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Are we doing everything within our power in TCI, to avoid creating a school to prison pipeline?



#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – These are harsh words to hear, but in a climate where it appears the jails are filling up faster then the schools, we must sound the alarm.

In any given year, we have hundreds of high school graduates leaving their comfort zones with absolutely nothing to do in these beautiful by nature islands.   A very small minority are able to find jobs. Some of the brilliant scholars are often lucky to be awarded the Chevening scholarship, while others may have families in a position to send them off to the local community college or abroad to continue their studies.  What about the majority who are not as fortunate? Where are the hands-on talent workshops available to assist students that may have fallen behind academically?

Building that school to college or trade talent pipeline to attract high school students before they complete their final year is of paramount. We have got to find better ways to augment a pathway forward on this.  Paring the immigration department with labor and offering free 2 year college tuition were both smart moves by this administration. It allows the department heads and leaders to work hand in hand to identify areas of need and be in a better position to bridge those needed gaps.

What more can be done for struggling parents or those where English may not be their first language? Challenges like this may put students at a disadvantage to excel or for parents to assist them academically.

Are there any available after school programs? Where there is hope for a better life and constructive things to do, our young people will not be attracted to senseless acts of violence.

Finding ways and means to help students identify and develop their skill sets earlier in life, will also help to prepare them for the next step in their career path.  What’s even more important, is for teachers and administrators to recognize when a student is screaming out for help; often times it’s mischaracterized as criminal mischief.

Students who are having behavioral issues at school may be coming from abusive or dysfunctional households. They may also have mental and/or emotional challenges, and need an intervention that is focused on their specific needs.  We should be doing everything within our power to avoid students from being exposed to the criminal justice system.

In order for a transformation like this to take place, it will certainly require more community-led solutions, parental involvement and stronger support and commitment from civic leaders.

What’s troubling to me and many others, is the rate of incarceration the country is currently experiencing, with many involving our youth. What will it take to shift this trajectory? Is trade school one of the long term solutions?  Just take a look around the country, the mechanism that’s driving our workforce are trade and service related jobs. We should be advocating more for studies in these areas.   Inherently, despite some of our youth being dealt a hard hand in life, most want to succeed; they just need an opportunity.

Many of our young men and women may not have any interest in attending college or university, but have acquired other skills over the years.  Therefore, what opportunities do we have for this segment of the population in terms of further education or trade?

I’m of the opinion, that there are many on-the-job workers who possess untapped skills that only need to be cultivated in their area of interest or expertise.

With that being said, offering vocational education will allow students and young adults to gain the necessary practical experience with a renewed focus in their chosen field of study or career path. This is something they may have otherwise never been able to achieve through traditional classroom learning in academia.

In the 2021 PNP manifesto under education, labor and employment, it clearly states their commitment to the following:

“Create learning opportunities for students that caters to different interest, strengths and learning needs as well as provide the diverse skills that the country requires”.

Henceforth, it’s my belief government should make further provisions to subsidize apprenticeships for our young people, so it becomes more then just platitudes.

Let’s give credit where credit is due, the previous administration was on the right track when a proposal was made to launch a vocational technical school. Unfortunately, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic may have hampered those efforts.

Nevertheless, the idea was brilliant! Let’s put politics aside, this current administration should continue to work extremely hard to embark on this initiative and see that it materializes. It is my belief the return on investment would be priceless.

So, how do we attract more foreign investors in this particular area?

It’s complicated because in most cases, foreign investors are looking for businesses that can generate the fastest return on their investments. With that in mind, it would be in the best interest of our country to offer huge incentives on initiatives such as this to make it more attractive to would be investors.

For example: Annually, a foreign company is hired to come in to train and certify our boat captains on primarily international boating standards.  Depending on the location and whether it’s a new or recertification, the cost could range anywhere from $360-$650 per person, in addition to travel and hotel accommodations.

With ecotourism being the bread and butter for TCI, in addition to having some of the best and brightest boat captains, perhaps this could be a customized curriculum or certification offered at a local trade school.   This particular curriculum should include but not limited to, local regulations best practices and navigational charts for local waters to help mariners better understand the skills they are learning.   This could also be a joint effort between the school, DECR/Fisheries department and TCI Sailing Association, with qualifying personnel to assist with facilitating such training.

Other courses of interest should be offered to include hospitality management, marine mechanics, welders, carpentry, AC technicians etc. Especially trade areas where it would give students an opportunity for apprenticeship on the islands.  Not only will we have a higher level of skilled workers and tradesmen, but it will help to alleviate the need for such high dependency on foreign labor force, in addition to providing a readily available recruitment source.

In short, it is of my opinion, alternative education should always trump building more prisons. Failure to see beyond the erection of hotels, motels and villas in these islands, will leave us with no alternative but to build more prisons. Wouldn’t that be a shame!

Let’s give our youth a fighting chance! As concerned citizens, we have a choice to make, stay silent or let our collective voices be heard. This is what helps to drive governments to action.


Ed Forbes,

Concerned citizen of Grand Turk 

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Caribbean News

Millions to come from FSC 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way.  It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination. 

“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said.  He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue.  Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders. 

“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M.  By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M).  So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.” 

This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors. 

Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again.  Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP.  The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.  

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Caribbean News

Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there.  There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.  

Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti.  They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world.  The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas. 

CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.

“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation.  The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”

It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place.  Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.

In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,

“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti.  They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”

Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.  

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Caribbean News




Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.

A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder.  From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships. 

A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’.  The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm




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