Drinking the town dry

first_imgThere’s no accounting for taste. People’s personal preferences are so random that finding another person with the same opinions as yourself is impossible. Marmite is deliberately advertised with the line “you either love it or hate and the same could be said of several other things – David Gray, for example, or perhaps Basingtoke. Alcohol, however, is one thing that tends to unite people’s opinions. All across the world, from the furthest stretches of Siberia to the most isolated villages of rural Swaziland, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll be able to some kind of alcoholic beverage strip away all those annoying inhibitions and enable yourself to dance a twat, crack crappy jokes, and pass out in gutters. Hurrah. It is precisely this inhibition-destroying quality makes alcohol so popular at universities, where from the first day of Fresher’s Week to the final post-finals fling people are encouraged to drink too much and behave like fools. Some people, however, take this to extremes. They positively worship booze, creating entire clubs and societies with the sole aim of getting shit-faced as severely and regularly as humanly possible. These people are pioneers, ladies and gentlemen, boldly going where no liver would be advised to go. They are also insane. As you might imagine, Oxford is not without its fair share of these societies. To gain entrance to the Christchurch-based “Flowers and Fairies” society, for example, candidates are tied to an existing member of the society and have to match their counterpart drink for drink all the way through a particularly heavy session. A penalty system applies with punishable offences for going to the toilet, making a phone call, or drinking too slowly. The penalty, of course, is more booze. After this, any recruits who are still standing dash round the quad, discarding a garment at each corner, and the rest is history. There are other, supposedly more up-market societies in Oxford, relics of the Victorian age, likely to behave just as badly, only in slightly pricier venues. The Phoenix, made up of Brasenose undergrads, wear brown tailcoats and throw riotous garden parties in the summer, while also enjoying a termly dinner with a silver phoenix, known as “Our Old Friend” sitting in the 13th seat at the table, hinting at former satanic practices perhaps. There is the Bullingdon Club, for Oxford’s wealthiest boys, who can occasionally be seen staggering down Broad Street in their royal blue and yellow tailcoats tailored personally at Ede & Ravenscroft, after a heavy session at the King’s Arms. In fact, photos of past members in their finery can be seen in the back room of that very pub. Another university-wide society, the Stoics, again wearing old-fashioned tailcoats, initiates new members by forcing them to down a revolting concoction of liqueur from a silver horn in the graveyard of St. Mary’s, the University Church, in Radcliffe Square. Presumably candidates are assessed on their ability to hold the vile mixture in their gut. Less showy but similarly messy are the Assassins, one of Oxford’s more mysterious clubs, who along with the infamous Piers Gaveston society, hold annual parties at unknown destinations, fuelled by more than just alcohol. None of these groups are likely to be registered with the University Proctors, and often the college based societies are actually banned from the premises, as in the case of the St. John’s King Charles Club, which along with the Phoenix claims to be Oxford University’s oldest dining club. The “Bugger Ruggers” society at Teddy Hall dispenses with such elaborate selection procedures, choosing instead to elect three (female) recruits from each fresher year and take them on a twice-yearly bender round Oxford’s various drinking establishments, clad – there had to be a catch – in fancy dress. So the next time you see a bunch of pissed birds dressed up as cartoon characters rolling down the High Street, you know who to blame. As grueling initiations go, though, it would be hard to beat that imposed by the “Nondescripts” society at Christchurch. Prospective members are first taken to the Bear, where they are “encouraged” to drink a minimum of five pints in an hour. The next stop is Ma Belle, where they enjoy a huge meal accompanied by a compulsory two bottles of wine each. For some quiet post-dining rest, candidates are then taken to the Tom quad for the infamous “Quad Dash” in which they all race round the (not inconsiderable) circumference of the quad, performing twenty exercises (press-ups, sit-ups etc) and downing a can of beer at each corner. To cap off an enjoyable and relaxing evening, each person then necks a football boot’s worth of port. A Blues rower actually turned up for training the morning after carrying out this particularly savage ritual, which demonstrates admirable dedication, if not good sense. The Nondescripts – described as a “sports, dining and drinking society” – were actually banned for five years in the late 1980s after someone in authority took issue with the dubious sounding “Raindance” ritual, the details of which, I understand, “might not look good in print”. The Oxford-based societies, then, seem to be in rude health, with several particularly hideous traditions being enthusiastically upheld year after year by some extremely dedicated and single- minded devotees. But – although it pains me slightly to praise a Cambridge society over its Oxford counterparts – an honourable mention must go to the Wyverns society of Magdalene College, Cambridge. To gain entrance to this prestigious society, fresh-faced recruits are force-fed enough alcohol to get them in the mood and then sit down to a 20 course dinner. This sounds innocuous enough, until you see the menu: one course, for example, is a tin of dog food, another is a live goldfish, and the candidates are asked to provide another course by vomiting into a bucket and then eating the results. So there you have it – by all means join one of these clubs or societies. But you would be well advised to take out health insurance first. And should you wake up next to some particularly ugly stranger, with a suspicious taste of Pedigree Chum at the back of your throat, don’t say you haven’t been warned…ARCHIVE: 0th Week MT2003last_img read more

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New College’s exempt students asked to consider withdrawing their application to return

first_imgThe email, sent on January 8th, asked students planning to return on the weekend before Noughth Week not to do so unless they have pre-booked travel arrangements or “no other choice”. The college’s returns criteria only allows students to return under “the most extremis of circumstances”. Image: simononly/ CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons New College has asked students to consider withdrawing their application to return to the college during Hilary term after they received more applications than they could accommodate, according to an email seen by Cherwell. Students who return will have their socialising restricted to within their COVID households. Sport will be banned, and alcohol will not be available to purchase through the bar or dining hall. College scouts will continue to clean communal areas, while students are responsible for their own rooms. Catering will be provided in Hall for students who do not have access to kitchens. New College has been approached for comment.center_img The Home Bursar, Gez Wells, warned that the college would be reviewing the list of students who had applied to return and “reject a number of those who currently have approval”. “I am aware that some applications have been made for social reasons”, Mr Wells continued, “I need to emphasise that the early part of term in Oxford whilst we are under National Lockdown restrictions will not be social in any shape or form, you will remain under the same legal restrictions as you do in your own homes and the College will take a very hard line on rule breakers.” He also noted: “For every student that returns to College, I have to ask a member of staff to leave the safety of their own homes to return to College to support you.” Students have been invited to withdraw their applications by emailing the Academic Registrar before noon on Monday January 11th. After that, the college will confirm the final list of students who will be allowed to return before First Week. The request has been made to ensure that the limited number of spaces available in college go to the students in greatest need. Students were invited to apply to return to the college for Hilary Term if they lacked access to “appropriate study spaces” at home, required “additional support” including for mental health reasons, had been resident in the college over the Christmas vacation, or were an international student whose travel plans could not be changed. However, the college says they received “far too many” applications and would not be able to accommodate them all.last_img read more

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White House plan would help VHFA lend to low and middle income home buyers

first_img# # # # # Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) hailed a new Obama Administration initiative sought by Leahy that will free up some of the frozen liquidity of housing finance agencies like Vermont’s Housing Finance Agency (VHFA). State and local housing finance agencies (HFAs) like VHFA expand access to affordable housing by helping low and middle income borrowers to buy homes.  They work with participating lenders to provide affordable long term fixed rate home loans.  The credit and housing crisis froze access to tax exempt capital and liquidity markets for many of the HFAs, significantly limiting their ability to serve the citizens of their states and communities. The new initiative for HFAs will help support low mortgage rates and expand resources for low and middle income borrowers to buy or rent homes that are affordable over the long term.  In December and January, at the peak of the crisis, Leahy and Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) led efforts to urge the Administration to act to help HFAs that were forced to suspend or scale back their mortgage assistance programs.  The Administration’s initiative has two parts: a new bond purchase program to support new lending by HFAs, and a temporary credit and liquidity program to improve housing finance agencies’ access to liquidity for their outstanding HFA bonds.  The Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s primary need has been replacement liquidity for their variable rate debt obligations.  VHFA’s current liquidity providers of variable-rate bond offerings, Dexia and DEPFA, were downgraded by rating agencies last fall, leading to higher rates that VHFA has to pay that debt.  As a result VHFA has had to modify some of the programs it offers.Leahy said, “For more than 35 years VHFA has helped thousands of Vermonters buy homes.  It fills a vital niche in Vermont’s housing marketplace as a catalyst for affordable housing.  The Administration’s solution will help VHFA fulfill that vital role in Vermont’s communities.”The Department of the Treasury and HUD, together with the FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, have developed this initiative to maintain the viability of HFA lending programs and infrastructure.  This plan will be funded through fees by the HFA’s and should be at no cost to the taxpayer. There are still many details to work out, but the plan’s key parts are:· New Issue Bond Program (NIBP).  The NIBP will provide temporary financing for HFAs to issue new mortgage revenue bonds.  Using authority under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), Treasury will buy securities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed by these new mortgage revenue bonds.  The program can support several hundred thousand new mortgages to first-time homebuyers this coming year, as well as refinancing opportunities to put at-risk but responsible and performing borrowers into more sustainable mortgages.  The new bond issuance will also support development of tens of thousands of new rental housing units for working families. · Temporary Credit and Liquidity Program (TCLP).  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will provide replacement credit and liquidity facilities available to HFAs that will help reduce the costs of maintaining their existing financing.  The agreements will help relieve financial strains for HFAs, enabling them to continue their important work in their local housing markets.  Treasury will backstop the GSE replacement credit and liquidity facilities for the HFAs by purchasing an interest in them using HERA authority.Source: Leahy’s office. WASHINGTON (Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009) –last_img read more

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Pied Piper Celebrates 2018 Graduates

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMay is a very busy month, especially when it comes to graduations. Two students at Pied Piper celebrated their day of completion walking across the stage Friday.Family, friends, and staff shared fond memories of their time with each student before handing the grads their diplomas. Principal Stacy Wentz said she’s proud of their achievements.Wentz said the grad’s sweet personalities would help them in their journey and with their new chapter in life.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious What’s Trending For May 30Next What’s Trending for May 31last_img read more

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Local Participants compete in the Penticton Ironman

first_imgDawson Creek’s Trevor Kolkea, who won the FSJ triathlon the past couple of years, also showed well, finishing in 9 hours, 49 minutes – he actually finished directly behind Janelle Morrison.The overall race winner was Jordan Rapp, who recently moved from New York to Penticton to train.  He crossed the finish line in 8 hours, 25 minutes. The annual Ironman Triathlon features a 3.8 k swim, 180 k bike, and 42 k marathon under the hot Okanagan skies.   Of the 2600 hundred participants this year, at least 220 of them did not finish the gruelling race, and a 66 year-old man died. Advertisement Local athletes made waves at Sunday’s Ironman Triathlon in Penticton.Leading the way was pro Janelle Morrison, who despite a number of setbacks during the race, clocked 1:05 on the swim leg, 5:21 on the bike, and 3:17 on the run.  Morrison’s time just under 9:49 was ten minutes better than her effort last year, and was good for third place among all females.Also impressing was Barb Polehoykie, in her second appearance at the Canadian Ironman.  Barb finished the race in a time of 12 hours. 52 minutes.- Advertisement -And, in his first crack at the race, Blizzard Floyd Polehoykie managed to complete the race, coming in at a little over 16 hours. Floyd joined Moose FM’s Jon Zacks for an interview –  (runs 3:30)[asset|aid=1824|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=special_broadcasts-20090902T2335.mp3]Advertisementlast_img read more

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Aliki Primary School gets new boat ahead of new academic year

first_imgDirector General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon on Sunday visited the village of Aliki, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) where he delivered on his promise to provide a school boat for the students in the area.Director General Harmon hands over the boxes of school shoes to Headmaster of the Aliki Primary School, Ganesh DuganDirector General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon; donor of the boat, Tulsi Persaud and students of the Aliki Primary SchoolThe Director General also handed over 100 pairs of school shoes to the Headmaster of the Aliki Primary School, Ganesh Dugan.During a meeting held in the community on June 30, 2019 by Harmon and Business Minister Haimraj Rajkumar, residents had made a request for a school boat.The Director General subsequently promised the residents that the boat would be delivered to the community in time for the commencement of the new school term in September.In addressing the residents at the Aliki Primary School, minutes after the boat was handed over to the Headmaster, Harmon said that the David Granger-led Administration saw education and access to education as a national priority and would, therefore, do what was necessary to ensure that barriers which prevent students from getting to school were removed.“I am delighted to be here to deliver on the commitment which we made when we were here in June. We wanted to ensure that the children can get to school and get so on time. It is a commitment that we do not take lightly because it has to do with the education of our children and as you are aware, the President has put high priority on education in this country. Since we came into office in 2015, every year, the budget for education has increased because we recognise that the development of this country, the leaps and bounds which we will have to take, will be dependent on an educated nation and we have to start by ensuring that our children get to school. We have made that commitment to get children to school. So, the delivery of this boat is consistent with the promise, which our President made to ensure our children are in school and they can get to school,” he said.The boat was donated by Tulsi Persaud, a businessman from the neighbouring village of Lanaballi.On this note, Harmon stated that he was pleased that corporate Guyana as well as individuals were coming forward to aid the Government in its mission of ensuring that every child across Guyana was able to go to school.He also called on the community, the parents, teachers and village leaders to ensure that the boat was used for its intended purpose and taken care of.“The boat is there to serve the children, so I would ask that special attention be placed on how it is used. It is for the children. It is not to be used for recreation and other uses. Let it be for the children, who have to go to school,” he said.Meanwhile, Persaud, in an invited comment, said that as a child, born and raised in a riverine community, he had to paddle to get to school every day. He noted that he has been observing the “Boats, Buses and Bicycles” initiative by President David Granger and when he was approached by the Director General to consider assisting the community, it was an easy decision to make.The businessman also noted that he has decided to take it a step forward and would be handing over two more boats in the coming weeks to serve the students in Lanaballi, Bonasika and surrounding communities.Meanwhile, Dugan, in his remarks, thanked the Director General, the Government, and Persaud for honouring his commitment to the community. He noted that it would go a long way in ensuring that children get to school.A resident, Roy Creighton, also expressed his gratitude as he gave the assurance that the residents would ensure that the boat was well taken care of.“We would ensure that it is taken care of, because it is in our best interests. We will also use it for the purpose it has been given to the community for,” he promised.Harmon was accompanied by Regional Executive Officer of Region Three, Jennifer Ferreira- Dougal.last_img read more

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Metaphors of Evolution

first_imgIf Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like, science never metaphor it didn’t force.  The history of science is replete with examples of metaphors not only trying to explain phenomena, but actually driving scientific research.  Many times thoughtless metaphors have said more about current social values than science.    So argued Mary Midgley, a “a freelance philosopher, specialising in moral philosophy,” in an article on New Scientist:The trouble with metaphors is that they don’t just mirror scientific beliefs, they also shape them.  Our imagery is never just surface paint, it expresses, advertises and strengthens our preferred interpretations.  It also usually carries unconscious bias from the age we live in – and this can be tricky to ditch no matter how faulty, unless we ask ourselves how and why things go wrong, and start to talk publicly about how we should understand metaphor.The article was developed from her book, The Solitary Self.  But did her conclusion learn the lessons of history?  Here is a short list of metaphors she found in science over the centuries:Nature, the clock:  Scientists in Newton’s day envisioned the world as a mechanical clock wound up by God.Nature, the billiard game:  Early atomists interpreted everything as colliding billiard-ball atoms.  Rousseau applied this to “social atomism.”Nature, the war of all against all:  Thomas Hobbes’ metaphor of a war of individuals “accidentally launched a wider revolt against the notion of citizenship,” Midgley said.  “The slogan made it possible to argue later that there is no such thing as society, that we owe one another nothing.”Nature, the capitalist:  Laissez-faire capitalism, Midgley argued, is an application of atomism to economics.Nature, the competitor:  Spencer and Darwin used the metaphor of competition to interpret nature, although Midgley asserts that “Charles Darwin actually hated much of it, flatly rejecting the crude, direct application of natural selection to social policies.”  Whether or not his emotions against competition were derived from science or from his cultural milieu is another question.Nature as selfish genes:  “Evolution has been the most glaring example of the thoughtless use of metaphor over the past 30 years, with the selfish/war metaphors dominating and defining the landscape so completely it becomes hard to admit there are other ways of conceiving it,” Midgley complained.Nature as self-organization:  D’Arcy Thompson, Brian Goodwin, Steven Rose and Simon Conway Morris have worked on the metaphor of unfolding organic forms, “a kind of self-organisation within each species, which has its own logic.”  Contrary to the long-held view of nature red in tooth and claw, Goodwin has written that humans are “every bit as co-operative as we are competitive; as altruistic as we are selfish.”So did Midgley argue that we need to rid science of metaphors?  No; she proposed new and better ones suitable for the 21st century – the language of integrated systems:Now the old metaphors of evolution need to give way to new ones founded on integrative thinking – reasoning based on systems thinking.  This way, the work of evolution can be seen as intelligible and constructive, not as a gamble driven randomly by the forces of competition.  And if non-competitive imagery is needed, systems biologist Denis Noble has a good go at it in The Music Of Life, where he points out how natural development, not being a car, needs no single “driver” to direct it.  Symphonies, he remarks, are not caused only by a single dominant instrument nor, indeed, solely by their composer.  And developing organisms do not even need a composer: they grow, as wholes, out of vast and ancient systems which are themselves parts of nature.She did not reveal whether she is an admirer of John Cage’s “chance music,” but his kind of music seems to be the only kind that emerges without a composer.  All other symphonies are usually composed and performed by intelligent design.  It could be argued, though, that even John Cage purposefully chose to produce his works in certain directed ways.  He had to choose to sit at a piano, for instance, and decide not to play for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, turning pages at pre-designed “movements.”  For the metaphor to work, Cage would have had to step aside and do absolutely nothing – but even that would be a choice.Metaphors bewitch you (07/04/2003).  If Mary Midgley wants to criticize earlier scientists for imposing their social values (like competition) on nature, then how can she avoid being criticized for imagining nature to be a self-organizing system?  The next philosopher in future years could just as easily sneer at Midgley’s own misguided conceptions of nature, just as she sneered at evolutionists for being guilty of the most thoughtless uses of metaphor.    Is it even possible for humans to perceive nature without metaphors?  If you look at the list, all of the suggested metaphors have presupposed intelligent agency: clocks, billiards, warfare, competition, selfish genes, symphonies.  Intelligence in the atomistic view is a little harder to spot, until you recognize that colliding atoms presuppose natural laws: spherical shapes, and consistent physics of collisions.  Theists draw on the metaphor of a Creator as Architect, Designer, Maker, and Overseer.  That is how God describes himself.  So if every other metaphor already presupposes intelligent agency, then theism must be the most accurate one.  Metaphors, therefore, can be true.    If metaphors are inescapable, the symphony one is a good one.  God becomes the composer and conductor, His creatures the obedient yet skilled musicians, the instruments the capabilities, skills and talents he has endowed on his works.  The music is extended in time, with moments of tension and relaxation, periods where the listener is uncertain where the work is headed, but all working toward a planned finale.    Remove the sheet music and the conductor, though, and you get nothing but endless tuning exercises that all sound alike.  Eventually the musicians leave and the music stops, having gone nowhere.  John Cage might be happy, but not the rest of us, who know design when we see it and hear it.  The fact that audiences vastly prefer Mozart to John Cage just might reveal something about reality.(Visited 184 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Warne offers to help beleaguered Cricket Australia

first_imgSydney, Nov 9 (AFP) Spin king Shane Warne put his hand up Friday to help Australian cricket out of its current spiral and urged the sport’s beleaguered governing body to make better use of other former top players. The national team has been in a form slump since a ball-tampering scandal in March and Cricket Australia has seen a clean-out of top executives after a scathing review blamed its culture as partly contributing to players cheating. Warne said he was “frustrated” at the state of Australian cricket. “In the words of Donald Trump, let’s make cricket great again,” he said in a column for Melbourne’s Herald Sun. “Cricket Australia is in disarray — fact. CA has lost control and sight of what it was trying to achieve, to make cricket Australia’s favourite sport. “That was its slogan and it was right but it has lost its way and thankfully heads are starting to roll.” The leg-spin icon said retired cricketers needed to play a bigger part in steering the sport, calling on a host of former teammates to rally behind the game. “I put my hand up to (outgoing team performance boss) Pat Howard a few times, told him I was available if they needed me,” he told the newspaper. “I’ve always been happy to get involved in any role if Cricket Australia thought I could help the team. I’m sure all the ex-players would be the same.” He questioned why retired stars such as Michael Clarke had not been appointed as a batting consultant, or Glenn McGrath to help the fast bowlers.advertisement “We’ve got a lot of spinners coming through who I’ve helped in an informal role. And I’m more than happy to help in a formal basis if required,” he said. “Why not ask Glenn McGrath, offer him a contract to help with the fast bowlers. “We are not playing the Australian way at the moment, at any level.” Warne said “we just think we are going to produce cricketers” but argued that would not happen until the right people were involved and the right environment was put in place. He advocated more game time for top players in the Sheffield Shield and said: “Stop the Twenty20 greed.” “The talent in Australia is good. It comes back to how they are being taught to play, more importantly the style they are being taught to play,” he added. (AFP) ATKATKlast_img read more

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2008 Most Wanted completes prison time TCI residents concerned

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, September 6, 2016 – Residents have expressed outrage to Magnetic Media that a man convicted of one of the most frightening and infamous home invasions of about a decade ago, was on the weekend released after serving his time without notice to the general public.    Robert Jackson, who had appealed the conviction and claimed he was framed with fabricated evidence in the case where a Blue Mountain couple was terrorized, robbed and the woman rapped is now a free man.  Civilians had joined in the search for Jackson, who was born in Grand Turk and raised in the US but returned to the TCI after committing a serious felony in the United States.  Jackson reportedly not remorseful, Officials contacted At the time, then Commissioner Edward Hall said there was nothing to be done about the return of Jackson to the Turks and Caicos despite his Haitian parentage.  It was expressed to Magnetic Media that the public should have been notified of the release of Jackson, who in 2008 turned himself in after a national manhunt was launched. center_img Robert ‘Black’ Jackson was not alone on the night in question, the second man, was never caught it appears.  Recommended for you At this point, Jackson has served his time and hopefully he has changed his ways.  Related Items:Blue Mountain couple terrorized, Robert Jackson, TCI residents concerned about release of 2008 most wanted manlast_img read more

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15 bodies sent back to Haiti costs 30000

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, May 4, 2017 – Providenciales – The #15 bodies which were retrieved from TCI waters after a suspected illegal Haitian boat capsized in waters off Provo in January are returned home now; left the country yesterday on a chartered flight to the tune of $30,000.  Haitian Consular, #Wencesclass Lambert told media in a debriefing this afternoon that the full bill was paid by the Haitian government.  Lambert was thankful to the Turks and Caicos Government for its assistance in getting the bodies of the seven men and eight women home, adding that the repatriation of the deceased Haitians was not sooner because bodies were only recently released to the Government of Haiti in mid-April; they were being held at the TCI morgue.  The diplomat, who is stationed in Providenciales, took the opportunity to discourage illegal residency by his people and said he believes the illegal migration of Haitians to the TCI is a part of a more sinister human smuggling ring which the Haitian government is currently investigating.#MagneticMediaNews#15bodiesflownbacktoHaiti#WencesclassLambert Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#15bodiesflownbacktoHaiti, #magneticmedianews, #WencesclassLambertlast_img read more

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