Connect with us

Government

PDM Leader Hon. Edwin A. Astwood Delivers State of the State Address

Published

on

Rebuttal

 

Tonight, It is now clear to everyone who watched the Premier’s State of the State address that the Premier and his PNP Cabinet have either spent the last 2 years ignoring all the real issues facing the Turks and Caicos Islands or Making them worse.

In his address, the Premier tried to paint a different picture of the country, but his actions over the last 2 years, don’t match the rhetoric that we have heard. This is not what the people that voted his Party into Office were expecting. This PNP Administration has made life harder for the average resident of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

I believe that every TCI who was watching this speech had asked themselves:

After 2 long years of the Hon. Charles W. Misick-led PNP administration, am I better of now than I was 4 years ago, before the pandemic?

The answer I NO.

SO YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

Every TCI is probably paying 30% more for monthly expenses than they did 4 years ago, the cost of living is at an all-time high, for many the chance of owning a home is far out of reach. They just can’t afford the extremely high prices.

Many persons have left the country, and many more are planning to leave. We have not seen an Exodus like this since the late ’60s, and early 70’s.

“SO Mr. PREMIER -YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

Under this current PNP administration, far too many of our families are living paycheck to paycheck.

Under this current PNP administration Wages are struggling to keep pace with the actual cost of living.

Under this current PNP administration, we are seeing moms’ and dads’ paychecks buy them less and less.

Under this current PNP administration, we are seeing our working people choose which essential Items to take home- and which ones to leave behind.

Under this current PNP administration, we are seeing a record amount of vacancies in the Public Service- we heard 400 vacancies.

“SO YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

Under this current PNP administration, we are seeing persons being sent into retirement while there is still a great need for the retention of their services.

The Hon. Premier said tonight that his government had created a Health Care system that is accessible and delivers a High-Quality Care – however – Under this current PNP administration, we are seeing Health care outcomes the worse it has ever been in modern times.

In this nation where the Premier says that the Economy is ROARING, we are hearing of Turks and Caicos Islanders who are skipping blood pressure pills and insulin injections, forced to choose between buying medicine or buying food.

So regardless of whether he site GDP, whether he cites tourist numbers, Cruise Ship numbers, whether he cites job vacancy numbers, decrease in customs processing fees, decrease in fuel tax -or whether you site some other things the Premier is trying to hang his hat on-

The Fact is that for the average TCI, those cited numbers don’t translate into a better life or better opportunities. It has NOT.

“SO YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

We as politicians should never lose sight of whom we are working for.

But what we have heard tonight shows a government that is totally disconnected from its people.

Tonight we heard the Premier take credit for many projects that the previous administration did. His role was only to cut ribbons – nothing else. He took credit for Covid Vaccinations, the travel portal, mental health facilities, agriculture policy, Farmer’s market, and school gardens- none of which he had anything to do with it.

Additionally, they had nothing to do with the South Caicos Airport getting done- their only role thus far was to take walk-throughs and pose for pictures.

“SO YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

Every major thing that this PNP Administration had put in place is having a negative effect on our people.

An example is the Beach vendors Bill which is killing local small businesses and making it harder for the surviving businesses to operate.

Another is the closing down of the Tourist Board and opening of the DMO- which is putting 17 of our people out of work- the Premier said in his speech tonight that “that change is uncomfortable, but it is necessary- so he is viewing the staff as “causalities of war.”

You should not have to wake up every morning and worry about the next thing this Government is going to do to you or your children, or do to your business, or your way of life.

That is why No one is listening to the Premier anymore. His Cabinet and his Team are weak. He commands no more respect. The majority of our People no longer care what he says. He and his team did it to themselves. The people gave them a chance, and they “bit the hand that fed them.”

Recently we have been watching the news from around the world that is showing entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.

And we can now confirm that they have no idea of how to reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying the Turks and Caicos Islands.

They cannot improve anyone’s life, only they can enhance their own.

At some point, the Premier will be gone. His Cabinet will be gone. The rest of us will be gone, too. The country will remain. What kind of country will it be then?

Who will call themselves Turks and Caicos Islanders?

How do we want our children and grandchildren to live?

What social, economic, and political climate will they face?

These are the only questions that matter.

The answers use to be obvious. Prosperity and a successful life. However, the goal for the Turks and Caicos is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity:

It includes happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity, Purpose, Safety, Opportunity, Self-respect, national pride, freedom, self-determination, and Above all, deep relationships with other people.

Those are the things that you want for your children. They are the things that our leaders should want for us and would want if they cared.

But the current PNP leaders don’t care. We are being governed by soldiers of fortune who feel no long-term obligation to the people that had elected them.

Tonight – The Premier said it himself, he said “I KNOW MY TIME IS LIMITED”

Yes, Premier your time is limited

They’re temporary workers, backup drivers, day traders, Substitute teachers, and guest workers. They’re just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can’t solve our problems. They don’t even bother to talk with our people in order to understand our problems.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our PNP leaders don’t even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and opportunities based purely on how close you are associated with them.

Yes, the country is Booming, but it is only booming for the Premier and his closest friends. Their little group did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, we are still fighting for the crumbs from the table.

It has to be clear that the actions of the Premier and his party are pulling us further and further apart

Unfairness is profoundly contentious. When you favor one child over another, your children don’t hate you. They hate each other.

This is what’s happening in our country, probably by this PNP Administration’s grand design;

Divided countries are easier to rule and exploit. And nothing divides us like the perception that some select people are getting super special treatment, while all others get nothing and are being left behind. The general public should oppose this with everything they have.

SO YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is an alternative-

Across our nation, the PDM party is now showing our people what PDM Leadership looks like:

What it means to respect the people we serve – to hear them out, to talk with them not down at them, to stand up for them, to walk alongside them,

We know that our problems require bold action, but we know that doesn’t mean the government making decisions without the people.

The PDM may not have the Government but we are doing what we can to fill the leadership vacuum in our Government. And on the major issues that are affecting TCIs, the PDM is leading in putting workable recommendations forward.

We are standing up for our people.

Most of all we are respecting You the people as being the ones that we have to answer to. The Premiere only talks about it, we the PDM do it.

That is what I believe, that is what the PDM believes, and that is what the PDM is doing.

In his speech, The Honorable premier never truly established how we will fix some of the things plaguing our people and the country. We are now more uncertain about our future as a nation than ever before.

“SO IN SUMMARY YOU HAVE NOT DELIVERED”

Over the last 2 years, I have put my faith in our people across the length and breadth of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and they haven’t let me down.

I encourage this Premier and his government to do the same – to put his faith in you the TCI people who have never wavered in your belief in this country, regardless of which PARTY leads it.

You know that the soul of the TCI is not about who is the elected government, its men and women like you in every Island and corner of our nation, who are willing to step up and take responsibility for your communities, for your Island, for your country, and ultimately for yourselves.

The majority of the country knows that the PDM can do better, we must do better, and We are better.

Thank you, God Bless you and God bless the TCI

Government

FINALISATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROPOSALS

Published

on

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

 

Continue Reading

Government

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

Published

on

#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.

Continue Reading

Government

TCI GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT

Published

on

#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.

Continue Reading

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

TRENDING