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Historic day in Parliament as Constitutional Bills pass in the Lower House

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IMG_8533Nassau, 07 Mar 2016 – History was made in The Bahamas today, Wednesday 2nd March, as Parliament passed four amendments to the country’s 1973 independence constitution, effectively removing the remaining vestiges of discrimination against all Bahamians from the country’s Supreme Law.

On hand for the vote were 37 of 38 parliamentarians as the Honourable member for Saint Anne’s Hubert Chipman remains ill.

A short description of the bills and the results of the parliamentary vote are as follow:

Bill #1:
This bill seeks the grant the legal right to a Bahamian woman to automatically pass on her Bahamian citizenship to her child born in a foreign country with her non Bahamian spouse just as a Bahamian male married to a non Bahamian woman currently has the legal right and privilege of doing under the current constitution. The results on the vote were 37 yes and 1 absent.

Bill #2:
This bill seeks to enable a Bahamian woman who marries a non Bahamian man to secure for her foreign husband the same access to Bahamian citizenship that a Bahamian man married to a non Bahamian woman currently enjoys under the constitution. The results on the vote were 36 yes, 1 no and 1 absent. Marco City MP the Hon. Greg Moss voted no.

Bill #3:
This bill seeks to grant to an unmarried Bahamian man the legal right to pass on his Bahamian citizenship to his child he fathered with a non Bahamian woman. Under the constitution, only an unwed Bahamian woman enjoys that legal right and privilege. The unwed male must provide proof of paternity by any method listed under the constitution. The results of the vote were 37 yes and 1 absent.

Bill #4
This bill seeks to eliminate gender discrimination by inserting the word “sex” into article 26 of the constitution to make it unconstitutional to discriminate against anyone on the basis of them being male or female. The results of the vote were 34 yes, 2 no, 1 abstain and 1 absent. Marco City MP Greg Moss and Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells both voted no while Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant abstained.

Mr. Moss suggested that if passed into law, amendment four could open the door to same sex marriage, but Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald rebutted, explaining that under the Bahamas’ constitution that was not possible. Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out that the Bahamas constitution defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and that the sex of an individual is determined at birth by their genetic (or chromosomal) makeup. He also cautioned House members not to confuse “sex” with “sexual orientation” as they are entirely different.

A fifth bill that addresses paternity provisions was also passed.

In his closing remarks after the passage of the bills, Prime Minister Christie rose to his feet to commend House members for their vote and to underscore the historic significance of the occasion within the context of the rights of women to vote, a franchise granted to them in 1962, more than one half century ago.

“It has been more than fifty-three years since our women won the right to vote but they still do not have constitutional protection against discrimination based on their sex. This must be seen as abhorrent to our fundamental values. It is therefore a moral imperative of the first magnitude that we seize the opportunity to usher in a new era in our civilization – an era that will proceed on the righteous and unassailable premise that we are all equal before the law irrespective of whether we are male or female and that as what is good for one is good for the other without distinction.”

In the end, the entire constitutional reform exercise was about full equality, nothing more and nothing less argued Mr. Christie.

“At its core” continued the Prime Minister, “it is for me to say that this is what the present constitutional exercise is all about – nothing less and nothing more. Let there be full equality.”

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FLOW CUSTOMERS BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SPEEDS

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New upload speeds to improve online gaming, video conferencing & Online Voice Calls

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, JUNE 24, 2022 – Flow TCI wishes to remind customers of a broadband speed increase to our existing broadband plans, which took effect on April 25th, 2022. An incremental rate increase for the new higher speed plans has taken effect.

The rates were increased by US$4 for the following plans and the download and upload speeds will increase by the following allotments:

All customers will be migrated from all previous fixed broadband plans to the new broadband Fibre to the Home plans. The new speeds will improve the overall broadband experience for all customers for online gaming, voice over IP calling, video conferencing, and social media usage.

For more information on our new Fibre to the Home plans, visit https://discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/broadband-overview for more details.

 

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2022 Hurricane Preparedness Exposition

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“Mission Ready – Pledge to Prepare; Be Smart Take Part”

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 23, 2022 – The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) will be hosting its 3rd Hurricane Preparedness Exposition on 1st July 2022 from 10:00 am at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will feature booths from over twenty-five different agencies, partners and public safety officials this year. The event provides critical stakeholders with roles in disaster management an opportunity to interact with the public, demonstrate their services, and guide individuals and businesses on how they can prepare for this hurricane season.

The goal is to ensure residents are ready should a hurricane impact our region by offering a one-stop shop for the general public to gather helpful information and ask their hurricane and storm-related questions.

We ask all residents to come out and participate in this preparedness event. The event is free, fun and educational with tons of giveaways, including the chance to win a Graceway Smart Supermarket Hurricane Supplies Shopping Spree on 1st July 2022.

This venture also encompasses the principles of Public-Private Partnership, as it demonstrates the Disaster Risk Reduction commitment of the private sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also highlight’s the Public Sector Department’s determination to ensure all major entities are involved in its goal of building a resilient country.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will be on Friday, 1st July 2022, at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. We look forward to your participation.

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Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Magnetic Media 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it.  However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.

A teenager, pregnant jumped from a balcony in Blue Hills (TCI) in desperation to escape pursuing law enforcers; it was dark, she could have died, she was hospitalized then sent back.

Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.

Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.

Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people.  The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.

Some make it, some do not.

The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.

I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place.  Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.

I am blessed. Truly.

But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up.  This should capture our attentions.

In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency.  There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.

I suspect, this is the absolute worst time to be a woman or girl in Haiti. Just the worst.

Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums:  Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.

I declare that these women are significant.  They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland.  Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.

And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity.  We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.

Just watch and see.  Women of Haiti, help is on the way.

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