Fiscal Changes with New Fiscal Year
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.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP ANNOUNCES GROUND-BREAKING BIOFUEL TESTING, ACCELERATING THE INDUSTRY’S ENERGY TRANSITION
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas will be at the forefront of alternative fuel use thanks to extended sustainable biofuel tests this summer in Europe
MIAMI, June 06, 2023 – This summer, Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) will set a new industry milestone in alternative fuel use when Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas, set sail in Europe using sustainable biofuel to meet part of the ships’ fuel needs. The landmark test will contribute critical data and research on the fuel’s capabilities and supply chain infrastructure needed to further the industry’s alternative fuel ambitions.
During the three-month test, Celebrity Apex will depart from the Port of Rotterdam and Symphony of the Seas will depart from the Port of Barcelona, using a biofuel blend that reduces the ships’ carbon emissions. The biofuel blend is produced by purifying renewable raw materials like oils and fats and combining it with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.
“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in achieving, not only our own, but the entire maritime sector’s decarbonization goals in the short and medium term. We take great pride in continuing to push our industry forward in exploring innovative fuel solutions that reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans we sail,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
The cruise company plans to continue increasing the use of alternative lower carbon fuel to meet the needs of its ships across the fleet. After the trials are completed this summer, Royal Caribbean Group plans to scale up the use of alternative fuels, including biofuels, across upcoming European summer sailings.
“With our sights set on a bright and sustainable future, we are committed to collaboration and innovation to ensure we deliver great vacation experiences, responsibly. With the completion of the trials our hope is to advance our ships’ ability to meaningfully reduce emissions and propel forward strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure there is sufficient availability of biofuel and infrastructures to make maritime energy transition a reality,” Liberty said.
This key step in Royal Caribbean Group’s pursuit of alternative fuels follows closely after a biofuel trial on its California-based Navigator of the Seas, became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel this past fall.
With a sustainability journey that began over 30 years ago, Royal Caribbean Group has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate, and advance, the solutions necessary for a better future. Building on a robust portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, water treatment and waste management, trialing biofuels is a step that moves the company closer to achieving Destination Net Zero, its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. To learn more about Royal Caribbean Group’s sustainability efforts, information is available at www.royalcaribbeangroup.com/sustainability.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.
Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.
In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical. It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”
In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces. Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.
Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”
The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.
In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.
CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.
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