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Harrowing ordeal, Indian man accuses TCI Immigration of inhumane treatment and theft at Detention Center

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Turks and Caicos, Providenciales, June 13th 2017:

One man is taking legal action on the TCI Immigration Department, all the way from India, for improper treatment.

Mehul Chandrakant Solanki is back home in India now, after spending two unnecessary months enduring what he describes as an horrific ordeal and unfair treatment meted out at the South Dock Road Detention Centre in the Turks and Caicos.

Describing it as a clear abuse of power by the Immigration Officers, Mr. Solanki is vowing to ensure those still being held at the detention centre are not treated in the same way as he has taken up this case and says he has all the proof and documents to support his claims, including his contact with the High Commission of India to Jamaica, located in Kingston.

Mr. Solanki says he is well known in Provo and has worked there for almost three years.  His story begins when he says he went to report his lost passport to the Police in Providenciales in early March, only to instead be handed over the Immigration Department and charged with overstaying. Solanki says the Immigration officers took his mobile phone, a Samsung Note; his wallet containing $2,140 and his bag containing his clothes. The items were said to be put in a sealed bag with a number on it.

Mr. Solanki requested that he contact someone to notify them of what had happened, but was denied any chance of doing so. He then asked whether they had contacted the High Commission’s office on his behalf, and was told that this was already done by the Immigration Office.

Some ten to 15 days passed without word from the Indian High Commission, and Mr. Solanki again asked for the chance to make a phone call.  By March 27th, he got the opportunity to make a phone call, contacting the Commission, where it was said to him that no request was ever made, nor were they notified of his case. The Commission then assured him that a new emergency passport would be sent to him in seven days, arriving by early April.

Still, there was no word to Solanki on whether the new, temporary passport was received and questions about the document were ignored by TCI authorities.

Another call was granted to Mr. Solanki, who had by this time been in the center for nearly a month.  His cell phone was required to make that phone call, but when a female officer, searched his belonging, there was no cell phone, and all of the money from his wallet was gone.

Mehul Chandrakant Solanki back home in India and still very distraught and angry after his harrowing ordeal in the TCI at the hands of Immigration Officers at the Detention Centre

Mehul Chandrakant Solanki back home in India and still very distraught and angry after his harrowing ordeal in the TCI at the hands of Immigration Officers at the Detention Centre

During this time at the South Dock Road Detention Center, Mr. Solanki says the fisherman on remand for alleged poaching were being held.

Authorities have confirmed that the men were exposed to scabies at the holding centre and had to receive treatment and bedding was burned.  The fishermen also needed clothing and it was at that time that Solanki noticed that the clothing being given to the Dominicans on remand, were in fact his.

Solanki says at no time did he give permission for his clothing to be given away.

To add insult to injury, Solanki discovered that his temporary passport had long been sent and received by the Immigration Department but that he was held despite and not notified about its arrival, which he explained to Magnetic Media, was April 19.  Outrageously, Solanki was told that he would have to make the journey back home without his money, without his belongings and he was still being made to pay for his return trip to India.

Mehul Chandrakant Solanki was held for two months at the detention center for overstaying.  Solanki left the Turks and Caicos on May 15, 2017 in a route which was considerably more expensive and tedious, taking him through the Dominican Republic, Curacao, Amsterdam, Mumbai and then home at a cost of $2,400 when another, shorter route through Jamaica would have been $900.

In his disturbing account, Mehul Solanki recalls the ‘mistreatment of a Polish woman and two other Chinese people’ captive at the detention centre and believes their voices also need to be heard, as their personal items were also stolen.

Mr. Solanki explained that his case is not only to get justice, but to make a statement to the TCI Immigration Department that they cannot misuse nor abuse their powers over immigrants even if they have overstayed their time.

Magnetic Media contacted the TCI Human Rights Commission, HRC, which shared that when they met Mr. Solanki at the Detention Centre in a visit on March 28th, he was happy and that he did not report being ill-treated or in need of anything.  However, Solanki explained that the visit of the HRC came a day after he had gotten assurances of a replacement passport from the High Commission and at that time, he felt that everything was fine.  The HRC said a contact number was left with Mr. Solanki in the event that things changed at the centre.

Weeks later, he was still at the South Dock Road detention centre and told our news room that he would have communicated the problems including that his cell phone/tablet had since been stolen.  However, the HRC was not allowed on premises due to the scabies health risk and with his cell phone/tablet stolen he no longer had their phone number.

No complaint about the events at the detention centre was lodged at Human Rights office either explained to the organization, as Solanki said that he was given very little time to leave the TCI and that a formal complaint will come through his attorney.

News reports on cases of ‘overstaying in the Turks and Caicos’ are commonly carried in the media and a review of recent reports revealed a clear inconsistency in how foreigners are treated when they are in breach of that law.

Mehul Solanki explained that he was never charged in a court of law, was threatened with being jailed, that he was scoffed and laughed at when he asked for an opportunity to file a complaint and at one point had to scream at the top of his lungs just to get medical treatment when ‘bad food’ made him sick.

Mr.Solanki’s attorney will be present in the TCI in the coming days to attend to this matter.

Magnetic Media has reached out to the Minister of Border Control and Deputy Premier about the case.

 

#MehulChandrakantSolanki

#TCIImmigrationDepartment

#TCIImmigrationDepartmentUnfairTreatmentToDetainees

#UNInternationalMigrantLaw

#TCIBorderControl

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Bahamas News

Leslie Gibson, first Bahamian to land in Royal Caribbean’s Corporate Offices, looking for others to join the company he praises for diversity and inclusion

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Job fair to fill open positions at the cruise line’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay resulted in 62 offers

 

MIAMI, August 10, 2022 – When Leslie Gibson accepted a position on Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay during the height of the COVID pandemic, he didn’t imagine the opportunity would lead him to his dream job.

“The craziest thing is that what I’m living now, I dreamt about,” said Gibson, who is now based in Miami. “I studied engineering, but I prayed for a job where I would be traveling and working outside of where I’m from. I love The Bahamas and I’m always ready to go back home, but I’ve always wanted to get more exposure, see the world and all it has to offer. And Royal has been able to provide me that.”

Gibson said he found his footing in human resources after friends and family saw his natural affinity for working with people and problem solving.

Gibson began his journey with Royal Caribbean as a human resources specialist on Coco Cay in June 2020, where he worked for 11 months before he was selected to move to corporate and take on a larger scale of recruiting for private island experiences around the world, a role that has expanded to include shipboard recruiting.

Gibson’s promotion reflects a corporate culture of promoting from within. Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, started as a purser onboard the company’s ships before rising through the ranks to head the cruise line that now has 26 ships and more than 77,000 employees.

In just two years, Gibson has helped to recruit more than 300 people to work in The Bahamas, along with another 100 for Labadee in Haiti and more than 1,000 to work on Royal Caribbean’s ships.

“I think that’s why I love being a recruiter, because of the fact that I’m able to help people find their dreams,” Gibson said. “Some people who don’t even know they’re good at certain things, I’m able to help them navigate through that by giving them the opportunity to work with us.”

Gibson recently traveled to Dominica and St. Vincent as part of Royal Caribbean’s recruiting efforts, and he was on the ground for the job fair in Nassau recently when Royal Caribbean made offers to dozens of people in the hopes of filling several different positions on Coco Cay.

The exercise was part of a larger regional hiring effort to attract more Bahamian and Caribbean talent for Royal Caribbean’s private destinations and its ships. Royal Caribbean’s Director of Talent Acquisition Cindy Williams, said the company is coming back “better than ever.”

“We have a strong employer brand, and we are committed to making our return to service better than ever by bringing new crew members to Royal Caribbean,” she said.

Gibson said the magnitude of the post-pandemic boom is evident in Coco Cay’s guest numbers.

“We went from seeing as little as 2,000 to 3,000 guests a day at Coco Cay to now up to 10,000 guests and two ships a day,” Gibson said. “So, that went from our head count being 350 to 450 employees to now almost 600 who are needed for a call day.”

Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley earlier this year announced the company’s intention to hire more Bahamians.

Gibson said that goal is just a microcosm of the company itself, which maintains diversity and inclusion as key priorities.

“I have coworkers from all around the world,” he said.

Recalling Royal Caribbean’s swift response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Gibson said the company’s passion for its employees was a considerable factor in his decision to accept his first job with the cruise line.

“I chose Royal because of some of the things they have done,” he said. “When Hurricane Dorian hit those islands, Royal Caribbean were some of the first people on the ground. I wouldn’t even talk about the people who were employed by Royal Caribbean — they spent millions of dollars helping employees get back on their feet.”

And although Dorian made history as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, Royal Caribbean’s response — rushing in to provide food, water, shelter and medical supplies for those impacted — was not particularly unusual for the company.

“When I say this, I mean throughout any disaster,” Gibson said.

“In 2020, there was a typhoon in the Philippines,” he added. “We assisted so many of our team members with helping their families back home. And this happens all the time. Our company is always about putting its employees first.”

 

Photo Caption: Leslie Gibson, 30, is the first Bahamian to have landed in Royal Caribbean’s corporate offices, but pledges to be far from the last. At a job fair held recently in Nassau, Gibson and his team of recruiters sought to fill a wide range of openings at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, the cruise line’s private island destination in the Berry Islands.

Release: RCI / DPA Media

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Caribbean News

TCI Premier and Delegation visit NCI in Jamaica

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#Manchester, Jamaica, 14 August 2022 – The Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and his delegation have arrived at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica.The Premier will give the address at the second commencement ceremony and will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree.  The Premier completed high school at West Indies College which is now NCU more than 50 years ago.  Premier Misick and his delegation are on a four day visit to Jamaica.The Office of the Premier and Public Policy will bring commencement live on its Facebook page at 2PM EST.The Premier’s delegation includes: First Lady, Mrs. Delthia Russell-Misick; Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services; Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Mr. Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Ms. Althea Been, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Immigration and Border Services; Mr. Miquel Swann, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Premier and Public Policy; Mr. Edwin Taylor, Commissioner of Labour; and Mr. Bentley Johnson Aide De Camp.

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Health

Cleveland Clinic Performs First-In-World Full Multi-Organ Transplant to Treat Rare Appendix Cancer

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#USA, August 13, 2022 – Cleveland Clinic has successfully performed a first-in-the-world full multi-organ transplant to treat a patient with a rare form of appendix cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Upon completion of the lifesaving transplant surgery, the patient received five digestive organs: liver, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, and small intestine.

Anil Vaidya, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Program co-director, led the seven-surgeon team that completed the pioneering operation on a 32-year-old man in September 2021.

“The patient had one of the more advanced cases of PMP I have seen,” said Dr. Vaidya. “While about 80% of patients with the condition can be treated with traditional therapies, what do you do with the 20% for whom the traditional therapy isn’t successful? In some cases, the answer may be a multi-organ transplant.”

During the 17-hour operation, surgeons removed the patient’s diseased organs. He then received the following deceased donor’s organs all together and at the same time: liver, stomach, pancreas and duodenum (pancreaticoduodenal complex), spleen, small intestine, and right colon. The donor spleen was initially transplanted to boost the immune protection of the newly transplanted organs and improve blood flow to the pancreas until fully transplanted. The donor right colon was initially transplanted to help protect the new intestine from infection and improve its ability to absorb nutrients.  Both the donor spleen and donor right colon were removed prior to the completion of the transplant after they successfully served to protect the other organs during the operation.

“As far as we know, it is the first time in the world that a full multi-organ transplant, including the liver and four other digestive organs, is performed to treat PMP,” said Dr. Vaidya.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic in 2020, Dr. Vaidya performed in England the world’s first modified multi-organ transplant (excluding the liver) to treat a patient with PMP who had exhausted all other management strategies.

PMP is a rare cancer that typically originates as a tumor in the appendix. When the slow-growing tumor ruptures, its jelly-like content spreads to other digestive organs, with additional tumors developing that impair gastrointestinal function. Malnutrition and life-threatening complications ultimately occur.

Following the diagnosis in 2019, the patient began a long odyssey of treatments. He was one of the 20% of patients with PMP for whom the traditional treatments were ineffective. Often, this population of patients is left with few to no treatment options.

The patient was referred to Cleveland Clinic in 2021 in the end stage of his disease. He was receiving hospice care at that time. The patient had stopped working and could no longer eat solid foods. He was receiving nutrients intravenously through total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

“We needed to perform an evaluation to determine if transplantation in his case was safe, feasible and could provide long-term benefits,” said Dr. Vaidya.

Dr. Vaidya completed a thorough assessment of the patient’s case and received approval from Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Selection Committee to proceed. The patient was placed on the national transplant waiting list in July 2021.

“The patient – who needed a liver and four other digestive organs – had started to deteriorate quite rapidly,” said Dr. Vaidya. “It was touch-and-go that he would make it.”

In September 2021, a donor was found, and less than 24 hours later, the patient was undergoing the groundbreaking

surgery. The first three hours were preparatory, in essence removing the diseased abdominal organs. Next, the donor organs were inserted into the abdominal cavity, all the necessary vascular connections were completed and a left-sided ileostomy was created to handle bodily waste and let the body recover from the surgery.

“The operation was well planned and went like clockwork,” said Dr. Vaidya. “The team members knew exactly what they were going to do, and the timing was perfect. It went really well.”

Following the transplant, the patient remained in the hospital for 51 days.  Soon after he was discharged, he returned because he was suffering from a case of graft-versus-host disease, a common occurrence following intestinal or bone marrow transplants where the donated organs’ immune cells recognize the recipient’s tissues as foreign and attack the recipient.

The patient underwent a procedure perfected and performed by Amy Lightner, M.D., colorectal surgeon and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Lightner administered three doses of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived exosomes, a first ever, novel treatment in solid organ transplants — another first for a patient who received a full multi-organ transplant to treat PMP.

According to Dr. Vaidya, “The patient’s recovery was absolutely amazing. His symptoms abated within two hours of the first dose.”

Nine months post-transplant, the patient, now 33, can eat and digest solid foods again and has energy to do what he loves, including walking and biking outdoors.

“There is currently no evidence of cancer recurrence,” said Dr. Vaidya.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: Masato Fujiki, MD, (center) and the Cleveland Clinic surgical team, led by Anil Vaidya, MD, performing the first-in-world multi-organ transplant to treat a rare type of appendix cancer. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)

1st insert: Anil Vaidya, M.D.

2nd insert: From left: Anil Vaidya, M.D., Shannon Jarancik, physician assistant, Amy Lightner, M.D., Andy Voge, patient, Rachel Voge, Andy’s wife, and Anita Barnoski, transplant coordinator.

Release: Cleveland Clinic / DPA media

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