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TCI: Sean Astwood resigns as Interim Leader & Deputy Leader of PDM, 100 days on

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Sean Astwood is resigning frontline politics, saying he will step aside as interim leader and deputy leader to allow the People’s Democratic Movement the opportunity to re-invent itself.

“As the PDM continues to reengineer, reimagine, rethink, reboot and reconnect with the wonderful people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I want to assure the Official Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood, the NGC, our various branches, especially the Provo Branch (my home branch), PDMs everywhere and all people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, that I remain committed to the orderly development of our party and country,” said Astwood in a statement issued on Sunday May 30.

The former Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos said he never anticipated rising to such ranks in his early days as a member of the People’s Democratic Movement, but is grateful for his experiences in the political arena.

“As a believer in the Party of JAGS MCCartney I started this political journey nearly two decades ago. Initially, as political neophyte who always assisted people but never contemplated political service. My journey began with great hope and soon what I thought, at the time, was a devastating legal and political defeat. Since then, this journey with its many ups and down has afforded me to raise to the position within the party politically as Interim Leader and from governance standpoint of Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands holding multiple Ministerial posts. This journey has provided me a profound appreciation for the beauty and potential of our country and its people.”

One day from commemorating the impact of the first chief minister and founding father of his party, the People’s Democratic Movement and Rt Most Excellent JAGS McCartney; Sean Astwood has decided that on June 4, 2021 his resignation should take effect.

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“I take pride in my membership of the PDM and the outstanding work we have done; especially in the past term in protecting the environment, positively impacting every constituency throughout our islands, particularly through infrastructural works, and our focus on transforming the way Government does business. I am proud of my service in the various capacities over these many years. I do not claim perfection, but I am resolute in my belief that every single day I got up thinking and doing what I could to provide better for all the people of the TCI; and to protect our country and its environs for those yet unborn. On Monday, May 31st, 2021, our Country will be celebrating JAGS McCartney Day, formerly National Heroes Day. We will be celebrating the father of our Nation and of the PDM. As the JAGS McCartney holiday quickly approaches, the party of JAGS must continue to rebuild,” he penned in the statement.

The People’s Democratic Movement suffered a staggering loss at the polls on February 19; the day after its party leader Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson resigned from the leadership position.  Now, 100 days later so does its deputy and interim leader, Sean Astwood.

“As I step aside as Interim Leader and the position as Deputy Leader of the PDM effective this 4th day of June 2021, I know our party will continue to be strong, and represent the people of these beautiful islands, we call home.”

The party has been silent.  Holding no media conferences or in person sessions with the wider press core since its 14 to 1 defeat in the 2021 General Election.  The PDM lost significant ground; nine seats lured away by the now governing Progressive National Party, even as the PDM held 45 per cent of the vote. 

Sean Astwood’s Five Cays and Chalk Sound constituency was one of the major upsets.  The two-term member of parliament, who had enjoyed huge popularity just four years prior, was unseated by Rachel Taylor.

“My undying love for our people, our country and our party, the People’s Democratic Movement, will forever burn. My passion for modernizing our government systems, party, and country, I trust, will continue to be advanced as we grow from strength to strength,” he added a thank you, “I am thankful to God and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands; especially my people of Five Cays, South Dock and Chalk Sound for the wonderful opportunity.”

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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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

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News

Minister Doubles Down on need for Population Plan, says TCIs facing EXTINCTION

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 8, 2022 – After a firestorm of comments from residents across the Turks and Caicos regarding recent announcements that third generation TCI residents would be able to apply for citizenship, Minister of Immigration Arlington Musgrove now doubles down on the need for an intentional population growth or local islanders could go extinct.

He is now summoning patience and clarifying that more than TCI descendants in The Bahamas are being considered in the plan.

Acknowledging the polarizing nature of the announcement Musgrove said, “The simple truth is that the population of our country is growing by leaps and bounds year on year, through accidental status, if you will, work permit holders attaining PRC who are then naturalized as BOTC.  In the same token, Turks and Caicos Islander Status numbers have largely remained flat in comparative periods.”

He said through this type of naturalization the TCI is growing much too fast, at a rate of between four and five percent when the country should be maintaining a steady two percent rate.

“Even if we manage the rate down to two percent, it is projected that by 2040, the population will be near or about 50,000 with tight immigration control measures, but it is still estimated that Turks and Caicos Islanders will only be 15,000 in number, less than a quarter of the population, maximum.”

Describing this as unsustainable he cautioned that TCI citizens could disappear completely in the coming years.  “As a people, based on today’s birth and death records, could be near extinction if certain steps aren’t taken. So, we are looking at how this can be balanced.”

Musgrove reiterated that the new policy is in an effort to ‘strengthen ties with the diaspora and to welcome them as the first option for population expansion for the future.’

The intention is to amend the law to give these grandchildren and great grandchildren the right to become Turks and Caicos Islanders.

He explained that data was currently being collated by the Immigration and Population Council, tasked with developing a policy for the controlled growth of the population.

Any proposals made by the council he said, would be taken to public consultation in time, but something needed to be done immediately.

“As a Government– we are of the view that it is better to increase the number of Turks and Caicos Islanders with descendants of our own flesh and blood in the first instance, and then by other means – be it local child birth to foreign parents, or by grant.”

In the two weeks since the announcement, residents have cited anxiety over criminal records, and the dangers they think may exist from opening the doors to the diaspora.  To those concerns Musgrove said this,  “The Government is not deaf to the concerns of our people.  We understand that there is inherent risk in opening our country to further generations, but we must recognize that there is inherent risk in opening our doors to anybody.”

He made it clear this was open to all third generation TCI Islanders not just Bahamians and promised that immediate Turks and Caicos citizens would not be left out under any circumstances.  He promised more incentives for young people to remain in the TCI ,as well as incentives to encourage childbearing among Turks and Caicos Islanders.

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Caribbean News

Not long now, North Caicos Airport has equipment and staff says Minister

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 8, 2022 – Long awaited upgrades are finally being put into the North Caicos airport starting with a new terminal according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services who confirmed staff and equipment for the facility.

The Minister, who also oversees airports and sea ports, made the announcement at a November 29th town hall meeting in North Caicos, prompted by questions from residents.

“We’re sending out an IFP this week or early next week for the demolition and construction of a new terminal building.”

The minister explained that they had already acquired a firetruck and security guards were in the works for the new airport.  In addition air traffic controllers are being trained and firefighters were being secured as well.  He maintained this wouldn’t just be a government only airport as they were sending out multiple Invitations for Proposal.

“It’s not only the terminal building, there’s going to be an IFP for a Fixed Base Operator.  The FBO is going to be privately owned, customs and Immigration will be there from the government.”

In terms of how long it would all take Musgrove, who is the Member of Parliament for the twin island district said this, “We’ll start next year for the FBO but the small terminal building, as soon as we get the tender ready that’s gonna start.”

The minister also mentioned the new developments for Dellis Cay,  which he hoped would push traveller traffic on the islands.

 

Photo credit North Caicos airport:

PHOTO BY VISIT TURKS & CAICOS 

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