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TCI Special Needs Center Still Not Ready says Education Minister 



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 


#TurksandCaicos, September 11, 2023 – After promises of a September 2022 opening which was then pushed to January 2023 the Special Needs Centre for Providenciales is still unfinished leaving local students without that designated space as the school year begins.

Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, made the revelation in a press conference on August 31st ahead of the opening of the new academic year.

Over $ 900,000 was set aside for infrastructural upgrades and another $1.3 million was budgeted for staffing and consultancy. That appears to be ongoing, however, as Taylor said the government anticipated being in possession of the consultant’s report by the end of 2023 prolonging the establishment of the centre.

The school, she had said, is expected to be developed at the former Abundant Life school buildings; now a year after missing its first deadline, the Special Needs Centre remains inexplicably unfinished.

The minister did not detail what caused the holdup in the press conference; and has not replied to questions to her Ministry in the aftermath of the press event to give a national report..

There’s evidence of some progress however as Taylor revealed that:

“All public schools now have a special needs teacher and in some instances two teachers for larger schools.”

So far a speech and learning pathologist has been hired but the search is still on for professionals to fill a  laundry list of positions, from Director of the centre to autism specialized teachers and more.

It was revealed too that a committee has now been established to see the project to completion and a press conference dedicated to special needs has been promised.

Omitted though was information on whether the government had the capacity to house all the special needs students in need of care. In 2022 the government struggled to place a number of social needs students in public school because of a lack of space. Some parents were forced to place their children in private schools or outside of the country which meant additional expenses and emotional strains on these families.


Clement Howell High Home to First School Hydroponics System in Island’s ‘Let It Grow’ Programme to Promote Agricultural Education and Entrepreneurship



PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, September 9, 2023 — With a country’s capacity to grow its own food strongly aligned to its development and national security, the Sandals Foundation has joined the Ministry of Education and the Department of Agriculture on its food security programme, ‘Let It Grow’, which will see the establishment of farms at all public and private schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

On Tuesday, August 29, Government officials and private sector representatives joined administrators at the Clement Howell High School as they launched the first school hydroponics system that will provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge that will foster not only an interest in agriculture but position the sector as a feasible alternative career choice.

“The Department of Education within the Ministry of Education is embarking on a project that seeks to establish farms in all public and private schools,” said Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor

“This interdisciplinary approach, Hon. Taylor continued, “will help students learn how to produce their food and care for animals through farming while considering business opportunities in the field of Agriculture Science. Students will learn how to become self- sufficient, self-reliant, and value team and collaborative work.”

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation expressed delight at the newly established hydroponics system noting, “For the past few years, the Sandals Foundation has doubled down on its efforts to build the capacity of key community and educational organisations to grow more of their own food. This hydroponics system we hope will allow for more fresh fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria while also having students learn new techniques while recognizing the value and reward of growing what they eat.”

Hydroponics farming technique provides for the growing of plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. The technology is especially advantageous in Turks and Caicos where soil types vary, significantly limiting produce output.

Shanta Seymour, Principal at the Clement Howell High School, says the hydroponics serve to lift the curriculum offering of the institution as Agricultural Sciences can be taught with a practical component. “We are grateful for the partnership from Sandals Foundation, the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the ministry of education. Public and private partnership within the educational landscape is inevitable and this event today is testament of the positive fruits that can be produced from this project which started with just a dream.”

The Clement Howell High hydroponics technology forms part of a wider investment of the Sandals Foundation-which includes the provision of irrigation systems, fertilizer, seed, soil and other agricultural input across 17 primary and high schools. The overall agricultural infrastructure is valued at some US $23,000 and was made possible through part support of the philanthropic organization’s partner – Coca Cola Latin America.

12 of the targeted 17 schools have already received support through Sandals Foundation including Thelma Lightbourne Primary, Shining Star Preparatory, and  Louise Garland Thomas High School which all received irrigation systems; Iris Stubbs Primary and Marjorie Basden High schools which have received soil; and H.J. Robinson High, and Charles Hubert James Primary which have both received fertilizer.


Photo Captions:

Header: Elisann Delancy, from the Ministry of Education prepares to cut the ribbon for the opening of the hydroponic project while representatives from the Clement Howell High school, the Ministry of Education and the Sandals Foundation look on.

1st insert: Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, shares an overview of the project and the Foundation’s involvement in the grand opening of the hydroponic system at the Clement Howell High School.

2nd insert: Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke (left) and Hon. Rachel Taylor (centre) give a listening ear to Ministry of Agriculture Extension Officer Mario Smith shares with them information on the plants within the hydroponic shade house.

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Caribbean News

Barbados to introduce school safety policy come September



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#Barbados, August 29, 2023 – Barbados is enhancing the safety of students with the introduction of a comprehensive national schools’ safety policy in September, which will address safety, security and wellness concerns in schools throughout the island.

The policy is built upon four pillars namely safety, security, health, and ongoing maintenance, according to Joy Adamson, Deputy Chief Education Officer.

Adamson highlighted that efforts are being made to see the success of the policy, that is, active collaboration by the Ministry with stakeholders including unions, principal associations, the police and the fire service.

She referred to the stakeholders’ involvement  saying, “the School Safety Policy is expected to generate a greater sense of awareness among our stakeholders, so that we clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of each…[and] create that safe school environment.”

She later emphasized the importance of having safety embedded into the education system, being a part of the system rather than just a detached factor, incorporated from time to time.

Safety is a full-time job and not a part-time practice,” she maintained.

She pointed out that they wanted to engender a community approach to safety and further create and develop a culture of drills at the nursery, primary and secondary levels.

A part of the policy is fire safety which is seen as a vital aspect, especially in light of the Mahdia school fire in Guyana, that claimed 19 lives, just a few months ago.

Considering this, Adamson recognized and applauded the work of the Barbados Fire Service, for their efforts in extending  the Fire Cadet Program which she expressed compliments the ministry’s comprehensive  safety agenda.

Additionally, she informed that schools have created and implemented School Safety Plan which includes a Fire Safety Plan.

She stated that “These plans require the schools to conduct regular fire drills, have well-maintained fire alarm systems and to keep exits clear,” adding that they “will be renewed annually by the schools’ Health and Safety Committee.”

The Deputy Chief  continued to pinpoint the link between having a safe environment and effective learning as this is the aim of the Ministry’s efforts.

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TCI National Scholar Awards Ceremony



The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services, in collaboration with the National Council of External Examinations, organized the National Academic Awards Ceremony. This event, aimed at recognizing students’ achievements, was held on Friday, August 4, 2023, at 10:00 am in Providenciales at Brayton Hall. The ceremony’s theme was “Investing in Human Capital: Securing a Brighter Future.”

The ceremony was held to acknowledge the students’ performance in external exams after their annual exit exams. The awardees had significant accomplishments, both individually and collectively, deserving recognition.

The awardees were recognized across five presentations:

Presentation 1 recognized graduates that passed 5 to 9 subjects and 10 or more subjects

Presentation 2 recognized graduates that passes English Language and Mathematics with General 1’s and 2’s or A and B

Presentation 3 recognized the Best Performing student from different disciplines (Business, Science, Hospitality, Humanities, Foreign Languages, Regional Merit List Awardees, etc.)

Presentation 4 recognized graduates that Attained 5 or more General 1’s or A’s in one (1) examination sitting

Presentation 5 recognized the Top Performing International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) students

This was a proud moment indeed for the Turks and Caicos Islands as three students received awards for their academic achievements at the Caribbean Examinations Council and General Certificate of Secondary Education.

Of the three students, one from CSEC and two from IGCSE were recognized as the Top performers from this cohort.  Shania Forbes of the H J Robinson High School has earned first position with twelve (12) grade one passes; Second Place was Anika Harry of the British West Indies Collegiate with ten (10) passes and third place was Evadne Gardiner of British West Indies Collegiate with ten (10) passes.  For the first time, this year’s ceremony included a place for the best British Overseas Territory Citizen (BOTC) student; Ephita Monestime of the British West Indies Collegiate captured this award. The best-performing students overall are awarded Government Scholarship, and therefore, currently, only TCI students are considered for these awards.

Other Awards presented during the ceremony were:

Ryan Hurdle of Precious Treasures international School won the award for Best Performing Student in Humanities

Best Performing Technical Vocational Student was awarded to Teandra Milord of Clement Howell High School

Favour Mubenwafor of H J Robinson High School captured the award for Best Performing Business Student

Best Performing Science Students were Yuan Sayao of Clement Howell High School, Shaina Forbes and Adrienne Parry of H J Robinson High School, Thais Burgess, Joel Degouth, Evadne Gardiner, Anika Harry, Ephita Monesime and Zakri Smith of British West Indies Collegiate

Best Performing Student in Hospitality went to Roodemailine Brenord of Clement Howell High School

Best Performing Prevocational Student was awarded to Joshua Swann of Clement Howell High School

“The entire Turks and Caicos Islands is proud of your scholastic achievement, which is a result of your diligence and the dedication of your teachers,” Minister of Education, Honourable Rachel Taylor said in congratulating the awardees.  She encouraged them to continue being beacons of inspiration, charging them to aim high in all their endeavours.

Listed below are the names of the students that met and exceeded the selection criteria for the National Academic Awards Ceremony:


British West Indies Collegiate

Andrew Adams                                      Giovanni Astwood

Samuel Connolly                                        Joel Degouth

Brandon Dunlop                                     Hayden A Gardiner

Jonathan Hatmin                                    Detrina Higgs

J’tehya Laporte                                        Sean Mcgurk

Abi-Gaye Miller                                       Ephita Monestime

Shawn Nesbitt                                         Harry Schofield

Sarah Stuart                                             Hayden Williams

Caylen Castillo                                         Kaidan Bobb

Thais Burgess                                          Erline Dorastin

Demari Fulford                                         Evadne Gardiner

Joshua Hall                                              Anika Harry

Angelina Lindenhahn                              Jayda O’Neil

Hilson Robinson                                       Zakri Smith

Jack Stephens                                         Lillian Taylor


Clement Howell High School

Kerlins Ace                                                       Shelly Angrand

Ainscia Antenor                                               Tania Boyce

Roodemailine Brenord                                     Tariffe Byfield

Shar’shanay Cooper                                        Nephthalie Dejean

Shirlonzo Gardiner                                          Tanesia Gardiner

Mariely Garland                                               Walkita Hanchell

Irenique Harvey                                               Ken Janvier

Christian Jolly                                                  Teanndra Milord

Dieumima Rene                                               Jonathan Robinson

Yuan Sayao                                                      Christophin Sidelus

Maleik Stubbs                                                 Jaden Thorpe

Abigail Valdez                                                 Yulenny Walkin


H.J. Robinson High School

Richauna Archer                                   Delloyd Been

Brianna Brown                                       Jamari Caley

Malik Carty                                            Jajuan Harvey

Janai Higgs                                               Kyra Selver

Talia Simms                                           Khouri Swann

Trevez Taylor                                           Lydia Toussaint

Omarii Lightbourne                                Megan Malcolm

Paola Martinez Merejo                          Favour Mubenwafor

Alejandro Rangel Rivero                       Shaina Forbes

Adrienne Parry

Maranatha Academy

Siobhan Bowens                                      Garon Clayton

Christopher Parsons                                 Dani Reynoso Reyes

Bruhana St Juste                                     Kensly Tanis

Brentez Williams                                      Ronique Brown

Trayvon Graham


Marjorie Basden High School

Travardo Bain                                        Audresha Jacinthe

Roobentz Joseph                                    Garet Lockhart

Jordinae Williams


Raymond Gardiner High School

Jaden Grice                                           Cameron Handfield

Alidavenson Lagredelle                          Davar Lewis


Precious Treasures International School

Marc Charles                                           Ryan Hurdle

Tayla Smith


Wesley Methodist School

Athalia Henry                                        Chadev Malcolm

Jasmine Missick                                   Zonovia Simmons

Deangelo Missick                                 Ashonte Trumpet

Students who did not attend the ceremony are encouraged to contact their former schools to collect their awards.

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