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CARTWRIGHT ROBINSON RESIGNS AS PDM PARTY LEADER, EXPRESSES GRATITUDE

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#TurksandCaicos, February 25, 2021 – My people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, You the people of this great country have spoken and there is no defeat when the people have won through their vote. You have said in no uncertain terms that you wanted a new direction and I will always defend your democratic right.

My Party has made an Official Statement today and it was important that it did so first before I offer my final thoughts with the nod of the new Party’s Leader.

As reported on Saturday, as former Premier, I did phone the newly elected Premier and wished him the very best. I say to us all that if we truly love TCI, we should not wish ill. I said it as Premier and I will continue to say that to wish ill on a government as a citizen can be likened to you wishing a plane crash while you are on board.

I sincerely hope that the new government will be able to deliver for the people of the Turks and Caicos because at the time of challenge and amidst this raging pandemic, they deserve strong and decisive leadership.

The people’s success depends almost entirely on their Government’s success in office.

I will urge the new government to continue to look out especially for the most marginal among us, and for those who have been beaten down by this pandemic.

Our Party’s mission of lifting people up, must now be co-opted by this new government – for if it is and if it does it will be in the interest of all the people we came into politics to fight for.

I will personally back the government in following through on its promise to give each voter $2,000 for 3 months and to giving Civil Servants a portion of their salaries for a stimulus, in addition to the policies we had ready set in motion to ensure that people do not fall through the cracks which includes the completion of the current stimulus of $600 for TC Islanders only and for the payment of the $200 household grocery assistance in place of the package of groceries determined logistically to be difficult and then delayed because of elections.

I have been transparent on reporting on the country’s finances and invite the Minister of Finance to continue to do the same. Whilst anyone can find the November’s Report on Government Finances available on the Government’s Website, one will soon be able to see the latest Monthly Report (December) and 3rd Quarter Report that was presented at the last Cabinet last Monday which showed our continued use of savings to cover Government’s commitments and the stimulus offered, the restricted cash (money that can not be touched) at the end of November which includes an amount for the 90 day cash requirement under the UK Framework Agreement, the balances in the National Forfeiture Fund and TCI National Wealth Fund accounts and contracts already awarded. It will also show a high operating deficit, low and depleting reserves, poor performing revenue streams, high expenditure and debt of about $1.1m. The loan for $80m secured is left for drawing down and as reported publicly, it was decided best to leave larger borrowing to a Government with a fresh mandate. The matter of Budget preparation is urgent and it is for the Government of the day to set its priorities.

However, the need to invest in new sectors of the economy is as urgent today as it was yesterday.

And our tasks as citizens are to ensure that they follow up on that.

While in the coming days and weeks, there will be an ongoing post mortem on our term as government, I want it be known that throughout these four years – and against many odds – we have kept the faith and uphold the honor of governance.

We achieved many things against many odds.

But inspite of that, the people have resoundingly decided that they wanted a different tone, and a different direction; and as believers in democracy, we have to respect that for it was the people’s choice that gave us an opportunity four years ago.

In every endeavor, you would always wish you could have done more; and you always wished the many things you did, you could have done even better, but never for one day did we short-change the people or misled them and for this I am proudest.

For all the things we did and did not do – one thing was consistent. We kept the trust.

As the Premier and the leader of the PDM, I took responsibility for the many successes and I too must take full responsibility for the losses.

Though many thousands are disappointed around the country, we will do well to remember the best of times.
This is not the moment to turn on each other; it is not a time for recriminations.

While it is human to always wonder what might have been, we can forever cherish what has been — the many people who were touched by our policies and the many projects we embarked on, with the Vision of 2040 – a blueprint we have left for this new government to pick up on.

Four years ago, you elevated me to one of the most powerful positions in this land; and we made history together.

I will be forever grateful for the support you have given me, and the opportunity I had to serve.

I want to thank publicly all the PDM candidates who sacrificed so much to put themselves up in this election – and I want to especially thank their families as well who have had to loan their loved ones to the wider community.

Let me also express on a personal level, gratitude to my family especially my husband and my two daughters, who were always the lights in my life at the darkest moments. They have consistently been, without complaint, my refuge and my strength. When the political storms came in, I was battered down by their love.

The great British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said: Being prime minister is a lonely job… you cannot lead from the crowd. I have lived that, and come to know that. But having known what I know now, still would not change my experience and my opportunity for anything.

And whilst our Party has lost its bid to lead, it does not take away from the fact that the PDM remains a Great Institution which has shown throughout history – and repeatedly so – that it is the most consistent force at the vanguard of national development.

I must thank the North and South Backsalina communities who stood with our Great Party through a similar defeat years ago and who have again done the same. You are champions and I appreciate you!

Our Party is an Institution and it will take a new generation to carry it forward to its full potential. The immediate task at hand will be with Hon Edwin Astwood, who has become the Opposition Leader. But there is also a whole new generation willing and able to take on the mantle, and to usher in a new era.

On Saturday, I officially handed in my resignation as leader of the PDM, and clear the way for the rank and file to decide on a new leader; a position that I have held since December 2012. This is the right and proper thing to do. And I have now had an opportunity to discuss it with Party Executives. During this time, I served as Leader of the Opposition and as Premier. My exit from active politics marks nearly 12 years of service following on from the Consultative Forum. There are a new breed of leaders waiting and many have already entered and I encourage them to stay committed; do not disappear. TCI needs you!

While I will take a long overdue break to recharge, I will always be here for this great party that I had the honor to lead. I wish to thank my Party and my PDM family for the opportunity and for all the support over the years. When first elected as Leader in December 2012, I was not present at the Meeting and to this date, I have enjoyed a level of confidence that kept me focused even among the criticisms and personal attacks.

While these difficult results will put this movement on pause, it cannot be stopped – for it is a movement that is bigger than any one of us; one that continues to enjoy a good legacy. I leave this Office with my head held high as did my former Leaders and after making significant progressive steps towards a brighter tomorrow.

The dream of lifting our people up – shall never become irrelevant or grow old.

The dream lives on! It shall never die!

Thank you again to the members of the Civil Service and members of Cabinet who assisted in delivering on our mandate to uplift and deliver transformational changes.

I say to my supporters and those who voted for the PDM Party, be encouraged; this is not your defeat. This on the other hand though is a victory for those that voted in majority for a new direction. Do not be upset by persons who used their power, for it was that same power that allowed my Team and I to achieve all we did.

It may have been a turbulent 4 yrs but it was a blessed and productive time for TCI and I thank God for all He brought us through together. I maintain that we must be a grateful people; grateful to God and not ungrateful for He is indeed good to TCI.

I have served 12 continuous years at the forefront in the political arena serving  through the Consultative Forum  to Leader of the Opposition to Premier.  I have a record of doing what others have never dared to or done. I will as before I enter politics, continue my life of service. I remain humbled for the opportunity to serve and know that these last four years when recorded will stand out in the Halls of History as a time of great challenge but also a time of great achievement.

It has been an honor Turks and Caicos.

May God bless you and may He continue to bless these beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands.

Peace And Love To All!

May God bless you!

Caribbean News

No Room for Failure; Leaders report to UN Security Council on Haiti Stabilisation Mission

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

July 19, 2024 – The new Haitian Government says its focus is on addressing gang violence and food insecurity, ensuring free elections through constitutional and political reform, and rebuilding public trust in the police.

Prime Minister Garry Conille told the United Nations (UN) Security Council recently  that the newly deployed Kenyan police will be crucial to helping control gangs, and moving toward democratic elections, as he described their initial days in the capital “extremely, extremely positive.

“More than ever Haiti must mobilise all the necessary and available resources to make this transition the last one, a transition that could set it on the path toward peace, security and sustainable development,” the PM told the Council.

With the help of the international police force, PM Conille is tasked with stabilising the country in preparation for democratic elections in February 2026. He said Haiti intends to “redefine our approaches” to build “strong and effective institutions” by the time the police leave Haiti.

In February, gangs launched coordinated attacks on government infrastructure, including roads, prisons, and the Port-au-Prince airport, eventually leading then Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign in April.

Violence on the island has resulted in the displacement of 580,000 people, more than half of whom are children, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The World Food Program reports that more than four million Haitians face food insecurity.

The Prime Minister told the Council that the international police force will require “close coordination and constant communication between all the parties involved to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Meanwhile, head of the Kenya-led international force, tasked with curbing gang violence in Haiti, Godfrey Otunge said on Monday that “there’s no room for failure” and that the United Nations-backed police mission was committed to ensuring democratic elections in the Caribbean nation.

“We have a job that we are committed to do, and we intend to achieve this by working closely with Haitian authorities and local and international partners dedicated to a new Haiti.”

The U.N.-backed mission, to which the United States has pledged over $300 million in support, will have 1000 police officers from Kenya, and will be joined by police from the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Jamaica.

The force will total 2,500 personnel.

Haitian police chief Normil Rameau also addressed the nation on Monday, saying the U.N.-backed mission is focused on reclaiming all areas from gang control, reinstating police presence in regions lacking authority and assisting Haitians displaced by the gangs to return home.

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Caribbean News

Hurricane Help; Money donated to Jamaica, Barbados, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – The relief efforts in countries affected by Hurricane Beryl have been bolstered by a donation of US$800,000, from the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Executive President of the financial institution, Sergio Diaz-Granados said it is hoped that the funds will assist needs during the “critical period” in the immediate aftermath of a “very powerful and destructive Hurricane. The grant serves to address this emergency, through the designated Ministries and official Governmental channels,” in the five countries, he said.

Barbados and Jamaica will each receive $250,000, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will all receive $100,000. The Bank said it is essential that global awareness be elevated about the vulnerability to Climate Change in the Caribbean.

It said “decisive action” needs to be taken to tackle the effects of Climate Change, with emphasis on policies and investments in adaptation, as well as risk management tools, and it will continue to work closely with international partners, to gather data, produce specialised knowledge, innovate, and offer financial solutions to strengthen resilience in the region.

In early July, Hurricane Beryl ripped across the Caribbean, with winds of 150mph tearing roofs from buildings, uprooting trees, and devastating the islands in its path. At least three islands reported that more than 90% of the homes and buildings either destroyed or severely damaged, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported. All three are within the chain of Grenadine Islands, where the hurricane roared into the Caribbean on the southern end of the Windwards, between St. Vincent and Grenada.

Since the devastation, the United Nations (UN) and its partners have launched a US$9 million response plan to provide urgent humanitarian aid to 43,000 people in Grenada and Sanit Vincent and the Grenadines.

UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Simon Springett said “swift action” is imperative to meet the “pressing needs” of people whose homes and livelihoods have vanished overnight, he said.

Mr. Springett, who visited Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, after they were struck by Hurricane Beryl, said that the devastation is “immense and heartbreaking,” and he spoke to many families, and It is likely that utilities will take a long time to be restored,” the Resident Coordinator stated.

The response plan will help to both support immediate life-saving and early recovery efforts. The UN and its partners, who are supporting the Governments’ response, have identified shelter, food and health care as being among the top priorities.

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Caribbean News

RBC donates $175,000 to Hurricane Beryl relief efforts

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PORT OF SPAIN — In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, RBC Royal Bank (RY on TSX and NYSE) (“RBC”) and RBC Foundation USA announced a donation of C$175,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross in support of Caribbean and U.S. relief efforts.

The devastating hurricane impacted several Caribbean and U.S. communities where RBC operates, including Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Tobago.

RBC’s contribution will support emergency relief efforts, including shelters, hygiene kits, and social assistance to those in the affected communities.

“The intensity of Hurricane Beryl this early in the season is concerning and our thoughts are with the individuals affected in the Caribbean communities as well as in the U.S.,” said Chris Duggan, Head of RBC Caribbean Banking.

“At RBC, we believe it is our responsibility to support our communities in times of need. Our donation to the Red Cross, will provide immediate assistance to those impacted, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to recover and rebuild.”

Commenting on the Caribbean generosity as well as that of our larger RBC community, Duggan added: “The response of the RBC Caribbean Banking employees, as well as that of our larger RBC community has been generous and unhesitating. In response to the disaster, our colleagues are coming together in many unique and incredible ways and donating personally to help those affected.”

Those that would like to support the relief efforts can donate to the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

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