Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2017 – Grand Turk – A heated exchange in TCI Parliament led to the member for Grand Turk North being kicked out of the House of Assembly; the suspension of George Lightbourne’s participation in debate Thursday came after repeated warnings from the House Speaker, Dwayne Taylor about Opposition side interruptions.The Health Minister was presenting on the National Insurance Board Amendment Bill 2017, responding to Lightbourne’s strong challenges about stripping the board of members who represent the voice of the people, as described by the MP for Grand Turk North. Minister Edwin Astwood strongly differed in his view of reducing the size of the National Health Insurance Board, saying all of the board members including the Opposition’s appointed person were there to be the voice of the people, acting on behalf of the people.The Minister expressed outrage at the thought that anyone on the NHIP board would do anything but take into consideration what is best for the people of the Turks and Caicos and also vehemently defended Premier Sharlene Robinson, who is out of country attending a UK Overseas Territories meeting. Minister Astwood said, I am the man, who knows about healthcare in the country and chided the Opposition, for as he put it, ‘lying on the Leader’ knowing she was not even there to defend herself.The Health Minister, as asked for by the Opposition, brought his explanation of why the composition of the NHIP board was being reduced from 15 to nine members; he said it was because the members there to so called represent the employees never actually get out and make any contact with employees. He challenged those in his hearing to ask around about whether anyone from NHIP has ever been in consultation at schools, construction sites or even at the health care plan’s office to find out their thoughts in order to represent them at the meetings. The Minister was illustrating that some positions are not necessary.#MagneticMediaNews#heateddebateinHOA#ministertossedoutofHouseofAssembly Related Items:#heateddebateinHOA, #magneticmedianews, #ministertossedoutofHouseofAssembly Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
Election CommissionField-level officials of the election commission (EC) are in favour of deploying defence personnel as regular law enforcement to create confidence among voters during the next general elections.They came up with these recommendations as their opinion was sought in order to amend 14 laws, rules and directives ahead of the 11th parliamentary polls.Reinsertion of the provision for ‘No’ option in the ballot paper is another of the 58 recommendations the officials submitted to the law section of the EC secretariat.EC officials said the draft recommendations will be placed at the EC’s consultation meetings with the political parties, civil society leaders and election experts likely to begin soon.The armed forces — army, navy, and air force — were included as a law enforcement agency alongside police, armed police, RAB, ansar, BGB (then BDR), and the coast guard, in the amended version of the Representation of People Order during the past caretaker government in 2008. However, in 2013, the armed forces were excluded from the definition of law enforcement agency as per RPO.Inclusion of the armed forces as a law enforcement agency is being emphasised in view of the fact that the election would be held under the incumbent political government. It is believed to be important for creating an even field for all political parties.”Army deployment is necessary to create confidence in the minds of the voters. In fact, it would be hard to hold a fair election without the army. We cannot understand it why it had been removed from the definition of law enforcement,” said former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain.The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has all along favoured army deployment while the ruling Awami League wants to keep the army only as striking force.BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed reiterated the party’s demand for deployment of the armed forces and added that the BNP wants election-time supportive government for the sake of fair election.AL presidium member, health minister Mohammad Nasim said the army should be deployed during the next general elections the way current election law has defined.However, Jatiya Party leader GM Quader said, if the army deployment creates confidence among the political parties, army should be included as law enforcement in the electoral laws.Although the EC officials recommended reintroduction of the provision for allowing ‘No’ vote as a choice of electorates, both the AL and the BNP do not consider it important.* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Khawaza Main Uddin.