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TCI Passes on Chairmanship of OCTA after successful year

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#TurksandCaicos, March 2, 2018 – Providenciales – The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Premier, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson along with a delegation consisting of the Deputy Governor and EU Program Manager, Her Excellency Anya Williams, Permanent Secretary of Finance, Athenee Basden, Director of the Office of the Premier Ronlee James, TCI UK Representative and Head of the London Office, Tracy Knight and Consular Officer, Kimo Tynes attended the Ministerial Conference of the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTA) and 16th annual European Union Overseas Countries and Territories Forum in Brussels, Belgium on the 22 and 23 of February, 2018.

The Turks and Caicos Islands has had a long relationship with European Union and as such the islands have significantly benefitted in expertise, advice and financial assistance over the years.  The TCI most recently benefitted from two European Development Funds (EDF) 10 and 11 and is also a participant in several Regional EU Programs.  Under the EDF 11 Program, which is focused on improvements in the education sector and sustainable energy, marine biodiversity, climate change and disaster risk reduction.

Commenting on the EU Forum and the continued partnership between the TCI and the EU, Premier Hon. Cartwright-Robinson said; “The Turks and Caicos continues to benefit over the years from funding through the European Development Fund programme, but moreover, the past several days spent with fellow OCTA Leaders and Representatives as well as European the Commission, signify to me their commitment to issues we face both collectively and individually.  It has been a rewarding year as Chair of OCTA and we look forward to continuing our relationship, building on the successes we both share.”

 

“Last year on assuming the Chair of OCTA, I outlined that one of the main areas my government would be focused on is the environment and renewable energy for the long-term protection, survival and vitality of our marine and eco environments and I was pleased to report on the success we have had at that, particularly in light of experiencing two major hurricanes in 2017.   But my governments commitment doesn’t end there.  I remain steadfast to the issues around Climate Change, a specific concern to all members of OCTA and which remit falls under my office, as we have begun to identify initiatives that will lower our carbon emission and footprint and increase our adaptability.”

Deputy Governor and EU Program Manager Her Excellency Anya Williams added; “As the European Development Fund Program Manager for the past five (5) years since the Turks and Caicos Islands was reinstated into the program in 2008, I am happy to report that the TCI currently manages one of the most successful EU programs in the region.  Programming Documents for the 11th EDF which focuses on the Education Sector were the 2nd in the region to be signed at the 15th OCT Forum held in Aruba in February 2017 and work is already well underway through the development of a new Education Sector Policy, the tendering of the construction of a new primary school on the island of Providenciales and a number of key strategic reforms in the education sector.

“We are grateful for our continued partnership with the EU and for the early release of the first tranche of $4m under this program which was received shortly after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 to assist with any potential cash shortfalls.  The Turks and Caicos has already submitted an application for emergency relief funding under the EDF 11 B Envelope to assist with rebuilding works required in our education sector and is also a part of the Regional Program which will be focusing on Renewable Energy and Marine Biodiversity, along with the Thematic Program which will be focusing on Climate Change.  We register our thanks to our technical team the PS Finance Mrs. Athenee Basden and Director of Strategic Policy and Planning Mrs. Kathleen Forbes (Deputy Program Manager) for their continued assistance in managing the EU work programs and along with colleagues in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning and Ministry of Tourism and the Environment look forward to even further progress on the EDF 11, Regional and Thematic work programs.

 

As the Chair of OCTA, the Premier was responsible for chairing the Ministerial Conference of OCTA and round table discussions, with her Ministerial colleagues.  This year, the TCI also participated in a one-day meeting on oceans organised by OCTA, under the theme “More than 17,000,000 Km2 of Ocean Policy: OCTs and the Sustainable Management of the Ocean and its resources.”  During that discussion, the Premier highlighted her governments challenges and commitment to the issues faced including: challenges with pollution, fisheries, new opportunities for blue growth and new opportunities for research.

It is customary for the Chair of OCTA to host a Gala Dinner in honour of the delegates, officials and guests who have travelled to the host country, or in this instance Brussels, for the auspicious occasion.  This year the Premier, as Chair, brought some of Turks and Caicos’ s best cultural performers along with her to treat guests to a taste of TCI’s culture, with musicians Quinton Dean and Lindsey “Zeus” Butterfield, as well as London based students Renate Hinds and Mary Fulford who performed both songs and poetry.

At the conclusion of the week of meetings, French Polynesia was elected as Chair of OCTA and thanked the TCI for its leadership over the past year and welcomed all to Tahiti next year where the next OCTA Ministerial and OCT EU Form 2019.

Press Release: TCIG

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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