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TCI: H.E. Governor Nigel Dakin’s Remarks Queen’s Birthday Parade

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#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2021 – “Turks and Caicos and a particular welcome to all on this parade. Let me compliment you on your turnout, your foot and rifle drill and your bearing.

It is the 95th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In our national Anthem we sing “Long to Reign Over Us” and she most certainly has. She is the longest-reigning monarch in English History, surpassing the reign of Queen Victoria six years ago.

In those 95 years of life she has been our Monarch for 69 of them. She has been on the throne during the time in office of 14 British Prime Ministers and 14 US Presidents, the first being Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Harry S Truman respectively. A remarkable record of Service and of experience.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that we link this Parade with the notion of ‘service’, and also longevity of ‘service’. Service as personified by those stood before me today, who I have had the privilege to inspect, and who stand before our nation. As all of us here thank Her Majesty for Her Service to us, I, on Her Majesty’s behalf, and on behalf of the people of this Territory, thank you for your service to the People of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This year thirteen have 30 years of service, two have 25 years of service and twenty eight have 18 years of service. This year they come from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, Her Majesty’s Prison, the Customs Department and Immigration Department. They of course share in common the concept of ‘enforcement’.

Enforcement takes skill and judgement and of course physical and moral courage. Wield your powers in to draconian a way and in the end there is a loss of public consent. Wield them too lightly, and there is a loss of respect not just for you, as an individual, but for the very law itself and at that point society starts to unravel. You carry a heavier constitutional burden than many understand.

If I may, at this Parade, I wish to particularly offer my thanks and respect to the Prison Service who marched past with pride today. An extraordinary change occurred at the Prison this year and that was due to leadership, teamwork and getting that balance of enforcement in exactly the right place.

To keep you out of the burning sun – and because there was no parade last year so the list is long – I will present medals today only to those Police Officers serving in Grand Turk. For those Police Officers in Providenciales we will present your medals at a Commissioners Parade later in the Summer which will also give the people of Providenciales the opportunity to enjoy the spectacle of the Police Band and your foot and rifle drill.

Moving away from this parade ground for a moment, and on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Birthday, and given the loss she suffered of her consort and most loyal supporter, I would also pay homage to Her late husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his life, he dedicated his time to many issues close to his heart. Two of them are worth dwelling on for a moment.

So first allow me to recognise the young people and their teachers with us today. The late Duke’s mission was to develop and empower young people to realise their potential. There is a moment in every child’s life when that potential is limitless but also their lives require focus and purpose. As a result he founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award. 13 million award journeys; 6 million awards gained; and 120 million hours of voluntary service achieved. One unique international accreditation, reaching 168 countries, over 65 years.

Young people from TCI have received in the past their Silver Awards through regional events and one young woman was presented her Gold Award by the Duke of Edinburgh himself. The Police Cadets, represented here today, and the British West Indies Collegiate, have run program’s to deliver the late Duke’s vision to inspire and invest in our youth, allow them to discover their potential, learn new skills and most important, forge new friendships along the way. This is how self-confidence and self-discipline builds something that our Cadets on parade today exemplify who are a credit to themselves, their parents and the wider community.

The Cadets are not for everyone, I accept, and as the consequences of pandemic subside I hope we might look again at the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme as one of many approaches to developing the child here in TCI. Our own children participated in the scheme, gained much from it, and myself and Mandy stand ready to support and will be looking to re-energise this program during the coming year.

As a former President of the World Wildlife Fund, the late Duke was also personally engaged in wildlife and environmental issues; a theme that runs throughout the entire Royal family. On the occasion of Her Majesty’s Birthday, her son, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has sent out a message to the world drawing attention to the environmental tragedy that is impacting us all.

The protection of our environment against climate change and preserving our natural assets for many generations to come is increasingly seen as a global priority.

Climate change is reaching a tipping point. Humanity’s relationship with our beautiful planet is incredibly precious but endangered. Whilst we retain hope for the future, a degree or two more and we risk losing both our coral reefs and our beaches.

The world organises around a Climate Change Summit this year hosted in the UK. It’s known as COP26. The Overseas Territories have between them extraordinary environments hosting amazing bio-diversity from the Antarctic to the Indian Ocean, to the Mediterranean and the Pacific, and of course closer to home here in the Caribbean.

We in TCI steward, on behalf of the planet, the third largest barrier reef in the world. An extraordinary responsibility and while we are ‘Beautiful by Nature’ we know all too well, that as the seas warm, and as we are at the start of the Hurricane season, we are at the mercy of nature who does not always show us here her ‘beauty’ but also her extraordinary destructive power.

It is entirely in our interests, in TCI, to stop sea temperatures rising, and sea levels rising, and so let us all play our part – small as it may seem – and protect our marine life; our crystal clear waters; our beautiful beaches; and the mangrove and vegetation that surrounds us through local initiatives to reduce waste and fossil fuel energy consumption in our beautiful by nature islands.

Forty Six Thousand people cannot change the world alone, because it will take a global effort, but as a small island state who bears the full brunt of nature’s capriciousness we should provide leadership to the world in all that we do.

I end on welcoming, for the first time, the newest addition of those who serve TCI to this parade ground, if not this parade. You will see members of the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment stood near to myself and the Premier today. This small contingent, who form the regular nucleus of our Regiment, will be joined next month by our own newly recruited reserve Marines who will undergo basic training run right here in TCI by the British Army, in July.

Next year, the TCI Regiment, seasoned through their first Hurricane Season and having been operational in support of our Maritime Police, and twinned with one of the British Army’s most prestigious Regiment’s ‘The Rifles’, will be stood on this Parade Ground joining you – the remarkable people of TCI who put yourselves before others in service of our Territory. That will be a remarkable Parade and, God willing, I intend to be here, to take that salute.

So may God Bless Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. May God bless the Turks and Caicos Islands. May God bless all those before me and everything you represent in terms of serving our people, following the example that Her Majesty herself has set over an extraordinary life. ‘Long May She Reign Over us. God Save the Queen’.

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Opposition Leader strong admonition to New RBC Manager

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – The Opposition has proposed to the new Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), that the institution open new branches in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), with services that can lead to financial inclusion.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Edwin Astwood says while the Managing Director has his welcome to the TCI, he said a meeting she had with significant Government officials, has been keenly noted, especially for RBC’s involvement in funding key Government projects, and for “talks to progress further than this, I believe the discussion on Financial Inclusion must take place.

“Providing much-needed access to banking services to individuals and businesses in our underserved communities. This can help improve financial literacy and access to financial products for the family islands population outside of Providenciales,” the Opposition Leader said in a statement.

He added that a discussion on Supporting Economic Development, must also be on the table, as a “caring Government” would have been soliciting the respective bank for more access to capital for the people on TCI-owned businesses, stressing that the Opposition is cognizant of the fact that by offering small to medium-sized business loans, banks can support entrepreneurship and economic development in communities throughout the TCI.

Further, he said access to capital is crucial for small businesses to start and grow, and by providing loans, banks can help stimulate local economic activity and job creation, underscoring that when banks invest in rural districts through branches and business loans, they contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the community.

“Small businesses are often the backbone of rural economies, and by supporting them, banks can help these communities thrive. I believe that banks doing business should be concerned about Building Customer Relationships. Opening branches in our family islands and underserved communities of Providenciales and providing business loans can help banks build long-term relationships with customers,” he said

He argued that by being present in the community and supporting local businesses, banks can establish trust and loyalty among residents, which can lead to increased customer retention and satisfaction.

Mr. Astwood in his strident statement, said citizens deserve better from banking institutions, and the people of Providenciales where the banks are located deserve better, and “our people in the family islands deserve better, therefore the TCI deserves better, and that is a PDM Government who will work to foster a healthy and inclusive financial system that includes serving the interests of all our people in all our islands,” he said.

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Norman B Saunders Airport Opens, opportunities touted by Gov’t

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – Employment and business opportunities are now looming in the South Caicos, and Government officials are urging young people, along with entrepreneurs to prepare themselves and maximise the openings.

Speaking at the renaming of the of South Caicos Airport to the Norman B. Saunders Snr. International Airport, Deputy Governor, Hon. Anya Williams said the Government is diversifying the economy, and expanding tourism to all the outer islands.

“You have to be part of that. For this airport to operate as an international airport, we need additional staff. We will need immigration officers, custom officers, fire officers, and we will need other staff,” the Deputy Governor said.

She added that the Government is providing small grants, assistance in preparing business plans, and technical advice for the setting up of “your businesses. Prepare to come back home because your island will need you,” she told her audience.

The Deputy Governor noted that having had the opportunity to work with Mr. Saunders, she found him to be a great “encourager, and someone who is so smart and articulate,” and always take the opportunity to “grant wisdom” to others, and “I developed so much respect” for the former Parliamentarian, she said.

For Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, the new airport is a catalyst for progress, as the Government has signed an agreement with American Airline, while major resorts are entering the area, and “plans are afoot to have an activity here, that you have never seen before in South Caicos,” he said.

Declaring that young people should “get ready,” the Premier said, “this is your moment, so, South Caicos, I want you to appreciate what you see here, I want you to treat it properly and well, and all of you, young people should strive to leave a positive legacy,” as Mr. Saunders has done, he said.

Mr. Misick also said Mr. Saunders who became Chief Minister of the Turks Caicos Islands (TCI), from 1980-1985, with responsibility, among other things, as well as  Immigration, Fisheries, Civil Aviation, went “above and beyond the call of duty,” in the performance of his duties, and “we are all better for it. Naming this airport in his honour, is only a very small token” of the recognition he should be given, the Premier said.

In his response, Mr. Saunders said he enjoyed all the moments in public live, and “we believe that South Caicos will be the next big spot, and area for tourism. I trust that this place will be the gateway to other islands, and I am confident that everything I did, was for the benefit of this country,” he said.

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A King and High Level Speakers open SIDS Conference in Antigua & Barbuda

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#Antigua, May 29, 2024 – The Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda is hosting the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which seeks to build resilience, and find solutions to the pressing challenges of debt burden, and to achieve sustainable development goals.

Opened on Monday, in St. Johns, under the theme, “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity,” the Conference which run from May 27 to 30, had addresses from 33 countries, where speakers pressed the need for actions on financing for Climate emergency, and crises such as spiraling debt, and health challenges.

Speaking via video link, King Charles III, said island nations are leading the way in confronting Climate Change, protecting biodiversity, and stewarding the global Ocean, while pointing out that there is potential for large investors to contribute to Climate financing, and the benefits of collaboration among SIDS. The King also called for “bold action” and said “your future is our future.”

Host Prime Minister, Gaston Browne told his audience that SIDS face unprecedented global challenges, that they did not create, and “large-scale polluters” bear responsibility for compensation, as he called for ending fossil subsidies.

The Prime Minister also called for   the establishment of the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS) and the recent unanimous advisory opinion from the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which affirmed the legal duty of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to mitigate Climate impacts to protect the marine environment.

In the Caribbean region, PM Browne has been at the forefront of advocacy to develop a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index that truly reflects SIDS needs for development finance, and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados has spearheaded the Bridgetown Initiative to transform lending and provide inclusive, resilient finance to countries facing Climate crises.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis urged the SIDS Conference to support a new global tax treaty to be negotiated and for financial flows to be regulated to ease the crippling debt burden impeding many SIDS from fully developing their potential.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres aid SIDS stands as a test case for Climate and financial justice, and called on all countries to align with the 1.5°C Climate targets, and for Climate finance to double by 2025, and for significant contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund. “SIDS can make an almighty noise together to deliver meaningful change to benefit the whole of humankind,” he said.

Many SIDS remain dependent on imported fossil fuels, curtailing both their environmental and economic efforts. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), some SIDS would need an investment of around US $5.9 billion annually to achieve their renewable energy targets by 2030 and reduce their fossil-fuel dependency.

The COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing fragilities and triggered the most acute economic contraction across SIDS, increasing their debt burden and depleting resources. Over 40 per cent of SIDS are now on the edge of or are already grappling with unsustainable levels of debt. Between 2000 and 2019, the external debt of SIDS rose by 24 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The total public debt for SIDS now stands at approximately US $82 billion dollars.

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