Darwin Plus funding secured for new international partnership project in the Turks and Caicos Islands

BEGINS

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

Darwin Plus funding secured for new international partnership project in the Turks and Caicos Islands

 

An international partnership led by JNCC has recently been awarded Darwin Plus funding to undertake a 3-year project in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). JNCC, the TCI Government Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) will be working together to improve the evidence base in the marine and coastal environments in order to support sustainable coastal and marine management approaches in the islands.

 

Technical assistance will be a key theme of the project; the JNCC’s scientific experts will be working with DECR technical leads to progress expertise in the use of information management, and to develop understanding around natural capital, environmental indicators and status assessments, as well as management approaches in coastal and marine environments. Stakeholder engagement and communicating the outputs of the project will also be central to the project; partners will work with local communities, science professionals and decision-makers to provide in-depth support and build capacity. In addition, new mapping tools are to be developed, and through maximizing the use of, and value of, existing data, these tools will support decision making and the implementation of a new TCI Government Environment Strategy.

 

The JNCC have been working with the UK Overseas Territories for over 20 years, providing technical assistance to support their biodiversity and wider environment management strategies. Specifically, in the TCI, they have developed a focused programme of work over the past few years and have been working with the TCI Government on a range of projects, including disaster resilience and natural capital accounting.

 

This project will form part of a programme of coastal/marine Darwin Plus projects in the islands and will complement marine spatial planning work already underway which is being led by SAERI. There will also be strong links with other natural capital work underway across the Caribbean region.

The project started on 1 August 2020. Further information and updates will be available in due course. 

 

ENDS

PRESS RELEASE: JUDICIAL REVIEW DISMISSED

 

MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE  HOUSING PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

 

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING

 

 
   

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

 

 

On the 1st of October 2020, the Honourable Chief Justice Agyemang made her final ruling in a Judicial Review matter initially heard remotely over two days in July this year.  The applicants, Mr. Eric Le Vin, Mr. Daniel Le Vin and the Proprietors of Strata Plan No. 84 sought judicial review of the decision of the Physical Planning Board to grant Outline Development Permission (‘ODP’), subject to 64 conditions, to “The Yard Limited” to build an Eighty-seven (87) bedroom hotel on parcel 60801/76 in Providenciales.

 

The Respondents the Director of Planning, the Physical Planning Board, the Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos and HE, the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, all of whom were represented by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“The Yard Limited” who had brought the application for the subject ODP of the hotel were an interested party in the proceedings, they submitted evidence before the Court and also made oral arguments.

 

One of the central points of contention in this case was that this particular application for ODP was for the construction of an Eighty-seven (87) bedroom hotel in an area zoned as (R4) medium density residential (3-6 units per acre), therefore was inconsistent with the land use zoning for the area.

The applicant’s case was that the proposed development would have a negative impact on their properties. They feared that the proposed development would compromise their quality of life in a place where they alleged, they had a legitimate expectation it would remain residential. In addition, they challenged the legality of the grant of ODP, asserting that an application for ODP should not include an application for change of zoning. They further argued that no Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) was conducted prior to the grant of ODP, that it was wrong to grant ODP without a full public consultation. They complained that their lengthy objections were not given due consideration. One of the applicants further claimed that a change of zoning would set a bad precedent and would open a floodgate of others seeking a change of zoning.

 

On behalf of the Respondent’s, Director Dainer Lightbourne deposed an affidavit, his evidence was that the Physical Planning Board (“PPB”) gave full and proper consideration to all matters pertaining to the application. As already mentioned, the application for ODP was for the construction of an eighty seven 87 bedroom room hotel in an area zoned as (R4) medium density residential (3-6 units per acre), therefore was inconsistent with the land use zoning for the area. As a result, if the PPB were minded to grant conditional approval, the application would have to be referred to the Minister for Infrastructure Housing, Planning and Development, pursuant to Section 39(2) of the Physical Planning Ordinance.

 

Section 39(2) procedure requires a referral by an otherwise approving PPB, to the Minister, and through him, to the Governor in Cabinet, for his decision which would come in the form of advice from the Board.

The Director of planning further explained to the Honourable Court that the decision not to require an EIA before the grant of the ODP, was in accordance with an age-old practice, the reason for which is that an EIA involves substantial expense, and the issuance of terms of reference which require the input of stakeholders. One of the 64 conditions of the ODP in this case was not only the requirement of an EIA but also a Comprehensive Impact Assessment (“CIA”), by independent experienced experts in the field.

 

After hearing oral arguments for 2 days on the 28th and 29th of July remotely, the Honourable Chief Justice gave her ruling on the 14th of September where she ruled, among other things, that:

 

  1. That the applicants’ proposition that the Physical Planning Ordinance makes no room for rezoning, so that Cabinet acted unlawfully was misconceived as it was based on two false premises, the first was that the application that found its way to Cabinet, was an application for rezoning of land, and secondly, that the Governor has no power under the PPO to grant a rezoning of land.

 

She found that the application from “The Yard Limited” had never been one for rezoning or change of zoning but rather an application for ODP. The application was inconsistent with the use of land, i.e. residential, was not reason to refuse it, as the existence of Section 39 of the PPO recognizes that such applications may be presented to the PPB.

 

  1. Consideration was given to complaints and concerns at every stage of the decision making process.

 

  1. There was no wrong doing, impropriety, or even lack of prudence in, or about, the lack of an EIA before the grant of the ODP, especially as the grant was conditional upon a number of things including the conduct of a CIA, including an EIA

 

  1. The application for judicial review was dismissed and costs were awarded against the applicants.

 

Please see a link to the referred judgement:

https://gov.tc/docs/ES_2020_CL-24_R.pdf

 

 https://gov.tc/docs/2020_CL-24_R.pdf

 

ENDS

CONSULTATION PROPOSED ON ADDITIONAL AMENDMENT TO THE ELECTIONS ORDINANCE FOR ADVANCE POLL COVID-19 VOTING

ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT

GRAND TURK

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

 

TELEPHONE: (649) 338-2304/ OR (649)246-7742

 

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

 

CONSULTATION PROPOSED ON ADDITIONAL AMENDMENT TO THE ELECTIONS ORDINANCE FOR ADVANCE POLL COVID-19 VOTING

 

The Supervisor of Elections is inviting the general public to participate in providing feedback on a proposed additional amendment to the Elections Ordinance of the Turks and Caicos Islands relating to advance polling for COVID-19 and quarantine voters.

 

The consultation amendment on Advance Poll was in previous consultation previously; however, this further amendment to the Elections Ordinance is in light of COVID-19 being present in the Islands and the fact that general elections is scheduled to be held this year or early next year.  It will give persons who are tested positive with COVID-19 or under quarantine, the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to go to the polls and vote during advance polling.

 

The proposed amendment to the Ordinance for Advance Poll stipulates the following:

An advance poll may be held one day prior to the day named as the polling day and it shall be lawful for a voter to record his vote at advance poll in the midst of a pandemic, if the voter has tested positive to the disease or has been placed under quarantine by order of the Chief Medical Officer.

 

A voter who wishes to vote at an Advance Poll shall, not later than ten days after the issue of a writ of election, make an application for approval to the Supervisor.

 

A voter who is approved to vote at an Advance Poll shall be allowed to vote in like manner as he would have been entitled to do on the day appointed for taking the poll, except that he shall not be allowed to vote at advance poll unless he produces proof of approval to vote at Advance Poll.

 

Protocols have been put in place by the Chief Medical Officer to regulate and control persons with COVID-19 and persons under quarantine; however, additional health protocols have been instituted for Voter’s tested positive for COVID-19, or under quarantine, and are desirous of attending polling stations to vote in Advance Poll the day before polling.

 

The Protocols established for COVID-19 positive, and persons under quarantine, to vote are as follows:

  • The voter must prepare and submit to the Supervisor a request to vote in the advance poll.
  • Before leaving isolation, the voter must notify the Ministry of Health (MOH) officials.
  • Except as otherwise directed by the Supervisor or Returning Officer, when the voter is at the polling station he/she must wear n95/k n 95 mask fitted to cover the nose and mouth, a face shield, gloves and disposal gown.
  • As far as is reasonably practicable, for the duration of time when the person is out of isolation, he/she will be required to maintain social distancing of six feet from other voters at the polling station.
  • The voter must travel to and from the polling station in a private transportation via the most direct route.
  • The voter must wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or sanitize hands before leaving the place of isolation.
  • The voter must comply with all the protocols at the polling station.
  • The voter must immediately return to their place of quarantine after voting.
  • Poll workers will be train in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist voters who are positive for COVID-19 inclusive of persons in quarantine/isolation.
  • Polling stations will be deep cleaned after COVID-19 positive persons have voted.

 

Advance Poll will be held one day prior to polling day at polling stations located in the ten electoral districts between the hours of 8am to 4pm.

 

Please submit  feedback on the proposed amendment to the Elections Ordinance for advance poll by email or hard copy document, to Lister Dudley Lewis, Supervisor of Elections, SPPD Office Complex, South Base Grand Turk or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The consultation will commence October 8th, 2020 and close October 21, 2020.

 

Lister Dudley Lewis

Supervisor of Elections

 

 

ENDS

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.”

 

ENDS

Phase 3 - Roadmap for the Reopening of Schools

PRESS RELEASE

 

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.

Turks & Caicos Government

Office of the Governor

Office of the Deputy Governor

Contact

COVID-19 UPDATE