Connect with us

Caribbean News

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF THE CARICOM ELECTIONS OBSERVATION MISSION TO TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

Published

on

PRESS STATEMENT:  Pursuant to the request made on the 31 January 2021 by the Office of the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands for a CARICOM Elections Observation Mission (CEOM) to be deployed to observe and monitor the conduct of the General Elections scheduled to take place in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 19 February 2021, a three-member CEOM was deployed to observe the pre-, peri-, and immediately post-elections occurrences associated with its electoral processes.

Pre-Election Day Observations

Virtual meetings were held with a number of stakeholders to identify concerns for the general preparedness of the elections. In its preparation to observe activities on Election Day, the CEOM conducted a preliminary reconnaissance of the polling station locations in Providenciales, the island which had the majority of the polling station locations.

Election Day Observations

The members of the CEOM visited 25 out of 33 polling stations across the ten polling station locations, specifically all polling stations in Providenciales, North Caicos and Middle Caicos.

With regard to the opening of the polls, the members of the CEOM observed that the polls opened late, however, they closed later to ensure that the designated amount of time allotted to the voters to exercise their franchise was strictly adhered to.

With regard to voting, despite some variations in process across the polling stations visited, the process was relatively smooth and efficient. In general, the polling clerks explained the voting process in detail, and first-time voters were oriented appropriately.

There were no incidents of intimidation of voters inside or outside of the polling stations.

It was felt that more measures could have been taken to have poll workers prepared to handle elderly and differently- abled voters, particularly as these voters were encouraged to visit the polling stations to vote at a specific time on election day.

Special Conditions – The COVID-19 Pandemic

The CEOM highly commends the measures taken by the Elections Department of the Turks and Caicos Islands for implementing, in its view, extensive public health protocols which were well executed to ensure the safety of both voters and election day workers, with due consideration for the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters and election day workers observed the protocols which included social distancing, the wearing of masks and regular sanitisation of polling stations throughout the course of the day. Polling stations visited were spacious and well-ventilated at all times.

The efficiency of the vote was not greatly impeded by the COVID-19 health protocols implemented.

Conclusions

Overall, the CEOM is of the view that the General Elections which took place in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 19 February 2021 were free and fair and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands must be commended for this.

The peacefulness of the elections that transpired on 19 February 2021 reflected the tranquility of the society of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The CARICOM Elections Observation Mission values the opportunity to contribute to the democratic process in the Turks and Caicos Islands and appreciates the support and cooperation received throughout the process. We congratulate the voters, electoral officials and election day workers for their discipline and commitment to advance the democratic process in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Dr. Robert Stephen Mahadeo Surujbally

Chief of Mission

20 February 2021

CAPTIONHead of Mission Dr Robert Stephen Mahadeo Surujbally (2nd right) is joined by Mr Ian Hughes (right), H.E. Felix Gregoire (2nd left) and Ms Valique Gomes (CARICOM Secretariat support) for the start of Elections Day monitoring

Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

Published

on

#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

Published

on

By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime

Published

on

By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING