PNP Government needs to say what led to a $500,000+ financial reward to Complainants and update us on the promise to “Living our best life”
#TurksandCaicos, May 27, 2022 – I don’t know about you, but we the people need to know why over half a million dollars of public funds was awarded to persons who won their claims against the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
These claims were successful that they were poorly, inhumanely or criminally handled by our system. Why haven’t we heard what will be done to avoid any repeat of what went wrong in these matters?
The PNP Government saw and heard the reactions of the people of the TCI, and completely ignored the situation, and decided that once again, it was okay to not give any account to anyone. Not even to you, who voted them in office.
Our leaders must find out what measures can be put in place to avoid constantly losing cases whether it is the criminal court or the civil court. This is like a pest eating away at the harvest we should be enjoying. If improved control and preventative measures are in place and properly followed, of course it is no guarantee for a perfect winning record, but we will stand a better fighting chance at winning or possibly seeing lower claim payouts.
The seriousness and far-reaching consequences not dotting “I”s and not crossing “T”s must be clearly understood by every person employed in the public sector.
This is an age which demands greater levels of transparency, consistent and intelligent communication and the kind of maturity by senior officers of our public offices which can admit wrongs and implement strategies and procedures to right the wrongs as quickly as possible.
Yet, no one is made to account. It continues to be business as usual. Maybe because it is not directly their money and if that is true, then it will make sense for Turks and Caicos Islanders to question whether we have the right stewards over our money.
I don’t know about you, but I found those payouts from the public purse to be jaw-dropping – and I know I am not alone.
Most of us would have heard the new budget address, all we heard was the same surplus talks and millions going into the public purse, but we have yet to see Islanders economically empowered, and amongst other things, our islands continue to struggle with things like better infrastructural development that can transform our communities into areas its residents can be proud of.
Why do we still have unpaved roads in TCI? Why don’t we have more parks for families to take their children or for our people to walk, run and jog? Why don’t we have more pedestrian crossings, sidewalks and speed bumps in our communities? Why aren’t we investing in recreational centres or other familyfriendly options that give our children more to do and to bring out the unique talents in them? Why isn’t more being done to better outfit our surrounding islands?
PNP, pay attention to your people, take a look at the audience you continue to address, they are not the same individuals you begged in the lower income areas for votes. This government’s focus has proven to be on one group of people when it should be country first. A new course of action must be taken to better the lives of your people – ALL of your people.
This beautiful country is in need of radical leaders who will pave a way for generations to come. Leaders with real vision that is not there for a title or to sit on a panel with no insight with what’s really going on in our country.
To the citizens of Turks and Caicos, The People’s Democratic Movement, will be ready to set that new course of action, we will continue to hold those accountable for you.
In closing, as we prepare to remember our only national hero, the Rt Excellent James Alexander George Smith McCartney, a founder of the PDM party, let’s remember his sacrifices and accomplishments for a better standard of living for the people of this country, let’s live in unity and keep the dream alive of our national hero. I stand with you Turks and Caicos to ensure that we ALL are able to have a better future for generation to come.
PDM Deputy Party Leader
Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring
By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.
CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.
“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.
Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”
Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.
“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,” Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.
The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.
The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.
Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.
Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.
As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.
He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”
David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent. By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera. Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.
“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”
Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.
“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.
Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’
There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.
On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.
In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.
“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”
David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.
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