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TCI: Truck Driver shortage in US sending prices sky high on TCI Grocery & Goods

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#TurksandCaicos, August 27, 2021 – So what does the truck driver shortage in the United States have to do with the cost of bread on your grocery store shelves or items you may order from Amazon or that piece of plywood you need for construction?  Everything!

There is a scramble to find truckers and the unprecedented shortage has led to a surge in charges for shipping, a rush to bring more people to the profession; that push started months ago… and increasingly, prices of goods and supplies are increasing.

TIME magazine explained that there are actually deep negotiations as freight forwarders are bidding for space on supply boats and trucks. At a time when earnings are still on the rebound, it appears everything you want and need is noticeably more expensive.

It is particularly painful in countries like Turks and Caicos where the majority of consumer goods are imported.  We asked a few grocery stores and hardware stores to tell us about the changes in the cost of materials and Sunny Foods replied.

Sanjay “Sunny” Gopaldas, says there are supply issues, challenges with product availability, higher demand and freight costs, he said, have doubled.  And it is not an increase on our side when it comes to a freight price surge, it is on the supply side.

With two stores in Providenciales and two in Grand Turk, this veteran grocer has many shelves to stock and trying to keep prices competitive ain’t easy.  Trucking costs “are over the roof, as suppliers cannot find drivers.  No one wants to work.”

The reason appears to be those sweet stimulus cheques being distributed by the Biden Administration.  Supply Chain Quarterly, a global supply chain publication featuring cutting edge ideas and updates informed that driver scarcity will continue to impact trucking costs.

A report on August 9 said:  “Additional stimulus checks and unemployment benefits continue to keep drivers off the road. Even as various state governments have rescinded pandemic unemployment benefits, there are still more than nine million workers with continuing pandemic claims.”

Super-charged salaries and alluring incentives are at work to get drivers off the sidelines, but it is not working quickly enough.  The marketplace is also experiencing supply chain uncertainty because the pandemic continues with swerves and curves related to infection rates, vaccination rates, death rates and regulations which impact consumer spending.  It is causing inflationary rates and “these factors will continue to burden consumers for months to come,” said Supply Chain Quarterly.

Add to this, the fact that the cost to do business has increased due in part to mandated public health measures.

In the meantime, prices on goods and supplies will continue to be higher than the usual.  Though he was not speaking on behalf of the TCI retail and wholesale industry, Sunny told us that it is hoped “things will get better by the end of the year and that is dependent upon whether Covid-19 is under control.”

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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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