Residents skeptical of new laws to target CRIME; will police gain the freedom to spy on anyone
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, October 12, 2022 – Ten policy changes to bolster law enforcement in the Turks and Caicos were approved at the Cabinet level and the raft of proposed regulations put forth by the National Security Council are aimed at ending a deadly gun rampage in the UK overseas territory; but some wonder if that is the long and short of it.
The changes had been announced by both the Governor and Premier of Turks and Caicos in early September, now, a summary of the October 5 (2022) meeting was on Thursday publicized confirming the dire reforms are pending.
The maneuver will put some fangs on the current legal capability of the Royal TCI Police and has led to 11 bills going to the Turks and Caicos Bar Council for consultation including one that introduces anti-gang legislation; firearms bills as government is now moving on a promise to institute harsher sentences for gun possession and authorities want to be able to extended, as needed, the detention time for suspects being questioned for murder or firearms offences.
Other more welcomed measures were itemized as empowering the Royal TCI Police to erect road barriers and requiring that SIM cards for cellular phones be registered to a purchaser. If passed in parliament, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would also have the authority to appeal verdicts; especially key in serious crimes cases. Additionally, the changes in law, if approved by the House of Assembly, will slap those who assault police, TCI regiment members, judges and court workers, and other law enforcement officers with stiffer sentences.
Still, there are members of the general public skeptical about at least some of the proposed amendments: including an adjustment which would allow a court order to stop a person’s anti-social behavior; many want authorities to distinctly define ‘anti-social behaviour’ and potentially discriminate profiling of suspects to allow the act of stop and search of individuals and vehicles.
Residents, speaking to Magnetic Media say they are also not keen on the idea of personal communications being intercepted, legally, by Police. It is informed in the cabinet summary that this seizure of private communications to assist police in gathering intelligence will aid in criminal investigations and successfully close criminal cases.
Despite, the red flags are raised with many offering that while these amendments sound good as Turks and Caicos grapples with an out of control killing spree which they agree must be contained, there is a fear that the new laws could be manipulated to victimize and spy on law-abiding residents.
It is not the end of the road for the legislation and according to Akeirra Missick, the PNP government’s leader in the House of Assembly, the TCI Bar Council, as part of a consultation on the changes, is reviewing the bundle which includes the Interception of Communications Bill 2022 and a Telecommunications Amendment Bill 2022.
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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