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No Vote-Out for Turks and Caicos MP, says Natl Budget supports Five Cays



Hon Sean Astwood, Deputy Premier - Turks and Caicos Islands, file

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – Wednesday July 18, 2018 – The changes which have for years escaped the residents of Five Cays are coming within this fiscal year, announced Member of Parliament for the district who also said he has no plans of being voted out by his constituents.

PDM Rally in Five Cays, photo by Deandrea Hamilton, December 2016

Deputy Premier and Five Cays Member of Parliament, Hon Sean Astwood came under heavy fire recently and was accused of neglecting the constituency from which he hails and which gave him 62% of the votes in the December 2016 polls.

“Mr. Speaker, for the record I have no intentions of going back on that side of the room. It’s something about those seats on that side that just don’t feel right. Therefore, under my watch “Five Cays, South Dock Road and Chalk Sound will never be neglected.”

The MP added that the PDM Administration, in this budget cycle is supporting significant road works for Five Cays; ending years of neglect he said, and giving constituents the kind of community they deserve.

“Records will show that my constituency of Five Cays was never deemed important enough by the than PNP administration to be included in any of their four budget they passed.  Mr. Speaker, when the wonderful and hard-working voters of Five Cays demonstrated their confidence in me and the PDM party on December 15, 2016, on a mandate of change.  Mr. Speaker, I can truly say things are changing, and changing for the better!”

The contribution by the Deputy Premier came on June 12, 2018, two days after the Budget Communication was delivered by Premier and Finance Minister, Hon Sharlene Robinson. It was titled: ‘Things are Changing and Changing for the Better’.

“The road to the radar station, where we have a lot of foot and vehicle traffic, will be getting paved. Mr. Speaker, this is long overdue. In fact, it was my family that pushed that road when we were the first and sole residents in that area. Since that time Mr. Speaker, that area has become home to many families. And this will be the first inch of tar this road has ever seen. Mr. Speaker, things are changing! And changing for the better, in Five Cays.”

File photo of Road works in Five Cays

Granny Hill will also become smoother passage for the scores of residents living in that part of Five Cays, as the Member of Parliament for the district repeatedly rejected allegations of ‘neglect’ levelled against him by vocal members of Five Cays.

“Mr. Speaker, Granny Hill will be paved with sidewalks in this financial year, things are changing!  Mr. Speaker, Matilda Way will be paved with sidewalks in this financial year. And for those that might not know that road by name; that is the road that circles Pumpy’s Place going straight around the back pass Rousseau’s house and back to the Five Cays main road. Mr. Speaker, neglect? No, no, no, Mr. Speaker, things are changing in Five Cays and changing for the better!”

There was also congratulations to the primary school of the community, Enid Capron Primary which had outstanding showing in this year’s Grade Six Achievement Tests.

“Mr. Speaker, I want to publicly congratulate the Principal, Staff, and successful students of Enid Capron Primary school for capturing three of the top ten positions in the 2018 Grade Six Achievement Test. You have made our constituency and community of Five Cays very proud. Mr. Speaker, they deserve to be acknowledge.”

Work in Five Cays will continue said the Member, including at the Felix Morley Community Center.  It was pointed out that last year the road to Sandbar was paved, despite the public outcry from some.

Mr. Speaker, the Five Cays Beautification project started with the Welcome to Five Cays and Welcome to Chalk Sound Signs during my years as a member of the opposition. However, the signs were only phase one of my Beautification project.  Residents and Visitors alike must prepare themselves for the beauty that is about to unfold.  Mr. Speaker, anyone familiar with my campaign has heard me consistently mention Operation Facelift. The roads, the community center, the primary health care offering, and Five Cays Beautification are just some of the components of operation face lift. I made promises to my constituents and I will continue to work tirelessly until all promises are delivered.  Which includes major cleanup campaigns like I have done before. Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am blessed to be able to bring about the changes that I wanted to see as a child, teenager, and eventually a young adult growing up in Five Cays and during my years in opposition.”

Five Cays is only a part of the district though and the more upscale community of Chalk Sound was included in the early part of Hon. Astwood’s contribution on the Budget.

Photo by Camille Lyne, posted to Facebook Sept 2017

“Mr. Speaker, the residents of Chalk Sound and Silly Creek will be happy to hear that I have also been working on a Green Park for them. I have already identified various suitable sites for this park. It is my intention this year to have the site designated for this purpose and design and works beginning as soon as possible. The works will begin initially from residents and private sector support with major assistance coming from the government later.

There were shout-outs; “I would like to give a big shout out to the Chalk Sound community for their diligence, their community spirit, their modes of communicating with each other and the watchful eye they keep on their community. They are an example for other communities.”

Photo by Deandrea Hamilton, 2017 event

And kudos come for the new community organization in Five Cays, which will again host the Lobsterfest on the beach adjacent the Felix Morley Community Center.

“Mr. Speaker, I would also like to give a shout out to the Five Cays Cultural Committee for their projects and other works they have been doing in Five Cays. Mr. Speaker, the public would recall that this committee hosted the First Annual, “Five Cays Lobsterfest” last year September, where it was estimated that over a thousand persons descended into Five Cays. It was a successful event by all measures.  Mr. Speaker, I want to invite you, every member of this House, and the entire public to join us once again in Five Cays this September for a fun filled event.”

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.


Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce.  Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.

As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.

The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee.  For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB.  As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.

Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.

The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.

As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.

The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts.  On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.

Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.

Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts.  Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.

These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.

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Caribbean News

TCI Police Detective Holden Speaks Up on Blue Hills Rapes



Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – Following the announcement that several women had been robbed and assaulted in Blue Hills in the past weeks, Magnetic Media queried why the Police would wait until they had a man in custody to release an alert. 

TCI’s newest addition to the top brass Detective Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime, Safeguarding and Public Protection, told us that it initially appeared to be an isolated offence and not part of a series of incidents. 

“The full circumstances needed to be investigated to ascertain the facts before a public alert could be considered. Misinformation in such a case would only cause unnecessary public concern and confusion and could adversely impact the investigation and the safeguarding of persons involved—” he said. “Even now there is no definitive information that these offences are linked, and investigators remain open-minded.”  

Holden claimed an early alert with limited information could have hindered the investigation and they were trying to protect the women who may not have wanted to be identified based on where they lived.  

As it turns out, the public concern was very much warranted, because there have been more violent sexual attacks, and more victims got hurt, forcing their hands.  

“When further similar offences were committed, the overriding principle of sustained public protection was considered, hence the alert/release issued,” he said. 

That alert was coupled with the news that a man had been arrested. Whether those further similar incidents could have been prevented if the public was informed earlier and taken extra precautions, is the underlying question. To date, we don’t know how many victims there are. 

Police have increased patrols in the Blue Hills area and condemned the crimes as unacceptable. They have not indicated if anyone was charged for the offences yet.  

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Caribbean News

Louise Garland Thomas High School are TCISS Inter-High Track & Field 2023 Champions



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – After a festive three days of competition, the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 have concluded with the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School reigning as Champions. Featuring a great turnout, eleven schools from across the Turks and Caicos Islands met to compete at the National Stadium March 9-11, 2023.

The competition was stiff among athletes, who were all competing for top spots and by extension a spot-on Team TCI’s CARIFTA 2023 team. From high-spirited invitationals to entertainment by DJ Shakes, spectators enjoyed the best Nationals competition yet.

Overall results:

  •     1st Place: A. Louise Garland Thomas High School
  •     2nd Place: Clement Howell High School
  •     3rd Place: Marjorie Basden High School

Twenty athletes have been selected for Turks and Caicos Islands National CARIFTA Team, some who would have competed in the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 and some living abroad.

Here are the athletes:

  1. Roniesha Johnson U-17 Girls CHHS
  2. Branary Delancy U-17 Girls LGTHS
  3. Krysann Williams U-20 Girls LGTHS
  4. Anesha Varus U-20 Girls CHHS
  5. Lynn Antoine U-20 Girls Unattached
  6. Chyna Simmons U-20 Girls BWIC
  7. Rayvon Black U-17 Boys Denbigh/Jam
  8. Renaldo Registre U-17 Boys RGHS
  9. Jarmal Missick U-17 Boys HJRHS
  10. Melique Evans U-17 Boys CHHS
  11. Love Joseph U-17 Boys LGTHS
  12. Kaeson Garland U-17 Boys MBHS
  13. Shamar Garland U-17 Boys HJRHS
  14. Alieandio Durham U-20 Boys CHHS
  15. Bernard Hyde U-20 Boys CHHS
  16. Markey Zepherin U-20 Boys CHHS
  17. Rayvon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  18. Anthon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  19. Alidavidson Higgs U-20 Boys JC/Jam
  20. Darvioun Rigby U-20 Boys Keiser/USA

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