Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos – February 7, 2018 – The Turks and Caicos Parliament passed the Budget Supplementary restructuring of funds which will allow for, among other things, a national clean up to begin in the aftermath of September 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The plan as proposed by the Ministry of Finance to ‘build back better’ was counted as a sensible one in the end by House of Assembly Members between Monday and Tuesday, but the “untruths” which did make it to debate were not left unaddressed by the country’s Premier and Finance Minister, Hon Sharlene Robinson.
“Mr. Speaker, I sincerely believe that most of us in this honourable House really do genuinely want to see good for this country and, Mr. Speaker, I also do believe that some of us are not bright enough, but dark and are wishing that we fail as a Government, not recognizing that if we fail as government we all fail.
The Premier, in her wrapping up statement on the debate of the supplementary compared the situation to passengers on a plane hoping for the pilot to crash that plane; a situation which she reminded is tragic for both passengers and pilot.
“You can’t be serious coming into the House of Assembly, spewing doom and gloom and pretty much trying to embarrass the country… and wish publicly that this government fails in leading the country in which you are a part of. Mr. Speaker, I find myself over and over drawing reference to some of us who are just determined to use ignorance of facts and laws, believing unlearned and reckless statements are scoring big, when in fact once it is exposed, persons know that they cannot listen to that individual.”
In a tone of voice which exposed just how incensed the Premier is by these repeated instances of ‘purportedly’ incorrect politically driven comments, Hon Robinson again offered some familiar advice.
“…for persons who sit in this honourable house to research, to read, to understand so that they can ably contribute to matters in this House. Mr. Speaker, like the Deputy Speaker, I get the politics of debate and I do understand the role of the Opposition as a watch dog, but Mr. Speaker what this Opposition continues to fail to do is to offer alternative remedies and recommendations. But what they have got down pat, Mr. Speaker is the offering of alternative facts.”
With a reference to the presentation made by the Deputy Premier on the difficulty of cutting and re-ordering the budget and acknowledging dissatisfaction expressed by the Opposition PNP on what was selected as the higher priority areas for spending, the Premier and Finance Minister admitted that her team regretted the exercise of slicing up an already approved and the country’s largest ever budget.
“The contributions made yesterday made it seem as if we are happy to be at this place to have to restructure our budget based on reduced revenues. Mr. Speaker this is a setback for my Government and our capital program and I must correct several statements up front.”
The Premier said “it is absolutely untrue” that the emergency powers enacted post the hurricanes allowed the Governor and Government to spend liberally. Hon Sharlene Robinson said the passed budget must be honoured and the procurement process is an unshakable standard in the fiscal operation of TCIG.
“There could be no spending for new capital projects unless and until the changes were made in this (House of Assembly) type setting.”
Premier Robinson counted the untruths and misinformation as missed opportunities by the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition’s Appointed Member – in particular – to educate the public on how TCIG actually works. The Finance Team, pointed out Hon Robinson, is the same one which led the now Opposition Leader when he served as the Minister of the same portfolio.
“In fact, Mr. Leader of the Opposition (who is absent) much of the delay Mr. Speaker was to give effect to the decision made to get input from accounting officers and other government functionaries…”
Clarity too came about the report that the Premier and Team Finance had sent the Budget Supplementary to the United Kingdom the day before Christmas, expecting to have it returned by Boxing Day, 2017.
“Absolute nonsense, there are people in the Ministry of Finance that have been dealing with the UK for some time now, and I have no reason to believe that they acted in anything other than the sincerest efforts.”
By lunchtime Tuesday, the wrap-up by the Premier was completed, sending the ‘passed’ Budget Supplementary to the Committee of Supply (of the House of Assembly) for further and final scrutiny.
#sharlenerobinson #tcihouseofassembly #hurricaneirma #hurricanemaria
USA Caribbean Investment Forum: Partnering for Sustained Development in the Caribbean 2023 Event Recap
The USA Caribbean Investment Forum took place over two days last week at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square. The event, hosted by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in partnership with representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps (namely, the Consulates General of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda), brought together government officials, investment promotion agencies, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from the Caribbean diaspora to connect, engage in thoughtful discussions, and explore investment opportunities throughout the Caribbean.
Fostering International Collaboration
The event featured distinguished speakers and representatives from both the US and Caribbean governments. Consuls General Mr. Mackie Holder (Barbados), Mr. Jerome Andre Laveau (Trinidad & Tobago), and Mr. Rondy McIntosh (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) along with Jeanette Moy, Commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services, Edward Mermelstein, NYC Commissioner of International Affairs, and Molly Bauer, Industry Development Associate from the NY Governor’s Office, shed light on the initiatives that New York City, which is home to so many Caribbean Diaspora, is implementing to support economic collaboration between the regions.
Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism & Ports, Cayman Islands, and Chair of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Trade and Investment, Turks and Caicos Islands delivered insights via keynote speeches and held candid discussions during panel and Q&A sessions. The event served as a unique opportunity to communicate in an open and honest forum with two esteemed leaders from the Caribbean about investing in the region.
Promoting Investment Opportunities
CAIPA welcomed representatives from Invest Barbados, Invest Dominica, Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC), InvesTT (Trinidad and Tobago), Invest Turks and Caicos, St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), Invest St. Lucia, Invest St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Bahamas Investment Authority, the Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), and the Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, Economy, Transport and Telecommunications, to discuss various opportunities for investment in their respective countries and how their agencies support and facilitate potential investors.
Private sector companies including the St. James School of Medicine, Century21 Guyana, Ethniv, and Homestrings joined the forum to discuss their current active projects in the Caribbean. They detailed how they’ve worked with local governments and institutions to successfully launch and operate their businesses in the Caribbean, along with the potential opportunities for continued growth.
Understanding How Caribbean Financial Institutions Facilitate Investment
The Forum brought together key representatives from Caribbean financial and economic development institutions: IDB Lab (Ms. Magdalena Coronel, Chief Investment Officer), the National Commercial Bank Jamaica LTD (Mr. Jeffrey Brown, Head, Loans Structuring and Syndications), USAID (Mr. Mervyn Farroe, USAID representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean), and the Caribbean Development Bank (Ms. Lisa Harding, Private Sector Development Specialist) to detail how these organizations facilitate and support private investment in the Caribbean.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet directly with CAIPA member countries during business meetings. These one-on-one conversations were valuable opportunities to speak directly with key stakeholders in order to advance projects and forge direct relationships.
The inaugural USA Caribbean Investment Forum was a great success due to the collaboration and engagement from individuals representing a wide range of sectors, organizations, and countries – all united under the goal of driving economic growth in the Caribbean and taking advantage of the enormous opportunities available in the region. https://www.investincaribbean.org/news-center/sign-up-for-our-newsletter to sign up for our newsletter.CAIPA and the representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps are proud to have facilitated these conversations and supported deepening of relationships with key stakeholders throughout the US and the Caribbean. We look forward to our next event, which will be held on 6-8 March in Miami (Caribbean Logistics Investment Conference 2024) – focused on attracting investments into logistics and transportation by sea and air as well as e-commerce logistics and industrial logistics parks throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for more details! If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the CAIPA mailing list, please visit:
Babies exposed to Fentanyl at daycare, one dead and Mayor expresses outrage
#USA, September 26, 2023 – A New York woman was arrested for murder following the death of a 1-year-old boy at her daycare centre which authorities say was also being used to store illicit drugs. Grei Mendez was charged with one of her tenants, a male, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, over the shocking incident.
One-year-old Nicholas Dominici died of a suspected fentanyl overdose after being exposed to the drug in the daycare. In an update from the NYPD via Facebook live, we learned a kilo of fentanyl had been sitting in the same place where the children napped; three other babies reportedly had to be revived with a fentanyl antidote Narcan.
They were all two years old or younger.
Eric Adams, New York City Mayor, was enraged by the incident. He described it as ‘total madness.’
“Less than the size of a fingernail can kill an adult, so imagine what it would do to a child, you are irresponsible as an adult if you have this inside your home,” he said, “this is probably one of the worst days I’ve had walking into the Bronx– sitting down with those parents– what do you even say?”
Joe Kenny, Chief Detective on the case, revealed that around 2:41 on September 15, they responded to calls of three unconscious children at the licensed daycare centre. Emergency Medical personnel quickly recognized the symptoms and administered the antidote, saving two lives. Only two hours earlier, a mother had picked up the fourth child, who began to exhibit symptoms at home. He was administered Narcan as well.
All the children had fentanyl in their systems.
The accused are facing charges of murder, attempted murder and depraved indifference.
TWO SEXUAL Assault Cases begin in Providenciales Supreme Court
Freelance Court Reporter
#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – On Monday 25th September 2023 in the Providenciales Supreme Court before her Ladyship Ms. Tanya Lobban Jackson and a seven member Jury to be empaneled, there are TWO sexual assault/rape cases are listed to commence.
TRIAL 1: NICHOLL PRUDHOMME allegation date is on January 17th, 2022. The defendant is represented by Ms. Sheena Mair, who is also on bail.
The reported virtual complainant in this case is an adult in her 20’s.
TRIAL 2: DARROL FORBES allegations totaling six counts linked to alleged sexual abuse of one of his underage daughters.
The incidents, for which Forbes is being tried, range in dates from June 1st to August 31st in 2020.
Forbes is represented by Keith James and is on bail.
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