By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – There will be no tendering of his resignation, says Governor Nigel Dakin who rejected the demands unequivocally on Monday during what was only his second ever address to the House of Assembly.
In the previous week as murders spiraled and the third double homicide in as many weeks was recorded, several individuals including McAllister Hanchell, former cabinet minister; former premiers: Michael Misick and Galmo Williams; Oswald Skippings, former chief minister along with the current Opposition Leader, Edwin Astwood all publicly called for the Governor’s resignation.
“Some who have called for my resignation have no personal credibility to make such demands and if it were just them they would not warrant serious attention but there are those who do have credibility,” Dakin said in response.
He maintained that he was not responding to those ‘grandstanding on a platform’ or even the media but to the elected representatives and by extension the nation. The Governor mentioned the Leader of the Opposition as a part of those who he both respected and liked and who deserved a response along with the people he served.
And the response?
“There are too many external factors and too many historical reasons that are entirely out of my control that influence levels of crime so the level of crime is not a metric that on its own I would resign over. This metric may well be a reason to work ever harder but not to give up.” He said firmly.
In fact Nigel Dakin maintained there were only three reasons he would ever resign:
- If it became clear that the Premier and himself could not work as a team because of a fundamental disagreement over national security policy.
- If his personal ability through exhaustion, illness or debilitating effects of criticism made his performance sub optimal and,
- An inability to secure for the Turks and Caicos support it needs from the UK or other external sources
He said none of these factors were applicable to the current situation as not only was he working well with Premier Washington Misick on the issue of national security, he thrived in adversity, and by his record, he said, had secured much needed help for the TCI repeatedly.
Dakin made it clear that to abruptly leave his post in the TCI to a new ‘unaware’ Governor now, for personal reasons, would be reckless. And he said “I am not reckless” With this in mind he maintained, “In consultation with the Premier and the UK, I can assure the House that it is my intention to stay and I will not be leaving before March 2023.”
He also responded to calls for Police Commissioner Trevor Botting’s resignation by saying, “The police commissioner has led during this period with distinction and personal courage. He currently has the hardest job in the territory—. While some honorable members of the house have called for his resignation and given the amount of pressure he is under I’m sure he considers it every day. I would not accept his resignation if offered because just now it would help the gangs and not the territory.”
Thus both Dakin and Botting will seemingly remain in their positions.
Trevor Botting joined the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands police in 2017, as deputy commissioner and was elevated to Police Commissioner in July 2019; Nigel Dakin also took office as TCI Governor in July 2019; one of his first acts of duty was swearing in the Botting.
This past July, Trevor Botting was given a one year extension as head of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
Grants for farmers
#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony. For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.
This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment
In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support
- Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
- New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
- Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD
To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.
Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.
Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.
My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.
Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
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