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Russia names TCI as “unfriendly”; Governor explains implications

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 4, 2022 – In response to the Turks and Caicos being listed as an “unfriendly country” to the Russian Federation, Governor Nigel Dakin says he is surprised it didn’t happen sooner, maintaining that the TCI would be fine and doubling down on earlier condemnation of the war.  He was responding on Tuesday November 1st to Magnetic Media queries from the weekend; when it was initially revealed that the TCI had made the troubling list along with other British overseas territories.

“Because of our opposition to the war, and the means by which that war is being waged, Putin’s Government and his supporters – but not the Russian people – are therefore unfortunately right to view us as ‘unfriendly’. That is not the position we want to be in, and so we look forward to an end to this terrible war, against a sovereign neighbour.”

As for what this means for the islands, broadly and specifically?

“We expect no consequences, but any private entity doing business with Russia should note the fact that, as a result of this listing, Russia reserves the right to pay its debts in roubles,” the Governor explained.

That rule of only paying and being paid in roubles dates back to an initial list in March of this year.  Russia, at that time, had released its ‘unfriendly countries’ which included the UK and three overseas territories among other countries.

“The list targeted in particular those who “imposed or joined sanctions against Russia—Given we had imposed sanctions at the same time as these three fellow Territories, I was surprised TCI did not feature back in March,” said Dakin.

Dakin explained that the listing seemed to mainly be for Russia’s economic benefit as it ‘has allowed the Russian government (and its citizens and companies) to pay creditors from those named countries in roubles.

He noted that, “For the three Overseas Territories already impacted, and listed in March, there has not been any other automatic measures implemented.”

Despite this, he went on to explain the possible repercussions of a different kind listing.

“What the list did not do was see Russia declare the UK, or those Overseas Territories it named, as an “unfriendly state under a formal decree.  If it did, that would restrict the ability of those named countries or Territories to employ or contract individuals residing in Russia.”

Dakin has been firm on his stance on the invasion telling media back in February when the incursion began that “Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state. It is a clear breach of international law and the UN Charter.”

He reiterated this position again this week, in the statement obtained by Magnetic Media.

“For our part – and as described by both the Premier and myself in separate statements – but with the same message – TCI’s position remains as it was from the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The invasion was illegal and the war crimes that have since followed are abhorrent. We stand with Ukraine”

Since the start of the invasion over eight months ago 7.5 million Ukranians have fled home due to the war, which has been raging for nearly nine months now.

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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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Government Revenues Soar

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#Kingston, November 25, 2022 – There has been a jump in Government revenue collection, with tax revenues for the first six months of the fiscal year exceeding budget by $35 billion.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the out-turn is as a result of higher-than-expected economic performance.

“The first quarter growth came out at 5.7 per cent… and all categories of revenue are over budget. Revenues from income and profits are up by nearly 13 per cent or $10 billion,” Dr. Clarke said.

In addition, he noted that revenues from production and consumption are up by seven per cent or $7 billion and revenues from international trade are up by 15 per cent or $18 billion. Revenues from motor-vehicle licences for the first six months of this year are 16 per cent higher than budgeted.

Dr. Clarke was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 22) where the First Supplementary Estimates for 2022/23 were approved.

The approval reflects a revised expenditure of $971 billion, from the previously approved budget of $912 billion for the financial year.

Minister Clarke said the First Supplementary Estimates come within the context of positive overperformance of the economy.

“As a result of this revenue overperformance… we are able to come to this Parliament six months after and put a Budget that proposes $60 billion in new expenditure,” Dr. Clarke said.

The largest component of the supplementary budget is the allocation for public-sector salaries and wages in keeping with the restructuring of compensation.

“We are allocating $16 billion there and there is another $2 billion to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and then about $3 billion for statutory deductions, making a total of $21 billion,” the Minister said.

 

Contact: Latonya Linton

Release: JIS

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