#TurksandCaicosIslands – January 20, 2020 —- STATEMENT MADE ON JANUARY 7, 2020 – The Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and Cabinet Ministers updated the general public during a press conference on Tuesday, January 7 2020 on their achievements for the year 2019; their third year since coming to Office in December 2016.
Each minister provided extensive updates on their respective ministries and shared priority areas and plans for the year 2020. Premier Robinson brought updates on the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade, Statutory Bodies and The Office of the Premier Local Government and Community Affairs. Among the achievements attained in 2019 were:
· Passed three surplus Budgets and critical supplementary
· The Home Owners Policy came into effect
· The critical work with CDB to look at the provision of capital access for businesses progressed and the tender was released to complete these works
· Introduced Amnesty Program for tourism related businesses that allowed over 20 businesses to start fresh
· Purchased a building for the new Technical and Vocational Institute
· Organized and facilitated the Mission of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) to discuss TCIG’s Revenues in an effort to revamp our Revenue Collections System
· Government Storage fees waived for a period
· Reestablished the Trade Department
· TCI Represented at Ministerial level at the Social Security Annual General Meeting in Belgium and at the Meeting of the Global Forum
· Completed the Regulations and Standards for the Consumer Protection Ordinance and the Regulations for the Credit Union Ordinance. Both were brought into effect last year.
· Completed the Vision 2040 Document and secured quotes for its critical roll out.
· Funded the reintroduction of Increments for the Civil Service
· Approved and implemented salary advance for Civil Servants, funded the Consultancy Review of the TCI Pension and Terminal Benefits
· Funded critical repairs for Police Stations
· Conducted Actuarial Reviews for all of Government Pensions (which included for the first time Pensions under the Retiring Allowance Ordinance – Politician’s Pensions), NIB and NHIB.
· Reopened the newly refurbished JAGS International Airport in Grand Turk and approved critical projects for the TCIAA including: –
o Salt Cay Airport Redevelopment
o New Fire Trucks
o South Caicos Terminal (out to tender)
o Fire Hall for Grand Turk (under construction)
o Combined Services Building and Fire Services Building for Provo (out to Tender)
o Office Building for Provo (currently being evaluated)
· Advanced critical projects to redevelop all the ports in TCI
· Invested funds to provide further support of developing the Financial Services Sector.
· Appointed a new CEO and Deputy CEO for the Civil Aviation Authority in the persons of Peter Forbes and Arthur Bassett.
· Appointed a Local Government Modernisation and Review Committee and concluded its consultations around the Islands
· Purchased vehicles for District Administration and reopened the newly refurbished DC’s Office on Salt Cay.
· Agreed plan to launch a Climate Change Symposium to heighten awareness and action
· Progressed the ban on other harmful plastics; enacted restrictions on the importation of polystyrenes and plastic straws
· Introduced an incentivized scrap metal policy for the removal of scrap metal from the Islands
· Progressed the National Security Strategy
· Investment in policing including: building repairs to RTCIPF Headquarters, purchased a new plane, begun implementing CCTV in Grand Turk, acquired a new police boat and other critical equipment
· Reinstated JAGS McCARTNEY DAY
· Commissioned the first Musicians of the Turks and Caicos Music Festival
Commenting on the achievements for 2019, Premier Robinson stated: “We are a beautiful, blessed country and we must be grateful to God for his many blessings. Thanks to His Excellency the Governor, the Honorable Ministers, Cabinet colleagues and above all Team Finance, Team Premier’s Office, Public and Private Sector for a collective effort in bettering the lives of all Turks and Caicos Islanders.
As we reflect on the past year, I cannot overlook some of our unfortunate actions as a people. Offering destructive criticism, sitting on the sidelines creating problems for every solution has no place in TCI’s next decade. Too many of us continue to be irresponsible in our use of social media particularly in circulating false accounts of criminal acts and sloops, and this only leads to irreparable damage to our reputation and wasted use of resources. This for me is of serious concern. The tenor of 2020 must be different; let us put country first.
We must move forward on the path of restoration, decentralization and modernization towards attaining Vision 2040. We have much to do in a short time but we must persevere and we will.”
COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development
#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – The Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, the Honourable Akierra Mary Deanne Missick and the Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development team are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID WORKS Programme, that went live on September 1, 2021.
The Programme seeks to support many who have lost jobs and livelihoods, while providing labour intensive work for economic exchange opportunities for persons to be engaged.
Works are set out in three (3) levels and comprise a variety of categories example, cleaning, road works, demolition and general construction to name a few.
Level 1 – value $1,500 – $9,999
Level 2 – value $10,000 – $39,999
Level 3 – value $40,000 – $70,000
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Hon. Missick said, “We are very much mindful of the impact that restrictions introduced by Government in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has had on the islands, many continue to experience financial hardship. Whilst, the hospitality and construction sectors in Providenciales have rebounded well, as an Administration, we cannot rest knowing that other industries are still limping along.
As a result, during the remainder of this financial year, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has now launched the COVID Works Programme to provide an opportunity for Petty and Small Contractors to assist the Government in the enhancement of our communities, through programmed works, to the benefit of all of us as residents”.
The Minister went on to note, “This Programme is set to the tune of US$5,000,000.00, and works will be rolled out across the Islands in batches, as we have to ensure that we do not go beyond the allotted expenditure and that financial oversight and transparency are maintained.”
The initial batch of works for South Caicos, which comprised the following, was returned and evaluated on Monday, September 13, 2021 and included:
Demolition- Queen’s Shed
Demolition- Distribution Concrete Tank
Demolition- Old Clinic Building
Demolition- DECR Building
Demolition- Library Building
Repair of Water Cistern
Works for Grand Turk included:
Demolition- Blood Bank Building
Demolition- Geriatric Ward Building
Demolition- Kitchen Building
Demolition- X-ray Building
All returning bids must be sent to the COVID Works email at email@example.com
Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:
Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
Beach cleaning (Areas of Shore Club and Five Cays)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
A number of other works for Middle & North Caicos, as well as Salt Cay will be released shortly. This is a six month program that will spread throughout the TCI and we encourage persons to continue to register via firstname.lastname@example.org or the local Public Works Department and District Commissioners’ offices, to be eligible for this opportunity.
These works will continue on a monthly basis and the programme will come to an end in March 2022.
Grandstanding at best – Hon. Jameka Williams
#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – Response to Mr. Robert Been Jr. – People’s Democratic Movement All Island Candidate 2016 and 2021 “Where is the Wo’k you promised PNP?”
Like some of you, I have the opportunity to read the statements that has been published by Mr. Robert Been asking the government where is the work. I can only describe this as a classic case of grandstanding. The issues highlighted by Mr. Been are areas of concern in our country, however these issues did not begin yesterday nor did they became a concern seven months ago. I’d like to remind Mr. Been that these same concerns were there during his former governing party the PDM. The previous government did nothing to address these concerns in their four year tenure. Where was your voice then Mr. Been? As a matter of fact, where was your voice the four years prior?
As it relates to education, the issues with spaces in Schools has been heightened as a lot of families can not afford the cost of private institutions since the pandemic, so there is now a high demand for seats in the public schools. Our government is working closely with the private Institutions with a subsidy program to address those needs. Again, this issue existed under the former government before the pandemic but they made no attempt to address it. In addition under your former administration, schools were closed for over one year with no plan on sight for its reopening. Our children have regressed and many repeating to catch up on the year lost.
On September 1, 2021 our government announced the new protocols and measures as it relates to Covid 19. Yes, there are concerns being expressed by the citizens and business owners as it relates to the impact of those decisions. I would like to inform you to that these decisions were not made alone. Stakeholders were engaged in these conversations and I have also accompanied the Hon. Jamel Robinson to sit downs with various groups of business owners to provide feedback, listen and take recommendations.
Countries around the world are imposing stiffer penalties and measures to help with the control of Covid 19 virus and the TCI is no different. We’ve seen reports published of cancellations that we believe are flawed to bully the government into reversing the decisions made. Our government has a responsibility to protect life and livelihood. There are decisions that are sometimes tough to make but it is our responsibility to make them no matter how unpopular. In time, the people of this country will see the benefit of those decisions concerning what’s happening around the world in even more developed countries as it relates to COVID-19.
Mr. Been, I would like for you to know that the island of Grand Turk was in a state of devastation since the storm of 2017 under the tenure of your government. There was an outcry for years by its residents. The cruise industry is at a standstill. However, I’d like to inform you that during our budget debates this current government has passes 8.3 million dollars for all the islands with 3 million ring fenced for Grand Turk alone in works and cash grant injections. The Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure Development has as of September 1, 2021 rolled out its contract program for works around the islands particularly in the Nation’s Capital.
Since the closer of the cruise sector in Grand Turk, the former administration had little to no engagement with Carnival partners on a plan to jump start that industry. It is extremely commendable that our government took the initiative to host a town hall meeting with all persons involved in the cruise industry in June 2021. Additional the Premier is in constant dialogue with Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean has now expressed an internet in having Grand Turk as one of their destinations.
Mr. Been, it is widely rumored that you may have an interest in Leadership of the PDM during the next convention. You are a personal friend of mine and I wish you well on your endeavors as this is a noble profession. However, my advice to you would be to offer solution based arguments so that the electorate sees your strength and potential instead of pointing fingers and grandstanding. Admittedly you mentioned that the elections are over. But are they really for you? As a government we do not have all the answers but I assure you that the decisions made are in the best interest of all of us including you. Hold on, better days are ahead.
Canadians Fly South to Turks & Caicos!
#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – Air Canada is back to the Turks and Caicos Islands with direct flights from Toronto to the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) and when the airline returned on Sunday September 12, it came nearly full with 169 passengers aboard.
Floyd Ingham, Acting CEO of the TCI Airports Authority, confirmed that Air Canada brought a Boeing 737-Max for the flight which will be weekly. The aircraft has a capacity of 180 and actually left the PLS with 65 passengers.
Air Canada had been missing from the commercial airline offering for nearly a year due to the impact of coronavirus on its home base. West Jet, also a Canadian airline, has not yet return to the PLS, but is proposing a November 7th resumption of flights, also from Toronto.
Canadian air carriers had discontinued flights to most sunny weather destinations back in January when cases there spiked to deadly levels.
On September 9, airlines were clear to fly.
Canada requires returning residents to present a 3-day old negative PCR test for re-entry, requires visitors to be fully vaccinated and currently has nearly 69 per cent vaccination rate across its provinces.
As a side bar, South West Airlines, which travels to TCI out of Ft Lauderdale is still on schedule for a return on October 7th confirmed Mr. Ingham who also confirmed that frequency of Air Canada service will ramp up on October 1st, with three flights per week planned.
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