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Christmas And New Year Greetings From Governor Peter Beckingham

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Providenciales, 24 Dec 2015 – A very happy Christmas to everyone in Turks and Caicos!

It is tempting to start a message like this by saying that it has been another eventful year. I’m not sure that, for TCI and most of its residents, it has been any more or less significant than most years. We have, fortunately, escaped the worst of the tropical storms or hurricanes which hit some of our neighbours, and we have been untroubled by some of the traumatic and dreadful events which have hit, through international terrorism, the citizens of Paris and other cities. On a brighter note it was great to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Waterloo residence in Grand Turk, which is an outstanding example in the region of TCI’s history.

So overall we can look back on a year which has seen TCI take a number of steps to strengthening its economy, its tourism and its international standing. By next March the economy will have improved enough for us to pay down most of the remainder of the loan guaranteed by the UK Government in 2010, and to secure a small loan from the commercial banks.

Tourism continues to increase by leaps and bounds and 2015 saw TCI crowned by Trip Advisor as the world’s No.1 island destination. We are now the envy of many of our Caribbean neighbours with a growing air lift across the United States and Canada, with Fort Lauderdale and Chicago being two of the newest cities with direct flights. I’m sure many of us will benefit from the competitive air fares that these new routes bring. We should also not forget the valuable service provided domestically, and internationally, by our two domestic airlines.

Growing alongside these developments we have also been able to enhance our own reputation internationally. Our tourism success is entirely dependent on our standing, and although there remains a worrying level of burglaries and aggravated robbery, and sadly some still unsolved murders, overall our security reputation is high. We wouldn’t get the number of tourist visitors if it wasn’t. Can I pay tribute here to the work of the police force; they sometimes have to put themselves in positions of danger to protect us.

TCI’s international standing was also enhanced by the magnificent achievement of Delano Williams in winning a bronze medal as a member of Great Britain’s 4 x 4 men’s relay team at the World Athletic Championships in Beijing earlier this year. He is a great Ambassador for TCI, I have enjoyed meeting him, and appreciated his support for my wife Jill’s Footsteps4Good walk/run in Provo. We should all wish him well for the Olympics next year.

We need to protect the reputation of our environment. The thousands of tourists who come here expect to see pristine beaches and clean surroundings. I would also like to acknowledge the work of NGOs and many individuals who give up their time to protecting and cleaning up our surroundings. Walking through some of the islands for Jill’s second fund raising event I was able to see what a beautiful environment we have, but how quickly it can be ruined by litter and debris.

Finally, at Christmas, we should of course remind ourselves – in whatever way we see appropriate – of the message of Christmas, about sacrifice and giving. I was interested to hear our politicians, from both main parties, extolling the virtues of graciousness, peace and good will at the lovely Christmas tree lighting in Grand Turk this month. I hope that they, and all of us in Turks and Caicos, will remember those virtues – shown to us above all in the life of Jesus – throughout 2016.

Jill and I look forward to seeing as many of you as we can again next year, and we wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas, and a blessed and prosperous New Year.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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