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2015 Christmas Message By The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie Prime Minister and Minister of Finance The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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Nassau, 24 Dec 2015 – My Fellow Bahamians:

As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us be mindful of one of the great truths impressed upon humankind by Jesus Christ whose birth we are commemorating: Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself.

However, let’s remember that our neighbours extend beyond the persons residing in the house next door. They encompass all of our brothers and sisters in the national family and those from other countries who live among us.

We know that it is easy to love our relatives and friends but if we are to build a stronger and safer Bahamas, we must share ourselves with our neighbours in the broadly defined sense of the term as I have just used it.

Love is usually shown at Christmas by giving material gifts to loved ones and in the fellowship of family dinners, parties and other social events. However, we need to remind ourselves that those who are not in those close circles of family and friends may be in even greater need of our love and compassion, especially at this time of year in this Season of Giving.

If we demonstrate love, compassion, peace, and a spirit of reconciliation towards all persons within our borders, many of the concerns that we have with our society will greatly diminish.

We witnessed real examples of this love and compassion when, in October, a number of islands in the central and southeastern Bahamas were ravaged by Hurricane Joaquin. It was a wonderful, even awe-inspiring example, of the great good that lies within us and of the powerful spirit of neighbourly goodwill that wraps us together into a national family. I cannot commend enough all those civic groups, religious organizations, government agencies and private individuals that partnered with the National Emergency Management Agency in addressing the needs of those ravaged by Joaquin.

At this time of year we should also be thankful for all the many agencies and volunteer groups that came together to help our brothers and sisters in greatest need – the poor, the hungry, the unemployed, those abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves. These, the least among us, press hard upon the national conscience as indeed they do on our own private consciences as well. We are so grateful for the efforts of all those persons who contributed so generously of their time and resources to help alleviate the misery and suffering of the afflicted among us.

As we prepare to start a new year, we in the government are encouraged by new developments and investments in our Bahamas. Indeed in recent weeks Heads of Agreements for significant new developments were signed heralding a bright economic future for our Bahamas.

We are also encouraged by the progress being made in relation to Baha Mar. We therefore look with optimism and confidence towards the day when this resort will fulfill its promise and positively impact the economic life of our nation. Despite all the setbacks, I remain absolutely convinced that this will happen in 2016. This is not wishful thinking. It is well informed optimism.

We are also buoyed by ongoing infrastructural developments in our nation and by the new pages that are being turned in the vitally important spheres of telecommunications and energy. These improvements are helping us to build a stronger and more modern Bahamas better equipped to meet the challenges of life in the 21st Century.

My Fellow Bahamians,

As we are reminded of the surpassing value of family, we must remember that the fight against crime is a concern for all of us. We must therefore redouble our efforts to work together with our uniformed forces.

We will continue to institute training opportunities and job creation initiatives to ensure that our at-risk youth are afforded positive life changing alternatives.

At the same time, however, those who remain intent on pursuing lives of criminality, who only want to rob and steal or to inflict violence upon others, to such persons, they must hear this: cease and desist because there is no place in our society for those hell-bent on senseless acts of violence. The strong arm of the law will catch up with you, so stop, stop now, and stop before it is too late.

We will be introducing even tougher measures to combat criminality in 2016. Bringing down crime is a challenge of the highest priority and one that we are determined to wrestle to the ground in the New Year.

On that note, I wish to express our appreciation to our uniformed forces, especially the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Defence Force, our Department of Corrections and our Customs and Immigration officers. They are working diligently to make sure that our Bahamas is safe and secure.

To all of our civil servants, I offer thanks and appreciation for the hard work that you do all year long. Your commitment to public service is indispensable to the continued development of our nation.

To those visiting with us, we welcome you to our country and know that when you sample our food, take in our Junkanoo Parades and enjoy our hospitality this Holiday Season, you will return again and again as welcomed and appreciated family members.

My Fellow Bahamians, as we look beyond this Holiday Season and into the New Year, we see a road of progress sprawling before us. Yes, we know that we have a way to go. Yes, we will have challenges. Yes, we will have setbacks. Yet we also see milestones ahead of us, like our National Development Plan VISION 2040, the implementation of the first phase of National Health Insurance, and the expansion of the national economy in ways that are bound to create many new jobs and give rise to many more opportunities for entrepreneurial enterprise. You will be hearing more about our specific plans in all these areas as the New Year progresses.

So, I feel good about our prospects for 2016. It’s going to be a good year for The Bahamas, a good year for Bahamians. I’m convinced of that! And together we can make what already promises to be a good year even better!

I wish each and every one of you, my entire Bahamian family, a Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings for the New Year.

May the Peace of God that passes all understanding cover all of us in our Bahamas.

Thank you.

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Two Deaths on Monday July 8, Police report on Sudden Death and Unresponsive Male

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force are actively investigating separate sudden deaths that occurred in South Caicos and Providenciales.

On Monday, July 8th, 2024, shortly after 10 a.m., the Police Control Room received a call reporting that a male employee had fallen from the fourth floor of a Resort in South Caicos.

Officers and medical personnel were dispatched, and upon arrival at the resort, officers were told that the employee was fixing an air-conditioning unit when he fell off a ladder.  The male was transported to the South Caicos Clinic for treatment but was pronounced dead at 11:47 AM.

The deceased has been identified as a 47-year-old Indian national, whose name is being withheld at this time, pending the next of kin being informed.

The second incident occurred shortly after noon in Providenciales.

Officers of the RT&CIPF responded to a report made at a Resort located along Lower Bight Providenciales. Upon arrival at the scene, officers observed a male lying on his back on the beach, surrounded by a group of people performing chest compressions. The victim had been removed from the water after being discovered floating.

The 52-year-old victim was rushed to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center via ambulance but sadly passed away.

The RT&CIPF extends condolences to the family and friends of the deceased men

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TCI Cabinet agrees to subsidise South Caicos international flights in May 29th meeting

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 16th meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday May 29th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Approved the Statutory Bodies 4th Quarter Special Purpose Financial Report for FY 2023-2024.
  2. Approved the 4th Quarter Financial Report for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and agreed for the report to be published on the government’s website.
  3. Granted approval under Refurbishment Policy for a duty concession on the importation of construction, materials, furniture, fixtures, and fittings for the Palms Resort.
  4. Granted approval of the request from the Ministry of Public Safety to access the Contingency Fund to support immediately required security arrangements.
  5. Did not support the request for the waiver of Import Customs Duty.
  6. Granted approval for the disposal of 73,000 cubic yards/meters of silt that will be dredged from the seabed during the South Dock Redevelopment Project.
  7. Granted approval for amendments to the Electricity Ordinance and approved Draft Control of Capital Investment Policy which would allow for advance approval of any significant capital expenditures by a public supplier.
  8. Granted approval for the reappointment of the following persons to the Electricity Board for a period of one (1) year commencing May 21, 2024: John Ariza-Chairman, Master Electrical, Richard Harvey-Member, Electrical Contractors, Menelik Astwood-Member TCICC, James Fulford-Member Electrical Contractors, Director of Planning-Dainer Lightbourne-ex-officio, Energy and Utilities Commission-Delano Arthur-ex-officio and Permanent Secretary (MPSU) Mrs. Bridgette Newman ex-officio, and Shanetta Thompson appointed as Secretary for a period of 2 years.
  9. Granted approval for a long-term lease over Parcels 10506/29 South Suburbs, Grand Turk for the development of a cruise stop over resort type facility.
  10. Noted the findings of the Registrar and approved an interim settlement to be paid in respect of Interim Certificate of Taxation re: CL 42/21 Thanbyrase Srikanth et al v Director of Immigration et al-Cost Certificate)
  11. Granted approval of the Draft District Administration Bill 2024 and noted the stakeholder consultation plan that was scheduled to be conducted throughout the islands.
  12. Noted the previous approval for the budget reallocation within the DMMO Experience Turks and Caicos to fund the minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) in respect to international airlift to the island of South Caicos

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Proposed Amendments for Business Licensing in TCI heard at June 4 Cabinet Meeting  

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 17th meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday June 4th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Knowles and the Ministers of Home Affairs and Public Safety and Utilities.  Ms. Yaa McCartney attended in the capacity of Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Received a presentation from the Ministry of Finance on the proposed amendments to Business Licensing which was being put forward as a result of the consultations that had taken place and agreed next steps.

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