Providenciales, 25 Aug 2015 – A resounding “no” to the proposed Immigration Bill 2015 and the Turks and Caicos Islander Status Bill 2015 as residents of Provo expressed their rejection of the two bills which they say will ultimately marginalize Turks and Caicos Islanders.
Residents telling the Minister of Immigration Hon. Don Hue Gardiner, that the bill creates “too many loopholes” for individuals to obtain TCI status.
Views like: “The bill does not empower Turks and Caicos Islanders” were widely shared last night in the first of a series of town hall meetings slated nationwide.
One attendee boldly stated that “the government seems to have an obligation to people who are not Turks and Caicos Islanders. While the new bill could introduce legislation for the automatic grant of status to children born outside of the country to a Turks and Caicos Island parent; residents took particular exception to portions of the bill which would provide status to children of PRC holders, children who graduate from a Turks and Caicos high school, and freelance work permits. Here are some comments.
“I don’t think any child born to parents who do not have status here in the islands should qualify for status; that is wrong!”
“So until we enforce the laws we put on our books and borders are controlled we gonna continue here making bill after bill, law after law and then we gonna continue with the same problem. Our borders are too open. We need to put people who are serious about controlling this country and who have a heart for the country in Immigration law office.”
Monday’s meeting likely sets the tone for future public discussions on the touchy immigration issues which continue tonight in Grand Turk at the HJ Robinson High School auditorium at 6pm.
BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’
Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support
#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.
Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.
“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.
“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”
The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.
In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.
Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.
“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.
“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”
Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.
Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.
Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.
“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”
Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.
The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.
Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.
“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”
Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.
“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.
Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.
“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”
Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel
CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel
#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.
Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.
Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.
Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.
“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.
Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.
“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.
She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”
AMNESTY CAN ONLY HAPPEN WHEN WE CREATE PLACES OF REFUGE IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR OUR HURTING BOYS
By Darron Hilaire Jr. – Youth Advocate & Mentor
We’re beginning a new week with a record-breaking murder report.
Here are some of my latest thoughts on the matter at hand.
I don’t agree that things are “out of hand”, as I’ve heard it said in many instances.
I think we are still dealing with a fairly young (relatively 10-year-old) issue.
I do agree that things are VERY BAD, but I also believe that intervention is still very much within our reach as a country – this context is very important.
When we are dealing with something bigger than us or foreign to us, it always seems “out of hand”. TCI’s crime and gun violence rampage are foreign issues. Just over ten years ago, all of this was unheard of in our little paradisiacal island.
Let me put it in a different context.
Mothers, for instance, who are not accustomed to disciplining boys or raising boys might say a boy is “out of hand” because, well, she doesn’t understand the nature of boys.
She will call his father and say, “Come deal with this boy of yours”, and the father would walk in, and it seems almost automatic to him how he dismantles the situation.
And, it is not automatic by any means, however, because he understands his own boyish nature, he doesn’t deal with the issue from the same extreme vantage point as the mother.
In an ideal situation, a healthy situation, he deals with it from a place of understanding.
To make matters worse, he deals with it from a place of aggression and rage – and this too has its implications on how boys grow up to be angry and aggressive men.
Let this be a caution by itself, that if we take the position of operating out of understanding, we have a shot at intervention, but if we take the position of operation out of aggression and rage, we will only further exacerbate the situation.
And this is what I believe we are doing – operating from a place of extreme.
On another note, I think the notices calling for a voluntary turnover of guns, a “gun amnesty”, as we’ve put it, is rather absurd.
I, on the other hand, am more concerned about what made these young men pick up the guns in the first place, rather than pressuring them to turn over their source of protection.
I think there are some questions we have to ask here – although, hypothetically for now, until we can come face to face with some of the offenders.
- WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU FELT PROTECTED?
- WHO OR WHAT ROBBED YOU OF YOUR SENSE OF SECURITY?
As simple as those questions sound, I think it humanizes the situation – which is something we have to start to do. These are human beings. These are boys or young men, rather. These are someone’s children, someone’s brother, someone’s friends.
These are not faceless, nameless, soul-less, and body-less people. These are boys/young men with bodies, faces, names, souls, human needs, and families.
And my hunch is that sometimes when we don’t feel protected, we feel tempted to take protection into our own hands.
That is easy for us to picture as a people, because the reason we are crying out for the powers that be to take an intervention if we’re honest, is not because we care so much about these young men and their lives and their families, we are concerned about our own protection.
Because, helplessness will drive us to make cowardice recommendations to have these young men eliminated from the society as if they never belonged here, as if their lives never mattered; but compassion will beckon us towards curiosity, care, and courage.
I think when we put it that way, that is a feeling that all of us can resonate with.
I think when we think about it that way, we can start to devise strategies for conscious intervention and stop reducing everything to tactical force.
YOU CAN NOT HEAL TRAUMA WITH MORE TRAUMA.
The tactical force will help with rounding up, YES, but it will not help with soul healing, transformation, and rehabilitation. It will not help with creating a place of refuge for the kind of amnesty to happen.
Amnesty doesn’t just happen.
In fact, AMNESTY WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN A COUNTRY WHERE VICTIMS AND OFFENDERS DON’T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN BE PROTECTED BY THE SYSTEMS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PROTECT THEM.
We can call for it all we want.
We can even pray for it; it will not come.
If there is corruption in the systems that are designed for our protection, there will be no amnesty – there will only be more outrage and more young men externalizing their pain by taking it out on the society that never protected them.
When we learn how to create safe places for our children, our young men, to take our wounds to, only then can we create and encourage systems of amnesty.
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