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TCI solid waste and coastal protection projects with CDB stalled due to lack of capacity

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#Barbados, February 17, 2020 — Three TCI approved projects employing the technical assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank are in limbo due to a lack of available expertise within the Turks and Caicos Islands, explained the CBD director at its Annual Press Conference held on February 11 in Barbados.

Daniel Best, Director of Projects at the Caribbean Development Bank revealed that efforts are being considered at CDB to help countries through the stagnating challenge of limited human resources, which adversely affect implementation and completion of critical projects.

Strong turn out for town meeting related to problems with Providenciales dump

“We have within our member countries, unfortunately, some capacity issues and it is not limited to TCI, this is across the board.  One of the things we are doing as a bank is seeking how we can be more responsive to not just the infrastructure or social needs but to the capacity needs,” said Mr. Best.

Magnetic Media quizzed Mr. Best about progress on two of the three projects; the first, the Coastal Protection and Management Technical Assistance which has been approved since 2016.  While it is the most advanced, progress is slow going for the construction of vital sea defences.

CDB Annual News Conference held Tuesday February 11, 2020 at HQ in Barbados

“All of the capital projects funded by the Caribbean Development Bank undergo a climate vulnerability assessment and climate risk screening, so this project would be one, when it gets to the capital projects stage… (it) would be one that incorporates climate action.  We are continuing the dialogue to drive this particular intervention and others forward, so we really hope to see some traction on that in this calendar year,” said Best.

In July 2017, the Premier and Finance Minister, Sharlene Robinson informed the House of Assembly:  “Mr. Speaker that the Government is advancing is the loan assistance related to Climate Resilient Coastal Protection and Management that we had hoped would have been before us today for debate.  This technical assistance will focus on a feasibility study and prepare designs for coastal protection works on the islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay and Providenciales.  Shoreline management plans for the Islands will also form part of this technical assistance.”

Three years later and the CDB Director admits that the project still has a distance to go.  Daniel Best said plans are to work with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government for project submissions to source designs for coastal defences.

FILE PHOTO

The second venture, a Solid Waste Management Project is also severely waylaid by this human resource deficiency and that fact will be particularly jarring for the people of northwestern Providenciales, which is home to the communities of Wheeland and Blue Hills.  Residents, across the islands are hopeful for a remedy to longstanding qualms about management of dump sites.

Severe respiratory health problems resulting from smoke and fumes emanating from fires in and around the Providenciales Landfill have raised public interest in the approved Solid Waste Management Technical Assistance contract with the CDB.

Government panel at town meeting in 2019

“Unfortunately that project has not progressed as fast as we would have wanted it to; the TA (technical assistance) has been approved and we are in the process of working with the TCI to procure consultants, to engage consultants,” informed Mr. Best.

“Arduous” is the way ahead for the solid waste management assistance, the CDB Project Director explained. 

Within the July 2017 ministerial statement, Premier Sharlene Robinson announced the project and in 2019, the Technical Assistance for Solid Waste Management was approved at the Cabinet level.

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From the July 26, 2017 ministerial statement to the House of Assembly: “Mr. Speaker, Solid Waste Management involves everybody throughout the length and breadth of these Islands, and it is my Government’s intention to advance a technical assistance loan from the Bank to assist us in updating the waste management strategy for the country as well as designing the best option for waste disposal on each Island.

Our Islands do not always depict our country’s tagline and as we clean up the streets and communities, we must put in place proper management systems that will address littering, indiscriminate dumping and management of landfills also known for us as dump sites. Public education and fines will also be hallmarks of the new Policy.”

Since then, the widespread destruction and reconstruction resulting from Hurricanes Irma and Maria have generated a substantial increase in the amount of debris being hauled to the dump site. 

Additionally, the hazardous practice of igniting coal kiln fires, suspicion of arson and spontaneously combusting spot fires have worked to accelerated air pollution and community frustration.

Doctor visits and respiratory cases have climbed among residents of the area; though in recent months, there has been a decline in instances of foul odors and toxic air.

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“There may be need for some support in the country and this is one where we will certainly be putting a lens on to see how we can actually get it moving faster,” the comment from Mr. Best in response to Magnetic Media’s conveyance of public anxieties.

Daniel Best added, “I hear you and I agree.  It is an environmental concern.  It may not be a hurricane or a cyclone, but it is an environmental concern and it is one that the CDB is committed to working with the government of the TCI to resolve.”

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.

Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development

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#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

Turks and Caicos Islanders with valid business licenses are also being encouraged to submit proposals to the Public Works Department for consideration for works throughout the islands. 

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:

South Caicos 

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:

Grand Turk 

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 tcigworks@gov.tc

Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:

Grand Turk: 

Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)

Street Cleaning (All areas)

Providenciales:

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 tcigworks@gov.tc 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.

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Grandstanding at best – Hon. Jameka Williams

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#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.

 

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