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Delano Williams return home postponed due to weather

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Providenciales, TCI, August 23, 2016 – Just minutes after the announcement that the government was working with TCI Olympian, Delano Williams on a return home this Thursday and the string of activities for his hero’s welcome, the plans were cancelled.  The unnamed tropical depression which is by the day gaining strength, just as forecast has power – power enough to force the postponement of that DW Celebration.

Williams was to return to TCI via British Airways this coming Thursday with a welcome reception, motorcade, press conference, Cadet escorted entry into the World Famous Island Fish Fry and remarks of praise coming from as high up as the Governor of the territory.  But no more, at least for now, Delano posted on his Facebook page that he will no longer return on Thursday due to the coming bad weather. 

The Minister had warned that it was possible and she spoke about how it felt to be watching Delano at the Olympic Stadium in Rio. 

“We equated it that the joy we had watching Delano run, and cross the line and hand the baton over first,  was probably more joyful than when we heard that we won the election, and I think that just shows the amount of…..like just thinking about it now i’m welling up with emotion, because it was just indescribable, and looking at the pictures and the videos from events that were here, there was an event at Danny Boys, there was an event at Opus, there was one in Grand Turk, and I understand the Vix was packed and somewhere else was packed.   Just looking at the pictures of the country standing still for forty seconds, because I was screaming so much, I was able to actually capture a quick snap of his mother and the look on her face, the joy on her face,  the joy on Rita Gardiner’s face.” – DP Akierra Missick

Haiti proved a stellar partner for the Turks and Caicos, as its Athletic Association worked to get Delano’s mother, his mentor Rita Gardiner, the Minister Akierra Missick and Sports Director, Judith Robinson official access and special seating to watch DW make history as the first TCI to compete at the Olympics level. 

“Haiti wrote back almost immediately saying we would assist in having you and the Director of Sport be part of our official delegation so that you would have access to the games, access to the games hotel, and access to whatever meeting sites that would be on the site.” – DP Akierra Missick

Delano’s mother is Haitian; his father Turks and Caicos Islander and he has a twin sister Ashley, whom he calls his best friend.  The trip for the TCI sports officials could already be reaping results for stronger focus on widening sports offerings as there were recommendations, said Minister Akierra from the International Olympics Committee or IOC.  

“Another thing that was shared with me by the IOC during our meeting is that root programs need to be in place in order for them to consider having us even as an associate member because they want to see how sport is running from zero to Olympic qualifiers, because it’s about the growth and the continuous development of the individual sport.” – DP Akierra Missick

The Minister also shared that the TCI will work toward associate membership of the IOC in time for the 2020 Olympics which are set for Tokyo, Japan.  Delano Williams on Friday August 19th ran a flawless second leg in the men’s 4x400m relay, as the youngest member of Team Great Britain.  The team ran the third fastest time in the heats, but was disqualified and was unable to advance to the finals.  Needless to say, it was a catastrophic blow to the Olympic dreams of Williams, who wanted and seemed poised to medal, with his team in the event.

Bahamas News

Government, fulfilling commitment to provide housing for Bahamians

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has underscored the government’s commitment to “strengthening” and “deepening” its “unmatched” legacy of providing access to decent, affordable housing to Bahamians.

“My government is acutely aware of the current housing shortage in The Bahamas and the backlog of housing applications at the Mortgage Corporation of The Bahamas (BMC),” said Prime Minister Davis.

“Our BMC Executive Chair, Barbara Cartwright, is committed to expediting those applications and assigning without delay, suitably qualified housing applicants.

“I believe the number of applications at BMC in just the last eight months is in excess of 3,500. This housing demand suggests that we move with urgency and dispatch.”

In this vein, the government, Monday, along with stakeholders, unveiled The Renaissance at Carmichael, a housing sub-division on 70 acres of crown land off Carmichael Road in Western New Providence.

Executives of the government and public-private partnerships (PPP) participated in a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, May 16, 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow Bahamian families the ability to open the doors to 200 new homes.

The subdivision is being funded by a PPP arrangement between the Government, a $20 million backing from PROVEN Wealth Ltd. through Simplified Lending, the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas and financiers.

Dignitaries in attendance: the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Leroy Major, Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet; David Davis and Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretaries; Barbara Cartwright, Chairman, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation; Oral Lafleur, Acting Chief Housing Officer; and Thomas Ferguson, Acting Director of Housing. Representatives of private sector partners: Robert Pantry, Founder and CEO, Simplified Lending; Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Limited.

Prime Minister Davis assured that as the economy fully opens and grows, the government expects to expand PPPs in other areas of national economy including public infrastructure providing investments, ownership and job opportunities for Bahamians.

Minister Coleby-Davis said the initiative will set a new standard in affordable housing by which other housing developments will be measured.

She described today’s signing is an “historic” milestone which can be attributed to the commitment of the government to bring to fruition a concept from an idea to reality.

“With this project we intend to create an estate where a sense of community thrives. There will be lit streets, sidewalks; a park where children can play safely and family gatherings can take place. Neighbors will be able to come together and interact as our families were able to do many years ago.

Formerly known as Carmichael Village Sub-division, the community will comprise 104 single family, two and three-bedroom residences, and eight two-storey condominium buildings with 12 units each.

In a video presentation Minister Coleby-Davis said, “Thanks to Simplified Lending, a Bahamian company which secured funding through a leading regional finance company called PROVEN. Many who only dreamed of home ownership will be able to walk through the front door to their new lives in less than one year.”

She informed that homes will be built to the highest quality with steel frame construction, storm-rated windows and doors, attractive facades and strong concrete foundations raised three feet above road level.

“Thanks to careful design, planning and exemptions on certain building supplies, every home will remain in the affordable price range opening doors to home ownership starting at $130,000,” she said.

Mr. Heaven said, “This transaction today will be primarily funded through the Bahamian portion of our Heritage education fund which is a regional education savings plan that is over 30 years old and is a household name for saving for your children’s tertiary education.”

The government broke ground for Pinecrest Sub-Division, a 43-lot community in Southern New Providence in January of this year.

 

Release: BIS

BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna

Header: From left: Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretary; the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet and the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

1st insert: The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is pictured speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for The Renaissance at Carmichael, a new sub-division in western New Providence.

2nd insert: The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing and Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Ltd., after ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

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Bahamas News

PM Davis Tables National Food Distribution Audit Report

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#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – During a Communication in the House of Assembly, by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis, tabling an Audit

Report into the operations of the National Food Distribution Task Force and the National Food Distribution Programme, on May 16, 2022, he said that his Government had found it “consistently difficult to obtain genuine answers”, about operations.

“In the case of the Food Programme, requests for credible documentation of how $53 million was spent have not been answered,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “To be clear, documents have been provided, but they are not documents that answer the most important questions posed.”

He continued: “To make an analogy, if someone asks, ‘How much did your car cost?’, and the car owner answers, ‘My car is blue’, an answer of sorts has been provided, but not one of great relevance to the questioner.

“In the case of the Food Programme, some documents have been proffered up, but they do not provide answers to the Bahamian people’s questions.”

Prime Minister Davis said that the 138-page Audit Report “makes for startling reading”.

“In the General Findings of the Audit Report, 18 categories of major deficiencies were noted,” he said.  “These ranged from a widespread lack of record-keeping, and widespread inconsistences relating to the sums of money handled, to a complete absence of minutes being kept of meetings, agreements and actions.”

“In other words, although tens of millions of the Bahamian people’s dollars were being spent, not even the most basic safeguards were in place,” he added.  “A government that speechified about transparency at great length and at every opportunity did not conduct even the most basic oversight of a major government initiative.”

Prime Minister Davis said that the audit was astounding in documenting “the failures of the government” in establishing reporting and monitoring protocols, or internal controls. He noted that the Task Force could not provide the auditors with information that should have already been completed and readily available.

“Even in the instances where information was provided, only aggregate totals were offered, with none of the supporting documents that would be critical to corroborate the figures,” he said.  “There’s no back-up provided: no contracts, no cheques, no receipts and no bank statements to support the information. No evidence, in other words.”

“It is noteworthy, too, that some organisations concerned have still refused to provide any information whatsoever,” he added.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, given the sums of money involved, “the deficiencies are breath-taking”.

“Public Officers did not have oversight of the expenditure of funds,” he said.  “Expenditure of millions of dollars remains unexplained and undocumented.

“No audited financial statements have been provided, so information provided by the NGOs cannot be confirmed.”

He added: “Information Dashboards presented by the Task Force did not reconcile to the information provided by NGOs. So, for example, just to highlight the point, if the

Task Force is saying that they gave an NGO $100,000, and the NGO is saying they only received $80,000, what’s happened to the difference?”

“In fact, numerous instances have been identified when the NGOs concerned did not account for the total amount funds received from the Government,” Prime Minister Davis continued.  “As I said in the Mid-Year Budget, we uncovered $2 million that was sitting in an NGO’s account. I am happy to say that money was then recovered for the Bahamian taxpayer. Are there millions more sitting idle in other accounts?”

Prime Minister Davis noted that there was no consistent system of recordkeeping at the Task Force or NGO level; and it was simply not credible to believe that from May 2020 to October 2021, they were too busy to keep proper records.

“And some of the records which were kept, raise even bigger questions. Why were such exorbitant fees paid for some services?” he added.

Prime Minister Davis gave the example of one restaurant being paid $6 per box for the delivery of each food parcel. That, he noted, amounted to approximately $50,000 per month.

“Why did they pay $6 to deliver a single parcel of corned-beef, flour, rice and the other very basic items they delivered to families in need?” he said.  “The delivery cost would have been more than the food itself.

“And to this day, despite numerous requests, two NGOs have still not provided any information at all, and combined, they received more than $10 million.

“$10 million of the Bahamian people’s money, has simply vanished.”

Prime Minister Davis also called on those with knowledge of the underlying facts to come forward.  Those who had failed to provide answers and evidence still have an opportunity – and an obligation – to do so, he added.

“We do not prejudge the circumstances we have uncovered,” he said.  “We cannot say definitively whether we are looking at jaw-dropping incompetence … or something considerably worse.

“For now, I encourage the Bahamian people to read the Audit Report for themselves.”

 

Release: BIS

PHOTO CAPTION: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis speaks during a Communication in the House of Assembly, tabling an Audit Report into the operations of the National Food Distribution Task Force and the National Food Distribution Programme, on May 16, 2022.

(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

 

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Crime

Denise Buck Family calling for information in her murder case and reward to help find the KILLER

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2022 – Royal TCI Police investigative techniques are again being called into question, this time, it is the sister of Denise Buck, a UK citizen and Grand Turk resident who was on January 3, 2022 murdered at her home who points to serious flaws and a sloppy probe.

“Clearly, probably they’ve never retrieved the phone and they haven’t found the murder weapon. So it’s probably in the creek, isn’t it, at the bottom?  That’s where I’d dumped it if I was a perpetrator of such crime and what they have done, I couldn’t tell you to be honest with you.”

Nearly five months since the killing of Buck, 60 years old, who was bludgeoned with a hammer, and there has been little communication and very little progress in the investigation.  There has also been no reward money offered for information in the crime.

Older sister, Lesley Campbell, a teacher still living in the UK explained even the notion of a reward being offered for information in the crime was snubbed, initially.

“I asked for a reward, before they agreed to doing it. They said that they wouldn’t because people would talk because they want the money.  I said, but you want them to talk don’t you and you don’t give them the money until someone’s convicted.”

The appointed Family Liaison Officer informed Mrs. Campbell that there would be a reward offered in the matter; however, at no time has a reward for information in the case been shared with the public.  It sadly is just as Buck’s sister had feared.

Have phone records been checked?   How did the killer access the house? Why didn’t the killer take the money? Why didn’t Denise run and fight for her life?  Why didn’t 9-11 recognize the call was from Grand Turk and why wasn’t the call recorded, Campbell said she was told the recording feature was broken.

In recanting one of the conversations she has had with police, there was this:  “So you must have his voice then.  Can you not get some of Denise’s friends or people to listen to his voice, maybe someone will recognize it.  Guess what, the recording machine was not working!”

The questions from Buck’s family are many, and we are told they have been shared with family liaison officers, the Governor and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.  Still there has been little movement in the case, to the satisfaction of the family, no updates this month and no arrests.

“I have never learned what time the police actually got up to my sister’s house, nobody has ever told us that.”

There have been reports, which the police “categorically deny” which reveal that the attacker heartlessly called 911, using Denise Buck’s phone.  It was redacted in a report to the family, but initially Lesley says they were told the man told the operator they could come and get Denise because he was done murdering her.

Royal TCI Police also came under fire for the extreme delay between getting that call and responding to it in person.  An investigation into what transpired had been launched, however, there has been no findings published in the matter of the delayed response to the distress call.

It is also expressed by Buck’s sister that people in Grand Turk also know the killer and at one point, the relatives were contacted for a payoff for information; Lesley Campbell told us that she reported the attempt at blackmail.  That probe too has gotten little traction.

Lesley Campbell described her sister as brilliant, in love with the island of Grand Turk, though a bit too trusting and a woman who was working hard, enjoying her life as an islander.  Her thoughts are that Denise was “as tough as old boots” and believes Ms. Buck was caught off guard because she knew her attacker.

Lesley has vowed she will not give up on justice for Denise.

“I’ve not been able to have any kind of closure or be able to put anything to rest because I am that sort of person.  I guess I can sort of park it somewhere and let other things cloud in… but all I want, I’d like the police to do a bit of work and find the murderer because I can’t imagine on a small island like Grand Turk, that somebody doesn’t know who it is, in fact I know that somebody does know.

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