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Texas bans TikTok from government agencies 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

#USA, February 7, 2023 – Chinese owned TikTok has officially been banned from Government devices in another US State following the passing of a new law banning the social media app on Federal devices in December.  Texas Governor Greg Abott made the decision for his state following Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Utah.

In a statement posted to his website Abbott said “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored.”

He also claimed the app was harvesting significant amounts of data from users’ phones, maintaining the ban was necessary to  protect Texas’ sensitive information from threats.

The ban on downloading and use will apply to both state and personal devices with internet connectivity  that are used to conduct state business including cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktops.

It also prohibits residents from conducting state business with devices that have TikTok or other ‘prohibited technology’ enabled on them and bans any device with this technology from entry and use in sensitive areas, locations or meetings. The ban must be in effect by February 15 in all state agencies. There was no indication it would affect devices, personal or otherwise, not used to conduct state business.

The ban comes amidst increased tensions between the country and the Republic of China over a spy balloon that was sent into US airspace by China and then shot down by the US.

Caribbean News

Millions to come from FSC 

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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 

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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

Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI. 

The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues. 

The session aimed to highlight success stories and  explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.  

The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.

As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.

In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor,  immediately. 

Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.

  • Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
  • Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.

Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales.  Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.

The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.

In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing  locally. 

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