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Turks And Caicos And Uk Agree Islands’ 2015-16 Budget

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Providenciales, 02 Mar 2015 – The Turks and Caicos and UK governments have agreed the Territory’s 2015-16 budget, it was announced today, Monday, 2 March 2015.

The budgeted expenditure of US$224.7m is a 9% increase on the previous year, and proposes tax cuts, significant investment in education and infrastructure as well as delivering a surplus of $13.4m.

Some of the key features of the proposed budget include:

• a 50% reduction in the cost of business licenses in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI)

• the removal of the 7.5% Freight Insurance Tax which is applied to nearly all landed goods that are imported to the Islands

• an additional four staff to expedite the speedier processing of work permits

• an additional $1m for scholarships for Islanders, including $250,000 to help civil servants complete personal and professional development activities

• improved terms and conditions for public sector workers with the implementation of the pay and grading review

• the accelerated $2m completion of the new Long Bay Hills High School

The top ten areas of spending in the budget are (and increase/decrease over 2014/15 budget):

1. $60.7m (3.4% increase) for the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services

2. $33.2m (27% increase) for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Library Services. In addition to the scholarship funding, an additional $500,000 has been allocated to the TCI Community College, and $250,000 for upgrading public sporting facilities

3. $21.8m (32.7% increase) for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning, including $2.9m for the completion of the Caicos Causeway and $1.2m for road repairs and improvements

4. $20.9m (0.8%) for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force

5. $17.3m (-10.3% decrease) for the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment

6. $9.6m (16.2%% increase) for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation and Communications, including an allocation for a new juvenile detention centre

7. $9m (18.1% increase) for the Attorney General’s Chambers

8. $7.8m (15.1% increase) for the Ministry of Border Control and Labour

9. $7m (28.1% increase) for the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Heritage and Culture

10. $6.7m (-19% decrease) for the Judiciary

The remainder of the budget consists of statutory charges, including pension and gratuities, contingency fund and debt servicing ($16m), the Governor’s Office ($4m), House of Assembly ($2.8m), the Premier’s Office ($2.3m), the Director of Public Prosecutions ($2.3m), the Deputy Governor’s Office ($2.2m) and other costs, such as the constitutional and statutory bodies.

“This budget has been designed to support further growth in the TCI,” said Minister of Finance Washington Missick. “As an example, we are proposing to allow the airport and ports authorities to retain their surpluses, rather than paying them to government, so that they can invest them in upgrading South Caicos Airport and the South Dock harbour facility in Providenciales, respectively.

“These ambitious measures have only been made possible by my government’s continued fiscal prudence. We have set a course that sees us continue to reduce our debt obligations, while also looking for opportunities to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Although approved in principle by UK Ministers, the TCI budget is still a proposal which will be scrutinised by the House of Assembly’s Appropriation Committee in the next few weeks, before being fully debated by elected representatives before the end of March 2015.

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AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024) set to strengthen Africa-CARICOM linkages  

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Speakers at ACTIF will include global superstars Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Didier Drogba and African and CARICOM Heads of States

 

Nassau, Bridgetown, Georgetown, May 28, 2024 – Excitement mounts as The Bahamas prepares to host the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) from 12 – 14 June 2024 in The Bahamas. Themed “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa,” ACTIF2024 is set to forge significant pathways for economic prosperity between Africa and the Caribbean.

Other distinguished speakers will include Heads of State from seven CARICOM countries, former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Trade, Economic Development and Finance, Dr. Roger W Ferguson, Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, USA, Prof. Andreas Klasen, Professor of International Business and Director of the Institute for Trade and Innovation at Offenburg, and many more.

Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank, said: “We are witnessing shifts in the global economic landscape and the trade strategies of major economies, making it imperative for African and Caribbean nations to unite for mutual prosperity. The Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in The Bahamas will serve as a strategic platform to enhance our economic bonds. These events indicate a vibrant assertion of our shared destiny. We are poised to harness the dynamic economic growth within our regions, enhancing our collective resilience and prosperity.”

The event promises to be a pivotal platform for high-level discussions on economic development and regional integration.

Building on the successes of the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Barbados in 2022 and the gathering last year in Guyana, this year’s Forum in The Bahamas will further elevate and expand upon the discussions and initiatives previously set in motion. ACTIF2023, which focused on strengthening economic bonds and creating new investment opportunities, sets a precedent for meaningful collaboration between Africa and the CARICOM nations.

Afreximbank invites industry leaders, trade organisations and other stakeholders in the CARICOM region to participate and attend.

Registration is now open at https://2024.afreximbankevents.com.

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International Community must address conflict between Israel and Iran

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

With tensions between Israel and Iran at an all-time high, a United Nations affiliated group is urging for calm and dialogue as their violent actions can cause tragic devastation on innocent civilians.

According to Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an organisation that is dedicated to promoting peace through civilian-led initiatives, “it is a clear indication that the greatest victims of war are innocent civilians. 

How could those lost lives ever be brought back? What could compensate for the outcry of children and the anguish of the youth in devastated dwellings?,” the group noted in a media statement, adding that  the international community should  take “decisive measures” to address the conflict.

It is also advocating for the establishment of “comprehensive international laws” to safeguard peace for future generations. “HWPL remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering dialogue and reconciliation, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Iran,” the group said.

HWPL is a non-profit organisation, with a mission to promoting peace through education, and advocacy. It has a global network spanning over 170 countries. The organisation works to build bridges of understanding and cooperation, striving towards a world free from conflict and violence.

According to reports in various international media outlets, Iran and its militant partners on April 13 initiated a large-scale attack against Israel through launching several hundred ballistic missiles and drones. The international society expressed concerns over the possibility of war between the two states, since Tehran’s direct attack on Israel was unprecedented.

Experts have pointed out that the attack on Israel was Iran’s response to an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1, which killed seven military advisers including three senior commanders.

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CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference Presents Dynamic Study Tours to Promote Sustainable Practices

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The Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC 2024), slated for April 22-24, 2024 in Grenada, will feature a series of exclusive study tours aligned with the conference theme, The 5 Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership. These tours have been thoughtfully curated to offer participants an enriching and unique opportunity to delve into innovative sustainability practices and glean insights intended to catalyze transformative action for a more resilient and sustainable Caribbean.

STC 2024 is jointly hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Government of Grenada, through the Grenada Tourism Authority, and will welcome a wide range of participants, including government officials, tourism professionals, environmentalists, members of the media and researchers.

This valuable addition to the conference will allow participants to visit various sites and interact with local communities, gaining firsthand knowledge of best practices in sustainable tourism management, conservation efforts, and community engagement. 

Study Tour Options:

  • The Underwater Sculpture Park/Grand Anse Artificial Reef Tour: Led by Aquanauts Grenada, guests dive into the intricate ecosystem of the Underwater Sculpture Park and Grand Anse Artificial Reef and learn about sustainable practices aimed at protecting and preserving these vital marine habitats.
  • Grand Etang Nature Tour: Dr. Guido Marcelle, an esteemed botanist, guides participants through the lush rainforests surrounding Grand Etang Lake to explore Grenada’s rich biodiversity and gain valuable insights into rainforest conservation efforts.
  • The Rasta Roots Expedition: Immersive Journey into Rastafari Culture and Lands: Led by Ras Ginga, an elder of the Nyahbinghi Tribe, guests experience the Rastafari culture firsthand, learning about organic living practices and farming practices of Grenada’s Rastafari community, complete with a taste of local culinary delights.
  • Mt. Parnassus Plantation and Cocoa Pod Botanicals: Experts Michael Jessamy and Tricia Simon guide participants through the cocoa and spice plantation, uncovering innovative applications of these crops in cosmetics and health products.

The conference’s diverse program, comprising presentations, panel discussions, workshops, study tours and networking opportunities, aims to foster collaboration and facilitate knowledge sharing to advance sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region.

Event sponsors and partners include interCaribbean Airways; Royal Caribbean International; Silversands Grenada; Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada’s newest resort; and LINK Strategic Partners, an international strategic communications and community engagement consulting firm with offices across the U.S. and in Manchester, England.

 Visit caribbeanstc.com for further information about the conference and registration details. To learn more about the Grenada Tourism Authority, visit puregrenada.com.

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