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TCI Premier blasts Opposition side for “slop” information, sets it straight in HOA

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Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos – February 7, 2018 – The Turks and Caicos Parliament passed the Budget Supplementary restructuring of funds which will allow for, among other things, a national clean up to begin in the aftermath of September 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The plan as proposed by the Ministry of Finance to ‘build back better’ was counted as a sensible one in the end by House of Assembly Members between Monday and Tuesday, but the “untruths” which did make it to debate were not left unaddressed by the country’s Premier and Finance Minister, Hon Sharlene Robinson.

“Mr. Speaker, I sincerely believe that most of us in this honourable House really do genuinely want to see good for this country and, Mr. Speaker, I also do believe that some of us are not bright enough, but dark and are wishing that we fail as a Government, not recognizing that if we fail as government we all fail.

The Premier, in her wrapping up statement on the debate of the supplementary compared the situation to passengers on a plane hoping for the pilot to crash that plane; a situation which she reminded is tragic for both passengers and pilot.

“You can’t be serious coming into the House of Assembly, spewing doom and gloom and pretty much trying to embarrass the country… and wish publicly that this government fails in leading the country in which you are a part of.  Mr. Speaker, I find myself over and over drawing reference to some of us who are just determined to use ignorance of facts and laws, believing unlearned and reckless statements are scoring big, when in fact once it is exposed, persons know that they cannot listen to that individual.”

In a tone of voice which exposed just how incensed the Premier is by these repeated instances of ‘purportedly’ incorrect politically driven comments, Hon Robinson again offered some familiar advice.

“…for persons who sit in this honourable house to research, to read, to understand so that they can ably contribute to matters in this House.  Mr. Speaker, like the Deputy Speaker, I get the politics of debate and I do understand the role of the Opposition as a watch dog, but Mr. Speaker what this Opposition continues to fail to do is to offer alternative remedies and recommendations.  But what they have got down pat, Mr. Speaker is the offering of alternative facts.”

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With a reference to the presentation made by the Deputy Premier on the difficulty of cutting and re-ordering the budget and acknowledging dissatisfaction expressed by the Opposition PNP on what was selected as the higher priority areas for spending, the Premier and Finance Minister admitted that her team regretted the exercise of slicing up an already approved and the country’s largest ever budget.

“The contributions made yesterday made it seem as if we are happy to be at this place to have to restructure our budget based on reduced revenues.  Mr. Speaker this is a setback for my Government and our capital program and I must correct several statements up front.”

The Premier said “it is absolutely untrue” that the emergency powers enacted post the hurricanes allowed the Governor and Government to spend liberally.  Hon Sharlene Robinson said the passed budget must be honoured and the procurement process is an unshakable standard in the fiscal operation of TCIG.

“There could be no spending for new capital projects unless and until the changes were made in this (House of Assembly) type setting.”

Premier Robinson counted the untruths and misinformation as missed opportunities by the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition’s Appointed Member – in particular – to educate the public on how TCIG actually works.  The Finance Team, pointed out Hon Robinson, is the same one which led the now Opposition Leader when he served as the Minister of the same portfolio.

“In fact, Mr. Leader of the Opposition (who is absent) much of the delay Mr. Speaker was to give effect to the decision made to get input from accounting officers and other government functionaries…”

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Clarity too came about the report that the Premier and Team Finance had sent the Budget Supplementary to the United Kingdom the day before Christmas, expecting to have it returned by Boxing Day, 2017.

“Absolute nonsense, there are people in the Ministry of Finance that have been dealing with the UK for some time now, and I have no reason to believe that they acted in anything other than the sincerest efforts.”

By lunchtime Tuesday, the wrap-up by the Premier was completed, sending the ‘passed’ Budget Supplementary to the Committee of Supply (of the House of Assembly) for further and final scrutiny.

 

#sharlenerobinson  #tcihouseofassembly  #hurricaneirma  #hurricanemaria

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Rum Festival Endorsed

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, endorsed this year’s fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival at the Aqueduct in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday (June 25).

Ms. Grange, who officially opened the event, noted that rum, and spirits in general, has deep cultural significance in Jamaica, spanning centuries.

“From the cane fields, where our enslaved ancestors worked, through to today, where we have the best rum in the world… we have a lot to be proud of,” she added.

For his part, Tourism Director, Donovan White, commended the organisers of the festival, which attracted a significant number of patrons, including visitors from overseas.  He said the Ministry of Tourism, through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was pleased to be a partner in the event that showcased top quality products by local rum purveyors.

Minister Grange, representatives from the Tourism Ministry’s agencies, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, were presented with limited edition Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.

 

Contact; Okoye Henry

Release: JIS

 

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Bahamas News

49th Independence Anniversary Celebrations Kick Off with National Pride Day

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#TheBahamas, June 27, 2022 – Under the theme: “Proud to Be Bahamian”, the National Independence Secretariat is set to kick off the 49th Independence Celebrations on Friday, July 1, 2022.

In its efforts to promote pride and unity throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Secretariat is encouraging a National Flag Raising Ceremony be held at all Government, and private corporate offices.

This ceremony should be staged at 9am on the Friday, simultaneously.

Bahamians are urged to wear the national colours of aquamarine, gold and black and assemble together as the National Flag is being hoisted and to sing the National Anthem, followed by a prayer.

The Secretariat is also encouraging participants to capture the event in photos and or videos, for posting on social media platforms, and inclusion in the national jubilee booklet and documentary next year.

Send images to: info@celebrate-bahamas.com

 

Photo Caption: Sienna Evans beautiful costume was created by Patrice Lockhart. Special thanks to Commonwealth Fabrics for their generous donation of the Androsia fabric used in the gown.

 

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Caribbean News

Education Ministry Recommits to Expanding Uniformed Groups in Schools

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth remains committed to increasing the number of uniformed groups in schools.  This is in keeping with its thrust to fulfill this mission under the Safety and Security in Schools Programme, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has said.  She further noted that “it is a part of our series of measures to improve discipline among students.”

Mrs. Williams was speaking during the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) uniformed groups church service on Sunday (June 26).  The service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.

Mrs. Williams remarks came against the background of what she said were “heightened concerns” in recent months over incidents of violence in schools across Jamaica and calls for a more concerted effort to provide civic and character education for students.  She noted that several initiatives within the Ministry to address these concerns were being expanded, among them support for uniformed groups in schools.

“The Ministry has been supporting uniformed youth groups in the development of a Three-Year Strategic Plan and [Memoranda of Understanding] with individual groups which will, at one and the same time, advance the missions of the groups and the mandate of the Ministry to these groups,” Mrs. Williams added.

The Minister pointed out that these cohorts, including Girl Guides, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Cub Scouts, Cadets and Pathfinders, “have played an invaluable role in shaping the character and awakening the social conscience of our young people for decades.”

“It has been well-established that students who participate in clubs are more out-going as they are engaged in activities that support socialisation with their peers. These students tend to be more comfortable in group settings where communication and team-work are necessary. This is a valuable asset as it will also benefit these students outside of the school setting,” she stated.

Mrs. Williams said the activities engaged in at meetings also complement classroom learning and emphasise social, emotional, and physical development.

Additionally, she said they provide opportunities for informal learning and life experiences.

“Uniformed youth groups represent a cohort of the nation’s youth that is organised around a set of core values, such as honour, discipline, service, loyalty, commitment, integrity, perseverance, industry and spiritual fortitude,” the Minister emphasised.

She noted that while most are based in schools, units may also be organised at church and community levels.

“Indeed, we know that the church has been a main source through which many new members are recruited. There is a challenge, however, and that is, over the past few years, there has not been as robust an interest in these groups as in previous decades,” Mrs. Williams indicated.

She said it was acknowledged that the society’s youth now have many more interests and distractions, “but we should still try to encourage them to see the value in participating in groups such as these”, while citing an “urgent need” for volunteer adult leaders.

The Minister also noted that older and more traditional groups, such as Boys Scouts and Girl Guides, are international in scope and maintain linkages with the worldwide movements.

“Support from these fraternal organisations has, however, diminished over the years, and local organisations must find the resources to sustain operations and pay the required affiliation fees. So once again, it is important that we, in the local community, pitch in to provide the needed support,” she added.

In this regard, the Minister commended members of the uniformed groups and CVSS for ongoing efforts to forge long-term alliances that facilitate mutual support and joint action.

Further, she said, for representing the concerns of the social sector, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, at the regional and international levels.

“We, as a collective, continue to dedicate ourselves to creating a supportive and safe environment for our students to learn and experience as much as possible to become productive members of society,” Mrs. Williams stated.

 

Contact: Douglas McIntosh

Release: JIS

 

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