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Premier Of The Turks And Caicos Islands, Dr. The Honourable Rufus W. Ewing Addresses The Foreign Affairs Committee On Governance In London

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London, United Kingdom, Tuesday December 1, 2015 – The Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Dr. The Honourable Rufus W. Ewing, yesterday, made representation on matters of governance as it relates to the Overseas Territories and particularly, as it relates to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The address was delivered to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the presence of other Overseas Territories Leaders, who are gathered in London this week to attend the Joint Ministerial Conference 2015.
The Premier’s address, which was delivered in part (due to time constraints) but later submitted, read:
“Members of the FAC it gives me great pleasures of address you all here this morning on behalf of the British Overseas Territories on the issue of governance.

“The Overseas territories enjoy a long period of relationship with the United Kingdom Government ranging from Bermuda in the early 1600s to the British Antarctic Territory as recent as 1908.
“The territories have in common the Queen as the head of state who is represented in the territories by a Governor or such person appointed by the FCO whose authority varies across the territories ranging from limited reserve powers in areas of foreign affairs, security and defense to those far reaching powers and responsibilities extending into the internal administrative governance of the territories which often overshadow the roles and responsibilities of locally elected government.

“These governance and administrative arrangements are laid out within each territory’s constitution where the good governance framework also receives its genesis and are refined by subordinate good governance legislations giving birth to good governance bodies.

“Even though each overseas may territory differ greatly from each other in size, population, economy, administrative capacity and level of political maturity, each territory has a right to self determination and self governance based on the settle will of the peoples of each territory and this self determination include the choice to remain a British OT. The British government has the responsibility to ensure that the territories are protected and are provided with a constitutional and governance framework that ensures good governance and supports progressive move towards self governance in whatever form.

“The constitutional construct varies greatly between the overseas territories and the rationalization for such construct seems haphazard and reactionary to circumstance in many instances and not based on the principles of the UK’s responsibility as laid out in the UN Convention and principles of modern democracies and good governance.
“There are many territories who feel strongly that the reserve powers of the governor are too wide in scope and overreaching into the daily executive decisions of the territory. There are many territories who feels that the governor has too much influence in the legislature in addition to veto powers.
“There are many territories who feels that the UK’s persistence as borne in the constitutional construct, to separate politics from governance the territories undermines the ability of locally elected politicians to deliver their political mandate and a shift in decision making powers to the FCO.
“There are many overseas territories who are concerned about not only the reserve powers of their governor but also the method and criteria used for the selection of their governor as this impacts heavily not only on the style of governance but the extent of interference of the governor outside of their constitutional remit.
“Ladies and gentleman I have spoken broadly on governance arrangements and concerns that you may find across the OTs, so I now turn my attention specifically to the Turks and Caicos Islands to highlight such governance concerns.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands as a UK Overseas Territory was administered via its own Governor since 1972 after the Bahamas went independent and in 1976 gain its own constitution that permitted elected ministerial system of governance.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands has had its constitution suspended twice for allegations of maladministration and corruption as was discovered in two commissions of inquiries. There are many including myself who still question the need for suspension of the constitution as a necessity to intervene and correct and weakness in governance as whatever failures there were did not have its origin in the constitution. The elected government of the TCI believe in and embraces the good governance bodies that have been implemented prior to and during the direct rule from the UK, but we are of the view that there are many provisions within the new TCI constitution when combined with the mandates of the good governance institutions stiffles the ability of any elected goverment to govern effectively.
“Governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands is even further controlled by the UK via the new role of a Chief Financial Officer who has decision making and veto powers as it relates to financial management as a condition of the U.K. loan guarantee which will expire in February of this year. The financial legislative framework in the Turks and Caicos outside of the provisions for a CFO has many provisions for safeguarding and ensuring sound financial management and we as an elected government are sufficiently confident that with these systems in place there would be no need for a CFO beyond the timeframe specified.

“There are many concerns related to the current Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution and these concerns were well articulated in the recent report on the TCI Constitution and the subsequent House of Assembly recommendations for constitutional amendments which were submitted to the FCO. In the new year we will be addressing these concerns and other governance issues with a bipartisan team interfacing with the FCO and this FAC so as to improve and strengthen the relationship between the TCI and the U.K. Government with respect to governance in the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Mr. Chair on behalf of the Overseas Territories I thank you for this opportunity to address this body today on these issues of governance.”

The meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee was the first of several to be held with the Overseas Territories Leaders and key UK Government Committees and officials, including the Plenary Sessions of the Joint Ministerial Council, which also began yesterday, December 1st at Lancaster House in London.
Premier Ewing is scheduled to deliver another address at the JMC later today at the Plenary Session on the Challenges Facing Small Island Economies.

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PREPARE FOR PRICE SPIKES AT THE PUMP: OPEC TO MAKE MAJOR GAS PRODUCTION CUTS 

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#TurksandCaicos, October 5, 2022 – A significant jump in gas prices may be looming as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is expected to cut production in its meeting on October 5th. Gas prices rose more than $2 dollars on Tuesday in anticipation of the meeting.

Gas prices had soared to incredible highs in early 2022 following sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and western countries subsequently shunning the oil and gas provided by the Eurasian nation.

This year oil remained steadily above $110 a barrel for the most part from February to July even rising to $130 a barrel briefly in March and everyone felt the pinch eventually.

Gas Prices in the Turks and Caicos rose more than $1.68 reaching highs of $8.10 and power bills in June caused widespread panic and outrage in residents, prompting calls for the government to investigate and birthing forgiveness programs for the swaths of families unable to pay the bills in full.

The TCI has still not quite recovered from the ultra high prices earlier this year based on the government’s monthly gas price index and $2.5 million was just allocated to put a cap on fuel prices for domestic customers.

Now according to analysts at Reuters, oil production may be cut up to 1 million barrels per day. Currently oil prices are trading well below 100 dollars but all eyes are on the OPEC meeting to be held in Vienna.

With demand staying strong across the globe as the Russia-Ukranian war drags on, quarantines and lockdowns become a thing of the past, and upcoming sanctions to Russian crude oil consumers must brace for what analysts say will likely be a jump, once again, in prices.

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Crime

Virginia Mourns Black Community Leader Murdered on Vacation in Turks & Caicos 

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#TurksandCaicos, October 5, 2022  – Kent Carter was an army veteran and the first Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Arlington Virginia.  An established realtor in his native US and described as a ‘stand up guy’, Kent was an active leader in his community— until last Sunday when criminals in an effort to take out rivals, uncaring of innocents, sprayed the vehicle he was traveling with bullets.

For months Turks and Caicos community leaders have been warning that gun violence is robbing us of our bright young men, now another nation has been robbed as well. It has been confirmed that Carter leaves behind a wife and at least one young daughter.

Kent’s death was confirmed by the NAACP Arlington Branch on Wednesday in a notification of loss.

“NAACP Arlington Branch mourns the tragic and unexpected loss of our 1st Vice President, Kent Carter, who passed away Sunday, October 2, 2022, while vacationing abroad.”

In the immediate hours after the announcement the story was picked up by multiple major American media houses including Fox News and tributes began to pour in. Virginia Senator Don Beyer described it as a ‘terrible loss’. Across the board from political organizations to county board members, to homeowners whom he had helped close on properties the environment was one of shock and disbelief.

Magnetic Media has observed the effect Carter, who described himself as a proud ‘girl dad’ had on the individuals around him. He participated in food drives, black upliftment sessions and was a regular vacationer to other places worldwide. Carter was not only a social activist he was a top realtor in his area and his personal social media is filled with smiling photos of families and individuals he helped to make homeowners, calls to action and social outreach programs.  The outpouring of grief was astounding.

His neighbor Robert York described him to Fox News.

“Just a really great, standup guy, you know? One of the best neighbors you could have,” he said “He and his family, just really great neighbors. So this is just incredibly sad news.”

After enjoying a jet ski ride on Sunday October 2nd he was headed back to his hotel when gunmen rained bullets on the vehicle he was traveling in with when the operators of the rides who were themselves the target of the attack.

Indiscriminately cruel are the words that must be used to describe these criminals to whom innocence has proved to be no deterrent and proximity enough for a death sentence.

The tragedy raises tough questions. How many of our young men are involved in the ‘gun and drug trade’ which National Security officials have fingered for the attack? How deeply are they embedded? How many of them are on the streets in reasonable day jobs?

The government was aware of the issue at least as weeks ago at the very onset of this violence the premier rejected the idea that the young men involved in crime were not able to support themselves saying rather that they were trying to take shortcuts to wealth.

“In this microwave generation where instant gratification surpasses everything else there are too many young people who don’t want to go through the process and work hard. If you’re not prepared to do it the old-fashioned way and to be honest you’re making a shortcut that could potentially end in an early grave.”

 

Photo Credit: NAACP Arlington Branch

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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