#TurksandCaicos, February 5, 2018 – North Caicos –
Premier Robinson and Hon Ralph Higgs on Thursday past toured Government Offices on North Caicos. Over the past few weeks, residents of North Caicos have reached out to Premier Robinson and Hon Ralph Higgs, the elected representative for the Twin Islands following the closure of several Government Offices over a period of a few days.
The Representatives were informed that the Library, the Clinic and the Immigration Department in Bottle Creek were all closed. On receiving these complaints, both representatives confirmed them to be true with the relevant Department and Ministries. Minister Higgs traveled to the Island on receiving the news and was not satisfied that enough had been done and urgently enough to restore services that continued disrupted or hampered. As Minister with responsibility for District Administration and as the elected representative for the Twin Islands, both Premier Robinson and Hon Higgs thought it best to update the members of the community of Bottle Creek on their efforts following a joint visit on Thursday, February 1, 2018.
The Joint text is set out below:
We are aware that the Environmental Health Department had conducted inspections and had closed the Offices because of the presence of mold. The unfortunate thing is that the Spaces remained closed in the case of the Library for at least a week before it was cleaned which no doubt heightened the spread and growth of the mold. We were able to see during our Tour that all Offices are now cleaned and re – opened (in the case of the Clinic and the Immigration Department) and being prepared to re – open (in the case of the Library). It is regrettable that the Government – owned Buildings took longer and we are grateful for the quick cleaning carried out by the landlord for the space rented to the Immigration Department.
The Bottle Creek Clinic had been temporarily operating from the Library and while efforts were being made to partition for greater privacy, we were informed by the Doctor through our Ministerial colleague that the Building was not suitable. There was a review of several options (2 premises were considered) on the Island for use and with the new Bottle Creek Clinic proceeding as planned, it was determined that it would not be prudent to spend large sums in retrofitting cost for rented accommodations. It was also determined that it was inappropriate for the Clinic to continue to operate from its current facility. Again ROM, Group of Companies (of which Hon Higgs is a partner) offered its accommodation free of cost and a Paper was submitted to Cabinet for approval. Since then Cabinet has approved the use of the Building formerly occupied by Digicel. This Building has been given free of charge for three months while the Ministry of Infrastructure prepare to repair the Clinic that was damaged following the Storm. District Administration, under the Premier’s Office is assisting with the cost for the Clinic’s relocation and preparation of the new temporary site to be occupied this week.
We regret the chain of events and the inconvenience to the residents of the Bottle Creek community and we commit to assisting where can. Inquiries were made of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Anya Wlliams who did explain to us to the protocol to be followed once an inspection had been carried out and a determination of the kind made as in this instance. Whilst we recognize the structure in place seeks to remove as it were, political interference in the Public Service, we are of the view that Ministers should be built into certain Protocols and should on an occasion such as this, be officially advised of interruption of government services especially under their Ministries. Since this experience the Minister of Health has asked to be informed. This we believe will allow all ministerial colleagues to assist where they can.
Hon Sharlene L Cartwright Robinson
Premier & Minister of Finance
The Turks and Caicos Islands
Minister Moxey says partnerships for development will help get Grand Bahama going again
#TheBahamas, November 27, 2021 – One means by which Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey plans to utilize every resource at her disposal to get things moving for Grand Bahama again, is to utilize partnerships for development.
“Success with these partnerships on our island are embedded in collaborative efforts between the ministry of Grand Bahama, other government ministries, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Hutchinson Whampoa Holdings Ltd., industry stakeholders and the business community at large,” explained Minister Moxey.
“We must unite and work together to build alliances for success with the ultimate goal of ensuring that Grand Bahama Island excels. We are all in this together.”
The Minister’s remarks came during her keynote address at the ninth annual Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort. The event is held to honor Grand Bahamian business owners for their commitment, achievements and dedication to the development of the second city.
Minister Moxey pointed out that this year’s event, under the theme, celebration of excellence, acknowledges and highlights businesses on Grand Bahama that have stayed the course. She added that this kind of recognition is a beacon of hope for local business owners who have faced and overcame some of the most challenging circumstances ever encountered within the island’s history.
“On November first during my contribution on the bill to thank the Governor General for his Speech from the Throne, I pledged to the nation that I would do the people’s business and utilize every resource at my disposal, to get the job done for Grand Bahama,” said Minister Moxey.
“As a Grand Bahamian and business owner, I can attest to the challenges we have faced over the past decade. The devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which was closely followed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. It further strained our already fragile economy. Today’s administration is also well aware of the challenges that Grand Bahama has faced over the past decade. Nevertheless, we will deliver on our commitment to recover, rebuild and revolutionize our island, our economy and usher our people into the new day.
“I would like to thank all of the businesses represented today, that have kept their doors opened and our people employed. To all of the Business Excellence Award nominees, I congratulate you. Remain encouraged and know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“To the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, thank you for being a staple in the business community and for celebrating excellence for the past nine years. Welcome back business excellence awards.”
By Andrew Coakley
Photo Caption: Minister for Grand Bahama, Ginger Moxey (right), along with President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Greg Laroda presents Mrs. Leslie Baptista, of Paint Fair, with the President’s Award, during the ninth annual GB Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort.
(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)
Caribbean Development Bank to offer solutions for TCI with Sea Defences
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 27, 2021 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has committed $600,000 to investigate upgrades to sea defences in the Turks and Caicos Islands, disclosed by the Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Akierra Missick as she sought to reassure residents about the state of the defenses.
Concerns were raised by residents recently when the newly paved Front Street, Grand Turk was severely flooded because the sea wall was unable to hold back massive waves.
Minister Missick acknowledged the concerns but said that the government had been working on upgrades since August of this year. This, she said, had begun with a “holistic review of all of the island’s sea defenses.” It was revealed that this review is being done through an environmental consultancy agency.
The consultancy is set to run for 11 months.
At the end of the consultation period, the government should have what Missick described as shoreline characterization for Grand Turk and Salt Cay as well as designs for measures to break wave strength before it reaches shore and infrastructure upgrade designs for the entire coast of Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
Feasibility studies will be carried out alongside these infrastructure designs to determine their effectiveness.
Meetings between CDB and stakeholders including residents, tourism operators, engineers, coasts resource advisors, and others are set to occur over the 11 month time frame.
A coastal resource and vulnerability analysis is also set to be completed. This, Missick said, is a pre-emptive effort to prevent future problems.
Opposition leader Edwin Astwood spoke out regarding the flooding incident. He said the flooding was caused by faulty engineering of the sea wall rather than drainage along the road. In the House of Assembly on November 22, Astwood claimed the wall, which should have been built with a curve, was built flat.
Missick has not yet responded to the claims but has promised that CDB’s preliminary report should be tabled with Government by Summer 2022.
Leading revenue earners need to include a boosted Financial Services Sector says Finance Minister Saunders
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 27, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos economy has surpassed expectations for revenue by almost $90 million dollars. Finance Minister E.Jay Saunders revealed the top four categories that spearheaded the increase, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the revenue brought into the TCI.
The information was presented at a November 8 press conference where the Finance, Investment and Trade Minister also provided a simplified version of country finances in a Citizens’ Guide to the Budget.
Saunders said, in his presentation, that every single revenue item overachieved, pushing the original $271 million dollar budget to a projected $361 million.
The first category was Work Permits which is projected to have, a near $2 million dollar increase. Next was Accommodation Tax, which is projected to have an almost $15 million dollar increase in revenue, followed by Customs Import Duties with a projected $22 million dollar increase. Finally, Stamp Duties rounded out the main four with a whopping $34 million projected increase.
He did warn that despite its brilliant performance, the TCI economy must diversify and do so soon. He cited supply chain issues that are currently affecting the global market saying that if even one of the major categories of revenue were to be affected it could be detrimental for the economy.
He said “Over 80% of our revenue comes from four categories…When we talk about diversifying this is one of the reasons why, because of anything happens to say, Customs Import duties it would be a disaster.”
In tandem with this call to diversify that the minister made significant mention of Financial Services as a fifth category for fiscal development. He said that despite the industry still being fairly small that “if the government can manage to grow it just a little bit it would make a huge difference.”
Cayman and the BVI were cited as examples of territories which had managed to build strong financial services sectors. He assured the press that, “The only thing we have to do is modernize our legislation and become more of a competitor…and we don’t need to increase our market share significantly to grab another 50 million dollars.”
In contrast, the biggest expenses were Salaries, Pensions, and Hospital charges with the Ministry of Health getting the bulk of the budget.
While the Finance Minister was pleased with the progress, he also expressed his determination that the TCIG be able to increase their now $360 million budget to $400 or even $500 million.
This, said Saunders, would allow the government to hit their 2040 goals to improve quality of life for TCI citizens.
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