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Turks & Caicos Natl Emergency Operations activated; what happens as Hurricane approaches

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Team

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – The Acting governor and Education Minister during a press conference on Saturday September 18 announced:  government offices and Public schools will remain closed until the all clear is given.

It was also announced that civil servants could look for their paycheques ‘soon’ as the TCIG has now promised they will be released early and ATMs will be well stocked for the inevitable rush.

All private businesses are requested to give their staff the appropriate time to prepare themselves for the storm including closing businesses where necessary; there has been a meeting with the hotel and tourism sector related to this and other protocols.

As tropical storm Fiona approaches the Turks and Caicos one hurricane shelter on each island will open. The shelters are as follows:

In Salt Cay: Clubhouse shelter in south district

In Grand Turk: Eliza Simmons Primary School

In South Caicos: The Community Centre on Sarah Hill

In North Caicos: Kew Community Centre

In Middle Caicos: Mount Moriah Baptist Church

In Providenciales: Gustavus Lightbourne Sports Complex

Shelters open at noon on Monday and one needs to move to a shelter, officials advise you make up your mind early.

People in flood prone areas should enter the shelters prior to the storm’s arrival and not attempt to drive once Fiona has arrived. Take at least 3 to 7 days of food and any necessary medication and download that new DDME app.

Alcohol, pets, smoking, and offensive language are not allowed in any shelters. To keep your pets safe make arrangements with a local vet.

The airport will be closed on Monday, not due to the public holiday and State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth but due to the approaching storm – Fiona, which is expected to pack severe enough winds that it warrants a suspension of flights.

Godfrey Smith, CEO of the TCIAA said this will likely lead to an increase in exiting travellers on Sunday therefore the Airports Authority  was preparing for around 500 passengers – a low number but remember it is the slow tourism season.  The TCIAA also braced for additional flights to accommodate and early exit of guests who may not want to ride out the hurricane in TCI.

On Monday:  there will be no American Airlines or JetBlue flights.  But there is a Delta flight to Atlanta, scheduled for a 9am departure; Caicos Express airways will run its flights to GrandTurk and PLS at 7:30am and 8:15am; InterCaribbean Airways will run two departures from the PLS, both to Kingston, Jamaica at 8:30am and 8:45am.

Extra flights put on for September 18 were American Airlines to Miami, stopping into SCU and departing PLS at 6pm; JetBlue Airlines into JFK departing at 5:35pm and an interCaribbean Airways flights, to Kingston leaving at 7pm on Sunday (today).

Grand Turk Cruise Center only opens when ships call.

If the weather is not favourable for berthing, then they will be diverted and the port will not open.  Akierra Misick, Minister of Physical Planning and infrastructure Development during that press conference confirmed the Cruise Center has its own protocol in the event of a storm adding that with some time left before Fiona makes her entrance into TCI territory, it is left to the cruise line to determine what happens at the cruise center in Grand Turk.

The roster for the Grand Turk Cruise Center at its website however shows there are no cruises scheduled to dock on Monday in the capital.

As for the weather effect of Fiona, Director of the Met said:  “TS fiona is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by today, Sunday before passing over or near the TCI on Tuesday.”

In a best case scenario the storm passes to the east, worst case scenario it passes directly over the TCI according to Dr. Holly Hamilton .

“This is dependent on how early the storm makes its northward turn. Marine conditions will begin to deteriorate by Sunday, tropical storm conditions will begin to affect the islands by late Monday and may  last through to Wednesday, major flooding has already been recorded in the Leeward islands .

Between 4 to 6 inches of rain are expected for the Turks and Caicos islands.”

A second NEOC press conference was announced for 6pm Sunday September 18.

Caribbean News

It’s the 10GB of Christmas with Digicel

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#TurksandCaicos, December 1, 2022 – Digicel rewards customers with more this Christmas and all throughout 2023 with 10GB any use data every month.

The holiday season is a time for being thankful, so Digicel has taken on an attitude of gratitude and is thanking customers by rewarding them with more from now until the end of 2023.

Through Digicel’s exclusive Christmas plans, customers will get 10GB of data every month, for all of 2023, when they buy and stay on the plan. This also goes for new customers who have bought a SIM and/or those who take advantage of the Ultimate Christmas Combo to get a brand new discounted Samsung A23 smartphone and Christmas plan.

Customers can look forward to more data; more minutes; more rewards and prizes with Pick & Win in the MyDigicel app; more speed, reliability and coverage on the fastest network; and more savings and discounts on our devices and SIMs.

Addison Stoddard, CEO of Digicel Turks & Caicos said, “We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, it’s the Christmas that keeps on giving at Digicel, so we’re offering our customers the gift that keeps on giving when they sign up and stay on any of our Christmas plans; whether it be a 3, 7 or 30 Day Prime Plus Bundle. Every month, new and existing customers who activate a Christmas plan this holiday season will get 10GB any use data, on us, when they remain on the plan all year long. For us, it’s all about continuing to put our customers first, and thanking them for every interaction they have with us.”

Customers can also win more in the MyDigicel app through Pick & Win, the new gamified way to be rewarded for any interaction with Digicel. Whether it’s switching to join the Digicel family, buying a plan, or paying bills in full and on time, customers will get the chance to Pick & Win lots of cool prizes

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Caribbean News

USVI Natural Resources Dept tackles illegal sand mining

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#USVI, December 1, 2022 – Recent reports of people taking large amounts of sand from beaches illegally have been on the increase in the US Virgin Islands.  The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) is urging citizens to refrain from doing this.

The DPNR announced that those found guilty could be charged a fine of $10,000 daily.

While they are unaware of what the illegally mined sand is being used for, the DPNR said it cannot be used for construction.

“In seawater, chloride is present, causing corrosion of steel and iron, which ultimately leads to reducing carrying capacity, so that the structure built using this may not be sustainable,” the DPNR said.

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Bahamas News

Cruise Trippers bought big with Carnival Cruise Line on Cyber Monday

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 1, 2022 – Cyber Monday isn’t just for electronics!  Potential vacationers broke a Carnival Cruises Cyber Monday record for bookings, purchasing 50 per cent  more tickets than 2019’s pre-pandemic shopping day.

The cruise line announced the record bookings on Tuesday, November 29th.

The company cited a successful launch campaign of the new Carnival Celebration which visited Grand Turk recently and the three additional ships joining the fleet over the next 18 months, as major ticket pushers.

“The Cyber Monday sale activity showed consumer demand across the fleet, and we were particularly pleased with the booking activity for Carnival Venezia’s new year-round service from New York, and our new extended six-month program for Carnival Magic out of Norfolk,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“Our very successful naming ceremony for Carnival Celebration on November 20 and all the media coverage it generated clearly kept Carnival top of mind as vacationers got started on their holiday shopping yesterday.”

They say the pent-up demand for cruising has manifested in multiple ways in 2022, as Carnival was the first major cruise line to have its entire fleet back in operation and it now has more rooms than it was sailing in 2019.

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