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PACE

Minister of Health & Human Services TCI
By Honorable Lillian Boyce

Government Sets the PACE "Caribbean politicians have quoted democratic presidential candidate Senator Hilary Clinton in saying that it takes a village to raise a child and build a nation. lt is my submission,  however that what she has said and written about, is nothing more than a well-established Caribbean tradition.

Without a doubt, the one thing that separates and distinguishes the Caribbean from anywhere else in the world is the strength and uniqueness of our community spirit. “Minister Boyce challenged policy makers to ask themselves whether or not their commitment to community building is comparable to those who came before and laid a foundation and history of community building. The question of whether the Turks and Caicos communities are advancing at the same rate as their nation’s prosperity came through during the Ministers presentation.
The Minister began her comments by sharing the accelerated economic growth of some Caribbean countries such as Barbados, The Bahamas, Trinidad and The Turks and Caicos Islands. She pointed out that, "The middle-classes and upper-classes in the region are now perhaps larger and wealthier than at any point in Caribbean history." Her contention is that this phenomenon can mislead policy makers into thinking things are improving; however, poverty remains an issue in many Caribbean countries.

The Minister pronounced a profound observation on the work ethics of the Caribbean poor. She noted how strong the work ethics are among even the poorest in the communities and how their work

Honorable Lillian Boyce, Government sets the PACE status can leave a veil of deception in the minds of those politicians. They may see this work as progress even though many remain in a state of poverty. She proposed, "What then happens is that poverty is passed on from generation to generation because  politicians and governments, all of whom enjoy boasting about progress and prosperity of their countries, are either unaware of, or in denial about poverty. “

Minister Boyce continued to challenge policy makers to strive to develop their communities from within. She feels strongly about citizen empowerment as was echoed through her own policy initiative in the Turks and Caicos Island entitled, Poverty Alleviation and Citizens Empowerment or PACE. She asserts that "whenever there is a situation where people feel poor, powerless, voiceless and insecure, but yet they have to try against-all odds to make ends meet for their families, there is a serious problem." Her initiative seeks to empower citizens through collaborations between the government and the community. Minister Boyce declared, "PACE is a Turks and Caicos Islands brand of social and economic engineering and transformation, which we sincerely hope can be extended throughout the Caribbean and other parts the world. Basically, PACE is designed to eradicate poverty in every single community in the Turks and Caicos Islands, by ensuring that each and every household is provided with basic needs, such as decent housing, indoor bathrooms, electricity, clean running water, employment opportunities, proper health care and education, among other things?

The Minister feels that this approach is necessary as the Govemment’s goal is "the harmonization of government policies to ensure that there is effective community building." Honourable Boyce’s presentation was informative, eye-opening, and thought-provoking. This was evidenced by the standing ovation she received at the conclusion of her presentation.

COPYRIGHTS 2011 RESERVED TO LILLIAN BOYCE