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Opposition Leader responds to Throne Speech  11 days later; says PDM Govt plan puts TCI in ‘deep doo doo’

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Hon. C. Washington Misick, Leader of PNP on Opening of Parliament June 18

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 3, 2018 – The Leader of the Opposition business in the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly, nearly two weeks after the official Opening of Parliament, has finally delivered his response to the Speech from the Throne which was since Monday June 18 delivered by the Governor on behalf of the PDM Administration.   

Hon. Washington Misick on Friday June 29 fired back with an over one hour long response encompassing a number of charges against the government administration, including an agenda change on June 18 which broke tradition and delayed his response to the Throne Speech.

“I believe it is incumbent upon us as honourable people to follow tradition to the extent that it doesn’t usurp the rights of anyone.  And so, Mr. Speaker In most parliament the State Opening features the Speech from the Throne in the morning, and in the afternoon the House resumes and responds with the address in reply debate.  In the Turks and Caicos, it has been the tradition for the Leader of the Opposition to reply immediately and I was prepared to do so – prepared or not.  While the Constitution Mr. Speaker, gives the Premier the authority as the Leader of Government business the right to alter the Order Paper it is against the spirit of the Constitution or the Standing Order to lightly dispense with  long established parliamentary practice for no apparent good reason.”

Just before the comment, there was a verbal wrangle over what was said and what was meant in a jab given by Premier Sharlene Robinson on House Opening day, which the Opposition Leader said gave an impression that she was treated similarly when Rufus Ewing was country leader.  Misick denied that ever being the case.

Opposition Leader Washington Misick believes there was no legitimate reason for him being denied his response to the Throne Speech on the same day as it was given.  The PNP Leader also surmised that the PDM Government has not presented a recovery budget, as touted and has no legislative agenda.

The fifth All Island Member announced that the PNP Opposition would support a change, which makes it permanently mandatory for the response from the Opposition Leader to the Speech from the Throne be made on the same day.

“Mr. Speaker it is your duty to protect the right of the minority and history will judge your speakership largely based on society perception of fairness in doing this… it would be acceptable to this side of the House, going forward, and I suggest Mr. Speaker, that the House establish the practice that the reply to the Throne Speech be made in the afternoon of the day that the Speech is delivered.”

Misick said his suggested agenda gives any Opposition Leader the time required to prepare a fact-based rebuttal to the Speech from the Throne.

“Having read the Throne Speech and having glanced quickly over the estimates of expenditure and revenue, the Budget; I would contend that contrary to pronouncements in the Throne Speech and also the pronouncements in the Budget Booklet itself…  I contend that this is not a recovery budget whatsoever…”

Hon Washington Misick, in the midst of a humourous analogy, called the plans of the sitting Government, empty.

“This budget is quite vacuous, the Speech from the Throne is vacuous…” the LOO ended his opening remarks with the punchline of the joke, “Mr. Speaker the future, if this (Budget and Throne Speech) is what we have to depend on, is in deep do-do.”

Specifically, the Opposition Leader cited that the Throne Speech and the Budget Estimates show inconsistencies and makes ‘bogus claims’.

“Regrettably there is little that is specific, measurable or time bound but worst of all Mr. Speaker, a review of the Estimates quickly reveal the lack of financial provisions for most of the vague promises spoken to in the Speech from the Throne.”

Contributions on the Throne Speech continued into Friday.

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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

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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