Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands July 3, 2023 – National Sports Governing Body (NGB) executives in the Turks and Caicos Islands gathered at the Gustavus Lightbourne Sports Complex on June 15 for the National Sport Governing Body Annual General Meeting.
NGB executives and TCI Sports Commission met to discuss the advancement of sport in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In the time spent, fruitful discussions were held including topics such as sports regulations, policy and strategic plan development; sport funding and financial management; long-term athlete development; child safeguarding in sports; coaches and officials education; marketing and public relations; sports facilities development; hosting of international competitions; grassroots and youth sports programmes; community sport initiatives, anti-doping in sport; and athlete preparation for podium finishes.
In attendance were NGB Executives:
- Edith Cox – Executive – Turks and Caicos Commonwealth Games Association
- Godfrey Been – President – Turks and Caicos Commonwealth Games Association
- Paula Virgil – Vice President – Turks and Caicos Softball Federation – Vice President
- Edith Skippings – President – Turks and Caicos Amateur Athletics Association
- Rosalie Ingham-Hall – General Secretary – Turks and Caicos Amateur Athletics Association/Turks and Caicos Commonwealth Games Association
- Michael Pereira – President – Turks and Caicos Islands Cricket Association
- Brent Robinson – Representative – Turks and Caicos National Darts Association
- Oliver Smith – General Secretary – Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association
- Dane Ritchie – Technical Director – Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association
- Frazer Dodds – President – Turks and Caicos Islands Golf Association
- Trevor Cooke – President – Turks and Caicos Islands Basketball Association
- Ezekiel Hall – Executive – Turks and Caicos Islands Swim Federation
Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission representatives included Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes, Deputy Director Alvin Parker, Compliance and Support Manager Joddy Harvey, Sports Programmes Manager Cheryl Obiakpani, Media and Communications Specialist Nandina Hislop and Head of Sports Performance Angelo Garland.
The Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services, Hon. Rachel Taylor was in attendance along with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education Youth, Sports and Social Services, Mrs Cherylann Jones. Hon. Taylor addressed a number of sports issues and challenges and reiterated her commitment to sports development. Hon. Taylor also discussed new projects coming on stream such as the construction of an Aquatic Centre and expressed gratitude to the NGBs for their intricate and collaborative work, resulting in the advancement of sports in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes shared, that “The Sports Commission has taken every effort to advance the agency as a new statutory body and to work collaboratively with the various National Sport Governing Bodies to strategically achieve consistent and sustainable growth and development in sports in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Mr Forbes emphasized that the Commission has been committed to delivering quality service to the islands through access to facilities, meaningful programmes and events, and proper regulation and support of sports federations.
“The government’s plan for sports includes: acquiring, managing, maintaining, and developing property for sporting purposes; providing oversight and support to National Sports Governing Bodies; and implementing fit-for-purpose sports programmes and events to improve the national sporting outlook to the benefit of both the Government and the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands.”
Mr. Forbes further stressed the importance of National Sport Governing Bodies remaining athlete-focused and positioning our athletes to excel in sports. National Governing Bodies are conduits and gatekeepers for athlete development, and they must make every effort to empower our athletes toward sports excellence!
“Sports can play a critical role in strengthening national identity and pride, developing safer communities, improving the health of residents as well as creating a greater quality of life in local communities. It is the aim of the Commission to continue to work hand and hand with the National Sport Governing Bodies to deliver on shared objectives that will lead in the promotion and advancement of sports within the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Forbes also announced that this year the Sports Commission would focus more on Child Safeguarding and Anti-Doping.
New data reveals Housing pitfalls, government reveals detailed plan to fix it
#TurksandCaicos, August 11, 2023 – Many Turks and Caicos Islanders are spending unsustainable amounts of money on housing, according to data gathered by the Housing Department via the National Housing Needs Survey, emphasizing the need for affordable homes.
“Respondents of that Survey provided that the majority of households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing expenses. Now, as a rule of thumb, especially in America, if you spend more than 30 percent of your income on housing, it is deemed not affordable,” Dominique Durham, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, revealed.
He shared other significant data collected that showed the dire state of the housing market locally, including that nearly a quarter of residents live in damaged homes.
“It also revealed that 21 percent [of respondents] are living in homes in need of repair and 69 percent are looking to purchase a new home within the next five years,” Durham said.
Despite the intent to buy a home, the survey also revealed that many Turks and Caicos residents thought the housing market needed more affordable options for them to be able to bring that dream to fruition.
The majority of residents (32 percent) voted for the Government to create more options for affordable housing when asked what would best improve their housing needs.
Other popular suggestions included:
- Creating Government housing loan programs (25 percent)
- Housing subsidies (15 percent)
- Home improvement/refurbishment programs (11 percent)
All of those suggestions voted on by residents have made their way into the Housing Policy as either short-term or long-term programs.
“Long-term projects include inclusionary zoning, large-scale housing through public-private partnerships, and eventually, we will be establishing a National Housing Authority and Trust whereby we hope to lend at affordable interest rates. We also are looking to roll out help-to-buy schemes in the near future as we appreciate that an issue is also access to financing,” he said.
The Government is aiming to use these suggestions, voted on by residents, to fix the gaping hole in the market, but even with these new programs, there’s one thing residents say they need to purchase homes– better pay.
Jamell Robinson, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, was hit with the question of whether the Government would start to pay residents more so they could have more cash to afford housing.
The minister said step one was increasing public cash flow (with a pay and grade review for the public service now being conducted), and step two was upskilling all individuals to make them more marketable in the private sector.
“Our Job– is to ensure that our citizens as Turks and Caicos islanders can add value to themselves so they can participate more in the open market, and one of those ways is by making the community college free so you can access higher education– in a free open market which we have here, it’s hard to dictate to the private sector what they can pay a specific individual so we want to grow our individuals to make sure that they can level up,” he explained.
The Housing Policy launched on July 27th in Providenciales.
Islander Status Law Passed; Welcomes Third Generation, DNA Testing now Mandatory
#TurksandCaicos, August 11, 2023 – DNA testing will now be a requirement for certain residents applying for status via family members. The provision was signed into law on July 19th and government leader of business in the House of Assembly, Washington Misick, TCI Premier, explained the rationale for this now approved pathway to Turks and Caicos citizenship.
“This provision will allow for DNA testing to establish parental relationships in the Turks and Caicos Islands for the purpose of TC Islander status. By incorporating these criteria we ensure a robust and reliable method of determining familial connections if and when necessary,” he said.
During initial debates, Members of the House of Assembly had raised instances where parents could not provide the proper documents for their children to prove parental rights, for whatever reason. DNA testing was introduced as a swift and reliable solution in these cases.
“This is very important, I think we all know that claims have been made both by Turks and Caicos Islanders and by others claiming to have kids that are not theirs but also making sure that children who have a right to status are not denied by parents who may want to abandon them,” Misick insisted.
The measure was wholeheartedly supported by Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader.
Also accepted, that Great-grandchildren of TC Islanders will now be able to claim status following the passage of the anticipated Turks and Caicos Islanders Status Amendment Bill. It was one of many changes, altering how residents can get status and rights to long-term stay in the country.
Tabled by Washington Misick, TCI Premier, it:
- Extends acquisition of status to persons born outside the islands with family links through a great-grandparent – Misick said this recognized the importance of family ties. “It may seem distant, but here in this House, we have examples that could mean our offspring could find themselves disenfranchised. Just about every family has a similar situation,” he continued, “if we are truly interested in growing the franchise and maintaining control of it, then we have to ensure we put provisions in place for [it] to be extended through our own bloodline.”
- Extends automatic status to the dependent children of residents who are awarded status by grant, ONLY if they are living in the country at the time of application. The Premier indicated this was to remove the undue burden from families with qualifying dependents;
- Creates separate forms for residents applying for status through marriage and grants and legalizes electronic applications. Misick said this clause focused on making sure that families who legitimately have a right to be in the islands are not discriminated against;
- Removes the Attorney General from the Status Commission and appoints an external attorney. This attorney must have 15 years of experience and a background in public law, thus ensuring that the commission benefits from legal expertise. Misick said that the removal of the Attorney General was to reduce the opportunity for legal challenge and to ensure that there is no claim of the Governor or AG having their ‘finger on the scales,’ bringing more integrity and transparency to the process.
- Sets out parameters for qualification and disqualification of Status Commission Members. “The grant of status is an extremely important offer, and it is important that people have the skills, the background, and qualifications to understand the implications of their decision,” the Premier explained;
- Authorizes DNA testing. To establish parental relationships for status/make sure that children with the right to status are not abandoned by parents and;
- Extends the year’s application period to December 2023. This is to residents the opportunity to fully understand the changes prior to applying.
The amendments were debated by residents, with a survey on the bill opening in June and closing later that month. The proposed changes by the Government all made it into the finished legislation with the addition of the clause granting status to great-grandchildren.
The bill passed with general support from both sides of the House of Assembly with the Opposition and Government acknowledging the gravity of the changes, without which Turks and Caicos Islanders would become outnumbered four-to-one in a few decades.
The premier maintained that they would continue to carry out public education seminars and give residents time to settle into the new changes fully.
Those meetings commenced with the business community last week.
The introduction of mandatory DNA results follows as a way to end forgery and conniving by applicants.
“It’s no secret that people get paid to say children are theirs in the Turks and Caicos— so I am very happy to see this here concerning DNA testing. It cannot only be used to disqualify, but as the Premier so rightly said to qualify.”
Residents had been asked to vote and give their opinions on the proposed change to Section 23 of the Islander Status Amendment Bill in June. With the new provision the Turks and Caicos joins a myriad of other countries including the United States who employ DNA testing to establish paternity before status can be granted to applicants.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY THE GOVENOR AND THE HONOURABLE PREMIER ON OPERATIONAL RESPONSE MEASURES
#TurksandCaicos, August 9, 2023 – Since our joint statement released on 2 August following a fatal shooting incident in Providenciales, there have been two further non-fatal shooting incidents in Blue Hills and Five Cays. The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) are actively investigating all three incidents.
We undertook to keep you informed on the steps we are taking to support the operational policing response, to ensure the threats to our safety are gripped and effectively tackled, in both the immediate and longer term.
The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Tactical Unit remain in active deployment in addition to strengthened patrols by our Community Policing Units. You will see more operational police officers across Providenciales as the RTCIPF continue their investigative and enforcement operations.
In support of these operations, the following capability has been put in place to date:
- – The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has deployed of one of its H145 helicopters. The helicopter and crew arrived on Sunday. Since their arrival, the crew have been working with RTCIPF on planned operations to provide critical aerial support as part of our operational response measures. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is funding this deployment.
- – In tackling our shared threats, the HMBS Bahamas, the flagship of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, is currently in our jurisdiction, working in collaboration with our maritime partners to patrol our territorial waters against any illegal activities occurring at sea. Members of the RTCIPF and TCI Regiment are on board the HMBS Bahamas as part of this joint operation.
- – The Turks and Caicos Islands continues to work in partnership with our colleagues from US Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP assets are supporting the surveillance of our waters and those further afield, enabling early warning of suspicious vessels and acting as a deterrent to those who want to reach our islands undetected.
- – To ensure the ongoing investigative capacity of the RTCIPF, the FCDO has allocated additional funding to extend the timeline of the serious crime team deployment.
This immediate package of measures seeks to provide substantial capability to our operational response, co-ordinating efforts on both land and sea. It will allow us to continue to investigate vigorously and bring to justice those who are causing harm and threatening our peace and security. We are particularly grateful to the Governments of the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands for their steadfast support at this critical time.
We will continue to assess threats and keep you informed of our efforts to ensure the safety and security of our communities.
To assist our police investigations, we kindly ask for your cooperation. If you possess any information, regardless of its significance, please speak to someone you trust or contact TCI Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 to provide information anonymously and with confidence, for the safety of all.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Crime5 days ago
Man killed in Grace Bay in broad daylight; Murder No. 12
Caribbean News1 week ago
Barbados price reduction to facilitate CARICOM inter-regional travel
News1 week ago
Soldier the dog pulls in 2 million views
News6 days ago
BTC CC and Sports Club Reminisce on the Way Forward in Work and Play
News5 days ago
Invest Turks and Caicos boosts economy with MSME Program
Caribbean News6 days ago
Caribbean and African entities request reparations for slavery.
Bahamas News5 days ago
Husband Murder Plot foiled in The Bahamas; Wife and two others arrested
Crime5 days ago
PDM Calls on Leaders to Stand Up, Speak Up on shocking Crime