Turks and Caicos, July 27, 2017 – Providenciales – Mr. Speaker, members of this Honorable House, persons in the gallery and those listening via radio and the internet, good morning.
Given that my Government promised change, Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to report briefly on some of the progress that has been made in my Ministry to bring about positive.
Mr. Speaker first and foremost I wish to start with our commitment to children of this society as one of the signs of a good and caring Government is the importance it gives to persons at risks within our society.
No one can argue that children does not represent one such group of persons
In this regard Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that the Cabinet, on the 30th of June this year, approved the Multi-Agency Protocol for the Prevention, Reporting and Management of Child Abuse and Neglect for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It also endorsed the policy on the supervision of staff working on child safeguarding issues within the Department of Social Development.
Mr. Speaker, the development and sign-off of this protocol was seven years in the making.
Mr. Speaker, it took my Government six months to get it done.
We recognize that our commitment to protecting children is more than a statement.
It is a job that we take seriously and we are demonstrating this by putting measures in place to ensure that standards are upheld by all agencies that have responsibility for their well-being.
Signing of the protocol will take place during the last week of September and we look forward to celebrating this achievement.
Another group of persons at risks in our community Mr. Speaker, are the young men who, for one reason or another, end up on the wrong side of the law, and are depending on society to assist them not with handouts or free gifts, but with a hand up.
They want a hand up through education, through skills training and through a job to provide for themselves and their families.
In this regard Mr. Speaker my Ministry is presently drafting a framework for the introduction of a “Chance for Change Programme.”
This programme will not be a success without the partnership of persons who are willing to make a difference and the persons themselves who are seeking a chance for change.
I would like to put the private and public sector on notice that we will be depending on them to partner with us on this important endeavor and that they should begin to think about ways through which they can assist.
More importantly Mr. Speaker, we invite all good corporate citizens to reach out to us, before we have a chance to reach out to you.
This will be a good sign of your desire and willingness to help.
Moving on Mr. Speaker, My Government has heard the complaints from the public on service delivery and access to services in the Road Safety Department.
I am happy to report Mr. Speaker that the following actions have been taken.
1)Motorists on Providenciales are now able to licence their vehicle every day of the work week as opposed to only Monday, Wednesday and Friday
2)Decals have been purchased that can be issued in any year and any type of vehicle which means that the Department will no longer have excess stock that cannot be used, and with proper management, they should never run out.
3)Equipment is being installed in North Caicos and South Caicos to facilitate the drivers licence process and soon, very soon, motorists will not have to travel to Provo or Grand Turk to obtain or renew a driver’s licence.
Mr. Speaker, this is real change and there are more changes to come.
While I am on the topic of transportation Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce that today, Wednesday, July 26th, 2017, my Ministry will be launching an online survey on the introduction of a public transportation system in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Mr. Speaker, no doubt there will be a need to engage the public further on this, however, it is important that we seek the views of residents.
This is necessary to assist with developing a clear policy on a public transport system, from the outset.
The consultation will run for a period of four weeks and I invite all persons to participate.
Information about how to access the survey will be issued in a Public Notice, through social media, on government website (www.gov.tc) and the local newspapers.
Finally Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to confirm and announce that the contract for a new post office in Providenciales has been signed and we look forward to breaking ground for the construction of this new facility in the next few weeks.