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House Administration Committee recommends haste for license plates by prisoners



#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Constitutionally charged through Section 64 with ensuring government departments deliver services efficiently to the general public, the Administration Committee of the House of Assembly is activated and turned in a report to parliament which should bring about more proficiency and expediency in several key offices.

From the report, findings revealed proactive interventions and recommendations which are already reaping returns said Alvin Garland, Opposition Appointed member who is Chairman of the Administration Committee.

Garland laid the report on Monday (November 22) and elaborated on its findings.

“The committee was concerned with the joint venture between Citizenship, Naturalization and Customer Service departments,” said the Chairman, who continued with, “It was noted that after the appearance by the Director of Citizenship & Naturalisation and the Registrar General, on the 11 June 2021, the Committee recalled the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs department of citizenship and naturalization in the register general office on 3 August 2021 to conduct a walk-through of the various departments and discovered that there were apparent deficiencies in the various departments after the new system was implemented.

Mr. Speaker, the Committee then informed the Permanent Secretary of its concerns with their findings. That the software shown was not sufficient and was not satisfactory,” said Hon Garland.

A staff training exercise took place in September and daily reports are being produced in an effort to ensure there is close monitoring – by the Administration Committee – for at least the next three months.

“Hence the productivity of the staff has increased and the staff now feels more at ease with the new system.”

Another recommendation was for Road Safety Department to complete by next week, a draft Memorandum of Understanding which will accelerate the plan for license plates to be produced in-country by inmates at the Department of Corrections.

“The Committee encouraged the department of Motor Vehicles on having the policy finalised and presented to Cabinet for final approval to eliminate the challenges experienced in obtaining a drivers license and license plates etc.  Mr. Speaker the Committee recommends that the draft memorandum of understanding be made available by next week to allow prisoners to begin printing license plates. The Superintendent of prisons is tasked with finding individuals who can be trusted.”

It is a solution which should end the issue of license plates being unavailable for months at a time to motorists.  The lag time in vehicle owners receiving license plates has also been categorized as a national security threat.

The Committee, also staffed with John Malcolm, South Caicos Member; Harold Charles, Governor’s Appointed member; Jameka Williams, Government’s Appointed Member and Kyle Knowles, Wheeland district Member, also determined that the deputy director of road safety department position needs to be filled urgently.

“Due to workload of responsibility for the Department of Road Safety, that the positon of Deputy Director – if not filled – needs to be filled urgently and immediately.”

The group put forward that the community cabs program should be broadened to include work permit holders and limit cabs to 10 maximum, per operator.

“The Committee recommends that the regulations as it relates to Community Cabs be amended to allow work permit holders to have drivers’ license of the Community Cabs, the Committee also recommends that person with Community Cabs business license be allowed to have a maximum of ten cars.

While South Caicos was approved for equipment support for water production for its islanders there, Salt Cay was not “at this time”.

It was also determined, Permanent Residency Certificate applicants – at submission – should pay a non-refundable $1,000 deposit, which can be deducted from their final charge if approved for PRC status.

The findings were concluded through sessions spanning June to October and involved department heads and the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation, Broadcasting, Energy & Utilities and Telecommunications Commission.

The report was approved as accepted by House of Assembly members, within the same sitting on Monday November 22, 2021.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Germany Enter Agreement to Facilitate Direct Airlift



#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


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




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



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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