Providenciales, 25 Dec 2015 – What a blessing it is to have made it this far in 2015. It is only by God’s grace and mercy we are alive and at our station in life. I am indeed grateful for the gift of life and for the privilege to address you from this platform another year and so it is with a heart of gratitude and one filled with hope that I greet you our residents and visitors alike.
As this year draw near its end, it is more innate than customary that we begin a period of reflection. This year has seen many challenges and while many are struggling to find cause to celebrate or to be cheerful, I wish to call us to reflect on the reason we celebrate Christmas.
If we were to allow ourselves to be stuck in what was a difficult year for many and if we were to dwell on the lack of material things or the past hurts, losses and disappointments in 2015, then we would be robbing God of the gratitude and thanksgiving that He deserves. I offer you the following thoughts: whatever you have been through and are going through, you have made it this far and not without God’s grace and mercy and whatever you anticipate for the new year, God is already there ahead of you. This is enough to be thankful for and enough to encourage us to trust Him with our past and more importantly our future.
And as we reflect on this time of year, let us not miss the true reason we pause to celebrate. It is all about Jesus and what His birth signified. His birth, the greatest gift and expression of love, signaled an opportunity for man to be reconciled back to God. His very birth offered eternal hope, peace and joy. In these times, we ought to want to pause from all of the hustle and bustle to delight ourselves in this reality. As we celebrate, while we reflect on the birth of Jesus, let us also seek to emulate the life that He led: one of peace, love and giving. Throughout His time on earth, He delighted in being around and meeting the needs of people especially the disadvantaged. Let us do what we can to minister to those in need: not just in an encouraging word but in real deeds. Let us give lovingly, cheerfully, and for no praise from men, but for the glory of God.
In our time of reflection, with thankful and grateful hearts, let us give God the praise that is due Him for keeping us to this time, for the tests and challenges that did not kill us but can and will serve to make us better, for the gift of life, family and friends and for the gift of His Son, the Promise that brings us hope in this time.
During this season, give your family some quality time, give praise and celebrate in a place of Worship, give to those less fortunate and in all be sure to give God all the glory.
On behalf of the PDM Party: our officers, members and families, and with grateful and thankful hearts, I extend to you a very Merry Christmas and a Christ filled New Year. In this New Year, it is our prayer that you will embrace the new possibilities and beginnings that it will bring and remember that whatever our struggles and challenges in life and wherever we might find ourselves, there is still the opportunity to start anew, to change our attitude and outlook.
This is a time of reflection, sharing, hope and new possibilities.
In the words of an unknown author, “May you have the spirit of Christmas which is peace, the gladness of Christmas which is hope and the heart of Christmas which is love.”
And from my heart to yours, may the Christ of Christmas fill your hearts and homes.
Again I wish for you a very Merry Christmas and a Christ filled 2016.
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#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”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#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.
Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation
By Shanieka Smith
#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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