#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Thursday July 26, 2018 – A serious bi-lateral discussion between the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas is on the horizon according to Premier, Hon Sharlene Robinson who today told media that the Governor has approved an official visit.
“On the matter of illegal migration, discussions with The Bahamas; the Governor this past week has issued the diplomatic note that would allow the high level TCI delegation to travel to The Bahamas to further this dialogue. Persons would recall that The Bahamas had agreed to assist with the patrolling of our waters and a letter of entrustment was requested by myself and the UK Minister who has graciously agreed to allow for the exploratory talks.”
The idea of a stronger alliance between the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas has been touted for years, including by the former Rufus Ewing Administration.
On Thursday, notes from the most recent Turks and Caicos Cabinet meeting reflected that the conversation is imminent between the two countries which share borders, waters, geography, history, family relations and more woefully, troubles brought by illegal fishing and illegal migration.
From the Cabinet report of July 25, 2018: “The Hon. Premier reported that the TCI Government would commence talks soon with the Government of the Bahamas on possible co-operation to tackle the problem of illegal sloops from Haiti. The Hon. Premier also reported that she had received the report of the UK Border Force delegation who had been in TCI recently to carry out an assessment of TCI’s needs to combat illegal migration. The recommendations in the report were currently under consideration but were broadly in line with existing TCIG’s thinking and several were already being implemented.”
In 2014, former governor Peter Beckingham travelled to The Bahamas where he met with the former Deputy Prime Minister, Philip Davis – acting Foreign Affairs Minister at the time.
The two leaders explained to media in July 2014 that policies were being formed to curb the issues with illegal migration from Haiti.
Mr. Beckingham, on behalf of the Turks and Caicos Islands, shared that: “We have put in a number of measures to try and get a tighter grip on the problem of illegal migration,” he said. “It is costing human lives and it is costing our government money. So for those reasons and others we want to do more about it. I can’t help feeling that if we can match up those two areas rather more there is an area for development. We believe that by meeting jointly with the government of Haiti there may be areas where we can exert some persuasion to encourage them to do more about the problem that they face and we face jointly. By showing that we are united in this enterprise and in this discussion we will underline the seriousness of this problem and the hope that we can do something about it.”
Soon the meeting of two nations became a tri-lateral caucus when it welcomed Haiti to the table. The session was expected to stem the flow of illegal boats loaded with migrants fleeing Haiti.
Whatever ideas were discussed have never been publicized or implemented. The meeting seems to have been a dud and the inundation of Haitians illegally to both the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas in subsequent years has not waned.
During his Budget presentation in July 2018, Deputy Premier and Border Control Minister, Sean Astwood announced that illegal migration activity surged by nearly 300% in the past fiscal period for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Mr. Speaker, the battles we faced as a ministry, as a government and as a country, in my mind, were unprecedented. As a people, we endured the wrath of two major hurricanes and untold damages and displacements, and it appeared that our borders came under relentless attacks from the start of 2017.A total of 22 sloops and 1,335 persons were repatriated throughout the year. Mr. Speaker, this represents a 160% increase in sloops arrivals and a 270% increase in repatriations over the same period for 2016.Mr. Speaker, this was truly unprecedented.”
No date was given by Premier Robinson for the high-level, bi-lateral meeting in The Bahamas.
Open Letter to Governor Dakin
Dear H.E. Governor Dakin,
The time has come for us as a nation to stand as a unified front on matters regarding our beautiful country, the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our country, as it stands, is in a state of turmoil and I am afraid that if we do not act now, all will be lost. As such, I write on behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who are feeling neglected by this Government, the Commissioner of Police, and, regrettably, yourself.
Your Excellency, while crime prevention is a shared responsibility, it is expected that the relevant authorities and persons placed in key positions for crime prevention would have the strongest impact. However, I am sure that you are aware that the citizens have lost complete faith in our police force and continue to live in fear in what is supposed to be a peaceful and safe Turks and Caicos Islands. This only causes one to wonder, what can and should be done to regain control?
The People’s Democratic Movement has, on a number of occasions, stated our position on this crime matter, even offering a number of solutions to combat crime, for instance, the parties’ 12 point crime plan approach. The sad reality is that crime will always exist in any country, but as leaders we must ensure that the right deterrents are in place to reduce the risk.
I am no expert in the field of combating crime, but I do know that by taking the basic preventative measures, such as those that have been mentioned by my party and many citizens alike, we will see a swift reduction in crime.
Nevertheless, I call on you, Your Excellency, to stand on your role in national Security, as we all have come to the realization that the current approach isn’t working. Your Excellency, we are nearing a state of emergency. As you are responsible for national security of which crime is included, we need you to make those bold decisions, even if this means requesting the assistance of the military. I hereby also offer these measures that should be implemented in the interim:
- Construct new Police stations in each community on the island of Providenciales, with a minimum of two patrol units stationed within those communities, with daily patrols and adequate staff.
Investment of 30-50 new patrol units.
Investment of a mobile police station that can be visible in other areas at various times throughout each day. We need more police officers on the streets, who can be accessible by our citizens.
Your Excellency, I say again, the current approach is failing. We need experts who will come to work and not use the opportunity to vacation. Let’s also invest in hiring some of the best experts who can assist with solving these crimes and bringing closure to the families who have lost love ones. The fact of the matter remains – there are too many unsolved cases in this country! The people of this beautiful country are not asking for much, we just want those in positions to do what they are being paid to do.
We cannot have our people living in fear, Your Excellency. I believe we need stricter penalties in place, such as the approach Jamaica recently took with a mandatory 15 years in person if caught with an illegal firearm. In addition, we can consider cancelling all bail applications for serious crimes offences. These are the kind of approaches that just may reduce or have one second guessing their decision before committing criminal acts.
In closing, I ask that you provide the people of Turks and Caicos with some reassurance, not in the form of words in a speech but swift and effective action. Your Excellency, please also note, that if these matters aren’t addressed prior to your departure as Governor, then you would have also failed the great people of Turks and Caicos Islands.
I thank you for your time and I do hope that this letter resonates with you and encourages change.
People’s Democratic Movement
AMNESTY CAN ONLY HAPPEN WHEN WE CREATE PLACES OF REFUGE IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR OUR HURTING BOYS
By Darron Hilaire Jr. – Youth Advocate & Mentor
We’re beginning a new week with a record-breaking murder report.
Here are some of my latest thoughts on the matter at hand.
I don’t agree that things are “out of hand”, as I’ve heard it said in many instances.
I think we are still dealing with a fairly young (relatively 10-year-old) issue.
I do agree that things are VERY BAD, but I also believe that intervention is still very much within our reach as a country – this context is very important.
When we are dealing with something bigger than us or foreign to us, it always seems “out of hand”. TCI’s crime and gun violence rampage are foreign issues. Just over ten years ago, all of this was unheard of in our little paradisiacal island.
Let me put it in a different context.
Mothers, for instance, who are not accustomed to disciplining boys or raising boys might say a boy is “out of hand” because, well, she doesn’t understand the nature of boys.
She will call his father and say, “Come deal with this boy of yours”, and the father would walk in, and it seems almost automatic to him how he dismantles the situation.
And, it is not automatic by any means, however, because he understands his own boyish nature, he doesn’t deal with the issue from the same extreme vantage point as the mother.
In an ideal situation, a healthy situation, he deals with it from a place of understanding.
To make matters worse, he deals with it from a place of aggression and rage – and this too has its implications on how boys grow up to be angry and aggressive men.
Let this be a caution by itself, that if we take the position of operating out of understanding, we have a shot at intervention, but if we take the position of operation out of aggression and rage, we will only further exacerbate the situation.
And this is what I believe we are doing – operating from a place of extreme.
On another note, I think the notices calling for a voluntary turnover of guns, a “gun amnesty”, as we’ve put it, is rather absurd.
I, on the other hand, am more concerned about what made these young men pick up the guns in the first place, rather than pressuring them to turn over their source of protection.
I think there are some questions we have to ask here – although, hypothetically for now, until we can come face to face with some of the offenders.
- WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU FELT PROTECTED?
- WHO OR WHAT ROBBED YOU OF YOUR SENSE OF SECURITY?
As simple as those questions sound, I think it humanizes the situation – which is something we have to start to do. These are human beings. These are boys or young men, rather. These are someone’s children, someone’s brother, someone’s friends.
These are not faceless, nameless, soul-less, and body-less people. These are boys/young men with bodies, faces, names, souls, human needs, and families.
And my hunch is that sometimes when we don’t feel protected, we feel tempted to take protection into our own hands.
That is easy for us to picture as a people, because the reason we are crying out for the powers that be to take an intervention if we’re honest, is not because we care so much about these young men and their lives and their families, we are concerned about our own protection.
Because, helplessness will drive us to make cowardice recommendations to have these young men eliminated from the society as if they never belonged here, as if their lives never mattered; but compassion will beckon us towards curiosity, care, and courage.
I think when we put it that way, that is a feeling that all of us can resonate with.
I think when we think about it that way, we can start to devise strategies for conscious intervention and stop reducing everything to tactical force.
YOU CAN NOT HEAL TRAUMA WITH MORE TRAUMA.
The tactical force will help with rounding up, YES, but it will not help with soul healing, transformation, and rehabilitation. It will not help with creating a place of refuge for the kind of amnesty to happen.
Amnesty doesn’t just happen.
In fact, AMNESTY WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN A COUNTRY WHERE VICTIMS AND OFFENDERS DON’T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN BE PROTECTED BY THE SYSTEMS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PROTECT THEM.
We can call for it all we want.
We can even pray for it; it will not come.
If there is corruption in the systems that are designed for our protection, there will be no amnesty – there will only be more outrage and more young men externalizing their pain by taking it out on the society that never protected them.
When we learn how to create safe places for our children, our young men, to take our wounds to, only then can we create and encourage systems of amnesty.
SheLeads launches global hiring App from the Turks and Caicos Islands
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – An app that does your hiring for you; it’s every hiring manager’s dream and it’s real. Even better? It’s home grown and born in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Hiring app SheLEAD HR Solutions was created in a collaboration between Turks and Caicos Islanders: Sheba Wilson and Roger Harvey.
Harvey, who is the founder of Go to Web Solutions, a new startup software company, explained that they brainstormed the system when they realized how TCI islanders were applying for jobs.
“The whole idea came about when we noticed applications in the TCI typically applied for a job by email— and that’s been a very inconvenient process.”
It meant printing out applications for all the applicants which might then get lost and keeping meticulous track of email addresses, phone numbers etc. In an effort to make recruitment better for the organization and the candidates SheLead was created. It is a powerhouse of an app, what the system offers is a tailor made and user friendly interface specific to each company that employers can manipulate easily.
Sheba Wilson, expert HR Manager with over a decade of experience explained the process.
“The hiring system is basically an HR solution that is geared towards streamlining the hiring process as well facilitating onboarding.”
Wilson explained this made the a fully functioning electronic process with communication in real time.
“Candidates are able to receive updates as soon as they input information and as soon as the hiring manager uploads them–– it cuts down a lot of the time that human resource departments have to spend with regard to making telephone calls or sending emails with follow up questions— because all of that functionality is included in the software,” she explained
The actual process of using the app is extremely easy.
Applicants upload their application and documents to the app and receive an automated response after which the HR manager can see that application, determine whether there are documents missing and or whether the applicant should be shortlisted for an interview.
When the decision is made, the HR manager or hiring manager updates the app and the applicant receives a text and email advising them of the updates.
Wilson explained that not only would this system make communication more effective between companies and potential employees it would make that communication faster as well. She said poor communication was a repeated issue which potential employees had with companies.
“We know that it is a very rigorous process but this particular software helps to take away all of the heavy lifting and creates a very streamlined process for the candidate and the company.”
There are additional features like personality compatibility tests to see whether applicants are a right fit. Applicants can also upload videos, get reminders about documents and use countless other features.
“The feedback has been phenomenal. We have tried it out in quite a few markets and The feedback has been positive so far,” said Harvey.
Employers who use the app get a branded portal and can add QR codes to advertisements for positions which when scanned send applicants directly to the portal where they can upload their applications.
The app is already getting recognized for its brilliance and is picking up customers left and right. Grace Bay Resorts is a bonafide client and the developers are currently courting the TCIG. International clients are knocking on the door as well.
The TCI grown app is an ingenious idea and seems poised for success. To her fellow Turks and Caicos islanders Wilson said, “Don’t downplay yourself. Don’t ever believe that you are less than. You have the innate talents and abilities that God has given you. What you need is the confidence to step forward and do what you have to do. Sometimes we allow fear to stop us, we think ‘oh I am just a small town Island girl who is going to take me seriously?’ It starts with confidence and there’s power in collaboration. Don’t be afraid to partner with other Turks and Caicos islanders,” she urged.
The app is available on the App Store and Google play and comes at no cost to applicants; only employers pay and employers are eligible for a free demo.
For small companies the two executives explained the starting price for the most basic package would be under $250 a month.
You can learn more here.
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