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Minister Connolly Budget Highlights; DMO is ‘no sin’, Zero Arrears in Gaming and Churches to get direct support

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

TOURISM

With a budget of nearly 50 percent higher than the year prior, Minister of Tourism Josephine Connolly, says her ministry has plans in several sectors including Climate Change, Agriculture and Tourism to improve islanders’ lives.

When it comes to the new concept to guide and govern tourism, $1.6 million dollars  has been allocated for the completion of the Destination Management Organization and Tourism Regulatory board in the next year, Connolly said.

The Government is now waiting for consultants to present several documents including the governance structure, the required legislation management plans and all members of current staff will be transferred to  the DMO.

“There is no sin in evaluating what you have to create something even better. The Destination Management Organization and Regulatory Authority will ensure that we are working cooperatively with the private sector in a sustainable and strategic way,” she insisted.

A capacity study is coming, its cost: $100,000 and it will explore how many other carriers the government can allow into Grand Turk for cruising. Governor’s Beach will also be upgraded in anticipation of new cruise lines and the enhancement carries a $240,000 price tag.

GAMING

Minister Connolly described the revenue collections by the Gaming Commission which were 80 per cent higher than expected at 2.8 million ’a major achievement’. It was achieved through the ‘aggressive’ collection of arrears resulting in no outstanding arrears.

RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS

For the Church, $250,000 has been set aside for a Religious Affairs unit. This is in tandem, Connolly said, with  the creation of the Faith Based initiative and Advisory Committee  through which Grant Programs, Food and Shelter Assistance, Social and Youth Programs and subsidies or support  to church schools will be facilitated.

ENVIRONMENT

Connolly promised that the next holding of the TCIs Climate Change Summit will bring larger international and regional crowds.

AGRICULTURE

In the agricultural sector Minister Josephine Connolly said the TCIG would be ‘aggressively’ promoting the industry as well as providing grants for new and current farmers. In order to boost campaigns to enter farming there will be educational campaigns and the allocation for grants will increase from $100,000 to $250,000.

A loan scheme, national nursery and the establishment of school farms are also in the works.

FISHERIES

A fisheries management policy is on the way as well for that industry to the tune of $50,000 and is to be complemented by a ‘Fishing Corp’.  The Fishing Corp will be established by early 2023 to strengthen relations with local fishermen.

International partners have gifted the Turks and Caicos, 77,000 pounds  has been gifted to the TCI from International partners to “enhance marine ecosystems” Connolly said.

By the end of the second quarter of the year there will be new regulations for small crafts including jet skis to promote  safety.

The safety of the environment is also being secured with DECR adding 2 new members to the beach patrol unit, more strict protection of nature reserves will be carried out by the DECR as well with 650 thousand dollars also allocated to the upgrading of beach access points as well as funding two new boats.

The Minister maintained that the many initiatives were for the benefit of the TCI Islanders and the preservation of the islands.

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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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News

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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