#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 12, 2019 – The Church in the Turks and Caicos is among those today condemning the divide and conquer tactics being employed ahead of the 2020 General Elections and is calling on islanders engaged in the vicious memes to “stop it now.”
“The Bible admonishes us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. These videos and other messages on social media are signs of hatred and jealousy. The Christian Council condemns such acts and urges persons to desist from this negative behavior,” said the Christian Council in a media statement.
Magnetic Media had requested a statement from the Council and others on the hurtful memes which are becoming increasingly cruel and dangerously defamatory with each new one created. A meme is defined as: ‘a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.’
Social media memes have now become an infamous way for people to attack leaders and other public personalities, anonymously. Some residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands are taking full advantage of expressing their innermost thoughts, and no one is exempt.
One resident suggested, “Let Miami forensics find out who is creating and distributing these videos. They have the expertise and the equipment. It is the lowest, lowest, low… this has got to stop.”
It was a meme released last week, amidst the interest in the leadership race of the Opposition, Progressive National Party, (PNP) which sparked this reaction for the Grand Turk resident.
The video used a popular scene from the 2004 German film, Downfall; which is an historical drama about the final days of Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Nazi Germany.
In the Turks and Caicos, the crudeness is escalating to potentially criminal heights. According to the Turks and Caicos Bar Council, the nation has the legal framework to protect citizens and residents from libel, which are untrue or erroneous statements written in the public domain.
The Turks and Caicos Bar Council informed that: “…one may be pursued in Court for Defamation– more specifically, Libel for written publications (e.g. articles written on social media) and Slander for spoken words of a defamatory nature. A person adversely affected by the publishing of false information that causes damage to their reputation may seek redress…”
Redress can be a retraction and apology, an injunction to stop the guilty party publishing the unsubstantiated deprecating statements or the victim can sue for damages.
Rights of individuals are protected in the Turks and Caicos, informed the Bar Council, under the Obscene Publications Ordinance.
“…which prohibits persons from producing and or distributing subject matters that is deemed obscene by right thinking members of the community. If found liable, under this Ordinance, a person is subject to a $5,000.00 fine, 6 months’ imprisonment or both.”
Beyond the societal repercussions, the Christian Council reminded that there are spiritual ones too.
“These messages are killing, stealing and destroying the joy and reputation of others. Remember a house divided against itself cannot stand. Appreciate the political differences of others and if you do not support them then do not vote for them. There is no need for this mudslinging. Remember at end of the day it is our own we are destroying. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”
The Church is vowing not to sit by and allow this ugliness to spread.
Political attacks have been most pronounced against two leading ladies in the country – Hon Sharlene Robinson, Premier and Hon Josephine Connolly, second All Island member of the House of Assembly.
Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Connolly were the two most voted for all island candidates in the 2016 General Elections and so their fall out – politically – was epic for the Turks and Caicos Islands. While the break-up of the first Cabinet of the Sharlene Robinson-led PDM Administration is 20-months old, a war of words and videos has raged on.
Hon Connolly, who eventually withdrew from the PDM party has since February 3, 2019 announced that she will join the Opposition PNP.
In a statement to Magnetic Media, Mrs. Connolly rejected the accusations levelled at her, “I have no agenda except for the success of this country and the people who live here. I have nothing but love and respect for the Hon Washington Misick and the Hon Akierra Misick. They are both resourceful and effective politicians who have given a lot for their country and their party and I have nothing but admiration for the work they have done and are doing.”
Connolly, who is a wife, mother of two and successful business woman surmised: “…if our political process is to be elevated from the taunts of the playground, that we as a people need to say no to those who want to pollute the process and drag down fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders. There are more sensible, God fearing and supportive Turks and Caicos Islanders than there are these political character assassins.”
Also a wife, mother of two and pioneering female figure, Sharlene Robinson shared comments which she has made before to denounce the nasty memes, even if those messages may be in defence of her political career.
“I know that my record can stand for me. This behavior is driven by pure hate and that is truly not who we are as a people. Too many people do not understand that we are on a world stage and we are painting ourselves in the worst light. I encourage persons to use these talents and time for good: Build up and not pull down. Use your preferred politician’s record to promote them as it is a disservice to them to participate in such trash in promotion of them.”
Robinson, like others has seen the sinister attacks cross the line, “Over the years, my children, my husband and my Church have been the subject of nasty attacks all because I have made the choice to serve in the political arena.”
PDM Party Chairman, Douglas Parnell said his party condemns the messages and recommends a few items more worthy of focus, “The Government and especially our Premier and all members of our party have been vilified and personally attacked with nasty and vicious rumors and smear campaigns over the years and we cannot stress how distasteful and distracting these tactics can be to the real issues that need to be addressed in this country.”
Meanwhile, the European Union is seeking to institute copyright protections which would make it illegal to use uploaded information likes photographs and videos; essentially, memes would be banned if the EU gets its way.
Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries
By Dana Malcolm
October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.
In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation
“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.” It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries. And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis. This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.
“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.
And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.
“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”
If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’
Former Prosecutor in Turks & Caicos Office of the DPP banned six months from practicing law
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – Former TCI employed lawyer at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sophia Thomas has been suspended from practicing as a lawyer for six months from November 1st according to Jamaican media.
The Jamaica Gleaner says Thomas was sentenced in her native Jamaica after becoming the first prosecutor in the country’s history to be found guilty of professional misconduct. That guilty verdict was from earlier this year.
The case was brought against her in 2017 by the accused in a fraud case. Thomas was found to have ‘violated the canons of professional ethics’ during the case which had to be thrown out because of the mix-up.
Despite this very serious charge, the Director of Public Prosecutions moved forward with hiring Sophia Thomas in October 2021. In late August and amidst public outcry, it was determined that it was best for Thomas to resign the position until exonerated.
Despite the damning verdict and decision, it is likely the embattled lawyer will appeal. In August her attorney Hugh Wildman told Magnetic Media that not only did he have concerns about expertise of the lawyers in the case, his client was declared guilty before proceedings were even over.
As reported by Jamaican media and confirmed by Wildman, Thomas presented a photocopied document to the court. Thomas said it was the original but there were at least 11 discrepancies between it and the actual original.
Apparently the original could not be found and the witness who penned it was asked to rewrite it resulting in the changes.
In addition to the suspension, Thomas is ordered to pay legal costs amount to $400,000.
Budget deficit projected by Finance Minister Saunders; new spending to FortisTCI & TCI Police
By Shanieka Smith
#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – In his presentation to Parliament, the Deputy Premier and Finance Minister announced a budget deficit which includes FortisTCI and the Royal TCI Police equally sharing $5 million aimed at paying consumers’ electricity bills and beating back deadly crime.
Deputy Premier and Finance Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. E. Jay Saunders addressed the Second Supplementary Estimates Expenditure for the financial year 2022-2023 in his speech at the House of Assembly on Monday afternoon. Sanders presented these estimates per standing orders 32, sections 118 and 51 from the TCI constitution.
“Globally, 2022 has been challenging for everyone,” the Deputy Premier said as he started his speech.
He proceeded to discuss proposals from the second supplementary appropriations bill.
Saunders said the estimates propose a revision of the revenue upward by $1.45 million bringing it to a total of $404.2 million. Expenditure will also be increased by $18.4 million.
The governor explained that funding for these revisions will be taken from the country’s cash reserve, which will result in a budget deficit. Although deficit budgets for this financial year are being proposed, “we do plan to return to surplus budgets in the medium term if not before,” Sanders continued and reassured the citizens that this will not become a trend.
Saunders stated that sustainability ratios are still being met even in deficit, and the islands’ liquid cash reserve is currently at $240 million. This equates to 212 days, which suggests that the Turks and Caicos islands would survive for 212 days if no money was coming in.
“My goal as minister of finance is to extend that to 365 days,” said the Deputy Premier.
He said he believes that these proposed supplementary estimates will not only continue to address inflation in the islands but also provide some relief for the most vulnerable citizens. He mentioned that the surge in crime – addressed earlier by the Premier – is a major issue and the estimates will allow the government to respond “aggressively”.
Rebuilding better after hurricane Fiona is also a priority for the government as too much is being spent on repairs rather than building sustainably. The Deputy Premier said this would be addressed in his next budget speech and throughout the rest of the year.
The Deputy Premier continued by addressing a few of the initiatives to that government funds would be allocated. A sum of $2.5 million will subsidise a portion of FortisTCI bills for the billing period from September to December. Saunders explained that this would assist residential customers while the government aims to find long-term measures to cut electricity costs.
Another 2.5 million will be used to combat the crime surge by way of raising police subsidies, purchasing equipment and increasing staff. Saunders said one outcome is sure from this “it is our victory, not theirs” referring to criminals on the islands.
Other initiatives included a stimulus for residents, hurricane relief, tourism, professional development, and foster care and social welfare benefits.
Jay Saunders closed his speech by encouraging the citizens from Joshua 1:9, “I would like to encourage the good people of the Turks and Caicos islands… despite the trying times that our country is going through, to be strong, to not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
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