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Short HOA Meeting for duty free concessions, Opposition asks for clarity

#TurksandCaicos, October 3, 2017 – Grand Turk – A slew of significant orders were laid in the #HouseofAssembly when it briefly convened for country business on Monday in Grand Turk.   Finance Minister, Premier Sharlene Robinson and Attorney General, RhondaLee Knowles both laid the orders, numbering 11 in total which will allow a customs exemption, fuel duty waiver, wavier of some customs processing fees, at least three orders allowing an extension of time in the domestic financial services, hotel, restaurant and tourism, telecommunications and insurance sectors and even an emergency order to allow the transfer of prisoners; three HMP inmates were last week transferred to St. Lucia, where they are now incarcerated until our facility is fixed.

The orders legally allow residents in need of building materials and supplies to reconstruct in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria to bring the items listed into the TCI duty free.  PNP Opposition Leader, Washington Misick wanted clarification though, saying it was important that residents know who is eligible and who is not to ensure there is not an abuse of the concession which is due to expire at the end of this month.

“So i don’t want any impression to be given that I am not sensitive for the need of relief at this time, because that is not what i’m saying.  I’m saying it needs to be clarity as to who, how the system should operate to ensure that it is not abused, that is what i’m saying.”

The Attorney General, pointed out that in the laying of papers, questions are not to be asked and that Government Departments have to approve the duty free concessions in any event.   It was said by the AG that the public can be informed directly by these Departments of what they need to know about the government tax break to support rapid rebuilding, primarily of residential properties.

“All of these regulations that have been made of course have to be policed by the relevant departments, and so just in the way in that normal times you have a development order, which is in itself is a legal notice, the collector of customs have to be satisfied that the person who is importing it is importing it for the purpose for which it stated, and the purpose for which these regulations are made is stated very clearly that this is to provide relief in relation to the storm.”

The House of Assembly lasted about 45 minutes and was held at the NJS Francis building.  The Premier called for a meeting with the elected and appointed parliamentarians, explaining during the House session that she would like to hear suggestions on a number of urgent matters due to come up in a Cabinet meeting slated for today.

“There are certain critical issues that I would like to raise with them ahead of our agreement in Cabinet tomorrow, on the structure of the recovery plan I would like to get some feedback and involve as many members of the House of Assembly as possible.  And then of course, I think persons who would know what have begun to rear his head yesterday in terms of relief aid that has been distributed, and also another sensitive matter that I would like to raise with you following this meeting.”

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