#Providenciales, 4 December, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – On November 26th and 27th 2019 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) held their 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) in Paris, France. The Turks and Caicos Islands were in attendance at the event with a delegation of 6 led by the Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson.
The forum was specifically geared toward assessing the robust standards that have prompted a tidal shift in exchange of information for tax purposes throughout its member jurisdictions.
According to reports revealed during this meeting, almost all Global Forum members have eliminated bank secrecy for tax purposes, in an effort to reduce tax evasion and to improve tax transparency. The Turks and Caicos Islands were among those jurisdictions making a shift toward increased tax transparency.
Director of the Exchange of Information Unit within the Ministry of Finance, Henry Saunders commenting on the forum stated, “As a small developing state, TCI’s participation on an equal footing for shaping the global standard for combating tax evasion, avoidance and governance brings on a sense of inclusiveness that our values and ideals are being heard for adaption and implementation. The fight to battle aggressive tax planning is real and requires international cooperation and mutual support from participating jurisdictions with common interest.”
The Exchange of Information Unit facilitates the exchange of information with Treaty Partners internationally and domestically, to improve co-operation with internal stakeholders. The Turks and Caicos Islands Government has to-date signed several Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA’s) with negotiations ongoing with a few more jurisdictions. TCI has also signed onto the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters adding to the list of some 60 plus jurisdictions that have already signed on to date.
Premier Robinson commenting on the globalization of tax transparency stated, “It is of paramount importance that the Turks and Caicos Islands is not labelled as a country or jurisdiction that is non-compliant with evolving tax laws. TCI has and will continue to remain compliant with global standards as it relates to exchange of information for tax purposes and improve upon our internal and external stakeholder relationships.
Turks and Caicos Islands must ensure its equal participation in the fight against illicit financial transactions and the prevention of terrorist financing by implementing and complying with the agreed international standards.
I am pleased to attend forums like these with the relevant delegates to report on, with validated data, TCI’s position as it relates to global standard compliance and to use these platforms to gain information on how we can improve and widen our knowledge and partnerships internationally.”
Included in TCI’s delegation was, Premier and Minister of Finance Investment and Trade, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Athenee Basden, Senior Legislative Drafter from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Ms. Gogontle Gatang, Mr. Henry Saunders, Director for the Exchange of Information Unit, Ministry of Finance and Mr. Ronlee James, Executive Director and Lareesa Robinson, Executive Administrator within the Office of the Premier, Local Government and Community Affairs.
This Global Forum brought together more than 500 delegates from 131 member jurisdictions for renewed discussions on efforts to advance the tax transparency agenda.
Caption: Pictured above (from left to right): Mr. Ronlee James, Executive Director of Office of Premier, Local Government and Community Affairs; Mrs. Athenee Basden, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade; Ms. Lareesa Robinson, Executive Administrator, Office of the Premier, Local Government and Community Affairs; Premier and Minister for Finance, Investment and Trade, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; Ms. Gogontle Gatang, Senior Legislative Drafter, Attorney General’s Chambers and Mr. Henry Saunders Director of Exchange of Information Unit, MOF.
No truth to rumor, Anya Williams will remain TCI’s Deputy Governor
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2022 – Manufactured as mischief or some kind of advocacy for other members of the Public Service deemed worthy of the role of deputy governor, Nigel Dakin, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands found himself tonight denying a widely circulated rumor. He said there was no truth to the current ‘DG’ being replaced by either Wesley Clerveaux or Althea Been or anyone for that matter.
Governor Dakin was quoting, in part, Section 25 (1) of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, which also says, “…shall be a Turks and Caicos Islander and shall be appointed by the Governor in pursuance of instructions given by Her Majesty through a Secretary of State, and who shall hold office during Her Majesty’s pleasure.”
Magnetic Media had questioned Deputy Governor Anya Williams, directly about the rumor being shared over social media platforms. She advised that the Governor would speak to the issue, and he did. Via email, to our newsroom and other media houses was an unequivocal response.
“I also note that within that fake news both Wesley Clerveaux and Althea Been are mentioned as potential successors. In one sense it is excellent that their names are called out – they are excellent Permanent Secretaries – and the good news is there are others that could have been named – who have the capability – and there are Deputy Secretaries who could one day also aspire. The bench at this level is both wide and deep, reinforcing the present incumbent who is a ‘rock’, on which much of TCI depends – particularly at time of crisis,” informed the governor.
Still, it is Anya Williams who tops his list as tremendously competent and suited to the job at this time in Turks and Caicos. His confidence, he says is shared by the Cabinet.
“Anya Williams, is one of the most dedicated and effective leaders I’ve had the good fortune to work with.
Beyond that myself, the Premier and Deputy Premier have for example recently lauded her over her leadership during the height of Hurricane FIONA. While I am Governor, Anya Williams will remain Deputy Governor and my strong recommendation to my successor – whenever my successor is appointed – is he or she could not have a better person to be able to rely on.”
It had been reported that the tenure of Deputy Governor Williams had contractually ended and that her job was up for grabs. It had been articulated she would have to apply, along with others, for the available position. However, H.E. Dakin makes it clear that the process for this job is not like others in the public service.
“There isn’t a set ‘contract date’ and so no contract is ‘up’. If it were hypothetically up for renewal today – in that it could be terminated for good reason any day – she would be reappointed with my full and unqualified confidence.”
Her Excellency Anya Williams is the second appointed Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and is the Head of the Public Service. She was appointed on October 15, 2012, through an open recruitment process.
Premier’s National Address: National Security Statement – Monday, 26 September
HONOURABLE CHARLES WASHINGTON MISICK
NATIONAL SECURITY STATEMENT
as delivered by the Premier Honourable Charles W. Misick
(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Monday, 26 September 2022) My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, this evening, I wish to speak with you on the upsurge in violence over the last month and the steps the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is taking to address criminality and keep our people safe.
However, before I address that urgent matter, I want to place on record my gratitude to the Almighty who spared us from the devastation seen by other countries from Hurricane Fiona.
We were spared not only by the grace of God but because we were prepared and are a more hurricane resilient TCI.
My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, I speak to you this evening with a heavy and a sad emotion.
God spared us from the worst of Hurricane Fiona, but the criminals did not even give our country time to breathe, they have struck again with impunity and have given rise to terror never before seen in our territory.
This evening, we collectively mourn the brutal and wanton murder of four young men – cut down in the prime of their lives.
My heart bleeds for the families whose lives have been shattered by evil and hate.
We have had 11 murders in this month alone. The total number of murders for this year is 22.
My fellow Islanders, like you, I am angry at those who continue to terrorise our communities and spray our land with blood.
The violence which has flared up in recent weeks will not be tolerated by this government and must not be accepted nor tolerated by decent law-abiding citizens of these Turks and Caicos Islands.
September has seen organised crime gangs, including gangs with international and external affiliations, fighting for control of drugs, money and territory in these Islands. We are now subject to crime not just generated from within our borders, but also from without.
We are mobilizing resources from the United Kingdom and the region, to help find those who continue to disrupt and plague our communities.
We will find them whether they are here or elsewhere and we will bring them to justice. The safety and security of our people is our first priority; always.
The government has spent significant sums on upgrading the human, physical, technical, and investigative capacity of the Royal TCI Police Force. We will spare no reasonable cost to keep our people safe and our borders secure.
To stem the upsurge in violence will take looking at immediate and longer-term action.
We will implement the following immediately and over the next several weeks:
- We are putting more officers on frontline duties especially in the worst impacted communities. Administrative functions – and support to the Maritime Branch – of the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force will be supplemented by members of the TCI Regiment.
- A letter was sent to the Foreign Secretary and copied to Prime Minister Truss, the OT Minister Jesse Norman, and the Ministers for Defence in the UK Home office following a strong call requesting military and police assistance. A reply with specific deliverables is anticipated soon.
- In consultation with the Governor, I have reached out to heads in the Bahamian, Jamaican, and Barbadian governments for police reinforcement. These are being considered by those countries and should result in more boots on the ground in Turks and Caicos Islands.
- We have requested from the US Department of Homeland Security the deployment of a surveillance aircraft to assist with policing the passage between TCI and Haiti to stop illegal entry into our territorial waters.
- Three British officers travelled with me from London last Thursday. They will be performing an on-the-ground assessment of crime and will help to create a more effective crime fighting plan for the TCI.
- The UK will be sending shortly, a Chief Superintendent and an Inspector who will set up our anti-gang unit. Twenty-three (23) officers to staff the unit will arrive in the TCI within the coming months.
- The procurement process has started in the UK for the purchase of our own surveillance aircraft and this should be completed soon.
- We are contracting interim air support to assist law enforcement and better map their movements within communities.
- Purchased armoured vehicles should arrive within the TCI in 3 months.
- Persons without the correct vehicle plates will have their vehicles impounded and will be fined.
- Illegal vehicle tints will not be tolerated and persons who keep them will be arrested and charged.
These immediate solutions are intended to stem the bloodshed, but we are also focused on a longer-term and more strategic approach.
While in the UK last week, the Governor and I met with Secretary Jeremy Quinn in the Home Office and Secretary Jesse Norman in the Foreign Office.
They are two UK Ministers whose cooperation is critical to security of the TCI.
We have asked them to do much more.
They understand the unprecedented and seriousness of the threats we face.
We discussed in detail the significant challenges the TCI is facing including:
- The strategic connection between serious crime and irregular migration from Haiti
- The brutality of recent gang-related violence
- The heart-breaking and destructive nature of the crimes on the families that are impacted; and
- The availability of powerful firearms in these Islands
We explained the vulnerability of our strong economy and how crime, in particular brutal gang violence, could put our tourism industry at serious risk.
We outlined the significant investments we are making in our border and internal security, not just financially but through new legislation, building new national security structures as well as professionalising and expanding our local security forces.
We said that in the latest budget, $67.3 million has been allocated for public order and safety including our police services.
Let me assure every Islander that there is no cap on investing in your safety.
Several strategic initiatives are well underway.
The first is providing the Islands with a highly technical capability to conduct lawful intercept operations against gang members, particularly those involved in violence and people smuggling.
The appropriate legislation is being drafted and we expect that it will be passed in the House of Assembly next month as October has been designated as a month for Criminal Justice Reform in TCI.
- Eleven (11) criminal justice bills designed to break the back of the kind of unprecedented criminal activities we have been experiencing in the Islands will be enacted. These bills will stiffen penalties further, strengthen police investigative powers, powers to stop and search and detain, to break up gang activities and to protect those whose job it is to push back on crime on the front lines. These bills will include:
- The Firearms (Amendment) Bill would introduce higher penalties for possession of unlicensed firearm or possession of a prohibited weapon or ammunition. The mandatory minimum sentence for possession of such weapons would be raised.
- The Police Force (Amendment) Bill would provide for stop and search and the erection of road barriers in areas of high crime and to stop and search a person or vehicle if the officer thinks the person is linked to criminal activity. The officer must have “reasonable grounds” to conduct the search.
- The Firearms Related Offences Bill would extend the period of detention for murder and firearms offences.
- The Anti-Gang Bill would make it an offence for a person to be or become a member of a gang. This offence would carry a penalty of ten years’ imprisonment for a first conviction and a penalty of twenty years’ imprisonment for any subsequent conviction. The Bill would also provide that a gang leader would be liable to imprisonment for twenty-five years on conviction on indictment. It would also make it an offence to wound or shoot at persons involved in law enforcement or intelligence and would carry a penalty of thirty years’ imprisonment on conviction on indictment.
Other provisions would –
- make it an offence for a person to coerce, encourage, entice, aid or abet another person to be a gang member and would carry a penalty of twenty-five years’ imprisonment on conviction on indictment.
- make it an offence for persons to take retaliatory action against another person or any of that person’s relatives, friends, associates or property, where inter alia, the other person refuses to comply with an order of a gang leader or gang member.
- make it an offence to knowingly counsel, instruct, guide, finance or provide any type of support to a gang leader, gang member or gang.
- make it an offence for a person to harbor or conceal a gang leader or gang member or tip them off of an investigation or proposed investigation.
Other provisions would empower the police to –
- arrest, without a warrant, a person who he has reasonable cause to believe is a gang leader, gang member or has committed an offence under the Ordinance, and to enter and search a dwelling house, with a warrant, or to enter any other place or premises, without a warrant, where he has reasonable cause to believe that a gang member may be found.
- detain a person who he reasonably suspects of having committed certain offences
The Bill would also empower the Court to order that the property of a person convicted of certain offenses may be forfeited in certain circumstances.
- The Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Bill, Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill, Defence (Amendment) Bill, the Integrity Commission (Amendment) Bill would to introduce higher penalties for obstructing, assaulting or threatening an investigative officer (including Immigration Officers, the Regiment, Customs Officers and Police Officers), an officer of the Court or a Judicial officer in exercise of his or her duty.
- The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill would enable the making of regulations so that its mandatory that every new sim card purchased must be registered to the buyer requiring them to present valid identification at the time of purchase.
- The Interception of Communications Bill would to provide a single legal framework for the use by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of investigatory powers to obtain communications and communications data. These powers would cover the interception of communications, the retention and acquisition of communications data, and equipment interference for obtaining communications and other data. It would not be lawful to exercise such powers other than as provided for by this legislation once enacted.
We requested more support, partnership, and serious strategic investments to turn the tide. This will require extensive and sustained UK support.
Additionally, we need further strengthening of our defences against maritime threats.
We requested that a formal ministerial agreement is implemented to build a “Gun, Gangs and Drugs Squad”. This Squad would be made up of officers with some of the best detective, intelligence and analytical skills in the UK.
The Squad would work within our own police force making an immediate impact but also building our local capacity and capability.
While building capacity and capability in the Police is urgent and important, we need an across-the-board approach to crime and justice.
We have an excellent Chief Justice who is keen on reform, and we will support capacity building across the justice system.
I want to thank our TCI “Tactical Firearms Unit” and other members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force who have shown great physical prowess, courage and skill over recent weeks.
They provide us with a very strong local foundation that we can build on.
My fellow Islanders, the government will leave no stone unturned in making our communities and people safe.
You should feel free and safe to go about your business without worrying about the next move of criminals, gangs and drug dealers.
We can’t do it alone.
The police can’t do it alone.
Let us turn our anger into action.
If we come together, we will defeat those who bring violence and harm to our communities.
You must help us.
You have to be vigilant.
Report criminal activities in your communities.
Work with the police.
Together we can and we will defeat the criminals who want to destroy our beloved TCI.
In closing, I declare the National Youth Day as a ‘National Day of Prayer, Fasting and
Repentance’ beginning at 9am until 3pm. We will gather at the Gustavus Lightbourne Gymnasium in Providenciales and locations in the other Islands. Details will follow soon.
May God bless you and keep our Islands and people safe from harm.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Has Much To Celebrate on World Tourism Day!
PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS (September 27, 2022) – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ exclusive tourism authority, is ecstatic to celebrate World Tourism Day and its 2022 theme of “Rethinking Tourism” while appreciating the country’s ability to recover strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we often say, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, tourism is everybody’s business. This is because it is the most significant component of our national economy. Consequently, on World Tourism Day, we are excited to reflect on the many successes we have achieved in what can be described as our bounce-back year after the height of the pandemic”, said Acting Director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, Mary Lightbourne. “Based on our short-term projections and long-term vision, the future of tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands is very promising!”, Lightbourne added.
Over 2022, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ ability to rebound from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkable. Preliminary data from January 2022 – March 2022 indicates that the Turks and Caicos Islands welcomed 98.5% of the stayover visitors that it did from January 2019 – March 2019, which was one of the most successful tourism quarters in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This year, the Turks and Caicos Islands was named the World’s Hottest Travel Destination for Fall 2022 by Tripadvisor, and won “Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination” as well as “Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination” at the World Travel Awards. Through a strategic partnership with J. Wade Public Relations, an international public relations firm, the Turks and Caicos Islands has achieved unprecedented results in media coverage. From January 2022 to September 2022, this partnership has obtained 113 placements and 2.39 billion total gross impressions with a total media value of $238.5 million. In this 9-month span, this partnership has exceeded all of its public relations results for 2021 – and it has already secured more press trips for the rest of the year, which will continue to elevate these results.
“The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s 2022 World Tourism Day’s theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’ fits the Turks and Caicos Islands perfectly. With the collective efforts of tourism stakeholders across the country, we have been able to rapidly rebound and repeat the results of one of our most successful pre-pandemic quarters”, said Minister of Tourism, Hon. Josephine Connolly.
“Now, we are looking at taking tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands to even greater heights by transitioning our Tourist Board to a Destination Management Organization and Tourism Regulatory Authority. These entities will standardize and strengthen the world-class experiences that the Turks and Caicos Islands is known for across all entities in our tourism economy and facilitate the development of an even more sustainable and resilient tourism product”, added Hon. Connolly.
For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.
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