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Scholarships process undergoing changes  

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 
 

#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Following years old requests from the UK to pare down the program, accusations of curry favoring from local students and even a lawsuit, the Ministry of Education is once again trying to revamp how scholarships are disseminated through the Turks & Caicos Islands Education Financial Assistance Policy (TCIEFAP). 

The result of the latest attempt is a tightly trimmed program with only 65 scholarships on offer for next year. The Ministry made the announcement in a press release on March 24th.  

It also establishes a far more competitive scholarship awards process.  

It was only four years ago that the then PDM administration increased the scholarship award budget by a massive 55 percent, and five years ago, that they increased in the priority areas from 23 to 82. In 2019, it awarded 66 international scholarships of 157, an award rate of 42 percent.  

At that time, the Ministry of Education was challenged to design a scholarships’ program which was both supportive of filling vital skills gaps and fiscally sustainable.  

The PNP also maintained a hefty scholarship program; in 2022, 93 applicants of 167 were successful in their bids to have government funded education, an award rate of 55 percent. 

In the most recent announcement, the Government explained that it will now approve a defined number of awards under specific areas and will publish an advertisement outlining a short-list of programmes, to receive awards annually. That is set to begin this year and the 2023/2024 list of the pre-approved scholarship awards is already published.  

Not only does this cut down the number of scholarships to be awarded, but it also seemingly leaves the possibility for the Ministry to adjust what area gets the most or least scholarships on a year-by-year basis, allowing them to meet labour market demands.  

It is a deviation from the way things had been done with no pre-set number of awards on the table, allowing the Education Advisory Committee to award as many qualified applicants as the budget could or would allow.  

The Ministry says the overarching goals of this change are: “To ensure that scholarship offerings, as well as the associated application, review and award processes are objective, transparent, empowers the applicants but moreover continues to close the labour market gaps in the Turks & Caicos Islands through strategic and intentional Human Capital Development strategies.” 

Of the 65 scholarships to be awarded this year, they will be divided as such:  

  • Health – 8 
  • Education – 7 
  • Planning & Engineering – 6 
  • Hospitality & Tourism – 3 
  • Science & Technology – 6 
  • Business, Finance & Management – 6 
  • Technical & Vocational Education & Training – 6 
  • Disaster Management & Social Sciences – 5 
  • Logistics Management & Communication – 5 
  • Law – 3 
  • Athletics – 3 
  • Special Needs – 3 
  • National awards – 4 

Only National Scholarship Awards and recipients of the Athletic Financial Assistance Awards will be left open to facilitate the applicant’s selection. 

Anticipating questions from the public, the ministry said this: “We hasten to highlight that the list of priority areas has not shifted tremendously and as such will not adversely affect students who have already applied. The Ministry has intentionally extended the application period to encourage as many applicants as possible.” 

The trimming of the scholarship program comes at a time when the Turks and Caicos is expanding at home higher education opportunities to never before heights. There are partnerships coming for the Turks and Caicos Community College in maritime and law areas, and free tuition for all islanders and BOTC, as well as campuses on nearly every island. 

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A King and High Level Speakers open SIDS Conference in Antigua & Barbuda

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#Antigua, May 29, 2024 – The Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda is hosting the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which seeks to build resilience, and find solutions to the pressing challenges of debt burden, and to achieve sustainable development goals.

Opened on Monday, in St. Johns, under the theme, “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity,” the Conference which run from May 27 to 30, had addresses from 33 countries, where speakers pressed the need for actions on financing for Climate emergency, and crises such as spiraling debt, and health challenges.

Speaking via video link, King Charles III, said island nations are leading the way in confronting Climate Change, protecting biodiversity, and stewarding the global Ocean, while pointing out that there is potential for large investors to contribute to Climate financing, and the benefits of collaboration among SIDS. The King also called for “bold action” and said “your future is our future.”

Host Prime Minister, Gaston Browne told his audience that SIDS face unprecedented global challenges, that they did not create, and “large-scale polluters” bear responsibility for compensation, as he called for ending fossil subsidies.

The Prime Minister also called for   the establishment of the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS) and the recent unanimous advisory opinion from the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which affirmed the legal duty of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to mitigate Climate impacts to protect the marine environment.

In the Caribbean region, PM Browne has been at the forefront of advocacy to develop a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index that truly reflects SIDS needs for development finance, and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados has spearheaded the Bridgetown Initiative to transform lending and provide inclusive, resilient finance to countries facing Climate crises.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis urged the SIDS Conference to support a new global tax treaty to be negotiated and for financial flows to be regulated to ease the crippling debt burden impeding many SIDS from fully developing their potential.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres aid SIDS stands as a test case for Climate and financial justice, and called on all countries to align with the 1.5°C Climate targets, and for Climate finance to double by 2025, and for significant contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund. “SIDS can make an almighty noise together to deliver meaningful change to benefit the whole of humankind,” he said.

Many SIDS remain dependent on imported fossil fuels, curtailing both their environmental and economic efforts. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), some SIDS would need an investment of around US $5.9 billion annually to achieve their renewable energy targets by 2030 and reduce their fossil-fuel dependency.

The COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing fragilities and triggered the most acute economic contraction across SIDS, increasing their debt burden and depleting resources. Over 40 per cent of SIDS are now on the edge of or are already grappling with unsustainable levels of debt. Between 2000 and 2019, the external debt of SIDS rose by 24 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The total public debt for SIDS now stands at approximately US $82 billion dollars.

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CARICOM is Zone of Peace says Mottley

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, May 29, 2024 – Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley has called on leaders in the Caribbean to ensure that the region maintains a peaceful zone, as it is stands on the precipice of grave danger if ongoing crises are not handled appropriately.

She said the escalating challenge of gun-related violence in the Caribbean, the political unrest in Haiti, the land dispute in Guyana, and the rising homicide cases across Barbados, require commitment of CARICOM’s leaders to the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace, and much more than words.

Addressing the closing ceremony of Tradewinds 24, in St Michael last Friday, she said in a world that is torn in Africa with conflict, torn in Europe with conflict, torn in the Middle East with conflict, “we in the Americas have a solemn obligation to work beyond the call of duty to ensure that we remain a Zone of Peace,” she said.

Further, Miss Mottley said, maintaining peace, requires actions to reflect it, and it  requires being responsible with “our words, such that circumstances do not get out of hand and go beyond our control. It requires equally a recognition that people will understand that this will not result in good for anyone,” she pointed out.

The forum had in attendance, service men and women representing over 26 nations across the Americas and Europe, and the Prime Minister urged the region’s youth to wield tools and weapons with respect, build on potential for positive outcomes.

Miss Mottley also called for a “relook and rethink” of how persons, namely the younger generation are educated about guns, phones and other devices that could be very empowering when used in the best ways for the best outcomes.

Noting that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” she said it is important to instill respect and responsibility in youth, particularly in light of ongoing discussions surrounding cybercrime legislation, wield tools and weapons with respect, highlighting the potential for positive outcomes when utilized responsibly.

Exercise Tradewinds 2024 is a multi-dimensional training exercise hosted by Barbados. It took place from May 4 to 16, 2024. The exercise focused on joint, combined, and interagency training across the ground, air, sea, and cyber domains.

Its primary objectives were to enhance regional cooperation in countering transnational organized crime and to improve capabilities for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

 

CAPTION:  Prime Minister Mia Mottley was today presented with the World Health Organisation Director-General’s Award for Global Health.  Mottley is one of three people being awarded this year. (Photos by PMO Barbados)

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C&W Business to connect ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Media Hub  

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Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (May 23rd, 2024) – The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will feature a first-of-its-kind remote Media Hub at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.

And more than 200 traveling journalists are expected to cover the pinnacle event on the cricketing calendar and they will experience unparalleled connectivity and seamless connections, courtesy of C&W Business.

C&W Communications, the parent company of C&W Business, is the Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider in the Caribbean for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“This groundbreaking facility will ensure that media professionals have access to high-speed internet and reliable telecommunications services, enabling them to cover the event seamlessly and efficiently,” said Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, B2B, C&W Communications.

“We are very proud to be providing these connections through which the stories of this prestigious event will be told around the world. Our company has a long and proud association with cricket in the West Indies and we eagerly look forward to this next chapter.”

The Media Hub will serve as a central location where journalists can view all tournament matches and participate in a full range of in-stadia media activities.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class experience for the world’s press, and we are committed to delivering the best connections over the Caribbean’s best network. Our installation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is at an advanced stage and we have overbuilt it with added bandwidth and redundancy,” added Collette.

“This is a great moment for the Caribbean, and we are honored to play our part in welcoming the press and facilitating all their connectivity needs at the first-ever Media Hub for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.”

Part of the Liberty Latin America group of companies, C&W Communications is the leading entertainment and communications provider in the Caribbean with operations in 20 markets with the brands Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business and BTC. The company’s services are underpinned by over 50,000 kilometres of the most modern subsea and terrestrial fibre networks in the region.

Flow has also been announced as the presenting partner for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean.

More than nine hundred volunteers from across the West Indies will participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme, which will serve as a cornerstone for supporting various aspects of the tournament including hospitality, logistics, and fan engagement.

As the Presenting Partner for the Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean, Flow will also play a pivotal role in ensuring volunteers are fully prepared to elevate the experience when tens of thousands of fans, media, players, and officials visit the West Indies in June.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 blasts off on 1 June with the tournament’s first match featuring USA taking on Canada at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Full match fixtures are available HERE.

Match tickets, including party-stand tickets for Caribbean fixtures, and hospitality packages are available at tickets.t20worldcup.com. Box offices across the Caribbean are now open and tickets are available for sale there. Locations and operating hours are available HERE.

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