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Turks & Caicos Minister of Education Updates



#TurksandCaicos, August 17, 2021 – Turks & Caicos Minister of Education Updates


When & How school will open

Public schools will officially reopen on September 6 and when they do , the hybrid formula for teaching will be shelved for a return to in person classes.

Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education was a part of a press conference on Thursday (August 12) evening from the Office of the Premier and explained that waiting lists only exist because there is a flurry of interest to get children who were once in the private school system, into the public school system.

Students are Waiting

Some 240 students are on the waiting list to enter infant one, and primary school with the longest list at the high school level, 133 hopeful students.

Minister Taylor shared social distancing has cut down on how many can be admitted at the infant, primary and high school levels, but that her team is working on it.

On August 23, said the Director of Education, Edgar Howell parents will know the status of their application for a space in the public school system.

More money, more scholarships


Twenty four more people were awarded international scholarships this year informed the minister of education when she hosted a joint press conference with the ministry of health last Thursday.


Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education announced $4,102,844 in scholarships were approved, some she said are for full scholarships, others for partial scholarships and the balance are grants which are given to students who want to pursue studies outside of the priority areas.


While this year’s group will go through, and it is announced as some 86 applicants who were successful for college abroad; by next year, the Cabinet wants to see a more streamlined approach aligning awardees with the labour force needs of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This year, 181 people applied for scholarships; 86 were approved.  It demonstrated an increase in interest and awardees over 2020, where 156 candidates applied and 62 scholarships were given – the data is from the category of international studies.


Students continuing their degree programs are being supported to the tune of $1.45 million; local and international studies cumulatively will cost $ 2.35 million.


Students who will pursue ‘A’ Levels at British West Indies Collegiate and the TCI Community College have attracted around $270,000 in educational funding.


International awardees are already selected and Minister Taylor informed that a meeting which was due to be held on Monday August 16, would determine the local awardees for the upcoming academic year.



Teachers must be vaxxed or test weekly


Ministry of Education is taking a firm stand with workers in the Department and will require that all staff  be vaccinated for Covid-19 or regularly tested at their own expense; the frequency of testing is not stated in a notice dated August 9 which is expected to impact the coming 2021-2022 academic year.


This is the kind of stand that many countries are taking in sectors like health care, at home care givers for elderly, public sector and education.


Turks and Caicos is taking the same course it seems, even though so far the measures have resulted in eruptions of protests, petitions and demonstrations and violence.


School in for Gov’t Teachers August 23


There are 393 teachers registered in the Turks and Caicos government school system, 246 of them are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 which equates to 63 per cent.

Day one for those teachers is August 23rd; this will allow for at least two workshops hosted by the Ministry of Education to ready teachers for new systems in learning and to review the health protocols.


Most significantly, it will also allow Covid-19 antigen testing to be conducted on these staffers ahead of school reopening, and this will repeat weekly.  Face covering and social distancing mandates remain in effect for Turks and Caicos and students will return to face to face learning on September 6th all announcements from the Minister of Education Rachel Taylor in a Thursday press conference.


Minister Taylor explained the earlier time for teachers to report for duty also allows for screening of children who may have special needs.


The two weeks said the minister gives teachers time to prepare their classrooms and enables individual public schools to run their own programs.


Two schools have fully vaccinated teachers; they are Louise Garland Thomas High in Provo and the HJ Robinson High in Grand Turk.


The minister encouraged all teachers to get vaccinated.








Caribbean News

Director of Sports attends General Assembly American Sports Council – Cade 2023 



#Cartagena, Colombia, 30th May 2023 – Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes, attended the General Assembly American Sports Council CADE 2023 held in Cartagena Colombia.  The three-day conference commenced on Wednesday, 3rd of May and continued through Friday 5th May, 2023.  Sports leaders from thirty-plus countries from across South America, Central America, North America and the Caribbean were represented.There were four meetings held during the three-day period: CONSUDE (Meeting for South America); CONCECADE (Meeting for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean); CADE (meeting with South America, Central America and the Caribbean and North America) and Ibero – American Sports Council (Meeting with Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Countries in the Americas).Amongst the topics discussed were: best practices in hosting major games such as the Pan-American Games in Santiago Chile 2023 and its projected legacies; Transformation of Recreational Sports and Active Living through Active Management; Empowering our Athletes Beyond Medals; Differential approach in Sport, an approach towards an inclusive public policy; the commitment and social benefits of physical activity in schools; Para – Olympic sports; resumption of sports challenges post-pandemic and anti-doping in sports.  

The Director of Sport, Mr. Jarrett Forbes had the opportunity to meet with a number of sports leaders in the region representing the various governments as well as executive members of various sporting bodies and representatives from UNESCO and the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Mr. Forbes stated, “I was very delighted that the Turks & Caicos Islands had participated in a sports assembly of this magnitude, consisting of sports leaders from the North American Region, Central & South American Regions, and the Caribbean. The topics and presentations were extremely beneficial for the TCI. Many countries shared their approach to utilizing sports to combat crime and violence while others saw the benefits of sports to reduce the sedentary lifestyle in their countries. The benefits of sports are so immense. Member countries expressed how sports improved their GDP; provided opportunities for sustainable growth and development; promoted peace and inclusion; and there was a common position amongst member countries to utilize sports as a tool for sustainable development and growth.” 

Concluding the General Assembly, a common position for the future of sports in the Americas was taken with a final declaration and bilateral agreements of the CADE Assembly 2023.  


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Caribbean News

CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day, says Heart disease & Cancer due to TOBACCO leads to 47% of deaths



May 30, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic.  Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking.   Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.

Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.

This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.

In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.[1]

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless.  Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains.  Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.  Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical.  It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”

In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces.  Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.

Dr. Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region.   Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”

The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.

In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.

CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).  By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.

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Caribbean News




Updates to the Proposed Development Will be Discussed at a Supplemental Public Consultation 

on Thursday, June 8, at Queen’s College



#NASSAU, BAHAMAS, May 25, 2023 – Royal Caribbean International has published the first public consultation report for the development of its Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island as part of the stringent assessment required by The Bahamas’ Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP). The report addresses questions received throughout the public consultation process, during and following the public consultation meeting held in September 2021, covering topics from environmental impact to economic opportunity created by the new development.

The government of The Bahamas and Royal Caribbean agreed to postpone the publication of the report while the economic proposal for the development was under renegotiation, which concluded earlier this year. Publication of the the report follows an approval-in-principle by the National Economic Council, subject to appropriate due diligence.

After discussions with DEPP and noting the company has reduced the site plan from 20 acres to 17 acres, the cruise line, in conjunction with DEPP,  has scheduled a supplemental public consultation to be held on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Queen’s College to discuss the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (submitted to DEPP in December 2020) and share updates to the proposed development. The additional consultation will provide the public the opportunity to comment and ask questions about the project.

“Royal Caribbean has made six key environmental commitments in the development and operation of the Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island that exceed nearly all similar land-based development projects. These include: zero waste-to-landfill, achieving 100% renewable energy production by 2030, best-in-class wastewater treatment, no dredging, protecting and enhancing the surrounding habitats, and local environmental monitoring during construction and operation,” said Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer, Royal Caribbean International. “We value the engagement of the community and look forward to sharing these details, among others, at the upcoming supplemental public consultation.”

Further details on the project can be found at

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