#TurksandCaicos, February 16, 2021 – The historic nature of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team trial has made advancing in the major case one for deep consideration, in light of the sudden passing of Justice Paul Harrison there is a dilemma about how the seven-year-old trial will progress as Harrison, was both judge and jury.
Lead prosecutor in the SIPT case, Andrew Mitchell, QC appeared in person at the sitting Monday morning which was held at the SIPT courtroom in Providenciales.
Mitchell, to onlookers in the court and those tuned in via video link, seemed to struggle with a convincing reason why he and the Director of Public Prosecutions should be given more time to convey the future of the trial.
The session ended with the Chief Justice firmly committing the Prosecution to a 14-day re-appearance when the succession plan will either be presented or the case will be struck.
Bail for the eight defendants was also extended.
Chief Justice Mabel Agyeman now presides over the controversial government corruption matter and rejected the request for more time for the DPP to establish the way forward in the Crown vs Michael Misick and others.
Mitchell tried to secure 21-days in order for Eugene Otuonye, QC, Director of the Public Prosecutions Office to engineer the logistics for continuity of the trial, which is notoriously known as the most high profile, high cost trial in TCI history.
Expenditure over the years – in a conservative estimate – have come in at well over a $110 million dollars. The judicial process which brought criminal and civil charges against as many as 11 individuals, but is now dwindled to eight islanders, has long worn out its local welcome.
Residents, who in 2008 were eager to have Michael Misick and his so called “cronies” face justice, are now despondent.
The trial is seen by many as nothing more than a wasted effort which has made lawyers in the case filthy rich; and proven a travesty of justice with the TCI public purse, ravaged by the bills for luxury housing, high cost security, a renovation for a special courthouse and expensive attorney fees, including those for the defense teams.
The Special Investigation and Prosecution Team trial has been stymied by a string of pre-trial legal arguments spanning 2014 through to 2016.
Helen Garlick, the original lead prosecutor hired in 2009 vacated the post in 2017.
The proceedings were further waylaid by natural disasters including hurricanes Irma and Maria and most recently the Coronavirus Pandemic; which froze activity at the tailor-made court room for the bulk of 2020.
Proceedings reconvened in January 2021 with a plea deal approved for Lillian Boyce; now a freed defendant who is ordered by the court to pay a one million dollar fine in a suspended sentence. Some $700k was delivered up front.
It has been one week since the death of the retired president of the Jamaica Court of Appeal, Justice Paul Harrison, who had also come under fire in the early days of the process.
Harrison’s age and stamina were called into question by the embattled former premier Michael Misick.
Nonetheless, the Justice remained on after being hired in 2014 to preside over the trial which would for the first time in Turks and Caicos function without a jury.
The celebrated Paul Harrison passed away in his native Jamaica on Sunday February 7, 2021 after a short bout with illness and at the age of 83.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has the constitutional duty to determine if and how the matter will proceed.
The Chief Justice has made it clear however that if there is no determination by the DPP by March 1, 2021 when court is scheduled to reconvene; she is prepared to strike the matter which would end the trial.
TCI Hospital’s Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) upgrade is on schedule
#TurksandCaicos, June 16, 2022 – InterHealth Canada Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital will soon have a new GE SIGNA™ 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, a development expected to significantly reduce wait times for patients visiting the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
First, the existing scanner was de-installed and required a crane to deposit the 20,000 pounds machine from the radiology department through a specially-cut hatch at the side waiting room wall for the safe navigation and removal of the old machine.
An intensive undertaking also included removing and replacing the RF Cage, which paves the way for quick installation of the new machine. The TCI Hospital’s RF Cage, which prevents radio frequency noise from entering the room and distorting the image of the MRI scan, is already on-site and is scheduled for installation by the end of June 2022 by the installation team from the United States. The works include the construction of the side walls, panelling, ceiling, illuminated picture and connections to ventilation.
In preparation for the day of delivery of the new MRI Machine by early July 2022, the TCI Hospital have also completed all electrical works.
The next step is the safe installation and connection of all components of the unit by GE contractors, followed by the final internal and external finishes, including the installation of fixtures and fittings such as coil storage cabinets and external cupboards and furniture. Once these last finishing touches are completed and checks completed, the MRI will be operational in early August 2022.
The radiology team have spent the past several months working in a much-reduced space to allow building work in preparation for the new MRI. In addition, the Imaging team have also undergone training and certifications in new software applications and MRI safety, with the IM&T and Biomedical Engineering teams to follow. All staff at the TCI will undergo safety MRI training.
The TCI Hospital is grateful for the support and understanding of the public and TCI Hospital colleagues during the disruption caused by this critical upgrade to the MRI Unit at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
Major Shortage; White House says hunt is on for Baby Food
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, May 14, 2022 – An Infant formula shortage in the U.S. exacerbated by the formula recall by Abbott Nutrition is threatening the lives of babies and worrying parents.
Last week 40 percent of formulas were out of stock in the U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Pesaki says the FDA is working hard to address the issue.
“What the FDA is doing includes working with major infant formula manufacturers to ensure they’re increasing production, because part of this issue is, of course, making sure there is stock on the shelves and working with the industry right now to optimize their supply lines, product sizes to increase capacity, and prioritizing product lines that are of greatest needs.”
Meanwhile Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides formula and other goods to low income mothers is warning against trying to make formula at home saying too much could go wrong.
“Your baby could suffer long-term harm if they do not get the right blend of nutrition. Even a short period of poor nutrition can be harmful. Do not try to make more formula by adding extra water. Adding extra water to formula is dangerous and can lead to very serious health problems.”
The Guardian reports that parents who are now traveling over state lines and using Facebook and EBay to secure formula, describe the situation as a ‘nightmare.’
Earth Day Immersion at Graceway Communities Marketplace
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2022 – The second staging of Graceway IGA’s Earth Day celebration was a success. It was hosted by the Graceway Communities (the philanthropic arm of Graceway Supermarkets) in association with the National Trust, Graceway Supermarkets, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and Department of Agriculture.
The Market was designed to educate people about the environment, promote conservation, and encourage them to get involved and invest in the planet, act boldly, innovate and implement.
The event was supported by the community and others who came out in their numbers to buy fruits, seedlings, trees, plants, and other earth-friendly items, like ocean-friendly products that were being sold.
The winners of the Graceway Supermarkets Earth Day Art Competition 2022 were also announced. In first place was Chanel Missick from the Mills Institute, second place was Enarij Dickenson from Eliza Simmons Primary, and third place was Mavalicia Mullings from the Mills Institute.
Minister of Environment, Maritime and Disaster Management Josephine Connelly was also present at the celebration.
In giving her address at the event on April 22, Connelly said climate change is real and the Turks and Caicos Islands are low lying areas. As such, “we are susceptible to flood and high seas.” Therefore “the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to cope with what’s going on in our country.”
The Minister noted that the Charter launched at the Climate Change Summit is a guideline to mitigate what is happening in the TCI. She further mentioned that the TCI will be collaborating with all stakeholders and international organizations to unite as one where climate change is concerned.
She also encouraged everyone to play their part in Climate Change, stating that the easiest thing to do is to plant a tree.
Travel Designer at Luxury Experiences Turks, and Caicos, Val Kalliecharan, was also present at the Earth Day celebration. He said the initiative was impressive, and Graceway Supermarkets should “keep up the good job.”
The Turks and Caicos National Trust were the charity participant in the Earth Day celebrations.
The Trust expressed its gratitude to the Graceway Supermarkets for partnering with the organization’s mission to protect our environment.
“We are honoured for this recognition and most charitable donations that will help us to continue our important works, entrusted to us by our communities, we implore you to visit our website and become members of TCNT. More importantly, please contact us and find out how you can help us to preserve and protect our Wetlands, our environment and our beautiful by nature TCI,” said the Turks and Caicos National Trust.
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