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Five Cays fall-out over filth and illegal construction, MP called on to resign



View of Five Cays shanty housing two days after Hurricane Irma, 2017 by Magnetic Media

#Five Cays, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, May 10, 2018 – Two Five Cays titans are clashing over the cleanliness of the community; who is responsible and whether or not more should be done to clean up the small south side district.

Paula Arthur-Rigby, TV show host of the Average Joe shared her disappointment about the filth and blamed the Member of Parliament in a PTV newscast for allowing Five Cays to languish in debris and dirt and disorder some eight months after the hurricanes.

“I don’t care who feels crushed or hurt or upset; I believed in Sean with all my heart, I put my X on the line only to be disappointed.”

Arthur-Rigby was fierce in her comments as she called for her MP to resign.

The Average Joe, as she is sometimes called said she could understand ‘excuses’ when the member was in opposition, but not now that he is a part of the Government administration of the Turks and Caicos Islands and as second in command.

“You cannot tell me that Five Cays isn’t being neglected.”

Paula Arthur-Rigby is speaking of Deputy Premier, Border Control and Employment Minister and Member of Parliament for Five Cays and Chalk Sound, Hon. Sean Astwood.   

Arthur-Rigby believes that too many people are being allowed to take advantage of the systems established to ensure law and order, that sickness and discomfort due to pungent odors among other things are commonplace, all the while she points out, elected leaders are not ensuring the laws are followed.

“A few weeks ago, I made the statement that Five Cays is dirty.  I was bashed.  Every day we have new houses  and buildings popping up and nobody is saying anything.  It is overpopulated, it is over-crowded and it is nasty, it is filthy, it is ridiculous.  There is no law for Five Cays and I am not understanding it.”

Arthur-Rigby is a well known supporter of the MP and while the tone Arthur-Rigby takes is no surprise because she is widely known for her unapologetic, frankness, the subject of her scathing comments are more startling.  Paula said she has had enough…

Resident shares photo of Five Cays on day news broke about ‘filth’

“When our elected government and ministers allow people to just come in and take advantage of the system, without saying anything or doing anything, I have a problem with this..” Paula added,  “Five Cays needs structure, Five Cays needs someone to set laws and police the laws.  Five Cays needs to be cleaned up.”

Five Cays and Chalk Sound MP, Sean Astwood was immediately contacted by Magnetic Media about the strong statements and call for his resignation.  Hours later, Astwood issued a statement to defend his record and question the motive for the passionate remarks from one of his more famous supporters.

“For over a decade, I have been organizing and participating in cleanup campaigns in my constituency of Five Cays.  During these years residents consistently contact me reporting areas where persons continue to dump garbage.  I have forwarded these reports to Environmental health who have always responded positively.  No longer than yesterday, concerned residents sent me a picture of garbage dumped in the middle of the road, in an area of Five Cays.  I reported it to Environmental health and they had the garbage removed the same day.”

Five Cays just like other areas throughout our Islands, have persons who do not care about their surroundings and will continue to dump garbage.  Therefore, cleaning up of the constituency is an ongoing process.”

Five Cays was one of the worst hit communities in Hurricane Irma and has long been plagued with shanty villages and squalid conditions, which will now be subject to new building codes and regulations.  The Minister agreed that there is a disregard for the law.

The constant dumping by persons with no concern for their surroundings makes it difficult to get volunteers to participate in cleanup campaigns.  Following the Storms and as recent as last week contracts to clean Five Cays were issued under Public Works and Environmental Health.  My Government recently passed a Bill that gave the Planning Department more powers to deal with squatters and other illegal developments where in many respects is home to large illegal dumping sites.  They have also been given increased staff to deal with inspections and compliance.  Both the Environmental Health Department and the Public Works Department has been given additional budgetary allotments to deal with these long standing issues.”

The Deputy Premier and Member for the District also focused on the complaining constituent: “I must say I have never seen the resident in the News clipping at any of the cleanup campaigns that I have organized or participated in over the past 7 years.  This same resident is in a WhatsApp group that I am apart of and recently two issues were reported to me by others in the group, I addressed those issues and gave the Group an update the same day, and as recently as yesterday.  So there was always an avenue for her to report her concerns to me or Environmental health.  I find her motives highly questionable but my focus will remain on my Constituency of Five Cays and not on persons with political agendas.”

Both Five Cays natives were speaking out on Wednesday about the challenges in the community.

It is worth noting that the message shared by Arthur-Rigby is echoing from other Turks and Caicos districts where it is believed clean up and debris removal should be more vigorous or is simply too slow, especially with the Atlantic Hurricane Season being mere weeks away from officially beginning on June 1.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Millions to come from FSC 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way.  It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination. 

“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said.  He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue.  Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders. 

“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M.  By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M).  So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.” 

This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors. 

Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again.  Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP.  The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.  

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Caribbean News




Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.

A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder.  From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships. 

A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’.  The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm




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Caribbean News

Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI. 

The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues. 

The session aimed to highlight success stories and  explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.  

The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.

As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.

In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor,  immediately. 

Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.

  • Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
  • Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.

Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales.  Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.

The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.

In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing  locally. 

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