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Turks and Caicos Statutory Board review report released, Government to embark on vigorous reforms

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – March 3, 2018 – Seven days of dedicated focus by a Consultant has unearthed some disturbing truths about Statutory Bodies within the Turks and Caicos Islands, and country leaders say the findings will improve governance but not lead to any dismantling of boards.

“We would not be doing this if this was not going to offer the opportunity of genuine improvement and limited risking of these bodies.  We started out because we had concerns and of course the NHIB (social health care board) was of a particular concern, but there were also more general ones… so yes,  we think it will be better,” shared Governor Dr. John Freeman during the press conference to announce that the report was completed and available to the public.

Premier and Finance Minister, Sharlene Robinson added, “The public needs to understand that this exercise speaks to good governance overall but specifically the public wants to ensure that we are limiting government to financial risks.”

Reference was made, by both Governor and Premier, to the consistent budget-busting cost of medical care referrals for treatment abroad tied to the nine year old social health care plan.  The announcement of a review of statutory boards came in November 2016, following a $2m overrun at the National Health Insurance Board (NHIB)

Over two meetings, the Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos Islands considered the recommendations in the report by former Chief Financial Officer of the Turks and Caicos, Stephen Turnbull which was on March 1, 2018 made public on the TCIG website.

“We actually had a presentation from the reviewer and we discussed this and we have moved very quickly through Cabinet because we deem it very important.  While we ensure that we going to engage the statutory bodies, it is not going to be a long projected exercise we are going to move as quickly as we possibly can… to ensure there is good governance…” 

The Turnbull Report exposed old and new problems of the 13 Statutory Boards reviewed, and among the most prominent concerns are that the Boards are staffed with unqualified people, that some individuals were receiving inflated compensation and that all but one board had no strategic plan.

“The Consultant concluded that there is a lack of strategic planning and systemic organizational and senior leadership performance management which has created a culture which does not promote effective accountability, shared Governor, Dr. Freeman.

The Governor explained that he was reading a consolidated version of the actual report, adding that the Consultant found areas which Statutory Boards were not eager to embrace and others that question how selection of board members are made by the various leaders.

“He observed again, that some board members held no relevant qualifications or experience under the provisions for which they were appointed.  It is therefore doubtful that the members could effectively contribute on strategic or operational matters.”

It is a widely held view that the board appointments by successive political parties elected as government are given as tokens of appreciation to staunch party members.

Next for the Governor, Premier and relevant Ministers is to hold meetings with each Board reviewed by Mr. Turnbull.

The Premier has six boards within her portfolio, the Home Affairs Minister is with one, as is the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health, who jointly shares responsibility for the NHIB with Finance.  The Tourism Minister oversees two of the boards and the Governor has oversight of three statutory bodies.

The Press Conference was held at the Office of the Premier, Hilly Ewing Building on Thursday March 1, 2018 at 9am.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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