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Indian High Commissioner visits Turks & Caicos with praises and encouragements for the local Indian Community

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 17, 2022 – Indian High Commissioner, to Jamaica H.E. Mr. Masakui Rungsung visited the Turks and Caicos on June 5th and had encouraging words for the Indian community in the islands.

Rungsung who serves as the High Commissioner to Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands met with the small but vibrant Indian community in the TCI which numbers about 250 people.

He restated his country’s commitment to its diaspora, stressing that if the Indian community in the TCI needed anything they only had to communicate it.

“My officers will definitely call you back, or drop in a message, we might be engaged somewhere else or because of the time difference; but if you drop in a message we’ll definitely call you back.”

He assured them that they were important, noting that when they did well overseas it was not brain drain but ‘brain gain.’

He also said that the small community had to treat each other well and remain tight knit, encouraging them to form an association, register at the High Commission’s website and even create a WhatsApp group for expeditious replies and stronger relationships.

The Ambassador, who also facilitated a mix and mingle at the Palms Resort was also welcomed to the country by Hon Otis Morris, Home Affairs minister and Hon E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The meeting with the Indian community preceded a meeting with TCI Premier, Hon Washington Misick which was also scheduled for the three-day visit.

H.E. Rungsung, who was accompanied by his wife and other staff from the High Commission’s office, maintained that there must be duality in Indian members of the TCI family.

“You come from India and your roots are there. You preserve those traditions but adapt and live with the people where you have settled down,” he said.

In an exclusive with Magnetic Media, the High Commissioner divulged that the recent official visit of the Ram Nath Kovind, President of the Republic of India to Jamaica was a signal for the entire region.

“There is a commitment from the government of India towards the small island countries. It is important for us to partner with the smaller countries on disaster management because of climate change and several other issues…We are committed to partnering with this region.”

Referencing India’s willingness to share vaccines in the Covid-19 pandemic as an example, he described the Caribbean and India as a family,

“Unless we can save all the family members then the family cannot be saved.  Whenever there are issues in a country we are happy to donate, we’ll reach out to all countries including this one,” he explained.

While there was no monetary investment in the cards for the Turks and Caicos, Rungsung said, “I think we’ll always find a way depending on what the requirements of this island are to see what kind of assistance we can give.”

In the meantime he informed of training programs fully sponsored by the Indian Government and during  discussions with the premier, the Indian High Commission said he would encourage the TCI government make them available to Islanders.

Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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