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PTV must link with Government says Opposition Leader

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 20, 2022 – Opposition Leader Edwin Astwood says the Government is missing a big opportunity as PTV has announced they are on the cusp of suspending operations.  The opposition leader was speaking in the House of Assembly as he rose to give his support to a $3.1 million write-off for the company but the question of whether the government can truly handle such a partnership remains.

While lauding the effort by Minister of Home Affairs, Otis Morris, who tabled the write-off, despite it taking eight months to move from the Cabinet to the House of Assembly, Astwood called for more support, even a partnership to help the company.

“We know that for years we have been crying for the improvement of RTC. We would want to see RTC reach all the islands and we would think that in 2022 RTC should be showing video and audio.  I do believe that this is a golden opportunity for TCIG and for this company,” he said.  “Maybe RTC and PTV can be linked— we can kill two birds with one stone, we save a local business and we enhance government offerings.”

Any partnership between the government and a news organization would have to take extra steps to ensure transparency and unbiased reporting removing the risk of propaganda.

It’s not unheard of, there are many cases of government-funded independent News organizations around the globe including the British Broadcasting Company BBC.

The TCI Government has attempted this before, launching TCI New Media in the Misick-Hall Administration years. It eventually fizzled out with the takeover of the British, during the 2009-2012 suspension of the Turks and Caicos Constitution.

Peoples TV (PTV) emerged as a more balanced, non-political news entity and TV entertainment service provider – over the air – during the same period.

The company recently announced they would be suspending operations because of various hardships including serious damage to broadcast equipment in 2017 owing to hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Members of the House of Assembly, on December 12 unanimously passed a motion to write 90 per cent in debt.  Eight days on, the fate of PTV remains unstated by company executives.

Caribbean News

CDB Approves Millions for Regional Improvement such as Health, Education and Poverty

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#RegionalDevelopment#CDB, February 28th, 2024 – Projects for the improvement of water, renewable energy, education, health as well as budgetary support for governments in the region, are being financed with an approved USD$461 million by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Included in the approval are The Bahamas with USD$125 million and Saint Lucia with 43 million. Additionally, as announced in a release from the Bank, climate resilience and poverty reduction will also be prioritized through the funding. 

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Caribbean News

Ali Addresses the Issue of Violent Music in the Region

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#CaribbeanMusic#Violence#IrfaanAli, February 28th, 2024 – “As Leaders of this region, we have to take this situation very seriously, and ensure the lyrics of the region, is the lyrics of Bob Marley, the lyrics of positivity and the lyrics of positive living and positive change,” said the president of Guyana Irfaan Ali at the 46th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting on February 25th, addressing the issue of violent music in the Caribbean region and the influence it has on people’s action.

 

He speaks against violent lyrics, adding that the region is more than capable of producing music that positively influences people. 

 

According to the American Psychological Association, in reference to a study published in the journal of Personality and Social Psychology, violent  lyrics are linked to increased negative emotions and thoughts that can lead to aggression.

 

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Caribbean News

Saunders “surprised” by move to Backbench; promises to address the nation this week

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 28, 2023 – Surprise was one of the main emotions rolling off of  E. Jay Sauders, All Island Elected Member, when he spoke to Magnetic Media Tuesday afternoon. The brief phone interview came only minutes after he confirmed to the media around 3 p.m. that he had been removed from his post as Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Washington Misick, TCI Premier. 

“I am a bit surprised– I sit here at the pleasure of the Premier, the Premier acted in a certain way and it is his right to decide who he wants and doesn’t want in his cabinet and that’s the position that he took.”

The biggest question now is who will replace Saunders as the Premier’s right hand man, Magnetic Media spoke to a high-profile source around 3:30 pm who told us: “The Premier hasn’t made a decision in that regard as yet so there’s nothing yet to announce.” 

It’s likely, the source told us, that the Premier will take on the Ministry of Finance himself, having had experience with that ministry in the past. 

Sure enough minutes after that conversation a press release came from the Office of the Premier announcing that he is the new Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; the statement also bid Saunders goodbye.

I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served,” Misick said.

It comes as no surprise to residents however and a firestorm of comments followed the announcement,

“This is so wrong!!!” said one resident. 

It was a sentiment fielded by Magnetic Media over a dozen times.

“He is running this country and this party with his silly feelings.  And with Washy age, he need to relax himself.”

Another predicted, “This will hurt the PNP in the next election for sure, plus with the current conflict of interest matter pending with Washy and the Integrity Commission, this was not the best move at this time for him to be both Premier and Minister of Finance.”

The booting is the second high-profile shuffle in the Washington Misick-led PNP Administration following the removal of Akierra Missick, Elected Member for Leeward from her post as Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development in 2023. 

That shakeup went totally without explanation, similarly, no explanation has come from the Premier’s office this time either, but it follows a leadership challenge at the party’s national convention just days prior. 

Saunders had attempted to go against Misick for the head of the PNP party but could not get enough votes to push the challenge through. 

As a former CEO of DigicelTCI, E. Saunders initially served as the Health and Human Services minister as the country clawed its way back to health after a brutal Coronavirus Pandemic.  He was then appointed, by Misick, to the ministry for Finance, Investment and Trade, setting and achieving lofty goals including the achievement of a $400 million yearly revenue two years into his tenure and the removal of the Turks and Caicos from the EU Blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions. 

Now with one year left before a new general election is called, Saunders, in his own words, will join the rest of the backbench of politicians. 

Also feeling the “stick” is reported to be Jas Walkin, the man Washington Misick appointed to lead his winning general election campaign in 2021.  Walkin had put his name forward for party leader but hurriedly withdrew it. Reports of a suspension have been shared via social media with residents expressing disdain at the possibility.

The consensus from many, they’re not surprised and also not happy about the removal of Jas. 

For now, Saunders is focused on moving, 

“Depending on how quickly I can get through the packing up of my office, I’ll do a Public Address tomorrow, but no later than Wednesday,” he promised. 

The demotion also means a significant pay cut for Saunders from the Deputy Premier’s $175,000 base salary and $60,000 in allowances to the $97,000 base salary and $10,200 in allowances which is paid out to Members of the House of Assembly, where he will continue to serve as an All Island Elected member.

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