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U.K. SPEAKER UNVEILS STAINED GLASS WINDOWS TO BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES

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London, United Kingdom, 10 May 2023 – The British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies are now visualized in the UK House of Parliament with a depiction of each of their heraldic shields embedded in stained glass.

All 16 overseas territories (OTs) and the three Crown Dependencies are represented in two windows within Speaker’s House.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the works of art, which he unveiled on Tuesday [9 May], ‘would be a permanent and tangible reminder of the strong and close links between the UK and its wider family. In my opinion, the OTs and dependencies have been overlooked for too long – yet many of the decisions we make here in the UK have a huge impact on their futures. They are important to me – they are part of our United Kingdom family – and I want to provide them with a platform on which to speak, to air their concerns, to share experiences and to enable us to learn from each other. From now on, every single person coming into Speaker’s House will be reminded of how closely we are connected.’

Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick said: In place that is considered the mother of all parliaments, the Turks and Caicos is depicted in the stained glass of the House of Commons. This gesture signifies the long history we share and for many years to come people who visit this place, will leave informed of who make up the full list of British Overseas Territories.”

The stained glass windows feature coats of arms from Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Ascension, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territories, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Each of the window lancets displays the coats of arms delineated in a circle, and one lancet shows the group of arms linked by an intertwining rose and leaf pattern to the coat of arms of Sir Lindsay. This features three Lancashire roses, bees from his home village of Adlington in Lancashire, the key of Gibraltar and a Rugby League ball. The other group of arms is linked to those of John Evelyn Denison, the first Speaker to live in Speaker’s House (Speaker from 1857-72).

The original windows dated from 1858 and possibly contained the arms of Speaker Denison. However, those windows have long since been removed and were replaced by plain, plate glass.

The new design, created by John Reyntiens Glass Studio – the same London-based stain-glassed window specialists who recently reglazed the Big Ben clock dials with new, mouth-blown glass – is sympathetic to the original Pugin-inspired windows and décor at the entrance to Speaker’s House.

At the unveiling of the new windows, the Hon Dr. Ellis Webster, Premier of Anguilla, said he was ‘delighted’ to see his island nation represented in Parliament.

‘It is a proud moment for our territory and a testament to our shared history and heritage with the UK and its British Overseas Territories,’ he said.

‘I commend Speaker Hoyle and all those involved in bringing this project to fruition.’

Joseph Eason Taylor Farrell, Premier of Montserrat, said he was ‘excited’ to see Montserrat’s heraldic shield displayed in Speaker’s House, particularly ‘at a time when residents of the Overseas Territories have joined with the rest of the UK family to celebrate the coronation.’

The British Virgin Islands’ Dr the Hon Natalio Wheatley said the window ‘acknowledged the importance of the Territory and its people’ and ‘their contributions to our shared history and heritage.’

Interesting Facts

  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle has made it a mission of his Speakership to extend a welcoming hand to the 16 BOTs, which are located from the Pitcairn Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean to the British Indian Ocean Territory almost 10,000 miles away.

  • He made history in July 2021 when he hosted an inaugural virtual meeting of 10 of the islands that have Speakers or Administrators.

  • He convened the first physical meeting of the Commons and Overseas Territories Speakers’ Conference (COTSC) in May 2022 and helped to organise a second gathering in Anguilla in April 2023.

  • The Speaker feels that for too long the British Overseas Territories have been overlooked, yet so many of the decisions made in the UK have a huge impact on their futures.

  • He believes the UK must allow the skills of democracy to be developed in overseas territories. ‘If their people wish for independence, it should be up to them to choose that. We ought not to restrict them by stopping them making their own decisions. There is much more that we can do in respect of overseas territories, and I hope that we will take things forward.’

  • During the debut COTSC meeting, the Speakers also had the opportunity to meet the then Prince Charles, now King Charles III, who hosted a lunch at Clarence House in their honour.

  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s coat of arms includes an antelope from his home village of Adlington in Lancashire, wearing the key to Gibraltar and a Rugby League Ball, representing one of the Speaker’s favourite sports. The green on the shield represents the House of Commons and the mace – a key symbol of the role of Speaker. The shield also features three Lancashire roses, each with bees from Adlington. His motto translates as ‘We are seen in action’.

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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