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PDM Chairman calls new British law discriminatory, a major financial blow to TCI’s No.2 industry

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Captured from video of House of Commons presentation by Sir Alan Duncan

#London, England – Wednesday May 2, 2018 – Newly ratified legislation in the UK House of Commons may mean the British will move in like bulldogs to further clamp down on the overseas territories when it comes to public disclosure of beneficial owners of companies.

Though the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan has somberly expressed his misgivings about forcing changes in legislation of the OTs, he stood powerless against the vote in Parliament which overwhelmingly supported forcing countries like the Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar and Anguilla to alter laws to comply with the UK-amended Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Bill.

“We are concerned however, that the economic impact on imposing public registers on the overseas territories will be significant, but furthermore, the Overseas Territories are separate jurisdictions, with their own democratically elected governments.  They are responsible for their own fiscal matters and they are not represented in this Parliament.  Legislating for them without their consent, effectively disenfranchises their elected representatives.  We would have preferred to work consensually with the overseas territories to make their registers publicly available…”

Sir Alan continued at the House of Commons on Tuesday with a presentation explaining the ‘bossy’ ultimatum which will have to be leveled at the OTs, despite his apprehension about the economic impact: “We do not want to legislate directly for them nor do we want to risk damaging our longstanding constitutional arrangements which respects their autonomy. However, we’ve listened to the strength of feeling of this House on this issue and accept that it is, without a doubt, the majority view of this House that the overseas territories should have public registers ahead of it becoming the international standard as set by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF.”

The Bill was accepted on Tuesday in London and calls for the legal framework of the overseas territories to be changed by the year 2020.

The Turks and Caicos, just this past February finally managed to push through the House of Assembly, a bill which makes beneficial owners of companies public on a need to know basis only.

This requirement of the Companies Ordinance has been hotly contested since 2013, when the now five-year-old Association of Companies Management Agents (ACMA) was established within the TCI.

ACMA had drafted a list of legal concerns and qualified recommendations for consideration by the Turks and Caicos Financial Services Commission; Magnetic Media is told that only a few of the long list of suggestions was picked up in the law, which it seems, will now be made to undergo further change for even wider disclosure of who owns what.

The PDM Administration, through its Party Chairman has chimed in as the conversation is growing and eliciting vociferous outrage about the obligation, sure to threaten as much as 90% of business done by company management firms.

Hon. Douglas Parnell summed up the foreboding policy as bold-faced robbery and vexing discrimination.

“This new move discriminates against all UK Overseas Territories by threatening to use constitutional force by Order in Council to cause OT’s to comply with opening up all the information about beneficial ownership available in our registries! Right now, if there is cause, law enforcement from other jurisdictions can get access. This new move will allow anyone in the world to go online and search any person’s name or company name to see who is associated with it. Every law firm or company management firm that employs a corporate manager/secretary could and most likely would see a loss of their business. It will affect every financial institution in TCI. But, the Crown dependencies like Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man are exempted. Basically, they are robbing the OTs of their financial services business in favor of their own interests,“ said Parnell, who works in the Office of the Premier and Finance Minister in a media statement issued today. 

Magnetic Media is informed that trusts and land asset holdings firms; company and property managers; the people they hire like housekeepers and gardeners; financial institutions and estate planners will all be negatively impacted by the requirement from the ceaselessly demanding FATF.  Constant changes and mandatory compliance standards are leveling the playing field so much, that competitive edge is almost completely eroded for small island states like the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell

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#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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Agreement Signed!  Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals

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#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen.  I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.

The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.

“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.

Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled.  Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.

“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.

Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.

“I really want to thank our employees at the Port.  We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk.  We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community.  The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.

Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market.  Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.

“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better.  New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers.  Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”

The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project.  The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented:  the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.

Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown.   What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.

 

 

 

 

Carnival elation Dec 11

Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26

Carnival freedom Dec 12

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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