PREMIER ROBINSON ATTENDS SPECIAL MEETING OF CARIBBEAN OVERSEAS TERRITORIES LEADERS

The Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, joined Caribbean British Overseas Territory leaders for a Special Meeting on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at the JW Marriott Miami, Florida.

 

The objective of this Special Meeting was to prepare for the upcoming Joint Ministerial Conference (JMC) in London, 28-29 November 2017. The meeting, chaired by Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Premier of the Cayman Islands, discussed the common issues related to disaster response, recovery, resilience building, disaster mitigation and identifying a shared vision for the upcoming meeting of the Joint Ministerial Conference; which will be led by Lord Ahmad, Minister for the Overseas Territories. 

 

The Territories explored and agreed on a wide range of issues including, but not limited to: developing a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between Overseas Territories that will outline a Plan for regional disaster management cooperation and assistance. The Memorandum will build upon the territories collective experiences as a result of hurricane Irma and Maria, which significantly impacted the Caribbean Islands. Leaders committed to sharing information, expertise and best practices as it relates to mitigation strategies.

 

Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson provided an extensive presentation on relief to recovery stating that; “ the Turks and Caicos Islands Government immediate priorities were to ensure that residents were safe, that electricity and communication services were restored and our airports were open to facilitate relief flights. We again must state our appreciation to the Cayman Islands Government and the Bermudian Regiment who assisted by providing relief items through the landing of its Police Helicopters in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria. The Turks and Caicos Islands remain resolved in our effort to ensure that this Government mobilizes all its resources to ensure that residents return to a state of normalcy, noting that the Government and residents together are determined to build a bigger, better and more resilient Turks and Caicos Islands."

 

The conference was attended by Hon. David Burt, Premier of Bermuda and Chairman of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA); Hon. Victor Banks, Chief Minister of Anguilla; Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Premier of the Cayman Islands; Hon. Orlando Smith, Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI); Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

 

The Premier was accompanied by Mr. Ronlee James, Executive Director and Ms. Joy Lightbourne Executive Administrator of the Office of the Premier.

 

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PRESIDENT SONIA BIEN-AIME APPOINTED TO THE FIFA FOUNDATION

The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Library Services would like to extend congratulations to the President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association and FIFA Council Member Sonia Bien-Aime who, over the past week, was crowned with another significant achievement making her family and country proud as she was appointed to the newly created and landmark entity, the FIFA Foundation.  

At a FIFA Council Meeting in Kolkalta, India on Friday October 27, 2017, Mrs. Bien-Aime was appointed to this novel Football Foundation. According to the release from FIFA the world’s governing Football Body, the FIFA Foundation is established with the “purpose of providing a solid legal and institutional basis for FIFA’s social development initiatives. One of the core intentions of the FIFA Foundation will be to institutionalize a commitment of the FIFA Legends to engage in such activities and act as promoters of FIFA’s aims and objectives related to social development”.

The FIFA Foundation will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2018, but it is noteworthy that the initial panel charged with laying the ground work comprises the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and only two members of the FIFA Council, Turks and Caicos’ own football luminary Sonia Bien-Aime and Kwesi Nyantakyi from Ghana.

When contacted via phone in Kolkata, India Mrs. Bien-Aime stated; “I would like to thank President Infantino and those at FIFA for appointing me to this Foundation. It is an opportunity to play an integral role in molding and establishing those social development objectives that are critical to FIFA and to the game of Football at large. It is an appointment that I humbly embrace with the focused intent of continuing in my quest to effectively lift the level of football locally and worldwide and in doing so hoping that some positive light may find its way to Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Hon Karen Malcolm, Minister for Sports, congratulated Mrs. Bien-Aime on another achievement and added; “On behalf of my Ministry and Government, I extend congratulations to Mrs. Bien-Aime on another monumental accomplishment for TCI Sports. She continues to be a trail blazer for women in sports and Turks and Caicos Islanders. We wish her all the best as she assumes her new role as FIFA Foundation Member.”

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FIRST INTER-TERRITORIAL CONFERENCE-BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES CO-OPERRATION IN CHILD SAFEGUARDING

A team of four persons from the TCI, including Deputy Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs - Mrs. Bridgette Newman, Deputy Director of Social Development - Ms. Ashley Adams, Child Safeguard Lead for the Police, Assistant Superintendent - Ms. Irene Butterfield and Child Safeguarding Adviser - Ms. Samantha Dunn recently returned from the First Inter-Territorial Conference for British Overseas Territories on Co-Operation in Child Safeguarding. 

The Conference was held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office during the period October 16-17, 2017 and saw participation from key stakeholders across a number of Territories.

In November 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Governments of the British Overseas Territories and the Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to facilitate the joint sharing of information for the purpose of more effective Safeguarding of Children. A vision that was birthed by the Government of the Falkland Islands. 

A Steering Committee was subsequently formed and the MoU was put into practice through four projects that were each led by a territory.

The Conference facilitated the presentation and focused discussion of the projects, discussion of detailed measures to change the way the OTs work together in sharing information when children in need and risky adults cross each other’s borders; when persons are recruited to roles working with children and when courts need to address the differences between legislative provisions for children when alternative care is provided for those in need and at risk.

Additionally, the conference sought to:

  • Forge and further consolidate links with UK safeguarding agencies
  • Take advantage of London’s location to hear speakers in relevant disciplines
  • Afford the opportunity for discussion and shared problem-solving in a highly complex and sensitive area of policy in challenging OT contexts and
  • Consider presentation of progress to Joint Ministerial Council/set future priorities under the MoU and Roadmap into 2018

The Conference began with an opening address by Mr. Peter Judge, former Attorney General for the Falkland Islands and the lead drafter of the MoU and Roadmap. Delegates then engaged in an intense two days of presentations and discussion of the tabled projects, all of which gave participants an opportunity to share the progress of individual territories and learn from each other.

  1. Information Sharing – Led by Cayman Islands
  2. Safe Working Practice (Setting up a process of safer recruitment across British Overseas Territories) – Led by Montserrat
  3. Mutual Recognition of Orders – Led by Gibraltar
  4. Recruitment and Support of Foster Careers (What do we need from them?)–Led by Gibraltar

Participants from the TCI were particularly pleased to hear of the progress being made in the area of Child Safeguarding as they are currently in the process of developing their National Action Plan and Working Together in Turks and Caicos Protocol, which is due to signed by the end of the month.

The report of progress made by territories thus far will form a part of the Agenda for the next Joint Ministerial Council meeting to be held in the United Kingdom in November of this year, which should be attended by the Minister of Home Affairs, Transportation and Communication, Hon. Vaden Delroy Williams.

While in the United Kingdom, the team visited a Secure Care Centre in Manchester where young males between the ages of 10 and 17 are placed by the courts for rehabilitation. They also visited a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) which aims to improve the quality of safeguarding decisions by improving access to information about children, young people and their families.

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