Deputy Premier’s response to Opposition Appointed Member’s on Work Permits

Turks and Caicos, April 13, 2017 – Providenciales – The Opposition’s appointed member continues to attempt to mislead the public.   The last year under the Rufus Ewing Administration, work permit fees were $17,914,713, of total projected revenues of $262,665,382.  Therefore work permits fees of approximately $18 million accounted for approximately 6.8% of Projected Government revenues. In our budget that will be debated on April 18th, work permit fees are projected to be $18,452,154 of total projected revenues of $273,470,947. Which accounts for 6.7% of the total budget.

There were no new developments the entire four years under the Rufus Ewing administration and still work permit fees accounted for 6.8% of the the projected Government revenues.  We have already seen a drastic increase in new and renewed interest for development projects. This coupled with our Government’s robust capital development agenda one should anticipate the need for an increase in the labour force. What the Opposition’s Appointed Member failed to recognize is that with all the upcoming economic activity we have still managed to reduce the percentage of work permit fees from 6.8% under the his previous Government to 6.7% this financial year. Although there is $539,441 increase in the dollar value of work permit fees, the overall percentage is down.  Therefore the increase in dollar value is just a reflection of our Government’s ability to create and provide the right environment for increased economic activity.

Just as we have accomplished our 100 day goals as a Government, we have kept our commitment to not rely on work permits as a revenue source.  We are ensuring our people get back to work and we are doing what the former Government was not able to do, which is restore investor confidence and create jobs.

We anticipate that the Opposition’s appointed member will continue to try and mislead you the voter over the next four years. However through press releases and town hall meetings we will ensure that you can get the facts from your Government and you can also research and verify the facts for yourself. There will be no “alternative facts”!

On the matter of the TCI Status Commission which is the body now vested with the responsibility to make recommendations on Turks and Caicos Islands Status, this ordinance was brought into being under the former PNP administration in 2015. Since then and up until the time the PNP was removed from office, by the people, they had not introduce any regulations to govern the working of the committee nor had they setup the committee formally in order to carry out its mandate. On coming into office we met applications that have been submitted almost two years ago with person left in limbo. As a government we have a responsibility to give these applicants and up or down decision so that they can plan the rest of their lives.

The most disappointing part of the member’s release demonstrates a relentless effort  to score political points or simply an intentional attempt to deceive the public. While his government would have projected $1,768,294 in revenue from  residence permits the final sum is $2,233,064 for year ending 2016 to 2017. Our projection of $2,300,056 represents a mere 3.34% increase over last years actual.

We remain committed to our people and will be making every effort to ensure they move up the ranks in companies to greater responsibility and senior management positions.

Hon Sean R. Astwood
Deputy Premier
Minister of Border Control and Employment




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