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Turks & Caicos International Film Festival: A major success  

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NOVEMBER 16, 2022: PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS The 4th annual Turks & Caicos International Film Festival (TCIFF) was a major success as it focused on highlighting the natural talent present in these ‘Beautiful by Nature’ islands.

Under the direction of world-renowned film executive and TCIFF Director Colin Burrows, the festival saw a packed weekend of screenings, panels, and cocktails featuring celebrities, filmmakers, environmental enthusiasts, and spectators alike.

“It was another great year for TCIFF,” said Burrows “And while everyone was charmed by top Hollywood costume designer Sharen Davis and blown away by our screenings of The Woman King, perhaps the lasting benefit will be the conversations we hosted, about how to build our creative industries and preserve our natural resources. Important steps are being made in both areas and we will be talking more about those in the coming months.”

TCIFF hosted seasoned Hollywood veterans along with local talent to take part in informative panels and Q&A sessions. This year, the festival sought to shine a spotlight on local creative voices while making strides toward establishing the Turks and Caicos Islands as a media centre in the Caribbean.

Karen Whitt, Chairman of TCIFF, said that the festival has always sought to highlight the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly from an environmental standpoint. “With three years of successful outreach and meaningful connections established in the area of conservation under our belt, we now hope to highlight the beauty of the talented people of these islands.”

“This year, we were able to do exactly that as our panels and local movie screenings showcased some of the many wonderful creative voices in the TCI.”

There were four discussion panels; “Sharing Our Stories” which put a spotlight on local filmmakers and writers; “Building Our Future” which saw a discussion between stakeholders on how to bring the film industry to the TCI; “Storytelling by Design” which showcased local fashion and costume talents and helped to illustrate the way forward for anyone with similar passions; and the “Panel on Progress” which focused on the efforts that are being made to preserve the natural beauty of this country.

“We were very strategic in creating the panels this year and took extra care in ensuring that we created a space for local voices to share their passions.” Whitt said, “Every one of our panels this year featured strong Turks and Caicos talent and voices, where passionate and meaningful conversations were shared with attendees.”

This year’s TCIFF event highlights included an Arbikie-sponsored mixology exhibition on Thursday night as a welcome for VIPs and sponsors; a launch cocktail and screening at Beaches Resort; Saturday panels featuring local and international talent, and a two-night screening of blockbuster hits Queen of Glory and The Woman King.

Other major highlights of the festival were the highly anticipated Youth Expo at the Edward Gartland Youth Centre, which saw the participation of over 80 students from across the islands and featured Award-winning Costume Designer, Sharen Davis; social media influencer Arman Adamjan, Los Angeles based producers Krystle Hartsfield and Charley McLeod, Shark4Kids, and several film industry leaders and international influencers.

“As Chairman of this year’s festival, it is with great pride that we applaud the Turks and Caicos Government, particularly the Ministry of Tourism, whose support was paramount to our success,” she said.

 

“We extend a sincere thank you to the numerous volunteers who worked tirelessly to create a world-class event and all of our generous sponsors, patrons and donors whose support allowed us to put together such an amazing festival.”

“And a special thank you to Turks & Caicos TV and our TCIFF coordinators Cardinal Points TCI,” she concluded.

The Turks and Caicos International Film Festival is set to return in the Fall of 2023 where patrons can expect another year of Hollywood glam blended with passion and purpose.

For more information on the festival, visit www.tciff.org or email coordinator@TCIFF.org

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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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