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Popular broadcaster calls for justice; frightening allegations levelled at TCI Hospitals and NHIB

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 2, 2020 – Usually Crissy Pratt is a strong woman with an unapologetic posture.  Two nights ago, Crissy Pratt was something else completely.  In a live social media broadcast from her hospital bed at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, Chrissy appeared fractured and frightened and fed up.

“I need justice, that’s what I need!”

It was a repeated refrain throughout the hour long broadcast on Facebook, where Crissy cried, Crissy vowed to make her experiences known and where Crissy called on Turks and Caicos people to stand with her.

Criticisms of the health care system in the Turks and Caicos Islands are legendary and have spawned from US Travel alerts which have labelled local medical care as inadequate, to visitors and national health insurance contributors who have penned comments exposing slow and cold service, to residents who have lost loved ones, when they believe those family members could have been saved. 

The TCI Hospitals has been a main figure in the steady stream of concerns since it opened in 2010 and has elicited such disquiet that its operations and cost to the public have been fuel for political platforms and party manifestos.    

“How much of y’all gatta go down in a body bag before this stops.  How much of us pay our contributions to this government and you still gatta beg for help!  Don’t be fooled, this ain’t right, this ain’t right.  This is not right!  You hold me hostage.”

Griselda Pratt or Crissy is a popular local radio personality who informs that she is both Bahamian and Turks and Caicos Islander.  Her radio joc name is Crazy Crissy because her energy is crazy high and her comments are crazy bold and her wit is crazy funny.  Now Crissy, in her Facebook broadcast is fighting for her life after she alleges she was denied help from the TCI Hospitals and the National Health Insurance Board.

“After Dr. Menzies told you serve me.  Then, I went to the Dominican Republic on my own and those same doctors wrote again and said serve this woman and you bypass that and I write 75 letters to Edwin Astwood (TCI Minister of Health), 75 I write to you.  Eddie you know, you is a fair person, you answered me day and night fighting to help me and they never listened!” Amidst tears, Ms. Pratt continued with: “I have been begging for help. I called this hospital.  I called Denise Braithwaite, you, yes I called you I went to your office I sit down and give you a letter from not one doctor, not two doctors I give you from three doctors telling you ‘help this woman!’

Denise Braithwaite is currently the acting CEO of the TCI Hospitals.  Magnetic Media reached out to the InterHealth Canada run TCI Hospitals for a response to the allegations; a reply came yesterday, October 1.

“Due to respect for patient confidentiality, the specific details of the complainant’s medical care will not be disclosed. Our team of dedicated and highly trained health professionals have been, and continues to offer her care in accordance with evidence-based guidelines.

The hospital vehemently denies all allegations of ill-treatment made by Ms Pratt.”

Also fingered by Ms. Pratt is another, often heavily criticised health care entity, the National Health Insurance Board. 

“I went to NHIP, you know what they did. They discontinued my treatment.”

There is reportedly a law suit, filed by Griselda ‘Crissy’ Pratt against the NHIB, which today – October 2- replied with a brief statement.

“While the National Health Insurance Board (NHIB) is aware of allegations made against the Organisation by Ms. Griselda Pratt, we cannot offer a response at this time due to patient confidentiality, and a pending legal matter involving Ms. Pratt and the NHIB. We do, however, wish to reiterate that the NHIB remains committed to providing access to high quality healthcare options to all our valued National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) registrants.”

Crissy claims at the time she was ejected from the NHIB system, her condition was critical and she was over-medicated.  Crissy also believes that the so called ‘sins’ of the health care system – chiefly the two named entities – have continued for so long because residents are silently accepting the low standard of service.

“What are we paying for? What are we paying for?  You paying for somebody to kill you?  Yeah, my hands may be in the lion’s mouth because I in these people place, but I have faith and I know for sure that I am coming out of this but when I come out of this, I ga leave footprints in the sand for people like you all who are afraid to speak out and afraid to speak for your rights.”

Nearly nine thousand people have viewed the video post and close to 1,000 comments were made largely in support of Crissy and offering prayers for recovery of the popular broadcaster who said she was misdiagnosed three times and that at least one machine at the hospital is faulty.

“The hospital has been in extensive discussions with the complainant in relation to specific historical claims made by her. To date these claims have not been substantiated by her. We certainly empathize and understand that this is a challenging time for Ms Pratt, as it is for all patients hospitalized at this time. Our dedicated and highly trained medical team is ever mindful of these challenges, and has and shall continue to do their utmost to support Ms Pratt.”

Ms. Pratt has promised to post the evidence of her claims to social media.  At the time of this report, those items were not yet uploaded.

For many though, the believability of Crissy Pratt’s harrowing experience which she says has dragged on for a year is not why this issue has captured so much attention. It is seeing Crissy so shaken by her ordeal coupled with the frequency of similar reports from so many unrelated patients who come from all walks of life which is again raising eyebrows and red flags about the quality of public funded health care, which is costing the people of this UK overseas territory at least $5 million a month.

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

MP’s Graduate with Parliamentary Governance Certificates

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January 18, 2022 – The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU), in partnership with the Conservatives Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Programme, held an Online Graduation Ceremony on Friday January 14th 2022 for fifteen (15) Members of Parliament who successfully completed a one year certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance with McGill University in Canada.

This professional development certificate programme is recognized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and provided MP’s with important theoretical and practical knowledge in executing their roles and responsibilities as legislators. Sponsorship for the MP’s was provided by the Conservatives WFD Programme.

The successful graduates included:

  • Tracy Panton– MP Albert, UDP, Belize
  • Shyne Barrow – MP, Mesopotamia, UDP, Belize
  • Senator Hon. Sheena Pitts – UDP, Belize
  • Kerensia Morrison – MP St. Catherine North Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tova Hamilton – MP, Trelawny Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dr. Michelle Charles – MP, St. Thomas Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tamika Davis – MP, Hanover Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Rhoda Crawford – MP, Manchester Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Anne Marie Vaz – MP, Portland Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Krstyal Lee – MP, St. Anne North Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Robert Miller – MP St. Catherine South Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Heroy Clarke – MP, St. James Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dwight Sibblies – MP, Clarendon Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Morland Wilson – MP, Westmoreland Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Senator Hon. Shevern John – NDP, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The Online Graduation Ceremony was attended by The Most Hon. Andrew Holness Prime Minister of Jamaica, Maria Miller Conservative MP UK, Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday Leader of the Opposition St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Patrick Faber Leader of the Opposition Belize, Carola Weil Dean of Continuing Studies McGill University, Nick Francis Secretary General CDU, and other officials from the UK Conservative Party’s International Department and Faculty and Staff from McGill University.

Mr. Nick Francis in his remarks at the ceremony noted that this initiative was birthed through greater engagement and consultation with stakeholders in the region in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and he was grateful to the administrators at McGill University for partnering with the CDU and the Conservatives WFD Programme to make this online training possible.

Hon. Patrick Faber and Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday extended congratulations to the graduates and expressed gratitude to the Conservatives WFD Programme, the CDU and McGill University on this successful collaboration to enhance parliamentary democracy in their respective countries.

A second cohort of trainees will commence the Parliamentary Governance Certificate with McGill University in March of this year and will include young prospective MP’s.

Quotes:

Dean of Continuing Studies at McGill University Carola Weil extended congratulations to the fifteen (15) MP’s for successfully completing the yearlong certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance and noted that this was an “important step towards the continuation of good governance and democracy around the world”

In addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Prime Minster the Most Hon. Andrew Holness noted his expectations that the training received will help to inform their advocacy, guide their involvement in policy development, and “contribute to a new cadre of political representatives that will always strive for the highest standards of excellence in governance, in parliamentary practice, and in political representation.”

Conservative MP Maria Miller UK in a pre-recorded message to the graduates (the majority being new female MP’s) noted that in light of the challenges facing women in politics, “the Conservative WFD Programme is committed to strengthening democracy by creating a much more inclusive, accountable and transparent political system.”

 

Press Release: CDU

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Education

Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge

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By Shaniek Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.

It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.

In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced.  Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations.  The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.

The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season.  The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.

In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.

The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI.  It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.

“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.

Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.

Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.

Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.

“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.

Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.

He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.

“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.

Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.

Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.

 

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Health

Government apologizes to Churches for NEW Covid-19 Testing rule

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#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – The TCI Government is apologizing for including the Church in a new raft of restrictions which mandates unvaccinated congregants be tested in order to be allowed to attend church events however, there is no change in the rule.  The rule is now delayed start for another two weeks following an announcement issued by the Ministry of Health on Thursday evening.

The apology came from Premier Washington Misick in a statement late Wednesday, where he apologized for bunching the church in with restaurants, lounges, bars and discotheques which also have to follow the regulation.

Church pastors speaking with Magnetic Media expressed shock at the announcement which was revealed, on Tuesday, as a cabinet approved decision which also includes mandatory testing for the unvaccinated to attend funerals.

While there has been no official statement from the Turks and Caicos Islands Christian Council or the Pastors Fraternity it was clear that some of the church community seemed prepared to stand firmly against the measure.

The Premier has promised that there will be consultation going forward; beckoning to Churches to comply with the temporary rule which he said would help to curb the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

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