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Former PNP Election candidate and businessman calls for swifter reconstruction for Capital, Grand Turk

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PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos – The Procurement process has long been bemoaned as tedious and the reason some projects and government work seem to take forever when it comes to seeing the light of day.  Still many residents agree with a recent posting by former North and Middle Caicos candidate and attorney, Mark Fulford who said work needs to get started on reconstruction of government sites.

Fulford pointed to the Grand Turk located, JAGS McCartney International Airport, which he explained he has recently visited.  The businessman said this of the facility, “Coming through the airport is an unreal experience, but it has been nearly two months since the hurricanes have hit.  Why has the government not started to pump money into our Capital to get it up and running.  Wasn’t that what the British troops were doing?  There is no evidence of that.”

Fulford is asking why the CCRIF claims monies collected, a reported $13.6m, are not being spent to spruce up Grand Turk, adding that one’s baggage at the airport is offloaded onto the side of the road and that there remains a gaping hole in the terminal building.

The scathing rebuke for the lack of reconstruction work at the JAGS McCartney International has elicited reaction from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, TCIAA.

“All Airports within the TCIAA Portfolio were affected by Hurricane Irma and then again by Hurricane Maria. Proper assessments have been carried out to access the amount of damage caused by the storms and all efforts are being made to have full restoration as soon as possible. The TCIAA is in fact a Governmental body and is indeed bound by the Public Procurement Ordinance and other relevant policies and procedures that must be followed in order to proceed with works.”

Fulford’s appall did not stop at the airport though, he was critical of the situation of Government entities which have been either left homeless or have had to be relocated, many times.  Fulford said the officers have no access to important files, some are without electricity and internet connectivity and said the haphazard working conditions are the reason the Treasury’s system in Provo keeps going down; it has led to excruciatingly long lines.

Fulford, a member of the Opposition PNP also had a list of suggestions including: do away with the red-tape of bureaucracy and issue government office rebuilding contracts; buy commercial generators and use them to power government departments until power is restored; upgrade existing computer servers with a dedicated generator; provide temporary satellite internet boxes for various government offices and remove hurricane debris by issuing contracts for the work.

 

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Caribbean News

CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel

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#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.

Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.

Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.

Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.

“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.

Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.

“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.

She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”

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Caribbean News

WHO rejects report, claims it managed Cornavirus Pandemic well

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

September 18, 2022 – The World Health Organization is rejecting suggestions that it moved too slowly to contain the COVID19 pandemic.

In a press release on Thursday, the WHO says there were ‘omissions and misinterpretations’ made by the Lancet Commission in its report ‘Lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic’ which criticized the organization as ‘delayed and vague’ in its reaction.

Lancet had claimed The WHO was too slow in its response time in the early weeks leading to swift global spread of the coronavirus. In reply the entity said “the Commission does not convey the full arc of WHO’s immediate, multi-year, life-saving response”.

The agency detailed its response in the first weeks of the pandemic saying that behind closed doors they were meeting with member countries and creating information packages on how to test for and treat the unknown virus.

It also defended the timing of its announcement of the pandemic (which the Lancet Commission said was too slow) noting that the first meeting of the emergency committee occurred only after only nine international cases and no deaths outside of China and while it was not declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) it was noted that it could become one quickly.

It was declared a PHEIC seven days later.

The WHO also says not only did it repeatedly warn of the possibility of human to human transmission it warned countries to start screening at entry points and provided early access to personal protective gear.

At the same time there were agreements between the entities. Lancet maintained that with strengthening the WHO should still be in charge of worldwide pandemic response.

Additionally the WHO did say it agreed with some of the commission’s observations including chronic underfunding of the UN and some of its recommendations including the importance of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation when facing pandemics.

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Caribbean News

TCI’s Faion Hicks on roster for Denver Broncos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2022 – Faion Hicks made history as the first TCI American player to be drafted into the NFL when he got hitched to the Denver Broncos several months ago.

Despite being drafted to the practice squad and not the main game night roster, Faion, we had hoped would see some game time in the team’s Monday Night Football debut for the season.  Denver Broncos were on September 12, up against the Seattle Seahawks.

Practice squad players who are assigned to a team and practice with the team but do not play any games unless they are elevated.

Practice squad players are eligible to be elevated and play official games three times per season.

If Faion is elevated to the roster more than three times this season he will be signed to the main roster officially. Many successful and all-star NFL players started out on the practice squad.

Once the regular season ends practice squad players are usually signed to reserve or future contracts by their team.

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