Providenciales, 31 Mar 2015 – No new taxes, but some expensive changes will take effect tomorrow and it impacts businesses, including employees. We learned today that minimum wage is postponed to May 15, 2015 but last week, the public was informed of changes to the Immigration Regulations which will see work permit fees increased by over 100% in some cases and the NIB informed on March 17th that payments will be increased as the wage ceiling is raised; that change also comes into effect on April 1st, 2015. There will be some savings… business licenses are cut by 50%; there will no longer be the 7.5% Customs Freight Insurance Tax; the FIT is gone in what Finance Minister Washington Misick called a rationalisation strategy.
The Domestic Financial service tax and a wide range of bank service fees will no longer be charged but to transfer money out of the Turks and Caicos will more expensive; no longer at 10%, now 12%. Pensioners likely welcome the news that during a recent Cabinet meeting it was decided that, and I quote now, “TCI National Insurance Board pension regulations will be changed to ensure that monthly retirement pensions will be based on the ‘best five years of contributions’ of the past ten qualifying years. Pensioners will then receive a pension calculated on the 5 years of their highest total amount of insurable earnings.” Even better news is that the new policy takes effect retroactively from 1 January 2015.
TCI Ministry of Health slow on Quarantine Orders, blocking NIB payments
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – It is unclear how many hundreds of workers registered with the National Insurance Board are impacted, but the slow issuance of Covid-19 Quarantine Orders by the TCI Ministry of Health is hampering distribution and payment of sickness benefits to quarantined residents who are missing work.
Islanders are finding the process for receiving their money obstructed because the National Insurance Board required the government document in order to verifying their quarantine status.
The Ministry has not yet gone digital with the bookkeeping for COVID-19 records and residents have reported that the contact numbers listed by the Ministry of Health do not work.
The NIB has been offering financial remuneration to its beneficiaries since 2020 for days off work due to quarantine amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
An unemployment benefit was also instituted by the NIB to support workers adversely affected in the pandemic.
Ministry of Health has admitted to manpower shortages, but have issued no comment on how it will speed up the process of qualified residents receiving the essential Quarantine Order.
TCI & Bahamas and over 20 other countries put at higher risk by CDC, Residents say DIVERSIFY
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – ‘We need to diversify!’ is the main call from residents of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas after the recent bumping of their countries to a level 4 in the US, Centres for Disease Control’s Travel Health Notice index. The Turks and Caicos Islands along with the Bahamas, Cayman, Bonaire, Curaçao Trinidad and Tobago and 16 other countries were officially added to the CDC’s level 4 list on Tuesday.
Jamaica was also moved up to level three.
Despite a record breaking year for arrivals, one TCI resident said, “Maybe now the PNP will put something credible into place to go with their words about diversifying the economy.”
A Bahamian resident added his views from Grand Bahama.
“Tourism is running the whole country, which is ridiculous because every time something goes down in the rest of the world tourism is the first thing that drops off. With Covid you think they would have learned a lesson, no, they’re still using Tourism as a base for everything.”
This is a blow for all the Caribbean countries listed, who are still trying to rebound from 2020’s economic shocks due to the freeze on travel and tourism when the Coronavirus Pandemic first started.
It is especially difficult for the Turks and Caicos which mandates that travelers must have travel insurance to vacation on the islands as level 4 ratings makes that security more difficult to procure.
COVID deaths too high, Therapeutics Options too low; TCIG is not following Mother England
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Five medical treatments for Covid-19 patients are in use in the United Kingdom according to National Health Service, (NHS) yet Turks and Caicos has employed only one Covid-19 therapeutic and with the surge in new deaths due to the virus, it is a wonder if more can be done in this country to save lives.
Dexamethasone was approved by the NHS in June 2020, less than a month later, Turks and Caicos Hospitals began use of the therapeutic said to offer ground-breaking coronavirus treatment.
“Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, has been immediately approved to treat all UK hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators, from today.
The drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%, reducing the total 28-day mortality rate by 17%,” informed a media statement from the NHS on June 16, 2020.
Ever so quietly, and despite repeated media questions to the Ministry of Health about therapeutics, Dexamethasone was added to the Covid-19 response arsenal without a word.
The TCI Hospitals informed of its use late 2021, due to Magnetic Media questions on the issue.
Four other therapies are employed in the United Kingdom in an effort to save lives; they are: Tocilizumab and sarilumab (for REHAB); Tocilizumab (for RECOVERY); Inhaled budesonide (for PRINCIPLE care) and Ronapreve (for RECOVERY).
No surprise the effort is varied and fervent as the UK sadly reports one of the highest death tolls to COVID in the world at 153,000 people lost to the virus.
By January 2021, the UK, which was also the first country to approve emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccines, added a new drug: Tocilizumab and sarilumab.
Tocilizumab and sarilumab is administered to the sickest Covid-19 patients, said the NHS.
“This is a significant finding which could have immediate implications for the sickest patients with COVID-19,” said Professor Anthony Gordon, Chair in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Imperial College London and a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“We found that among critically ill adult patients – those receiving breathing support in intensive care – treatment with these drugs can improve their chances of survival and recovery,” explained Professor Gordon. “At a time when hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 are soaring in the UK, it’s crucial we continue to identify effective treatments which can help to turn the tide against this disease.”
The NHS, which ran studies on all of the drugs before introducing them for medical care to its residents reported that: “Treatment with tocilizumab significantly reduced deaths: 596 (29%) of the patients in the tocilizumab group died within 28 days compared with 694 (33%) patients in the usual care group (rate ratio 0·86; [95% confidence interval [CI] 0·77 to 0·96]; p=0·007), an absolute difference of 4%. This means that for every 25 patients treated with tocilizumab, one additional life would be saved.”
By April 2021, the UK was offering a therapeutic which was administered to people presenting with COVID but not yet hospitalised for the virus.
Inhaled budesonide, was given before Covid-19 turned severe.
“This asthma drug shortens recovery time said the National Health Service. The statement published on April 12, 2021 said, “Inhaled budesonide, a common corticosteroid, is the first widely available, inexpensive drug found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 who are treated at home and in other community settings, reports the PRINCIPLE trial in 1,779 participants. The drug is now available to treat COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis in UK primary care.”
The final approved “effective treatment” listed on the UK Government’s website is Ronapreve, sanctioned as effective in September 2021.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have secured a brand new treatment for our most vulnerable patients in hospitals across the UK and I am thrilled it will be saving lives from as early as next week.
The UK is leading the world in identifying and rolling out life-saving medicines, particularly for COVID-19, and we will continue our vital work to find the best treatments available to save lives and protect the NHS.
Ronapreve is the first neutralising antibody medicine specifically designed to treat COVID-19 to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.”
Given the Turks and Caicos, as a UK Overseas Territory has been extraordinarily supported from the onset of the pandemic by the United Kingdom, it is unclear why only one of five options, approved by Mother England has been activated locally.
While all messages from the NHS reveal a zeal to have as many possible options for the people of the UK in the fight against COVID-19. Turks and Caicos seems stuck and lacking the motivation it needs to offer more life-saving treatments to the people – vaccinated or unvaccinated – of the territory.
Perhaps the knowledge of the cold corpses of six beloved people from January 2022 deaths due to COVID, including a special needs young woman, may get the government spending public money on the other drugs and treatments, which give Covid-19 patients an extra fighting chance at life.
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