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Four Years of Governor Nigel Dakin, Highlights of the Tenure 

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By Dana Malcolm with Deandrea Hamilton   

Editorial Staff

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Former Governor Nigel Dakin bid the Turks and Caicos goodbye on Wednesday March 29th in a service at St Monica’s Anglican Church. The ceremony, lavished with the befitting pomp and pageantry of a British send off, saw parts of Leeward Highway closed for a few hours to accommodate a Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force march pass and salutes to the outgoing and incoming governor.

The Governor is the equivalent of the British Monarch within the territory; a very prestigious post and the transition is always adorned with ceremonial fanfare which attracts residents from all walks of life, including government dignitaries.

Nigel Dakin and his wife Mandy, waved a final good-bye to the Turks and Caicos Islands after a noteworthy four-year tenure, which leaves the country with significant, beneficial changes.

Dakin arrived in the country in July 2019 to stand partner with the then Sharlene Robinson led PDM Administration. Robinson was the first woman to serve at Premier and when Dakin arrived, the Turks and Caicos was still restoring public infrastructure damaged in Hurricane’s Irma and Maria and fighting an unrelenting crime wave.

Mere months after his arrival, there would come the once in a lifetime event, the tragic Coronavirus Pandemic.

Dakin, alongside the elected government and the residents of the islands would have to contend with unprecedented lockdowns and the most brazenly violent season in Turks and Caicos history.

The Governor was sworn in in the presence of his family and welcomed by Premier Robinson and her team on July 15, 2019; three months after being announced as the successor to Dr. John Freeman.

History records Nigel Dakin as the 15th Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

By February 2020, any honeymoon – real or imagined – was over.  Globally, governments had to do what none had ever done before, there was no blueprint and no playbook to follow.  It took quick thinking, guts and extreme consultations to galvanize against the deadly and debilitating Covid-19 virus which had now devastated the people of the planet; deaths and illness were in the millions, an unprecedented predicament precipitated by a previously unheard of virus.

Dakin is credited with his role in getting vaccines to The Turks and Caicos by early 2021 (much more quickly than most other Caribbean nations) via lobbying in the UK. The British had determined its overseas territories cumulatively numbering around a quarter of a million citizens would be shared in; Great Britain was the first country to consent to authorized use of the vaccines as a desperate life-saving measure.

In this harrowing season, Turks and Caicos saw both hospitals outfitted with oxygen generators and the establishment of the National Public Health Laboratory; permitting COVID testing to take place on home soil.

Also transformed with the help of Dakin’s influence, The Department of Corrections, formerly known as HMP; located in Grand Turk.  Unruly inmates were re-situated to other countries in order to restore and maintain calm at HMP which suffered frightening unrest, forcing Police to commandeer the facility and over time discouraging many who had signed on to lead at the institution.  Reports of assault on guards, prisoners and superintendents were frequent.

In a project supported by his wife, Amanda Dakin, the Governor partnered with the Government and TCI citizens for projects, like the prison farm and uniquely, the inmates’ work in textiles which debuted at London Fashion Week in 2022.  The group helped to create original handbags and the like with a local designer.

Amanda Dakin, in a feat of what can only be described as absolute brute strength, became the first woman to circumnavigate the Turks and Caicos on sole manpower, as she headlined the footsteps4good charity event two years in a row; 2021 and 2022.  The money raised, surged and was donated wholly to charity organizations across the country.

Recognizing the illegal migration crises and well-versed in matters of national security as a former marine himself, Dakin began to fast track many security plans that had been dormant prior to his arrival. That included the creation of the country’s first military arm in 2022, the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment.  Starting with a handful of soldiers and volunteers, today the Regiment is nearly 50 strong.

In addition to the Regiment and the historic training of islanders to staff and help lead the troupe, Dakin helped engineer a 2021 Border Security agreement with the US and The Bahamas as an aside to the Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) plan which galvanized the long talked about Ship Rider Agreement, and simultaneously a comprehensive plan based on intelligence sharing between the three countries.

The radar unit was incorporated into the Marine Police and Immigration Minister capabilities expanded significantly to lay the groundwork for a National Coast Guard.

In 2022, murders increased exponentially and Dakin, who as the Governor, heads National Security faced calls from former politicians and current ones to step down. He refused unequivocally and along with Premier Washington Misick, called in backup from The Bahamas, Jamaica, US, and UK to crush the violence that tore at the country, with mixed success.

There are some islanders who criticize the Governor’s perceived close working relationship with both the elected governments and his stance on legal migration which he openly believes should be a fair and open process.

Dakin has never been one to turn tail at the sound of his detractors and has proved to be very engaged with the local community speaking with those who disagree with his methods and those who support him alike.

Premier Washington Misick, Former Premier Sharlene Robinson, Deputy Governor Anya Williams all had only glowing thanks for the Governor.

What is less debatable, is the Turks and Caicos is now in a stronger position in terms of security, with the establishment of a National Security office, staffed with local professionals and the establishment of the TCI Regiment, all coming during the tenure of Nigel Dakin.

Dakin steered talk to action, for true tangibles of which these islands can be proud.

Government

FINALISATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROPOSALS

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Turks and Caicos

 

  1. Today Her Excellency the Governor convened a meeting with the Honourable Premier, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Attorney General, Sir Jeffrey Jowell KC and the FCDO’s Deputy Director Adam Pile to finalise the package of constitutional reform so it may be submitted to the Privy Council in July. Also in attendance was Her Excellency the Deputy Governor.
  2. The bipartisan constitutional talks with the UK Government in Grand Turk (October 2023) agreed to move to a fully elected House of Assembly*, with four additional elected members replacing the members appointed by the Governor, Premier and Leader of the Opposition. In the wider package of constitutional reform, all other major issues have been agreed in further meetings and correspondence, bar the timing of a transition to a fully elected House of Assembly*.

Scope of work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission

  1. The Electoral District Boundary Commission was stood up in February to review in the first instance the boundaries of the electoral districts into which the islands are divided in line with s.61 of the Constitution. The Governor, in line with the agreement of the UK Government, has asked that they then assess options for the composition of the four additional elected seats. This work will need to be put out to public consultation and submitted to the House of Assembly, after which further work will be required to implement the approved changes.
  2. In order to deliver constitutional reform for the Turks and Caicos Islands this summer, the agreed package of reforms now need to be submitted to the UK Government so it may be made by His Majesty The King in the Privy Council in July.

Transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*

  1. Given this timing, it was noted that there are two options for the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*:
  1. A transitionary phase that provides for an all-elected House of Assembly* at the forthcoming election with four additional ‘all island’ candidates for the next term, following which the further work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform the composition of the four additional seats going forward; or
  2. Retain the status quo of four appointed members at the forthcoming election and wait to move to an all-elected House* until the subsequent election, following the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission which will inform the composition of the four additional seats.
  1. Agreement was not reached at the meeting on which option to pursue.
  1. The Honourable Premier continues in his view that the transition to an all-elected House* should take place at the forthcoming election with the four additional elected seats contested on an ‘all island’ basis. This would be a transitionary phase, until the subsequent election where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  2. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition has confirmed his view that the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly* should not take place at the forthcoming election, that the status quo should be retained with four appointed members; and the move to an all-elected House of Assembly should only take place at the subsequent election, where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  1. In light of the need to provide a clear position to the UK Government, a motion will be tabled for debate in the House of Assembly to allow a full debate on when a fully elected legislature should be introduced.
  • other than the Attorney General

 

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Government

Government Prepares to roll out Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) for Senior Citizens

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#TurksandCaicos, May 31, 2024 – The Office of the Premier and Public Policy and the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade wants to advise the general public that plans for the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), aimed at supporting the elderly population within our society are underway. $3.1 million in funding was approved in the current Budget Year 2024/2025

The Financial Assistance Programme, a cornerstone initiative of the Government, is a commitment to augment the social welfare of the aged in the TCI.   It is being carefully crafted to support elderly citizens who may be facing financial hardships.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring the smooth implementation of the Financial Assistance Programme as promised; and to meet the originally proposed deadline for payment of the benefit in July 2024 posed for eligible individuals.  The payment, when distributed will be retroactive to 1 April 2024.

The Government reaffirms its dedication to fostering a society that cares for its elderly population and provides them with the assistance and resources necessary to build stronger communities where everyone can not only survive but thrive.

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Government

TCI GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – Ms. Patricia Arana has been sworn in on13 May 2024 as Resident Magistrate, Grand Turk.  She first joined the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands as Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court in April 2022.

Prior to taking up the position of Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court, she was the Deputy Registrar General at the Supreme Court of her native Belize in Belize City. She started her judicial career as a Magistrate in 2010 and was promoted to the position of Senior Magistrate in 2015. As Senior Magistrate, she worked in several districts in Belize, and acted as Chief Magistrate on several occasions.  She was also within that period, seconded for two years as Legal Counsel to the Financial Intelligence Unit of Belize.

Ms. Arana is a graduate of the University of the West Indies where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Degree, and a graduate of the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, where she obtained her Legal Education Certificate. There she distinguished herself when she received the H.H. Dunn Memorial Prize for Legal Drafting and Interpretation.

Regionally, Ms. Arana currently serves as an Executive Member of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) on behalf of the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands. She is also an active member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges (CAWJ), and the National Garifuna Council (NGC) Orange Walk Branch.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, Ms. Arana has since her appointment in 2022, served in various capacities: ADR Administrator and lately a member of the Mediation Committee, a member of the Breach Process Rules Committee, Justice of the Peace Vetting Panel, Justice of the Peace Disciplinary Panel, and Election Adjudicator.

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