By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, September 2, 2023 – Leaders of the newly etched Informal Settlements Unit (ISU) sat with members of the media on Tuesday August 22 in an opportunity to expound on the goals and mission of the ISU. Although somberly stated, there was no mistaking the dogged resolve of Justice Carlos Simons, KC to see an end to the multi-pronged problems created by permitting unplanned communities in the TCI to go unchecked.
“We have a national motto, it says beautiful by Nature and this type of development undercuts (this),” said Simons who a month earlier, launched the ISU with the support of the Premier and the Governor of the territory.
The ISU is a Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) agency responsible for mitigating the proliferation of informal settlement activity in the Islands and the principal aim of the ISU is to build safer, more sustainable communities in the Turks and Caicos Islands and to improve the standard of living and quality of life of the affected occupants by undertaking this work.
The ISU is charged with the work of stopping this illegal practice and regularizing the long-established informal settlements to bring them in line with planning and other applicable laws.
“So don’t do it!” said the justice; a message to the crafters of these illegal constructions. In far too many cases, they have proven to be manipulative; brazenly flouting country constructions codes in order to fatten their pockets by selling small parcels of land to impoverished or vulnerable groups; this fate has fallen largely to the Haitian community which either holds lower-salaried jobs as part of the expatriate workforce, or have migrated to the TCI illegally.
The Turks and Caicos, said Simons, is the only British overseas territory with this problem.
“In cases where there is evidence of fraud persons will be prosecuted. There is no way the Unit is going to stand by and see hard-working, law-abiding residents fleeced of their hard-earned cash on the basis of land ownership that never could exist,” Simons added, “The ISU will simply refer cases of this nature to the Attorney General’s Chambers who will take it up with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the evidence will be laid out for the judge to do with.”
It is estimated that in one informal settlement community alone, known as Dock Yard, there are at least 3,000 residents pressed into 20 acres of land.
Simons promised that his Unit, with its partners aside, will authorize the demolition of any expansions to these illegal communities which number 45 country-wide.
The goal, to reclaim some 500 acres of illegally developed land and see the thousands of residents re-situated to better quality and planning approved housing.
Joining that interview, Tito Lightbourne, Permanent Secretary of the National security secretariat who concurred that these developments pose a national security and public health threat.
When Justice Carlos Simons and PS Tito Lightbourne on Tuesday held a press conference on the gamut of work put to the Informal Settlements Unit, they very clearly stated that there were hundreds of acres to be reclaimed – both public and private. Lightbourne said as many as 20 individuals would be make up the team at the ISU, mainly on a consultancy basis with a deputy to manage the day to day operations hired in support of Mr. Simons who heads the unit hired. He called the budget for the ISU, robust. The ISU is located at the Laporte Plaza in Down Town Provo.
Dock Yard Residents feel forsaken they say… unable to get city or government services into the area… customs, they told Bishop Coletta Williams and Wilkie Arthur doesn’t come in to inspect their shipments for the stores legally licensed to operate, they have to work another arrangement so their goods are cleared …they believe Govt wants no part of the community, but head of the newly established ISU, Justice Carlos Simons KC says that is not true.
During a media meeting Tuesday PS of NSS Tito Lightbourne said a survey which they commissioned for the Dock Yard report revealed there are at least 3000 people living in densely populated Dock Yard, 3000 people on 20 acres. The ISU, with its new office No 20 and 22 Laporte’s Plaza, downtown Provo, said the time has come for an end to illegal settlements in the TCI and the unit is committed to getting that job done.
New Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force Commissioner announced by Governor
Her Excellency The Governor has today announced Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF). The appointment follows a rigorous open recruitment campaign that included a stakeholder the panel, a separate community panel, and consultation with the Hon. Premier Charles Washington Misick.
Commenting on the appointment, the Governor said: “Following a competitive recruitment process, I have appointed Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force. Mr. Martin brings a strong set of leadership skills and regional operational experience, having led the Royal Grenada Police Force. With a distinguished career and commitment to public safety, I am confident that Mr. Martin will lead our force with integrity, innovation, and a firm focus on building trust with communities across our islands. I would like to thank Commissioner Trevor Botting for his dedicated service to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands over the last six years.”
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Martin said: “It is with excitement, I accept this prestigious position to lead the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) as its Commissioner of Police. I look forward with optimism to leading the men and women of the RTCIPF in confronting the law enforcement challenges and applying practical, proactive strategies to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and visitors to the shores of Turks and Caicos Islands. I am honoured to take forward this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of this beautiful nation by leading the police force into an era of modern policing. I am fully aware of the dynamic, complex, diverse, and multi-dimensional nature of the local and global criminogenic environment. This era demands a police force that must ensure safety and security by working collaboratively with colleague officers, and stakeholders to ensure that communities are free of the fear of crime. Be assured, I am committed to
delivering on this intention.”
Mr. Martin was, until June 2023, the Chief of Police of the Royal Grenada Police Force. He served in that role for five years and in the police force for 37 years. He is currently serving as the lead of the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit as part of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security. He is a former President of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police and obtained an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Durham University in 2016, where he studied under the UK Chevening Scholarship program.
Mr. Martin will take up his post at the beginning of February 2024.
Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit Partners with RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean to host Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, December 5th, 2023 – Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit, in conjunction with partners RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean, successfully conducted a comprehensive Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training at the Blue Haven Resort on November 28th, 2023. This initiative aimed to empower business owners with essential insights into financial statements, the significance of meticulous recordkeeping, and the specific requirements outlined by leading banks for prospective commercial clients. Attended by fifteen participants comprising both established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, the session proved to be a pivotal learning experience.
Ms. Shanice Williams, the proprietor of LLS Consulting, expressed her appreciation, stating, “I extend my gratitude for putting together an exceptional training session. The presenters delivered a wealth of well-digested information that has proven highly valuable for me and my recently established business. I’m delighted to have been part of this and eagerly anticipate future sessions.”
Mrs. Nancy Missick-Rolle, CEO of Executive Tours, shared her positive experience, “I found the training very beneficial for improving my financial literacy. The presenters were well-versed and articulate in their delivery, making the material relatable and extremely practical. The BSU did an excellent job managing the event and advising the group of the programs and services available for assistance.”
Ms. Shanice Swann, Interim Branch, and Country Manager at RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. expressed her pleasure in facilitating the training seminar. She stated, “It was a pleasure to facilitate a training seminar on the topic of financial statements in conjunction with the Business Support Unit at Invest TCI. This session was an enriching experience that entailed engaging with vibrant small and medium-sized businesses within the islands and cherishing their invaluable feedback on the topic. A popular quote that sticks with me is, ‘Success is not always about greatness, but it is contingent on consistency.’ The participation of business owners in seminars like these solidifies their unwavering dedication to sculpting a consistent path toward success.”
Curley Been, Manager, Business Banking, CIBC FirstCaribbean, stated, “Participating in the Financial Literacy for MSMEs on November 28th, 2023, was truly enjoyable. In our dynamic economy, there are more opportunities than ever for individuals to become business owners and contribute to TCI’s growth. Understanding how to navigate this entrepreneurial journey, secure financing, and achieve growth is crucial for business success. As a representative of CIBC FirstCaribbean, I felt honored to present on the topic of ‘Making Your Business Bankable’ for both existing self-employed individuals and upcoming new business owners. We trust that the insights shared were beneficial to all attendees and eagerly anticipate future collaborations with InvestTCI on upcoming events.”
Mrs. Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, underscored the significance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs. She stated, “The importance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs cannot be underestimated. We are delighted to have partnered with RBC and CIBC FirstCaribbean to provide our MSMEs with this informative, interactive, and impactful training that will benefit their businesses and help them make more informed business decisions. MSMEs must prioritize financial education to allow them to reap the maximum benefits for both their businesses and the wider economy. MSMEs are the lifeline of our economy, and ensuring that they are resilient and sustainable is our core objective.”
The BSU invites business owners to take advantage of its face-to-face and e-learning training programs. The training is offered free of charge, and the information provided is vital to ensuring the success of their businesses. For further details, please contact the BSU at (649) 338-4787 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Combined Team of Ministry of Health and TCI Hospital personnel attend United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Workshop in Anguilla.
#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – A combined team of Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS) and TCI Hospital personnel recently represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at a three-day UKHSA AMS Workshop, which was held in Anguilla between November 29th and December 1st, 2023. The team included Mrs. Winsome Hayles-Parker – Lead Medical Technologist in Microbiology, TCI Hospital, Mr. Andre Morgan – National Pharmacist, MoHHS and Ms. Arlene Siebs – Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, MoHHS. The workshop was well attended by physicians, pharmacists and laboratory personnel who hailed from the United Kingdom, St. Helena, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman and Montserrat.
The workshop involved both laboratory and non-laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions were practical sessions that were geared toward the diagnostic technologies used by the various UKOTs in the detection of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens and the use of BioFire in diagnostics. Most territories are now equipped with the BioFire Assay Technology, which forms part of the laboratory setup for molecular resistance markers.
The non-laboratory sessions included parallel professional development sessions on topics including AMS, the use of the MicroGuide antibiotic prescribing App, antibiotic surveillance, situational analysis of AMS in the UKOTs and AMS accreditation. Importantly, the attendees were able to discuss case presentations on clinical management and infection prevention and control.
In providing comments, Ms. Siebs stated, “Medical Laboratory Scientists must continue to improve their skills and competency as we work together in combatting AMR through laboratory services. I was thrilled at having the opportunity to compare disc susceptibility testing with automated analysers for the detection of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms.”
Mrs. Hayles-Parker believes that “the information gathered will be of value in helping us in the TCI to uphold the standards on AMS and in the long term with the fight against AMR. As we move forward as change agents, we are better able to assist with safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of the TCI.”
Mr. Morgan concluded that “the three-day workshop was a major success and I am excited to utilise the information acquired in strengthening the TCI’s National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance, which will, in turn, develop and strengthen antimicrobial stewardship in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I hope that these advances will continue to safeguard against this emerging AMR global threat by implementing strategies that will ensure sustainable pharmaceutical care for the present and future.”
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