Premier and Finance Minister Hon Sharlene Robinson on Monday June 18 presented the long awaited National Budget, and while the figure for spending this fiscal year is historic; the leader for greatest expense to the public purse is not new.
Taking up 26.4 percent of the National Budget is Health announced Hon Robinson who added that the $76.5m price tag for the Ministry which encompasses health, human services, environmental health, agriculture and sports – did not include the over $30m assigned to the National Health Insurance program.
“Approximately 33m will be transferred to the National Health Insurance Board to facilitate the treatment abroad program and to subsidize the healthcare costs for wards of the state, the indigent population and utility charges for the hospitals. While this allocation is eight percent lower than the revised budget for 2017/18 it accounts for 11.4 percent of the planned expenditure and 11.8 percent of forecast revenue,” explained Premier Robinson to the Speaker of the House.
Infrastructure payments to the TCI Hospitals was revealed as $20.7 million, which equates to 7.2 percent of overall budget expenditure.
The second biggest expenditure item is Education, Youth and Library Services which in the projection shows the Ministry will require $43.7 million for operations this fiscal year.
At No. 3 for spending in the projected Budget and Estimates was the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning which will receive $31.7 million, followed by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police which has been allotted $28.8 million.
The fifth largest budget allocation is to the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade with $19.7 million, followed by Home Affairs which is given $14.5 million for the new financial year if the proposal is passed as is.
Seventh largest expenditure to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the projected Budget is to the Ministry of Border Control and Employment at $11 million, followed by the Special Investigation and Prosecution which tops Tourism to absorb $9.1 million of the public purse. Tourism is ninth on the list of top 10 expenditures at $8.6 million dollars and pulling up the rear, in the 10th spot as listed by the Premier and Finance Minister, was the Attorney General’s Chambers with $6.9 million in the new fiscal year.
Other notables were: Governor’s Office to get $7 million; the House of Assembly to receive $3.1 million; the Office of the Premier and District Administration at $3.2 million; the Director of Public Prosecutions Office with $1.6 million for operations and the Deputy Governor’s Office with an allotment of $2.5 million once the Budget passes.
TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.
Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.
Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.
Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”
Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.
138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.
During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.
The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.
The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.
Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.
In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.
I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Caption: FILE PHOTO
Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica
By Dana Malcolm
#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.
The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.
The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare. It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.
Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.
“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”
The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.
“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”
Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”
InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.
American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.
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