Missing Children Down
KINGSTON, Sept. 3 (JIS): The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) is reporting a decline of 19 per cent in the number of children reported missing for the period January to June 2014, when compared to the corresponding period in 2013.
This was disclosed by Registrar of the OCR, Greig Smith, during a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister, on September 3.
Mr. Smith noted that despite the decline, the OCR is mindful that there is still a lot of work to be done, to ensure that children remain in their homes and feel secure being there.
“The fact that fewer children are going missing means our messages are having an impact. However, we remain conscious of the fact that we must work assiduously to improve the rate of recovery of missing children,” he said.
Mr. Smith also informed that preliminary data indicate that 11,018 reports of child abuse were received by the OCR for the period January to December 2013, representing an increase of 26 per cent over the 2012 period.
“Of the reports received, 8,679 represented children who were being reported on for the first time. Of this amount, 57 per cent were girls, 41 per cent were boys, while the gender for the remaining 2 per cent was not specified,” he said.
He noted that neglect was the most common report received by the OCR throughout 2013, representing 48 per cent of all reports, and that the other categories which featured high were reports of children in need of care and protection and children who were sexually abused, which accounted for 39 and 30 per cent, respectively.
Mr. Smith said that with the exception of trafficking, which remained unchanged compared to 2012, increases were observed in all types of reports, ranging from 20 to 53 per cent.
“Reports of child labour (increasing by 53 per cent), led the increases in the types of reports received. There were 319 reports of child labour for 2013, compared to 209 reports recorded in 2012. Reports of children exhibiting behavioural problems and those in need of care and protection were featured in the top three percentage increase in the types of abuse reported over the period, registering increases of 44 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively,” he noted.
He also informed that reports on the other major types of abuse, such as physical, emotional and neglect saw an average increase of 22 per cent in 2013.
In terms of missing children, 984 children were reported missing for the period January to June 2014 (222 boys and 762 girls), and of this amount, 614 have since returned. However, two of the missing children were found dead and 368 are still missing.
Meanwhile, in order to improve the rate of recovery for missing children, the Office of the Children’s Registry initiated search and rescue training across the island on a phased basis, beginning with the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Catherine, St. Ann, Trelawny and St. James between April and July this year.
The participants trained included nurses, educators, ministers of religion, guidance counsellors, children’s officer, fire personnel, parish disaster coordinators, civil servants, probation officers, members of the judiciary as well as representatives from various non-governmental and community-based organisations.
Mr. Smith also informed that the OCR will be printing and distributing 3,000 copies of search and rescue protocol manuals, developed to provide guidance in finding missing children.
These manuals will be disseminated in schools, residential child care facilities, government ministries, departments and agencies, private sector companies, among others, and will also be available for download on our website at www.ocr.gov.jm, following a workshop that will be held to launch the document,” he said.
For her part, OCR Child Ambassador for Region Four (St. James), Suzanna Hyde, said that children have a critical role to play in the fight against child abuse and missing children.
She urged that children should refuse to divulge private information, such as home address and telephone numbers to others without their parents’ consent.
To make a report of a missing child, persons can call the OCR at
1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) or Police at 119.
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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