#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
Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring
By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.
CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.
“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.
Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”
Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.
“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,” Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.
The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.
The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.
Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer
By Sherrica Thompson
#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.
Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.
The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.
Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.
“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.
Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.
“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.
“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”
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