#Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands – Wednesday, July 7, 2018 – No drums, but lots of thumping on House of Assembly hardware as Members on the Government side of Parliament demonstrated resounding pleasure at the Budget Communication delivered on Tuesday by Finance Minister and Premier, Hon Sharlene Robinson.
“Mr. Speaker, let’s all go tell this nation that the rhythm of hope beats from West Caicos to Grand Turk and this liberating melody is the sound of transformation. Our policies will get more money in the hands of people, but for us we are most excited by the fact that in this coming renaissance, our strongest currency shall be hope.”
While the announcements of specific enhancements the nation is projected to see and feel by the time this fiscal period comes to a close in April 2019, there were a few projects and budget boosts which stand out as tangible changes.
A domestic fire unit for Grand Turk, projected to be constructed and operational within nine months.
“The Grand Turk Fire Hall was destroyed and we are in the process of obtaining plans for the Fire Hall and parking Bays for the Trucks. Thereafter, we will prepare the BOQ, following which contractors will be invited to submit tenders to construct the Fire Hall. We anticipate the commencement of the project in the second quarter of the fiscal year with completion in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Three-hundred and fifty thousand dollars will be spent on that project.”
“And so we are increasing the scholarship budget by 8% even. In the next year, we will spend just over four million dollars on scholarships alone. Mr. Speaker in the midst of the many priorities, we must not and cannot ignore education which continues to receive the second highest level of funding, second only to health. If you have the ability, we will support you – no matter your economic status or where you are from.”
In response to the vehement demand from Turks and Caicos Islanders for US hospitals to be included in the Treatment Abroad Program; facilities in America are to be returned as options for overseas medical care.
“…there will be an expansion of the provider network to include hospitals in Florida. Hospitals already identified include; Broward Health, Holy Cross, Cleveland Clinic, and Children’s Hospital of Tampa. Increased focus will be on provider contracts to gain the greatest value for money while not compromising quality of care.”
The PDM Administration themed this year’s Budget, ‘Consolidating the Gains, Expanding the Hope and Empowering Our People’.