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Conch export ban lifted, Nassau Grouper season closure reminder

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#TurksandCaicos, November 16, 2017 – Providenciales – We can export conch and conch products again now, legally according to the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, DECR after a measure to ensure the Conch was ‘okay’ following Hurricane Irma was instituted.  The announcement comes just days after Minister responsible, Ralph Higgs told residents at a public meeting held in Provo that the damage to the marine resources due to the hurricanes, is not irreparable.

It was said that locally we are consuming 320,000 conchs per season and exporting half a million conchs per season.   A TCI Sun news report revealed that local restaurants and fisherman are still finding it hard to find marine products in the aftermath of the category 5 hurricane.   Waters are still murky.

Still, the temporary hold on export is lifted and a reminder comes that by November 30, it will be illegal to sell, store or eat the Nassau Grouper, as the season will close on that day – its usual time.

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Deputy Governor defends hiring in Public Service

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Recruitment was halted amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic and has since resumed, there are no longer 300 plus job vacancies in the civil service according to Anya Williams, Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who heads the sector for TCIG.

“The Turks and Caicos Government began the financial year with a significant number of vacant posts due to the fact that recruitment for a number of both new and vacant positions was placed on hold last year due to the fact that the government, due to social distancing and other protocols was on work from home, shift and other hybrid work arrangements.”

The Deputy Governor, in response to questions related to concerns about what appeared to be slow progress in government hiring explained the confluence of events which led to so many job openings and millions in allotted salaries going unspent.

“The budget was passed late in the financial year in July 2021, however we have since then advertised over 200 posts with many having already been filled.  Therefore as it stands the current number of vacancies is below the 300 recently quoted.”

While the reveal during debate on a recently passed Budget Supplementary drew criticisms that government hiring is over-selective and shuts out indigenous islanders, the Deputy Governor does not agree.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands Government remains the largest employer of Turks and Caicos Islanders with all positions at the highest level of Permanent and Deputy Secretary strictly reserved for Turks and Caicos Islanders and over 75 per cent of our Head of Department positions held by Turks and Caicos Islanders as well.”

She also expressed that while some positions require higher level learning including professional degrees, the Public Service does not prohibit hiring of high school graduates into the civil service.

“… the civil service does have set criteria for all posts across government, which at some levels does require an Associate, Bachelors or Master’s Degree,” she said.

There was a reminder in the response, that TCIG is supportive of high school graduates improving themselves through higher education.

“This is in line with the country’s mandate to provide affordable and in most cases free access to tertiary level education through the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College for all interested Turks and Caicos Islanders to assist them in better qualifying for not only jobs in the public, but also the private sector.”

Turks and Caicos is short on staff generally however.  Both the public and private sector finds recruitment extremely challenging, which increases the country’s dependence on the expatriate workforce.  Even when TCIG finds a qualified professional, it naturally leaves a void elsewhere and vice versa.

“As recruitment is an ongoing process where positions often fall vacant due to both promotions and departures, we continue to advertise, interview and recruit positions on a continuous basis.

We continue to make a number of promotions across government which you would have seen from our various appointment announcements which we are very proud of.  Of course every promotion then also results in a vacancy in the persons former role which we then need to fill,” shared HE Williams.

It had been reported in the House of Assembly that some $3.5 million was unspent, a savings largely attributed to jobs in the public sector not being filled but the DG assured, there is no waning in momentum when it comes to hiring at the government level.

“We recently carried out interviews for a number of senior management positions across government including at the Permanent Secretary and Deputy Secretary which we intend to announce in the days ahead.

We are committed to continuing to recruit and promote Turks and Caicos Islanders in the public service and we are proud of the work that the civil service has been able to carry out particularly during the pandemic which has been lauded in terms of our COVID-19 response and Reopening Strategy.”

 

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Doctors Hospital takes over well-known clinic in Eight Mile Rock By Andrew Coakley

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe says Doctor’s Hospital’s acquisition of the clinic in Eight Mile Rock, owned by Dr. Malik Kavala, represents a transition that will bring even better health care to the people of West Grand Bahama. He called it “a gift just before Christmas.”

The official renaming of the Kavala Medical Clinic, which has been a long-time staple in Eight Mile Rock, to Doctors Hospital, took place on Monday, November 22, 2021, in a short ceremony, where Minister Wilchcombe served as the keynote speaker.

“This is an important day in Grand Bahama, an important day, specifically for the people of West Grand Bahama, who, from time to time, had complained about the lack of consistent, adequate service in proper medical service. Or those of us who complained about the long drive to Freeport to seek out medical care,” said Minister Wilchcombe.

“So, today, you can appreciate my exuberance. The fact that I am so overjoyed with this new relationship, that I would like to thank Doctors Hospital. You are now setting an example for your private sector to reach out to the West and understand that people live here in West Grand Bahama too.”

Minister Wilchcombe pointed out the fact that a large portion of the population on the island of Grand Bahama live in the West, adding that too often most of the events, businesses and entertainment have only been concentrated in Freeport, dictating that Grand Bahamians living in the West travel the distance.

However, Minister Wilchcombe said if there can be a cause or reason for the transformation of communities in West Grand Bahama, by allowing the private sector to move in and bring with them all of the professionalism that is required within that community, then they would be setting a new trend.

“And for that, I thank you,” said Minister Wilchcombe.

“I also want to celebrate the fact that Doctor’s Hospital has assembled such an outstanding team of Bahamians. Two years from now, we will be fifty years old as a nation and look where God has brought us from. Look at what we have achieved. Often times we have ignored the fact that this has taken time and we don’t appreciate the incredible journey that our people have made. If we can reach out and establish partnerships with Cleveland Clinic and others because of the service they provide, imagine the future possibilities.

“I want to congratulate Doctors Hospital and I want to specifically congratulate its president. I also want to congratulate Dr. Kavala.

“Dr. Kavala, You are exceptional. You’re an iconic figure in this community.

Everyone knows you and we all celebrate you. You have touched so many lives.

You’re the one people call on when there is nowhere else to go. Our entire Grand Bahama and The Bahamas must offer you congratulations and thanks for all that you’ve done for the people of this community over the many years. We love you and we truly appreciate you.”

The Social Services and Urban Development Minister said this present government and successive Progressive Liberal Party governments have always been committed to health care, while holding on to a general, social philosophy – to heal the sick, feed the poor, guide the youth and bring peace to every heart.

Minister Wilchcombe pointed out that when the PLP party was first elected in 1967, the whole idea was to eliminate ignorance, disease and poverty. A mission, he said, is one which the party still pursues even to this day.

“As God would have it, I now have an opportunity and a responsibility to reach out to those persons in our country today, many who are homeless or living in abject poverty,” said Minister Wilchcombe.  “In Grand Bahama, 9.7 percent, in the capital 12.4 percent and in the Family Islands 17.2 percent of the people are living in poverty. Too many of our people are living in poverty or are homeless.  We all have a responsibility to help, but the only way it works is if we have a partnership. So, when you have this kind of partnership between Doctors hospital and Dr. Kavala, then we can help even more people and bring more opportunities for better health care for the people in West Grand Bahama.

“So, I congratulate Doctors Hospital for taking up the mantle to carry on the tradition of great health care for the people here in Eight Mile Rock and in West Grand Bahama. I also want to assure Dr. Kavala that what he has done for the people of this community for so many years has been greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.”

 

By Andrew Coakley

Release: BIS

Header: Minister of Social Services and urban Renewal, Hon. Obie Wilchcombe (right), stands with Dr. Malik Kavala and his wife in front of the new sign at the clinic, which was unveiled at an official renaming ceremony on Monday, November 22, 2021. After close to fifty years of serving the people of Eight Mile Rock and West Grand Bahama, Dr. Kavala is retiring at 75 years old and handing his clinic and its facilities over to Doctors Hospital. At left is Senator Kirkland Russell, who brought remarks on behalf of the Minister for Grand Bahama.

Insert: Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe was the keynote speaker during the official handing over of the Kavala Medical Clinic to Doctors Hospital, during a brief ceremony on Monday, November 22, 2021.

 

(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

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Invest Turks and Caicos Attended Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Invest Turks and Caicos (Invest TCI) is pleased to announce the Agency’s participation in the 10TH Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) held November 10th-12th, 2021, at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.

CHICOS is one of the premier hospitality conferences in the region. In its 10th year, this event brought together more than 300 regional and international investors and operators and the region’s leading decision makers – all to discuss the region’s markets and possibilities.

Invest TCI participated in the Caribbean Government Leaders plenary session on Friday, November 12th, alongside the Bahamas Investment Authority, Invest St. Lucia, and JAMPRO. The plenary discussions focused on the investment environment of Caribbean economies in a post covid environment under two key themes: diversification of the economy and tourism and the need for greater involvement of (and positive impact on) local communities.

Attending the summit on behalf of Invest TCI was Interim CEO, Angela Musgrove and Legal and Compliance Officer, Judith Garland.

Commenting on the summit, Ms. Garland stated, “I was delighted to represent the Agency at the 10th Anniversary edition of CHICOS. I found the sessions engaging, and the industry trends and knowledge imparted was most valuable. It was great to meet new faces and establish relationships with industry colleagues, which can present mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships in the future.

Interim CEO Angela Musgrove stated, “Invest TCI will continue to support and leverage industry conferences to promote opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is the Agency’s 5th year attending CHICOS, and it has allowed us to directly engage with potential investors and prospects interested in doing business in the TCI. Through these types of events, the Agency can continue to proactively target new investment opportunities, lucrative partnerships, and financial opportunities that contribute to overall economic development.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit our website at investturksandcaicos.tc.

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