4 Illegals Apprehended Following Unauthorized Vessel Arrival

Ricardo Don-Hue Gardiner, Minster of Border Control and Labour, Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Government, said:

“I am pleased to announced that we have already apprehended four illegal immigrants who attempted to gain access to the TCI in the early hours of this morning, Tuesday, 17 February 2015. Their sloop, which could have held 30-40 persons, whom we are presuming were illegal Haitian migrants, came ashore on the Island of Providenciales at approximately 2.00am today.

“TCI immigration and police officers are on the scene, in the vicinity Five Cays Beach, and are continuing to search of the local area for these illegal migrants which will see them apprehended and repatriated in due course. I would take this opportunity to thank our immigration and police officers for their work in swiftly catching these four people, who will help us with our enquiries before being repatriated. This search for others will clearly include those areas of the TCI which are already home to legal Haitian migrants and further afield across the Islands.

“It is a matter of some concern to me that this vessel was not identified by our coastal radar station, which has previously enjoyed significant success in helping us track suspicious vessels, to apprehend, and to send home, hundreds of would be illegal immigrants from Haiti over the past two years. It is a disappointing to have this fine record tarnished in the manner.  I will, of course, be investigating why this happened and will report further on this at a later time - our focus for the moment must understandably be upon the pursuit of those who arrived here illegally this morning.

“Both the TCI Governor and I have made several representations to the Haitian authorities, including their Consul-General here in the TCI, to do more to prevent their nationals travelling here illegally. We will continue to maintain this pressure.

"Anyone with information can contact the Police anonymously on 911 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1-800-8477. Tips can also be submitted anonymously in English, French or Spanish on either www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.”

Ministry of Health and Human Services Comments on Measles Outbreak In The USA

There is currently a multi-state outbreak of Measles in the USA associated with travel to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in California. This has affected 14 US states and Mexico. From the 1st through the 30th of January 2015, 102 measles positive cases were reported. Last year, the US experienced the highest number of measles cases reported in 20 years, 644 cases in 27 States.

The Caribbean sub-region has been successful in maintaining a measles-free status since 1991. In light of the strong travel ties between the Caribbean and the USA, and given that we are in the midst of the tourism high-season, the Ministry of Health and Human Services encourages local residents and visitors to be watchful for fever-rash syndromes.

Measles spreads quickly among unvaccinated people. The majority of the adults and children that have reported cases of measles in the US did not get vaccinated or do not know whether they have been vaccinated.  Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe, effective and highly recommended.  Maintaining high vaccination coverage is very important and it's the best protection we have against disease outbreaks.

Measles is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease that occurs over a period of two to three weeks. It spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, four days before the rash appears and four days after the rash appears.

Persons are protected against the disease in two ways: 1) through vaccination and 2) through previous infection, i.e., if you have had the measles already, you cannot get measles again. The vaccine is given in two doses in the TCI, the first at age 1 year and the second at age 2 years. Children who receive the vaccine at age 1 are protected up to 98% until the second dose is due at age 2.

Persons not protected against the disease can contract the virus when a person with measles coughs, sneezes or talks in their face. Also, droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking can fall on surfaces and remain there for hours. Persons who have not been immunized can contract the virus by touching the infected surface and putting their fingers in their mouth, nose or eyes.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services is pleased to advise that the Turks and Caicos Island is currently MEASLES FREE. Over the years, the 1st dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage have been 95% - 98%. However, children remain at risk of contracting measles if they have not received the 2nd dose of MMR vaccine and they come into contact with someone who has the disease. Children who have not received the 1st dose of MMR vaccine are at an increased risk of contracting measles if they come in contact with someone who has the disease.

In order to reduce the risk of local transmission of measles to our population in the TCI, the Public Health Staff from the Primary Health Care Department will be conducting the following initiatives:

  • Vaccination in schools throughout Providenciales commencing the first week in February 2015.
  • Catch-up and Mop-up campaigns in the community. “The target group” are children ages 1 year for the 1st MMR vaccine and 2 years or older for the 2nd MMR vaccine.
  • Routine immunization of measles vaccine will continue to be administered at well-baby clinics throughout the country.
  • Vaccinations administered at Public Health Clinics are free of charge.

Parents are encouraged to cooperate with the Public Health Nurses and send their children’s immunization take home cards to school upon request. Travellers to the USA or Mexico from TCI (adults and children) are advised to ensure their vaccination records are up to date prior to travelling.

For more information, contact the Primary Health Care Clinic in your respective island. In Grand Turk, contact 941-2900 in Cockburn Town Medical Centre and in Providenciales, contact 941-2800 in Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.

Help us keep Turk and Caicos Islands Measles, Mumps and Rubella free!!

Ministry Of Health Provides Free Vaccination To Hotel Staff

Public Health Nurses from the Ministry of Health and Human Services administered more than 100 free flu vaccines to Beaches Turks and Caicos Team Members On Tuesday, 3rd of February 2015. The exercise was part of the Beaches Turks and Caicos Healthy Living Initiative’s event for the month of February, “Beat The Flu”.

“2014-2015 Influenza (flu) season has reached its peak. Seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October” stated Dr. Jamillah Berry, Health Planner “However, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

“We are committed to keeping the Turks and Caicos healthy and this was another step in spreading the word that the seasonal flu vaccine for adults and children are available at all Government operated Primary Health Care Clinics free of charge.”

Please contact the Ministry of Health and Human Services, Primary Health Care Clinics in the TCI Hospitals (941-2900 in Grand Turk and 941-2800 in Providenciales) or your local Island Clinic to schedule a time to get your vaccine.

It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccine annually. In addition to having a flu vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Human Services recommends the following healthy habits, which can stop the spread of the infection:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or long enough to sing the birthday song twice.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth (germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If you or your child is sick with the flu stay home from work, school or daycare. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, manage your stress, and be physically active.
  • Everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of germs that can cause many different illnesses including the flu.