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Deputy Governor defends hiring in Public Service

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Recruitment was halted amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic and has since resumed, there are no longer 300 plus job vacancies in the civil service according to Anya Williams, Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who heads the sector for TCIG.

“The Turks and Caicos Government began the financial year with a significant number of vacant posts due to the fact that recruitment for a number of both new and vacant positions was placed on hold last year due to the fact that the government, due to social distancing and other protocols was on work from home, shift and other hybrid work arrangements.”

The Deputy Governor, in response to questions related to concerns about what appeared to be slow progress in government hiring explained the confluence of events which led to so many job openings and millions in allotted salaries going unspent.

“The budget was passed late in the financial year in July 2021, however we have since then advertised over 200 posts with many having already been filled.  Therefore as it stands the current number of vacancies is below the 300 recently quoted.”

While the reveal during debate on a recently passed Budget Supplementary drew criticisms that government hiring is over-selective and shuts out indigenous islanders, the Deputy Governor does not agree.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands Government remains the largest employer of Turks and Caicos Islanders with all positions at the highest level of Permanent and Deputy Secretary strictly reserved for Turks and Caicos Islanders and over 75 per cent of our Head of Department positions held by Turks and Caicos Islanders as well.”

She also expressed that while some positions require higher level learning including professional degrees, the Public Service does not prohibit hiring of high school graduates into the civil service.

“… the civil service does have set criteria for all posts across government, which at some levels does require an Associate, Bachelors or Master’s Degree,” she said.

There was a reminder in the response, that TCIG is supportive of high school graduates improving themselves through higher education.

“This is in line with the country’s mandate to provide affordable and in most cases free access to tertiary level education through the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College for all interested Turks and Caicos Islanders to assist them in better qualifying for not only jobs in the public, but also the private sector.”

Turks and Caicos is short on staff generally however.  Both the public and private sector finds recruitment extremely challenging, which increases the country’s dependence on the expatriate workforce.  Even when TCIG finds a qualified professional, it naturally leaves a void elsewhere and vice versa.

“As recruitment is an ongoing process where positions often fall vacant due to both promotions and departures, we continue to advertise, interview and recruit positions on a continuous basis.

We continue to make a number of promotions across government which you would have seen from our various appointment announcements which we are very proud of.  Of course every promotion then also results in a vacancy in the persons former role which we then need to fill,” shared HE Williams.

It had been reported in the House of Assembly that some $3.5 million was unspent, a savings largely attributed to jobs in the public sector not being filled but the DG assured, there is no waning in momentum when it comes to hiring at the government level.

“We recently carried out interviews for a number of senior management positions across government including at the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Secretary which we intend to announce in the days ahead.

We are committed to continuing to recruit and promote Turks and Caicos Islanders in the public service and we are proud of the work that the civil service has been able to carry out particularly during the pandemic which has been lauded in terms of our COVID-19 response and Reopening Strategy.”

 

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Germany Enter Agreement to Facilitate Direct Airlift

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#TheBahamas, December 4, 2021 – The governments of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and of the Federal Republic of Germany entered into a technical bilateral Heads of Agreement aimed at fostering closer ties between both countries.  A central feature is an Air Traffic Agreement to facilitate direct flights from Germany to The Bahamas, which would in turn facilitate movement of goods and services, ease of direct shipment as opposed to going through a third country, among other things.

The HOA was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.  The Hon Alfred Sears, who served as Acting Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and His Excellency Dr. Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to The Bahamas signed the agreement.  Also present were: Permanent Secretary Reginald Saunders, Ministry of Tourism Investment & Aviation; Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works & Utilities; Bacchus Rolle, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works & Utilities; Melanie Roach, Director of Public Works; and Carl Christian Illing, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bahamas.

Mr. Sears said it was a pleasure both countries entered into such an agreement, which he deemed would bring together, two peoples.

The Bahamas and Germany formed diplomatic ties in 1974 and have enjoyed successes in commercial enterprise, tourism and family ties as many Bahamians live in Germany.

“This relationship has been growing and this (agreement) represents the ease of travel, business and social interaction between our two countries,” Mr. Sears said, adding that Bahamians consume and use German products namely vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other items.

In other areas, Mr. Sears noted that The Bahamas is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world susceptible to effects of global warming. He thanked Germany for its role in the recent COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, during which that country pledged some twenty million Euros for disaster risk reduction initiatives.

He recalled Hurricane Dorian, which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama from September 1-3, 2019 and, as a result, residents in the path experienced storm surges 20 feet high, many lives were lost, clinics, other public buildings and infrastructure were damaged and/or destroyed, and The Bahamas lost a large portion of its GDP.

“The commitment of Germany resonates with us,” Mr. Sears said, “as we rebuild and build the infrastructure stronger.”

The minister shared the possibility of acquiring more vehicles from Germany, targeting more stopover visitors from there with projection of higher spend and enjoyment of more cultural activities.  Permanent Secretary Saunders supported this, by confirming that direct air travel is being facilitated through the agreement.

Ambassador Keil too acknowledged the close relationship between both countries, and that the technical agreement will further strengthen those ties.

 

By Lindsay Thompson

BIS

Photo Caption: Photos show Minister Sears and Ambassador Keil during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities, November 30, 2021.

(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)

 

 

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Caribbean News

DIGICEL+ GIVES CUSTOMERS THE GIFT OF MORE SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS

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The fastest internet just got even faster…for the same great price

 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – 1st, December 2021 –  Digicel+ is gifting The Turks and Caicos Islands faster home fibre speeds for Christmas, and beyond. Fulfilling the brand promise of Simply More (more power, more speed and more reliability), customers will now benefit from up to 2x faster download speeds on broadband and bundle plans.

This is all about a better experience for customers, and not about the cost. This free upgrade gives Digicel+ customers an even better home fibre internet experience, for anyone, on any device. And as part and parcel of the digital lifestyle, Digicel+ is the gateway to a Smart Life, which means that state-of-the-art Smart Solutions like Smart Homes and Smart Security are no longer just concepts, but a powerful reality.

Addison Stoddard CEO of Digicel TCI said, “This Christmas, we’re excited to reward customers with a super slick, superfast, super reliable home fibre experience, underpinned by service delivery that is, of course, second to none. Our entry-level plans are the fastest on the island and this puts us head and shoulders above any other internet offering in the country.”

The upgraded packages now start with download speeds of 50Mbps, and go up to 300Mbps for the speed demons and heavy gamers out there. This allows the Turks and Caicos Islands to connect to the global knowledge economy, have amazing entertainment options, and power their personal and professional experiences, thanks to these new superfast internet speeds.

Addison Stoddard continued, “It’s more of what our customers expect; more of what they want and it’s another way that we can be a part of our customers’ digital lives – at home, on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Simply put, Digicel+ is simply more.”

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the importance of having a steady, powerful and reliable home internet connection, mainly due to many schools going online and parents working remotely. Now, with even faster internet speeds, customers get the best home fibre experience every time. This provides opportunities for MORE working, MORE schooling, MORE gaming, and MORE streaming with Digicel+.

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Bahamas News

Guys, Have 2 Minutes? Here’s How to Check Yourself for Testicular Cancer

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Testicular cancer is a rare form of cancer for men in The Bahamas.  It is highly curable — if you know it’s there!

 

November 30, 2021 – Men…how often do you perform a self-exam to check yourselves for testicular cancer?

While it’s a relatively rare form of cancer, young men aren’t exempt – in fact, testicular cancer occurs most often in young and middle-aged men. The good news is, it can usually be treated successfully.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on your testicle. But that’s not the only sign of this disease.

Men who have testicular cancer may experience several different kinds of symptoms, says oncologist Timothy Gilligan, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic who specializes in treating testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer most frequently strikes men younger than age 44, and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men ages 15 to 34. It is almost always curable if found early, Dr. Gilligan says, and it is usually curable even when at a later stage. So it’s important to know signs and symptoms.

Here, Dr. Gilligan says, are five possible signs of testicular cancer you might not know about:

5 Testicular Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t a Lump  – Know what to look for and catch it early

  1. A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
  2. Change in testicle size or firmness.Certain types of testicular tumors can reduce testosterone or increase estrogen in the body, which can result in a change in testicle size or firmness.
  3. Swollen legs.When a tumor spreads to the lymph node, it can constrict blood flow in the veins and result in a blood clot. The clots often occur in the legs, which causes them to swell. You might even experience blood clot symptoms such as pain and difficulty breathing.
  4. Lower back pain and shortness of breath.These are symptoms of advanced testicular cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind your stomach. Shortness of breath also may signal that the cancer has spread to your lungs, which may make it harder for air to move in and out.
  5. Breast growth or tenderness.In rare cases, hormone changes also can cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue. Some tumors can secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away, Dr. Gilligan says. If your physician diagnoses you with epididymitis or orchitis and the symptoms do not resolve quickly with antibiotics, request an ultrasound to evaluate for a testicular tumor.

“While up to 95 percent of men with testicular cancer are cured, it’s important to get care quickly if you’re experiencing symptoms because testicular cancers usually grow fast,” Dr. Gilligan says. “If there is disease, the earlier it is treated, the greater than chance for success.”

 

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