#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.
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Students not in school cite Fees as Roadblock
Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Concerning reports are coming out of Providenciales regarding the placement of students as the new term got started.
Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent, had the opportunity to speak with several young people who were supposed to be in school. Instead, they were hanging out close to home, as they said they couldn’t afford the fees of the private schools they had been placed in.
Edgar Howell, Director of Education, during an August 31st press conference, had indicated that at least 26 students were awaiting assistance with placement in private high schools and 35 students were awaiting placements in primary schools. Parents should have heard from the ministry within days.
“The schools are full and they don’t have any more money to continue the [private] schools they were going to. So, this bright September morning these children are actually just idle,” he explained.
By law (Education Ordinance 2009), all children between four and 16 years old in the Turks and Caicos Islands are considered of ‘Compulsory School Age’ meaning, they must be enrolled in an institution.
It has long been the practice of the Ministry of Education to place students in private schools and subsidize the fees when space has run out in public schools. This year was no different.
“The Ministry continues to provide assistance to the parents through the private school subsidy program and 375 students are being assisted for the 2023/24 school year,” Howell explained.
It’s not clear if these students were a part of that number.
We have since reached out to representatives at the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Education for information on students who are not in school, how many remain unable to fit into public school classes and what provisions are in place for those students; there has been no update.
Grand Turk residents say they suffered lack attention from TCIAA
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Upgrades are underway at the JAGS McCartney International Airport but Grand Turk Residents say they were subject to subpar conditions for far too long; the comments came at a town hall meeting hosted by the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority in the capital on Thursday September 21, at Dillon Hall.
“I am speaking on behalf of Grand Turk residents. It is unacceptable for the Airports Authority to treat residents how they do,” one resident told TCIAA executives at a town hall meeting in Grand Turk.
The airport was hit during Hurricane Fiona in late 2022, resulting in a destroyed roof and serious damage to the terminals from extensive flooding plus damage to the domestic and international arrival areas, deeming the area unfit for use.
The hurricane damage last year only exacerbated the destruction wrought by previous storms including 2008’s Hurricane Ike and 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The JAGS McCartney International was reopened for domestic arrivals just this past June after phase one of a restoration project. The international terminal was scheduled to open soon after but repairs are still ongoing. Residents told TCIAA executives, the work was simply not executed quickly enough.
“The lack of attention that they paid to the JAGS McCartney Airport after the hurricane, having the residents of this island come in like we’re from a third world country for months? It’s unacceptable for residents of this island for you all to leave us like that,” a resident maintained.
Ongoing updates include fixing the perimeter fence and parking lot as well as the fire station. Residents appeared grateful but cautiously optimistic.
“We see the plans that you have— which is good, and we hope that the next time we have a disaster we don’t have to be waiting for months [and] be treated like that.”
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