#TurksandCaicos, May 27, 2022 – The growing demand for better control of solid waste management in TCI still remains a challenge. In recent years, what have we done differently to improve or expand in scope the existing resources to support our current solid waste management situation?
Polluted air has plagued residents of Grand Turk and Providenciales for years. The lingering question is, can we get control of the situation before it becomes a crisis? This is the concern of many citizens across the country.
As a resident of Grand Turk, I have experienced first-hand the impact it can have on this tiny island. Due to the location of the dump site, some residents are in a more vulnerable position to toxic fumes then others.
Citizens are relieved to hear the recent announcement that a dialogue is set to take place among a newly established Solid Waste Management Task Force. It should also be noted, within the last couple of years, the occasional flare-ups has declined. Nevertheless, to my knowledge it’s yet to be determined whether the fires were the work of an arsonist or uncontrollable combustion.
In all likelihood, until a viable plan is put in place and in motion, I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time. With the damages it could cause to human health over time, even one flare up is to many.
What is even more concerning due to the potential impact it could have on our sanitation services; is the fact that Carnival Cruise Line recently added their largest ship to the fleet and is now embarking on our shores. This particular ship has a capacity that exceeds 6K passengers. Now imagine the additional number of recyclable cans, bottles, human waste etc. that will be added to our inadequate landfill.
It’s pretty clear as to which companies and or facilities in these islands are generating the lion share of the waste. The question remains, are they doing enough to support the country as a whole in this area. In a small developing nation like TCI where the economy depends primarily on its pristine coastline and ecotourism, a lot more can be done by big players like the Ritz-Carlton, Beaches, Carnival Corporation and others.
With the recent opening of the Ritz-Carlton in Providenciales and the newly signed Carnival contract, it was a pivotal time to bring this issue to the table. If provisions were not included, in my opinion it should have been.
Our country is in a financial position right now to lead the way on this issue and not just follow or propose Band-Aids. Any government must have a commitment to put a solid plan of action in place based on reasoning and evidence of critical issues impacting the country.
Therefore, it’s imperative that critical issues such as this, is placed at the forefront of any cabinet discussion. This will help to raise the level of accountability for those responsible for protecting the health and well-being of our citizens.
Here are some proposed ideas to expand upon.
First and foremost, government must provide more support for local level sanitation services and strategies, to include restructuring the existing processes and procedures for garbage collection and disposal.
Grand Turk in particular, the constant easterly winds blows garbage from the dump site towards the leeward side of the island. Rather than having a chain link fence to contain it, erecting a wall will help to alleviate this issue.
Secondly, we must get serious about recycling. The existing company that is undertaking this initiative, why not expand their reach to the other developed islands.
Let’s start with educating and exposing our elementary and high school students to the importance of recycling instead of disposing of garbage. This will help to pave the way for a more sustainable future.
Let’s incentivize the private sector to set up local food banks or soup kitchens and encourage resorts, hotels and restaurants to donate their nonperishable and unspoiled perishable foods instead of disposing them in the landfill.
Long term solutions needs to be explored, to include being more open to outside investors with genuine interest and expertise in this arena.
The infrastructure for getting rid of recyclables is partly there. For example, there is a high volume of containers coming into our country on a weekly basis via these cargo ships.
This is a great opportunity to broker a deal with a foreign recycling company. Recyclables can be shipped out in those empty containers on un-laden vessels that are heading back to home base or other ports of departure. We realize this initiative is a monumental task, but we must act fast as time is running out.
Until the country is ready to tackle this issue head on, we will probably continue to see spontaneous combustion as the cause of landfilled fires.
As concerned citizens, we must become a stronger voice in the push for clean air and continue to sound the alarm before it’s too late.
Concerned citizen of Grand Turk
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
Texas bans TikTok from government agencies
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, February 7, 2023 – Chinese owned TikTok has officially been banned from Government devices in another US State following the passing of a new law banning the social media app on Federal devices in December. Texas Governor Greg Abott made the decision for his state following Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Utah.
In a statement posted to his website Abbott said “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored.”
He also claimed the app was harvesting significant amounts of data from users’ phones, maintaining the ban was necessary to protect Texas’ sensitive information from threats.
The ban on downloading and use will apply to both state and personal devices with internet connectivity that are used to conduct state business including cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.
It also prohibits residents from conducting state business with devices that have TikTok or other ‘prohibited technology’ enabled on them and bans any device with this technology from entry and use in sensitive areas, locations or meetings. The ban must be in effect by February 15 in all state agencies. There was no indication it would affect devices, personal or otherwise, not used to conduct state business.
The ban comes amidst increased tensions between the country and the Republic of China over a spy balloon that was sent into US airspace by China and then shot down by the US.
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