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Turks and Caicos Judicial Appointments announced by Governor

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Mabel Agyemang, New Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos hails from Ghana

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands — Thursday, 20th February 2020  Ensuring there is a vibrant Judiciary that not only dispenses justice, but provides balance to the Executive, is an essential element of democratic law-abiding society. 

I’m announcing today three new judicial appointments: the next Chief Justice, a second Judge and the appointment of a new Chief Magistrate for the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Over the next month or so I’ll be announcing further judicial appointments linked to the Appeal Court.

In keeping the public informed, let me start by saying something about the process as well as the result.

In making judicial decisions the Governor is not alone. He has outstanding counsel. He makes his decision based on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; a group of three very senior and experienced Judges. 

H.E. Nigel Dakin, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Commission who advise the Governor are: Justice Sir Michael Barnett, a former Chief Justice of the Bahamas and now a Judge on the Appeal Court of the Bahamas. Justice Hilary Philips, President of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica and Justice Zaila McCalla a former Chief Justice of Jamaica.

It is the JSC who sift the applicants and then choose which applicants they will interview. It is the JSC, and not the Governor, who conducts the interviews. Using the role of Chief Justice as an example the role was advertised internationally, not just regionally, and the JSC received a very strong field of applications.

From this field the JSC chose to interview seven candidates. They don’t ask the Governor’s views on individual candidates either before the sift or before the interview. They did consult with the President of the local Bar and they did canvass individuals to see if there was interest from members of the senior Bar in TCI; no local candidates chose to put themselves forward this time for the role of Chief Justice. 

The JSC also canvassed the Governor’s view, not in terms of named candidates but any special requirements the Governor might identify.  I said that beyond being an excellent Jurist, and having an independent spirit, TCI needed a Chief Justice with the energy and experience of taking through change in the Justice Sector.

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The blue print for that change has been crafted by our outgoing Chief Justice with significant support from those in the wider criminal justice stakeholder group.  As a result, all those interviewed were provided with a copy of the Strategy and interviews included questions about approach and implementation.

With regard to the appointments I am now announcing, I have acted on the advice of the JSC, not only in terms of the appointment of a successful named individual, but also in terms of the type of contract that underpins the appointment.

The Islands new Chief Justice will be Mrs Justice Mabel Agyemang.

New Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Mabel Agyemang of Ghana

Justice Agyemang has worked as a Superior Court Judge in three Commonwealth Jurisdictions. At present she is a Justice of the Court of Appeal in Ghana.

She is a product of the University of Ghana and the Ghana School of Law, she was in private legal practice from 1987 to 1991 when she joined the Judiciary of Ghana. In 2002, she was appointed a High Court Judge.

From 2004 to 2014 she was seconded to the Commonwealth Secretariat as an expert to the Judiciaries of The Gambia and Swaziland where she worked as a High Court Judge. She was then appointed an expert Judge of The Gambia Court of Appeal. From 2013 to 2014 she was the Chief Justice of The Gambia.  She took up her present role in 2015.

It is worth saying something about her departure from her role in the Gambia. This is a badge of significant honour. She stood up to an autocrat – one of Africa’s most notorious strongmen – Yahya Jammeh – whose 22-year rule only ended in 2017.  Through integrity and courage, she attempted to protect the Judiciary from an overarching executive.

It’s probably best I give, as but one example, evidence provided by the Bar Council in the Gambia. 

Justice Agyemang was elevated to the position of Chief Justice, a very difficult position to hold in an autocratic regime. The Bar welcomed her appointment as we strongly believed in her independence and capacity to steer the justice system. During her tenure as Chief Justice, she had firm control of the judiciary, as well as the support of the judges, the Bar Association and the judicial staff. She instilled a culture of discipline and professionalism in the Judiciary. The attitude to work by judicial officers dramatically changed, and they became more professional and effective. Punctuality was expected of everyone and she led by example. She introduced reforms to ensure access to justice to litigants and to minimize the unnecessary delays in the dispensation of justice. She initiated the amendment of the Rules of Court to ensure expeditious determination of cases. She was a driver of innovation and reform, introducing ICT solutions to Judges for case law research amongst other things.

It was regrettable that despite her excellent and successful tenure, the President at the time unlawfully terminated her services to the dismay and disappointment of the entire legal fraternity. At that period of the time, the then autocratic President was doing everything possible to control the Judiciary. Indeed, the departure of Justice Mabel Agyemang was sorely felt, as she left an indelible mark in our judicial sector.

The new Chief Justice herself asked the JSC that she be employed on a three-year contract and that was the JSC’s recommendation to me, which I have accepted.

The Islands new Puisne Judge will be Ms Tanya Lobban-Jackson.

Former Chief Magistrate, Tanya Lobban-Jackson is now a judge in TCI

Ms Tanya Lobban-Jackson has been the extremely effective Chief Magistrate of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Magistrates Courts, where the vast majority of cases are heard have had conviction rates of 80% that mirror the UK’s and they have a reputation for efficiency.

Ms Lobban-Jackson was appointed to the post of Chief Magistrate of the Turks and Caicos Islands in August of 2016. In that post she was ex officio Coroner and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Authority.

Prior to being appointed to the Magistracy, Ms. Lobban-Jackson was a Senior Prosecutor in Jamaica and Senior Crown Counsel in the Cayman Islands gaining eighteen years’ experience in advocacy in the Magistrate’s Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Trained in the areas of Child Safeguarding, Human Trafficking, Money Laundering, and Case Management; she was first appointed to act as Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands in December of 2018 and has done so periodically since then.

Ms Lobban-Jackson as Chief Magistrate alongside her now colleague Mr Justice Aziz, who remains with us in TCI, have both been instrumental in building a consensus in the TCI Judiciary that has resulted in the strategy that the new Chief Justice will drive forward.

The JSC’s recommendation was that Ms Lobban-Jackson should be appointed with tenure until she reach’s the age of constitutional retirement. A recommendation that I have accepted.

Mr Jolyon Hatmin will be the next Chief Magistrate of TCI.

New Chief Magistrate in TCI judiciary, Jolyon Hatmin

Mr Hatmin was appointed Resident Magistrate in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2012.  Prior to this he was the Managing Attorney of the Legal Aid Authority in his native Guyana, representing clients at the civil and criminal bar. He also worked as a Legal Advisor to the Guyana Sugar Corporation and was a public prosecutor for several years. He was first admitted to the Bar in 2000.

Mr Hatmin has built a reputation for sound judgements in his role as a Magistrate and his promotion will also allow him a seat at the senior stake-holders group that will take forward reform of the Justice sector and is to be welcomed.

In Summary: We will have in TCI a reforming Chief Justice, a Chief Justice who has won the respect of the Bar and Bench in multiple Commonwealth jurisdictions, a Chief Justice highly regarded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, and a Chief Justice who stood up for the Judiciary against an extremely powerful autocratic Executive.

Working with her we will have two excellent Judges, Justice Aziz and Justice Lobban-Jackson who have been instrumental in building the strategy that our new Chief Justice will take forward. The appointment of Mr. Hatmin as Chief Magistrate – and the elevation of Justice Lobban-Jackson -should reassure TCI that a drive for improvement, through change, will not be at the expense of continuity.

PRESS RELEASE FROM TCI GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

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Agreement Signed!  Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals

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#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen.  I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.

The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.

“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.

Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled.  Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.

“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.

Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.

“I really want to thank our employees at the Port.  We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk.  We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community.  The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.

Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market.  Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.

“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better.  New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers.  Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”

The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project.  The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented:  the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.

Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown.   What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.

 

 

 

 

Carnival elation Dec 11

Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26

Carnival freedom Dec 12

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CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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TCI Community College’s Tourism Students attended the NABHOOD International Summit

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#Turks&Caicos Islands, October 14, 2021 –   Students from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College were afforded the opportunity to attend the 25th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show; 8th Annual International Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit – NABHOOD

The invitation was extended through the Premier’s Office in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Tourism.

Chair of the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ms. Michelle Hosten chaperoned 3 students:  Jerrika Francis, Danae Dennie; 2nd Year students pursuing an Associate Degree in Tourism Management at the Grand Turk Campus and Christy Ewing, a 1st Year student pursuing an Associate Degree in Tourism Management at the Providenciales Campus.

The students met CEOs from international hospitality brands and most importantly other students from other Caribbean and International Schools. The benefits of this created a wealth of networking opportunities as well as learning about others. They participated in workshops and sessions and spent time with Tourism centered activities and projects.

Ms. Jerrika Francis shared her memories from the conference: “Attending the NABHOOD Summit was a great experience for me. I got to learn more about the Tourism Industry and I also acquired more knowledge on how I can make it in the industry. It was such an honour that I was chosen to represent my Faculty at this event.”

Caribbean Junior Minister and TCI’s Junior Minister, Ms. Danae Dennie gave these highlights: “Attending the NABHOOD African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and the international Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show has been such a wonderful experience. I was able to gain great insight into the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Ms. Dennie continued, “I learnt that as a woman in the industry I should always be bold and confident in my abilities. I learnt from various CEOs that you can start from the bottom and make it to the very top. I was also encouraged to “make my own room” if there is none that fits my interests.”

Ms. Dennie concluded her sentiments, “The conference was very informative. I was able to speak with many CEOs and Presidents of various tourism organizations. I was even given the opportunity to speak with the Premier of the TCI. I was so grateful for the opportunity. Therefore, I would like to thank the TCI Government for funding this trip. Lastly, I would like to specially thank the Turks and Caicos Community College for giving me the opportunity to have such amazing experiences.”

Christy Ewing who recently entered the Faculty had this to say: “I was one of the students chosen to go to Miami, Florida for NABHOOD’s 25th Annual Summit and Trade Show. I learnt many interesting things and advice that can be used in my career later on. I also met many new people who gave me a wider insight and perspective on things in the tourism industry.”

She continued, “I had the pleasure of meeting with the Premier of the Turks and Caicos, the Hon. Charles W. Misick, who spoke with us and informed us on his plans for the tourism industry. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and will be happy to do it again.”

Ms. Hosten gave an overall assessment of the trip and what the students would have experienced while there: “It was an extremely surreal experience meeting and watching CEOs of major international hotel brands as well as large investment firms and suppliers discussing their rise to the top, what their brand represents, their bottom line during and post COVID.”

Ms. Hosten continued, “Their words of wisdom to students and their willingness to invest in US hospitality institutions without hesitation, especially black America and other minority groups was so profound. They understand where most of their Supervisors and Management pool will stem from so creating systems, programmes and funding in these groups are all worthwhile investments.”

It left a lasting impact on Ms. Hosten: “Being there was like being at the Hollywood of Hospitality players awards and I am most humbled to have been given this chance to carry students to experience this wealth of opportunities first hand and the many avenues in this industry to get there.”

Hon Rachel Taylor met the students upon arrival back to the Turks and Caicos Islands and she expressed her thanks to the Team for ably representing the country and the College. She was thanked for her confidence in allowing the students to be a part of this educational venture.

Students, you got a chance to shine and represent the Turks and Caicos Islands and the TCI Community College. Thank You!

We are TCICC!

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