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“Listen to the people… We are speaking”

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#TurksandCaicos, October 26, 2021 – I have spent the past week listening, observing and discussing with the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, about the proposal of the PNP Government to transition from the TCI Tourist Board to a Destination Management Organization (DMO) and a Tourism Authority.

In reading the statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism and in tuning into the press conference held by the Premier to address the discontent amongst residents about the changes, I have a lot of concern about the manner and timing of such an important decision being made with no justified reason, no ingenious alterative being introduce and no democratic support for his intention.

Without any educational campaign or public meeting to deal with such a huge and long standing change to our indigenous and trusted Tourism Board, the PNP has already closed up their offices abroad. But why were the people of Turks and Caicos not made aware and consulted prior to these changes?

We have a right to understand what the changes mean first, and the public should be given the opportunity to express any concerns before such a major plan is rolled out as final. Consultation is not when you have already made up your mind and presented your ideas to a small audience without getting your public on board. Why were we left out of such an important dialogue? And if we were not invited to the table before it started, how can we believe we will be welcomed there once it is in place?

I am all for progress and promotion of our country, and while the Premier can say that he promoted a Destination Management Organization in his plans to the country, he did not take the time to respectfully tell us that he was planning to shut down the Tourist Board in order to bring about these changes.

Why this surprise approach? Why campaign to give the impression that added support was coming to the body that has led an extremely successful tourism sector for years, when in fact you were planning to dismantle it?

To dismantle the work of the TCI Tourist Board, which has won awards and led the country to many bright moments since it was created, without so much as a proper breakdown of what we are transitioning to is undemocratic and this action needs to be put on pause or stopped.

I support any idea or concept which I believe will bring value to the lives of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. But I cannot support this rushed concept which I believe is a risky gamble with our leading industry. I cannot support the way this idea was introduced to us. I cannot support the lack of transparency and I do not support the seeming view that the TCI Tourist Board is not good enough.

We have enjoyed amazing growth in the tourism sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands and leading that prosperity was the TCI Tourist Board. You have made that admission as well, so if, from your office, you can see what is wrong then I challenge you to fix it, not to break down what we have because the TCI Tourist Board is not broken.

I believe this organization can be re-tooled, better funded, its ordinance updated and its duties broadened.

We know what we have in the TCI Tourist Board, we do not know if the DMO model will work for our country.

I would like to thank the people, who have over the years, staff this organization for an outstanding job of dedication, creativity and patriotism, and all with scarce resources. We can see the worth of the work you have put in over the years.

Honorable Premier, I ask you to slow down this transition.

Give the people who put you in a real opportunity to hear you out on these new changes, but more importantly, give yourself a real opportunity to hear us.

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FLOW CUSTOMERS BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SPEEDS

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New upload speeds to improve online gaming, video conferencing & Online Voice Calls

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, JUNE 24, 2022 – Flow TCI wishes to remind customers of a broadband speed increase to our existing broadband plans, which took effect on April 25th, 2022. An incremental rate increase for the new higher speed plans has taken effect.

The rates were increased by US$4 for the following plans and the download and upload speeds will increase by the following allotments:

All customers will be migrated from all previous fixed broadband plans to the new broadband Fibre to the Home plans. The new speeds will improve the overall broadband experience for all customers for online gaming, voice over IP calling, video conferencing, and social media usage.

For more information on our new Fibre to the Home plans, visit https://discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/broadband-overview for more details.

 

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2022 Hurricane Preparedness Exposition

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“Mission Ready – Pledge to Prepare; Be Smart Take Part”

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 23, 2022 – The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) will be hosting its 3rd Hurricane Preparedness Exposition on 1st July 2022 from 10:00 am at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will feature booths from over twenty-five different agencies, partners and public safety officials this year. The event provides critical stakeholders with roles in disaster management an opportunity to interact with the public, demonstrate their services, and guide individuals and businesses on how they can prepare for this hurricane season.

The goal is to ensure residents are ready should a hurricane impact our region by offering a one-stop shop for the general public to gather helpful information and ask their hurricane and storm-related questions.

We ask all residents to come out and participate in this preparedness event. The event is free, fun and educational with tons of giveaways, including the chance to win a Graceway Smart Supermarket Hurricane Supplies Shopping Spree on 1st July 2022.

This venture also encompasses the principles of Public-Private Partnership, as it demonstrates the Disaster Risk Reduction commitment of the private sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also highlight’s the Public Sector Department’s determination to ensure all major entities are involved in its goal of building a resilient country.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will be on Friday, 1st July 2022, at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. We look forward to your participation.

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Worst time to be a Woman; a Haitian crises

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Magnetic Media 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – I know many of us are frustrated by the reports of illegal vessels breaching our waters, landing on our shores, costing us in repatriation expenses and overwhelming our small states and we’re not wrong to be bent out of shape by it.  However there are many facets to this maddening issue to sound alarms and from what I’m told and because of what I have noticed, the number of women increasingly taking the risk to runaway confirms the heartbreaking truth that abuses of this vulnerable group are escalating in frequency and violence.

A teenager, pregnant jumped from a balcony in Blue Hills (TCI) in desperation to escape pursuing law enforcers; it was dark, she could have died, she was hospitalized then sent back.

Turks and Caicos Police ‘stop & search’ operations are capturing many women; women who are trying to get to a job site in the many illegal jitneys moving around the town.

Sure it is all illegal, however it remains gut wrenching that these skittish ladies would have started the day on the hustle for a little cash only to be caught, with no document affirming legal status breaking the law. They will be deported and life will change, likely for the worse.

Haiti’s instability is driving the exodus of Haitian people.  The plummeting quality of life is pushing the “irregular migrants” as they are labelled to board boats, take to the ocean in pitch black conditions, driven by a desperate home.

Some make it, some do not.

The only death recorded or reported at the TCI detention center in years was this month; it was a Haitian woman. We don’t know what went wrong. But a journey toward a better life ended with the loss of hers.

I come from a set of nations – The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands – which have ensured I have a place.  Whether that’s school or college or a job or as an entrepreneur, room was made for me and laws are in place to enable and empower me. Not only do I have bread to eat, but I get to choose the type of bread I want to eat and can share it.

I am blessed. Truly.

But for my Haitian sisters, when you see their faces and the sadness in their eyes. When the human spirit is so shattered that it creeps into the dankest of places which is utter hopelessness, we should sit up and stand up.  This should capture our attentions.

In fact we should know, that for the hundreds we do encounter, there are countless more out there, unseen and trying to survive without being fortified by a force field of love, rule of law and simple decency.  There are too many more relentlessly buffeted by exploitation and circumstances outside of their control.

I suspect, this is the absolute worst time to be a woman or girl in Haiti. Just the worst.

Whether it is the recent memorial held to remember 11 Haitian women who perished at sea in early May trying to get in, undetected to Puerto Rico or a new and emerging report on describing the sexual abuse of Haitian women working at a factory; given sickening ultimatums:  Sex for their salary; an exploitation which usually draws throngs of people to vociferous protests in more developed countries; to this news however, there is silence and little reaction that we can see.

I declare that these women are significant.  They are valued despite the trials and tribulations of their homeland.  Within this dispensation, a post Black Lives Matter world, the darker complexion of many of their skins no longer means they are disposable.

And united, it means, women wherever we are can link hearts and hands to partake in and contribute to a shared stance of solidarity.  We can do it for the voiceless anywhere we want, we are women and though muted by the many dramas and truamas unfolding in our own lives, communities and countries, we still hear these voices crying and screaming out and we will help.

Just watch and see.  Women of Haiti, help is on the way.

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