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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!

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Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Magnetic Media 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it.  However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.

A teenager, pregnant jumped from a balcony in Blue Hills (TCI) in desperation to escape pursuing law enforcers; it was dark, she could have died, she was hospitalized then sent back.

Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.

Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.

Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people.  The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.

Some make it, some do not.

The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.

I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place.  Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.

I am blessed. Truly.

But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up.  This should capture our attentions.

In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency.  There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.

I suspect, this is the absolute worst time to be a woman or girl in Haiti. Just the worst.

Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums:  Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.

I declare that these women are significant.  They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland.  Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.

And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity.  We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.

Just watch and see.  Women of Haiti, help is on the way.

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Macmillan Education Caribbean hosts panel discussion with the women of STEM

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June 23, 2022 – Macmillan Education Caribbean has been holding its Summer of Science for the last two weeks, focusing on “Discovering Scientists” across the Caribbean.  Now, it announces its second exciting event in the wider campaign.

In a panel discussion hosted by Macmillan Education Caribbean, three women in the STEM industry will be invited to discuss their experiences in the field, offer advice for young women aspiring to have a career in science, and more. The panel, called Opening up science: Meet the Women in STEM will be hosted online, at 1:00pm AST on Tuesday 28th June.

The event features three fantastic panellists: Dr Claire Durant, Niva Miles, and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce.  Between them, they have amassed a wealth of experience at various different touchpoints of the STEM field; from authoring science textbooks and serving on examinations councils, to teaching science and practising natural products chemistry.

With Dr Claire Durant and Dr Joanne Simmons-Boyce being Barbadian scientists, and Niva Miles having authored Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, each of the panellists will bring a unique view on science in the Caribbean to the conversation, which will be especially useful to those watching.

The event is open to all, although young women and female educators are especially encouraged to attend. In a blog she wrote for Macmillan Education Caribbean on the importance of championing women in science, Dr Claire Durant said:

“To establish an inclusive scientist workforce, women and girls need to see themselves reflected in their teachers in the classroom as well as in the scientists who develop the technology, medicine, beauty, engineering and entertainment products that we use every day.”

Macmillan Education Caribbean is strongly encouraging schools to get involved in creative ways, by hosting ‘watch parties’ for the panel discussion inside classrooms, or by getting students and teachers to submit questions for the panellists.

In the fortnight surrounding the panel event, Macmillan Education Caribbean’s channels will be exploring Science for Life, and will be introducing the panellists in more detail, whilst also exploring the accessibility of science and spotlighting the title Human and Social Biology for CSECⓇ Examinations, which this panel was inspired by.

The Human and Social Biology for CSEC Examinations title is centred around “opening up” science, making it both accessible and engaging for learners of varying abilities. In this visually engaging series, a range of different routes to learning are explored – from animated videos to aid understanding, and project guidance for undertaking the independent School-based Assessment.

You can follow the Summer of Science across Macmillan Education Caribbean’s social media channels, visit their website for more information, or follow the hashtag #ScienceForLife to get involved with the next phase of the campaign.

Teachers and students can register for the discussion at  https://macmillanic.clickmeeting.com/opening-up-science-meet-the-women-in-stem/register.

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CARPHA Continues to Focus on Results Based Management to Achieve Results for the CARICOM Region

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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 23, 2022 –  On June 15th and 17th, employees of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) participated in a training workshop aimed at increasing the Agency’s capacity to deliver results and to be able to assess the impact of its work.  The Strategic Planning, Results Based Management (RBM) and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Workshop forms part of a series of activities being undertaken by Le Groupe-Conseil Baastel.  Baastel was awarded the consultancy to Institutionalise Results Based Management at the Agency, in September 2021, this consultancy will also facilitate the development of CARPHA’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

In her opening remarks, Dr Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA stated, “While the Agency already operates within a results-oriented reality, it welcomed the opportunity for the employees to collectively, take an in-depth view of the strategic planning process.”  She added that the exercise would help to clearly show what CARPHA has achieved and what the Agency hopes to achieve in the future.  She highlighted that the training would, “help us deepen our understanding of these processes and how we can each contribute to the importance of this process.”

Head of Vector Borne Diseases, Dr Horace Cox expressed that he is optimistic that the Agency would have even greater impact moving forward and felt that the workshop was beneficial because it “teaches how we can use the data of today to guide the design and implementation of the interventions of tomorrow”.  While Dr Rian Extavour, Programme Manager of the Caribbean Regulatory System shared, “Many aspects of the session made me more aware of how we can be even more creative to find other opportunities to strengthen what we do.”

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), developed and implemented the CARICOM Results-Based Management (RBM) System based on the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.  The CARICOM RBM System was developed to serve as a mechanism to engender a more results-oriented culture within the Region.  It was executed to improve implementation rates, increase accountability, transparency and improve governance of the Community.  All regional institutions, including The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), were then mandated by CARICOM Heads of Government to adopt the RBM approach and institutionalise RBM in their operations. With activities such as these workshops, CARPHA is well on its way to fulfilling this mandate. Dr. Mark Sami, Director of Corporate Services elaborated that “RBM will ensure that organisational efficiency is enhanced because all departments whether corporate or technical will direct their energies towards the achievement of set objectives, thus ensuring unity in purpose.”

Funding for this activity is being provided by the European Union (EU) through the 11th European Development Fund (11th EDF) Programme of Support for Health Security Strengthening for Prevention and Control of Outbreaks of Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean, for which CARPHA is the Executing Agency.  The Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) has supported CARPHA’s access to these resources. This project, which is valued at €8,000,000.00 and has a duration of four (4) years, will enhance the institutional capacity of CARPHA to effectively support the Caribbean in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.

For additional information on the EU Project:

https://carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/11th-EDF-Regional-Health-Security

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