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What valuable lessons if any, have we learned from this past election in TCI?

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#TurksandCaicos, February 25, 2021 – If we have learned anything from the recent election in TCI, it’s that our democracy is still intact and stronger than ever. Now that we have a new government in office, some may say we can breathe a sigh of relief. I beg to differ and caution you, not so quick.. we still have some difficult roads ahead.

We can all agree, these past four years was quite a challenging time for our country. Let’s spell it out, a relatively small country that depends solely on the tourism industry, stuck with a once-in-a-century pandemic and back-back devastating hurricanes; this is the epitome of any government being tested and tried. Nevertheless, in an age of increasing demands, entitlement and little room for excuses, it’s no surprise this past election was a landslide for the opposition.

Despite the unforeseen events, there is an expectation from the general public, no matter what, you still have to deliver on your promises with noticeable changes and reforms. Most importantly, knowing in what order of priority the challenges set before you should be pursued for the benefit of the people.

Prior to the pandemic, we had a seemingly robust and durable economy. However, in recent months, we quickly realized how delicate it is, and how swiftly it can be undermined if it lacks diversification of resources for long-term economic growth. I believe it is with well intentions for most political leaders to do good for their country. Be reminded, when the new PDM party got elected to office in 2016, they gave off the appearance of great strength, at least on the surface. But as we know for any leader to be effective, having the right team behind you is critical for success.

This brings me to my main points; at this juncture in our quest to move the country forward, lets focus on the opportunities that lies ahead rather them critiquing the past.

Let’s start with finding creative ways to stabilize the job market, conducting a deep dive into cost of living in these islands, expanding on agricultural opportunities and taking on other calculated risk. It is of paramount importance for the new administration to seriously consider strengthening of our fragile infrastructure or eventually the cookie will crumble. It is the framework for any reasonable successful and durable society.

Secondly, we cannot and should not base progress on maintaining the status quo, especially when it comes to critical infrastructure issues like our public sanitation services across these developing islands. Also, we must to be able to put aside political differences if only to protect our core institutions and values. And at some point, the politicians on both sides needs to see their interest as aligned as opposed to always in a conflict. The only way to bring about real change is through continued accountability of our political leaders and having a unified voice. Therefore, don’t stop blowing the “conch shell horns” just yet, the real test is about to come.

The newspapers along with the various social media platforms, also have a vital role to play, as the public relies heavily on the facts rather than hearsay or opinions. Also, the overarching negative comments of publicly attacking each other’s character has to stop. Being critical of his or her performance or lack thereof is more prudent.

Thirdly, given the rising voice and voting power of our youth in this country, they can no longer be ignored. Our youth are the most important segment of society in terms of the future of our country, which was manifested significantly in their eligibility to turn out and vote in this past election cycle. During the past several weeks, it has been fascinating to see how the political parties ramped up efforts to get their message out. And Kudos to the various talk show hosts for educating the masses and challenging the politicians on issues that mattered the most. This needs to become the norm.

We know the real success is when voters can cast ballots in significant numbers, which we saw in this election cycle despite the fears and exposure of this ongoing covid-19 pandemic. As a people, we must also be brave enough to speak up when we see corruption or things that undermines the basic principles of our core values. Leaders who fail to listen to the voice of the people has no place in the free world, because it weakens the core of democracy.

In my opinion, if the solidity of our institutions in these islands remains strong, and we can capitalize on missed opportunities, we will be in a much better position to weather the storms. Certainly, this new government is facing an uphill battle with returning the country to some kind of normalcy, but it’s time to heal the wounds and move forward.

If they make it a central focus of their administration to put the power back in the hands of the people, by restoring the rights of land to it’s citizens, in addition to restoring the original constitution as it once was or beyond, they will have accomplished much.

Ed Forbes,

Concerned citizen of Grand Turk

Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Government committed to swift and successful execution of strategic plans for GB

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#TheBahamas, September 24, 2021 – Newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey arrived in Freeport on Friday, September 24, 2021 and spent her first official day in office, at the Office of the Prime Minister.  The Grand Bahama Minister immediately talked about plans to revive the economy of Grand Bahama.

“In commencing this role, I reiterate my pledge to inspire hope, enable opportunities and deliver results for the people of Grand Bahama,” Minister Moxey said during a press conference in her office.

“Our island has been unbelievably challenged by natural disasters and a strained economy for far too long.  However, despite our challenges, Grand Bahamians remain remarkably resilient.  As your Minister, I am excited to journey with you as we recover, rebuild and revolutionize the island of Grand Bahama.”

The Davis Administration, she added, has implemented strategic plans to achieve this goal.  Minister Moxey said that the government is committed to the swift and successful execution of those plans.

“The first thing I wanted to do was to get into office, because there is so much work to do,” said Minister Moxey. “There are so many people hurting in the community and there are so many projects that need to be tackled.

“We have the situation with the airport. We know that the Grand Bahama International Airport was sold to the government, so we have to get the ball rolling with that and develop a master plan for the airport.  Of course there will be a lot of collaboration that’s involved. We have to meet with the private sector and the regulators.

“There is the situation with the Lucayan Resort and that is something that we will look into and try to figure out how to resolve the issues that may exist there.  But we have a plan for the island in general.”

Minister Moxey noted that Grand Bahama had been in the doldrums long before Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 Pandemic, pointing out that the island’s economy began to go downhill from the passing of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and 2005.

She has vowed to work with diligence to begin delivering immediate social relief to Grand Bahamians and much-needed reconstruction on the island.  It is envisioned that this will, in turn, assist in the government’s mission to stabilize the economy of Grand Bahama and create opportunities for Bahamians to thrive.

“In general, we want to empower Bahamians and to empower Grand Bahamians, because that is what will help us move forward,” Minister Moxey added.   “It’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we would like the entire community to join us as we bring these objectives to pass.

“All that Grand Bahama needs will not happen overnight.  It will take some time to get Grand Bahama to the place where we all would like to see it.  So, we want the public to bear with us as we weed through all that has been going on.

“I’m about creating systems that allow for things to happen. We would like to see results, but we have to know what we need to put in place to get results.  I love the island of Grand Bahama and the people of Grand Bahama.  So, as I settle into this new role as Minister for Grand Bahama, I will do my best and work around the clock to turn things around.”

Minister Moxey said that she was proud to be the first woman to hold the title of Minister for Grand Bahama, and it is her hope that she would be able to inspire the future of women in leadership.

 

PHOTO CAPTION

BIS Photos/Lisa Davis

Header: Newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey met with the press in her office at the Ministry of Grand Bahama on Friday, September 24, 2021.

Insert: Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (Grand Bahama), Mr. Harcourt Brown greeted newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey upon her arrival at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday, September 24, 2021, during her first official day as the new minister.

 

 

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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