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TCI Cabinet confirms Airport CEO, Watching Haiti, Updates on Natl Security, agrees to merge NIB and NHIP and approves Islanders to various boards

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#TurksandCaicos, November 14, 2022 – Godfrey Smith is now officially the CEO of the Turks and Caicos Airports Authority after a 10-month stint in the role as acting chief executive officer; it’s one of the decisions from a November 2nd Cabinet Meeting.  Smith is confirmed for a 3-year contract at the TCIAA.

Duty exemptions are extended to Provo Water Company for the importation of a water storage tank and pumping equipment and to Como Parrot Cay for the machinery to be used for recycling waste products.

Cabinet has also approved a wage system for prisoners carrying out voluntary work under a new program to be called “The Progressive Regime and Earned Privileges Scheme.”

And the moratorium on the issuance of business licenses for construction companies in the contractor’s category with non-Turks & Caicos Islander involvement wil continue for six (6) more months but at least one unnamed company has been granted an exemption from this.

Here are more highlights as reported by the TCI Cabinet:

At this meeting Cabinet:

Approved the merger of the NIB and the NHIP Collections and Compliance Functions.

Was briefed on a Turks and Caicos Islands Government led initiative with the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security to combat the issue of irregular migration into the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Was updated on the progress of establishing a Turks and Caicos Islands Border Force, and endorsed a number of structures, leadership frameworks, and other measures bringing together the work of the Customs and Immigration departments under a unified Border Force.

Was briefed on the 1st Quarter Financial Report 2022-23 of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and approved for the same to be made public.

Approved for the drafting of a Bill to allow for the payment of housing allowances to former ministers for the period 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020, subject to a reconciliation of subsistence and accommodation payments during the said period for the impacted persons.

Approved an amendment to Turks and Caicos Islands Citizen Homeowner Policy.

Approved a business license in a restricted business activity for Phoenix Fisheries & Seafood.

Approved for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to enter into negotiations with Ani T&C Ltd. for a Development Agreement for the development of a private resort on North Caicos.

Approved for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to enter into a lease agreement for an office accommodation on Providenciales.

Approved a wage system for prisoners carrying out voluntary work under a new program to be called “The Progressive Regime and Earned Privileges Scheme”.

Approved the appointments of Doreen Quelch-Missick, Latisha Williams, Alleveia Butterfield, Kerchelle Bain, Dr Alicia Malcolm, Dr Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, Alces Dor and Selvon Bruce-Whatley to the Adoption Review Panel.

Members to serve for a period of one (1) year with effect from 7 November 2022.

Was briefed on the work being performed on energy, energy efficiency, and emission reduction policies, which will shape future legislative and regulatory frameworks.

Approved an exemption on import duties for Provo Water Company for the importation of a water storage tank and pumping equipment.

Approved an exemption on import duties for Como Parrot Cay for the importation of machinery to be used for recycling waste products.

Approved the appointment of Godfrey Smith as CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority for three (3) years.

Approved a lease agreement for the temporary relocation of Customs and Immigrations Departments on North Caicos following damages to their offices by Hurricane Fiona in September 2022.

Approved the appointment of Zaneta Burton (Government Representative), Floyd Seymour (Employer Representative), and Danita Clare (Insured Person Representative) to the National Insurance Board for a period of three (3) years with effect from 7 November 2022.

Approved the appointment of Doreen Quelch-Missick (2 years) and Wendall Swann (1 year) to the Labour Tribunal with effect from 1 January 2023.

Approved a six (6) month extension to the moratorium on the issuance of business licenses for construction companies in the contractor’s category with non-Turks & Caicos Islander involvement. The extension will take effect from the 21st of October 2022.

Approved, for a named company, a waiver with certain conditions, to the moratorium on the issuance of business licenses for construction companies in the contractor’s category with non-Turks and Caicos Islander involvement.

Approved a Christmas Salary Advance of one month’s basic salary (excluding allowances) to all Public Officers and pensioners, and terms for re-payment.

Discussed the deteriorating situation in Haiti. The Governor is in close contact with the US and UK Governments on scenario planning and mitigation.

Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

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Caribbean News

Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness goes to Washington to discuss matters to help with crime

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, December 8, 2022 – The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, travelled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss security matters with various US State Agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. 

Holness said the aim of the meetings is to cut ties between local and overseas criminals and in turn strengthen the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I’m serious. If you are overseas and you are sponsoring, directing, and soliciting; if you are financing crime in Jamaica we’re going to get you,” he said.

In a press briefing in early November, the prime minister announced that a State of Emergency (SOE) was issued in seven parishes across the island. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Mark Golding has requested that the SOE be extended through to January 14, 2023.

However, a recommendation was made by the non-governmental human rights and justice organization Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) to reject Golding’s extension request.

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