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PREMIER EWING RESPONDS TO BRITISH MP EDWARD MILIBAND ON BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP & CENTRAL REGISTRY

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, ​Tuesday February 10, 2015 – Note has been taken of the various unfortunate statements made by UK Opposition Labour Party Leader the Rt. Hon. Edward Miliband as quoted recently in a number of the UK Media Channels where he charges that the UK Overseas Territories are not complying with UK directives as it relates to beneficial ownership of companies and public central registries of beneficial ownership of companies.

It must first be stated that as Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I have yet to receive or have sight of any correspondence from the UK Labour Leader in respect of this subject at hand or any other subject. However, I note the letter of Chief Minister Picardo of Gibraltar to Mr. Miliband and wish to align, in most parts, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ position with that of Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, and that of the Overseas Territories that stand in solidarity on this issue.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government takes exception to the statement made by Mr. Miliband, in referring to our jurisdiction as a “Tax Haven”. The Turks and Caicos Islands is a well regulated and compliant financial services jurisdiction that has complied with the FATF Standards, Global Forum Standards and have signed numerous Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), including the US-FATCA, UK-FATCA and multilateral agreement on automatic exchange of information in Berlin on 29 October 2014, among numerous others agreements.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, represented by the Deputy Premier in June 2014, along with other UK OT Leaders, supported the UK Prime Minister Cameron during his presidency of the G8 as the United Kingdom made commitments to improve transparency of information to combat tax evasion, money laundering and financing of terrorism. Prime Minister Cameron acted on his commitment and is progressing the establishment of a publicly available central registry of beneficial ownership of companies in the UK and is encouraging all of the UK OTs, which, Mr. Cameron emphatically stated are not tax havens, to follow suite.

In keeping with our joint UK/OTs commitment for transparency and to proactively combat illicit activities, the Turks and Caicos Islands devised an Action Plan and conducted a public consultation on the issues of maintenance of Legal and Beneficial Ownership information and the establishment of a Central or public Register of Beneficial Ownership information. This consultation was recently concluded and the Turks and Caicos Islands Cabinet has reviewed the results.

It is the position of the Turks and Caicos Islands that we will continue to comply with all of the global standards as issued by FATF, Global Forum, AML Directives, G20 Principles and we will continue to improve our systems, in ways that support sound business growth locally and globally. However, until such time as there is global agreement on appropriate exemptions and safeguards, and a public central registry becomes the internationally practiced standard, the Turks and Caicos Islands will continue to follow its current regime.

Perhaps it would have been more helpful to these Turks and Caicos Islands and other Overseas Territories for the Labour Leader to have sought an audience with the Leaders of the Overseas Territories during our many visits to the UK, the most recent being for the purpose of the Joint Ministerial Conference meeting during which meeting, the issue of beneficial ownership was of key debate. Such engagement would have allowed Mr. Miliband to familiarize himself with our jurisdictions, and perhaps he might have discovered that the OTs are not tax havens as he accuses, but, in fact, well and better regulated financial services jurisdictions than many larger jurisdictions. Mr. Miliband would have then been in a better position to more appropriately inform his party’s manifesto in support of assisting the Turks and Caicos Islands and other OTs economies, as one would expect of responsible leadership, rather than utilizing outdated and damaging descriptions that undermine the strident efforts made by OTs to date to meet and in some cases surpass internally accepted standards.

The Turks and Caicos Islands stands committed to support and implement any global transparency initiatives and directives that will combat tax evasion, money laundering and financing of terrorism, and welcome discussions with the UK as a part of the solidarity partnership among OTs on the eventual maintenance of a Central Registry, but this will be done cautiously and with sober thought to the appropriate level that the information should be made public. We must ensure that we are supporting law enforcement agencies and thwarting criminals, all while ensuring the sustainable growth and development of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the protection of the fundamental constitutional rights and privacy of the law abiding citizens and clients we serve.
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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Celebrates World Tourism Day

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#TheBahamas, September 28, 2021 – “This year, World Tourism Day has been designated as a day to focus on inclusive growth through tourism, which is quite poignant,” said Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “Like many Caribbean destinations, tourism is the heartbeat of The Bahamas and as we say, it is everyone’s business. Our beaches are breathtaking, and the water is so clear you can see it from space, but that is not what defines us. Rather, it is every individual person who shapes the Bahamas experience and stands to benefit from tourism’s success. I am committed to creating jobs and opportunities for all Bahamians and to help our great nation heal.”

As international travel restrictions begin to ease, spurred by an increase in vaccine accessibility, The Bahamas is well positioned for continued recovery. A rise in scheduled airlift combined with the return of the cruise industry is contributing to a positive increase in visitor numbers, leading to nearly 500,000 visitors over the first six months of the year.

“While we have faced an uphill battle during these unprecedented times, we must stay focused and optimistic as the world begins to reopen,” noted the Deputy Prime Minister. “I join with leaders throughout the Caribbean to elevate the importance of social inclusion, sustainability and smart destinations and businesses. Our beautiful country, and our beloved Caribbean region, will prosper again and continue to progress, as in the words of the motto of The Bahamas:  Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.”

 

Photo Credit: Sandals.com

 

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Lyford Cay Foundations Award Academic Scholarships to 18 Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 27, 2021 – Eighteen Bahamians who are committed to making a difference in The Bahamas in fields ranging from mitigating climate change to ending physical abuse have been awarded generous undergraduate and graduate school scholarships from the Lyford Cay Foundations.

Today’s announcement of the names of academic awardees follows earlier news that for the first time in its 50+ year history, the Foundations saw the majority of successful applicants for vocational scholarships chose training and certification in medical or health-related subjects – perhaps inspired by the great health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both groups, academic and technical vocational, were outstanding this year, making the work of the independent screening committees more challenging than ever and many of the students who applied were so impressive that they were also being offered substantial scholarships from top universities, all of which speaks for the quality and reputation of students from The Bahamas,” said Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Executive Director. “What was of particular interest this year is the common thread in their essays, almost like a fire burning in them – a desire to make a difference in The Bahamas when they return.”

One of those recipients, Empress Sears, a graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, is off to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto with a William Birchall Scholarship. “An issue we as Bahamians should all be concerned about is the lack of attention given to our natural resources,” Sears wrote in her essay. “Our beaches, mangroves, pine forests, and coral reefs are in a state of peril….Overproduction of air pollutants has caused the temperature to steadily climb worldwide. The results of this come in the form of sweltering heat and devastating hurricanes. These effects play a major role in why our natural resources are under extreme stress. It is our duty as Bahamians to seek out the best possible methods to reduce the severity of these natural disasters.”

Two other recipients, Jasmine Adamson and Paul Roberts, plan to tackle the energy problem, focusing on renewables, Roberts at University of California, Berkley, and Adamson at Kettering University.

Another, Rhodricia Francis, was inspired by her own family’s experience to become a pharmaceutical chemist. “I believe that Bahamians deserve access to better treatments and medications,” she wrote. “As a pharmaceutical chemist, I will develop novel, effective drugs with minimal side effects and investigate more efficient methods to synthesize current drugs. Efficiency in drug creation will make medication more accessible to the general population.”

Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Basil Goulandris cited the variety of interests and ambition as “extraordinary.”

“Every year, we think how can next year’s applicants equal this year’s and every year, new applicants surprise us,” he said. “This year, the applicants showed interest in a wide variety of subjects that were very demanding and an extraordinary ambition to make The Bahamas even better.”

Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Tim Unwin agreed.

“When you look at the fields of study and the quality of the scholarship recipients for 2021-22, you have to feel that the future of The Bahamas is in good hands,” Unwin declared. “Upon their return to The Bahamas, these wonderful students will find many opportunities to give effect to their vision.

 The Foundations awarded $380,000 in scholarships this year to 26 new recipients in addition to the 27 ongoing scholarships allowing Bahamians to study throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The Foundations have awarded more than $50 million in education benefits to Bahamians along with helping to support non-profits, with an emphasis on those that contribute to education.

Recipients of this year’s new undergraduate scholarships include Paul Roberts – Physics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jasmine Adamson – Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University; Zion Virgil – Chemistry, Florida Southern College; Rhodricia Francis – Chemistry, Florida International University; Jaleah Taylor – Visual Arts/Communications, Media and Film, University of Windsor; Kiara Minnis – Computer Science Degree with Cooperative Education, Lakehead University; Ashanti Marshall – English and Art, St. Francis Xaviers; Shealyn Burrows – Chemistry, St. Mary’s University; Tyler Christie – Biology, St. Mary’s University; Dacacia Russell – Accounting, Mount Royal University; Chandler Darville – Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto; Alexander Baxter – Management, University of Toronto; Asya Johnson – Computer Science, University of New Brunswick; Empress Sears – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto.

Those working toward graduate degrees include :  Leandria Albury – Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota; Felecia Campbell – Child and Youth Care, Holland College; Lemuel Johnson – Trumpet Performance, Western Illinois University; and Clarence Albury – Creative Writing, Witchita State University.

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Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board Celebrates World Tourism Day

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The Destination Continues to See an Influx of Tourists, Following One of the Busiest Summers on Record, and Is Optimistic for the Future

#TurksandCaicos, September 27, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands, is excited to celebrate World Tourism Day on today, September 27, 2021, and reflect on the Island’s significant increase in tourism since the pandemic. Thanks to the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing and public relations plans, combined with its vigilant TCI Assured protocols, aggressive vaccine campaign, and pent-up travel demand, the destination reported one of its busiest summers to date in 2021 with an increase of over 18% in June, 19% in July, and 15% in August compared to pre-pandemic statistics in 2019.

“On World Tourism Day and every day, we are proud to celebrate the success of tourism to the Turks and Caicos Islands, especially after the challenges that we and all tourism-driven countries faced during the pandemic,” said Pamela Ewing, Director of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. “We have worked hard to enforce necessary safety protocols to ensure that tourism, our main economic driver, continues to positively impact both our local and travelling communities. The destination is optimistic for one of the busiest Festive seasons to date ahead, and we wish success to all other islands in the Caribbean.”

Tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands continues to flourish due to the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing and public relations campaigns in the United States, Canada, South America, United Kingdom and Europe to promote the destination as safe for travelers. This includes press trips with key publications, radio campaigns in source markets, advertising and partnerships with stakeholders, and executing the signature event, Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC), which updated all partners on protocols and accommodation availability.

“We are grateful for all of our valued tourism partners, who have supported our efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of our residents and guests, and to the community for their vigilance in getting vaccinated and adhering to protocols,” said Honorable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands. “It is because of everyone’s commitment that we’ve been able to keep tourism thriving safely and allow guests to focus on enjoying the exceptional vacation experience afforded by the destination, our picturesque beaches, and our world-class resorts and villas.”

Travel confidence has also increased thanks to the destination’s TCI Assured portal, a quality assurance pre-travel program and portal, which requires require a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR, NAA, RNA or Antigen test result from a test taken within three days of travel, medical / travel insurance that covers medevac, a completed health screening questionnaire, and proof of vaccination for all visitors ages 16 years and over. The vaccine requirement underscores the destination’s commitment to health and safety and expands on its already vigilant travel protocols, which have been in place for travelers since July 22, 2020, when the destination opened its borders to tourists. The Turks and Caicos Islands also continues to promote its vaccine campaign among residents, with over 70 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—making it one of the most inoculated countries in the world.

For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com. Follow the Turks and Caicos Islands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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