TCI: Caicos Express returns to South & Premier explains what $20 million budgeted funds mean for ‘fishing capital’
#Providenciales, June 4, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Nine million in budget year 2018-2019 and another $11 million in this new fiscal year will mean radical refurbishment in South Caicos, and residents turned out in healthy numbers to hear about plans for restoration of the island.
Premier Sharlene Robinson is the minister responsible for finance and island administration. An Office of the Premier media release explained that the plan for South Caicos were spelled out.
“South Caicos Airport Tower, Clinic, Community Center, Wellness Center, Conch Ground Bay Port works. She explained that these works totalled some $8m to $9m in government investment. South Caicos in the 2019/20 TCIG Budget, received another large portion of funds allocated for infrastructural works with approximately $11 million committed in budget 2019/20 to the following critical projects: The Airport Terminal, South Caicos Airport fencing, the Morgue, the Regatta Village and Wharf.”
South Caicos residents and natives have been vocal about their disappointment in the rundown state of the island, particularly in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Photographs and comments about public facilities including the clinic, the morgue, the wharf, the airport and the Regatta Village have made headlines several times since the storms 20 months ago.
“Premier Robinson in her updates as the Minister of Finance expressed that about $20m have been allocated for repair and other works over her Government’s 3 Budgets. It was announced that these works are all progressing and residents received confirmation that sporting equipment should be coming soon for the schools.”
South Caicos residents have also been concerned about banking facilities and airline connectivity and reliability. It was announced that both are being worked on by the PDM Administration.
“It was confirmed that TCIG is actively engaging with banking institutions for the return banking services to South Caicos. Caicos Express Airways won the subsidy bid to provide airlift services into and out of South Caicos. Those services to begin 1 June 2019. It was noted that flight times are being discussed to better accommodate both residents and visitors to the island.”
Minister of health Edwin Astwood addressed management of the pharmacy, construction of a new morgue and maintenance of the island’s clinic.
As the ‘fishing capital’ of the country, South Caicos residents were informed that there are studies and reports coming to boost performance of the industry. Minister of Tourism, with responsibility for maritime and fisheries, Ralph Higgs was at the meeting.
“… announced that Department of Environment and Coastal Resources officials will be making a visit in the coming weeks for public consultations on how they can improve the industry and share data on Lobster, Conch and Fish stocks. It was noted that after the hurricanes, the Lobster Open Season performed better than expected. A new Environmental Bill which will speak specifically to legislation to support a sustainable conch and lobster export industry will be taken to the House of Assembly in the coming months.”
South Caicos islanders were told that a new youth officer is to be assigned and the cadet corps is to be re-established in the island.
Additionally, the Office of the Premier reported that: “The Airport fencing will return to tender due to no bids the first round of tenders will be posted in July 2019. The repairs of the Library, the construction of the Fish House and canal works will be included in next year’s budget.”
Today there are two public meetings; Salt Cay at 11 am and Grand Turk at 6:30pm.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
Woman who lost foot is Alexandra Truwit, Yale Grad & All American Swimmer
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – A champion swimmer, marathon runner, Ivy League graduate and world traveler with a huge smile– that is Alexandra Truwit; at only 22 years old, she has a whole life ahead of her, one that may have now been made exponentially harder by the loss of her foot in an incident which continues to be unconfirmed, but reported as a shark attack off the coast of Providenciales.
Magnetic Media learned Truwit, who is a very experienced swimmer, was on a private charter captained by an employee of Big Blue Collective (not a Big Blue Charter). She was bitten by what eyewitnesses think could have been a Caribbean Reef Shark and her foot below the ankle was completely severed.
It’s a heartbreaking incident exacerbated by the young woman’s obvious love for- and proficiency in- the water.
The Yale website describes Truwit as a Two-time USA Swimming Academic All-American. Featured as a ‘Teen Titan’ in her high school, she was one of ten young people chosen for the school’s magazine.
Truwit, who has a twin brother, cites nail art and baking as her life joys. Already having survived ‘mono’ as a teen, she volunteers as a Special Olympics “hugger” and started a Special Olympics club at her high school.
She was airlifted from the Turks and Caicos on the day of her accident and there have been no updates on her condition so far. Residents in the TCI and the US have expressed via social media their best wishes for the young achiever and must now wait, hoping for the best possible outcome.
One resident said, “So sorry Alexandra you had to encounter such a traumatic experience while on vacation on our beautiful Island. I am praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for you, hopefully, the surgeon can work their magic for you.”
Governor’s Appointed Member touts Civil Service Upgrade during Budget Debates
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 5, 2023 – There are sweeping changes coming to the civil service this year after years of complaints about delays and understaffing.
“For the year 2023/24, the office of the Deputy Governor has a very ambitious public sector transformation centered around improving service delivery and the customer experience.”
This came from Governors Appointed Member Willin Belliard, as he rose in the budget debates on Thursday May 18 to detail the revamp.
Phase one of E-procurement which will allow for the virtual submission of tenders is to be implemented. Along with that will come E-Jobs, a similar system touted to make job applications virtual, swift and easy.
Implementation of the Human Capital Procurement Program is also on the list of deliverables. Human capital is sorely lacking in the Turks and Caicos across the public and private sectors with hundreds of vacancies sitting open and resignations continuing to pile up.
Public servants will also find it easier to enroll into the all new Public Sector Pension Plan with the advent of a portal to remove the need for paper based applications.
The previously announced pay grading exercise is on the table to be completed and a Contract management unit has now been created to manage the delivery of projects that taxpayers are funding.
Residents of the Turks and Caicos have complained bitterly about the state of the civil service in the country for years. From police records to the treasury, the service is characterized by low staffing, frustrating wait time and long lines.
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