#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.
Haiti inflation increase, food prices more
#Haiti, November 27, 2023 – Haiti’s food security is being worsened by recent inflation levels, according to the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Informatics (IHSI).
This comes as the institute informed that “a shape acceleration in inflation was recorded on a monthly basis” referring to the measurements for October.
It said the General Consumer Price Index (CPI, 100 in 2017–2018) went up by 3.4 percent in October of the year, compared to 2.3 percent in October.
Consequently, food prices between September and October increased by 4.8 percent, more than double normal prices, says ProEco Haiti, an economic consultant, as it informed it is concerned that this risks the worsening of the food situation in the country.
ProEco points out that this increase in prices is in the first month of the 2023-2024 fiscal year and is due to the closure of the land border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, not to mention the fact that Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, unilaterally announced the complete closure of the border on September 15th, 2023.
Now, considering this, as ProEco expressed, the increase in prices is due to the border closing, as Haiti is dependent on the Dominican Republic. However, the economy consultant urges the public and private sectors to work to diversify the country’s commercial partners, reducing its dependence on the neighboring republic while mitigating the effects on its economy of possible crises between the two countries.
Furthermore, despite the fact that inflation increased in October, the IHSI revealed that there is not just bad news, as there is some level of progress for the republic as the deceleration of prices at an annual rate has been seen. It said inflation in October 2023 stood at 22.8 percent, the lowest reached since October 2021. Additionally, ProEco added to this fact, saying that annual inflation was 31.8 percent in September 2023.
The Project IDEA Media Club programme returns for Part II
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, October 30, 2023 – After launching in June 2023, the ambitious Project IDEA Media Club by the TCI Sports Commission is back for Part II.
Students in Part I of the programme, were afforded an opportunity to create a short film and a mini-documentary using industry-grade equipment and exposing themselves to a wealth of knowledge. Class segments offered were Filmmaking, Content Creation and Photography. Project IDEA members were immersed in the world of sports media, producing short-form video content for social media, photographing live games and utilising presenting skills. The short film ‘Ripple Effect’ is scheduled to premiere at the Turks and Caicos International Film Festival in November.
Project IDEA was created for high-school and university students or professionals aged 14-21 interested in photography, design or videography. At the end of the programme, all members will have created content to add to a design portfolio, which can be used for entry to university and prospective creative job roles.
In Part II, the class segments have been restructured to offer Journalism with Content Creation and Photography. The Journalism class will be producing a contemporary Sports News programme, also capturing activities in the wider communities. Project IDEA runs in 3-month batches, with classes every other week, giving ample time for learning and execution.
Applications are now open!
Application Portal Closes: November 18, 2023
Club Duration: November 22, 2023 – January 26, 2024 (Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Breaks for Christmas)
APPLY NOW: https://forms.office.com/r/cYE1TbzSX7 (In-person applications can be submitted at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex)
For more information contact Media & Communications Specialist Nandina Hislop email@example.com.
90% of strokes are avoidable with a few lifestyle changes!
Cleveland Clinic Expert Shares Six Simple Steps to Prevent Vast Majority of Strokes
According to the World Stroke Organization (WSO), stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The WSO says one in four people will have a stroke in their lifetimes, and each year over 12 million people worldwide have strokes. However, it adds that 90% of strokes are preventable by addressing a small number of risk factors that are responsible for most strokes. In The Bahamas, on average 224 people (or 9.56%) die annually from strokes.
Here, Andrew Russman, DO, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center and a vascular neurology specialist, offers advice on how to reduce stroke risk by better managing existing health conditions and also through implementing lifestyle changes. “These tips are interrelated as most of the lifestyle changes mentioned also play a role in improving management of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes, which all increase stroke risk,” Dr. Russman points out.
- Reduce hypertension
Uncontrolled hypertension – that is, blood pressure that is consistently above 130/80 – is the single most important modifiable risk factor in stroke worldwide, says Dr. Russman.
Aside from medication, an important step in reducing blood pressure is to reduce salt intake, which Dr. Russman says is good advice even if you don’t have high blood pressure. “We recommend consuming no more than 2g of salt per day. I advise my patients to check food labels and nutritional websites for sodium levels as their intake is usually far higher than they realize,” he adds.
- Be wary of diabetes
It is important to be tested for diabetes, and if diagnosed, to manage the condition well, says Dr. Russman. He explains that diabetes causes narrowing of small, medium and large blood vessels in the body, including vessels of the eyes, kidney, heart and brain. Owing to this, diabetes can contribute to a variety of vascular, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems including stroke. In addition, for patients who have survived a stroke, the risk of having a second is three times higher in those patients whose diabetes is not controlled.
Dr. Russman says that as part of their treatment plan, people with diabetes should have their condition monitored through HbA1C tests, which provide a three-month snapshot of their blood sugar control. “We recommend that these individuals aim for an HbA1C result of 7.0 or less. Taking prescribed medication correctly, watching their diet, exercising regularly, and following their healthcare provider’s recommendations will help them achieve this.”
- Address atrial fibrillation
The WSO says atrial fibrillation is associated with one in four strokes, and Dr. Russman says these strokes tend to be more severe and disabling than strokes associated with other risk factors.
“Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm condition characterized by very rapid heartbeats that don’t allow the top left chamber of the heart – the left atrium – to contract normally. Instead, it fibrillates and flutters so blood is not ejected normally from the chamber,” he says. “Anytime blood is stagnant for too long, it can form a blood clot that can travel elsewhere in the body. This clot could cause a stroke by blocking a blood vessel in the brain, depriving that part of the brain of the oxygen and nutrients it needs.”
Dr. Russman says atrial fibrillation is the most common acquired heart rhythm disorder in older adults, and its associated risk is strongly related to age. “The older you are, the more at risk you are of acquiring the condition, but also the higher the risk of stroke associated with the condition,” he says. “It is estimated that up to half of all patients with a heart rhythm condition are not aware of it. However, once diagnosed, atrial fibrillation can be treated with a blood-thinning medication. These do carry some risks, but the benefits far outweigh these in the vast majority of patients.”
In addition to reducing high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol through diet, for example, by avoiding saturated fat, individuals might be prescribed statin medications that reduce future risk of heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Russman says these medications, particularly rosuvastatin and atorvastatin, may benefit patients beyond simply reducing cholesterol levels in that they also appear to reduce inflammation and stabilize plaque build-up in blood vessels.
- Stop smoking
“Any type of smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and is strongly associated with accelerated hardening of the arteries and narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, heart and elsewhere,” says Dr. Russman. “We therefore strongly recommend everyone completely stop any form of nicotine ingestion to significantly reduce their long-term risk for a multitude of diseases.”
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Dr. Russman recommends following an eating plan that is low in saturated fats and sodium, and to avoid alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption. Regular physical activity is also important as it can reduce the risk of stroke directly, but also indirectly as it helps to lower high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Exercise can also help to reduce stress, as can other activities such as meditation or deep breathing, which is important as stress causes the body to release chemicals that can increase blood pressure, affect hormones and raise blood sugar levels, says Dr. Russman.
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