#TurksandCaicos, February 22, 2021 – The avalanche styled defeat for the ejected People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is more than an indictment on the party’s performance as government, it is also an incredible charge issued by the Voters of the territory to the now governing, Progressive National Party (PNP). This fact is not lost on Washington Misick, the new premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands who told the Governor he must get to work quickly.
“We did expect a comfortable majority, but didn’t expect to have such a sweep. It also places a tremendous responsibility upon us. Cleary, the public is going to be expecting a lot very fast, so we look forward to working with you to give you a sense of where are heads are and how we can collaborate together so that we can deliver an efficient service for the people of our Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Washington Misick while sat in the board room of the Governor’s Office in receipt in his instruments of appointment; he was joined by his wife Delthia, new first lady of the islands.
The Governor and Deputy Governor agreed with his sentiments, plegding support for the democratic mandate given the PNP as the new government administration.
“On behalf of the Civil Service of the Turks and Caicos Islands, we commit to work with you and your government to ensure that you are able to deliver on your objectives for the betterment of the people of these islands. Your election has come at a critical time in our islands as we continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic here in the islands and also as we work towards a complete re-imagination of our economy. So clearly, there is a lot of work that has to be done and my staff are willing, ready and able as you would know – you have worked with them in the past – to assist you and your government,” said Anya Williams, Deputy Governor and head of the Civil Service.
Minutes before, the chant in a different room, the great room at Progress House, the PNP’s headquarters in Providenciales was both a clever and clear and brought comedy to an already elated environment.
“What time is it? It’s 14 to 1! What time is it? 14 to 1!”
The slick saying taking root in a salute to the 14 Progressive National Party candidates elected to serve; only one seat not captured by the PNP in the General Election of Friday February 19, 2021.
The landslide win is resounding assurance that voters have given the PNP four years in governance and the cue for the fourteen elected members of parliament to begin the work which will steer the Turks and Caicos though and out of the economically and socially crippling Coronavirus Pandemic.
Premier Misick said he believes the Sharlene Robinson-led PDM Administration’s tone deaf handling of the crisis cost them electors’ support.
“We have a dynamite team who have been working and I want to tip my hat particularly to the two young men in Wheeland and Blue Hills, said Premier Misick amidst a burst of applause and cheers from party supporters in the room, he added, “I have never seen a woman to work harder than Rachel Taylor. We have a great team; the chairman (Calvin Green) came on early and helped to organize us. We had a lot of training in leaders and other, for our members. Each constituency had a very effective team. I think it boils down to organization,” said the elder statesmen who served from 1991-1995 as Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Three significant upsets in the Providenciales districts of Five Cays, Blue Hills and Wheeland considered PDM strong holds held by strong PDM men were game changing moments. A demonstration of a rejection of the PDM’s Agenda to embrace the PNP’s Citizen’s Contract.
“We organized early. Once we put out our Contract to the people we were very concise, very precise about what it is we wanted to accomplish. I also believe that the government missed an opportunity after Covid-19 to really focus on the best welfare interest of the people of these islands, I think those are the two major issues that created the kind of avalanche that we’ve seen here.”
The press conference was carried live on Facebook, Saturday afternoon shortly before the new Premier and Deputy Premier, joined by their wives and PNP Election campaign manager, Jas Walkin were due to be sworn in at the Office of the Governor.
Erwin EJ Saunders, in his first stint as an elected leader of the Turks and Caicos offered thanks and congratulated all actors in the election day event; describing the process as well-executed by all involved, including the now Opposition PDM.
“We certainly have received a mandate, bigger than we expected. We certainly now need to work for the country. I think it is a huge responsibility and people will be looking for us to work very quickly. So it’s going to be making sure that we get relief to people but based on the country’s finances. The most important thing to do very quickly, is to get an assessment of where we are and to get to what I call, rapid revenue recovery,” said Saunders, with wife Indrani at his side.
Though some 2,100 voters did not turn out to cast ballots in the 2021 General Election, the voter turn-out was strong at 76 percent.
The new cabinet will be sworn in on Wednesday February 24, 2021.
Photo Credit: Newsline TCI
Guyana to build regional food hub
#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.
In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”
Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.
Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.
In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh, Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.
Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.
Cayman makes striking policy change to include more blood donors
#CaymanIslands, September 29, 2023 – The Cayman Islands overturned a policy that banned blood donation from people who visited the island from or resided in countries where “mad cow disease” existed. This was revealed by Sabrina Turner, Health Minister in Parliament, as reported by CNW Network.
People who resided in Britain from 1980 to 2001 and those who had blood transfusions in the UK after 1980, can now donate blood.
Due to recent risk evaluation, and the current protocol for blood donors, many nations, CNW reports, have re-evaluated and adjusted similar guidelines regarding blood donation, as Cayman Islands has now done.
The now initial restrictions on blood donations for the country was called for and was important as at the time of implementation, “mad cow disease” or as it’s scientifically called, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), was at-large affecting not just cows, but also people, who are able to contract “a version of BSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.
The likely reason for the Cayman Islands’ targeted population of those affiliated with living in the UK or getting blood transfusion in the UK, was because most of the people with vCJD lived in the UK, as highlighted by the FDA.
Also, as BBC says in a 2018 report, 1 in 2000 people in the UK is thought to be a carrier of the disease, even though some who are carriers don’t go on to develop symptoms.
However, the change in Cayman Islands’ policy does not mean the disease is no longer out there.
In fact the FDA said, “as of 2019, 232 people worldwide are known to have become sick with vCJD, and unfortunately, they all have died. It is thought that they got the disease from eating food made from cows sick with BSE. Most of the people who have become sick with vCJD lived in the United Kingdom at some point in their lives. Only four lived in the U.S., and most likely, these four people became infected when they were living or traveling overseas.”
Bwa Kalé movement striking back against gangs, nearly 3,000 murdered
#Haiti, September 29, 2023 – In eight months, nearly 3,000 Haitian people have been slaughtered in their home country due to the upsurge and uprising of gangs in the republic which is struggling to hold its democracy in check.
‘Bwa Kalé’, it’s a vigilante movement that has sprung up in Haiti, and the UN says it is driving up murders.
A recent report following an expert visit detailed it.
“Certain groups have formed allegedly to protect their neighbourhoods from gangs. In some instances, these groups have summarily executed people suspected of being gang members. The Bwa Kalé movement demonstrates the population’s lack of trust in the State, especially in the police and the courts. The expert has learned that some members of the police and the judiciary have been complicit with gangs.”
Despite the obvious fear among residents, the UN is warning them not to take justice into their own hands. However, that is easier said than done as Haitians have demonstrated their feelings of abandonment by fleeing the island in mass numbers on illegal voyages and standing up to the gangs themselves.
In the same report, one said: “The State is absent, there are no police or other officials operating there.”
According to AP, a new report to the U.N. Security Council indicated that 2,728 intentional killings were recorded between October 2022 and June 2023, including 247 women, 58 boys, and 20 girls. Bwa Kalé is blamed partially for the increase, as life in the country is described as unbearable.
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