Turks & Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies. They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population was 31,458 as of 2012 of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands; July 2018 estimates put the population at 53,700. It is the third-largest of the British overseas territories by population.

The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain, northeast of Cuba, and north of the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647 mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170 sq mi).

The Turks and Caicos Islands were inhabited for centuries by native Amerindian peoples. The first recorded European sighting of the islands occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers, with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since.
As a British Overseas Territory, the defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom

The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.


 

Flag of the Turks & Caicos Islands

The current flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands was adopted on 7 November 1968 and modified in 1999. Prior to this, the islands had several different flags either proposed or utilised.

Nevertheless, the Turks and Caicos Islands did not form a separate colony for the vast majority of this time. Instead, the islands were a dependency of Jamaica until 1959. In 1959, the islands became a separate colony but until 1962 and the independence of Jamaica, the Governor of Jamaica remained the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Between 1962 and 1965 the Administrator of the Turks and Caicos Islands reported directly to London and then between 1965 and 1973, the administrator was subordinate to the Governor of the Bahamas, who was also Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 1973, when The Bahamas became independent, the position of administrator became governor.

The flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands features a blue ensign with the Union flag in the canton, defaced with the coat of arms of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the centre-right.
The coat of arms, which was granted on 28 September 1965, takes the shape of a yellow shield which contains a conch shell, lobster, and a Melocactus. The Melocactus, which is visually similar to the traditional Turkish fez, give the islands the first half of their name.

Whether the lobster on the coat of arms should have eight or ten legs has been disputed. It has been suggested that the original version of the flag showed ten legs, as would be accurate due to the decapod nature of lobsters, and that the first pair of smaller legs were hidden under the antennae and were subsequently missed in later drawings. It is thought that the lobster present on the coat of arms is a Caribbean Spiny Lobster (panulirus argus), which does indeed have ten legs.

The current flag was modified in 1999 when a white outline was added to the shield and the badge height was increased to approximately half of the hoist width.


 

History

Pre-colonial Era

The first inhabitants of the islands were the Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, who most likely crossed over from Hispaniola some time from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taíno who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan.[12] Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Taínos from Hispaniola.

European Arrival

It is unknown precisely who the first European to sight the islands was. Some sources state that Christopher Columbus saw the islands on his voyage to the Americas in 1492.
However other sources state that it is more likely that Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León was the first European in Turks and Caicos, in 1512.
In any case, after 1512 the Spanish began capturing the Taíno and Lucayans as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system) to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. As a result of this, and the introduction of diseases to which the native people had no immunity, the southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.

European Settlement

From the mid-1600s Bermudian salt collectors began seasonally visiting the islands, later settling more permanently with their African slaves. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts.
During the Anglo-French War (1778–1783) the French captured the archipelago in 1783, however it was later confirmed as a British colony with the Treaty of Paris (1783).
After the American War of Independence (1775–1783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies, also bringing with them African slaves. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, though it was superseded by the development of the salt industry, with the labour done by African slaves forcibly imported from Africa or the other Caribbean islands and their descendants, who soon came to outnumber the European settlers.

In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies and continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.

19th century

In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.

In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven per cent. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau, Bahamas. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution.
An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands. In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested that it may be that of the Trouvadore.
In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.

In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873-4, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner.
In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, though this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and the islands remained a dependency of Jamaica.

20th and 21st Centuries

On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being a restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. Beginning in 1965, the governor of the Bahamas was also governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.

When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his private member’s bill C-249, “An Act Respecting a Proposed Association Between Canada and the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands” that proposed that Canada form an association with the Turks and Caicos Islands; however, it was never submitted to a vote.
Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister (now premier), the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney. Moves towards independence in the early 1980s were stalled by the election of an anti-independence party in 1980 and since then the islands have remained a British territory.
Local government was suspended from 1986–88, following an allegation of government involvement with drug trafficking which resulted in the arrest of Chief Minister Norman Saunders.

In 2002 the islands were re-designated a British Overseas Territory, with islanders gaining full British citizenship. A new constitution was promulgated in 2006, however in 2009 Premier Michael Misick resigned in the face of corruption charges, and the United Kingdom took over direct control of the government. A new constitution was promulgated in October 2012 and the government was returned to full local administration after the November 2012 elections.

In the 2016 elections, Rufus Ewing’s Progressive National Party (PNP) lost for the first time since they replaced Derek Hugh Taylor’s government in 2003. The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) came to power with Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson as Premier.


 

Geography

The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northeast of Cuba, about 160 kilometres (99 mi) north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from Miami in the United States, at 21°44′N 71°48′WCoordinates: 21°44′N 71°48′W. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, though is politically a separate entity.
The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua. The nearest foreign landmass from the Turks and Caicos Islands is the Bahamian island of Little Inagua, about 30 miles from West Caicos.

The eight main islands and more than 22 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles), consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128 sq mi) of beachfront. The tallest peaks in the islands are Blue Hills on Providenciales and Flamingo Hill on East Caicos, both at a modest 48m. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year) and relatively dry, though suffers frequent hurricanes.
The islands have limited natural freshwater resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.

The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.

Turks Islands

The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200 m (7,200 ft) deep.[33] The islands form a chain that stretches north-south.
The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:

Grand Turk (with the capital of the territory, area 17.39 km2 (6.71 sq mi), population 4,831)
Salt Cay (area 6.74 km2 (2.60 sq mi), population 108)
Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two administrative districts of the territory (out of six in total) that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324 km2 (125 sq mi).

The main uninhabited islands are:

Big Sand Cay
Cotton Cay
East Cay
Endymion Rock
Gibb Cay
Pear Cay

Mouchoir Bank

25 kilometres (16 mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370 sq mi) in area.
Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.

Caicos Islands

The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56 sq mi) in area, though has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47 sq mi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45 sq mi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) in area) had 131 inhabitants.
East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.

The Caicos Islands comprise the following main islands:

Ambergris Cays
Big Ambergris Cay
Little Ambergris Cay
Bay Cay
Bush Cay
Dellis Cay
Donna Cay
Dove Cay
East Bay Cay
East Caicos
Fish Cays
Five Cays
Five Little Cays
Fort George Cay
French Cay
Little Water Cay
Long Cay
Mangrove Cay
Middle Caicos
Middleton Cay
North Caicos
Parrot Cay
Pine Cay
Plandon Cay
Providenciales
Seal Cays
Six Hill Cays
South Caicos
Stubbs Cay
Water Cay
West Caicos
West Sand Spit

Climate

The Turks and Caicos Islands feature tropical climate, with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year.[37] Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33 °C (91 °F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18 °C (64 °F).


 

Politics

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands first adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976. The national holiday, Constitution Day, is celebrated annually on 30 August.

The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age.
English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.

The Turks and Caicos Islands participate in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau.
The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Under the new Constitution that came into effect in October of 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single-member districts for four-year terms.

In the 2016 elections, the People’s Democratic Movement prevailed and Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson became Premier.

Administrative Divisions

The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).

Judiciary

The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.
Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.


 

Population

Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census. July 2018 estimates put the population at 53,700.
One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.

The CIA World Factbook breaks down the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7%. There is a small Haitian community on the islands

Language

The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole[47] which is similar to Bahamian Creole. Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Religion

72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8%), with other faiths making up the remaining 14%.

Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.

Culture

The Turks and Caicos Islands are perhaps best known musically for ripsaw music, a genre which originated on the islands. The Turks and Caicos Islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.

Women continue traditional crafts of using a straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos Islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.

The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).

Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.

Citizenship

Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they at one time could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments.
BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived; instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or those descended from natives are said to be Belongers.

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos.


 

Education

Public education is supported by taxation and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years.
In the 1990s the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) was launched in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the student-teacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free.
They have to commit to working in the Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education. There is a University of the West Indies Open Campus in the territory.


 

Health

The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. The majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals on Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition, there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.


 

Economy

The economy of Turks and Caicos is dominated by tourism, offshore finance and fishing. The US dollar is the main currency used on the islands.

Historically the salt industry, along with a small sponge and hemp exports, sustained the Turks and Caicos Islands (only barely, however; there was little population growth and the economy stagnated). The economy grew in the 1960s when American investors arrived on the islands and funded the construction of an airstrip on Providenciales and built the archipelago’s first hotel, “The Third Turtle”.
A small trickle of tourists began to arrive, supplementing the salt-based economy. Club Med set up a resort at Grace Bay soon after. In the 1980s, Club Med funded an upgrading of the airstrip to allow for larger aircraft, and since then, tourism has been gradually on the increase.

In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows: Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.

In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).

The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 2007–2008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.

The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining.
The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort, this trade has been greatly reduced.

The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.

The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.

Tourism

Tourism is one of the largest sources of income for the islands, with most visitors coming from America via ship. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009.
In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.

The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. The Turks and Caicos Islands have one of the longest coral reefs in the world and the world’s only conch farm.

The French vacation village company of Club Mediterranee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.

The islands have become popular with various celebrities. Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there.
In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.

To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.

Resorts
Grace Bay Club
The Somerset on Grace Bay
Beaches Resorts – Turks & Caicos
Seven Stars Resort
Alexandra Resort
West Bay Club


 

Biodiversity

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.

The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.
Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


 

Transportation

Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands, with JAGS McCartney International Airport serving the capital Cockburn Town on Grand Turk Island. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000 m (6,600 ft) long and one is approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) long and the other is significantly shorter).

The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24 km (15 mi) paved and 97 km (60 mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left.

The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.

The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century, East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport sisal from the plantation to the port.  The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.

From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.


 

Postal System

There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands. Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination. The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.


 

Media

Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Communications, through its Flow brand, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.

West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.

WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programmes across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007.

Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands first HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.

Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN and the Turks and Caicos Free Press. All three publications are weekly.
The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands, s3 Magazine, Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.


 

Sports

Cricket is the islands’ national sport. The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship, as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20. Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.

As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.

Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

 

 

 

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