#TurksandCaicos, April 28, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 11th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 23 March 2022 at the Premier’s Office on Grand Turk.
All Members were present. At this meeting Cabinet:
- Approved the Estimates of expenditure for a Supplementary Appropriation (No. 3) Bill 2022 for submission to the House of Assembly to facilitate: additional funding of the new pensions scheme; repatriation of irregular migrants; legal claims against government; procurement of assets and land acquisition for government.
- Agreed for the approved Provisional Warrant Resolution 2022-23 to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund in respect of the recurrent expenditure for part of FY2022-23 to be advanced to the House of Assembly.
- Approved an extension of the timeline for completion from 3 to 4 years and final Development Agreement between the TCI Government and BBF Cooper Jack Ltd. (The Strand) for the development of luxury residences and vacation villas in Cheshire Hall & Richmond Hill, Providenciales.
Was updated on the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) of the TCI National Health Insurance Board (NHIB) as at 31st December, 2021. Members approved for the NHIB to go outside of established analogues to recruit and remunerate the Change Manager Operations and Change Manager Finance positions.
- Approved for the TCI Government to host the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) governance meeting in December 2022.
- Approve the appointment of Trevor Cooke as Chairman of the National Insurance Board for a period of 5 years with effect from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2027. Members also approved the PS Education or his nominee to represent the Government in the absence of the PS of Finance.
Discussed the provision of official office space for the Leader of the Opposition.
- Approved the exemption of Import Customs Duties for the importation of a vehicle for a named individual similar to an existing policy which applies to Leaders of Churches.
- Approved the exemption of Import Customs Duties for the importation of all-terrain vehicles by Chukka Caribbean Adventures for the provision of excursions to cruise ship passengers on Grand Turk. Members also agreed for a revised policy in support of businesses working in the same sector.
- Approved for the TCI Government to enter into negotiations for the purchase of the following Parcels:
a) 10304/156, Grand Turk for the expansion of the tourism corridor on the island,
b) 10304/139 & 140, Grand Turk for the expansion of the tourism corridor on the island,
c) 51205/18, 43 & 44, North Caicos to construct a Community and Recreation Centre, and
d) 10404/157, Grand Turk for the purpose of developing domestic fire and emergency services on Grand Turk.
e) 60607/79, Providenciales, for the purpose of developing several capital infrastructure projects linked to internal and national security including but, not limited to, a Prison Remand Centre, the RTCIPF Marine Branch Base and an Immigration Detention Centre.
- Approved the applications for Class A Processing and Export Licenses from Caicos Seafood Ltd. (Godet Street, South Caicos); Caicos Fisheries Ltd. (Guagabeen Street, South Caicos); DNA Fishing (Albert Capron) and Provo Seafood (Five Cays, Providenciales) and discussed Class B Processing and Export Licenses for further discussion.
- Approved the extension of existing COVID-19 measures and protocols until 30 April 2022 and the following amendments:
a) Removed the requirement of obtaining written permission from the Chief Medical Officer or Chief Environmental Health Officer and written approval (permit) from the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources for any gathering or social activity (whether private or public), including on public beaches
b) Amend quarantine regulations requiring persons to self-isolate for 5 days if they test is positive.
c) Effective May 1st, 2022 only a negative covid-19 test within 72 hours will be required for visitors entry into the Turks and Caicos Islands and Pre-Travel Authorization will be discontinued.
Members also discussed the need for a Covid-19 strategy covering measures and entry requirements going forward.
Noted a paper on the regional implications of the ongoing war in Ukraine and approved the application of a temporary visa regime for Russian and Ukrainian nationals travelling to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Noted recommendations by the Procurement Board on the award of the following contracts:
a) TR 21/43, Consultancy Services for the Providenciales International Airport Redevelopment Project;
b) NHIB 03/2021, TR 21/11, Motor Vehicles for the national Health Insurance Board;
c) TCIFSC 02/2021, TR 21/20, Replacement Vehicle for TCI Financial Services Commission;
d) PN 005225, SSP, Homes for Domestic Violence – Providenciales, Ministry of Home Affairs and Transportation;
e) PN 005575, SSP, water Distribution Pumping Station – Grand Turk, Ministry of Home Affairs and Transportation; and
f) PN 005612, SSP, IT Command and Control System (CAD Radio Upgrade All Islands, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
Re-approved the granting of management responsibility to the Public Works Department over parcel 50206/7 for use as a staging area and an asphalt plant to facilitate the planned road works for North Caicos.
- Was updated on issues related to the Ministries of:
1. Immigration, and
Medical Council of Jamaica Announces more CME hours for Doctors
KINGSTON, September 19, 2023 (JIS) – Medical doctors will be required to complete two additional hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) specifically dedicated to mental health and wellness in order to renew their practising certificates come January 2024.
The Medical Council of Jamaica (MCJ) noted that this critical update forms part of its commitment to advancing the healthcare system and ensuring doctors are well-equipped to meet the prevailing mental health demands.
“This increase moves the total required CME hours from 20 to 22, enhancing doctors’ ability to address the mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The decision to introduce these additional CME hours is driven by the Medical Council of Jamaica’s commitment to prioritise the well-being of both patients and healthcare professionals,” the MCJ stated.
The Council reasoned that COVID-19 has highlighted the pressing need for mental health support, with healthcare workers facing unprecedented challenges, experiencing increased stress and witnessing the emotional toll the pandemic has taken on patients.
To support doctors in meeting the new CME requirement, MCJ Registrar, Professor Howard Spencer, shared that the Council will provide access to a range of accredited providers and resources offering relevant mental health and wellness courses.
“The Medical Council of Jamaica encourages all doctors to proactively engage in these additional CME hours well in advance of the renewal deadline in early 2024, to ensure a seamless continuation of their practice,” he emphasised.
The Council added that the focus on mental health and wellness will empower doctors with the knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to patients experiencing challenges in this area.
Commenting on the new requirement, Consultant Psychiatrist and Public Health Specialist, Dr. Earl Wright, underscored that the additional CME hours are a win-win for doctors.
“It’s not only enhancing the doctors’ care of the patient but doctors need to take care of themselves also. This will help to prevent doctor burnout. Doctors are sometimes under severe stress for long periods of time. So enhancing the doctors’ ability to take care of themselves, they’re also enhancing their ability to take care of all their patients,” he remarked.
For more information about the new CME requirement, visit www.jamaicamedicalcouncil.org.
Prime Minister Holness opens Maypen to Williamsfield Leg of Southern Coastal Highway
#Kingston, September 19, 2023 – The May Pen to Williamsfield leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) was officially opened by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Thursday (September 14).
The thoroughfare, which represents part A of the SCHIP, now significantly reduced travel time between the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester and will offer a multitude of economic and social benefits to users.
Speaking during the segment’s opening ceremony, Prime Minister Holness hailed the development as “a step in improving the general quality of life for all Jamaicans”.
“[It is] a step in improving the productivity of all Jamaicans. You can easily measure the productivity gained of this road by the productivity lost in traffic, discomfort and the aggression it creates in driving on some of the other bad roads,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted that some of the anticipated benefits of the new roadway include connecting workers to jobs, improving the response time of the security forces, and improving and lowering the cost for delivering agricultural outputs to market.
“In so many ways, building your infrastructure improves well-being,” he emphasised.
The Prime Minister also announced that the highway’s usage will be at no cost to motorists until the end of the calendar year, on December 31, 2023. After this period, toll rates will be applied.
Mr. Holness further pointed out that the scope of work for the highway included a new four-lane bridge across the Rio Minho to increase the area’s resilience to weather events.
The project also features a two-year defects liability phase, the Prime Minister said, while noting that, “during this phase, the contractor will have to fix any project-related defects”.
It was implemented by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC), under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
For his part, NROCC Managing Director, Stephen Edwards, described the highway’s opening as “a momentous occasion in infrastructure development in Jamaica”.
Dubbing the project as a “giant leap forward for the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester and for all Jamaicans”, Mr. Edwards informed that the contract’s implementation commenced in 2019.
He detailed that the development features a 23-kilometre four-lane highway with adiamond interchange and Florida-T at May Pen, a separated interchange at Toll Gate, an interchange at Melrose, four bridges, 17 concrete box crossings, upgrading of approximately five kilometres of roadway along the Melrose Bypass to a four-lane dual carriageway, a police post at Toll Gate, safety fences, concrete median barriers, and the installation and expansion of fibre optics.
“We believe… we have delivered a modern highway that the people of Jamaica can be proud of,” Mr. Edwards added.
Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in his remarks, said the highway’s opening is “a pivotal junction in our nation’s transportation history”.
“This remarkable highway will undoubtedly reshape this side of the island and its network and elevate collective journeys towards progress. This occasion is also a testament to the dedication in providing safer roads and enhanced connectivity for all Jamaicans,” Mr. Vaz stated.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington, also spoke highly of the road development.
He expressed that the new leg of the country’s highway network represents “more than just concrete, steel and asphalt”.
“It signifies development, connectivity, and the promise of a brighter future for all those who traverse the south coast of this country,” Mr. Warmington said.
He added that a well-planned, efficient transportation network is the backbone of any thriving nation, as it connects people, fosters economic growth and enhances the quality of life for citizens.
Multi Pronged Approach in St. Ann to Tackle Dengue
Montego Bay September 19 (JIS) – The St. Ann Health Department has adopted a multipronged approach in the fight against dengue fever as the parish reports an increase in suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease.
Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation on September 14, Medical Officer of Health for St. Ann, Dr. Tamika Henry, said although the country is not currently in outbreak mode, the parish is on high alert due to the endemic nature of dengue in Jamaica.
She explained that the multipronged strategy includes surveillance, case management, health education, human resource reinforcement, larvicidal and adulticidal activities, source reduction, external stakeholder engagement, and continuous monitoring and evaluation.
Active and passive surveillance methods are being employed to detect suspected cases early. This involves healthcare personnel actively searching for symptoms at hospitals and health centres, ensuring prompt intervention when necessary.
“We have a nurse that is stationed at the hospital; she’s our hospital active surveillance nurse. She goes from ward to ward, as well as in the outpatient department, accident and emergency, looking to see if there’s anybody who matches the case definition for dengue because, of course, we want to pick up things very early,” Dr. Henry said.
She noted that the health department has bolstered its human resources, employing 26 permanent vector control workers across its five health districts.
To manage the situation effectively, high-risk communities have been identified and targeted for intervention by workers, including larvicidal activities aimed at mosquito breeding sites.
Dr. Henry outlined that health education and promotion efforts are widespread, involving various public health nurses, public health inspectors and community health aides.
“We have public health nurses going out. Public health inspectors are in their zonal areas on a day-to-day basis; they, too, do health education. We have our Community Health Aides, who have been doing house-to-house visits, reminding persons about searching and destroying,” she said.
Dr. Henry noted that the Ministry of Education and Youth is also engaged, with dengue lesson plans being implemented in schools.
“One of our age groups of concern is five to 14. So, we engage with them [Ministry] and they have again rolled out their dengue lesson plan in the schools, and the children are doing their search-and-destroy activity during their activity session,” she added.
Since the start of 2023, St. Ann has received 17 notifications of suspected dengue cases. One case has been confirmed that involves a 13-year-old male who presented with fever, headache, eye pain, and nausea.
Dr. Henry disclosed that nearly half of these cases, approximately 48 per cent, match the case definition for dengue, a significant increase compared to 2022.
In 2022, the parish had 10 reported cases with only one being confirmed as dengue fever.
“More males are being reported than females in 2023, and we recognise that there are two particular age groups of concern – 5 to 14 age group, that is our primary school going up to our high school, as well as our 24 to 44 age group,” Dr. Henry shared.
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