#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Friday July 20, 2018 – When the doors were locked today at ScotiaBank Grace Bay, it signaled not only the close of another work week, but the complete closure of the branch in a controversial downsizing exercise which has only just begun.
On June 7, 2018, ScotiaBank confirmed that a format being mimicked region wide by the financial institution will dramatically alter operations in the TCI. Three branches will merge to become one, and that means Grand Turk will – in just over two months- also lose its branch.
From June 7 media release: “The current Head Office at ScotiaCentre, 88 Cherokee Rd Providenciales, which currently houses the Retail Branch, Corporate & Commercial Banking and the Managing Director’s Offices, will become the new home for the full suite of services. As the bank undergoes these changes to align with the regional format, the Grace Bay and Grand Turk operations will ultimately consolidate into the ScotiaCentre facility. The consolidation of the Grace Bay Branch will take effect on July 20, 2018 with Grand Turk Branch following on September 28, 2018. All banking operations will remain business as usual until this time.”
The announcement resulted in masses of customers flocking to the bank branches; the fear of a complete closure with customers’ deposits was the motivation of the rush.
ScotiaBank tried to assuage feelings of alarm, but as news of the decision spread to the Turks and Caicos community, there was furious backlash.
Comments made by the public when Magnetic Media posted news of the closure on June 7, 2018:
“Grand Turk always getting the short end of the stick… apparently ScotiaBank is closing, everything that I have is tied up in that bank. I hate online banking because sometimes you need to go to the bank and speak to officers of the bank. Calling Customer Service here in Grand Turk or in Provo is not fruitful, so that means that if I really need to do business, I will have to pay a hundred dollars to go to the Provo branch…”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Banking will be worse than it already is. Automatic transfer to your employees should be mandatory.”
“Everyone is concerned and commenting on long lines in Provo. Imagine how the customers in Grand Turk and South Caicos will manage without a bank!!!! SMH”
Another writer, reacting to the news simply wrote:
Still ScotiaBank is forging ahead with its plan for a consolidated location with more services, it says. By the final Friday in September, the Grand Turk branch is due to close its doors for good and residents are hoping for a change of heart. It seems unlikely.
From June 7 media release: “We are confident that this move will support the overall objectives of the Bank, and promote the long-term sustainability of Scotiabank in the Turks & Caicos Islands.” commented Curtis Knight, Acting Country Manager, Scotiabank (Turks & Caicos) Ltd. “We appreciate the loyalty of our customers and commit to working with them to ensure a smooth transition. We look forward to serving them at the ScotiaCentre.”
New Report offers concrete data; Rising seas will DROWN Caribbean Islands
December 5, 2023 – Five percent or more of a few cities are predicted to fall permanently below sea level by the end of the Century due to the worsening effects of climate change and Kingston, Jamaica is included.
The data points to a future that should be feared as it said “coastal flooding this century will put over 70 million people in the path of expanding floodplains,” and it added that “Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the forefront, projected to lose significant land and critical infrastructure to permanent inundation.”
It further informs that coastal flooding has evidently increased over the past 20 years due to sea level rise, which now means that 14 million people globally live in coastal communities, faced with a 1 in 20 annual chance of flooding.
Referring to the fate of the Caribbean region, the data says that by 2100, much of the land in some Caribbean states are expected to be submerged.
“By 2100, climate change is expected to cause the submergence of a significant share of land (>5 percent) in the following Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Associate Members of United Nations Regional Commissions: Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, and Seychelles,” it said.
Regarding Kingston, Jamaica’s not so bright future in the face of climate change, like many Caribbean states if measures aren’t decided on swiftly, the report highlights a “worse-case warming scenario,” pointing to the other cities that share the same fate.
“Without shoreline defenses, under a worst-case warming scenario by the end of the century, 5 percent or more of the following cities are projected to fall permanently below sea level:”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In continuation, Climate Impact Lab in its release detailing the findings, features the words of Pedro Conceição, Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, saying that this ongoing climate crisis, specifically the rising of sea levels given the context, will cause a setback in years of human development.
“The effects of rising sea levels will put at risk decades of human development progress in densely populated coastal zones which are home to one in seven people in the world,” he maintained.
Rehabilitation gets its own Department, Jaron Harvey is new Director with 86% success
Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – The Probation and Rehabilitation Unit of the Turks and Caicos government has transitioned to the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services and armed with new strategies they are successfully helping to prevent recidivism in the country.
In an enlightening session for those involved on November 21st, the Department detailed that with its limited resources, it was already successfully helping to stop reoffending locally.
Jaron Harvey, Director of Rehabilitation led the event which focused on probation and parole, which they describe as alternatives to incarceration, fostering rehabilitation. For this rehabilitation to be successful, the Department has certain strategies, including addressing criminogenic needs for effective change and creating a holistic approach to the reintegration of offenders, including education, counseling, and employment.
Armed with an assessment plan, the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services will aim to identify risk factors for re-offending in their clients based on criminogenic needs, these are factors that directly contribute to recidivism.
Cited as potential triggers were the criminal history, education and employment, family, companions, alcohol and drug dependence of the clients. Then the Department creates a plan to effectively keep them away from crime.
“We have to tailor our intervention to their learning style so if they learn by playing, we have to play games, if they learn by watching videos, we have to watch videos,” he said.
Despite their hard work, there are some social issues which are barriers to clients; these include employment and ID challenges, societal stigma and personal struggles like substance abuse, mental health concerns or lack of education.
“There is a negative perception about offenders in the Turks and Caicos, and part of that is because people don’t understand what services are being made available to people who are caught in the criminal web,” Harvey lamented.
Representatives at the event shared one of their success stories under the pseudonym ‘John Doe’. Doe was placed on probation for 18 months after committing burglary in January 2020. The team developed a case plan to address his criminogenic needs and he reported to a parole officer three times a week for sessions. By October of that year, he got an entry-level job and was promoted twice in four months. By June 2021, he completed probation successfully and broke down in tears in the courtroom testifying that this was his first victory in his entire life.
As of 2023, John Doe has not reoffended and is still fully employed.
“This is a testament to the power of support rehabilitation and transformation,” Harvey explained.
But John Doe isn’t the only success story, he’s not even an outlier. Between 2019 to 2023 of the 12 clients helped by the Department, only one re-offended.
“We are functioning at about 86% success rate with limited resources,” said Harvey
During the meeting, several questions and concerns were raised by Magnetic Media including the length of time that some offenders have to wait for parole, we are told some offenders wait out their entire sentence, and parole applications are still not approved.
The Department recently visited Cayman to further its knowledge and is looking to introduce an electronic monitoring system by 2024.
What the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services wants now is to give former offenders a chance to reintegrate into society without stigma and more resources to help even more residents.
Refurbishment of NJS Francis Building almost done
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – The official home of the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly is close to completion as TCIG moves on to furnishings for the NJS Francis Building. The tender for the furniture was approved by Cabinet on October 11th.
It comes six years after the building was battered during the 2017 hurricane season, which included both Irma and Maria. After that round of damage, the building was declared unsafe in 2018, and work began to restore it.
The process has been a slow one, slogging through two administrations. In fact earlier this year HOA members expressed concern that contractors would not meet the Jan 2024 deadline however, representatives from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development PPID assured that Parliament would be complete in time.
It will not only mean an official home for the TCI HOA (which will soon be named parliament according to the UK) it will mean the Helena James Robinson high school can get their auditorium back for use by students.
That is where the HOA currently meets.
A representative of the PPID had explained during the public appropriations committee in early 2023 that, “The delays that were incurred were due to the fact that there was a need for additional funding to cater for scope that was not included in the original contract.”
The unforeseen expenses included: additions to the building like air conditioning and a fire suppressant system.
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