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Wind Direction saves thousands from toxic plumes created by BEASTLY fire at the Dump



By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff


#TurksandCaicos, July 15, 2022 – Years of calling on various government administrations to “fix” the haunting situation at the Wheeland Dump culminated in a massive blaze on Monday, June 11th. It took firefighters three days to get the smoldering fire under control but by Thursday night, the PNP Administration’s lead on Solid Waste Management in the country reported the beast was dead.

Kyle Knowles, is also the Member of Parliament for Wheeland where the Providenciales Landfill is located.  Knowles reported regularly to a worrying public about the fire, which seemed to spontaneously combust in the sweltering weather conditions charted of late.  He said water trucks, The Turks and Caicos Regiment, the Department of Environmental Health and Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health were all on site Monday night to show support for the firefighters, which came from both the domestic and airport units.

Knowles once again said they would be “brainstorming ways of ensuring stringent security measures are in place, protocols are enforced to avoid another fire.”

The member of parliament, who fielded concerns from thousands of nervous residents was also grateful that the winds which had been brisk over the period of the fire, did not shift; remaining southeast and south which kept every major residential community out of the path of the smoke.

The huge plumes of menacing looking smoke dwarfed the single fire truck initially sent to extinguish the fire. Thankfully, that domestic truck was joined by airport firefighters which are larger, better resourced and more ideally designed to fight a blaze of the height and scale of the one now put to rest.

Knowles was quick to respond saying he was “In discussions with [officials]to ascertain the cause of the fire.”

The billowing smoke could be seen from as far away as Grace Bay Beach.  Several photographers on site informed, their drones were capturing the fire from as high up as fifty feet, the smoke was well above that height.  Interested residents flooded the area from all around, reporting they were drawn to the scene due to the rare and frightening size of the fire which thankfully, and despite its size never raged out of control.

After the first night, the fire was 90 percent contained, reported the Department of Environmental Health.

Residents were warned to stay away from the blaze but truth be told, residents just wanted the fire to stay far away from them.  Thousands of homes, a major resort, vacation villas, businesses, schools, eco-sites and apartment complexes were under threat.

It was a “tire fire” originally but drone video revealed that it spread rapidly to the other mounds of garbage and debris congregated at the landfill.

While the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority was criticised by some for assigning the airport trucks to help with putting out the Wheeland Landfill fire, others called it a necessary move and the TCIAA issued a statement of commendation.

“Our ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting) team is comprised of first responders of the highest caliber.  Each day they report to work dedicated to giving the best of themselves to keep air travellers safe.  Yesterday’s display proves that such dedication is not confined to those spaces under the remit of the TCIAA.  Their dedication certainly is to country,” said Godfrey Smith, CEO of the TCIAA on Tuesday.

The ARFF continued its service beyond Monday; using slower intervals at the Providenciales International Airport to race out to the fire at the landfill, offering some hours of assistance which eventually helped to tame the beast.

While there was tremendous anxiety; no properties were damaged, no lives lost and no injuries were reported as a result of Monday’s fire.  An investigation into the cause is ongoing.

Bahamas News

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.

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Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 



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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Texas bans TikTok from government agencies 



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

#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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