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Shocking! PDM calls for resignation of Governor, failing an apology for Cabinet breach



#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Thursday, May 31, 2018 – The PDM Party is calling on the Governor to resign if he is unwilling to give an apology for breaching the Cabinet Code of Conduct in responding to Magnetic Media questions on the financial management of the country.

“Although he is not a Minister, as President of Cabinet, it is incumbent upon him to abide by and uphold its rules more than any Minister or member. Members of Cabinet have access to confidential and privileged information therefore, any member found to be in breach of Cabinet’s Code of Conduct must tender his or her resignation.”

Today, a jaw dropping media release from the People’s Democratic Movement expresses that His Excellency, Dr. John Freeman was in violation of a code that assures the confidentiality of every member of the Cabinet.

Section 9 of the Code states: “The internal process through which a decision has been made, or the level of Committee by which it was taken should not be disclosed. Decisions reached by the Cabinet or by Ministerial Committees are binding on all members of the Government. They are, however, normally announced and explained as the decision of the Minister concerned”. The actions taken by the Governor undermines binding Cabinet decisions. For him to suggest that there were other options available to the Minister of Finance only seeks to clear himself from being bound by the decisions of Cabinet and therefore threaten the confidence in the Government. In the new reality of governing with a constitution that ushered in greater gubernatorial oversight at every level, the comments from the Governor seem personal.  

The two page media statement came from the desk of the PDM’s Chairman, Douglas Parnell.

In April, Premier and Finance Minister, Sharlene Robinson, addressed the nation with a strong response to the Governor’s explanations about fiscal operations in the TCI; she boldly stated that the Governor’s comments opened the door to mischievous reaction from the general public and Opposition.

“The new false perception is that we as a Government is able to spend our reserves and run a deficit Budget without UK scrutiny/approvals.  Though not stated by the Governor, I have seen these statements made and am obligated to correct these erroneous perceptions that has now been created out of an effort to correct the British image within our Islands.” Premier Robinson added, “The UK is involved every stage locally by the Governor’s role and so to say there is no micromanaging or local control is certainly incorrect.  The current Governor, as many know nationally is involved at all levels even where neither of his predecessors has been under elected Government. Hence the perception out there that he is running the country.  This is a perception he must feel compelled to correct by actions.”  

It is true that the Governor’s response during a media breakfast in April sparked significant controversy when he denied that the PDM Administration was being micro-managed by the British, specifically in the area of public finances.  H.E. Dr. Freeman explained that he was happy for the opportunity to clarify that the Government is in full control, once certain FCO standards are satisfied, and could have operated a deficit budget in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The PDM Administration had suffered severe rebuke and heavy criticism due to seemingly stunted spending and sluggish response following the catastrophic back to back major storms, which cost the country well over $500 million.

Hon Parnell in the media statement said Cabinet Ministers take seriously the bounds which are placed upon them as a result of Cabinet rules, and now feel compelled to force the Governor to recognize his breach and offer the apology.

“When the Governor violated the code by making public comments about TCIG finances he handicapped Ministers’ ability to frankly air their views and arguments in the privacy of Cabinet and with the assurance that the concealment of these views would be maintained. He undermined the “collective responsibility” to which he is a part. How can any member of Cabinet now express their views with the threat of Cabinet’s President questioning them in public?”

The PDM Party is also questioning the motive of the breach at the press breakfast.

“However, it goes further than seeming personal because with the myriad of apparatuses provided in the new 2011 constitution it is safe to interpret his actions as one who was trying to either cause embarrassment, spark political debate over the performance of this or any Government or worse he was attempting to steer the course of local Government spending priorities all resulting in the abandonment of the neutral stance that is expected from one who holds the highest office in the land. The Governor is a senior United Kingdom Civil Servant and should be aware that his actions would suggest a lack of support for the Government.”  

The Governor’s Press Breakfast meeting was a first of its kind, and based on the uproar generated since, will likely not be repeated.  It was held on April 12, at his Providenciales Office at Raleigh House, Leeward Highway and included at least five media houses.

It is unclear why it has taken the PDM Party so long to make this request of and put this shocking ultimatum to the Governor; however Doug Parnell says at the start of the statement that the party believes nearly two months after the fact, the infraction can be reviewed more objectively.

It was not stated by the PDM Chairman whether the Governor was issued a private request for an apology.

The full Media Statement by the PDM Party is published at this website.

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Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

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Caribbean News

Woman who lost foot is Alexandra Truwit, Yale Grad & All American Swimmer



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – A champion swimmer, marathon runner, Ivy League graduate and world traveler with a huge smile– that is Alexandra Truwit; at only 22 years old, she has a whole life ahead of her, one that may have now been made exponentially harder by the loss of her foot in an incident which continues to be unconfirmed, but reported as a shark attack off the coast of Providenciales.

Magnetic Media learned Truwit, who is a very experienced swimmer, was on a private charter captained by an employee of Big Blue Collective (not a Big Blue Charter).  She was bitten by what eyewitnesses think could have been a Caribbean Reef Shark and her foot below the ankle was completely severed.

It’s a heartbreaking incident exacerbated by the young woman’s obvious love for- and proficiency in- the water.

The Yale website describes Truwit as a Two-time USA Swimming Academic All-American.  Featured as a ‘Teen Titan’ in her high school, she was one of ten young people chosen for the school’s magazine. 

Truwit, who has a twin brother, cites nail art and baking as her life joys. Already having survived ‘mono’ as a teen, she volunteers as a Special Olympics “hugger” and started a Special Olympics club at her high school.

She was airlifted from the Turks and Caicos on the day of her accident and there have been no updates on her condition so far.  Residents in the TCI and the US have expressed via social media their best wishes for the young achiever and must now wait, hoping for the best possible outcome.

One resident said, “So sorry Alexandra you had to encounter such a traumatic experience while on vacation on our beautiful Island.  I am praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for you, hopefully, the surgeon can work their magic for you.”

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Governor’s Appointed Member touts Civil Service Upgrade during Budget Debates



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – There are sweeping changes coming to the civil service this year after years of complaints about delays and understaffing.

“For the year 2023/24, the office of the Deputy Governor has a very ambitious public sector transformation centered around improving service delivery and the customer experience.”

This came from Governors Appointed Member Willin Belliard, as he rose in the budget debates on Thursday May 18 to detail the revamp.

Phase one of E-procurement which will allow for the virtual submission of tenders is to be implemented. Along with that will come E-Jobs, a similar system touted to make job applications virtual, swift and easy.

Implementation of the Human Capital Procurement Program is also on the list of deliverables. Human capital is sorely lacking in the Turks and Caicos across the public and private sectors with hundreds of vacancies sitting open and resignations continuing to pile up.

Public servants will also find it easier to enroll into the all new Public Sector Pension Plan with the advent of a portal to remove the need for paper based applications.

The previously announced pay grading exercise is on the table to be completed and a Contract management unit has now been created to manage the delivery of projects that taxpayers are funding.

Residents of the Turks and Caicos have complained bitterly about the state of the civil service in the country for years. From police records to the treasury, the service is characterized by low staffing, frustrating wait time and long lines.

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