By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 30, 2022 – After nearly half of her home was destroyed by fire Tuesday night one resident from Leeward Palms wants to remind homeowners that burglary is not the only thing they should remain vigilant about.
The homeowner, who asked to remain anonymous wanted to share her story in the hopes it would help other residents to be prepared in the event of any emergency or danger.
She explained that on Tuesday night, she had retired for the evening and was in bed when her dog began barking suspiciously as if to alert her. Immediately she peered out of the windows of the home she shared with her son but in seeing nothing suspicious she got back into bed.
Unbeknownst to her, the eastern side of her house which she could not see from her window was ablaze at that very moment.
Further tragedy was prevented by a Good Samaritan who noticed the flames and rang her son who was at work at the West Bay Club at the time to inform him. Immediately he started home and called to alert his mother who grabbed the dog and got out of the burning building.
The Domestic Firefighters were called for assistance with the blaze but it was the Leeward Palms residents who saved the day. Armed only with regular low-pressure garden hoses the son and neighbors managed to put out the fire in the reported 45-minutes it took the fire crew to arrive on scene.
While no one was hurt, the family especially her son sustained significant losses and the resident, who is an employee with the TCI Government is warning other Turks and Caicos residents that a little vigilance can go a long way.
Fire emergency experts say you may have as little as two minutes to escape a blazing home. Caribbean people love to say ‘ you neva see smoke without fiyah’ but what if like you can’t see the smoke?
An easy way to get immediate alerts about any potential blaze is to install smoke detectors in your home. Portable smoke detectors that you can attach to the walls or just place on a shelf in each room retail for as low as $12 on Amazon.
Fire extinguishers are especially handy because water won’t put out every type of fire, trying to spray water on an oil fire will only make it worse as oil floats on water (which is how fires can last on the ocean). There are large and small ones available online for as low as $10 dollars.
Even more protection can come in the form of sprinklers, these do need expert installation and are good deal more pricey than a smoke detector but are a guaranteed defense for potential fires when no one is at home.
Another level of protection not necessary for fires but still important for anyone with an A/C unit is a carbon monoxide detector. Retailing for as low as $30 on Amazon these are especially important. Carbon monoxide does not have a scent or visible marker but can make you ill from small bouts of exposure and can easily kill an adult while they are asleep.
Encourage your children not to leave curling irons or similar implements plugged in, pay attention to stoves microwaves, coffee pots, toasters, irons and ovens to make sure they are not touching flammable surfaces and are always unplugged when not in use.
Check your smoke alarm batteries regularly to make sure they still work and purchase home and contents insurance plans to protect your assets and ensure a smooth recovery. Contents insurance may also be a good idea as home insurance may only cover the building while everything that really matters is inside.
Keep your important documents together in one central location that you can grab quickly. Even better would be housing them in a fireproof safe so when the dust settles you can recover them and they will be good as new.
In the unfortunate case that there is a fire you can’t control or prevent, every family should have a fire emergency plan with escape routes. Practice your plan several times a year and make sure your children know it well.
Most importantly do not try to move anything out or save anything! Get your family and pets out immediately; lives are irreplaceable.
In this case, lives were spared and so were important documents; the home is also insured. Now, with investigators having completed their assessment of the scene, the family awaits information on what triggered the fire and report to us that they are busy mopping up water, clearing debris and cleaning soot from walls and ceiling.
Blue Hills Man Charged with Manslaughter
#TurksandCaicos, February 8, 2023 – A 48-year-old man has been charged with two counts of manslaughter.
He appeared before a Magistrate on January 30th. Following his court appearance, the matter was committed for sufficiency hearing on April 06th.
Andre was charged in connection with an incident which occurred on December 24th at the Residence Yard, Five Cays.
Two female minors -ages six and seven- died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Press Release: RTCIPF
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.
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