TCI New Governor, Current Governor and Minister deepen OPBAT Relations in Trilateral Meeting
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 14, 2023 – The incoming TCI Governor is already at work for the islands, and last week joined the Minister of Immigration and the current Governor in the US for high-level, trilateral border security talks. The meeting has unfolded as the Humanitarian crises in Haiti sends shockwaves to its closest neighbours with 9,000 migrants caught at sea by the US and Bahamas, and $5 million spent on repatriation by TCI last year alone.
The three countries have agreed to significantly enhance their 30-year-old OPBAT agreement.
In this vein, the Turks and Caicos signed a new Statement of Intent with The Bahamas and the United States Governments last week, in the presence of several high-level officials. Representing the Turks and Caicos was Governor Nigel Dakin, who is essentially the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Foreign Affairs all rolled into one.
Dakin was joined on the National Security trip, held in the US, by Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services; Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, incoming TCI Governor as well as various permanent secretaries.
“OPBAT offers admirable operational flexibility to all parties involved and is unique to the Northern Caribbean. While it cannot be replaced, it can – through mutual agreement and discussion – be enhanced to counter 21st century threats,” the statement read.
The success of OPBAT notwithstanding, in the face of these new threats, challenges the countries, “accept the need to leverage our authorities against complex threats, commit to coming together to combat transnational organised crime, and pledge ourselves to our common goal of security and stability in the northern Caribbean.”
The three countries signed off to ‘bear witness to the evolving threats in the region and acknowledge the need to dedicate resources to combating irregular migration, illegal financial transactions, unlicensed fishing, international criminal operations, and the trafficking of guns, goods, and people.’
The threats of the major displacement from extreme weather, ongoing crisis, and political instability were also acknowledged.
Last December the TCI visited The Bahamas in an effort to deepen security alliances with the neighbouring nation and the US, a goal which the country has now achieved, and one which Dakin describes as vital.
The trip introduced Selvaratnam to intricate immigration issues in the Turks and Caicos which she will oversee come June, as she takes over as the country’s head of National Security.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme
#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.
The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.
“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.
“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.
Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.
To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.
They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.
They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.
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