#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’.
Blue Hills Man Charged with Manslaughter
#TurksandCaicos, February 8, 2023 – A 48-year-old man has been charged with two counts of manslaughter.
He appeared before a Magistrate on January 30th. Following his court appearance, the matter was committed for sufficiency hearing on April 06th.
Andre was charged in connection with an incident which occurred on December 24th at the Residence Yard, Five Cays.
Two female minors -ages six and seven- died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Press Release: RTCIPF
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
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