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Short Airport shut down but guests take to social media as TCIAA scrambles to get Firefighters back to work



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – Tens of flights were delayed last Saturday  when firefighters at the Providenciales International Airport went on strike for more than three hours over dissatisfaction with their wage increases.  The strike occurred on one of the busiest days of the year with 35 commercial flights scheduled to land in the Turks and Caicos. All domestic flights and at least two international flights were canceled or held up because of the strike.

Private air carriers also experienced delays. Caicos Express Airways said their morning flights were all delayed and several passengers cancelled due to the delays. Provo Air Center said they had one cancellation (a fuel stop) and four delays with some passengers having to completely reschedule.   Additionally, some commercial passengers got frustrated with the airport and called for charter flights instead.

InterCaribbean Airways had to cancel 10 flights. Blue Heron aviation said the delay did not greatly affect them as they only had one cancellation.  All of this within a three hour timespan on June 18, 2022 when the fire crew at the airport, without warning, took industrial action.

As for the reasoning behind the strike the firefighters say the increase offered to them is comparatively thought to be not as good as it is for others employed by the Airports Authority.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) confirmed the issue around 8:00 am but it is thought to have been affecting the airport from before 7:00 am. The TCIAA told the public they would be ‘temporarily unable to accommodate air traffic’ as flights cannot be given clearance to land without firefighters on-site in case of an accident.

TCIAA officials immediately met with the firefighters in an effort to iron out the issue and restore services and they were successful in reaching a temporary solution the TCIAA confirmed. Firefighters returned to work around 11:18 am but the contents of that meeting have not yetmbeen made public.

Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of interCaribbean Airways praised the swift resolution between the two teams noting that in the past similar action had spread over days causing massive delays. Firefighters have had to resort to industrial action several times in the last 4 years. They were on strike in August 2019 and again in May 2021 both times resulted in much longer delays.

The travelling public was well aware of the strike commented on sites like TripAdvisor (the world’s largest travel website) immediately picked up on the issue. Tourist comments on the site ranged from outraged to disappointed.

“A total mess. What an embarrassment for TCI Tourism and waste of time and money for so many,” one individual lamented.

Another who appeared to be on the island said, “How awful for those trying to get here. (And I hope this is cleared up by Tuesday when we are set to return home.) I saw that the early Jet Blue flight out of JFK this morning made it halfway to Providenciales before being diverted back to JFK.”

Just after 11 a.m. one person who seemed to have been caught up in the incident said, “I am one of the ones stuck now hearing the PLS airport is open again. But we are already canceled and back with our luggage in a long ticketing line trying to see if they will do a special flight later today or tomorrow.  This is after being in the air for over an hour and returning to Boston.  JB has been waiting for the go-ahead since we came back at about 8:30 am from the

Turks govt to see if the flight can come in on a new schedule. Huge black eye for Turks. What a huge upset for all these folks and families…. Pay the firefighters a fair wage.”

Despite this the TCIAA spoke directly to the public, noting that they had the firefighter & #39;s best interest at heart and said the firefighters were upset because their pay increases would be staggered.

“The TCIAA wishes to advise that it has and continues to prioritize improving work conditions and salaries/wages at the TCIAA. Today’s industrial action occurred without any formal notice issued to the TCIAA and in response to a recent announcement by the TCIAA to its staff that it was immediately introducing a phased salary increase to all staff. To this end, the fire service received a 15 percent increase to be applied to all staff within the department. The announcement advised that this 15 percent increase was the first step of a two-part process leading to the introduction of a salary grading scale, during which time an additional increase was to be anticipated, ”  a press release explained.

The TCIAA did not explain whether they had consulted with the firefighters on the nature of the increase and if it was a workable solution for them.  The TCIAA say they are working to upgrade the fire tower to make employees more comfortable and would be working with the government on increases as the staff deserved it.

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Misick announces Longer terms in Office, Bi-Partisan Constitutional Changes 



#TurksandCaicos, February 19, 2024 – Magnetic Media SOTS23 COVERAGE:  Premier WASHINGTON MISICK announced that there is bi-partisan agreement on the CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES which the people of the Turks and Caicos can expect including a FIVE YEAR term for the elected Government.

The House of Assembly will finally leave the HJ Robinson High Auditorium to return home at the NJS Francis building and when it does, it will be called a PARLIAMENT with only ELECTED MEMBERS; (as reported) ending the four year term and ending the APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS for a truly democratic composition of the house of representatives.

The State of the State Address, a creation of the Progressive National Party Administration, was carried live from Yellow Man and Sons Auditorium in Grand Turk, tonight February 19 which is also the three-year anniversary of the Misick-led government.

#TCIPremier #WashingtonMisick #SOTS2023 #TurksandCaicosParliament #tcinews

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How to protect against HIV 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, February 15, 2024 – HIV/AIDS has killed more than 40 million people globally since it first appeared in the human population in 1959 according to the World Health Organization WHO and even though there are effective treatments there is no cure making prevention practices a top priority for vulnerable groups.

In recent months claims have emerged of rising cases locally creating concern in some Turks and Caicos residents.  The Ministry of Health has remained silent on the issue and has not published relevant statistics despite repeated queries from Magnetic Media.

Given the continued presence of the virus, individuals are still at risk from infection. In fact the WHO says in 2022, when 630,000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.3 million people acquired HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus behind AIDS, the most advanced form of HIV.

The virus spreads through the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food.

With this in mind there are several steps that residents can take to protect themselves including

  • Using condoms during sex
  • Limiting sexual partners
  • Being tested regularly
  • avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
  • Using personal protective gear when dealing with bodily fluids

Vulnerable populations can be administered Pre Exposure Prophylaxis which work to prevent infection and Post Exposure Prophylaxis which can prevent the virus from taking hold.

An HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence.  In 2024 HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). These drugs strengthen the immune system which HIV weakens significantly.

Still the WHO encourages residents to take preventative action.

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CARPHA: Take Action to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Saharan Dust



February 16, 2024 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging persons to protect themselves against adverse health effects of a Saharan dust plume, which has covered many parts of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in a Dust Bulletin dated February 9th, 2024 stated, “it is highly likely that particulate matter levels will be above the 24-hour outdoor air quality guidelines” as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA, explained “Saharan dust worsens air quality and increases the levels of particulate matter in the air.  This can be hazardous, especially to small children, older adults and people with underlying lung conditions and chronic cardiopulmonary diseases”.  Dr St John added, “Saharan dust can also worsen the health symptoms of those who suffer from asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”.

In light of the poor air quality levels, CARPHA is encouraging persons to take steps to avoid the harmful effects of Saharan dust. These include:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and when outdoors, wear a dust mask (eg. KN95)
  • Utilise a HEPA filter indoors to purify air in individual rooms
  • Persons who use medications for pulmonary conditions should carry them at all times and use as prescribed
  • At the first sign of difficulty while breathing, seek professional medical advice immediately
  • For less severe symptoms, standard allergy medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may alleviate symptoms

For more information, please see excerpts from the attached CIMH Dust Bulletin.

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