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S&P Reaffirms FortisTCI Rating of ‘BBB’ Outlook: Stable

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Wednesday, October 21, 2015) – Standards & Poor’s (S & P), the world’s leading provider of independent credit ratings, at the conclusion of its recent annual review of FortisTCI (the “Company”), confirmed the Company’s investment grade credit rating of ‘BBB’ (Outlook: Stable). Most companies are issued a rating based on their financial strength, future prospects and past history. Companies that have manageable levels of debt, good earnings potential, strong management, and a good debt-paying record, will have good credit ratings. An investment grade credit rating means that the Company’s financial position will enable it
to meet its debt obligations.

The electric utility business is a very high capital-intensive industry and requires access to debt markets to fund capital investment projects over several years. Having an investment grade corporate credit rating enables the Company to attract debt investors. In 2014, FortisTCI was able to source ninety million dollars in the New York Debt Market, becoming the first local company to do so. In addition, it is acknowledged that the international investment profile of countries benefit significantly when privately owned companies in their jurisdictions are able to achieve investment grade credit ratings and access international debt markets.

The report issued by S&P revealed several strengths that helped FortisTCI maintain its ‘BBB’ rating. Including a simple cost-of-service style regulation, the ability to recover cost in a timely manner (including commodity costs), a strategic relationship with its parent Company, and the ability to produce stable cash flow. The report stated, “The outlook also reflects our expectation that there will be no material changes to the
licensing agreement and tariff structure.”

On the downside, S&P also reported that weakening in the Turks and Caicos Islands economy and unfavourable changes in the regulatory structure or operating license could have an adverse effect on the outlook. It assumed, “The regulatory structure is relatively stable, there will not be any major reforms to the regulatory structure and that
FortisTCI will not experience any material adverse regulatory decision.” FortisTCI President & CEO Eddinton Powell said, “We are pleased to have maintained our investment-grade rating, ensuring that we have access to funding essential to our operations. The support of our parent company, Fortis Inc., continues to be critical. At current projection, we forecast capital investments of approximately one hundred andthirty million dollars ($130,000,000), over the next five years, to meet expected economic growth and to sustain our existing assets. The utility business remains one of the most capital-intensive industries in the world and our service quality and reliability
depend on the level of investment we make.”

FortisTCI is a vertically integrated electric utility company and is responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution to almost 14,000 customers across the Turks and Caicos Islands. Future investments include new transmission lines to North Caicos, generation portfolio expansion, Grace Bay substation, Grand Turk facilities, and renewable energy infrastructure.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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