Speaking on the “Crime Bills” in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, November 20, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip “Brave” Davis responded to concerns by the Opposition regarding the “Small Homes Repair Programme” launched November 14 by Urban Renewal 2.0. Minister Davis said during the 2013-2014 Budget Communication the government announced its intention to launch the programme. This effort, along with current upgrade and improvements to social services are intended to impact the lives of people who are in urgent need at this most critical time in the economic life of the country, he said. Pointing out that there is no cause for concern, Minister Davis assured Parliament and the nation that the “Small Homes Repair Programme” is designed with the objective of completing small-scale renovations to houses owned by occupants who have been identified by Social Service representatives as needing such assistance. “It is also designed to inject new hope and opportunity to small contractors (PLP, FNMs and DNA). It will create short-term employment for our people. And it will better the living conditions of struggling homeowners who cannot help themselves at this time,” he said.
“I am confident that those charged with managing the works will deliver the best service possible on behalf of the Bahamian people as we move our nation forward.” On the subject of crime, Minister Davis said there are no illusions that the problem of crime can be solved overnight. However, the country can be assured that the process to decrease the issue has begun.
He noted that the government’s multifaceted approach to dealing with crime through prevention and detection, prosecution and end rehabilitation is now in full view of the public. “We have, through the leadership of the Member for Bains and Grants Town, embarked on a holistic approach in dealing with the problem, engaging stakeholders and the general public through town meetings and public notices. We have deployed more boots on the ground. There is increased visibility and swift action by patrols; their saturation across the country is now in place.
“The church and other civic organisations have deployed and tied in their energies to helping the crime fight and indeed we are seeing results,” he added. He also indicated an overhaul of the judicial and prosecutorial agencies as solutions offered by the government to tackle crime. “We always held the view that the solutions to crime must include all stakeholders in the criminal justice system – that is connecting and locking together the hands of everyone in the process of apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and incarcerating persons suspected in criminal matters. “Our efforts here today, therefore, are to further empower our stakeholders to keep Bahamians safe from violent crime.” The government is doing all its power to arrest the vexing crime situation and encourages all citizens to join the fight, said the minister.
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne. The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.
Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.
Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.
After the minister resigned – unceremoniously – in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.
Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.
Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”
Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings. Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.
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