#TurksandCaicos, February 11, 2022 – Invest TCI, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture on February 3rd, 2022, hosted the North Caicos and Middle Caicos Agricultural Forum 2022. With a strong focus on Agriculture, the Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in agriculture so that the Turks and Caicos Islands can benefit from locally grown foods. Through Invest TCI’s MSME Programme and the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme, the Government will take a holistic approach to create a sustainable food supply for the country. These programmes will transform the agriculture sector through the provision of support for improved technology, expansion of operations, access to training and research, increased production, creation of employment and the development of niche markets. The communities of North Caicos and Middle Caicos were invited to learn about the programmes and to be a part of the Agricultural discussion.
The Agricultural Forum kicked off at 10 am in North Caicos at the Horsestable Beach Centre in Whitby and in Middle Caicos at the Conch Bar Community Center at 1 pm. In attendance were over 40 persons from the North Caicos community and more than 30 individuals in Middle Caicos. These included local farmers, agri-business representatives, and others who came out to learn about the assistance available through the Invest TCI’s MSME Programme and the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme. In addition, both communities were able to voice their opinions regarding the farming opportunities and challenges they faced.
Invest TCI’s MSME Programme provides support to start-up farmers by providing them with up to $10,000 in Cash Grants, up to $10,000 in Duty Concession and up to $10,000 in Technical Assistance. To be eligible, applicants must have belonger status, a business license or letter of intent and a business plan.
The Agro-Grant Incentive Programme provides support to registered farmers who own 0.5 acres of land, actively farming, or are start-up farmers. The programme has three categories of support. The first category is the Improvement Programme which provides up to $20,000 in support. The second category is the New Farm Start-Up/Young Entrepreneurs which provides up to $15,000 to registered farmers between the ages of 18 – 25. The Disaster Relief category provides up to $20,000 in support in response to National Natural Disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages.
Commenting on the event, Interim CEO For Invest TCI, Angela Musgrove, stated, “We were extremely delighted by the turnout in North Caicos and Middle Caicos. The participation and input from both communities were invaluable. It gave us a greater appreciation for some of the challenges that farmers face on these islands, and we can now look to resolve these issues and provide the resources they need to have sustainable businesses.
The Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Josephine Connolly, stated, “The Government’s goal is to develop and create business opportunities, to promote small businesses and ensure that all of our people can make a decent living and benefit from the MSME and Agro-Grant Incentive Programme. Agriculture and food security are major challenges. The Government plans to invest heavily in food production. We will ensure that locals employed in food production, planning, fishing, and processing earn a good and decent living. The incentive grants will also motivate many to develop their respective farms. I expect great things for farmers and for those who wish to enter farming.”
The Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment, and Trade commenting on the Forum stated, “As Minister for Finance, I am pleased that we are able to increase the financial support to the agriculture industry through these initiatives. I look forward to seeing the impact on the sustainable development of our agriculture industry.”
To apply for the Invest TCI’s MSME Programme persons can contact Invest TCI at 649 338 4773 or visit the website at www.investturksandcaicos.tc. To apply for the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme, farmers can contact the Department of Agriculture at 649 338 5269 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leslie Gibson, first Bahamian to land in Royal Caribbean’s Corporate Offices, looking for others to join the company he praises for diversity and inclusion
Job fair to fill open positions at the cruise line’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay resulted in 62 offers
MIAMI, August 10, 2022 – When Leslie Gibson accepted a position on Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay during the height of the COVID pandemic, he didn’t imagine the opportunity would lead him to his dream job.
“The craziest thing is that what I’m living now, I dreamt about,” said Gibson, who is now based in Miami. “I studied engineering, but I prayed for a job where I would be traveling and working outside of where I’m from. I love The Bahamas and I’m always ready to go back home, but I’ve always wanted to get more exposure, see the world and all it has to offer. And Royal has been able to provide me that.”
Gibson said he found his footing in human resources after friends and family saw his natural affinity for working with people and problem solving.
Gibson began his journey with Royal Caribbean as a human resources specialist on Coco Cay in June 2020, where he worked for 11 months before he was selected to move to corporate and take on a larger scale of recruiting for private island experiences around the world, a role that has expanded to include shipboard recruiting.
Gibson’s promotion reflects a corporate culture of promoting from within. Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, started as a purser onboard the company’s ships before rising through the ranks to head the cruise line that now has 26 ships and more than 77,000 employees.
In just two years, Gibson has helped to recruit more than 300 people to work in The Bahamas, along with another 100 for Labadee in Haiti and more than 1,000 to work on Royal Caribbean’s ships.
“I think that’s why I love being a recruiter, because of the fact that I’m able to help people find their dreams,” Gibson said. “Some people who don’t even know they’re good at certain things, I’m able to help them navigate through that by giving them the opportunity to work with us.”
Gibson recently traveled to Dominica and St. Vincent as part of Royal Caribbean’s recruiting efforts, and he was on the ground for the job fair in Nassau recently when Royal Caribbean made offers to dozens of people in the hopes of filling several different positions on Coco Cay.
The exercise was part of a larger regional hiring effort to attract more Bahamian and Caribbean talent for Royal Caribbean’s private destinations and its ships. Royal Caribbean’s Director of Talent Acquisition Cindy Williams, said the company is coming back “better than ever.”
“We have a strong employer brand, and we are committed to making our return to service better than ever by bringing new crew members to Royal Caribbean,” she said.
Gibson said the magnitude of the post-pandemic boom is evident in Coco Cay’s guest numbers.
“We went from seeing as little as 2,000 to 3,000 guests a day at Coco Cay to now up to 10,000 guests and two ships a day,” Gibson said. “So, that went from our head count being 350 to 450 employees to now almost 600 who are needed for a call day.”
Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley earlier this year announced the company’s intention to hire more Bahamians.
Gibson said that goal is just a microcosm of the company itself, which maintains diversity and inclusion as key priorities.
“I have coworkers from all around the world,” he said.
Recalling Royal Caribbean’s swift response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Gibson said the company’s passion for its employees was a considerable factor in his decision to accept his first job with the cruise line.
“I chose Royal because of some of the things they have done,” he said. “When Hurricane Dorian hit those islands, Royal Caribbean were some of the first people on the ground. I wouldn’t even talk about the people who were employed by Royal Caribbean — they spent millions of dollars helping employees get back on their feet.”
And although Dorian made history as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, Royal Caribbean’s response — rushing in to provide food, water, shelter and medical supplies for those impacted — was not particularly unusual for the company.
“When I say this, I mean throughout any disaster,” Gibson said.
“In 2020, there was a typhoon in the Philippines,” he added. “We assisted so many of our team members with helping their families back home. And this happens all the time. Our company is always about putting its employees first.”
Photo Caption: Leslie Gibson, 30, is the first Bahamian to have landed in Royal Caribbean’s corporate offices, but pledges to be far from the last. At a job fair held recently in Nassau, Gibson and his team of recruiters sought to fill a wide range of openings at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, the cruise line’s private island destination in the Berry Islands.
Release: RCI / DPA Media
TCI Premier and Delegation visit NCI in Jamaica
#Manchester, Jamaica, 14 August 2022 – The Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and his delegation have arrived at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica.The Premier will give the address at the second commencement ceremony and will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree. The Premier completed high school at West Indies College which is now NCU more than 50 years ago. Premier Misick and his delegation are on a four day visit to Jamaica. The Office of the Premier and Public Policy will bring commencement live on its Facebook page at 2PM EST. The Premier’s delegation includes: First Lady, Mrs. Delthia Russell-Misick; Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services; Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Mr. Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Ms. Althea Been, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Immigration and Border Services; Mr. Miquel Swann, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Premier and Public Policy; Mr. Edwin Taylor, Commissioner of Labour; and Mr. Bentley Johnson Aide De Camp.
Cleveland Clinic Performs First-In-World Full Multi-Organ Transplant to Treat Rare Appendix Cancer
#USA, August 13, 2022 – Cleveland Clinic has successfully performed a first-in-the-world full multi-organ transplant to treat a patient with a rare form of appendix cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Upon completion of the lifesaving transplant surgery, the patient received five digestive organs: liver, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, and small intestine.
Anil Vaidya, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Program co-director, led the seven-surgeon team that completed the pioneering operation on a 32-year-old man in September 2021.
“The patient had one of the more advanced cases of PMP I have seen,” said Dr. Vaidya. “While about 80% of patients with the condition can be treated with traditional therapies, what do you do with the 20% for whom the traditional therapy isn’t successful? In some cases, the answer may be a multi-organ transplant.”
During the 17-hour operation, surgeons removed the patient’s diseased organs. He then received the following deceased donor’s organs all together and at the same time: liver, stomach, pancreas and duodenum (pancreaticoduodenal complex), spleen, small intestine, and right colon. The donor spleen was initially transplanted to boost the immune protection of the newly transplanted organs and improve blood flow to the pancreas until fully transplanted. The donor right colon was initially transplanted to help protect the new intestine from infection and improve its ability to absorb nutrients. Both the donor spleen and donor right colon were removed prior to the completion of the transplant after they successfully served to protect the other organs during the operation.
“As far as we know, it is the first time in the world that a full multi-organ transplant, including the liver and four other digestive organs, is performed to treat PMP,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic in 2020, Dr. Vaidya performed in England the world’s first modified multi-organ transplant (excluding the liver) to treat a patient with PMP who had exhausted all other management strategies.
PMP is a rare cancer that typically originates as a tumor in the appendix. When the slow-growing tumor ruptures, its jelly-like content spreads to other digestive organs, with additional tumors developing that impair gastrointestinal function. Malnutrition and life-threatening complications ultimately occur.
Following the diagnosis in 2019, the patient began a long odyssey of treatments. He was one of the 20% of patients with PMP for whom the traditional treatments were ineffective. Often, this population of patients is left with few to no treatment options.
The patient was referred to Cleveland Clinic in 2021 in the end stage of his disease. He was receiving hospice care at that time. The patient had stopped working and could no longer eat solid foods. He was receiving nutrients intravenously through total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
“We needed to perform an evaluation to determine if transplantation in his case was safe, feasible and could provide long-term benefits,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Dr. Vaidya completed a thorough assessment of the patient’s case and received approval from Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Selection Committee to proceed. The patient was placed on the national transplant waiting list in July 2021.
“The patient – who needed a liver and four other digestive organs – had started to deteriorate quite rapidly,” said Dr. Vaidya. “It was touch-and-go that he would make it.”
In September 2021, a donor was found, and less than 24 hours later, the patient was undergoing the groundbreaking
surgery. The first three hours were preparatory, in essence removing the diseased abdominal organs. Next, the donor organs were inserted into the abdominal cavity, all the necessary vascular connections were completed and a left-sided ileostomy was created to handle bodily waste and let the body recover from the surgery.
“The operation was well planned and went like clockwork,” said Dr. Vaidya. “The team members knew exactly what they were going to do, and the timing was perfect. It went really well.”
Following the transplant, the patient remained in the hospital for 51 days. Soon after he was discharged, he returned because he was suffering from a case of graft-versus-host disease, a common occurrence following intestinal or bone marrow transplants where the donated organs’ immune cells recognize the recipient’s tissues as foreign and attack the recipient.
The patient underwent a procedure perfected and performed by Amy Lightner, M.D., colorectal surgeon and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Lightner administered three doses of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived exosomes, a first ever, novel treatment in solid organ transplants — another first for a patient who received a full multi-organ transplant to treat PMP.
According to Dr. Vaidya, “The patient’s recovery was absolutely amazing. His symptoms abated within two hours of the first dose.”
Nine months post-transplant, the patient, now 33, can eat and digest solid foods again and has energy to do what he loves, including walking and biking outdoors.
“There is currently no evidence of cancer recurrence,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Header: Masato Fujiki, MD, (center) and the Cleveland Clinic surgical team, led by Anil Vaidya, MD, performing the first-in-world multi-organ transplant to treat a rare type of appendix cancer. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)
1st insert: Anil Vaidya, M.D.
2nd insert: From left: Anil Vaidya, M.D., Shannon Jarancik, physician assistant, Amy Lightner, M.D., Andy Voge, patient, Rachel Voge, Andy’s wife, and Anita Barnoski, transplant coordinator.
Release: Cleveland Clinic / DPA media
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