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ODPEM efforts for lightning safety

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Jamaica, October 9, 2023 – Lightning activity is growing and efforts to increase data on lightning occurrences as well as lightning hazard awareness are being made by Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

The organization is working on implementing a multi-stakeholder and multi-level plan to help decrease the impact of lightning on people and industries such as aviation, telecommunication and maritime.

Acting Director General of ODPEM, Richard Thompson says Jamaica’s Meteorological Office wants to see to the development of a comprehensive National Lightning Program as well as a lightning detection network to receive better information regarding lighting occurrences for analysis purposes to facilitate the creation of a detailed program and plan for lightning protection and prevention.

The need for a lightning detection network comes as Jamaica, the director says, has not been doing much tracking. He expresses that while the country does have some data, especially from global meteorological agencies, it needs more information for lightning occurrences within its own borders.

Speaking at an Interview with JIS on October 8th, Thompson referred to some statistics regarding lightning impact within the island.

 He revealed that since 2001 and 2005 some tracking has been done and since 2005/2021, there have been 39 injuries and 18 deaths along with other impacts such as the most recent being the striking of seven people at a football match in St.Catherine last month.

Also, the director said most of Jamaica’s lightning activity happens from May or June to October, the hurricane season.

Thompson also spoke about global annual thunderstorm statistics and he said that there are roughly 16 million with about 3 billion lightning strikes hitting the ground and 20,000 strikes on people and 2,000 deaths. He added that from these strikes many would also be injured with issues such as cardiovascular, neurological, memory loss and severe burns.

Jamaica recently had its first lightning talk with ODPEM, the Meteorological Service as well as many industry partners that are impacted by the phenomena such as Bureau Standards,  JPS, Flow, Digicel, Port Authorities, airport authorities and local authorities to facilitate the discussion of the plan going forward. The director revealed this to Theodore Henry, the host of  JIS’ Get the FACTS on which Thompson was being interviewed.

In continuation he gave tips to affected industries and people to help reduce and prevent the effects of lightning.

For companies/industries, he said it is crucial to have built in lighting arrestors that are properly wired and grounded and for people, he specified farmers, some of the most affected, he said they should stay out of the rain especially if there is lightning. He also urged then not to shelter under trees or in open sheds; and also to move animals into a facility if one is available.

Additionally Thompson, emphasized that people stay out water when there is lighting as it’s one of the highest conductors and that they stay away from windows or doors and keep them close when inside.

In fact he spoke of a 30/30 rule where one must  watch for 30 seconds between strikes and if this happens, it is not safe. He added that if there is a 30 minute break since the last lighting, it is more than likely safe to return outdoors and or carry on like normal.

Thompson not only revealed the plans of ODPEM and other authorities. He also pointed to the behavior of lighting, highlighting how dangerous it can be.

He said lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles outside the radius of the cloud where it originated. In fact, it’s called “blue sky strike”

 

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BIRTH CERTIFICATE IN BRAILLE

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KINGSTON, May 8 (JIS): BY: SHERIKA HALL

For many years, members of the visually impaired community have faced significant challenges in accessing printed information, often having to rely on others for assistance.

This lack of autonomy has hindered their ability to fully participate in various aspects of society.

However, with the recent implementation of Braille birth certificates, this long-standing barrier is being removed, paving the way for a more inclusive landscape where individuals with visual impairments can navigate their own journeys with greater independence and confidence.

On May 1, 2024, Executive Director at the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB), Conrad Harris, was the first person to receive a copy of the freshly printed Braille document.

He expresses his elation to JIS News, describing it as a “great experience” to have a document in a format that he can easily read.

“One of the issues we have from time to time is that when we have information that is in print, we may ask somebody to read it, but the person who reads it might only read the information that they think is important and not necessarily everything in the document,” Mr. Harris explains.

This, of course, is no longer the case, as “having a Braille certificate means that I am able to go through it myself. I can easily check the spellings of names and places, which I might not be easily able to do with something that is in print,” he said.

The Braille certificate also provides an opportunity for the document to be easily identified and separated from others.

“If you need it for a particular reason, you can easily separate it from the other documents that you have versus probably having to ask somebody to look through or using some kind of technology to scan the information, which would take a little bit longer,” the Executive Director says.

Additionally, this initiative will provide an added sense of security as there are those people who generally want to keep their personal information private.

Designed in collaboration with several key stakeholders, including the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), these Braille certificates are meticulously crafted to ensure that every detail is conveyed with precision and elegance.

Each certificate, according to the Department’s former Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Keeper of Records, Charlton McFarlane, features embossed Braille text, allowing recipients to tangibly experience the pride that comes with being able to read the information for themselves.

He further shared details on why the initiative was undertaken in the first place, during an interview with JIS News.

Mr. McFarlane said that while participating in the first post-COVID Civil Registration Conference for Latin America and Caribbean countries, held in the Dominican Republic in 2022, using civil registration as the basis for inclusivity was key among the topics discussed.

“We looked at some case studies and the one that stood out to me was for a State in Mexico that offered birth certificates and other vital documents in Braille,” he said.

He even went as far back as 2008 when he was serving as a Director within the Ministry of Health.

During that time “we collaborated with members from the disabled community to produce health education material in Braille. So, with that experience, knowing what it had done and then with what I saw happening in Mexico, I got the idea that we could really produce all vital documents in Braille”.

Before embarking on the initiative, he acknowledged that he did, in fact, reach out to members of the JSB, the Combined Disabilities Association and the Jamaica Counsel for Persons with Disabilities.

“I don’t like to waste time and resources, so I reached out to them first,” Mr. McFarlane said, adding that “once I received a resounding yes, details on how to produce the certificates were shared.

“One of the things we [had to take into consideration] was having two separate documents (one with the standard print and the other in Braille), because the Braille is bulky when printed,” he noted.

This posed another challenge as not many business entities would accept the braille copy due to their inability to read the Braille text.

However, as the consultations went on, a decision was made to have the two documents intertwined into one.

“Right now, how it’s done, is the material is printed and then the Braille is embossed over it,” the former CEO said.

The introduction of Braille certificates is not just a symbolic gesture, it represents a tangible commitment that “the Government is absolutely very, very serious about inclusion for every single citizen, regardless of the level of vulnerability that may exist,” Mr. McFarlane added.

This certificate, he added, is not only for members of the visually impaired community but for all persons who would like to have their birth certificates in both print and Braille formats on one document.

 

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Turks and Caicos Retains Championship at 28th Annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament

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Please note:

Photos by TCI Sports Commission

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – In an historic showing, the Turks and Caicos Islands Golf Association (TCIGA) dominated the 28th annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament, held in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, from April 25th to 27th, 2024. The victory marks a turning point for TCI golf, and much of the credit goes to the exceptional team of players assembled by Sean Wilson the Head Professional at the Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Course.

56 golfers, playing under the banner of the TCIGA were rewarded for their enthusiastic participation across both the Men’s and Women’s divisions.

“This back-to-back win is an indication of the growing interest and increased participation in the sport of golf in TCI,” stated TCIGA President Fraser Dods.

“We’ve been competing at this tournament since its inception almost 30 years ago, and finally bringing home the George Noon Cup two years in a row is a truly proud moment for Turks and Caicos golf.”

Clean Sweep for Team TCI

The team’s success was based on strong and determined performances in every flight and category.

The Turks and Caicos men’s team secured the Robert Grell Trophy, while the ladies claimed the Jodi Munn Barrow Trophy.

This clean sweep across all team divisions highlights the growing depth and talent within the TCI Golf Association membership.

The “Classic”organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, brings together golfers from the twelve membercountries of the CGA. The Caribbean Classic is an individual and team event, competed for by teams of unlimited number of players from each participating member country, playing eighteen holes of golf each , over 3 days.

Team Turks and Caicos amassed the most points overall and won the George Noon Cup last year, for the first time in 27 years of competing at this event. To repeat as champs is a proud moment for TCI sports in general and for TCI Golf specifically.

Individual Accolades Abound

Beyond the team triumphs, individual golfers from TCI shone brightly. Female players, namely Wendy Ayer, Christine Dickenson, Tazmaraa Gowans, and Andrea Todd, all secured podium finishes in their respective divisions

The men’s side also saw impressive performances from Justin Simons, Mark Fulford, Arthur Lightbourne, Mervin Cox, and Simon Dobbs. Their individual excellence contributed significantly to the overall team victory.

Looking Ahead: Building on Success

TCI Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes is optimistic about the future. “This win exemplifies the immense potential of golf in the Turks and Caicos,” he stated. “We encourage young islanders to take up this fantastic sport.”

Head Golf Professional at Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club, Sean Wilson, echoed the sentiment. “This is a monumental achievement for TCI golf,” he said. “Bringing home trophies in all three divisions is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the TCIGA and its players.”

The Caribbean Classic second victory creates a new legacy for golf in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The TCIGA is administrated by a golf-loving volunteer executive comprised of Fraser Dods, Mark Fulford (VP), Denise Douglas (Secretary), Paul Murray (Treasurer), Andrea Todd and Roberto Stipa.Through their collective efforts, and the growing participation of TCI golfers, the future looks bright for this sport in the region.

The Caribbean Classic is one of the highlights of the Caribbean Golf calendar. Organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, it allows participation of amateurs from 12 countries, including the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Martinique, St Lucia, and USVI.”

 

 

 

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GRACE BAY BEACH RANKED AMONG TOP BEACHES IN THE WORLD’S 50 BEST BEACHES

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (May 3rd, 2024) The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Grace Bay Beach has once again been recognised among the top beaches in the world.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches has listed Grace Bay Beach among the top beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach, located on the island of Providenciales was listed at number 17 on the annual list.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches list, sponsored by Banana Boat, is a collaboration with over 1,000 of the world’s leading travel influencers and professionals.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches 2024 is a reflection of the opinions and experiences of top travel influencers and professionals around the world. The beaches were ranked according to eight important criteria: unique characteristics, wildlife, untouched, soundtrack of nature, easy to enter the water, often calm water, not too crowded and frequency of idyllic conditions.

Grace Bay Beach also featured among the top 20 in the 2023 World’s 50 Best Beaches list.

This is the latest accolade for Grace Bay Beach this year. Known for its powdery white sand and breathtakingly turquoise blue water, the famous beach was adjudged the number one Caribbean beach in February in Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking number five among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

In January 2024, Grace Bay was recognised as the #9 Best Beach in the Caribbean in the 10Best Reader’s Choice with Bambarra Beach in Middle Caicos ranked at #2.

Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said she is proud of the continued recognition of the leading beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“As a destination that prioritises sustainable development and environmental preservation, the fact that Grace Bay Beach features consistently as one of the top beaches in the world stands as a testament to our commitment to stay “Beautiful by Nature”. I urge visitors to come to the Turks and Caicos Islands to experience this and many other of our beautiful beaches across the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the Minister.

Tine Holst, Co-Founder of The World’s 50 Best Beaches, said the list is meant to inspire travellers.

She said: “Our 2024 list is a reflection of the countless days spent by our judges, Beach Ambassadors and World’s 50 Best team discovering beaches around the world. The list will help inspire travelers to leave the beaten path behind and enjoy the most stunning and relaxing beaches on earth”.

Read World’s 50 Best Beaches description of Grace Bay Beach here.

 

About the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands is made up of two groups of islands in the Lucayan Archipelago: The larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, thus the name. It is home to the best beaches in the world with majestic white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Each island and cay are a destination of its own. Providenciales is home to world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, luxury hotels, resorts, villas, spas and restaurants. Grand Turk is ‘home away from home’ for our cruise passengers, and our sister islands are the gateway to nature, exploration, and culture. Considered the world’s best-kept secret, TCI is an effortless escape – with an ease of connectivity through direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

 

CONTACT: Laura Dowrich  Email: ldowrich@myexperiencetci.com

 

 

 

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