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Statement from Akierra Missick following PNP Govt. Cabinet Shuffle

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#TurksandCaicos, November 7, 2022 – Earlier today, November 7th, 2022, I bid farewell to my staff in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure, following the decision by Premier Hon. Washington Misick to make certain adjustments and relieve me of my Cabinet portfolio.Saying farewell to my team of dedicated staff was certainly as emotional a moment for them as it was for me.Since the announcement on Sunday night, the outpouring of support and well-wishes from my dear and loyal constituents of Leeward and Long Bay and also from the wider Turks and Caicos Islands and beyond, was truly humbling and indeed strengthened my resolve and commitment to be of continued service to the great people of this country.At the outset, I wish to thank Premier Hon. Washington Misick for reposing the confidence in me to serve as Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly and Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure, following the decisive election victory of the party I love, the Progressive National Party (PNP), in February 2021.To have served in those capacities over the past 20 months was a distinct honour and an absolute privilege beyond measure.Let me also now take this opportunity to wish my successor Hon. Jamell R. Robinson every success in this new role and to assure him of my full support.My friends, one of the hallmarks of a democratic society is that ALL Cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of the country’s leader, which in the case of Turks and Caicos Islands is the Premier.The Premier can appoint and revoke any Cabinet minister’s appointment whenever he sees fit, and he is not obligated to offer any reasons for that decision.  As politicians we must be mature enough to appreciate and understand that.It is frankly not right for me, or you, to speculate on these matters and I therefore urge you to refrain from so doing. In the final analysis, Cabinet positions are not life-time appointments.This coming Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, will mark 10 unbroken years since I was elected to the House of Assembly by the wonderful people of Leeward and Long Bay.With their support and on their shoulders, I have worked tirelessly for my constituency and my beloved country and by the grace of God I was fortunate and blessed to have reached the high office of Deputy Premier. I have also served in the Opposition for four years.My point, is that after a decade, I am acquainted with the highs and lows and the lived experience of a millennial, female politician.  It has not been an easy road, my friends, but I can give you, the people of Turks and Caicos Islands, the assurance that I leave this portfolio of Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure with my integrity intact.Quality of service and unquestionable integrity are among the hallmarks of great politicians and servants of the people, and I can humbly state that I, Akierra Mary Deanne Missick, will forever place a high premium on, and remain committed to, those core values.My political career is not over.  Far from it!  As long as I am blessed with the support of my Leeward and Long Bay constituents and the residents of Turks and Caicos Islands, I will continue to champion your causes inside and outside the House of Assembly.I will continue to be a loyal and faithful member of the Progressive National Party, this great institution that I joined 20 years ago.  We were elected on a huge, record-breaking mandate and we must remain strong, steadfast and unified as we execute our mandate on behalf of our supporters and residents of Turks and Caicos Islands.In the meantime, I will return to my law practice and continue to utilise my God-given talents for the common good.We are currently facing some formidable challenges as a country and the last thing we need right now is division.  As a party and as a country, now more than ever, we must unite against those negative forces that seek to threaten our livelihoods, our safety, our stability and our future.As Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”Regardless of the tide, we as a people must join forces and skillfully navigate the currents and pilot this ship of state to a destiny of prosperity.May God continue to bless and protect us all.

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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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