CARICOM, September 13, 2021 – Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Africa have committed to strengthen collaboration and unity and to foster increased trade, investment and people-to-people engagement between the two regions.
The commitment was given during the historic First CARICOM-Africa Summit hosted by Kenya and held virtually on 7 September 2021. His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, Chair of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) presided over the Summit which was attended by Heads of State and Government as well as Heads of Regional Integration Secretariats and Institutions of CARICOM and Africa.
Speakers at the Summit noted its historic nature and that African and Caribbean cultural and political ties run deep based on a shared history, culture, as well as a sense of a common identity. They cited common historical experiences which inspired the Pan-African Movement championed by the Africans and the diaspora and which established the foundations of a rich and vibrant African-Caribbean relationship. The Leaders expressed the view that they were obligated to build on that vision. It was also noted that this First Summit was being held during the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent.
Key areas of possible co-operation and collaboration were identified by both parties. In his statement during the opening session, Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM proposed that September 7th be celebrated as “Africa-CARICOM Day” with a Summit held annually on that date. He also proposed the creation of a Forum of African and Caribbean Territories and States (FACTS), the codifying of a Founding Charter and a Memorandum of Operation of the Forum, a multi-lateral air services agreement, and an investment protection and a double taxation agreement between African and CARICOM states.
President Kenyatta, in his statement at the Opening cited the blue economy, climate change, health and Covid-19, debt sustainability and technology as areas on which the Regions could work together.
In the discussions, the Leaders stressed the importance of exploiting the Blue Economy to boost growth and development. They also committed to foster increased trade and investment through specific agreements and the enhancement of transportation links between the two regions. This could include the removal of the requirement for visas by nationals of CARICOM and African nations.
The Leaders indicated support for the establishment of a CARICOM/Africa public-private partnership dedicated to mobilizing resources and deploying them in critical cutting-edge projects including renewable energy, the creative industries and digital technology. They called for the establishment of a joint CARICOM/AU electronic mass media platform or mechanism to facilitate the flow of news, information and artistic programming between CARICOM and Africa. On the institutional front, they proposed the establishment of an African-Caribbean Forum and the drafting of an Africa-Caribbean Charter and memorandum of understanding to underpin the relationship.
The Heads of State and Government expressed concern about the mutation and spread of the Covid-19 Virus and its effects on the health of the people as well as on the health infrastructure. In that regard, they called for increased access to vaccines and for the building of manufacturing capacity to produce vaccines in Africa and CARICOM enabled by a waiver of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. The contribution of the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) in making vaccines available to CARICOM was lauded.
The existential threat posed by climate change was acknowledged and there was agreement on the need for the global community to act towards curtailing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. They supported a joint approach to the negotiations at COP26 to be held in the United Kingdom in November.
There was strong support for multilateralism and the strengthening and reform of multilateral institutions to become more inclusive to reflect the post-colonial world. The Leaders reiterated their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. While welcoming the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, they emphasised the need for debt relief.
They also called for an end to the illegal and unjust economic embargo against Cuba and to the sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The Heads of State and Government agreed to participate fully in the High Level meeting of the UN General Assembly later this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, and to jointly use that event to advance the claim for reparations within the processes of the United Nations.
The Summit ended with a mandate for the institutionalisation of co-operation between the CARICOM Secretariat and the African Union Commission.
North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet
#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.
While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.
He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.
Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.
“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.
Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.
Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”
Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime. People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.
There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B. Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.
Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.
Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder. It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.
“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”
It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.
Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10. Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.
Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head. While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.
From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”
Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.
PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years
#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:
“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls. I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.
I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates. I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly. I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.
I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition. The people decide who serves as government. Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.
The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party. My party and I accept that result. We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.
During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history. In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet. It caused generational destruction to our northern islands. Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people. On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.
In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses. We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.
The FNM has a proud legacy. We have governed The Bahamas over four terms. Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without. That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.
That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance. That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure. That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.
Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election. We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.
We did not win this time. But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals. Always put the people first, and be honest in government.
The people have asked us to be the opposition. We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability. We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.
I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life. I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.
And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister. You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people. Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.
You trust in the God who has brought us this far. Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times. Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
BAHAMAS: PM Philip Davis Swearing In Speech
THE HON. PHILIP DAVIS, M.P., QC,
ON THE OCCASION OF
HIS CEREMONIAL SWEARING-IN AS
PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2021
BAHA MAR BALLROOM
Your Excellency, the Governor-General; First
Lady, Ann Marie Davis, Deputy Prime Minister
Elect, I. Chester Cooper and Mrs. Cooper, Honourable and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish to thank the Bahamian people who turned out and voted resoundingly for change.
As I said on Thursday night, you voted with brave hearts, and you voted with hearts full of hope for our country.
It was unfortunate that many Bahamians who wished to participate in this election were not able to do so. It was the first time in modern Bahamian history that so many voters were disenfranchised – and I hope it is the last. The right to vote is the essential right in a democracy.
Our new administration comes into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.
In recent months, as I travelled the length and breadth of our beautiful country, many people shared with me their stories of hardship and need and despair.
Against that backdrop, we face the many crises borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic: tragic numbers of our people are becoming ill and dying; our hospitals in a state of collapse; our doctors and nurses and other frontline workers pleading for support to shore up our healthcare system.
The economy is also in decline, as we face an historically high deficit and debt. The news of the downgrade yesterday underscores the severity of the fiscal crisis and the urgency of moving quickly to address it.
The challenges in education also deeply concern me. Thousands of young Bahamians have missed out on their education during the past few years, first because of the displacement caused by Hurricane Dorian, then because of the way the Covid-19 crisis has been managed. These are indeed big challenges.
Some have questioned why we want to serve when the problems are so difficult. But my team and I offered ourselves for public service precisely because these problems are so difficult – and precisely because we believe that we have the right vision, the right policies, and the right team to take this country forward. We will not fail if we keep the best interests of the Bahamian people as our guiding north star.
As a young boy growing up in Cat Island, I faced many hardships and obstacles. I know what it is to be poor.
As a young man trying to find his first job, I faced doors that seemed always slammed shut. I know what it is to feel disappointment. As a lawyer trying to build a practice, I missed out on many opportunities because I didnt have the right connections.
I know what its like to be on the outside looking in. In my family life, I know the ups and downs of raising children and sending them out into the world. I am determined to take the wisdom gained from these experiences and use it to help others. It is possible to overcome. It is possible to work hard and succeed. It is possible to forgive. And it is possible to bring about the changes you wish to see.
These are the values that will inform my decisions in office. In just under two years time, we will celebrate fifty years of The Bahamas being a fully independent, sovereign nation. We must begin to deliver more purposefully the promise of Independence. Independence is more than freedom from rule by others. It is the defining purpose of our country, which says that every one of us is entitled to reach our fullest potential.
And so each day we will ask ourselves: What can we do to ensure that the aspirations and hopes of the Bahamian people are translated into opportunities and paths to success? Deep in my heart I know that with God, all things are possible”.
If we work together, towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are indeed possible for our country and our people. But no government can do great things on its own. I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people.
We are going to consult widely.
And we are going to bring people together.
That is the best way to make progress as a nation. No leader and no government should be isolated from the people.
I also commit to lifting the veil of secrecy on that which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent, and those who authored them are accountable. We will govern in the interests of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few. We will act in ways that rebuild trust between the government and the Bahamian people. We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that its not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people.
There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together, we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us. It will not happen overnight, but with steady progress, we will get there.
I pray God’s blessings and guidance upon us all, and in the words of St. Francis, “make us instruments of your peace; where there is discord, let me bring union; where there is doubt, let me bring faith; where there is despair, let me bring hope; where there is sadness, let me bring joy.”
I thank God for having blessed us with this beautiful country, and the bountiful birthright which we have inherited.
I thank the many people over the years who have supported me to this moment, where I am able to step into servant leadership for the benefit of the Bahamian people.
I thank my family, especially my wife Ann, and my children, my siblings, Alvin, Don, Craig and Trevor, my one and only sister, Diane, who every day continue to give me so much love and support.
And I thank the Bahamian people who have placed their faith and confidence in me and my team.
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