Providenciales, 17 Aug 2015 – It was labeled a ‘slap in the face’ to the Turks and Caicos and its bi-partisan Constitutional Review process, which was wholly rejected by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Hon. Robert Hall, Speaker of the TCI House of Assembly: “The response received from the United Kingdom to the deliberations of this House embodied in the matter sent to the UK pertaining to the Constitutional Review Committee; I find it quite insulting and a slap in the face that in this day and time, a couple of gentlemen would sit in London and basically tell us what is good for us.”
Peeing on his foot, calling it rain… just one of the sharp phrases the Hon Robert Hall, Speaker of the House of Assembly expressed after reading the letter from HE Peter Beckingham, the letter from the UK Foreign Office and his reply to them, also by letter. This news came during today’s session via the Governor from UK Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Rt. Hon. Grant Chaps, who said ‘no’ to changing elements of the 2011 document given to the TCI as its Constitution and which is believed in many quarters to be regressive and archaic. The UK government, in this July 20, 2015 correspondence, says it in essence believes there have been too many gains with the current constitution to turn back now. Robert Hall is the Speaker of the House, and he hotly rejected the rejection.
From the FCO: “One of the key lessons was the need to put in place a series of robust checks and balances, to ensure that TCI meets international recognized standards of good governance, the rule of law and sound financial management. The present constitution and later legislation have been and continued to be important legislations to deliver positive change in TCI. The turn-around in TCIs economy over recent years has been remarkable; of course it was driven in part by increase in tourist numbers but it is also as a result of the hard work that was done in TCI to reframe its constitution and to put in place the measures highlighted above,” the letter goes on to say, “It is against this background that I have accessed the Committee’s report and have concluded that to amend the constitution in ways proposed, would risk the hard won progress that was made, I do not believe this is a risk we can afford to take.”
The response to this process which toured each of the islands, in some cases twice and which provided not only a formal document but video and audio evidence of what the people of the Turks and Caicos want, has now ignited a fresh call for the country to step out of the shadow of the British and shine on its own as an independent nation.
Hon. Robert Hall, Speaker of the TCI House of Assembly: “Turks and Caicos you better stand together otherwise, you gonna fall individually. Start planning now more than ever before to pull down that Union Jack and raise whatever you design Turks Island, you gatta move ahead.”
Grants for farmers
#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony. For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.
This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment
In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support
- Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
- New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
- Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD
To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.
Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.
Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.
My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.
Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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