and Ebola and has a longer transmission window and viral loads in fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people are almost identical which means the vaccine is not slowing this variant down. 

The CDC report and its findings are the subject of numerous stories by leading global news organisations. 

The medical community is scrambling for a tactical response to the data as the CDC appears to flip-flop on its messages about coping with Covid. 

Older people are seriously at risk, even if they are vaccinated – for hospitalization and for death with the advancement of the Delta. 

Among the 162 million Americans vaccinated; 35,000 are symptomatic due to Delta. 

The fear now is that these findings will undermine confidence in the vaccines. 

One study found that 74 percent of the new infections were in fully vaccinated people; cutting down the “miracle” mantra pitched about the 7-month old vaccines.

The experts still say the best defence against the Delta strain of the coronavirus is the vaccine.  There is now discussion about a booster shot to fight off the Delta Variant. 

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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