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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

Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

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

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is warning them to cease and desist.

“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’

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Caribbean News

Former Prosecutor in Turks & Caicos Office of the DPP banned six months from practicing law

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#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.

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News

Budget deficit projected by Finance Minister Saunders; new spending to FortisTCI & TCI Police

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#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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