TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 19th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Grand Turk. All other members were present.
At this meeting Cabinet:
- Approved the terms and conditions for an application from a land surveyor for a licence.
- Approved the making of the Revised Edition of the Laws 2021 (Commencement Order) 2022 subject to the approval of the House of Assembly; laws will be now be made available free of charge to members of the public on the Attorney General’s website. Physical reproductions will continue to be sold.
- Discussed proposed amendments to the Insurance Ordinance as drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers and consultation with the industry.
- Approved for the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be introduced to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
- Approved the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee Budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for office furniture and supplies; confirmed annual payments for the annual membership costs to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Agencies (FIA) and annual costs of the FIA’s travel costs for the Egmont annual meeting.
- Approved a three year rental lease agreement for the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, religious Affairs and Gaming, and the Tourist Board and Department of Culture in Providenciales.
- Approved a lease agreement for a temporary HQ for the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in Providenciales.
- Was updated on the proposed merger of NIB/NHIP Compliance and Collections. Further consideration was requested before Cabinet can take a decision.
- Noted the award of the following contracts in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Ordinance:
- PN 005600, TR 21/48, Furniture and equipment for Mental Health Facility – Grand Turk
- PN 005611, TR 21/30, Ballistic Vests for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force
III. PN 005614, TR 21/37, Bellefield Landing Civilian Safety Project – Safe Boat Slips
- PN 005627, TR 21/53, Furniture and Equipment for Public Works Programme Management
- PN 005630, TR 21/08, Vehicles for Government (resubmission)
- Approved for a request from American Airlines to waive the import customs duties and customs processing fees for replacement parts for an aircraft that had an emergency landing on Providenciales to be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
- Noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) for legislative amendments to be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the TCIAA. Cabinet requested further consideration. Proposed amendments will be considered by the House of Assembly for approval in due course.
- Approved the grant of a long lease to an applicant for a funeral home and cemetery on 60003/231 PT (2.5 ACRES)
Turks & Caicos Islands Government retains it BBB+ credit rating
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – On the 29th of March 2022, Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) released the results of the review of the 2021 sovereign credit rating for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). S&P has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating for long-term bonds, denominated in both domestic and foreign currency, of BBB+. Additionally, the agency also maintained the outlook as Stable for the TCI.
The Rating Agency advised that the stable outlook takes into account that the country’s economy will continue to recover given the strong performance of tourism and will improve in 2022. Furthermore, S&P believes the TCI will continue to adhere to prudent financial management and limit borrowing, and that fiscal reserve balances will increase during the next two years. Additionally, the rating agency also expects continuity in TCI’s institutional relationship with the U.K.
In its report, the rating agency advised that the rationale for the rating was a result of the Country’s institutional and economic profile. That is, the economic recovery led by resurgence in tourism and continued institutional stability. S&P indicated that despite the short-term pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the TCI Government’s prudent actions, aided by the U.K.’s swift transfer of vaccines, allowed international travel to resume as early as the first quarter of 2021. The combination of the Government’s swift response, coupled with pent-up demand in key source markets, led to a strong recovery in tourism, which in turn, has led to a better-than anticipated economic recovery. S&P estimates GDP per capita to be $23,674 in 2021, up from $20,757 in 2020 – a 14% year over year increase. Tourism remains the core pillar of the economy, indirectly accounting for about 65% of GDP.
S&P indicated that the ratings could be revised upwards if better-than-expected GDP increases and continued favorable growth prospects were to substantially boost economic resilience. Additionally, the rating agency also stated that they could also raise the ratings if better availability of timely data, especially on external flows and stocks, were to boost transparency and indicated that TCI enjoyed a significantly stronger economic or external position.
However, if the rebound in tourism is interrupted or turns out to be weaker than expected, leading to prolonged stress on revenues, this may cause the TCI Government to run persistent fiscal deficits that could materially worsen public finances. This could lead to a down grading of the rating.
Commenting on the rating, Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade, Hon. E. Jay Saunders, stated that “I am happy and extremely proud that S&P saw fit to maintain our country’s credit rating at BBB+, particularly at a time when many countries had theirs downgraded – mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the strength of our economy, and particularly, our government’s prudent handling of it. We have taken particular note of S&P’s comment that they could raise the ratings on better availability of timely data, and we are working towards achieving that.”
Rwanda Sisters ask Prince Charles for Help; puts President Kagame in negative spotlight
By Dana Malcolm
#Rwanda, June 25, 2022 – As the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting heads to Rwanda on June 20th two young women have an appeal for Prince Charles and the other heads of state. “Don’t shake hands with the tyrant who kidnapped our father.”
In an article of the same name published by CNN, Carina and Anaïse Kanimba urge the heads of state to hold Rwandan President Paul Kagame accountable for what they say is his record of human rights abuses and the kidnapping of their father, Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina is the real man behind the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and is recognized as a hero of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 he saved more than 1200 lives by keeping them safe in his hotel.
He has been a longtime critic of Paul Kagame who has been accused of altering election results. Then in August 2020, he disappeared. The girls explained how their father was, “Lured from our home in San Antonio, Texas, through Dubai, where he was tricked into boarding a flight to Kigali. An agent of the Rwandan Government, posing as a Bishop, asked our father to come to Burundi and speak to church groups about reconciliation. Having boarded a plane in Dubai expecting to fly to Burundi, he was drugged, waking only to realize he had landed in Kigali, Rwanda — a place to which he would never voluntarily return.”
The girls say he was tortured forced to make a false confession and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His daughters reject the accusations and they are backed by the United Nations, The United States, and several other high-profile human rights agencies and countries. They describe the recent deal between the UK and Rwanda as heartbreaking.
Rusesabagina, a cancer survivor, has allegedly suffered untreated strokes while in detention and his daughters say they are desperate.
“The Prince of Wales and other CHOGM leaders can choose to focus on their shared values and principles and push those members who do not uphold those values in practice to do so. This includes Kagame & #39;s Rwanda. Although Prince Charles is not a political figure, he can seek dialogue behind closed doors, or even ask to visit our father…we urge the Prince of Wales and all of the other leaders assembled not to stay silent and to ask Kagame to provide our father with a compassionate release now, before it is too late.”
That Rusesabagina was kidnapped by Rwandans is not far-fetched. Human Rights Watch, a UN agency, says between 2010 and 2017, they found evidence that Rwanda’s military “frequently arbitrarily detained and tortured people, beating them, asphyxiating them, using electric shocks, and staging mock executions in military camps”. They also maintained that most of the detainees were “forcibly disappeared” and held without communication with their families for months on end in “deplorable conditions.”
Rwanda has hundreds of documented cases of human rights abuses and just last year 99 UN Member Countries during a review of its human rights records found so many irregularities that they made 284 recommendations to improve the state of human rights in the country.
The United Kingdom was one of the 99 countries that admitted Rwanda had serious gaps in its upholding of human rights, which makes the decision to ship refugees there nothing short of baffling.
In fact not only did the UK recommend fixes to shortcomings in how Rwanda handles human trafficking victims they also recommended the country.
“Conduct transparent, credible, and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Rwanda did not accept these recommendations, merely marking them as ‘noted.’ So far Prince Charles has not responded to the girl’s letter and the world will have to wait until
June 20th to see the outcome of the visit.
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