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The call for Citizenship Commission to be disbanded; Arguments erupt but do Complainants have a point?

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – Former Chief Minister Oswald Skippings has responded to the news that a group of PRC holders are bringing a class action lawsuit against the Immigration Department after being denied TCI citizen status.

In an open letter, Skippings who is himself a part of the Commission which makes the decisions about granting Turks and Caicos citizenship described what he called a ‘lack of appreciation’ by some expats for the multiple levels of status they are allowed to hold including Permanent Residency Certificates and Turks and Caicos passports.

The letter was in response to a story carried by the TCI Sun which revealed the lawsuit was brought because plaintiffs felt they were not given sufficient reasons behind why they were denied and the extensive waiting period which, for some,  spanned years. The suit aims to

  • Overturn the decision not to grant them status
  • Quash the appointments of the commission members and;
  •  Mandate that a new commission reconsiders their application.

But weeks since news of the lawsuit broke, residents are now seeing the results of applications filed as far back as 2016.  In affidavits to the lawsuit publicized by the TCI Sun, the appellants listed the incredibly long waiting time for some of them as one of the driving forces behind the legal action.

“After more than six years of considering the applications, no warning was given of the impending unfavourable decision, far less an opportunity to the applicants to address the commission’s concerns with the applications. That cannot be a procedurally fair way of conducting the Islander Status application process,” they said.

But the former chief minister disagrees.  Oswald Skippings fiercely condemns the lawsuit in his own letter.

“Imagine the temerity and the effrontery to attack governments and citizens responsible for the issuance of Islander Status that would empower them not only to further erode our franchise, but to take it totally out of our hands so that we would not only be disempowered economically, socially and industrially, but we will no longer have the voting power to determine who our government is. In other words, not being able to determine who would represent our best interest in the House of Assembly and secure our destiny in our native land.” He said.

Skippings himself is mentioned by name in the affidavits attached to the lawsuit according to The Sun where the plaintiffs cite a newspaper article “expressing passionate views about those who he perceived as foreigners” and question his ability to be objective. Along with the former Chief Minister, committee chairman Benson Harvey is also mentioned for similar reasons.

Just 10 days after the news of the lawsuit broke the Government released an advisory that “formal responses for all Turks and Caicos Islander Status applicants for the years 2016 to 2021 are ready for collection.”

It took between three and seven years for some 50 status applications to receive a formal response; this is indicative of the snail’s-pace system that continues to endure under successive governments.

It’s not just status applications, police records, work permits and more; receiving documentation in The Turks and Caicos is a long and frustrating process that has allowed criminal enterprises to thrive due to under the table deals which fast track application processes, which arguably start out as honest pursuits.  Faced with the sluggish pace of the public sector, which falls under the remit of the Governor’s Office, fake documents, elaborate scams, exploitation and fraud have not only flourished, but have forced government offices to completely shut down.

And the row about the pathway to citizenship and who are the guardians of the process erupts as the Turks and Caicos Islands struggles with indigenous population growth.

The government recently revealed that the Turks and Caicos population growth rate is woefully inadequate and at an unsustainable low; Arlington Musgrove, Minister of immigration and Border Security had said the Turks and Caicos Islander is fast approaching extinction.

Still, for Oswald Skippings and others who share his view, the decision to sue the Commission and the Department of Immigration by expats is seen as “arrogant” and he reminds in his letter, that the grant of citizenship is optional; a privilege and not a right.

“…did you notice the word ‘MAY and not SHALL’ when it refers to the granting of Islander Status?  So be aware that you may qualify for consideration only, and not for any legal entitlement.”

Bahamas News

Bahamas Government and Grand Bahamas Port Authority in squabble over millions allegedly owed

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas#DavisAdministration#PortAuthority, April 9, 2024– The Bahamas Government according to reports, says the Grand Bahama Port Authority owes 357 million dollars in back payments over the last five fiscal years, 2018 to 2022, and in a letter sent to the Port Authority last week by the Davis Administration, the government is giving them 30 days to pay up. However, the Port Authority clapped back in a statement, denying the government’s claim saying that they do not owe the sum of 357 million dollars

 

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Government

Moesha Morris appointed as Senior Procurement Officer

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 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, 28 March 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor proudly announces the appointment of Ms. Moesha Morris to the post of Senior Procurement Officer in the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department within the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Ms. Morris’ journey within the civil service commenced in 2016 when she joined the Human Resource Management Directorate as a Clerical Assistant, marking the beginning of her dedicated service to the nation. Demonstrating a keen intellect and a strong work ethic, she quickly made her mark, earning accolades for her contributions to the department’s operations.

Building upon her foundational experiences, Ms. Morris pursued higher education, completing an Associate’s Degree in General Studies (Humanities) at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College. Driven by a thirst for knowledge and a passion for understanding human behavior, she embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University.

Upon the successful completion of her studies, Ms. Morris returned to the civil service in 2021, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose. With determination and dedication, she navigated through various roles, showcasing her versatility and commitment to professional development. From Administrative Officer to Scholarship Officer, and then to Procurement Officer, she steadily ascended the ranks, earning recognition for her exemplary performance and leadership qualities.

Ms. Morris is distinguished as a self-motivated, results-driven individual with a resolute work ethic and an unyielding pursuit of excellence in every endeavor. Her relentless commitment to continuous improvement is exemplified by her ongoing pursuit of professional certifications with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. These endeavors underscore her dedication to enhancing her expertise in procurement and project management, positioning her to provide invaluable counsel on procurement matters across government entities and public bodies.

Reflecting on her appointment, Ms. Morris expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve in her new capacity:

“I am thrilled and deeply honored to step into my new role as Senior Procurement Officer within the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department. This promotion is a testament to my belief that hard work and dedication truly prevail in the professional world. I am humbled by the recognition of my efforts and grateful for the opportunity to further contribute to our department’s success. Achieving this promotion within just 12 months is truly remarkable, and it reinforces my commitment to excellence in every aspect of my work. I will remain committed to driving impactful outcomes and upholding the standards of the Public Service.”

Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams in extending congratulatory remarks to Ms. Morris stated:

It is with great pleasure that I extend my congratulations to Ms. Moesha Morris on her appointment as Senior Procurement Officer in the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department within the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Ms. Morris’ exemplary track record of academic achievement, professional competence, and dedication to public service make her an outstanding choice for this important role. Her passion for procurement excellence and her commitment to continuous improvement will undoubtedly contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of procurement processes within government entities.

In her new capacity, Ms. Morris will play a vital role in driving forward the government’s public sector investment programme, ensuring transparency, accountability, and value for money in the procurement of goods and services.

We wish Ms. Morris well as she continues to serve, and my office stand ready to assist in whichever we can to aide her further development.

Congratulations on your well-deserved appointment, Moesha!”

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Government

Davis Gardiner Jr. appointed as Executive Administrator

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, 28 March 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Davis Gardiner Jr. to the post of Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.

Mr. Gardiner’s journey towards professional excellence began with his secondary education at Raymond Gardiner High School, where he demonstrated a commitment to academic achievement and personal growth. Building upon this foundation, he is currently enrolled at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, pursuing his Associate’s Degree in preparation for further studies in Business Management. His dedication to continuous learning and professional development underscores his ambition and determination to excel in his chosen field.

Mr. Gardiner’s appointment as Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services marks a significant milestone in his career trajectory. Tasked with providing executive administrative support and strategic guidance, he is poised to make valuable contributions to the efficient operation of the ministry and the realization of its objectives.

Driven by a passion for organizational excellence and a desire to make a positive impact, Mr. Gardiner is committed to leveraging his education and skills to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative processes within the ministry. His dedication to professional growth and his willingness to embrace new challenges position him as a valuable asset to the leadership team.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr. Gardiner Jr. expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve in his new capacity:

“I am eternally grateful to be given this opportunity to serve as the newly appointed Executive Administrator for the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services. I am elated to serve my country and be a part of the change, a change for good that is. I am forever thankful to the almighty for the great blessings he has placed upon my life to be where I am today.

I am grateful for my family and friends who pushed me to never give up and always prove the negativity wrong.

I believe that I will do well in this position by the grace of God.”

Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams in extending congratulatory remarks to Mr. Gardiner stated:

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Mr. Davis Gardiner Jr. on his appointment as Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.

Mr. Gardiner began his career with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government as the Administrative Officer with the Immigration Population Policy Council (IPPC). During his tenure, he showed an incredible work ethic that was eventually noticed by executives in TCIG.

We are happy to have him officially join the public service and wish him well in his new post.

Congratulations on your appointment, Mr. Gardiner!”

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