The Peoples’ Democratic Movement wishes to take the opportunity to address a few pertinent issues affecting our Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands –
US Travel Advisory to US Citizens
We are troubled by the Statement issued by the US as a result of the recent acts of crimes that affected Us citizens visiting our Islands. We deeply regret the experience of the tourists that fell victim to these crimes and offer our sincerest apologies and regrets. It is important that these individuals (as well as persons looking to travel to our Islands) understand and appreciate that these are not common occurrences and we are still a country that enjoys a low crime rate with great people. To this end, we are seeking to make contact with the victims and have our sincerest regrets personally conveyed to them.
The Opposition remains committed to assisting the Government and the Police in any and all efforts to ensure the safety of our tourists and residents alike. We must remember as a people the importance of this Industry to our economic survival and also our individual role in ensuring that Statements like these are not issued nor the alert heightened.
I am calling on all citizens to assist the Police by coming forward and assisting in the solving of these crimes. We also have the benefit of Crime Stoppers who are committed to crime fighting and whose number 1800TIPS treats each caller as anonymous. Crime Stoppers does not want to know who you are, they just want to partner with you in making these Islands safer for all of us.
I also wish to use this Forum to condemn the actions of the few individuals who continue to prey on our tourists and residents. There is no justification ever for violent crimes and I am asking persons to see the errors of their ways and what can become of a nation for a few selfish acts.
It is important that the Government does everything to assure the United States that these incidents are not common and also to ensure that the Police and other Crime Fighting Agencies are well resourced.
Cuban Detainees
Today we were shocked and dismayed to learn of the escape of the 16 Cuban Detainees seeking Asylum in the Turks and Caicos Islands. There were many issues that arose during the handling of this matter and it was important to respect the legal process. However this recent event turns on an issue of national security. We are calling on the Government to conduct a full Inquiry into the escape of these Detainees and to forthwith make an initial Statement to the people of these Islands as to when the Government and Law Enforcement became aware of this issue that has already played out on US Television.
Healthcare and NHIP
The challenge to accessing healthcare is mounting and more and more incidences are being reported to me for representation. It is important that we begin to seriously address this issue. Though we are faced with many other challenges that can easily become a national distraction, it is important that we maintain focus on the important issues affecting us of which healthcare ranks as a high priority. I will like to encourage persons who are experiencing difficulties and who have had bad experiences to make the Reports to the relevant Bodies and/or to continue to make representations to your elected Representatives.
We await the Premier now Minister of Health’s Statement on the audits of the Hospital Contract and to inform the people of these Islands as to what the Committee to which it can make its complaints.
TC Invest Home Owners
Equally important is the issue facing former TC Invest mortgage holders. We are also very concerned about the plight of former TCI Mortgage holders whose mortgages have been sold and whose loans are being called in under strained and near impossible conditions. We are in possession of letters that were sent out to Home Owners informing that they were being given a total of three months to pay their mortgage in full or have their properties auctioned. This is rather unfortunate and it is important that these persons are assisted. We wish to advise those affected that we will be addressing these matters with urgency.
Though we are faced with seemingly other distractions, we deem it important to let the people of these Islands know that we are on the job and that we will seek to always represent your best interest. As we move on over the next few days, I pray peace over this land and a speedy resolution to all that remains unsettled so that we can move forward as a People.
We in the PDM are very concern about the continuing high levels of unemployment and the seemingly lack of interest or no how of this Government to create meaningful high paying jobs for our people. Therefore, we are calling on the Private Sector businesses to not only follow the Labour Laws when it comes to filling job vacancies but to take on a new commitment to ensure that our people are given the opportunities they deserve. Now more than ever we need everyone to do their part, as we are committed to do ours.
May God bless these Turks and Caicos Islands.