Connect with us

TCI News

Slow down! TC Reef Fund launches ‘more consultation time’ petition on oil exploration

Published

on

Photo by Angie Villa, visitor to TCI, December 2017

#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.

Advertisment

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.”

Photo from TC Reef Fund on Facebook

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.

Hon Goldray Ewing, Minister of Home Affairs, Turks and Caicos Islands government

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.”

Advertisement

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.

Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

Published

on

By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

Continue Reading

Education

Next Year, more courses, more staff, new location for TVET says Minister Taylor 

Published

on

By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – TVET offerings in the Turks and Caicos will definitely increase, especially for incarcerated people according to Minister of Education Rachel Taylor.  Taylor was responding to queries from a resident about the limited course offerings in a Town Hall meeting on Monday November 21st.

“By next year you will see more programs being offered, not just at the prison, but also at the community college.” she said.

Mentioning that the Turks and Caicos Community College already offered courses like Commercial Food Preparation, Customer services as well as Electrical Engineering, but not some others like masonry, she said that the one thing they were working on was synchronizing courses between high schools and higher education.

“We will have to align the courses that are offered in high school also in the community college.  Persons may not be aware but the Caribbean Vocational Qualification is actually level one of TVET, so when our students finish with the carpentry and the masonry and data entry, they can move into level two at the community college.”

In order to make that happen there are several things the government must do, she explained.

“Currently, we have to get onboard additional manpower at the community college [that] has already been budgeted.”  She said that interviews were already taking place for adult learning assessment officers and a larger space at Alliance Business Plaza had been procured.

“We have recently purchased Club Pillows, which will be our new Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, which will provide us a better outlet to introduce additional courses.”

Referencing the new program geared towards inmates, she said, “The first phase of the MOU is the introduction of the Commercial Food Preparation and Customer services so we will definitely increase the offerings.  We will have that dialogue with the inmates in terms of the — kind of training they would want to receive.”

Increased TVET offerings had been one of the major requests from young people during a recent youth survey.  The Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute has also been flown into the TCI to consult and help broaden the offerings provided in the technical, vocational programme.

Continue Reading

News

Claudine Ewing Appointed CEO of United Way TCI

Published

on

November 25, 2022 – United Way Turks and Caicos is pleased to reintroduce Ms. Claudine Ewing as our Chief Executive Officer.

Inciting change and promoting growth are major attributes of one that leads a Nonprofit Organization; attributes that is regularly exhibited by Ms. Ewing, who was among the founding leaders of this 4 years old Non-profit Organization, she held the post of Executive Director for 2 years and was able to incite change and growth for many young people through our various programs and initiatives. During the severe period of Covid she was forced to leave, to become a caregiver for her parents who demanded much of her time.

However, her love for philanthropic work always held a place in her heart and she knew that one day she needed to continue on the path of changing the lives of young people for the betterment of our country.

Ms. Ewing’s ability to be a creative thinker, forge relationships with community partners, promote volunteerism, leverage the community to be consistent and get involved, are just some of the qualities that she bring to this role in such crucial times to strengthen the fabric of our community.

Ms. Ewing said “ I’m excited to be back on the team and even more excited to get our program initiatives back up and running, with creative ideas and community conversations that will have everyone engaged. “

Chairman of the Board, Mr. Mark Fulford said “As a Board we are please to pledge our support to our Executive Director Ms. Claudine Ewing. We encourage the community to get involve, as we reignite our Program Initiatives and continue to forge relationships with fellow Non-profits to have a greater impact in our community”.

 

About United Way Turks and Caicos:

United Way Turks & Caicos was established in 2018 by a group of Turks and Caicos Islands business leaders, together along with an established international donor. Our vision for ‘giving back’ and contributing to society is aligned with United Way World wide’s mission and values. This was the driving force behind the desire to replicate the success of the United Way model in the Turks & Caicos Islands. United Way Turks & Caicos Islands is comprised of 15 Board Directors within diverse sectors of our society and business community.

Together we set the goals for UWTCI and envision a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through Education. Our Mission is to improve lives by cultivating and inspiring the caring power of the community to advance the common good of all which is being executed by an Executive Director and Staff supported by hundreds of volunteers.

 

Contact info: 6493334545

EDtci@unitedwaytci.org

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING