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Work of UK Digital Team will help speed up the process of getting Police Records

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Sherrica Thompson

Staff writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2022 – A Digital Government Team from the UK is now in Turks and Caicos and among the issues their support will un-kink for the islands, is the “embarrassing and appalling” length of time it takes to secure character certificates or police records.

The premier agreed with the scathing reviews for the pace at the Criminal Records Office of the Police Department as he called the process of applying and waiting, a  frustrating issue that many Turks and Caicos Islanders and residents face.

“I can tell you that every effort is being made and has been made in order to cure that ill specifically,” he said.

The long wait for police records was one of the many questions posed at the Public Meeting in Providenciales on Monday, November 21. It was no surprise the matter came up.  It has been a hot button subject for years now, and in recent times the system to get the document needed for everything from a job to travel to security clearance to work permits has been gruelling.

One resident even described the system as ‘backward’ as she recalled being able to get a police record in two weeks back in 1994. However, in recent times, it takes approximately four months to get a receipt for a police record and about six to seven months to get the document, which is only valid for six months.

In response to the resident’s query, Premier Misick said the government is making strides in rectifying the issue.

Adding that, “I can tell you today, as we speak, Digital Government UK landed here on the weekend. I was in a meeting for hours today, and I had meetings with a number of government ministries and departments to look at how we could start to deliver on some of these services that the public should be able to sit at home and procure for themselves.”

While pointing out that even two weeks is a “long time to wait for a police record,” Misick outlined two initiatives that he said the government had started that will see the issue fixed soon.

“Some practices have grown where you need a police record just for everything in this country, and that is the first thing that is being fixed,” he stated, noting that “you shouldn’t have to require a police record for every activity that you’re going to do.”

The Premier also revealed that a document is on its way to the cabinet.

“The Minister of Technology for Information can speak to this, but there is a paper on its way to cabinet for the 9th of December, by which time we hope to have feedback from the government of the UK to try to fix this problem,” Misick explained.

However, until this issue is rectified, residents and islanders will still have to continue to grapple with the long waiting period they currently face to get a police record in the TCI.

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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