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Lettuce Shortage sends prices rocketing in TCI, but the islands are not alone

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 21, 2022 – Extreme weather events are blamed for the ridiculous prices on lettuce and the bizarre signs restaurants and grocery stores are forced to post for public information, as shelves are either scant, stocks are non-existent or the costs astronomical for that lovable, leafy lettuce.

The shortage of lettuce in North America is impacting regional countries as consumers report  rocketing prices, in some cases $10 above the norm.

A drought is blamed for the supply issues which have caused restaurants to exclude salads from the menu, charge more for the item or in the case of grocery stores, sell what they can get in… but the toll is staggering all around.

A three pack of romaine lettuce in the Turks and Caicos Islands has soared to over $17, while ice berg lettuce is just over $9 at one food store.  Residents, sharing their shock with Magnetic Media, say they are confused by the high prices. However, prices everywhere have tripled.

It’s also sticker shock for poultry too.

Prices on turkey as the country approaches thanksgiving season were as high as $173 and a whole chicken was up to $32.16.

There have been several poultry shortages announced in North America and the Caribbean this year from as far back as February and again in June.

According to Bloomberg in a June report more families are reaching for chicken thanks to inflation pushing up the price of red meat.

Since then, the 2022 bird flu outbreak, the largest on record for Europe, has decimated poultry farms in the EU, UK and US resulting in mass killings of the birds in an effort to stop the spread. Over 90 million animals were killed across the globe in what the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) described as an “unprecedented” number of summer cases resulting in millions of infections where there used to be little to none.

On the other hand, Farmers in California’s Salinas Valley are struggling with little rain and several viruses which include spot virus.

Mark Pisoni, a farmer in the region West Farm Press, “It was a disaster as we wrapped up the year— I’ve seen 20-acre fields without a single head of lettuce harvested.”

The high lettuce prices affecting not just the TCI but the US and Canada are fueled by the drought and crop disease in California.

According to a report from CBC news, some Canadian restaurants are pulling lettuce dishes from the menu completely because they simply can’t make a profit. Prices there have reached  $10 or $7.45 USD.  Australians also complained about paying up to $8.55, a significant increase from their lettuce prices before.

Fortunately those prices are expected to ease in December as more of the crop is harvested.

 

Photo Credit: Toronto Star

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Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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