The Ministry of Border Control and Employment Reviews and Improves Passport Application Processing

The Ministry of Border Control and Employment recently undertook a review of the passport process in light of the numerous complaints from the public and their dissatisfaction with the process, especially the increased length of time being taken for the renewal of a Turks and Caicos Islands Passport.

The Ministry, this week, concluded several discussions with Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) and the members of the Registration and Citizenship department within the Ministry, in which it was identified that the key factors impacting the service delivery of passports are the lack of dedicated resources to the passport processing unit and the need for further knowledge development in the various British Nationality Acts and their applications. While these gaps are the main contributors to the significant delays, it was further identified that a smaller number of passport applications are being affected by incomplete submissions of documents by customers.

The passport application process is two-pronged, with a local approval process prior to them being uploaded electronically to the processing site utilized by HMPO for verification of details and the final printing of the passport facility.

On Tuesday May 30, 2017, management within the Ministry undertook a reassignment of duties among the personnel within the Registration and Citizenship Department to increase the number of resources that are now dedicated to the processing of passport applications. This, along with the temporary staff that the Ministry recently employed, will assist in decreasing the backlog locally, while efforts are being made to organize the much needed training in the BNA and other HMPO policies for the overall reduction in the inaccuracies being recorded in the application process. 

While the Office of the Deputy Premier and Ministry of Border Control and Employment regrets the inconvenience caused to its clients in recent months, management remains committed to ensuring that there is marked and noticeable improvements in the processing of passports and the delivery of all services that fall under the Ministry.

CORNER STONE LAYING CEREMONY FOR ELIZA SIMONS PRIMARY SCHOOL

The  Corner Stone Laying Ceremony for Eliza Simons Primary School New Block succeeded yesterday, Wednesday 17th May, despite some rainy resistance.

The inclement weather challenged the celebration of the corner stone laying ceremony for the new state-of-the-art two-story school building, a $2.5 million addition to the school.  However, a significant number of government officials and patrons from the community were present to witness what the Minister of Education referred to as “celebrating the laying of blocks for the second in our series of infrastructure of modern schooling in the Turks and Caicos Islands”.

The Minister of Education stated, “Today’s ceremony marks a turning point as we prepare to usher in an exciting new era for public education in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  This school will be more than just a building of bricks and mortar; this will be a place where

people learn, teach and grow.  This 21st Century learning facility will be built with a focus on using technology to engage students in their learning and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for the future”.

The ceremony included a prayer by School Chaplin, Dr. Linda Williams, who is a past Director and Permanent Secretary of Education. Remarks were also made by the Honourable Premier, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; H.E. Deputy Governor, Anya Williams; Minister of Infrastructure, the Honourable Goldray Ewing; Minister of Education, the Honourable Josephine Connolly and a Representative of Olympic Construction followed by each Government Official laying a brick in the corner of the school.

The newly constructed school will foster the education of future generations.  The greatest inheritance to give a child is a high-quality education. Therefore, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government will continue to developschool infrastructure, providing students with a modern and positive learning environment which is part of their commitment to ensure that students meet their full potential.

WORLD HYPERTENSION DAY

Today, May 17th the Turks and Caicos Along with the Region under the theme “Know your Numbers” commemorates World Hypertension Day. Hypertension or as we refer to it high blood pressure also known as the “Silent Killer” is the main risk factor for suffering and dying as a result of premature cardiovascular conditions. Hypertension is also the second leading cause of disability worldwide.

"The incidence of hypertension in all social strata has doubled over the past 5 years. Globally, it is estimated that only 57% of hypertensive people know that they have hypertension. Hypertension is not curable but it is treatable. Yet, only 40.6% of persons receive antihypertensive drugs and of this percentage only 13.2% achieve blood pressure control numbers. The Turks and Caicos is no different and we must do something about this very alarming disease condition" stated Mrs. Robinson Director of Health Promotion and Advocacy within the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services.

One may ask what is hypertension? hypertension means there is too much pressure in your blood vessels. This can damage your blood vessels and cause health problems.  Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but it becomes more common as you get older. Therefore, if there is a family history of hypertension, if you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, eat unhealthy diets, have diabetes or kidney disease, obese, have an inactive lifestyle, stressed often or have sleep apnea you should have your blood pressure checked regularly. The following tips will help you to prevent or control hypertension:

  • Be physically active for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. (moderate physical activity means you sweat a little and breathe a little harder)
  • Eat a healthy diet based on vegetables & fruit, low-fat milk products, whole grains & lean meats, fish, legumes (beans) and nuts.
  • Do not add salt/sodium to foods prepared at home or at the table.
  • Eat a lower salt/sodium diet. Most of the sodium in your diet comes from processed or packaged foods, and restaurant & take-out meals. (Wash canned foods & other salty foods before eating or cooking.)
  • Learn to read the sodium content on food labels. Choose packaged foods with 5% or less daily value for sodium.
  • If you are overweight, aim to reduce to a healthy weight or in other words a healthy BMI measurement of 20-25.
  • Manage your stress levels to improve your coping skills and your health.
  • Limit alcohol to 1-2 standard drinks per day or less.
  • Do not smoke and avoid places where others are smoking

For more information on hypertension contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 338-2772.