#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.
Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Scores of students in Providenciales will benefit from back-to-school supplies donated by Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, strengthening the instructional process in four schools at the start of the new school term.
More than 2,000 students from Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron, Oseta Jolly and the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools were presented with a generous supply of educational materials including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, knapsacks, reading material, sports gear and musical instruments from members of the philanthropic arm of the family all-inclusive resort. While sharing the gratitude for the gifts received, the leaders at the various institutions lauded the efforts of the more than 20 volunteers on hand.
Neekimo King, Principal of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation over the years have adopted our institution as their own. These reading books will go a far way in increasing our library stock and improving literacy among the students while the physical education and the guidance counseling units have received lots of materials to bolster the learning experience for our students.”
Sophia Garland, Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School was equally elated as she expressed how beneficial resources will be for the teaching and learning process.
“These supplies, including the books, will definitely aid in increasing literacy amongst the students and the many teaching aids that we have been received will create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning.”
In sharing with the schools, James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches resort noted, “Sandals Foundation and the resort remain committed to the development of the education of our children, the environment and the communities in which we operate. These four government operated primary schools were identified for these supplies to help in fostering their academic and extra-curricular growth.”
McAnally continued, “A big thank you to the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors who came out and helped with making these distributions possible.”
Vice principal of the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Diana Dean, also expressed gratitude noting, “With these tools, I am sure the students will be excited about learning and the teachers will be better equipped to deliver the lessons.”
The Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort have long been supporters of education and community development in Turks and Caicos, donating to a number of schools and youth sports programmes. Since 2011, the organisations have been assisting students at Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron Primary Schools and other schools across the islands in their holistic development by providing educational supplies and the opportunity for Sandals and Beaches resorts guests to meaningfully engage with the students through a weekly literacy enhancement programme, hosted in partnership with Island Routes Tours – Reading Road Trip.
Header: Staff and students from the Enid Capron Primary School share a moment for the cameras with members of the Sandals Foundation team as the school received educational items from the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation.
Insert: James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos (front left) makes a presentation to members of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School recently with sporting gear and educational items looking on are members of the Sandals Foundation team, Sesame Street Character
PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.
The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.
As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.
UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment
#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.
Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.
Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.
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