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North Caicos Fire Exposes Need for Fire Service

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 
 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – The need for an active, suitably staffed fire service on the country’s largest islands was in stark relief this week following a massive North Caicos blaze which put lives and property at risk.  The Government now says there is a fire truck in the works for the twin islands. 

This is, however, not the first time there has been a promise of adequate fire equipment and properly paid personnel for North and Middle Caicos.

Based on reports, the fire began Tuesday night near Whitby Haven and spread incredibly quickly along dry bush, becoming a full-blown blaze during the night.  Residents report being able to see the flames from their homes as it came dangerously near to them.  

Arlington Musgrove, MP for the Twin islands, told us that there was no threat to any of the homes, but about four acres of land was scorched.  

The matter was so concerning that it was brought before the Cabinet the next day. The Government ‘gave praise to the work done to prevent any harm coming to persons living on the island.’ 

That ‘work’ was carried out by locals, who toiling overnight, put themselves at risk to make the larger community safer in the face of blaze.  

“We were able to contain it by the next day with help from the community. We do have a fire truck in the budget for North and Middle Caicos,” Musgrove told us. 

He thanked Junior Gardiner who assisted with his backhoe as well as the DECR team and the DDME community rep on the island.  

Firefighters from Providenciales travelled over on Wednesday morning to extinguish the last of it.   

The issue has repeated itself time and again; back in April 2017 it was the Sharlene Cartwright Robinson administration thanking another group of locals for battling a blaze which happened in Lorimers, Middle Caicos.  

Just last year, a resident crew wet down a fire in Middle Caicos. 

Over the six years, no elected administration has truly tackled the issue of the less than adequate fire response in the twin islands. The PNP Government says it will settle the issue in the next budget cycle.

Caribbean News

TCI delegation attends Renewable Energy Conference in Miami

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#TurksandCaicos, May 23, 2023 – Hon. Otis Morris, Minister responsible for Energy and Utilities led a TCIG contingent to the 15th annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) held in Miami USA on April 26th -28th, 2023. More than 450 public and private sector leaders from across 50 countries met in Miami late last month and discussed Caribbean renewable energy market opportunities and challenges.

The Renewable Energy Forum provided a platform to discuss energy transition in changing geopolitical tension, the pressure to decarbonize, and the critical need for energy independence. The challenge is “how do we get the clean energy transition aligned with the United Nations’ target to achieve net-zero emission”.

The TCI delegation participated in two important pre-conference workshops: the Island Resilience Action Challenge (IRAC 2023) and a Hydrogen Summit (H2-Caribbean 2023). It was agreed during IRAC that one of the serious obstacles is “the lack of critical regulatory mechanisms to enable finance of investment needed”.  Hon. Morris was also elected as one of the 20 Task Force members to steer activities towards achieving the goals of a smooth energy transition particularly in the TCI. The Government is seriously addressing the regulatory framework for the TCI and hopes for it to be in place this year. Details about the IRAC 2023 can be found at https://goadvancedenergy.com/irac-2023.

The forum featured a CREF Ministerial panel where Hon. Morris joined regional ministerial counterparts to address the question “Are we delivering on energy security and climate resilience for the region”. Hon. Morris shared that “Energy security is a critical issue for the Turks and Caicos Islands which relies heavily on imported fossil fuels for its energy needs. It is no secret that we, just like many other countries in the region, struggle with a higher-than-normal cost of energy. The Turks and Caicos Islands is on a journey to a sustainable energy future and that journey has not always been a smooth one but we know that fundamental to any success we will achieve will be ensuring a strong regulatory framework is in place to guide the process and that the cost of electricity is affordable for all”. He further stressed that “the government has prioritized the need for this transition and are committed to implementing policies, legislation and funding to support the transition”.

The honourable Minister was accompanied by Deputy Permanent Secretary – TeAnn Thomas, Energy and Utilities Commissioner – Delano Arthur, Energy Analyst – Eric Salamanca and TCI RESEMBID SEP Project Officer – Zepherinus Norbert who in addition to attending the sessions engaged in various networking sessions and meetings with potential partners to hasten a smooth transition to green energy in TCI.

The event was sponsored by various entities such as the Advanced Energy Group, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank, and the Government of Canada, all of which are actively working within the region to assist small island nations with the transition to clean energy.

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Bahamas News

Universal Healthcare Coverage Cited as a Big-Ticket Item at 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva

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#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Health & Wellness Minister the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville, in a pre-assembly interview, has forecast that Non-Communicable Diseases, Universal Healthcare Coverage, areas associated with the pandemic and Anti-microbial Resistance are some of the hot-ticket items on this year’s agenda at the 76th World Health Assembly. Minister Darville who is heading a delegation from The Bahamas comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Public Hospitals Authority and the National Health Insurance Authority cited universal healthcare coverage as a major pillar of the Geneva discussions as the intention is to put it in place globally by the year 2030. He said the government equates the provision of healthcare services with equity across the Bahamas as a priority. This he said will become even more evident when the Parliament moves on new legislation to repeal the old National Health Insurance Act.

The Opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly takes place on Sunday May 21st in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s Assembly is being held under the theme Saving lives, driving health for all, and it comes as the WHO celebrates its 75th anniversary.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Press Release: Ministry of Health & Wellness

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Caribbean News

TCIG Leadership Hosts Reception in Manchester UK 

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 23 May 2023 – On Saturday May 15th, in the northern city of Manchester, England, Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams, Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick and Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor led a delegation to meet with students and members of the TCI diaspora.

The evening provided a direct opportunity for students and diaspora members to engage directly with the senior leadership of the territory, in an open forum. Bringing greetings to the large number of guests, the Acting Governor was keen to highlight the important role Turks and Caicos Islanders must play in building their country for future generations.  While acknowledging that going away to further your education is a good thing, what is essential is that persons return to build the Turks and Caicos into what they desire it to become.  This would mean, according to the Acting Governor, that all skills set will be needed in the journey of nation building.

Echoing those sentiments was the Premier Hon. C. Washington who praised the students on their academic pursuits and the diaspora members for the experience they have gained while in the United Kingdom. The Premier further added, “as the Turks and Caicos grows, the demand for skilled, experienced persons remains high and the government would welcome persons returning.”  He further added, “There are numerous small business opportunities that exists for Turks and Caicos Islanders and the government have earmarked certain categories for only Turks and Caicos Islanders and persons should take advantage.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor in addressing the large group of students present said, ‘It is a pleasure to be here in the presence of our country’s greatest assets, Our People!’ Especially our Youth who will be responsible for the continuous development of our country as we seek to bridge the skills gap through education and training.’  The Minister of Education took the opportunity to have side meetings with the students as she learnt of their personal concerns in relation to the challenges they are experiencing.  The Scholarship Officer, Ms. Sharine Lightbourne was also in attendance and was able to actively engage in the side table discussions.  Minister Taylor encouraged the students to take advantage of any Internship or Apprenticeship Programs that are available in the UK and reminded them to also register for the TCI National Internship and Apprenticeship Programs being offered.    The Minister and her team listened attentively to the concerns and promised to ensure that with the additional manpower being added to the Scholarship Unit within the 2023-2024 budget, it will provide greater opportunity for oversight in relation to our students’ data inclusive of students who are not on Government Scholarships.

The large gathering of Turks and Caicos Islanders in one space marked the conclusion of the TCI delegations visit to the United Kingdom for the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) and the World Education Forum (WEF).

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