Ministry of Health Addresses Threats Made Against Public Health Staff
The Ministry of Health is responsible for the public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes various public health functions such as contact tracing, testing and quarantine as well as compliance efforts in collaboration with other agencies such as the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
In carrying out these functions under the Turks and Caicos Islands Public and Environmental Health (Covid-19)(Control Measures) Regulations 2021 (Legal Notice 1 of 2021) and other legislative measures, there have been multiple times where staff have been threatened with violence and been verbally abused while carrying out their duties.
These duties are carried out to ensure the health and wellbeing of all persons in the TCI whether residents or visitors and in order to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 within the TCI. The cooperation of the public is critical in achieving these public health goals. Public Health Staff must be respected in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities and deserve to carry out their duties safety.
Persons are reminded of the Regulations which state the following:
- No person shall obstruct the Chief Medical Officer, any public health officer, public officer, police officer, any other law enforcement officer, or any prison officer, acting in the course of his duty as such, or any person exercising any powers or performing any duties conferred or imposed on him by or under any of these Regulations, or otherwise discharging any lawful functions in connection with the performance of any statutory purpose.
- Any person who contravenes these Regulations commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment for three months, or to both.
Persons who are non-compliant with the Regulations or threaten staff in any way when carrying out their duties will be immediately reported to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force for enforcement action. Abuse of officials seeking to carry out important public health functions will not be tolerated.