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Premier denies dozing off during Budget Debate; memes question stamina and integrity

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 23, 2023 – ‘I wasn’t sleeping, I was contemplating’ so says Premier Washington Misick after a live video feed showed him with his eyes closed, head tilted back and mouth open in Parliament recently.

“I found it pretty distasteful that with everything that the Minister of Finance had to say, the only thing that they could capture was my sitting in a contemplative mood,” he said “ask my colleagues around me, that was not a sleeping mood.”

Screenshots of the moment were shared all over social media with residents wondering if he was actually snoozing during the National Budget Debate which was broadcast live and is arguably one of the most important assemblies of the year.

For many residents iIt raises the question of accountability for politicians when they are on the people’s dime. Misick maintains he was working on his own presentation.

While there were jokes, which some characterised as distasteful, about the premier’s health, marriage and stability, others raised mature points about the optics of the moment which was trending high, as both days Washington Misick was caught in this “contemplative” state.

“The children are watching.  Sleeping on the job is often seen as a gross misconduct for the rest of us.  Simply stating the facts.  No feelings. Take breaks as needed but don’t sleep while you’re at the wheel,” was one of many comments the images elicited on Facebook.

Still the premier, obviously aware of the chatter said, “It’s absolutely disgusting – I praise God and thank him for my mental alacrity. By the time this country wakes up in the morning I would have done a full day’s work.”

He maintained he was blessed with good health and committed to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Some of Misick’s comrades in the House of Assembly had lambasted those sharing the pictures during the debate, but many residents chimed in anyway expressing disbelief and displeasure at the alleged sleeping incident via social media.

Caribbean News

Haiti to hold elections in 2025

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Haiti#Elections,February 29th, 2024 – The President of Haiti Ariel Henry has agreed to hold General elections by Mid-2025, August 31st, as announced by The Prime Minister of the Bahamas Philip Davis on Wednesday February 28th, 2024,  at the end of the 4 day 46th Caricom heads of Government meeting. To help Haiti prepare for elections, Davis says an assessment team comprised of international partners will be formed

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Saunders “surprised” by move to Backbench; promises to address the nation this week

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 28, 2023 – Surprise was one of the main emotions rolling off of  E. Jay Sauders, All Island Elected Member, when he spoke to Magnetic Media Tuesday afternoon. The brief phone interview came only minutes after he confirmed to the media around 3 p.m. that he had been removed from his post as Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Washington Misick, TCI Premier. 

“I am a bit surprised– I sit here at the pleasure of the Premier, the Premier acted in a certain way and it is his right to decide who he wants and doesn’t want in his cabinet and that’s the position that he took.”

The biggest question now is who will replace Saunders as the Premier’s right hand man, Magnetic Media spoke to a high-profile source around 3:30 pm who told us: “The Premier hasn’t made a decision in that regard as yet so there’s nothing yet to announce.” 

It’s likely, the source told us, that the Premier will take on the Ministry of Finance himself, having had experience with that ministry in the past. 

Sure enough minutes after that conversation a press release came from the Office of the Premier announcing that he is the new Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; the statement also bid Saunders goodbye.

I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served,” Misick said.

It comes as no surprise to residents however and a firestorm of comments followed the announcement,

“This is so wrong!!!” said one resident. 

It was a sentiment fielded by Magnetic Media over a dozen times.

“He is running this country and this party with his silly feelings.  And with Washy age, he need to relax himself.”

Another predicted, “This will hurt the PNP in the next election for sure, plus with the current conflict of interest matter pending with Washy and the Integrity Commission, this was not the best move at this time for him to be both Premier and Minister of Finance.”

The booting is the second high-profile shuffle in the Washington Misick-led PNP Administration following the removal of Akierra Missick, Elected Member for Leeward from her post as Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development in 2023. 

That shakeup went totally without explanation, similarly, no explanation has come from the Premier’s office this time either, but it follows a leadership challenge at the party’s national convention just days prior. 

Saunders had attempted to go against Misick for the head of the PNP party but could not get enough votes to push the challenge through. 

As a former CEO of DigicelTCI, E. Saunders initially served as the Health and Human Services minister as the country clawed its way back to health after a brutal Coronavirus Pandemic.  He was then appointed, by Misick, to the ministry for Finance, Investment and Trade, setting and achieving lofty goals including the achievement of a $400 million yearly revenue two years into his tenure and the removal of the Turks and Caicos from the EU Blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions. 

Now with one year left before a new general election is called, Saunders, in his own words, will join the rest of the backbench of politicians. 

Also feeling the “stick” is reported to be Jas Walkin, the man Washington Misick appointed to lead his winning general election campaign in 2021.  Walkin had put his name forward for party leader but hurriedly withdrew it. Reports of a suspension have been shared via social media with residents expressing disdain at the possibility.

The consensus from many, they’re not surprised and also not happy about the removal of Jas. 

For now, Saunders is focused on moving, 

“Depending on how quickly I can get through the packing up of my office, I’ll do a Public Address tomorrow, but no later than Wednesday,” he promised. 

The demotion also means a significant pay cut for Saunders from the Deputy Premier’s $175,000 base salary and $60,000 in allowances to the $97,000 base salary and $10,200 in allowances which is paid out to Members of the House of Assembly, where he will continue to serve as an All Island Elected member.

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Kyle Speaks as Party Chairman

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

#TurksandCaicos, February, 27th, 2024 – After a challenge to the party’s leadership and resulting public chatter, Kyle Knowles,  Progressive National Party Chairman is calling for the PNP to ‘stand together in support of the ‘duly elected premier and leader,’ emphasizing that ‘the  re-election reflects the confidence and trust placed in him by the members of the party.’ The challenge was issued by E Jay Saunders, current Deputy Party Leader over the weekend, Knowles maintains there was unity, civility, and passionate debates during the National Congress. It comes on the cusp of a general election where the winning party will have for the first time 5 years in office.

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