#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 18, 2020 — For those on the front line of environmental protection and preservation, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is moving too rapidly toward creating legislation which allows petroleum or oil exploration in TCI waters and on TCI land; over 600 people have so far signed a petition to extend the time and improve the consultation process.
In a poorly promoted process, residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands are asked to comment on the legislation which remains unavailable at the government’s website.
On October 1 the invitation for public consultation was issued by email and posted to the TCI government website. The consultation process was due to expire on October 14 according to the notice issued by the Department of Energy & Utilities of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Many question whether there is any real interest in public input when there was no public education, no public or official announcement about the consideration of oil exploration and when the Bill is nowhere to be found.
The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, in a letter to authorities, made a case against the rapid pace and missing information toward the consultation process of such an environmentally invasive and potentially damaging industry.
“Firstly, two weeks is not a sufficient amount of time to allow for true public consultation and understanding of the proposed Bill. Furthermore, there is no copy of the Draft Bill available for download anywhere on the Government’s website. Only through multiple contacts working together was I able to get a copy of the Draft Bill. Without access to the information, there is no ‘public consultation’. I am now aware that it was printed in the recent copy of the Weekly News which was published on the 10th October, giving anyone who purchased the paper 4 days to digest the Bill.”
The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund also believes the Bill, if one gets their hands on a copy, is difficult to digest.
“I have some top notch environmental lawyers reading the bill and making comments so that we the people can understand. TCIG should give us a digestible version of the Bill as, I’m not a lawyer and it’s a dense 43 page document! The stakeholders are fishermen and people working in watersports, I doubt they can understand this document either.”
The draft legislation called: Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation Bill 2020, essentially outlines what will be permitted to happen, who is allowed to enter the market and who will manage the industry.
Specifically the draft says: “This Ordinance applies to activities for and associated with the search for and recovery of petroleum in the territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf and land of the Islands.”
A Commissioner, as is stated in the draft, will govern the industry with six key functions. Some of those functions are: “to consider and determine applications for licences; (b) monitor licensees and determine whether licensees are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the licences and this Ordinance and (c) to monitor the effectiveness of the Ordinance and any Regulations in providing for the supervision and regulation of the activities undertaken by the licensees within the islands to internationally accepted standards…” – Excerpt from draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation Draft Bill 2020.
Concerns may be calmed by the fact that the draft explicitly states, the exploration process does not include drilling and no exploration can take place in areas protected under the National Parks Ordinance.
Still, the distribution, access and mixed messages linked to the consultation on the draft law is sloppily done.
“Currently, as of mid-day on the 13th October 2020, there is an update on gov.tc stating that public consultation has been extended by a week. The information however is incongruous as it now says that there is a two-week on-line consultation from 1st October to 21st October, 2020 (this is a three-week period) whilst also saying that consultation has been extended by one week to the 21st November, 2020. This extension of time for public consultation has no meaning if the Draft Bill is not available and consultation meetings aren’t happening.”
The TC Reef Fund has reminded the Ministry of Home Affairs of best practices when it comes to consultation by outlining the guidance for conducting meaningful public consultation as crafted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a recognized authority on environmental assessment and public consultation.
Among the eight actions shared with TCIG’s Ministry of Home Affairs are: identification and engagement with key stakeholder groups; provision of a workable strategy and timeframe to the public for the proposed project; provision of available information to give background of the proposal and a public information campaign which ensures affected people are aware and have sufficient time to respond.
Consultation should make the effort to reach out to specialty groups including women, vulnerable and religious groups and the process should include public meetings and hearings, surveys and polls and in the end, reflect the concerns of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Turks and Caicos Islands school sports season 2023/24 officially opens in September
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, September 19, 2023 – After an active summer of events, Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) season 2023/24 will open with TCISS Football for Boys and Girls on September 30, 2023.
The opening ceremony of TCISS Football will take place at the TCI Football Association on Venetian Road, Providenciales and we will commute to the National Stadium for the games. Games will take place weekly on Fridays and Saturdays. After making their debut last year, TCISS Girls Football will run concurrently with Boys Football on a split pitch from September through October. The championship games are slated for October 28, 2023.
Last year’s Girls’ football champions were the Marjorie Basden High School after defeating the British West Indies Collegiate 2-1. The Boys’ champions were the Clement Howell High School who beat out the Elite High School who forfeited the game 1-0. All current students, fans and alumni are encouraged to watch the games weekly each Friday and Saturday, with tickets for Adults $5 and Children $3.
TCISS Boys Basketball quickly picks up after the Football season ends, spanning from early November 2023 to January 2024. Home and away games are one the highlights of this event, affording all teams a chance at a ‘home-court’ advantage throughout the season. As is tradition in TCISS, schools will be randomly selected and placed into pools to compete. Ultimately the strongest teams will meet at the championships. The reigning champions are the Clement Howell High School who defeated the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School 92-56 for the gold.
In a double-team affair, TCISS Girls Softball will launch a few weeks post Boys Basketball’s commencement, for a season which lasts from November 2023 – January 2024. This means softball and basketball seasons will run concurrently like last year, and tickets will allow entry to both games. The reigning champions are the HJ Robinson High School who won the championships 14-6 in their hometown Grand Turk against the Wesley Methodist High School. The championships will return to the nation’s capital next year, in honour of last year’s champions.
Ending the TCISS season will be the Track and Field events also known as Athletics. The Athletics opener will be the Track and Field Development meets. Historically this has been segmented into two meets: Sprints and Throws, Distance and Jumps.
Following will be the TCISS Inter-High Track and Field Championships also known as Nationals in March 2024 then the TCISS Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships also in March. Last year’s champions of Inter-High was the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School and for Inter-Primary the Ona Glinton Primary School. After being implemented last season, TCISS Track and Field champions are determined by a medal count with gold holding the most weight.
TCISS 2023/24 Sport Schedule
- TCISS Inter-High School Football Boys, TCISS Inter-High School Football Girls – September 30, 2023 – October 28, 2023 (Providenciales)
- TCISS Inter-High School Basketball – November 2023 – January 2024 (All-Island)
- TCISS Inter-High School Softball – November 2023 – January 2023 (Season Games – Providenciales. Semi-finals & Championships – Grand Turk)
- Track and Field Development Meets – February 2024
- TCISS Inter-High School Track and Field – February – March 2024 (Providenciales)
- TCISS Inter-Primary School Track and Field – March 2023 (Providenciales)
The full TCISS event schedule and further updates will be found on the TCI Sports Commission’s website www.gov.tc/sports/.
For the latest news on the TCISS, fans can follow on Instagram (@tcisportscommission) and Facebook (Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission). To share your experience with TCISS on social, use the hashtags #TCISS and #morethanjustsports.
Court Ruling leaves Young Son without Mother, Father killed in 2022 violence
Freelance Court Reporter
#TurksandCaicos, September 19, 2023 – A young son is left without a father, taken through gun violence and his mother, now deported back to her home country of Jamaica.
A Jamaican woman, ANDREA ROSE MARIE ATKINSON, now in her late fifties, who was married to a Wheeland, Blue Hills, Providenciales native, appeared before the Hon. Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin.
Atkinson was charged on August 7th with remaining in the Islands beyond the permitted time. The Chief Magistrate (CM) asked the lady if she would like an opportunity to get legal representation? She said, your Honour, I just want to get this over with because “mi can’t take da cell no more” “mi bin lock up now fa sa much days, mi just a plea guilty and go back to mi Yard.”
The lady, communicating in her native, raw Jamaican patois tried to explain to the CM that she once had a permanent resident certificate (PRC) but after the divorced she was trying to get a work permit.
She said, yes, she overstayed but she was trying to make herself legal.
The woman asked the CM for some time to sort out her son and her things before they send her home. The mother of a boy child told the chief magistrate that she didn’t know where her child was because since law enforcement arrested her and took her into Immigration lock-up and since, she has not seen or heard from her son.
This matter was heard in August.
Investigation by this reporter uncovered that the son, a Turks and Caicos Islander, was taken in by one of the deceased sisters; therefore an aunt to the boy.
The CM sentenced the Jamaican woman ANDREA ROSE MARIE ATKINSON to a fine of $2,000.00 to be paid immediately in default, she will serve 90 days imprisonment.
He also recommended deportation; giving the former PRC holder seven days to sort out her son and her belongings.
REOPENING OF THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
The First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly of the Turks & Caicos Islands
The Opening Ceremony for the First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly occurred on the 14th September at 10 o’clock in the forenoon with its usual pomp and fanfare.
During the proceedings, the Honourable Premier and Minister for Public Policy, Hon. C. Washington Misick, moved the motion that the House of Assembly be suspended to allow for the reading of the Speech from the Throne, presented by Her Excellency, the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.
The Speech from the Throne, having highlighted some of the Government’s accomplishments since being elected to office on 19th February 2021, culminated with the proposed Legislative Agenda to be considered for the upcoming legislative year which included, but is not limited to:
Constitution (Amendment) Order;
Retiring Allowance (Amendment) Bill;
Community College (Amendment) Bill;
Gaming Control (Amendment) Bill;
Business Licensing (Amendment) Bill;
Real Estate Licensing Bill
Immigration Bill; and
Crown Land (Amendment) Bill
The Speech from the Throne took a long-term perspective and placed emphasis on fulfilling the objectives of the Vision 2040 document and the Government’s strategic plan to move the Turks and Caicos Islands towards developed country status within the next two decades by investing in projects and policies that will result in a more robust triple-bottom-line economy.
The Speech from the Throne also addressed short to medium term deliverables; highlighting that the Government has twelve (12) high-priority projects being progressed. It posited that the National Delivery Unit (NDU) is tasked with assisting project owners and implementers advance the Government’s priorities. The value added by this Unit is the facilitation with streamlining of project management processes to ensure the most efficient timelines and use of available resources – all for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The day’s proceeding ended with a motion entitled: Write-Off of TC Invest/TOLCO Loan that was tabled by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable E. Jay Saunders. The motion which sought to write off $10.8 million in debt accumulated by scores of borrowers was passed. This write-off was a welcomed intervention by many Turks and Caicos Islanders, laden with debt obligations for over 11 years following the divestiture of the former TC Invest Agency. The write-off directly affects over 150 borrowers but is indirectly beneficial to many more.
For some, giving them a second lease on life, which, when property ownership is considered can be extended to inter-generationally.
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