#TurksandCaicos – February 19, 2018 – Members of Parliament are honourable because they have the outstanding privilege of representing a district or constituency of people in the House of Representatives. It is something that, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, is decided about every four years but is a democratic tradition of practicality more than anything else; at least that is how I understand it.
Since there are some 1,159 (2017) voters in Cheshire Hall and thousands more people who are actually resident in what is the largest voting constituency in these islands; it is practical for the electorate to send one man or woman to take up the seat in parliament to represent their views in the House of Assembly.
One thousand, one hundred and fifty-nine people simply cannot fit inside the halls of parliament and so we send one to be the representative.
Although North and Middle Caicos are one of the smallest voting districts in the Turks and Caicos with 532 (2017) registered voters, still, all of those men and women – if they could even get to Grand Turk for a House of Assembly meeting – would not be able to squeeze into the one seat the TCI legislature provides to reflect that constituency.
So yes, it is physically impossible for everyone to be represented individually in a parliament anywhere in the world. It can also be argued that it is likely too expensive, cannot be accommodated by air, sea or ground transportation operators and an unreliable expectation when you are trying to get country business done, as some of us just won’t turn up anyway.
The reality is that 7,970 (2017) voters cannot all fit onto the plane or boat or in taxis and travel to the House of Assembly each time a convening takes place. The reality also is that if we all managed to get to Grand Turk, only 30 of us could fit in the seating on ‘the Floor’ where debate on bills and the like takes place and even the guest galley would be maxed out at around 120 people.
The same is true of South Caicos, which the 2017 Voter Register reveals there are 358 on the elector’s list.
So, Doug and Ralph and Ruth – for example – are expected to show up every time there is a meeting at the House of Assembly, unless there is a good reason for an absence. Doug and Ralph and Ruth – again for example – are also expected to take their role seriously and humbly carry the responsibility or else voters could decide to find someone else to do the job in four years. And Doug and Ralph and Ruth – as again an example – ought to know what their constituents think and feel and want on any given policy proposal or issue and represent that when and as opportunities present themselves.
In case you did not know it, the Member of Parliament or District Representative has allegiance first to the voter because that is who hired him or her; not the political party.
Also interesting to note about the role of a Member of Parliament is that in the House of Assembly, these honourable people are never, ever, ever supposed to be referred to by their own names. The reason is quite profound and I think, ingenious.
Doug and Ralph and Ruth – for instance – are important as human beings, undoubtedly; however who they are individually is irrelevant in a House of Assembly. These three individuals and the other 20 people who make up the Turks and Caicos Parliament are there not because of who they are individually, but because of who or what they represent.
Doug is called the Member for Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill – that is his name in the House.
Ralph is called the Minister of Tourism and the Member of Parliament for North and Middle Caicos – that is his name in the House.
Ruth is called the Member for South Caicos because that is her name in the House.
They are the people, because we cannot all fit.
The representatives, even those with the huge job of being All Island Members are there because they represent PEOPLE. It is the people who entrusted them with the popular vote and put them there. It is the people who will be impacted by the policies being debated. It is the people who must be represented because they have given these former candidates, now elected representatives the honour to do so.
The MP is proxy for the Voters.
I reiterate, because, we cannot all fit – Doug and Ralph and Ruth and others are sent you to honour our wishes by vocalising them as we build this nation.
In understanding that the House of Assembly is therefore the forum for all citizens’ perspectives to show up or be spoken out loud on any matter, the looming question always is – are we absent or are we present?
Maybe it is time to begin talking more to Doug or Ralph or Ruth – for example, to make sure it is your constituency and not them showing up when the House is in session.
Glass Window Bridge envisioned as a symbol of resilience and sustainability says Works and Utilities Minister
By KATHRYN CAMPBELL
Bahamas Information Services
#ELEUTHERA, The Bahamas, September 27, 2022 – A new bridge design that incorporates opportunities for Bahamian entrepreneurs was presented at a Town Hall Meeting Thursday, September 22, 2022 at St. Patrick’s Lodge Hall, Hatchet Bay.
During the livestreamed event the Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears; the Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs; island administrators, representatives of the Ministry of Works, Town Planning Board, the Bridge Authority, Local Government, Lambert Knowles and other consultants, and residents of Eleuthera discussed plans for the proposed replacement of the Glass Window Bridge (GWB) in North Eleuthera.
Minister Sears termed the meeting very “successful” consultation and attendance by local stakeholders and virtual participants.
He said Mr. Knowles has assembled a world-class team of bridge designers who have put together a design that will turn the GWB “into a symbol of resilience, sustainability and also a place of entertainment and relaxation where Bahamian businesses can come and share in the wonderful goods of Eleuthera to the international travelling public as well as the residents in Eleuthera.
“We’re speaking now with Caribbean Development Bank with respect to funding; the design is now completed, there is also interest in PPP’s. Within the next two months we should have a funding pathway and then of course we will move on the procurement. Once the funding is in place we will announce a date.”
“It is not only a look out point, we are approaching this project as an enterprise where the people who live in Eleuthera would have the same opportunities that the people in South would have as the Disney Project would have, but it would be more significant than Disney because this project would be owned by Bahamian people — entrepreneurs, performers and culinary artists.
“Eleuthera is one of the places in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where development is taking place very rapidly. It is one of the most unique communities in our country; it is the fifth largest economy within the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. We have some of the wealthiest industrialists with homes in Eleuthera; we also have booming Bahamian business resorts throughout Eleuthera.”
The GWD represents a place where we “can build opportunities for Bahamian businesses, Bahamian entrepreneurs to showcase the imagination of the Bahamian crafts persons, also to showcase the culinary skills as well as the extraordinary culinary dishes of Bahamian cuisine,” he said.
Although “spectacular” Minister Sears said the current one-lane bridge is “dangerous” and unable to facilitate the transport of freight from the north to the south of the island because its carrying capacity is only 12 tonnes — anything over 12 tonnes cannot be transported over the bridge.
He noted other challenges and informed that the bridge is not fulfilling the potential that it has for the development of Eleuthera.
Using a Power Point presentation, Mr. Knowles introduced the design team, technical aspects of the built design and various options considered for the new bridge.
He said the proposed bridge will be unique; a picture opportunity and a venue to host an event. It will have a park, security, rest rooms, parking, a location for food trucks to sell crafts and food; and topography with different elevation.
During the question and answer segment, Minister Sears said a decision has not yet been made regarding a bridge toll on the major undertaking.
“It is a project which multilateral bodies and private sector investors have expressed an interest in participating in the funding. It is a project that once we have the community by-in the government is committed to building a world class production at this location.” Construction is expected to take place on the proposed bridge from 2023-2026 at an estimated cost of $50-$60 million.
The GWB was built in 1990 and provides the only vehicular link between North and South Eleuthera.
(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)
Storm Troubles as September heats up late
By Sherrica Thompson
September 27, 2022 – Hurricane Ian moved near the Cayman Islands and was forecast to intensify rapidly and hit Cuba as a major hurricane late on Monday and then strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before striking the west central coast of Florida on Wednesday.
Now millions in Tampa Bay, Florida are bracing for impact after a hundred year absence of any major storm.
So far, authorities in Cuba have suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and planned evacuations on Monday as Ian gained strength and approach Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Cuba was also shutting down its train system ahead of the worst weather.
Senior Specialist at the United States National Hurricane Center Daniel Brown told The Associated Press early Monday that “Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane force winds, life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall.”
In the Cayman Islands, members of the government and opposition were working together to ensure that people were made as safe as possible and provided with supplies, plywood, and in some cases sandbags so that they could safely weather the storm, according to Premier Wayne Panton in a video on Sunday.
As of Monday, September 26, most of the customers on the island of Bermuda have received power with just about 200 properties still without electricity.
Last week Hurricane Fiona brought heavy rain and strong winds to the island causing about 29,000 customers, more than 80 per cent of the island’s sole power provider, Bermuda Electric Light Company to be without electricity on Friday morning.
The island has also started its restoration process and announced that it has reopened for business.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, more than a million people in the two countries are still without power and running water after the passing of Hurricane Fiona over the Islands last week.
A growing number of businesses in Puerto Rico, including grocery stores and gas stations, are temporarily closing across the territory as the outages drag on, sparking concern about the availability of fuel and basic goods.
As of Saturday, at least 16 people had died because of Hurricane Fiona, according to Puerto Rico’s Department of Health, which is tracking hurricane-related deaths on the island.
TCHTA Expresses Sympathy to Bereaved Families and Grave Concern Over Recent Gun Crimes
#TurksandCaicos, September 27, 2022 – Communities in the country have come under siege in the wake of a recent explosion of gun violence resulting in several tragic deaths. The TCHTA bemoans these events, sending sympathy and encouragement to the families of the young men whose lives have been cut short by these brazen and deplorable attacks.
“We grieve the loss of these young lives and the devastation caused to the families involved,” lamented Stay Cox, CEO of the organization. “We’ve seen this before, and each time our communities and nation are pushed into a position of fear and panic as criminals eat away at the feeling of safety in our homes and neighbourhoods,” said Cox.
Earlier this year, the Association appealed for swift action to be taken against the uptick in brazen criminal activity and pledged its continued support and eagerness to partner with the RTCIPF in the fight against crime in Turks and Caicos.
The Association notes the swift action taken by the RTCIPF, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Premier, and the NSC to stem the ongoing melee. The TCHTA joins the country in thanking the Cayman Islands for deploying one of its two police helicopters from the RCIPS Air Operations Unit to provide aerial assistance. Still, the killings continue driven by what the RTCIPF has said is perpetrated by groups involved in “gangs and serious organized crime.”.
CEO Cox said, “The recent update from the NSC sharing plans for a targeted RTCIPF Gun, Gangs, and Drugs Unit is promising and something we hope the Police will move toward aggressively. This problem is immediate and time-critical as criminals wreak havoc in these large communities, home to law-abiding citizens who cannot live as freely as they should.”
To date, the country’s murder count is staggering and utterly disproportionate to the size of the population. The Association says heinous occurrences like these are the nucleus of a cycle where communities are affected, day-to-day life is compromised, the country’s reputation is eventually damaged, and citizens are affected once again by economic loss when the country’s lifeline takes a hit.
President of the TCHTA, Trevor Musgrove, is reinforcing the organization’s commitment to assist where possible, appealing to all to get involved in the fight against crime. “Residents cannot be forced to accept this level of senseless violence in our country. We cannot stand for it, and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. We must take power away from these vagrants and do what it takes to save our young men.” said Musgrove.
The TCHTA President shared the Association’s thanks and support to the officers of the RTCIPF. “We know it is no small task, and we continue to send our appreciation to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force officers for their commitment and bravery. We know you are under attack, and we pray for your safety as you stand on the front line to protect the residents of this country.”
The TCHTA commends the members of the community who have provided information and assistance to the authorities as they work to infiltrate the groups at the core of this recent killing spree. The Association joins the RTCIPF in its appeal to the public for those in possession of unlicensed firearms to surrender them during the Gun Amnesty which begins on September 15th.
Musgrove said, “The fact is that we are losing a generation to gangs and guns, and a holistic approach is imperative. Our citizens and residents are being terrorized by those who have no value for human life and no respect for law and order. Our hearts go out to all those who are suffering from the fallout of these tragedies, and the TCHTA remains committed to our continued partnership with the authorities.”
The TCHTA sends its prayers to the families of the murder victims and hopes that justice will be served in these matters.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Health1 week ago
Omicron Boosters, what they mean for Turks and Caicos Islands inventory of Vaccines
Caribbean News1 week ago
WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well
Crime1 week ago
Man gunned down near school is 27 year old TCI-Bahamian
Crime1 week ago
TCI’s Murder No. 17, makes sixth death in 10 days
News1 week ago
Turks & Caicos Natl Emergency Operations activated; what happens as Hurricane approaches
Bahamas News14 hours ago
AG Outlines Digital Assets Legislation at STEP LATAM Conference in Panama
News1 week ago
Board of Directors of Invest TCI host first Annual General Meeting
Health1 week ago
WHO gets a bad report about COVID management