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Sinking Fund getting too much, Police getting too little says Five Cays Member

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Police LeadersProvidenciales, 13 Aug 2015 – Five Cays member, Hon Sean Astwood was incensed when he learned that requests for equipment made by Police are not always fully granted; while more money is being deposited into the Sinking Fund.

Hon. Sean Astwood: “What I am understanding is that the Police Force is saying to somebody, whether it is the government or the CFO, that they need these set of equipment in order to properly conduct their business in terms of the safe keeping of this country and someone is deciding what they can get and what they cannot get.”

During the recent Appropriations Committee meeting it was exposed that some equipment is denied by the Government during consideration of the Royal Turks and Caicos Police budget.

Deputy Commissioner Rodney Adams: “Madame Chair and Members that is correct. I can certainly speak to some issues where some requests have been made and was not approved as it relates to a number of pieces of equipment that was needed for the department.”

Permanent Secretary of Finance, Athenee Harvey aimed to explain the dynamics of decisions.

Athenee Harvey, PS Finance: “The Ministry of Finance, the Department heads, the accounting officers I lift my hat to them because there are a lot of difficult decisions – even the leaders of the Opposition and Members of the House of Assembly. It is very difficult to actually have to decide what you have to forego for a temporary period of time.”

Hon Astwood posed another problem, “I thank you for that explanation Madame PS but surely there is someone who is deciding it is more prudent and beneficial to put extra money above and beyond what is budgeted for into the Sinking Fund than providing the equipment what that they needed; someone is making that decision.”

It was recommended by chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, Hon Ruth Blackman that the issue be brought up in a more appropriate forum, namely, the House of Assembly.

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Health

Shocking changes in UK COVID strategy as demands intensify for PM Johnson’s resignation

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, January 20, 2022 – In a shocking twist Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that come Thursday January 20, the United Kingdom will no longer mandate the National Health Services pass for use in public spaces and offices.

Residents will no longer be mandated to work from home which could see hundreds of thousands of workers returning to shared office spaces. Face masks will no longer be government mandated for residents or in classrooms, the announcement was met with screams of joy from gathered politicians in the House of Commons.

Johnson cited one of the reasons behind the decision as the extraordinary booster campaign. The UK has a booster rate of just over 63 percent.

Meanwhile omicron still manages to evade vaccines and boosters and Pfizer is scrambling to create a vaccine to temper the variant, which reportedly presents as milder in vaccinated individuals.

The news comes as trouble is brewing in the United Kingdom for Prime Minister Boris Johnson even after his shock announcement ending several COVID-19 protocols early this week. Calls for the Prime Minister to leave office have grown louder and louder with even senior conservatives turning their backs on Johnson.

It was said the softening of restrictions were to distract from the Prime Minister ‘bring your own booze’ staff party held at #10 Downing Street during the lockdown of 2020.

One Senator publicly switched sides and a former Minister told Johnson “in the name of God go.”

Johnson is accused of flagrantly touting the rules he himself out into place while fellow Britons were suffering during lockdown.

The BBC reports that so far six Conservative MPs have publicly declared no confidence in the PM, but more are thought to have submitted letters to that effect.

If Johnson does not step down or regain his party’s faith, a leadership election in the Conservative party could be looming on the horizon.

 

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Caribbean News

Unbossed, unbought Mia Mottley leads BLP to historic back to back, full sweep Election Victory

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, January 20, 2022 – “They who helped raise me carried me on this occasion…The working class, the workers of this country will remain at the centre of what we do.”

The words of Prime Minister Mia Mottley at her swearing in ceremony early Thursday morning.

Mottley was sworn in for a second term as Prime Minister alongside Attorney General Dale Marshall after a whirlwind of a year in 2021 where she reached international acclaim as one of the strongest and most respected Caribbean voices in the fight against climate change and being named a United Nations 2021 Champion of the Earth.

Mottley who also transformed her country into a Republic was voted in along with all General Election candidates of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) managing to successfully sweep all 30 seats for the second consecutive time in history.  Local media have dubbed the feat,  “Red Wash Number 2.”

The elections which were called 18 months early faced foul cries and injunctions from opponents of the BLP but Bajan voters put the matter to rest with an overwhelming victory for the party.

A hoarse Mottley had much to say to the Bajan People

“Barbadians are far more perceptive than we give them credit for, we are buoyed by [the win], we are humbled by the confidence, I have given the commitment that I have to be the opposition to the government because I must not in any way break the oath that I just took.”

She announced that a revised Cabinet would be announced to the public on Monday after a weekend of careful reflection and rest. She made it clear that Barbados would be continuing on its track as a regional leader.

“We shall endeavor to continue the process of transformation so our country will be able to face [future] challenges, there is still the aspirations of development that we set as a nation when we became independent in 1966, closing the development gap, eliminating poverty from our landscape, ensuring that our children can be educated to the maximum and above all else that our people shall remain owners in their land and not tenants.”

The general election was contested on January 19th by representatives from  seven parties and several independents. No official data has been released in terms of voter turnout yet but 266,330 Barbadians were eligible to vote.

 

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Health

TCI Ministry of Health slow on Quarantine Orders, blocking NIB payments

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – It is unclear how many hundreds of workers registered with the National Insurance Board are impacted, but the slow issuance of Covid-19 Quarantine Orders by the TCI Ministry of Health is hampering distribution and payment of sickness benefits to quarantined residents who are missing work.

Islanders are finding the process for receiving their money obstructed because the National Insurance Board required the government document in order to verifying their quarantine status.

The Ministry has not yet gone digital with the bookkeeping for COVID-19 records and residents have reported that the contact numbers listed by the Ministry of Health do not work.

The NIB has been offering financial remuneration to its beneficiaries since 2020 for days off work due to quarantine amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

An unemployment benefit was also instituted by the NIB to support workers adversely affected in the pandemic.

Ministry of Health has admitted to manpower shortages, but have issued no comment on how it will speed up the process of qualified residents receiving the essential Quarantine Order.

 

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