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Gaping holes in Government, residents say TCIG must pay more to get more

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2022 – Minister of Immigration Arlington Musgrove has exposed gaping holes in the public service as the Government competes against the private sector and other countries to get islanders to fill positions.

The Minister who is also responsible for sea ports, airports and the Customs Department was responding to a parent who shared remarks at the government-hosted public meeting on Monday in Providenciales.  The mother explained that her now adult children did not want to stay in or return to the Turks and Caicos.

“What are you doing in terms of citizen retention—” she asked “ I am a mother of four, three of them have already gone through college, I have one in university, none of them have an interest in staying here and that is something that is rather disheartening to me because I love my home. But I understand their plight, and not one of you here can sit here and honestly tell me that you do not notice that our people are fed up.”

Minister Musgrove however denied that a lack of jobs was the only reason citizens were migrating explaining that “I do think it’s because of the exposure, it’s not that they can’t find jobs here. We have the biggest problem right now in recruiting people for the government. We have over 90 jobs available.”

He went on to detail the openings which included:

  • 15 – 25 unfilled spots in the Airports Authority
  •  5 – 10 unfilled positions at the Ports
  • Unspecified amount of openings in Civil Aviation, Customs and Immigration
  • Spots for radio technicians and air traffic controllers

“I’ve been advertising civil aviation mainly because I’ve been telling them I want Turks Islanders. I’ve been advertising for months,” he said “in Immigration (Department) I’m still looking for a task force, I’m still looking for Airport Staff.  I have no customs officers. I have two customs officers in Grand Turk.

I’m running on fumes in Grand Turk. Christmas is coming and I have two customs officers— I can’t find anybody,” he explained. “They apply and as soon as we call them they’ve already got a job in the private sector.”

“Would you believe we have five air traffic controllers in this country because we can’t find nobody.”

It not only points to the opportunities but the deficits in the government and quasi-government sectors of public administration.  The Immigration and Border Services minster shared that despite a countrywide drive to increase the amount of air traffic controllers only one Turks and Caicos islander expressed any interest.

The attendees of the public meeting were emboldened by his admissions and offered, firmly that salaries in government must be more competitive if there is to be any draw to the jobs available in the public sector.

Musgrove expressed hope that at least in the aviation industry there would be more competitive salaries soon. “I hope that after the salary review the government sector will be more attractive.” He said.

In the face of all the openings residents questioned how appealing the salaries were and encouraged the government to sweeten the pot by offering equally enticing employee packages to locals as is done for individuals who come in from abroad.

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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