#TurksandCaicos, December 19, 2017 – Providenciales – The Attorney General is taking exception to the view that removing the Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary of Finance from section 40 of the Public Financial Management Ordinance does not give all of the power to scrutinize and dismantle statutory boards to the Governor. Even though the law as it stands and the proposal as drafted by her office clearly omits the elected official and the hired PS, she said the TCI Constitution makes it clear that the Governor has to act in consultation with the Cabinet at all times.
AG Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles was speaking in the House of Assembly to a hot button issue, which has certainly captured Magnetic Media’s attention. Our consultation and research, following a media release by concerned citizen and attorney at law, Mark Fulford confirmed that indeed the amendment would give more power to the British, an uncomfortable notion in these islands. While the AG points out that the Governor, no matter who is the governor would not act unilaterally when it comes to terminating a statutory board, reappointing a statutory board or reviewing the operations of a statutory board; it is less clear and not addressed why, in order to include a UK-appointed Examiner, there has to even be the elimination in the ordinance of the Minister of Finance and the Permanent Secretary of Finance.
Her comments actually create more questions about the change, because if the Governor has to work with the Cabinet in any event when it comes to scrutiny of these government boards, why is the elimination of the Minister and PS even necessary to document in the law. Many believe, the reason the two – usually Turks and Caicos Islander held positions were taken out of the section is to reduce their influence in matters related to Government Boards. Especially poignant is the amendment given that since April 2017 – statutory boards have been under inspection for alleged bad management and fiscal imprudence.
New Look, New Tactics as TCI Border Force set to start October
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos Border Force will be up and running by next month according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services who gave a national update on the progress of the squad during a recent parliamentary meeting.
“We now have a date of October 30th, 2023 for the launch of the first phase,” he explained. The force has been described as ‘revolutionary by Anya Williams, Deputy Governor.
Musgrove was speaking in the House of Assembly on September 20th and revealed that this initial phase will incorporate the Customs and Border Protection agencies as well as the Intelligence and Corporate Units.
Musgrove explained that the Corporate Unit would serve as a sort of auditor for the Border Force and the Ministry.
“Our Corporate Unit will include our assurance functions that will audit our processes and our actions to ensure that we are upholding the mission, vision, and principles of our Border Force,” he said.
The minister is promising updated operating structures, agents with new skills and a new look with updated uniforms, all in an effort to tighten the country’s security at its very porous borders.
The Force is aiming to secure the TCI against human and drug trafficking (which in recent weeks have shown an alarming correlation), arms trafficking, poaching and more.
“Not only will we look different, but we will also work differently – and that is what is key,” the minister promised.
The Force will be under the control of Emilio Seymour who was appointed Director General back in April.
More security features, including the long-awaited container scanners for the country’s ports, are also on the Minister’s agenda.
CUBAN MIGRANTS DETAINED ALONG EXUMA CHAIN
Defence Headquarters 28 SEP ’23: HMBS P-45 under the command of Chief Petty Officer Acadia Smith detained a group of Cuban migrants in Cistern Cay, Exuma on September 27, 2023, due to information received from a Good Samaritan vessel in the area that handed them over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
Members of HMBS P-45 retrieved twenty-eight (28) Cuban nationals and transported them to HMBS Coral Harbour in New Providence. All individuals appeared to be in good health and will undergo further processing and assessment by Immigration officials.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding our heritage and appreciates the sharing of information and intelligence provided by the boating community to affect migrants and other unlawful interdictions at sea.
(For additional information, contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our official website at www.rbdf.gov.bs. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and explore our engaging content on our YouTube channel).
Budget Boost, $437.6 Million for fiscal year as Supplementary tabled in Parliament
#TurksandCaicos, September 30, 2023 – The first Supplementary Appropriations Bill for the 2023/24 financial year will add $13.4 million to the National Budget, sweeping the record $424 million allotment to $437.6 million.
The bill was tabled in the House of Assembly by E Jay Sanders, Finance Minister on Tuesday September 26th and the bulk of the cash will go to recurrent expenditure which commands $12.8 million. Capital expenditure came in at just over $700,000.
That extra cash will help with several initiatives stated below:
- $4.2 million dollars will go to community development, including road improvement and more.
- $1.4 million dollars will be spent on a Community Centre in Bottle Creek and 450 thousand on the long-awaited refurbishment of the sports field in South Caicos.
- $1.4million dollars for consultancies,
- $1 million dollars will be sent to bolster the repatriation budget as the country experiences record migration.
- $1 million goes to Social Programs.
- InterHealth Canada will get another $1.8 million.
- The country’s Climate Resilience Coastal Protection Study will get a $500,000 injection.
- The software being built and consultancy being carried out to get the Turks and Caicos off the EU blacklist will cost $851,000.
- $2 million dollars is earmarked for the cleaning of government agencies.
Laid under the theme, Strengthening Resilience Enhancing Community Welfare through Strategic Investments and Sustainable Development, Saunders said this bill was created with the community in mind.
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