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Opposition Leader questions Governor’s Motive in Appointing Haiti and DR-born Members to HOA; Governor responds

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 11, 2022 – On Thursday, the Leader of the Opposition in the Turks and Caicos Islands rose up with a bold, provocative question and statement challenging the motive and meaning of the Governor’s two appointments to the House of Assembly.

While both Honorable members are more than cable of functioning in the position, and have being given strong representation on national issues, and one is also my cousin; appointments made along these Ethnic lines comes as a slap in the face, not only to myself, but also to the majority of the Turks & Caicos Islanders. The appointment of any member to our House of Assembly, with ethnicity and or place of birth being one of the major factors was completely wrong and perhaps a cause for great concern given our current social context.”

The issue resurfaces after one year and one month of a new make up in the House of Assembly, but emerges following the last debate in parliament where some took exception to statements made by Hon Harold Charles and Governor Nigel Dakin in relation to amendments to the Immigration Ordinance.

In a statement issued following his presentation in the House yesterday, Astwood says:  “The Turks & Caicos Islands is, and has been, a melting pot of nations for a long time and our Caribbean neighbors are certainly represented in our citizen population.  However, this representation has never been called into question until recent times. Particularly, through the intentional appointment of members who the British Government identifies as representing the people in our country that are from Haiti and Dominican Republic.”

Edwin Astwood is speaking of Harold Charles and Willin Belliard, both men are Turks and Caicos Islands citizens but hail originally from the island of Hispaniola, home to the DR and Haiti.  Both were appointed by the Governor who at the time said:  he was constitutionally compelled to ensure shades of opinion were represented in the House with his appointments, he also believed the two men would help relations with the two islands from which they originate.

Today the Governor issued a statement explaining:  “This is an important statement by the Leader of the Opposition and, in terms of its core message, one that I welcome.  Anything that commits to the representation of the views of the many, rather than the few, blind to ethnicity, seems to me a good news story and one I have no doubt he will, as a man of his word, see through in terms of actions, as well as words, within the Legislature.”

He referenced his statement of February 24, 2021:  “…in every conversation I have, I do not know of a senior politician or informed private citizen, who has given this thought, who does not recognize that the question around unity or disunity, inclusion or exclusion, is a pressing issue here in TCI.

People might not agree on how it should be settled, but they do believe it does need to start to be settled. It is though very hard for an elected politician to talk in these terms publicly because of the strength of feeling it generates from those who elect them. So I hope I can play some part in catalyzing and sustaining that debate over the course of this Parliament through those I appoint.

Whatever the solution is, that comes out of that conversation, it will need to be designed and managed by the Turks and Caicos Islanders– whereby – TCI can build an inclusive society particularly for those who were born here, who have yet to properly integrate, but who clearly are part of these Islands future.”

Astwood said he does not believe the singling out of the nations was necessary as Turks and Caicos Islanders, are already a multiplicity of peoples… he said the them and the they within the TCI is already a part of us.

“Why is there a need for such types of ethnic appointments? Are we to expect appointment form the Philippines and Jamaica next? This can only seek to create further polarization of these individual nationalities within our already fragile social fabric. In so doing, divisions will be created and further separation of our people may occur.

When I see Turks and Caicos Islanders, and hear their family name, I see “our people forge and blend with multiplicity, of race and kind and creed and tongue, united by our goals,” as stated so eloquently in our national song, written by Dr. Rev. Conrad Howell. This is the truth about our Turks and Caicos Islands. Therefore, our Caribbean neighbours, and others, are already represented in our House of Assembly, and already represented in top positions of our government. Hence there is absolutely no need to directly focus on appointing members of certain ethnic origin to the House,” said Hon Astwood in his statement.

In the end, the People’s Democratic Movement Party leader expressed that he believes the appointments were designed to divide and not unite the people.

 

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CRIMINAL: Indonesia bans SEX before MARRIAGE; Tourists included 

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Indonesia, December 7, 2022 – Indonesia has made it illegal to have sex outside of marriage following the passing of a controversial new criminal code in Parliament.

The Criminal Code which carries a host of new regulations criminalizes sex between any two people outside of marriage on pain of a year’s imprisonment, including residents, foreign nationals living in Indonesia and even tourists.

The Muslim majority country signed the bill into law on Tuesday December 6th according to state owned media outlet Antara.  It passed unanimously.

The law also applies to adultery and even unmarried couples living together, both now carry jail time.  In addition to that, it places restrictions on speech and religion.

AP news says it carries punishable clauses on blasphemy, deviating from the five recognized religions – Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism – spreading communist messaging and even insulting the president.

Chairman of the House of Representatives, Bambang Wuryanto told Antara it had been perfected through holistic means by accommodating inputs from all members of society.

But after it passed, young people gathered in front of Parliament protesting.

Human rights activists are describing it as a dramatic rollback of individual rights.

Usman Hamid, Amnesty International’s Indonesia Executive Director said,  “What we’re witnessing is a significant blow to Indonesia’s hard-won progress in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms–Outlawing sex outside marriage is a violation to the right to privacy protected under international law.  Such ‘morality’ provisions could even potentially be misused to criminalise victims of sexual assault or to target members of the LGBTI community.”

Indonesia is one of the most popular destination spots in the world and Bali especially has become a world renowned island swarming with tourists from across the globe all year round.

According to Bali Management Villas, in October alone, more than 300,000 tourists visited the island.

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US News Organizations could be barred from Facebook

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, December 7, 2022 – Facebook parent company, Meta is threatening to block US news organizations from its sites after congress tabled a bill that would allow news organizations to have more bargaining power with the company over money made from their content.

The bill in question is the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act introduced to Congress last week. It makes provisions for a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws (which bar some companies from owning daily newspapers and TV Stations and cross ownership).

During this time, print, broadcast, or digital news companies would be able to collectively negotiate with online content distributors including social media companies about the terms on which the news companies’ content may be distributed by online content distributors.

Meta describes the bill as ‘ill considered’ said if Congress passed it they would take immediate action.

“We will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions,” The company said.

Meta says publishers and broadcasters put their content on Facebook unprompted because it brings them traffic and the company benefited little.  “No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue,” it said.

Pew Research says 47 per cent or nearly half of Facebook’s users regularly get news from the site.  The Act which has bi-partisan support has been tabled but not passed by congress, yet.

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: PM Announces New State of Public Emergency

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#Kingston, December 7, 2022 – States of Public Emergency (SOEs) have been declared in several parishes and police divisions islandwide to address an increase in criminal activities and ensure public order.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister this morning (December 6).

The parishes are St. Ann, Clarendon, St. Catherine, specified areas in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover.

Mr. Holness said that the Government, after careful consideration of the recommendations of the security chiefs, decided to advise the Governor General that it was necessary and appropriate to declare the SOEs.

“Since the end of the last SOE, we have seen, unfortunately, an increase in criminal activities in these areas and, indeed, a threat to property and in some instances public disorder,” he said.

He noted that the security measure is also aimed at protecting lives and property during the Christmas period.

“This will be the first Christmas season since the ending of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) [which imposed COVID-19 restrictions] and already we are seeing and projecting an increase in activities, including entertainment and commercial [events].

“We are already seeing a demand, a stretch on the resources, and we have to guarantee our citizens that they will be able to go about their business in a safe and secure manner,” he said.

SOEs were previously imposed in several of the areas on November 15 but ended on November 29 after the resolutions to facilitate the extensions failed to achieve a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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