#TurksandCaicos, January 17, 2018 – Providenciales – Premier Sharlene Robinson talks tough to the Opposition PNP as rumors were floating on social media about the #Supplementary sent to the United Kingdom for approval on spending in the aftermath of major September hurricanes. It was said the Supplementary, dispatched to London at Christmastime by the PDM Administration was rejected and there had been reported criticisms from the Opposition Member from Grand Turk North, George Lightbourne about the timing of the proposal of Budgetary changes.
#PremierRobinson cried shame on Lightbourne for instigating the social media chatter, “what basis would there be to deny critical works identified by the elected Government of these Islands, many of which will begin critical works to Schools among other critical projects? If the UK rejected such a Supplementary, the Hon Member should be joining the Government in protest and not celebrating as such as the last time I checked this country belonged to all of us. We must know that there are issues that we must stand resolute on and political division on national issues is not only immature but reckless.”
#MagneticMedia had also heard the rumor of a rejection. Our inquiry led to a firm ‘no, not true’ from the Member of Parliament to which we had reached out.
Many others were less inclined though to believe there had been no UK resistance to the PDM Proposal for Budgetary changes to accommodate reconstruction plans within the islands; some called the explanation by the Premier: “Lies!!!!”
The PDM Administration has come under heavy fire for having not yet started any significant reconstruction of public buildings, four months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria which struck in September 2017. The Turks and Caicos Islands Government is however not the only administration facing scathing reviews from its residents when it comes to building back; The Bahamas, Dominica, the British Virgin Islands and the United States are courting various critiques from citizens.
As for what the Supplementary is expected to take on, once approved, there was this explanation from the Finance Minister: “In the Supplementary submitted there are critical resources for the Police, funding for NHIP, repairs to Schools which can double as Shelters, funding to support the introduction of online payment to better secure government revenues and enhance public service, funding to support the critical work of the National Physical Development Plan, additional resources to support border control and planning enforcement activities, among other critical projects and matters. We can only hope that the people will continue to dismiss gutter style politics and demand a higher level of representation from all its elected members.”
A recent Cabinet Meeting, chaired by Acting Governor Anya Williams, held on January 10 exposed that an appeal for a contingency warrant to pay off outstanding post hurricane bills was asked to be approved; that March 31, 2018 was suggested as a new deadline for a customs duty waiver programme on hurricane victims’ replacement furniture, appliances and building materials; that approved was a duty waiver for Ocean Vibes company, on a replacement 48-foot catamaran destroyed by the hurricanes; that Mission of Hope Haiti Charity be exempt from paying warehouse storage fees for the hurricane relief materials brought in and a request to approve a financial break of 50% on customs duties for Club Med for building materials, furnishings, fixtures and equipment – conditionally and in line with the TCIG Refurbishment Policy be granted.