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TCI: Robinson + Robinson Team up for correction on ‘Ballot Blunder in The Bight’

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#TurksandCaicos, April 27, 2021 – Royal Robinson believes the election reputation of the Turks and Caicos is at stake and those who threaten to bring the stable system of fairness and accountability into disrepute should be made to leave office.  He fingers the elections’ supervisor Dudley Lewis and the Attorney General Rhonda-Lee Braithwaite Knowles in a no holds barred statement issued Friday.

“The nonsense at the Elections Office must stop and Mr. Lewis, it’s Supervisor, should go. If the AG Knowles is found not to have acted in good faith, then she too should go too. This entire matter is a travesty of justice, Human Rights, fair play and integrity in office.  That this charade, dereliction of duties and not being accountable is taking place in this beautiful place that I call home, is contemptable,” said Royal Robinson, a former government minister for the Progressive National Party.

The statement backs up his son, newly elected all island member Jamell Robinson who has for weeks been trying to get the Elections Office, he says, to sort out a blunder of addition in the Bight.  

“In regard to the my overall vote count being incorrectly reported, I can confirm that this is indeed the case as my correct total was 3,500 votes. Specifically, in the Bight District the total shortfall was 82 votes because the 3 polling station returns were not added up correctly.

The issue was flagged with the Elections office in sufficient time to make an immediate correction or at the very least to have it addressed in the Elections Report which is required by Section 57 (5) a) of the Election Ordinance. Institutions of Good Governance must carry out their functions with Integrity or be made to do so,” said Hon Jamell Robinson, who won one of five All Island candidate seats in the 2021 General Election.

The Attorney General’s Chambers responded to the TCI Sun Newspaper only; saying Robinson should have filed a petition to order a recount of the votes in The Bight. However, Jamell Robinson explained he did not need a recount, he only needed the correction of figures which had already been tallied and agreed by agents for each political party. 

Mr. Robinson also contends, he was never advised that a Supreme Court petition was the only want to rectify the discrepancy he reportedly brought to the attention of the Elections Supervisor on election night.

“As a member of the voting public, I believe this is an issue relevant to all Turks and Caicos Islanders. Mistakes do happen, but we have to be willing to do the right thing, learn from them, and adjust for the future. This is not a challenge with the PNP and as I made clear on the campaign trail, the PNP is ready for the work that needs to be done and I am honored to serve as part of the governing party that will lead us through these unprecedented times,” shared the younger Robinson.

Royal Robinson, known as a spitfire and who is also Jamell’s father said he intentionally stayed out of the matter until now; at this point he is speaking and standing up for what he claims is a wrong against his son.

“There was clearly a mistake in adding the votes from the tally sheets from the three polling stations for The Bight on election night, Friday, 19th February, 2021. Coincidentally, I was the counting agent for the third room, and so was Hon. O’Neil Delancy. The numbers were agreed to by all parties in that room and the final sheet was taken to the person in charge of that Constituency. It was somewhat past midnight on election night, when the tally was finished. The tally sheets from each room were given to the Returning Officer and it was just a matter of adding the votes from the three rooms for each of the candidates that appeared on the ballot. The votes garnered by each candidate from each room was not in dispute.”

The Elder Robinson said the 82 people who wanted their votes to be counted for Jamell Robinson should have their vote counted as such.  He believes the Elections Supervisor failed in his constitutional duty.

“It was not until after 7pm, on the day that a petition to the Court for redress, if necessary, that Mr. Lewis wrote to Hon. Robinson stating that he had to file a petition if he wanted the ballot boxes to be opened to see what had happened. Mr. Lewis knew full well that the window of opportunity for that was now closed. However, prior to Mr. Lewis writing Hon. Robinson that nonsense, on a visit to Mr. Lewis’ office by Hon. Robinson, the Supervisor of Elections showed Hon. Robinson a document with the corrected number count for him for The Bight Constituency,” explained Royal Robinson.

The AG’s Chamber disagrees that Supervisor Dudley Lewis did anything wrong; they back the Elections Office in its handling of the matter.

 “The Hon. AG cannot feign ignorance of the matter as she was copied in on ALL of the correspondence to Mr. Lewis.

The rationale that they are trying to use is that he won and the PNP won, so what is the big deal? According to US Vice President Joe Biden: “it is a BIG F…ING DEAL”!  Just look at what happened in the 2016 Elections, Hon. Misick beat out Mr. Robbie Been Jnr by only 21 votes for the fifth spot. Therefore, 82 votes is indeed a very a big f…ing deal!”

At this point, the elder Robinson shared that the matter has gone to the Governor as the Elections Office falls within his remit. 

The Elections Office has not replied to Magnetic Media questions on the matter. 

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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COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development

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#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – The Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, the Honourable Akierra Mary Deanne Missick and the Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development team are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID WORKS Programme, that went live on September 1, 2021.

The Programme seeks to support many who have lost jobs and livelihoods, while providing labour intensive work for economic exchange opportunities for persons to be engaged.

Works are set out in three (3) levels and comprise a variety of categories example, cleaning, road works, demolition and general construction to name a few.

Level 1 – value $1,500 – $9,999

Level 2 – value $10,000 – $39,999

Level 3 – value $40,000 – $70,000

Turks and Caicos Islanders with valid business licenses are also being encouraged to submit proposals to the Public Works Department for consideration for works throughout the islands. 

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Hon. Missick said, “We are very much mindful of the impact that restrictions introduced by Government in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has had on the islands, many continue to experience financial hardship. Whilst, the hospitality and construction sectors in Providenciales have rebounded well, as an Administration, we cannot rest knowing that other industries are still limping along.

As a result, during the remainder of this financial year, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has now launched the COVID Works Programme to provide an opportunity for Petty and Small Contractors to assist the Government in the enhancement of our communities, through programmed works, to the benefit of all of us as residents”.

The Minister went on to note, “This Programme is set to the tune of US$5,000,000.00, and works will be rolled out across the Islands in batches, as we have to ensure that we do not go beyond the allotted expenditure and that financial oversight and transparency are maintained.”

The initial batch of works for South Caicos, which comprised the following, was returned and evaluated on Monday, September 13, 2021 and included:

South Caicos 

Demolition- Queen’s Shed

Demolition- Distribution Concrete Tank

Demolition- Old Clinic Building

Demolition- DECR Building

Demolition- Library Building

Repair of Water Cistern

Works for Grand Turk included:

Grand Turk 

Demolition- Blood Bank Building

Demolition- Geriatric Ward Building

Demolition- Kitchen Building

Demolition- X-ray Building

All returning bids must be sent to the COVID Works email at tcigworks@gov.tc

Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:

Grand Turk: 

Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)

Street Cleaning (All areas)

Providenciales:

Beach cleaning (Areas of Shore Club and Five Cays)

Street Cleaning (All areas)

A number of other works for Middle & North Caicos, as well as Salt Cay will be released shortly. This is a six month program that will spread throughout the TCI and we encourage persons to continue to register via tcigworks@gov.tc or the local Public Works Department and District Commissioners’ offices, to be eligible for this opportunity.

These works will continue on a monthly basis and the programme will come to an end in March 2022.

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BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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