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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.

Caribbean News

WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year

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#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – The WE GOIN’ KEW’ festival charity event was a huge success bringing people together to enjoy Turks and Caicos Islands food and cultural performances and organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Unity Committee.

On Saturday, November 19, 2022, residents from across the Turks and Caicos Islands chain found their way to the Bellefield Landing in Kew, North Caicos, to support what is being described as the biggest festival of the year with an estimated two thousand people attending.  The event also saw fifteen vendors present, serving local Twin Island dishes, and featuring three local bands, and artists from The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas.

Proceeds garnered from the WE GOIN’ KEW Festival will support key projects across North and Middle Caicos and assist with completing the homeroom at Ashley’s Learning Center, according to the Director of the TCI Unity Community, Mr. Alvin Hegner.

Hegner added, “This charitable event was held for the people of the Twin Islands and Ashley’s Learning Center.  We wanted to give back to the community while showcasing local food vendors and craft and farmers’ markets.  On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the people of the Twin Islands for their unwavering support and for helping us to create an extraordinary outcome.  Thanks to Sharmaine Clarke for her coordinating efforts on the Twin Islands”.

A special thanks to the event’s sponsors for making it all happen in various ways: The Wine Cellar, Turks Head Brewery, Anderson Media, Big Josh Country Club, Play Big Win Big Entertainment, Prime DJ’s, JACA TCI , Grant Thornton, LEW 1 Shipping, Rasco Sounds, Building Materials DoITCenter, Engel & Volkers, Wymara Resort and Villas, Fortis TCI, FLOW, Dragon Cay Resort, Digicel, MEP Solutions: Electrical and Plumbing, HAB Group, Waratah Construction TCI, RED Hospitality and Leisure & Lady Grace, Catamaran, Mac N Cheese Adventures, The Strand, Beaches Turks and Caicos, BCQS, Turquoise Horizons, Franks Hardware, Delta Electric, AE&S construction, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Caicos Isle Management, Island Drilling, Ports Authority, Turks and Caicos Islands, Robinsons’s Variety, Island Convenience – Grace Bay, Got You Covered, Reliable Security, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, TCI Ministry Of Health, District Commissioner Of North Caicos Madam Musgrove, and the District Commissioner of Middle Caicos Sir Delancy.

The  WE GOIN’ KEW Festival is now an annual event.  The scheduled date for WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 is Saturday, November 4, 2023.  The proceeds from WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 will assist with housing projects throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.

TCI Unity is a nonprofit organisation geared towards helping those in need in the Turk and Caicos Islands.  Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCI Unity distributed over 500 meal boxes to families in need throughout the country.

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Bahamas News

Experts Make Recommendations on Framework to Help Caribbean Access and Use Needed Climate Financing

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November 29, 2022 – If Caribbean countries are to survive the impacts of climate change, then finding ways to make the money match their needs will be of paramount importance.

“It won’t be a rainbow that gets you to the pot of gold, it will be a framework that enables us to unlock the type of financing that we need for the actions that we committed to under the Paris Agreement in terms of  mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage,” was how Ambassador Jeanine Felson, Senior Advisor on Climate Matters to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), put it on Monday.

Ambassador Felson was among the regional experts speaking on Monday, November 14 at ‘Aligning Climate Finance Flows with Caribbean Countries’ Climate Resilience Needs’, a panel discussion coordinated by Caribbean institutions at COP27 to highlight the challenges of and propose solutions around climate change in the region.

The panel was coordinated by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and was an official side event at the United Nations’ climate change conference, currently being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Speakers highlighted aspects that needed to be considered, incorporated or strengthened in the effort to build an overall framework that would allow Caribbean countries to be able to access more climate financing and use it effectively.

CDB Director of Projects, Daniel Best, spoke of the new framework which CDB is proposing for determining access to finance by small island developing states, many of which are bedevilled by the twin dilemmas of being very climate vulnerable but also being considered middle income and hence ineligible for concessional financing.

CDB’s framework includes three tools: the IRC of a country, which estimates the ability to recover from an exogenous shock, the Recovery Duration Adjuster, to anticipate the length of the recovery period after a shock, which is much longer for developing countries when compared with developed countries, and the Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment Tool.  These calculations will then provide a more judicious means of determining access to finance for small developing states,” stated Best.

However, he stressed that financing frameworks must be improved and strengthened across the world’s development financing system, adding:

While international financial institutions may have pledged trillions of dollars to finance building resilience against the effects of climate change, those pledges may end up meaning very little if we do not strengthen the ‘architecture of the international financial system’ to ensure that these financial resources efficiently flow to developing countries and assist in meeting their development needs and boosting growth prospects.”

Head of the Climate Policy Unit at the European Investment Bank, Edward Calthrop shared how their institution was working to do just that, noting that as the largest provider of climate finance globally, the European Investment Bank is seeking to “work with public authorities to be able to quickly develop high quality studies to make sure infrastructure is designed for the future.

An important element for accelerating finance is having the capacity to deal with the resilience of projects…. Not just in the Caribbean, but globally, we need to get better and quicker at developing high design standards for infrastructure,” stated Calthorp.

Ways to accommodate for the issues of size and scale were also discussed with speakers noting it was a perennial issue for the region made up as it is of small states. Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Planning and Development, Hon. Pennelope Beckles, suggested ways this could be addressed in building out a framework that allows countries to be able to properly implement climate resilience projects, saying:

I think it is fair to say that attracting climate finance flows to the Caribbean is a multi-faceted issue. For flows of finance to be effective, recipients must be capable of receiving and utilising such financing. Given the unique nature of the Caribbean, it may also be necessary to create economies of scale that attract feasible investments and climate financing in order to maximise impacts. This, of course, will require coordination and collaboration by all countries of the region to create a uniformed enabling environment across the region.”

 

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Eric Salamanca is TCI’s new Energy Commissioner; TODAY he announces EU funding for Renewable Energy 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – As the globe looks to more sustainable energy, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ renewable energy bill is progressing with the help of a new Energy Commissioner.  Longtime resident, Eric Salamanca has taken up the post just when residents are bruised by the pinch of ever-increasing oil and gas prices globally.

The appointment was announced by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development and Acting Minister of Home Affairs.  He revealed the information while responding to queries by residents about the pace of renewable energy implementation in the Turks and Caicos Islands at a town hall meeting in Providenciales on November 21st.

“The bill is being worked on, and hopefully we’ll have some resolution to bring something to Cabinet in the future to be able to take to the House of Assembly to pass. We’ve just appointed our energy commissioner, so once he’s in, he will have sight of the bill to give his input so that can be finalized,” Robinson stated.

An energy analyst by profession, Salamanca worked with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources and other government agencies before the Energy and Utilities Department.  He has over 20 years of experience in his field.

On Tuesday November 29, Salamanca will make a major announcement related to funding accessed by the TCI Government through the European Union.

The programme is dubbed:  The Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID).  RESEMBID executive team members will join the press conference, to be held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales, virtually.

Turks and Caicos Islands is one of 12 overseas territories qualifying for a slice of the 1.4 million euros and in attendance will be Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor and Otis Morris, TCI Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities & Transport.

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