Government promises relief for Exuma Straw Vendors
Exuma, 16 Apr 2015 – A electrical malfunction is the suspected cause, but on Wednesday evening, literally days ahead of the regatta – the biggest economic and cultural event on the Exuma calendar, the George Town Straw Market was destroyed by fire and taking with it thousands of dollars in merchandise and at least seventeen local businesses.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis led a delegation to Exuma on Thursday, 16th April to assess the fire damage, convey the sentiments of the Prime Minister and his government and to assure the vendors that they were not alone in the hour of loss but help is on the way.
“The government, the Prime Minister has expressed their concern hence I was dispatched this morning to assess what is going on, have a chat with the vendors and let them know that we care about what has happened – we are concerned about what was happening and we are hoping to bring relief to them as quickly as possible.”
Also weighing in on the tragedy was Prime Minister Christie who expressed regret at the great loss and promised that his government would be reviewing this situation and taking the necessary steps to assist the vendors in resuming their business operations as soon as is practically possible.
“I am personally aware of that market and of its impact in Georgetown, Exuma. Whenever I am in the area at a regatta or some occasion, I would go in there and talk to the people so I am personally aware of the extent to which that represents a major investment on the part of families down there and so it is a great loss for them and it comes at a time, (one) week before the annual regatta which is the regatta of all regattas where I am sure they are have stocked up and shot up their supplies for sale to the thousands who would come into Exuma for the regatta. So it’s really a tremendous loss to them. The government will cause an immediate review to take place on that and discussions with the vendors themselves with the view to seeing what assistance we can render and what steps we can take to put them in a position as this matter is being investigated – put them in a position to resume their business as soon as possible.”
The delegation included area Member of Parliament, Hon. Anthony Moss, Chairman of the Straw Market Authority, Kevin Simmons and technical staff from the Ministry of Works and Urban Development.
Also coming to the aid of the straw vendors was the General Manager of the all-inclusive resort Sandals Mr. Mutton who committed to setting up temporary tents on the site and a cash donation of $10,000. Another town meeting is planned to discuss among other matters the location of a permanent straw market and the permanent presence of a fire engine in Georgetown proper.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
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