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TCI: Deputy Premier says Border Control operations improved in 2018-2019 Budget Year

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#Providenciales, May 15, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – A specially convened meeting and assessment carried out in the last budget cycle has enhanced the operations of the Ministry of Border Control.  The former minister, Deputy Premier Sean Astwood explained the goal and the results of that period of border enforcement during his presentation earlier this month to the Budget Debate at the House of Assembly.

“The assessment was undertaken over a two (2) weeks period and included a review of the enforcement strategy. The team met and interviewed thirty (33) three persons from senior government officials at all levels including myself.”

That exhaustive exercise proved helpful said the Deputy Premier and was an important complement to direct assistance from the United Kingdom as little Turks and Caicos, on its own, tried to stem the flow of illegal migration from nearby Haiti.

“In April 2018, the Premier requested and received support from the United Kingdom Government to send a team of experienced UK staff to the TCI to conduct a review of the Immigration control system. This came as a result of the increasing threat of illegal vessel landings and possible alignment with criminal activity. The team commenced work in the TCI on May 14, 2018.”

DP Astwood reported on a string of accomplishments which were both breakthrough and expensive for the Turks and Caicos.

“For the period January 2018 – April 2019 some 3,402 illegal persons have been removed from the shores of these islands.  Equally important to note is that out of this amount exactly 1,414 persons were picked during our land base enforcement activities,” Hon Astwood earlier explained, “In addition, Mr. Speaker, in comparing the same periods for prosecutions, I am pleased again to report to this House that successful prosecutions increased from 17 in 2017 to 79 successful prosecutions in 2018, again much in excess of what was outlined in the Key Performance Strategies 2018/19.”

But that special convening and review focused on capacity building at the Ministry when it came to Border protection and on July 19, 2018, the findings and recommendations were presented to the Premier; many of the requests have been met said the DP.

“I am pleased to inform this House, that many of the recommendations have been addressed. Protective gear, particularly for front line staff including the Enforcement Unit have been procured and should arrive shortly. Mr. Speaker, I am also aware that body cams identical to that used by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have also been procured and should also be arriving shortly.  These body cams will be to the benefit of the public and our Officers.  New digital cameras have been purchased for the Enforcement Unit and Detention Centre, and additional surveillance equipment will be procured to upgrade the efficiency of the Department.”

Deputy Premier Sean Astwood, in a Cabinet shuffle which took effect on May 8, 2019, has been moved over to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning with the Border Control, Employment, Labour and Citizenship portfolio turned over to  Minister Delroy Williams.

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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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