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Ten Year Anniversary, Commission of Inquiry announced for TCI this day in history 2008

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Sir Robin Auld

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Tuesday July 10, 2018 – In nine days from today, the Rt. Hon. Sir Robin Auld, a 60-year attorney, a former Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales,  a Queen’s Council,  a man knighted 30 years ago and the leading man in a decade’s old debacle in Turks and Caicos will celebrate his 81st birthday; that however is not what this flashback piece is about…

This Magnetic Media article is a reflective report and a rousing reminder of the 10 year anniversary of the genesis of the controversial announcement that the Turks and Caicos Islands would be subject to a Commission of Inquiry or COI (as we have labelled it).

That inquiry – unravelling scandalously at a makeshift courtroom at the Palms Resort in 2009 – was led by Sir Robin Auld, QC.

From Commission of Inquiry Report

The revelation that the COI was unavoidable following a Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) report was made six months earlier in the meeting room of the Sands Resort on July 10, 2008 and it came from then Governor, Richard Tauwhare.  Mr. Tauwhare also issued a National Address about the coming of the probe into government malfeasance.

“In exercise of my powers as Governor under the Commissions of Inquiry ordinance, I have today, Thursday 10th July 2008 appointed a commission of inquiry to inquire into whether there is information that corruption or other serious dishonesty in relation to past and present elected members of the House of Assembly, previously known as the Legislative Council may have taken place in recent years.”

Ten days later, Richard Tauwhare, his wife and two children were gone, bid farewell in a dazzling show at the Providenciales International Airport.  The three-year governor was transported out of the islands which were about to undergo a metamorphosis many say retarded the country’s progress on the way to greater self-determination.

Former Governor Richard Tauwhare

Tauwhare in that National Address, where he was clearly and even nervously reading from a teleprompter, acknowledged the seriousness of his decision.

“The appointing of a Commission of Inquiry is an extremely serious step. I have taken this decision only after the most careful and detailed deliberation. I did so after following an instruction from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to consider in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance whether a commission should be appointed.”

While the statement assured that there was no wish by the United Kingdom to interfere with the democratic process in the Turks and Caicos Islands, testimonies and conclusions given during the captivating COI led to a complete overhaul of the democracy.

Announced by new Governor, H.E. Gordon Wethell was a constitutional suspension on August 14, 2009 which ushered in British-direct rule; there was an interim administration appointed by the UK for three years; there was a new constitution created for the territory which allowed for trial without jury and the powers of the elected administration were reduced and in some cases retracted.

Former Governor Gordon Wetherell

On the flip side, the UK maintained its posture that the move to conduct the Commission of Inquiry would unearth evidence which proved that they were right to intervene and shut down the scandalous administrative style of the Mike Misick regime.

The just over four weeks of the COI spawned some of the Caribbean’s most awe-striking headlines and jaw dropping moments.  Even cronies and supporters of the Progressive National Party government were reduced to grunts and groans as the bundles and bundles of evidence were painstakingly extracted and exposed. 

The curious and intrigued remained glued to the proceedings where reports emerged of lavish purchases including a specially designed jet, journeys of government and celebrity friends to remote and exotic corners of the globe, suspect under-the-table payouts and overrides of policies for would-be developers, cheap sales of luxury lands, weighty price tags attached to anything from cars, to clothing, to parties, residences, spousal allowances and even a reported $7,000 spent on coffee and pastries – all allegations of systemic weaknesses and serious government dishonesty which unfolded like a Hollywood drama, to a packed house.

From Essence magazine

The monumental costs were pinned to the Public Purse or abuse of public office; Michael Misick claimed he had a serious debt problem due to the extravagant life led by his extravagant wife.  Monies allegedly forked over to the embattled ex-premier – who eventually resigned – were called loans, and nothing more.

Ten years on, Sir Robin Ernest Auld is seemingly retired as an acclaimed author and celebrated professor noted in the annals at the astute Squire Law Library in Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

In his career highlights at Squire Law Library, last on the list is the 2008-2009 Commission of Inquiry into governmental corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  However, up to 2014, Sir Robin Auld remained busy as consultant, adviser and representative for the UK where his mission was to Kyiv, Ukraine.

The 2008-2009 Commission of Inquiry Report was published in December 2013; the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team trial which was a progeny of the COI report began exactly one year later.

Amazingly, expensively, that saga continues.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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News

New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Rules governing Justices of the Peace in the Turks and Caicos are now significantly stricter after the passing of the amendment to the Magistrates Amendment Bill in July 2022.

Despite the fact that Justices of the Peace are allowed the same powers as a magistrate previously the only requirement for their appointment was the discretion of the Governor and that they be under 65-years-old.

That power has now been transferred from the Governor to the Chief Justice.

Justices of the peace have always by law been allowed to receive complaints, sign charges and issue warrants for the apprehension of persons charged with criminal offenses. They can also issue search warrants summons and administer oaths.

Considering the potentially unchecked execution of these powers, the attorney general’s chambers lobbied for a change in the system.

“These are very wide powers and there is no framework for the supervision and regulation of the whole of justices of the peace in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The amendment rectified this and the Chief Justice now has the power to make binding rules and regulations governing the appointment of JPs, a code of conduct disciplinary action and orientation and periodic training for JPs.

In addition, to maintain separation of powers the governor will be stripped of the power to disallow laws made by resident magistrates. That power now belongs to the Chief Justice.

Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, TCI Attorney General maintained that the amendment was short but necessary.

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Health

Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Young people in the Turks and Caicos are very sexually active and while there are no concrete statistics, the newest members of the Rapport all said “Yes” to the question about whether there is rampant sexual activity.

“As a young person I totally agree that they are having a lot of sex,” Arean Louis said.

This is particularly concerning given wider statistics point to a very young age group which is still contracting HIV/Aids.

“Caribbean statistics are showing that between the ages of 15 and 25 those have the highest amount of HIV rates.”

A five person delegation was this past  week representing the Turks and Caicos Islands at the International Aids Conference, staged in Montreal, Canada July 29 – August 2, 2022.

Young adult members of Rapport TCI all agree that youth in the TCI must be made aware of HIV and other STIs. Arean Louis, Denae Dennie and Arielle Neely spoke to Magnetic Media on their way to the International AIDS Conference.

All three agreed that our young people are having a lot of sex.

“I would say that our young people are having sec the only thing that I would say is I hope that they are letting their partners know their sexual history, their status, and that they’re being safe.” Dennie said.

Louis added, “As we talk about HIV and AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands we most definitely need to bring awareness to our young people because there is no set age— kids nowadays just like to experiment.”

He stressed safe sex, using protection and abstinence to maintain sexual health.

“What we aim to do is keep them safe here, we’re tired and we don’t want to see anymore STD and STI new cases in the Turks and Caicos.”

Dennie says she still thinks there is fear surrounding HIV but with education and protection, the world can get to zero new cases and it was something she was looking forward to.

The final member Arielle Neely explained that there were not enough tools and resources to educate youth.

“There are not enough tools or enough record to educate them. Our parents think they’re doing a good job by telling us don’t have sex but telling us don’t have sex isn’t enough. You have to teach us about birth control planned parenthood.”

The three members had high hopes for Rapport and stressed that they need more members to make an effective change on sexual health in the TCI.

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