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Response to Premier’s National Address 26.09.22

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#TurksandCaicos, September 27, 2022 – As I address you today, and after listening to, and watching the Hon. Premier’s National Address, I am feeling no safer or more assured than I was earlier this week. My heart is aching to see what is taking place in our beloved country, and it bleeds for the many men, and woman, we have lost as a nation. Many of whom were productive and contributed to the development of our nation. The attack on our men is condemned in the highest order and must be addressed with the fierce urgency of now.

The hon. Premier gave a good reading presentation of things to come, but we need action like yesterday. While good, the country and our people can not wait three months for reinforcements to come, or for laws to be amended in the House of Assembly. The “Bad Guys” are not going on vacation until December, or until the reinforcements reach. They are out every day looking to gun down their targets.

We needed solutions for tonight, and the immediate days to come. We cannot risk more of our people dying. We the public do not need the tactical details, bet we need to be assured that new forms of actions and new strategies are being executed immediately.

Regarding those who are responsible for law and order:

The buck stops with H.E the Governor, who is given this responsibility under our failing constitution, the Hon. Premier, and the Commissioner of Police. We sat, heard, and watched H. E the Governor, and the Hon. Premier go to bat to defend and save the Commissioner of Police and continue to throw in the people’s faces, that the Commissioner of Police has their full confidence.

We have also heard recently that same tune being adopted by the other elected leader of our country who seems to forget that their 14 Members of Parliament team were elected to stand up for the people of this country, regardless that standing up includes calling out to the Governor and the Commissioner of Police when the public is of the opinion that they are not performing well in their constitutional capacity.

This is not a personal attack on any of the gentlemen (Governor, Premier, Commissioner) it is an attack on their performance. I am merely representing the views of many of our citizens throughout the TCI. All one has to do is talk to random people, and 3 out of every 4 would state the same.

With the constant public sentiments being expressed by the Governor and the Premier about their utmost confidence in the commissioner of Police, it is no wonder why COP Botting can tell the people of our country, that firing him will not stop the crime, and will not change anything. I was very much taken aback by hearing this. The arrogance of this statement almost seems as if he is insinuating that there is no new nor better idea, strategy, method, or leadership style that any other Commissioner could bring to the job.

Evidence would show that from the time representation was made to the British Government to dismiss our last local Commissioner Edward Hall under the pretense of retirement, our country has been going on a downward spiral under foreign Police Commissioners at the helm. This is a clear indication that the foreign Commissioner is not the answer to our problems.

If the heads are not producing results, then remove the head and start fresh. That is how it is in my world, if one does not perform you, the people will remove you- democracy at its best. I will continue to voice the people’s displease with the performance of the Governor, Premier, and Commissioner of Police when it comes to fighting crime.

Before tonight, ears have not heard nor eyes have not seen any action from the country’s PNP Government, save and except a few mealy mouth press releases that are devoid of any immediate solutions. Where are the elected members for these “hotspot” constituencies?

It has also been brought to my attention that there have been PNP MPs postings, in a very juvenile manner, as if they are playing the game of jeopardy asking Alex silly questions about what is lockdown and 500 soldiers. The crime wave is serious business and must be approached with the seriousness it demands.

As Opposition Leader, my team and I don’t play this kind of silly childing games with the lives of the People of our country, and neither do we recommend these kinds of games being played with the livelihood of our people-

To slam our country in lockdown or a state of emergency will signal to the outer world that they should not come to TCI and spend their Tourism dollars with us this season. This is a harmful suggestion that does not mirror a realistic solution to address the crime. This would further hurt already hurting families who are struggling with the current cost of living.

A PDM government, under my leadership, would respond as follows (and is recommended):

  1. Immediate stationing of Police Tactical Teams with contracted assistance in the hot spot areas of Providenciales.
  2. Conduct immediate tactical and covert operations in hot spot areas (not to be specified here)- which should have happened directly after the first homicide.
  3. Dispense with the Helicopter which has only acted as an alarm to notify the criminals of areas of operations, incorporate more unmarked vehicles in operations, and have police presence regularly in our communities, protecting our citizens.
  4. Implement the use of cellphone jammers for that window of time when and where tactical operations are in motion.
  5. Implement a Shot-spotter system that can provide immediate alarms and data of the exact location where gunshots were fired to the tactical team already stationed in the hotspots.
  6. Establish an internal affairs unit, and commence seizing the cell phones of police officers suspected of leaking information immediately -the general public feels that there is no confidentiality in the police force and the leaking of information has to be stamped out.
  7. Provide immediate financing to upgrade the weaponry and body armor of the RTCIPF.

Additional Long-term actions (Human Resources);

  1. Provide for an increase in Police salaries by 40% and in certain instances in line with modern police forces around the world.
  2. Mass recruit of Turks and Caicos Islanders into the force, and Implement a Fast-Track leadership program for Police Officers whereby they are exchange programs with the regional and international police forces, to gain the required knowledge, skills, and experience, and allow local TCI officers to interview for the job of Commissioner of Police.
  3. Putting in place a coastguard unit with 24-hour patrolling- for intercepting both weapons and human smuggling.

My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, if we can implement these 10 points immediately, I can assure you that it will decrease violent crime, and will bring TCI back to the peaceful country we all know and love.

“The Leaders in the good times must be the leaders in the bad times, the leaders of the day have to be the leaders of the night.”

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Caribbean News

TCI Sport delegation visits the Cayman Islands and Barbados with key sport leaders

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TCI Sports Commission delegation traveled to the Cayman Islands and Barbados to visit with key Sport leaders. The TCI delegation included the Sports Commission Director, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, Deputy Director, Mr. Alvin Parker, and Facility Manager for Providenciales, Mr. Darian Forbes. The aim of the travel was to visit major facilities, with priorities being pool facilities, and discuss sport development strategies.

The team had the pleasure of being hosted by the Deputy Chief Officer for Sport, Dr. Dalton Walter, and the Director of Sports, Mr. Kurt Hyde in the Cayman Islands; who facilitated the facility tours and shared valuable information on Sports Development. Meetings were held with Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Joan West and Technical Director for the Cayman Islands Aquatics Sport Association, Mr. Jacky Pellerin, on the Cayman Islands’ new 50-meter and 25 meter 10 lanes Mrytha pool facility, as well as with Ms. Shakeina Bush from the National Olympic Office on National Federation development and funding opportunities. The Sports Commission delegation was also grateful for the courtesy call with the Minister of Sport for the Cayman Islands, Hon. Isaac Rankine, and the Chief Officer Ms. Teresa Echenique.

During the Barbados leg of the exploratory travel, the Sports Commission team was hosted by the Director of the National Sports Council, Mr. Neil Murrell, and the Assistant Director of Sports, Mr. Ryan Toppin. The TCI team toured the National Sport Council facilities and visited the Barbados National Olympic Association. Significant to the TCI’s plan to develop an aquatic center, the TCI Sports Commission visited the Barbados Aquatic Sport Association and met with former National Olympic Academy Director, Mr. Dave Farmer, and the President and Second Vice President of the Barbados Swim Association, Mr. Robert Armstrong and Mr. Nicholas Mathis. Insights were shared regarding swimming pool design, development and maintenance as well as pool programming strategies to ensure the growth and sustainability of swimming in the islands.

The TCI delegation also visited other stadium facilities such as Track and Field, Football and Cricket, and other major facilities in Basketball and Boxing. The TCI Sport Commission officials had great discussions with both the Cayman Islands and Barbados sports officials surrounding the development of coaches, athlete development pathways, and strengthening relationships with National Sport Governing Bodies.

Director of Sports, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, said, “We were very grateful for the hospitality and support extended by our Caribbean colleagues. Their support affirmed the commitment and unity among the Caribbean community to develop sports in the region.”

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Bahamas News

PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman

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By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis


NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Health

Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected

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World Food Safety Day 2024

 

Foodborne diseases (FBDs) remain a public health concern in the Caribbean and across the world, with one in 10 people worldwide falling ill from contaminated food each year[1]. Increasing numbers of FBD cases and outbreaks have been reported across CARPHA Members States (CMS), especially in the tourism and cruise ship industry.  FBDs can cause morbidity, mortality, and economic burden of countries; it can also pose significant economic, social, and reputational impact on trade and tourism.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) joins the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) to commemorate World Food Safety Day on June 7th.  The theme for 2024 “Food safety: prepare for the unexpected” reiterates that food safety is a collective responsibility, and everyone needs to play their part.  

 At all levels, we must be prepared to intervene if food safety is compromised, such as:

  • Governments can update national food safety emergency response plans, strengthen national food control systems, increase surveillance and coordination capacities, and improve communication.
  • Food businesses can improve food safety management plans, collaborate, and share lessons learnt and improve communication with consumers.
  • Consumers can ensure they know how to report or respond to a food safety incident.

Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division at CARPHA stated that “Food safety is crucial for supporting economic productivity in the tourism dependent, vastly culinary diverse Caribbean region.   CARPHA is contributing to regional food security through improving food borne diseases surveillance and food safety in its 26 Member States.”

In a 2021 WHO study, the incidence of FBD was 1 in 11 during the mass gathering events, such as cricket matches, carnival, food festivals, etc.[2] With this in mind and as the Caribbean is hosting the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (May/June 2024), CARPHA continues to be proactive and lead the regional public health response.  The Agency has collaborated with both health and tourism stakeholders of the six Caribbean Cricket World Cup (CWC) host nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago) to strengthen surveillance, early warning and response, laboratory, health, prevention and control and food safety capacity in preparation for CWC and other mass gathering events.

During this preparatory phase from February to May 2024, almost 900 food vendors likely to be selling food at the cricket stadiums/and its environs, were trained in Food Safety for Food Handlers for Mass Gathering Events. Additionally, a Mass Gathering Surveillance System was developed and implemented to capture the six internationally recognised potential syndromes, which includes gastroenteritis.

To adequately address FBD and food safety in the Caribbean, CARPHA is implementing an integrated foodborne diseases program, integrating the epidemiological, laboratory, environmental and veterinary aspects of FBD surveillance and response, into a coordinated programmatic approach, regionally and nationally. Its components of surveillance, training, capacity building, outbreak investigation, research, preparation and control, are addressing FBD in a wholistic manner to promote food safety in the Region. CARPHA has also trained and certified over 500 persons in nine of its Member States in advanced food safety and has developed a suite of hospitality, health, food safety and environmental standards, to provide a basis for the development of an effective food safety program for the hospitality industry.

CARPHA remains committed to working with partners and Member States to strengthen regional food safety through multi-sectoral collaboration, capacity building activities, exchange of information and communication.

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