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Premier’s First 100 Days Report

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Turks and Caicos, April 4, 2017 – Providenciales – Budget Preparation – On December 15, 2016, General Elections were held in TCI. We were sworn in as the Government on December 20, 2016. On laying the Estimates for 2017/18 for TCIG and Statutory Bodies I reported that the newly sworn Government began its work right away and it was in fact on December 22nd and not the 29th as was reported in error yesterday. On the 22nd December,  I chaired a Capital Board Meeting with all Ministers and Senior Government officials present to receive an update on the performance of the capital program for the financial year 2016/17.

A number of projects were earmarked for further consideration and further revamping by the newly elected government. It was noted that during the first nine months only a total of 12 capital projects were awarded and the total committed during this period was only $7.5m. It was then envisaged that during the last quarter of the year that a total of 63 projects costing $17.1, will have to be committed by March 31st, 2017. There was a total of 10 projects that were slated to be cancelled among which unfortunately was the removal of the boat at Governor’s Beach. This project was costed some two years ago at $2.5m but the Government since that time had allocated a mere $700k which was grossly insufficient and could not be used.

Yesterday we celebrated the laying of the Proposed Budget 2017/18 and noted the accomplishment of having met all the debt sustainability indicators that were set out in the framework document agreed between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Thus, this budget did not require the approval of the UKG. The calls to spend wildly and widely were many but this would have affected the cash required to meet this feat.

We met a large operating surplus but a challenged Project Program which saw millions of dollars tied up: monies that should be helping to stimulate the  Island’s economy.

Immediately your Government embarked on getting tenders out and evaluations was carried out by our dedicated civil servants to the very end of the financial year. An aggressive Budget Circular was issued and Team Finance worked hard to ensure the new dates were met from FSPS approval to New Spend and Capital Program submissions to Challenge Meetings to extra Cabinet Meetings to the eventual laying of the Budget. I wish to again thank my Cabinet colleagues, my PS Finance, the Budget Team, the Permanent Secretaries, the CFO, the HODs, the Financial Managers and the Statutory Bodies for their efforts in realizing this goal.

Yesterday we laid a Budget projecting a 6.2% increase over last year’s expenditure resting at $267.9m and a projected revenue estimate of $273.5 million which will be funded through existing revenue streams and a $20 million loan through the CDB or a Commercial Bank.

Change Document and Throne Speech

We came to Office on a mandate of Change and we contrary to the new, new  and even more destructive PNP, we have hit the ground running.  You will have heard Ministers give an account of their stewardship (and you can get use to this) and I will do so now on behalf of the Premier’s Office and the Minister of Finance.

I begin by addressing the commitments made in the Blue Print and the Throne Speech:

Your Government committed to the return of Team TCI and an Economic Summit.  This we did based on the premise that we could not imagine that any Government coming in after the Interim Administration period would not have created its own Policy for how they had wished for TCI to grow.  Truth be told, I met the Investment Policy Statement of the Interim Administration in effect and did not agree to proceed on this.  A consultant had been hired to carry out this work but was not engaged.  My Ministry began dialogue with the consultant and gave the direction and vision of your Government and I am  pleased to say that we are in possession of the White Paper which will be taken to Cabinet for input and then there will be consultation with the public and also during the hosting of the Economic Summit which will come. This Policy document is important as it says how we as a people wish to grow our country.  Team TCI also hinges on the way we market TCI and this will be formed following the Economic Summit.

Supplementary Appropriation Bills

There were immediate needs and opportunities that presented itself that we could not ignore and so we were forced to bring 2 supplementary appropriation bills to address critical needs at HM Prison and the Home Help Program. We promised that we would expand home help and we did just that. We promised that we would address the needs of the Prison and we are doing just that. We have also to meet cost for detaining alleged poachers and of detaining and repatriating persons entering illegally by sloop. Your Government campaigned on growing TCIG’s assets and employing a strategy to reduce Government’s rents. We were presented with a year end decision to invest the monies wisely or allow it to go into a savings. It was a strategic decision and we moved a further supplementary as there was no budget in place to support the purchase of building already rented and occupied by TCIG. We subsequently made the decision to invest in the purchase of 2 Buldings that will house our Customer Care Center bring the change to services offered by Government through the Ministry of Border Control (Labour and Immigration), Road Safety of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Customs.  I wish to again thank Team Finance, the hardworking Yaa McCartney of the AG’s Chambers and my Cabinet colleagues who saw the wisdom in saving our Government over $380k per year which can be used elsewhere against other priorities.

I have cause to travel on two occasions which were reported on before I left and on my return. I made representations on behalf of TCIG as promised on the matter of Post Brexit, SiPT Funding and Beneficial Ownership (which a live issue left unaddressed).

Police Support Provided and Legislative Agenda Approved

National Security has been a priority for my Government from day one and my first trip to the UK as promised I made representations on the need for UK support. The UK responded favorably and contracted a team to assess our security needs. Whilst other OTs were included, we were among one of the first and we are grateful. The team came to the Islands and met with various stakeholders and we await the report. We await a response and we are cautiously hopeful. Nonetheless we must learn to sail our own ship and you will see if you looked at the Throne Speech, Blue Print and our 12 Point Plan that those points that are directly under our remit has made considerable strides:

As promised, we have already agreed as a National Security Council the need for a Comprehensive National Security Strategy. This we believe is critical as we seek to share our limited resources in a most effective way by unifying efforts.  As promised, we have already met with the Senior Police Officers in Grand Turk and Providenciales and many ideas were shared and our vision was likewise shared.

As promised we have already agreed to provide the Police with much needed equipment, laws and modern tools. The purchase of the Carlos Simmons Building is in support of providing the Police the space needed to house modern crime fighting initiatives and a more strategic approach to crime fighting. We have already agreed new vehicles, more manpower and a legislative agenda that will see the use of biometrics, fingerprinting, cctv and data protection, public order, matters addressing communication and a review of the Police Ordinance. The latter can be stated with assurances because this Good Government within its first 100 days has agreed a Legislative Agenda.

Rehabilitation of Offenders

Whilst we will provide the necessary resources for enforcement, we have also stated over and over again that prevention is critical and so is rehabilitation. We believed four years ago as we do strongly today and we must ascertain the reasons for crime and that we have done. I have spoken and met with a representative group of those who are incarcerated and those who were former inmates and I have concluded that unemployment, frustration and drugs are at the root of the majority of crimes. Your Government has therefore taken on a hands on approach and have already prepared an Information Paper for a national rehabilitation and prevention policy which will address skills, employment, entrepreneurship, health and rehabilitative programs for those incarcerated and those with criminal records who find it hard to find employment and support on release. In fact the Premier’s Office is already support the CED Entrepreneurship Training for inmates named Gateway To Hope and a separate Program for former inmates named Change Our Future. The public and the private sector will be clear and defined roles on how we can help to reduce the rate of reoffenders and this is near launch. We can no longer shun those who have already paid their debt to society and expect all to be well. We must also recognize the level of drug use in this country from our Schools and up. There are social issues that we must address head on and drug use and abuse is another.

We committed to supporting the Police and we will do just that through our own efforts and through strategic crime fighting and modern tools all enveloped in a national security strategy. You will already have heard that as Premier I have elevated the Ministry of Border Control to national security level so as to change the mind set of workers and the public as to the seriousness of the work of this Ministry and our commitment to ensuring that we bring the much needed change to this Ministry in terms of resources and reputation.

Meetings with Clergy and Church Services

We also committed in the Throne Speech that we would meet with the Clergy early and would have held Prayer Services around the Turks and Caicos Islands. This was included in the Throne Speech and today we can say Mission accomplished. We have heard from the clergy, taken our nation into prayer and forged valuable partnerships.

We have paid keen attention to the leading sectors of this country and have met with the TCHTA and Chamber of Commerce in Providenciales and also the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Turk.

Cruise Sector

We have also reengaged the GT Cruise Port/Carnival and moved pass an impasse in relationship between TCIG and Carnival Owners.  We are pleased to announce that we have already agreed to major infrastructural projects for GT from the stalled $6m Infrastructure Fund; A Vendors Stall and the rebuilding of the GT Library. I was pleased to have the initiative for the rebuilding of the library from the owners of Carnival in a well – received call to myself the morning after the fire. We are committed to engaging all businesses in this country for the greater good of our country.

We have also met with vendors operating on GT and have encouraged the formation of associations and we are pleased to say that two associations have already been formed and will receive support from your Government.

Financial Services Sector

As Minister of Finance I have met with the Financial Industry Association and the Chair and CEO of the FSC to share your Government’s vision for the sector. In our first 100 days we have revived an old project and altered its mandate, appointed leaders in the sector to assess the state of our financial services sector and to make recommendations for a path to growth. We eagerly await those findings as we remain committed to growing this sector and to diversifying the economy.

Vision Document & Medium Term Strategy

As Minister of Finance we have agreed the continuation of the Vision Document and the Medium Term Strategy at TCIG’s cost. This will see the introduction of a National Development Plan. We promised a National Symposium and a national direction and this will be finalized by August of this year.

Service Charge

As Minister of Finance on assuming office, I was advised that the surveys on the matter of service charge provided to employers and employees were low in response and that the Statistics Act had to be employed to obtain responses. I have had to then revisit this topic and on March 7th had a letter remitted to the Committee to suspend activities until a new budget was prepared and mechanisms were put in place. Service charge is not a political issue and that is why we took the approach of bringing a motion as this caused government to use its resources to find the best way forward on this issue in a manner that did not see the benefactors losing any of their varied benefits. We are committed to this issue and works will commence on the passage of this Budget and consultations with all stakeholders will resume. I will also visit with and meet employees in the hospitality industry with particular emphasis on Hotels and Resorts.

Review of Air BnB and VRBOs Sector

The Ministry of Finance has secured a consultant to conduct a review of Air BnB and VRBOs. This review is completed and a draft Report is in hand. We will update our people on this issue in the very near future.

Business Transformation Project

As Minister of Finance I remain committed to delivering on the goals of the Business Transformation Project and as such we have reengaged the consultant to complete the much needed work in delivering efficient and modern service to the people of this country.

Review of Statutory Bodies

As Minister of Finance and again in the Throne Speech we committed to a review of Statutory Bodies and I am pleased to say that we have met with all and will announce more in this area shortly.

Climate Change Committee

As promised in our commitment to the environment and to be a progressive Government, we have reestablished the Climate Change Committee and have added Planning representation to the Committee as we deem this office presence vital.

Highlights: A few Cabinet Papers

We have met the required number of Cabinet meetings with additional meetings to facilitate the early passage of the Budget and the saving of monies from this year end.

We have already agreed as promised support for stalled projects and I am happy that the Minister of Tourism was able to report your Government’s support for the moving forward of a stalled Project in North Caicos known as the Royal Reef. We have also agreed a new Tourism Property Project for North Caicos. We have already approved the Development Agreement for the Toscana Project also known as  “The W Project”. After much complaints from a cross section of our people we have agreed a consultation for time change. As promised in the Change Document, we have already agreed the need the creation of a Policy Registry  to fulfill our promise for policy consistency. Having suffered loss from flooding over the years, we have agreed an increase in insurance coverage to include flooding etc.

Beneficial Ownership

Your Government is working fast to meet the UK imposed deadline of June for the creation of a central registry. There will be more updates and dialogue about Beneficial Ownership in the weeks to come.

TOLCO

Though the Former Government had had even our agreement to repurchase the former TC Invest  loans sold to TOLCO, your Government had to revisit the matter, give instructions to sign the contract and facilitate the payment. We will actively move forward now in agreeing a mechanism for its management.

National Savings Fund

We have already agreed the creation of a national savings account called the TCI National Wealth Fund and this will be presented during the next session of the House of Assembly.

Budget Session

I am pleased to announce today that the next Meeting of the House of Assembly which will be on April 18, 2017 and this will be the Budget Session.

Concessions Policy

I have given the directive for the creation of a Concessions Policy, the tidying up of an already prepared Cabinet Paper to give an incentive to first time home owners and to implement a shift system for customs that will aid in improving services and revenue.

Civil Service Association

As promised I have met with the CSA Representatives and I am only awaiting the executive to meet with public service.

Caribbean Development Bank  and Overseas Countries and Territories Association

On assuming the Office of Premier and Minister of Finance, I have assumed the role of Chair of OCTA and Chair of CDB. We are moving ahead feverishly to receive dignitaries in the coming months to meetings on our shores.

UK Engagement

Within the next few weeks we will continue the constitutional and crown land dialogue on our people’s behalf to the UK.

New Employment Opportunities Appeal

I wish to close by making a public appeal. In this upcoming Budget there will be 100 vacancies and there will be over $60m in projects. We need you to position yourselves to take advantage of the opportunities. We especially want persons to apply for the 18 new Police and the 10 new Prison Officers and the 8 new Immigration Task Force Officers. We must get serious about national security and protecting our country. I will in a few days announce meetings with local contractors that will be coupled with training for the tendering and bidding process.

It is your Government’s role to provide the opportunities: It is up to you to take advantage of them.

Happy 100 Days Turks and Caicos.

Happy 100 Days Colleagues!

We are well on our way!!!!!!

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Caribbean News

CARICOM African Leaders Identify Areas of Co-Operation at Historic First Summit

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CARICOM, September 13, 2021 – Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Africa have committed to strengthen collaboration and unity and to foster increased trade, investment and people-to-people engagement between the two regions.

The commitment was given during the historic First CARICOM-Africa Summit hosted by Kenya and held virtually on 7 September 2021.  His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, Chair of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) presided over the Summit which was attended by Heads of State and Government as well as Heads of Regional Integration Secretariats and Institutions of CARICOM and Africa.

Speakers at the Summit noted its historic nature and that African and Caribbean cultural and political ties run deep based on a shared history, culture, as well as a sense of a common identity.  They cited common historical experiences which inspired the Pan-African Movement championed by the Africans and the diaspora and which established the foundations of a rich and vibrant African-Caribbean relationship. The Leaders expressed the view that they were obligated to build on that vision. It was also noted that this First Summit was being held during the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent.

Key areas of possible co-operation and collaboration were identified by both parties. In his statement during the opening session, Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM proposed that September 7th be celebrated as “Africa-CARICOM Day” with a Summit held annually on that date. He also proposed the creation of a Forum of African and Caribbean Territories and States (FACTS), the codifying of a Founding Charter and a Memorandum of Operation of the Forum, a multi-lateral air services agreement, and an investment protection and a double taxation agreement between African and CARICOM states.

President Kenyatta, in his statement at the Opening cited the blue economy, climate change, health and Covid-19, debt sustainability and technology as areas on which the Regions could work together.

In the discussions, the Leaders stressed the importance of exploiting the Blue Economy to boost growth and development. They also committed to foster increased trade and investment through specific agreements and the enhancement of transportation links between the two regions. This could include the removal of the requirement for visas by nationals of CARICOM and African nations.

The Leaders indicated support for the establishment of a CARICOM/Africa public-private partnership dedicated to mobilizing resources and deploying them in critical cutting-edge projects including renewable energy, the creative industries and digital technology. They called for the establishment of a joint CARICOM/AU electronic mass media platform or mechanism to facilitate the flow of news, information and artistic programming between CARICOM and Africa. On the institutional front, they proposed the establishment of an African-Caribbean Forum and the drafting of an Africa-Caribbean Charter and memorandum of understanding to underpin the relationship.

The Heads of State and Government expressed concern about the mutation and spread of the Covid-19 Virus and its effects on the health of the people as well as on the health infrastructure. In that regard, they called for increased access to vaccines and for the building of manufacturing capacity to produce vaccines in Africa and CARICOM enabled by a waiver of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. The contribution of the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) in making vaccines available to CARICOM was lauded.

The existential threat posed by climate change was acknowledged and there was agreement on the need for the global community to act towards curtailing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. They supported a joint approach to the negotiations at COP26 to be held in the United Kingdom in November.

There was strong support for multilateralism and the strengthening and reform of multilateral institutions to become more inclusive to reflect the post-colonial world. The Leaders reiterated their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. While welcoming the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, they emphasised the need for debt relief.

They also called for an end to the illegal and unjust economic embargo against Cuba and to the sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The Heads of State and Government agreed to participate fully in the High Level meeting of the UN General Assembly later this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, and to jointly use that event to advance the claim for reparations within the processes of the United Nations.

The Summit ended with a mandate for the institutionalisation of co-operation between the CARICOM Secretariat and the African Union Commission.

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Bahamas News

Commander Defence Force attends UK-Second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Conference, Antigua

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#Bahamas, September 13, 2021 – In keeping with the Global Security Collaborative Framework and Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King’s strategic intent in strengthening joint relationships with its regional and international partnerships, Commodore King attended the UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua from 1- 3 September, 2021 to share best practices and to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Accompanied by his Aide, Sub Lieutenant Delroy Dennis, the sessions also included General Sir Nick Carter; Gen Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant Colonel Simon Westlake Royal Marines United Kingdom’s Defence Attaché to the Caribbean; and Commander Brian Trim MBE RN Commander task Group.

Also in attendance were countries with various Chiefs of Defence Staff, in particular; Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and defence and security partners across the region, who took part virtually, and shared their views on global security and joint partnerships. They all agreed on several initiatives with training and education designed to improve collective capacity to deal with the diverse security challenges that confront the region.

The inaugural conference convened virtually in November 2020, with each of the regional Chiefs of Defence. This second conference focused on building on the success of the virtual event in strengthening the UK-Caribbean relationships, and developing concepts for UK engagement with its Caribbean partners on issues of mutual interest.

The three-day conference commenced with an ice-breaker reception and concert at Blizzard Camp, hosted by Antigua and Barbuda (ATG) – Chief of Defence Staff Colonel Telbert Benjamin, and joined by the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams. The core conference which took place on September 2nd, began with an opening ceremony, supported by the Prime Minister of ATG, Sir Gaston Browne.

In the first core session, UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland General Sir Nick Carter set out the UK perspective on the strategic context, informed by the recently concluded Integrated Review (IR) and Defence Command Plan (DCP). The three individual sessions covered issues of serious organized crime threats; regional initiatives and the implications for UK Defence engagement; and natural threats.

The UK- CDS expressed his ambition to use the conference as a vehicle for institutional capacity building, military capability development, training and education, doctrine, and concepts. These are ways to maximize collective security development with focused UK engagement while better constructing an approach that matches the region’s aspirations and requirements.

The final session of the three-day conference was held aboard HMS MEDWAY, River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel built on the Clyde. This permanent Caribbean patrol ship was deployed to the Caribbean to support disaster relief and conduct counter-trafficking operations as an alternative setting for a maritime security focused discussion. It served as a setting to discuss regional maritime security, which included talks around preparedness for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response (HADR), and UK involvement in regional partnerships.

Photo Captions: 

Header: Participants at the UK- second Caribbean Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua, 1- 3 September, 2021. 

1st insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Defence Force, presenting his country’s brief on board HMS MEDWAY, during the second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Staff conference in Antigua. 

2nd insert: Commodore Raymond King, Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces: In the front row; Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and General Sir Nick Carter, General Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland.

3rd insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; General de Brigada Angel A Camacho Ubiera Inspector General of the Dominican Republic Army; Antigua and Barbuda – Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces Trinidad and Tobago; and Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces.

(Photos courtesy Mr. Wayne Mariette)

 

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 

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PDM’s Robert Been speaks out, calls Premier to forefront

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#TurksandCaicos, September 13, 2021 – The people are not getting what they voted for. The momentum initially shown by the Progressive National Party’s administration is slowing down day by day – and we are only seven months from February 2021 elections. In general, the PNP party is accused of being arrogant, inaccessible, untrustworthy, unresponsive and displaying clear favoritism to their party supporters first, and I am encouraging the PNP to stick to the promises made to the TCI people that you will not continue in this way. Elections are over.

The voters gave you another chance to prove that you can do what you promised – to serve the entire Turks and Caicos Islands, but sadly, I don’t see enough of the work going on like it was promised.

Education

While it is clear some work has gone into seeing better in our school system, Turks and Caicos Islands children are still being shared out of the spaces in their own country. We don’t want any child left behind, and definitely not our own children in their own land.

Why is this happening? With new schools, the Education Minister said these problems would be addressed, but the narrative continues. On behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I am calling for there to be an investigation into why our children cannot get into schools the government builds and staffs. We need real answers, progressive action, so that we understand what is going wrong and make it right… and this includes our special needs children.

Minister, you say you want the people to feel that you really do love them, well I call on you to immediately investigate every avenue to determine why many TCI families are still at the short end of the stick when it comes to securing sound education for all of our children – special needs or not, and enact productive plans that see a final end to these concerns.

Tourism

A major policy change came into force since September 1st 2021, which impacted our tourism industry and investors – domestic and foreign. The Minister of Health is leading on this, but we also need the Minister of Tourism to step out and thoroughly review all aspects of this decision to thoroughly address the valid concerns being expressed by our citizens. Ego should have no room in managing our economy in a way that is best for our economy.

There is integrity in reconsidering the negative effects of a decision, and moving forward with a better plan. Only God is perfect. Let us look around the world and learn from their mistakes, as well as glean from their wise decisions. There are other ways to achieve a desired goal – Minister of Health and Minister of Tourism, I appeal to you, before things get worse, work together and please explore this in other ways as well.

As a stakeholder, and someone whom you both are familiar with, I am happy to make myself available to put forth my ideas if it means the better of our nation. Finally about tourism, it has been since March 2020 that Grand Turk and Salt Cay have lost their tourism slice.

Plans to revive this industry always seem to get pushed back with no updates since June 2021. Millions of dollars sit in the joint infrastructure fund and even though they had a meeting with Carnival Cruise Line in June, we have not heard anything about projects, incentives, the new dock or the new cruise line company. Meanwhile Grand Turk people are leaving the island and businesses have to shut down, which makes job opportunities even harder to find there.

Providenciales is our pearl, but other islands exist in our Beautiful By Nature island chain. I am challenging you to speak to us about the future of our industry and any changes you are planning for our brand. What are you doing to soften the blow of this pandemic so it does not sink our tourism ship and what actual plans are in place to strengthen our tourism product?

Health

This is my final point. We cannot find spaces for our severely ill people at facilities in nearby countries due to the effect of surges of Covid-19 cases and the ongoing pandemic. We feel it for our regional health partners and are grateful for the open doors the NHIB was able to find.

However, if we are flown to the DR or Colombia, where we can find medical care and we die of the coronavirus – then the remains of our loved ones are cremated. This is a circumstance we cannot change and a heart-wrenching pill to swallow. I heard the Minister of Health say that it is out of his hands. And while that might be case, where is the plan to get Turks and Caicos out of this position? Let’s put our heads together to find a way around this.

No one wants the return of dear loved ones in a jar. We need a hospital which can cater to trauma emergencies. We need a hospital with a fully-functioning ICU. If it takes borrowing, if it takes strategy in finally developing medical tourism – let’s get the plan for it. Let’s get the public informed of that plan and with an agreed approach, let us finally fix healthcare in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Conclusion To the Hon Premier, your experience has earned you this prestigious title.

Your party’s theme was “We come for this wo’k”, and “this work” requires you to be occupied at the helm. Return to the forefront so your people do not feel abandoned in the midst of important health care concerns, the Covid-19 surge, cost of doing business, inflation and this recent mandate which lacked proper consultation by all levels of businesses in tourism and finance.

Your past experience, which you boasted has assisted in our country’s economic development and its thriving, is actively needed now. You have said many times, and I was happy to hear, that this is not about party politics, but about all of us as a people.

My call to you is the same. Turks and Caicos is a topclass destination and we demand top-class delivery on the Contract you wrote.

Just a reminder that the three (3) month stimulus plan is incomplete. The impact of the recent entry requirement is costing so many in hard-earned income – it’s time to deliver in full on this promise.

You wanted the work, you got the work, now do the work – for all of us!

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