Local centenarian excited by telegram from Her Majesty the Queen

Local centenarian excited by telegram from Her Majesty the Queen


Monday, 6th October 2020 – Grand Turk, TCI:  Local centenarian, Mr. Alton Higgs, celebrated the achievement of a century of life on 17th September 2020. However, on Monday, 6th October his family, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office arranged for Mr. Higgs to receive a special surprise. In honour of his amazing milestone, His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, delivered to Mr. Higgs a special birthday telegram from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.


Mr. Higgs was excited by his card from Her Majesty, and was eager to share his story of meeting the Queen in South Caicos during her only visit to the Turks & Caicos Islands, which begun the tradition of the annual “Big South Regatta”.


“A Hundred Years old and looking great! I had such pleasure today to visit Mr Alton Higgs, at his home, with his family, in Grand Turk,” remarked Governor Dakin.

Governor Dakin went on to say, “It’s the first time I’ve delivered a telegram from Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate a centenary. It was made all the more special because Mr Higgs had met, and shaken her hand, when the Queen visited South Caicos (having been to Grand Turk) on the Royal Yacht Britannia on February 25th, 1966. He told me the story of the donkey race that was put on for her; subsequent research tells me that Earl Basden riding “Willie Boy” took an early lead and won.

What a life story Mr Higgs has had. From Middle Caicos he lost his father as he started Primary School at age 6 and left school at 14 to farm and to fish. Married for 50 years, once he lost his wife he turned himself to crafts; he helped organize tourist tours; he allowed himself to be interviewed by visitors to understand the Islands culture and history.

But the most interesting aspect of his long life is that he is a genuine “bush doctor”, although he much prefers the term “local herbalist”.”

Mr. Higgs explained that being born in the Caicos Islands in the 1920’s gave no access to clinics - so people worked hard to understand how the natural world could help. He devoted himself to this gift and is the star of a very beautiful book published, by two New York Doctors, capturing this knowledge and heritage called ‘The Endemic Medicine of Middle Caicos as Practiced by Alton Higgs’.

Commenting further, Governor Dakin said, “I know little if anything about “bush medicine” but it strikes me that - if you need reassurance that there’s something important to learn - then Mr Higgs is quite literally the living proof. Not only is he clearly “old” yet healthy he’s also unbelievably “young” in terms of outlook and conversation. A genuine inspiration.”



Phase 3 - Roadmap for the Reopening of Schools



Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services


Phase 3 - Roadmap for the Reopening of Schools


The 2020-2021 Academic Year in the Turks & Caicos Islands commenced on 31st August as per the Roadmap for the Reopening of Schools published by the Ministry of Education.


To date, the following milestones have been realized:

  • Phase 1a – Orientation- Establish System for a Safe Reopening
  • Phase 1b – Orientation – Preparation for Learning
  • Phase 2   - Online Learning


Phase 3 of the Roadmap (Online with Blended Learning – Forms 4 & 5) commenced on Monday 5th October 2020 with the following reopening schedule:

  • H J Robinson High School                                              -              Thursday, 15th October
  • Marjorie Basden High School                                      -              Wednesday, 7th October
  • Raymond Gardiner High School                                  -              Tuesday, 13th October
  • Clement Howell High School                                        -              Monday, 19th October (Form 5 only)
  • British West Indies Collegiate                                      -              Monday, 5th October
  • Champions for Christ International                           -              Monday, 5th October (Form 5 only)
  • Holy Family Academy                                                     -              Monday, 5th October
  • Maranatha Academy                                                      -              Will commence later in the term
  • Precious Treasures International                               -              Tuesday, 13th October
  • TCIPS Comprehensive High School                            -              Will commence later in the term
  • Wesley Methodist School                                             -              Monday, 5th October
  • Elite High School                                                               -              Monday 5th October (Form 5 only)
  • Alpha Christian Academy                                              -              Online for the remainder of the term


All schools have developed Covid-19 safety protocols aligned to the Guidelines for the Reopening of Schools in the TCI issued by the Ministries of Education and Health.


The Ministry of Education will continue to monitor the status of the Covid-19 pandemic and make informed decisions about the next milestones set out in the Roadmap. All stakeholders will be informed about the progress being made.


A copy of the Roadmap is attached for ease of reference.




The Turks and Caicos Islands join with other countries around the world to observe Thursday, October 8th,2020 as national “Ombuds Day”. This year’s theme is ‘Unusual Name. Important Service.”


Ombudsman is a Swedish word which means “representative.” Sweden was the first country to appoint an independent official known as an Ombudsman to investigate complaints against government officials and Public Bodies.

Today ombudsman can be found all around the world, managing complaints in various sectors such as; Financial, Education, Public Service, Police, Construction Industry, Medical Services, Media and Consumer Services. 


Here in the Turks and Caicos Islands the Office of The Complaints Commission “Ombudsman” has been in existence since 1994. The primary function of the Ombudsman, also referred to as the Complaints Commissioner is to promote good governance within the Turks and Caicos Islands by managing maladministration within the public service.


The Complaints Commissioner is responsible for investigating complaints against government departments or statutory bodies made by members of the general public. It is the Commissioner’s duty along with the assistance of the investigative team to conduct all investigations in confidence, independently and with transparency.  Based on the Commissioner’s findings, he must resolve the conflict or concerns raised by making a recommendation in writing to government departments or the general public


The question is “how does the ombudsman make a difference in Turks and Caicos Islands?"

 The Office of the Complaints Commission is an independent and impartial body which ensure that good governance is upheld within Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) .

  1. Consultation, advice and representation are free, i.e. no cost to the public for our service.
  2. All complaints are managed with strict confidentiality.
  3. Once all appeals processes have been exhausted within TCIG, and there is still no resolution due to maladministration, a member(s) of the general public can complain to the Complaints Commissioner’s Office. 
  4.  Here are a few areas of maladministration we can address;
  • Unreasonable delay in dealing with any request or application.
  • Abuse of power or authority.
  • Flawed procedures.
  • Failing to give reasons for decisions.
  • Lack of consideration for a person affected by any action.
  • Acting with bias, unfairness and neglect.
  • Making decisions based wholly or partly on a mistake of law or fact.
  • Failing to follow through on commitments made. 


Listed above are just a few ways how the Office of the Complaints Commission continues to make a difference in the Turks and Caicos Islands.



“Breast in the Spotlight”




Breast Cancer Month Turks and Caicos Islands 2020


“Breast in the Spotlight”


The Turks and Caicos Islands joins countries worldwide in observing Breast Cancer Awareness month during the month of October. During the month there is increased attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.


There are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer each year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide in both developed and developing countries. Therefore, raising awareness and understanding about breast cancer risks, early signs and symptoms and overall breast health is an important part of our public health approach. Most deaths occur due to late diagnosis.


Over the past five (5) years in the Turks and Caicos Islands there has been a significant increase in the number of breast cancer diagnoses totaling 122. This figure includes both males and females. From January 2020 to September 2020 there have been 7 newly diagnosed cases, this figure represents only females. The most affected age group among women is 45- 65 years of age.


The Minister of Health the Hon Edwin Astwood weighed in on the current situation and stated “I encourage every woman to know their body and know the risk factors associated with breast cancer. It is important for women to carry out breast self-examinations no matter what age you are. My Government is committed to reducing the burden of cancer and in particular breast cancer within our country”.


Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women.(https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/young_women/bringyourbrave/breast_cancer_young_women/)

  • Know the symptoms- They are different in each persons and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include—
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
  • A new lump in the breast or underarm
  • If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.


The Director of Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit stated “I really would like for persons to understand that breast cancer can happen to anyone. It is paramount that early detection of the condition happens for all women regardless of their background. The activities planned I hope will be able to bring about awareness for early cancer detection not only among women but among the men as well”.


Activities for breast cancer awareness month are as follows: -

  • Breast in the Spotlight Symposium 12th October at 6pm – Panelist Dr. Dingle Spence Oncologist, Jamaica, Latoya Silvera Oncology Nurse TCI Hospital, Mrs. Lakeisha Wilson Nutritionist Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Department, Mrs. Keish Bowla-Hines, Clinical Psychologist, Jamaica, and Michelle Simmons a Survivor. This event will take place on the TCI Health Promotion and Advocacy Facebook  “Live”.


  • On  26th October at 6 pm join us for our “Walk in Place” session with Ryesha Higgs on Facebook Live.


  • On October 29th join us for the live judging of Government Ministries for the best decorated door or hallway in observance of Breast Cancer Month. Be a part of the Facebook poll. Vote for your favorite décor.


The Minister of Health, Agriculture Sports and Human Services encourages all women to know the facts and take action.


For more information, contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 338 2772. Visit our Facebook page and join the activities on TCI Health Promotion and Advocacy



TCI Observes World Mental Health Day 





TCI Observes World Mental Health Day 


With nearly 30 years since the inception of World Mental Health Day, The Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence (DMHSD) in the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services is ecstatic to recognize it, on this October 10th,2020 along with a week of activities also marking Children’s Mental Health Week (CMHW). Despite mental health awareness already being at the forefront of the department’s initiatives, this day, provides an occasion for the spotlight to be placed on selected aspects of mental health.


Covid-19 has placed a strain on the resilience of many persons around the world, this is evidenced by an increased demand for mental health services and personnel globally. In recognition of the unprecedented challenges which the Covid-19 outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can impose, The Department of Mental Health & Substance Dependence, has adapted and initiated numerous support avenues for persons struggling with their mental health during this pandemic. With a heavier reliance on telehealth and increased social media coverage, accessing support has been made easier and continues to be free of cost. This is in accordance with the World Health Organization’s initiatives highlighting the needs of vulnerable populations such as youth, elderly, students, frontline staff and those facing financial hardships.


Operating under the theme ‘Greater Investment, Greater Access’, your local Mental Health and Substance Dependence team has prepared an action packed week of activities in hopes of alleviating associated stress and promoting coping mechanisms as increased investment in your mental health is our utmost concern. Numerous virtual activities have been organized from October 5th to 9th as we once again celebrate World Mental Health Day and Children’s Mental Health Week in the Turks and Caicos Islands.


As part of this year’s observance, the Department will be conducting the following activities:

  • Monday October 5th
    #MindfulnessMonday: Guided Relaxation Exercise
    12pm on Zoom. ID: 9066553692 Password:210626  (link will be advertised on www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD)

Health Matters: CMHW, Coping Skills & Building Resiliency

7pm (with repeat on Tue. Oct. 6th at 10am)


  • Tuesday October 6th
    #TalentedTuesday:  Live Music & Dance with DJ Taylo Hype

7pm on www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD & www.facebook.com/TCITaylorHype/ 

  • Wednesday October 7th
    #HealthybodyHealthyMind: Yoga & Flexibility Exercise
    12pm on Zoom ID: 9066553692 Password:210626  (link will be advertised on www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD)


  • Thursday October 8th
    #LittlekidsBigfeelings:  Live Story Time & Discussion
    12pm on Zoom ID: 9066553692 Password:210626   www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD)


  • Friday October 9th
    #MentalHealthSymposium: General public
    10.30am on Zoom ID: 9066553692 Password:210626   (link will be advertised on www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD)


The community is therefore encouraged to support these events. 


For further information on World Mental Health Day, kindly contact the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department at: 338-3613 in Grand Turk, or 338-4737 in Providenciales or visit www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD or https://www.gov.tc/dmhsd/



Turks & Caicos Government

Office of the Governor

Office of the Deputy Governor