TCI News

TCI: Governments’ Mid-Term Address 2019

#Providenciales, January 15, 2018 – Bahamas

 

Delivered by The Hon Premier

January 9th, 2019

 

SALUTATION AND NEW YEAR’S GREETING

New Year’s Greeting

Turks and Caicos Islands we are embarking on a New Year.  God has been faithful to us individually and collectively as a people and has blessed us with the gift of a New Year.  Let us enter and continue with hearts of gratitude recognizing that God continues to bless these beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands.  I wish at the outset to offer sincere condolences to the family of the first fatality victim for the year.  It is so sad to lose another young man on these streets and I pray that God comforts his family and friends during this time.

As we begin a new year, it is important that we stand ready to embrace the successes as well as the challenges that we know a New Year will bring.

As a people in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have overcome great challenges since the storms of 2017. In fact, the region continues to hail us as a success story in our early recovery efforts that saw the resiliency of all of our peoples and partners.  It again demonstrates that together we are stronger and together we can accomplish much more when we are of one mind and when we possess a mind to work.  We are in receipt of the National Recovery Plan and we intend to launch same on January 15th with a commitment to ensuring that our people are fully engaged in the rebuilding process ensuring that as we rebuild, that we do so resiliently.  We are committed and have funded in this current Year’s Budget for a Delivery Unit and you will hear more of this.  I wish at this point to thank those that serve on the Recovery Task Force which is headed by the Permanent Secretary Education and the many members of the private sector who participated in the early consultation on the crafting of the document and likewise our Caribbean brothers and sisters at Caricaid who provided the consultancy services.

On December 15th 2016, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands overwhelmingly elected the Peoples Democratic Movement and we remain humble and grateful for the show of confidence.  We are just as excited and committed as we were then to the delivering on the platform issues and we are pleased at this mid term point to fully present to our people of the Turks and Caicos Islands a full progress report on every promise/commitment made in The Change Document.  I want to thank those who have agreed to serve with me in my Cabinet and I recognize the Hon Deputy Premier, Hon Sean Astwood, Minister of Border Control, Hon Delroy Vaden Williams, Minister of Home Affairs, Hon Edwin AStwood, Minister of Health, Hon Goldray Ewing, Minister of Infrastructure, Hon Ralph Higgs, Minister of Tourism and the Hon Karen Malcolm, Minister of Education.  Over the past two years, we have used every media form to keep the people informed on the progress of your Government and this entire month, we will give full reviews.  At the close of this Introductory Address on the successes of my Government, I will make you aware of the dates and times the reports will be delivered.

The Change Document which is our Party’s Manifesto and contract with the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands is a live document which is the guide for the Ministers and Public Servants alike.  We committed over 400 Promises under 10 Strong Pillars with 20 Anchor Projects for real change.

THE CHANGE DOCUMENT: CHANGE IS HAPPENING

The people of this country voted overwhelmingly for change and we, despite the unfortunate, uninformed rhetoric, change, my people is happening all around.  Change is never easy, and it takes time and whilst we are moving steadily and decisively on our Platform of Change, we encourage you to hold us into account by the contract we made with you.

10 PILLARS OF CHANGE ON A PEOPLE CENTERED VISION

Today I introduce the mid term reporting of the platform issues of my Party’s Policy Document. On being elected we began right away to shape policy in accordance with our platform.  Copies of The Change Document or Party’s Manifesto were given to senior government officers as the guide to change and I pause to thank those who continue to assist in carrying out the Government’s vision.

We promised under Pillar 1 Citizenship and Empowerment to empower our people with the knowledge of who we are.

We have already strengthened the Department of Culture.  TCI came alive with the activities hosted by the Culture Department and held during National Heritage Month.  We are currently working to reintroduce civics in the Schools.  My Government has already encouraged writers by providing incentives and allowing their local work in our education system.

We promised under Pillar 1 Citizenship and Empowerment to empower our people by allowing their participation in Governance.  We committed to be a caring and listening Government: one that stays in touch with its people.  We committed to quarterly Town Hall meetings around the Islands and we have kept that promise save for the brief interruption after the Hurricanes.

We hailed in Home ownership in The Change Document as a tool of empowerment and I am pleased to say that my Government, your Government has already approved not just benefits as promised for first time home owners but for home owners that have lived in and owned their own home for 10 years.  The Program to commence April 1st will allow first time home owners to benefit from a reduced stamp duty if they purchase a home and from concessions on building materials and furniture if they building.  Existing home owners can also under the program benefit from concessions for refurbishment purposes.  We will continue our efforts with Banks and are awaiting a response to proposed Crown Land proposals that include benefits for first time home owners.

Our commitment to widening the social safety net was real and we have as a Government already approved the funding and given all the approvals necessary for the carrying out of an updated Country Poverty Assessment. We need accurate data on how our people are living.  This information will aid us in creating the much needed programs to address poverty and standard of living in these Islands and the promised Eradication of Poverty Plan.  We continue our focus on the vulnerables and are already addressing many of the issues affecting them.  We began within our first few months of governing to recognize, improve and expand home help with an increase in funding brought under this Home Help Program when we brought our first Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

My Government continues to manage the mortgage portfolio held by the former TC Invest.  We were pleased to offer mortgage relief to these home owners following the Hurricanes and we have already submitted a proposal to Cabinet for further relief.  We completed the purchase of former TOLCO loans so as to support our people and to assist in keeping our people empowered as home owners. Much work continues in this area.

I am pleased to say that much has and continues to be accomplished as we seek to strengthen individuals and communities.  We are committed to creating an economy that benefits our people and that includes their personal as well as family empowerment.

Your Government committed under Pillar 2, a National Security Strategy for Real Change.  We are pleased to report that the National Security Council over a year ago agreed to the crafting of a National Security Strategy.  We are even more than pleased to report that this work is advanced and we expect its completion soon.

 

Immigration Control, Foreign Relations, Border Protection

Under Border Control, I am pleased to say that for the first time in this country, your government has created a sustained approach, a consistent approach to addressing the plight that has plagued our country for decades and that is the issue of Border Protection, Patrol and Control.  The establishment of the successful Operation Guardian has seen a high number of undocumented persons detained and repatriated.  We have engaged regional and international partners in this fight and are grateful for the successful talks with the UK, the Coast Guard and our neighbours, the Bahamas.  We are already made history by seeking and gaining the UK’s approval to enter discussions with the Bahamas in a partnership to protect our borders.

We continue to enforce the Immigration Laws of this country and resource these critical Departments to improve service, task force operations and border protection.

Courts and Prison

We are pleased that we have already completed an $8m Prison Redevelopment Plan which will allow the Prison’s physical plant as well as programs to focus on rehabilitating offenders.  We believe that Rehabilitation is key to decreasing the number of repeat offenders in our system.  Our Chance for Change Program already approved when launched will aid ex – offenders in finding jobs and getting the support needed in order to successfully reenter society.

We have provided the Courts with requested resources in our effort to support a swift and fair justice system.  We are committed to building a purpose built Court Complex and a Remand Center here in Providenciales.

Policing and Crime remains a priority for my Government and we are pleased to report that the 12 Point Crime Plan is very much alive and being realized where we have jurisdiction.  On coming to Office, we committed to the Police that any legislation needed to support its work will be priorities.  We have not seen any legislation come forward as yet and we stand ready.  Nonetheless I am pleased to report that we have given the Police priority funding in our two Budgets.  In our first Budget passed in March 2017, after three months in Office, we provided much needed resources for the Police.  This included $1.1m for new cars which we are told are now on the way to being completed; an initial $900k for CCTV Project support; 20 new Police Officers; the purchase of a building at a cost of $1m for the Police.  In year 2, we provided an additional $3m for the Police Plane, $1.6m for support to the CCTV Program bringing my Government’s investment in the CCTV Program to $2.5m in two years.

Jobs and economy

We continue to encourage residents to register with the Labour Department.  My government has held a record – breaking number of registration drives to register those that are unemployed so that we can aid in job placement when labour clearances are requested.  The completion of the Skills Audit has assisted the Government in identifying areas where work permits are not needed and like wise provided guidance in areas where the skills are low or non-existent in the Islands.  We will continue to resource Labour Department so that it can even more effectively carry out their job.

My Government has set a new vision for the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands by crafting a New Investment Policy.  The last Policy had been crafted by the Interim Administration and we believe that a more modern Policy with wider stakeholder participation was warranted and we are grateful to those who assisted in the realization of this critical Policy.  This Policy seeks to diversify the economy, to promote the nation’s capital, to ensure our people are greater participants including benefactors in the economy and to provide incentives with a clear process for Government support.

My Government also for the first time in this country crafted a Refurbishment Policy that provided incentives to existing Businesses in the Tourism Sector and we continue to finalise a more comprehensive Concessions Policy that will provide further support to existing businesses.  

Progressive Youth Development

My Government continues its Listening Tour with our youth in our pursuit to craft a Youth Policy in partnership with this demographic.  We have introduced many new policies that have and will continue to impact the lives of our youth.  The areas include encouragement in new areas of studies under the scholarship program, sports participation, business opportunities, job placements, informal apprenticeships program now being formalized, opportunities for reform and rehabilitation and other programs that are proving life changing.  I wish to thank the many youth that came out and participated in the first ever Ask The Premier Youth Forum.  I am indeed pleased and remain convinced that this resource must be fully engaged and should be treated as co leaders of today.

Education transformation and training

I am excited at the great strides being made in the area of education and training.  We have already widened the scholarship opportunities and countries for studies.  We have completed and continue works in our pursuit to modernize the curriculum in our Schools.  We are on our way to rebuilding and modernizing most of our School buildings with Tenders closing on several and several more about to go out shortly.  Teachers continue to benefit from training.  Our College in Grand Turk is receiving a facelift while we settle financing for the already costed first phase of the purpose built Campus in Provo.  We continue the access to education revolution with a soon to be introduced satellite campuses where persons outside Grand Turk and Provo can benefit from the College Programs online.  We have already launched the already approved UWI Open Campus.  The full implementation of the Alternative Education Policy is being realized and the continued implementation of the Special Needs Policy will continue to make a difference in the lives of those affected in this area.  We have already concluded a tour of a regional Tertiary Trade/Vocational School and have built an alliance to move quickly forward on the introduction of same here in the TCI.

 

Health care

We have improved access to health care and strengthened our primary health.  We continue to realise new ways to fulfill our promise to make health affordable and accessible.  A review of the Interhealth Contract remains ongoing and much strides have been made in this area.  Much needed research and data will help to inform critical policies going forward in our pursuit to

The National Health Insurance Board has seen a comprehensive review and has already benefited from a restructuring.  The long overdue Actuary was commissioned by my Government and the Findings will be shared publicly soon.

My Government has made the strategic decision to return sports to the Ministry of Health and we are pleased with the accomplishments realized in our short term in Office: a modern approach to sports has been contained in a Sports Policy already approved and major strides in the realization of the 10 Point Sports Plan.  My Government has already agreed the reintroduction of the Sports Commission which will be critical to the continued development of sports.

We are pleased with my Government’s achievement in the area of Agriculture: crafting the first ever Agriculture Policy and Implementation Plan, holding regular engagements with farmers to assist with their needs, exposing farmers to overseas operations, creating market for locally grown products among other achievements.  Land will shortly be earmarked for agricultural practice across the Islands.

Environment, Land Use And Planning

We are making great strides in the area of Environment.  My Government has already agreed  modern approaches to protect and enhance our environment with the banning of harmful plastics and soon to come Styrofoams.  We continue our focus on the ocean.  We have approved the first ever Climate Change Policy and will hold a Climate Change Conference in May of this year.  We have devised strategy for keeping public ways free of litter, approved recruitment of critical manpower like Coral Reef Specialist and Coastal Engineer to support the Department of Environment, approved funding of a proper solid waste consultancy, approved the advancement of a recycling program, encourage support for beautification programs, and the prioritizing of important legislation soon to come already demonstrates my Government’s real commitment to our Environment and its protection for our use and that of our future generations.

We have requested and received a Crown Land Audit which is being used in the already underway National Physical Development Plan.  Our country has been without a Land Use Plan for several decades and your Government understands the importance of managing what we have left in a more mature and responsible manner.

Planning Department has received much needed resources from my Government and are currently overseeing the Development of a long overdue National Physical Development Plan.  We remain strong in our enforcement against illegal communities and work is ongoing in this area.

Infrastructure, Housing and Transportation

My Government came into Office on a strong mandate to repair roads and Government buildings.  We are pleased to report that within our first year we approved the first ever Maintenance Policy to ensure a proper repairs approach.  After the Storms of 2017, our Plan has had to be more aggressive after suffering major damage to our already crumbling infrastructure.  With a rebuild cost of in excess of $47m, we continue to spend millions of dollars in Government buildings repairs and this will continue for the next 4 years under the Recovery Plan.

We are also pleased that road works approved in March 2017 are finally underway in Grand Turk and are near completion. Roadworks in Providenciales will continue shortly.

My Government recognized the need for a Housing Department and the plans for its reintroduction are well underway and is planned to be reintroduced in the new financial year 2019/20.

My Government has provided critical resources to modernize Road Safety Management and have delivered on the promise to provide safe, reliable public transportation having passed all the necessary laws and regulations for its introduction.

Institutions for real change

Under the 9th Pillar, we introduced you to Institutions for Real Change, we are pleased to report that we works have commenced and continued on these Institutions as you will hear under the various headings in this Report.

Governance

We have increased our engagement with the UK as contained in the Change Document.  We are pleased that our direct engagement with the UK on Border Control and National Security has yielded fruit.

We have increased our regional and international appearance.  As Minister of Finance, I held the Chairmanship of CDB for the TCI and we continue to receive kudos for a well organized and successful Meeting of the Board of Governors.  Under TCI’s Chairmanship of OCTA where country members originate from the British, French, Dutch and Danish countries, we held the first ever Oceans Conference.  We have been invited to receive Awards, to participate as speakers in regional and international conferences and seminars.  We also had the pleasure of participating in Interviews on major regional and international TV and Print Media including CNN and BBC.

We have been able to achieve what we have because of the dedication and commitment of members of the Public Service.  We are eternally grateful to those who not only performed following instructions but those who have taken the initiative and went beyond the call of duty serving with excellence.

We committed to improving the working conditions of the Public Service and shortly we will announce how we will be achieving this in this financial year.

Our commitment to completing the Medium Term Development Strategy will provide strategic direction to the Public Service on the future direction of these Islands.  Likewise, the Recovery Plan would see an Action Plan that will provide strategic direction to our recovery efforts led by the Public Service.

I now turn our attention to the 20 Anchor Projects as contained in The Change Document

20    ANCHOR PROJECTS

  1. A comprehensive national security strategy.  We are pleased to report that this is well underway and soon to be completed.  At the heart of this strategy is a more join-up-ness of resources scattered across law enforcement agencies and a greater focus on prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and strengthened enforcement.

 

  1. A national symposium to create a national plan/vision.  We are advanced with the Vision 2040 Document which work began under the former Government and carried forward by us.  It is now in its final stage for consultation.  There will be public consultation for this Vision/ National Plan this month with a proposed Signing Ceremony by month’s end.

 

  1. Comprehensive health reform based on health information.  Funding has been allocated for the much – needed STEP Program within the Ministry of Health that will aid in data collection.  In addition to this, funding has also been allocated for a Cancer Plan.  We will also use information kept at NHIB to assist in creating the right reform strategy.

 

  1. Crown Land Reform. Crown Land Proposals remain before the Minister in the UK and our focus remain on ridding the system of the raffle system for land applicants, cash only option for land taken by compulsory acquisition, and for a return of its management to ministerial government.

 

  1. Creation of a Jobs Policy.  The Ministry of Border Control has already carried out the ground work on this initiative.

 

  1. Purpose Built College and Vocational and hospitality School.  We are pleased that drawings have been refreshed and a costing has been completed for the first phase of the Purpose – Built Community College Campus in Providenciales.  We are now seeking how we can finance this $7m initiative.  In addition, work is underway for the Vocational and Hospitality School Building Project.

 

  1. Sustainable Funding for the protection of the environment.  The Climate Change Policy and the recently received Recovery Plan will guide the model for sustainable funding.  Both documents are now in hand.

 

  1. Modern and Progressive approach to scholarships and multi prong approach to funding.

The Ministry Of Education has used the findings of the Skills Audit to assist in creating new and modern areas needed to help build our country. We continue our talks to identify a source for “true” student loans.  We are due a visit shortly by a regional student loans bureau and we anticipate further guidance in this area.

 

  1. Establishment of critical authorities.  The Housing Department is set to be reintroduced in the new financial year beginning April 2020.  As we are now embarking on a joint CDB/TCIG funded consultancy on Solid Waste, we await the findings before determining the Body to govern waste management.  The new public transportation opportunities and its uptake will determine if, and when we create a Public Transportation Authority or whether we can simply expand and strengthen the Road Safety Department.

 

  1. The creation of a population policy to support plan growth.  The funding for this Policy is in this current financial year and the Project has already been tendered.

 

  1. A Comprehensive Special Needs Program.  We have already provided support for special needs children and adults.  We are continuing to work on support programs for single parenting.  The much – needed increase in man power for the Social Services Department given in this current financial year will help to support these critical Programs.

 

  1. Construction of the spine link road.  I am pleased to say that Cabinet has already received a Presentation of the proposed Design Concepts and the information has already been collated for a consultancy.

 

  1. Youth Listening Tour and development of a Strategic Plan.  I am again pleased to report that the Minister of Education has completed the Listening Tour 1 with High Schoolers.  Listening Tour 2 continues shortly with unattached youth and older youth. In the furtherance of gathering critical information for the Strategic Plan, the Ministry has already formed the National Youth Council.

 

  1. A Heritage and Cultural Commission and the Center performing arts and all artistic expressions.  The formulation of the Cultural & Arts Policy will inform the establishment of these two Institutions. The Cultural Policy continues to be in draft.

 

  1. Immediate Economic Stimulus Package which will focus on the relief for the poor and unemployed.  Whilst we have been able to through Government Program to provide short term employment for contractual labour, a proposal was prepared already by the MOI and there remains work to do in order to craft a Program that can be allowed under the Financial Management Rules.

 

  1. The construction of an Official Government House.  This will not be addressed until repairs to critical infrastructure is completed.

 

  1. Stronger governmental systems through constitutional advancement and strong local government.  A revised set of Constitutional Proposals will be forwarded to the UK shortly and we await the cooperation of the Official Opposition so that we are able to forward additional.  A Local Government Review Committee has already been appointed with Opposition involvement.

 

  1. A comprehensive Drainage Plan.  The Ministry Of Infrastructure has already presented to Cabinet and has gained approval to accept the Findings of a Comprehensive Drainage Consultancy.  In addition, the Ministry has also identified its own recommendations which too identified critical and additional works which have been costed.

 

  1. An aggressive plan to repair the crumbling seawall in Grand Turk.  My Government has entered an agreement with CDB for joint funding to carry out critical consultancy work on sea defenses for Grand Turk and other vulnerable Islands.  This work is progressing.

 

  1. A mass cleaning up and beautification campaign out the islands.  Works began in this area but have been halted until enforcement legislation is modernized.  This will be coupled with greater emphasis on formalizing communities and providing community support.

We have been busy governing and delivering on real change for our people.  We have been delivering on the Promises in our Change Document which has a four year timetable to deliver. We have delivered much but there remains much to do and we will not be satisfied until we have touched every home in these Islands.  We are pleased that many have already begun to feel the change through our policies already enacted and laws already passed.

We have had the opportunity to impact the lives:

  • Of Public Servants who saw much need resources in areas that were underrepresented.  Departments like  the Prison which 10 new staff in 3 months through our first supplementary passed within weeks of our coming to Office.  They have felt the change;
  • Of the Police who saw critical funding for new vehicles, man power and over $2m in support to critical modern crime fighting tools;
  • Of Social Services who saw financial support for 8 critical new posts and whose Home Help benefited from an increase in funding through a supplementary within weeks of our coming to Office.  Our elderly must be taken care of and we delivered.  They will tell you that the change is here;
  • Of Planning who not only received transportation but critical man power and necessary changes to its Legislation and vehicle to more effectively carry out their job;
  • Dozens of students have had their dream come true when new areas of priority were added to the National Scholarships Priority List;
  • Nearly 20 new entrepreneurs have received funding through our MSME Program and a few have also received support for crown land approvals in support of their business ventures;
  • Scores of home owners and Businesses have been able to build back faster because of the number of the Post Hurricane Policies that we initiated.  They have realized savings and have been able to do more due to the duty exemptions offered now extended into a new calendar year;
  • At least 6 Resort Development have benefited from my Government’s Refurbishment Policy that provides concessions to existing developers who previously did not enjoy such a benefit;
  • Many ex offenders have had their records cleaned or expunged because of our fulfilled promise to make the process clearer and more certain;
  • Several ex offenders are now on their way to being self employed because of the training and opportunities afforded them with my Government’s help;
  • Grand Turk resident in the southern end of the Island has had their individual and collective community spirits lifted because my Government has paved roads left unpaved for decades and some never before paved;
  • In our 2 years, we were able to pass 51 pieces of Legislation with 21 in 2017 and 30 in 2018. These Laws included:

Lives have been changed under critical Bills and change is being delivered in key areas:

  • I think of those families whose adoptions were on hold because a simple amendment was needed under the Adoption Ordinance.
  • The introduction of the new Companies Ordinance and Insolvency Bills will help to revolutionise our financial services sector.  The change is here;
  • The small but deep amendments to the Immigration closing the loophole of potential investors qualifying for PRCs with the same property changing hands is a meaningful change.  The change to the Passport Ordinance aid our people in improved services.
  • Critical changes to the TCI Status Bill shows my Government’s commitment to our people to not continue the past practice of granting TCI status without real evidence of assimilation and contribution.  It also gives hope to those that have come to live among us and have contributed and assimilated and have become deserving.
  • The changes to the Liquor License Bill helped to protect businesses, to empower enforces and to safeguard our children achieving the latter by requesting for the first in Law, the need to produce identification in order to purchase alcoholic drinks.
  • Students studying at our College can study and receive our very own College Degrees because of our change to the Ordinance.  This Bill excited and motivated our College staff and made us all proud to realise this achievement as a country for our over 20 year old Institution.
  • Those who use illegal public transportation anticipates the change knowing that the amendments made to the Road Safety Ordinance now provide for community cabs and omnibuses: accessible, legal and affordable transportation.
  • Those persons who recently applied to the MSME Program has felt the benefit of changes to eh Law to allow for a quicker access to final approval. Those whose dream of owning and operating certain clasees of tourism businesses in Islands outside of Provo can now realise their dream because of the amendments made.
  • Gaming has been revolutionised by a Gaming Control Bill and this sector will  be better regulated enhancing our country’s reputation.
  • The thousands of workers in the Hospitality Industry will benefit from an uplift in take home pay because my Government has made the decision to deliver on this long overdue issue and have passed the relevant legislation to support same.
  • Our children will benefit from the critical amendment to establish the Child Care and Protection Board.
  • Our country continues to see a number of laws brought to clean up old issues and to meet international obligations particularly in the financial services sector.

We continue to place as priority our Children’s Bills and are pleased that the Children’s Status Bill is currently before the House to be debated.  We are also pleased that to report that the promised Alternative Sentencing Bill is likewise before the House of Assembly for debate and passage.  This is yet another step in our commitment towards better offender management.

Everything that I have reported are promises made in the Change Document.  We are delivering for you the people.

The following Bills remain priority on the Legislative Calendar/Agenda which has already been approved in Cabinet:

  • Child Maintenance and Juvenile Justice Bills
  • Environment Bills
  • Real Estate Amendment Bill
  • Employment Bill
  • Equal Pay Bill
  • Freedom of Information Bill
  • A string of Health related Bills

 

Ministerial Reports

Each Minister under his or her portfolio will update the country in greater detail on the accomplishments of our Government in this first 2 years.

But I am pleased however to say that progress has been made in many of these areas we committed to fulfill and deliver.  We are more than half way in the realization and progressing of the over 400 promises made.

I remain grateful for those who have agreed to serve in my Cabinet and am happy to report that during the entire month of January, each Minister will appear on RTC’s Expressions Show on the following dates to give full details on all the promises falling under his and her portfolios. Please take note of the Schedule below:

9th Ministry of Health

16th Ministry of Tourism

18th Ministry of Infrastructure

21st Premier/Ministry of Finance

23rd Ministry of Education

25th Ministry of Home Affairs

30th Deputy Premier/Ministry of Border Control and Labour

 

The Full Cabinet will hold a National Town Hall Meeting on January 30th and details will follow.

 

CLOSING

We are honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve our people and to help build our country at such a critical time.  The building of our country as with others requires many partners and we stand ready to partner with those who genuinely wish to build country including our people.  Recent incidents have revealed some among us who continue to feel that this country and the fruits of this country is too good for us as a people.  I wish to remind persons who we have accepted to live among us that we this is our land and as a Government I wish to say that it is not business as usual and we will not continue to allow this land to be built largely for the benefit of others to the exclusion of our own.  We are confident that we are all live here in this corner of the world harmoniously if harmony is engendered and if respect is mutual.  This country is prospering and we are at the place where must realise the down side of ignoring social issues and the need to create better standards of living for all. My Government is committed to this and we welcome any and everyone who share this vision.

There is much to do together.  No Government has all the ideas.  No Opposition has all the ideas.  No group of citizens have all the ideas.  But I believe God has given us all collectively the solutions to the challenges we face and the ideas to prosper us a people recognizing that blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.  It is my prayer that we will begin to nurture spirits of gratitude and of kindness while offering more solution – oriented dialogue offering more solutions for problems identified rather than problems for every solution.  We require all hands on deck in order to make this country the greatest little nation that it can be.

May God to speak to our hearts and minds.  May He continue to be faithful to us as He has from generation to generation.  And may He continue to bless our beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands: home of the number one beach in the world.

 

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