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THE PEOPLE’S TERM!

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#TurksandCaicos, June 30, 2021 – Mr. Speaker, having heard the Hon. Premier’ presentation of the 2020/21 Appropriation Bill, I am indeed proud to be a part of this team Of People Centered Government. The desire as expressed by our Premier to move our people from poverty to prosperity is actualized in this budget. And why Mr. Speaker is this so. It is so because people are central to the economic and social development of our country. Mr. Speaker, there is a symbiotic relationship between economic development and social development; the Premier has demonstrated this.

And Mr. Speaker, as I listened attentively to our Hon. Premier, I heard ‘people’ mentioned at least 20 times throughout the presentation. What does this mean Mr. Speaker? It means that the People’s Term is here. It means that this Government led by the Hon. Premier is committed to the words of wisdom found in Proverbs 23:7 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act.” It simply means Mr. Speaker to treat others right.

As I said Mr. Speaker, the Premier has demonstrated that this government is on its mission to do right by our people. Let us for a moment Mr. Speaker look at all the right things that have been done for the people of our country.

A FEW LIST HERE
Mr. Speaker: Our Government Droped a 15 million Stimulus Grant after few days coming yo office. We paid $1000.00 to every TCI & BOTC 18 years and older. More Good News Mr. Speaker, The People now have up to September 1, 2021 to collect their cheques.. WE COME FOR THIS WORK!! PNP.

Mr. Speaker: Our Government approved write-off interest and penalties on Outstanding Contributions for NIB & NHIB up to February 28, 2021.

Mr. Speaker: Our Government approved the waiver of Outstanding Customs Warehouse Rent up to March 31, 2021.

Mr. Speaker: Two weeks in Offic, Our Government removed Import Tariffs from all Essential Supplies used for Sanitation, Hygiene and Safety Purposes, including PPE’s for a period of six months. Starting March 2021 – September 2021.

Mr. Speaker: If You’re A Homemaker, A Farmer, A Doctor, A Taxi Driver, A Fisherman or Hotel.. Our Government Will Not Leave You Behind.

Mr.Speaker: Oh..If You’re A Youth, University Student or Young Business Person in this Country. This Government Will Not Leave You Behind..

Mr. Speaker: This Government in this 2021/22 has made spending on Infrastructure and the Social Development of this Country and PEOPLE TOP PRIORITIES.

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned the symbiotic relationship between social and economic development. Let me turn now to the social and economic aspects in this budget. Mr. Speaker, social development is about improving the well being of every individual in society so they can reach their full potential. 

Ø  It means investing in people; 
Ø  it means giving our people a good sound education where innovation and creativity are nurtured (support this with some numbers from the budget)
Ø  It means releasing our people from the grips of poverty by ensuring the creation of quality jobs that support decent standards of living;
Ø  It means ensuring that our young and innovative population have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs on the path to success and inclusion in the wealth of this country. As our Deputy continue to say, so that they can live their best lives here.

Conclusion 

Mr. Speaker, The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 
“Economic development cannot take a nation forward on its own. We need a society and economy which complement each other. We need to take care of the poor, deprived and left behind sections of society.”

You will find Mr. Speaker representations of this in this budget. Mr. Speaker, this government did not run its campaign on promise. It entered into a binding Social Contract with the people of this country. This budget reflects that commitment. I lend my unwavering support to this budget. 
May God continue to direct and guide the leadership of our dear country and bless this beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands. 

HON.SHAUN DAVID MALCOLM

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Bahamas News

Hurricane Nicole – A symbol of climate injustice

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By Deandre Williamson

Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellow

 

#TheBahamas, November 29, 2022 – With the trauma of Hurricane Dorian still lingering, Abaco and Grand Bahama residents braced for Hurricane Nicole as they experienced another unfair blow of climate injustice.

As sea levels rose, triggering storm surges and flooding, the northwestern islands of The Bahamas were placed under hurricane watch.  For many, this signaled that the fight for climate justice must continue.

Some residents on those islands evacuated their homes and fled to shelters hours before Nicole made landfall in The Bahamas on Nov. 9 as a tropical storm and strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 75 miles per hour.

“The wind was manageable.  It wasn’t as bad as we thought.  In our area we got maybe a limb or so that blew down.  The power was out for a while, but thank God, we made it through it,” Abaco resident Mark Anthony Swain said.

Although the impact of Hurricane Nicole was minimal when compared to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, climate change is the underlying cause of the intensity and frequency of hurricanes in recent years.

When Nicole exited The Bahamas, the “all clear” was given, but the country isn’t clear from future hurricanes and the devastating effects of climate change.

However, it’s clear that The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) need climate justice because they are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible and together bear next to no responsibility for the climate crisis.

While the Government of The Bahamas is fighting for climate justice, residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama are calling for more to be done to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Swain, who also experienced Hurricane Dorian, said the countries that are major contributors of carbon emissions in the atmosphere should do more to assist smaller countries in fighting climate change, so when hurricanes and other natural disasters occur, the smaller countries will be able to maintain themselves.

“I think these other countries that are contributing to the climate challenge that we are facing should be held responsible and accountable in that regard,” Swain added.

China, the United States, Russia, India and Japan are the top five countries with the highest carbon emissions in the world.

Grand Bahama resident Randy Deleveaux, who was on the island during Hurricane Nicole, agrees that more should be done concerning the climate crisis because The Bahamas is in a hurricane zone based on its geographical location.

“We know that every year rain, sun or shine, it appears as if we are going to have a hurricane, whether it’s a major one or not a major one,” Deleveaux said.  “As a matter of fact, even though the ones we consider not major, we still have to take more necessary precautions because Dorian taught us we can’t take nothing for granted.”

Deleveaux suggested that the government should ensure that every household is equipped with storm shutters, floatation devices and life jackets.

“There are so many things that the government can do and persons can do in relation to hurricanes because we always have to prepare,” he added.

“Every time we have a hurricane coming, persons have to run and scrap for plywood to put on their windows.  We need to move from that and be able to properly prepare.

“Look at our coastal erosion and stuff like that because of the hurricanes.  I remember one time you could go on the beaches and see sand, now some of these beaches don’t have no sand like that because of hurricanes and we’re not even looking at the impact that is having on our coastal and marine life. We don’t replace the sand.  There is so much things we can do.”

 

Loss and Damage

But no matter how large or small a hurricane measures on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, there is always loss and damage associated with a storm.

According to Prime Minister of The Bahamas Philip Davis, during the Caribbean Regional Heads of Government Meeting in Preparation for COP27, more than 50 percent of The Bahamas’ outstanding debt can be linked to the impacts of the hurricanes between 2015 and 2019.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in its damage and loss assessments (DaLA) synthesis, noted that The Bahamas has lost more than $4.2 billion over the past seven years as a result of Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma and Dorian.

Abaco and Grand Bahama are still rebuilding from Hurricane Dorian and, although minimal, the damages from Hurricane Nicole are being assessed.

Prime Minister Davis was in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt attending COP27 when Hurricane Nicole passed through the northwestern Bahamas.  At COP27, he called on world leaders to get real about ensuring that loss and damage are compensated for.

“We do not have a significant carbon footprint in the world. Yes, we do have a significant carbon sink in the world.  But yet still, after this hurricane has passed, who’s going to have to pay for the recovery, reconstruction and for normalizing the lives of my people?” Davis said in a video interview.

Climate justice fights for solutions to the climate crisis that would result in reduced emissions and industrialized rich nations sharing the burden of the crisis by helping SIDS handle the severe effects of climate change.

Swain lost his home during Hurricane Dorian and there are others who also lost their homes and some are still living in trailers in Abaco.

Without insurance, Swain is rebuilding his home, but the progress is slow.

He explained that the Disaster Reconstruction Authority and other NGOs promised to help him, but they haven’t delivered on their promises as yet.

“We will, out of pocket, try to do some things to get us along,” Swain said.

Hurricane Dorian caused a housing shortage in Abaco and the demand for a home is great.

According to Swain, because of the demand and desperation to find a home, the rent in Abaco is skyrocketing.

“You can find the average apartment, two bedroom, going for no less than $1,500.  In some instances it’s over $2,000,” he said.

After negotiations and hearing the pleas of Small Island Developing States, COP27 closed with the announcement of a loss and damage fund to compensate countries impacted by climate change. This is a huge step in the fight for climate justice.

 

This story was published with the support of Climate Tracker’s Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship.

 

Deandre Williamson

Journalist

Member, The Bahamas Press Club 2014

 

Caption:  Flooding in Abaco caused by Hurricane Nicole. (Photo/Abaco resident)

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Caribbean News

Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti, November 29, 2022 – The police in Haiti have launched an investigation following the assassination of the director of the National Police Academy, Commissioner Rigaud Harington.

Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.

The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”

Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.

The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.

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Caribbean News

St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#StKittsandNevis, November 29, 2022 – The twin island of St Kitts and Nevis is about to chart its busiest cruise seasons yet as the world’s largest cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante in the country on Thursday, November 24.

About 6,495 guests arrived on the ship, with 2,259 crew members on board.

The oasis class ship was welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, who led a delegation on board last Thursday to host a brief plaque exchange ceremony.

“You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6,988,” the Prime Minister said.

The Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson, said the ship’s visit was a result of the country’s comprehensive negotiations with stakeholders.

“The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion,” Thompson said.

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