Following the closure of the Carnival Cruise Port on Grand Turk in the wake of an outbreak of a sickness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, Carnival is now excavating the sewage system trying to locate the source of the problem.
The company is telling local workers it will not reopen the port until the problem is resolved.
However, local residents say they have long been aware of what is causing the virus and sickness epidemic on the deep water capital island. Approximately two years ago it was revealed that ground adjacent to the port was saturated with sewage water. The problem, sources say, has continued and Grand Turk residents who work at the port continued to complain about the stench, which seems constant at one portion of the complex.
They have reportedly complained to government but no action has been taken. This, it seems, is due to the arrangements made when the port deal was agreed to by the previous the Progressive National Party (PNP) administration. The port ownership remains in the hands of Carnival Cruise Lines.
The health ministry seems to have been largely ineffectual in dealing with the problem. Health minister, Premier Rufus Ewing, himself a medical doctor, has spoken to the problem on numerous recent occasions but reported he has yet to locate the source of the outbreak. Ewing and other health officials have been instructing people to employ extra cleanliness precautions. Ewing also reported he has taken samples from those affected and sent them out for analysis.
Meanwhile, the TCI government has reported that the public water supply is safe and without any contaminants likely to cause illness.
Following the temporary closure of the Grand Turk Cruise Center, the Water Undertaking undertook water sampling of the water from the reverse osmosis plant to ensure there is no contamination of the public water supply.
On completion of testing, Water Undertaking reported that all samples have yielded negative results, indicating that there has been no contamination of the public water supply. The results are based on tests for fecal coliform, total coliform and entercoccus.
The health ministry also reported a decrease in the number of cases of diarrhea and vomiting on the island.