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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.

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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.

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GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS SICK OUT ACTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (March 1st, 2024): The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) assure the travelling public that all measures are being implemented to mitigate the sick out action by Air Traffic Controllers at the Howard Hamilton International Airport.

All agencies – The Office of the Governor, The Office of the Premier, The TCIAA, The Turks and Caicos Royal Police Force, Experience Turks and Caicos – are working together to ensure that our travellers are not inconvenienced.

Our law enforcement partners, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force have affirmed their commitment to ensure the safety and security of travellers, airport personnel and the TCI community amidst the challenges posed by the action of the Air Traffic Controllers and are working with all partners to ensure safety.

All travellers are advised to check with their relevant airlines for any possible delays.

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Industrial Action at TCI Airport

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Hon. Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of the Opposition

 

The leadership of the People’s Democratic Movement is currently monitoring the ongoing industrial action at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, our nation’s primary gateway. It is disheartening to know that our workers’ job dissatisfactions, in particular the Air Traffic controllers, have reached a point where they saw that it was in their best interest to take this stance here today.

The PDM believes in being proactive rather than reactive, and that discussions to ensure the workers’ satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, should be ongoing, and discrepancies and complaints should be addressed at their earliest time to minimize dissatisfaction.

Delays at the airport are not good for anyone: not good for our people who have to travel to and from our family islands, not good for persons traveling to seek medical attention, not good for visitors leaving to return home, not good for visitors who have chosen the Turks & Caicos Islands and have the choice to cancel and go to another destination to go on vacation, not good for the taxi/tour operators and our people working in the tourism industry, and not good for the image of the country.

This also underscores the critical need to engage the International Labor Organization (ILO) to conduct a thorough assessment of our outdated labor laws. This review must encompass both the public and private sectors to safeguard against any exploitation, mistreatment, or under-compensating of workers in our country,

The People’s Democratic Movement is dedicated to this cause and is committed to formally engaging the ILO to conduct a comprehensive review of our labor laws within the first 30-60 days of assuming Office as the new government of these islands. Additionally, we stand steadfast in implementing any recommendations for improving employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity, while also providing the environment for business long-term success.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that considers the needs of both the workers and the businesses, the Peoples’ Democratic Movement believes that our country can create a balanced regulatory framework that supports economic growth, protects workers’ rights, and fosters a fair and sustainable work environment for all stakeholders.

The PDM is the ANSWER…

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JOINT STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY THE ACTING GOVERNOR AND THE HONOURABLE PREMIER ON THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STRIKE AT THE HOWARD HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos 1 March 2024 – The Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams and Premier Hon. Charles Washington Misick can confirm that industrial action in the form of an apparent sick out is currently being taken by a number of Air traffic Controllers (ATC) at the Howard Hamilton International Airport on Providenciales and the JAGS McCartney International Airport on Grand Turk regarding issues of pay and working conditions.

 

The Acting Governor and Premier met earlier today with the Executive Chair, CEO, and senior leadership of the TCIAA.  Following on from this a meeting was held with the Chairman of the TCI Air Traffic Controllers Association; a further meeting is planned with the Air Traffic Controllers later today to discuss their return to work.

 

The Air Traffic controllers in 2022 received two separate pay increases totaling 31%.

 

In addition to this, the Government following the implementation of the Public Service Pay and Grading Review in December 2023, committed to a comprehensive review of the pay and benefits of all statutory bodies which led by PGR Consultants Erst and Young (Jamaica) is due to commence in March 2024 and should not exceed four months.

 

Acting Governor stated: “The safe and efficient operation of our airports is critical to ourislands both from an economic and a national security perspective. All stakeholders have been engaged to ensure all contingencies in place. 

 

We are working with TCIAA officials to ensure that there a minimal disruption to incoming and outgoing flights and are engaging with ATC officers to discuss and agree their return to work.”

 

Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick stated: “I am collaborating with TCIAA and all stakeholders to restore smooth operations at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. My government and I are in frequent communication with all stakeholders, domestically and internationally, as the situation unfolds.

 

The safety of all travellers is our top priority, both domestically and internationally, and we will do our best to avoid any disruptions to anyone’s travel plans.”

 

The Honorable Arlington Musgrove, Minister for Immigration and Border Services has been engaged throughout the morning on this matter and is currently en route to the TCI following his attendance at the Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), so that he can attend the planned meeting later today with the Air Traffic Controller Association, the Acting Governor, Premier and TCIAA leadership. 

 

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