Providenciales, 14 May 2015 – Political persecution, a rigged judicial system and a continued fight for justice and freedom against one of the world’s strongest empires; it sounds more like an epic battle about to be waged between two titans than a press release; but a press release it is from the former Minister of Lands and former South Caicos Member of Parliament, McAllister Hanchell. Hanchell issued a media statement yesterday following the dismissal of the appeal by eight TCI defendants at the Privy Council in London. The group was looking for judicial independence and a jury trial, which in their views is fair. Mr. Hanchell said he is disappointed in the dismissal and a system that seems determined to rob he and others of true justice.
I quote him, “It remains our position that these corruption cases are nothing more than a political witch-hunt that was carefully designed and orchestrated by the British establishment to destroy and discredit local politicians and their families and associates, while allowing wealthy white developers and other individuals who were implicated in the Commission of Inquiry and/or were previously charged, to pay their way in order to avoid justice.” Flaming words from the man many call, Piper, who reminded that a fact-finding mission by CARICOM concurs and he exposed that even keeping quality Queen’s Councils to defend those charged is impossible because fees are reportedly shirked. “…respected defense lawyers from the UK have withdrawn their services because they were not paid adequately or in a timely manner, and also because Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick and her Special Investigation and Prosecution Team significantly increased the number of pages of evidence given to the defense lawyers, but the system has refused to increase the payment…”
Add to this, Mr. Hanchell explains that six months away from trial and there are over 500,000 pages of unused material which the SIPT has not yet disclosed, added to over 100,000 pages of new evidence presented. Magnetic Media was yesterday told the group will take the matter to the European Human Rights Court because, among other things they see the pay disparity as an infringement on equality. Hanchell is asking how can he and the other defendants can get a fair trial? Nonetheless, Hanchell says the group will continue to fight for justice and will continue to file challenges. “We have also since Monday filed an appeal to our earlier challenge to Justice Harrison on the basis that he has reached the retirement age of 70 and as prescribed by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution it is therefore unconstitutional for him to be appointed at age 78 as a judge of the Turks and Caicos Supreme Court.”
McAllister Hanchell believes Justice Paul Harrison also called into question his ability to be impartial with public comments made on cases in Jamaica as he sits on the Jamaican Integrity Commission. Again I quote McAllister Hanchell, who said: “…it will be exceedingly difficult for Justice Harrison to judge us fairly and dispassionately, therefore, he should have done the honorable thing and removed himself from this case when we applied for him to do so.” Hanchell ended the statement with thanks to family, friends and well-wishers.
McAllister Hanchell and ten others are charged with government corruption following the 2009 Commission of Inquiry.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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