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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.

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Grace Bay Beach Crowned Caribbean’s Best  

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (February 29th, 2024) – Experience Turks and Caicos is pleased to announce that the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach has been recognised by Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards No. 1 Beach in the Caribbean and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking No. 5 among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach has consistently ranked among the top beaches in the world on the Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards since 2019.  The highest level of Tripadvisor’s awards, the Best of the Best winners are among the top one percent of listings around the world on Tripadvisor.

As the world’s largest travel guidance platform, Tripadvisor has unparalleled authority with travelers and diners. This award is based on genuine feedback from anyone in the community who has visited and left an authentic, first-hand review on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period, making it a valuable and trustworthy designation of travelers’ favourites.

Responding to this latest accolade for the Turks and Caicos Islands’ most famous beach, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said as a luxury destination, the Turks and Caicos Islands has a natural allure with its breathtaking beaches that allows affluent leisure travelers to unwind and relax in comfort.

“Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award is one of the most recognised and coveted awards in the travel space, so it is very valuable to us to have our very own Grace Bay Beach included yet again among the best beaches in the world. I want to thank all of our visitors who continue to make the Turks and Caicos Islands their vacation spot of choice and who enjoy the white sand and clear, turquoise waters of Grace Bay Beach. For those who are yet to experience the beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I urge you to visit and spend some time with us. We look forward to welcoming you,” said the Minister.

“Congratulations to the Turks and Caicos Islands and Grace Bay Beach on its recognition in

Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards Best of the Best for 2024,” said John Boris, Chief Growth Officer at Tripadvisor. “Ranking among the top percentage of businesses globally means you have made such a memorable impact on your visitors that many of them took time to go online and leave a glowing review about their experience. Travelers rely on Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best lists to help them navigate the myriad things to see, eat and do across the globe. We hope this recognition continues to drive business to you in 2024 and beyond.”

Tripadvisor said Grace Bay Beach is a scenic spot with powdery-white sand and bright blue waters where you can relax on the shore, swim in the calm sea, try some water sports and at the end of the day, go for a walk along the beach and catch the breathtaking sunset.

Check out all the reviews and discover more about Grace Bay Beach HERE.

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She Pivoted then She Soared: Meet Sandra Lightbourne, Telephone Operator Turned Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos

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February 29, 2024                                                                                           

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: In 1983, Sandra Lightbourne embarked on her professional journey at a popular telecommunications company, as a telephone operator. Little did she know that her career would evolve into a remarkable story of resilience, adaptability and continuous growth.

She quickly proved her mettle and climbed the corporate ladder. From the sales department to customer service, and later as the billing and credit control manager, she demonstrated not only a keen understanding of the industry but also an ability to excel in diverse roles.

However, every success story has its challenges. After facing redundancy, Sandra embraced change and transitioned into the dynamic world of hospitality. In August 2013, she started anew as an administrative assistant at Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC). She described her transition to the hospitality industry as a smooth one owing to the fact that she had received extensive customer service training and brought with her experience, and a fresh perspective to her new environment.

“I will never forget the wise counsel of one of my customer service lecturers, Mary Duprose who said, ‘to be successful in anything you do, do it right the first time.’ Because of this teaching, I have always had a keen eye for detail. It has been embedded in me to always carry out a task to the best of my ability. There is no compromise for me when it comes to that.”

Additionally, she is appreciative of the continuous training and development she has had through the Sandals Corporate University. She has completed several courses, some of which are:  Leadership Excellence Level 2, Professional Communication, Professional Leadership and Art of Selling. She has also successfully fulfilled the requirements for the Autism and Sensory Awareness Training Programme with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

When asked what she loves most about her job, Sandra shared, “helping people is who I am. I enjoy solving guest and team member issues. Of course I do not like to know that situations arise to make a guest disgruntled but when it is brought to my attention and my intervention appeases them, it brings me great satisfaction.”

Sandra is so passionate about guest satisfaction that in a lighthearted moment she quipped, “if I were to have a superpower it would be to create smooth, perfect vacations thus eliminating guest concerns.”

Her dedication and contributions have not gone unnoticed. She recalls her most memorable experience at BTC being the time she was selected to participate in a familiarization tour of other resorts within the Sandals chain. She was chosen to be among a small group that flew to Grenada, Barbados and Antigua on the company’s private jet. “I was both humbled and honoured to have such an opportunity to see what the other resorts had to offer. This experience helped us to evaluate ways in which we could improve our resort.”

With such a mindset, it is no wonder that just two years into her role, Sandra earned a well-deserved promotion to executive administrative assistant, showcasing her commitment to excellence.

The pinnacle of her career came in 2021 when she was bestowed with the distinct honour of serving as the executive office manager. This recognition not only reflects her exceptional skills but also speaks volumes about her leadership qualities and the impact she has made at BTC. She continued to receive accolades and was one of the recipients of the Pace Setter Award in 2023. The Pace Setter Award, formerly known as the General Manager’s Award, is awarded to a team member who leads from the front and is always working alongside members of their team. He/she is punctual, hardworking, and reliable and is always willing to go the extra mile. The awardee is one who inspires the team and accepts nothing less than excellence. Sandra embodies these qualities.

She has been inspired by Managing Director, James McAnally. “Jamie has had the most profound impact on me, not only because I work directly with him but I recognize the passion that he has for the success of the resort. He knows the property and though there is so much to manage, his personable nature always inspires that personal touch which makes me feel valued. Other team members have attested to this.”

The respect between the two is mutual. The Managing Director, in highlighting what he admires most about Sandra shared, “I respect Sandra for her innate qualities of care, steadiness and confidentiality. As our world becomes increasingly busy and with so many team members and guests, Sandra is a pillar of stability in our Executive Office. She not only represents the resort on a global scale but also me personally, and having someone I can trust is something I am grateful for.”

Outside of work, Sandra enjoys spending time with her four children and grandson as she seeks to instill in them positive values that will help them recognize their full potential. “I want them to be the best, not just in terms of rank or winning but more so in terms of character and the positive influence I would like them to have on their peers.”

Sandra has turned setbacks into opportunities. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals, highlighting the importance of adaptability, continuous learning and unwavering determination in the ever – evolving professional world. As Sandra continues to thrive in her current role, her story remains a testament to the potential for growth and success that lies within every career, regardless of the obstacles faced along the way.

 

Caption: Sandra Lightbourne, Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos shares a smile as she sits at her desk at the World’s Number One All-Inclusive Family resort

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Saunders “surprised” by move to Backbench; promises to address the nation this week

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 28, 2023 – Surprise was one of the main emotions rolling off of  E. Jay Sauders, All Island Elected Member, when he spoke to Magnetic Media Tuesday afternoon. The brief phone interview came only minutes after he confirmed to the media around 3 p.m. that he had been removed from his post as Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Washington Misick, TCI Premier. 

“I am a bit surprised– I sit here at the pleasure of the Premier, the Premier acted in a certain way and it is his right to decide who he wants and doesn’t want in his cabinet and that’s the position that he took.”

The biggest question now is who will replace Saunders as the Premier’s right hand man, Magnetic Media spoke to a high-profile source around 3:30 pm who told us: “The Premier hasn’t made a decision in that regard as yet so there’s nothing yet to announce.” 

It’s likely, the source told us, that the Premier will take on the Ministry of Finance himself, having had experience with that ministry in the past. 

Sure enough minutes after that conversation a press release came from the Office of the Premier announcing that he is the new Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; the statement also bid Saunders goodbye.

I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served,” Misick said.

It comes as no surprise to residents however and a firestorm of comments followed the announcement,

“This is so wrong!!!” said one resident. 

It was a sentiment fielded by Magnetic Media over a dozen times.

“He is running this country and this party with his silly feelings.  And with Washy age, he need to relax himself.”

Another predicted, “This will hurt the PNP in the next election for sure, plus with the current conflict of interest matter pending with Washy and the Integrity Commission, this was not the best move at this time for him to be both Premier and Minister of Finance.”

The booting is the second high-profile shuffle in the Washington Misick-led PNP Administration following the removal of Akierra Missick, Elected Member for Leeward from her post as Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development in 2023. 

That shakeup went totally without explanation, similarly, no explanation has come from the Premier’s office this time either, but it follows a leadership challenge at the party’s national convention just days prior. 

Saunders had attempted to go against Misick for the head of the PNP party but could not get enough votes to push the challenge through. 

As a former CEO of DigicelTCI, E. Saunders initially served as the Health and Human Services minister as the country clawed its way back to health after a brutal Coronavirus Pandemic.  He was then appointed, by Misick, to the ministry for Finance, Investment and Trade, setting and achieving lofty goals including the achievement of a $400 million yearly revenue two years into his tenure and the removal of the Turks and Caicos from the EU Blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions. 

Now with one year left before a new general election is called, Saunders, in his own words, will join the rest of the backbench of politicians. 

Also feeling the “stick” is reported to be Jas Walkin, the man Washington Misick appointed to lead his winning general election campaign in 2021.  Walkin had put his name forward for party leader but hurriedly withdrew it. Reports of a suspension have been shared via social media with residents expressing disdain at the possibility.

The consensus from many, they’re not surprised and also not happy about the removal of Jas. 

For now, Saunders is focused on moving, 

“Depending on how quickly I can get through the packing up of my office, I’ll do a Public Address tomorrow, but no later than Wednesday,” he promised. 

The demotion also means a significant pay cut for Saunders from the Deputy Premier’s $175,000 base salary and $60,000 in allowances to the $97,000 base salary and $10,200 in allowances which is paid out to Members of the House of Assembly, where he will continue to serve as an All Island Elected member.

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