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Address by TCI Governor; Easter Weekend with increased restricted movement

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Full Statement as Presented April 7, 2020 – Good evening Turks and Caicos. It’s the Governor speaking.

A short but important announcement this evening.   We’ve now been in curfew and lockdown for 11 days. From a national perspective, it’s going well and we are grateful we have strong public support for which myself, the Premier, the Cabinet and the police want to say thank you.

The weekend we are approaching – the Easter weekend – is traditionally one where business activity slows considerably.  In the belief that you will meet us half way we want to use this Easter period to just slow, still further, the amount of movement and comingling on the Island.

Let me start by saying what I’m not about to announce is a confirmation of a rumor that started to circulate today that Cabinet was going to order a complete lockdown over Easter. That was false; we are not.

Over this Easter period, you may still exercise in the morning and evening, within the set times, and if you hold a specific exemption – such as needing to care for someone that needs care – you may attend to their needs.  But you must have an exemption.

There will also be some businesses that will still function and they are obvious, medical facilities including doctor’s offices; hotels where guests are in residence; ferry services for emergency cases; commercial aviation, airports and security service businesses.

But beyond those we are though going to close down all other businesses for two and a half days. This will be the afternoon (starting at noon) on Maundy Thursday, 9th April, all of Good Friday (the 10th April) and Easter Sunday (12th April). 

Over this Easter period essential businesses that have been operating during this period of lockdown may operate on Saturday 11th April and Easter Monday 13th April.

I’ll say that again. All businesses will be closed from after ‘noon’ on Thursday. They will stay closed on Friday. They will open on Saturday, close on Sunday, open on Monday.

We do this for two reasons.  We have eight confirmed cases on the Islands and we now have evidence of on-island transmission. In other words, a small number of these individuals had no travel history and so they have been exposed on the Island. 

In a measured way we want to yet further put distance between our population at the places our population most come into contact with strangers, or indeed friends. At present the most likely places this happens are the businesses that are open.

The second reason is that, while many have been able to have considerable time at home with family, this has not been true for our front line services.

Police and immigration officers have not only been working extremely long hours securing the lockdown and curfew, but have had the extra challenge of dealing with the interception of sloops and subsequent repatriations. Others have had long hours in other essential services where we have reduced staffing to the bare minimum.

Utilizing this Easter holiday period gives us the opportunity to let these people take a breath and seriously reduce the traffic on the road – people won’t have the opportunity to visit a business because there will be no business to visit – and that will allow our front line services some space to refresh.  There will of course be no let-up in policing, just matters will be more manageable for those on duty and our Marine Branch will remain – as it always is – primed and deployed.

These decisions were made by the National Emergency Operations Centre, chaired by the Premier and myself and agreed in a cabinet paper. Regulations have been drafted and will be in force covering this change. Tonight we will have graphics up on social media explaining, and I’ll publish the text of this address.

We are giving notice this evening so again you can use the next day and a half to prepare sensibly. There’s no need to panic buy, or rush. You’ve all worked out for yourselves that the stores are well stocked and will continue to be so. Stay calm as they say, and carry on.

Now a look ahead. Given that almost every other country in the world has extended its lockdown period it’s not unreasonable for many to ask what the Cabinet’s view will be on this, when ours expires in the middle of next week.

The answer is that the decision has not been taken, the more data we have in making this decision the better. It will though be taken this week or weekend by Cabinet, and communicated early to you, so again if preparations are needed they can be done in a sensible measured way.

The Cabinet will be strongly guided by Ministry of Health on this and we have asked for a very detailed paper laying out the case, for and against, systematically.

All in all, though I do want to say that myself, the Premier, the Commissioner of Police and Minister of Health judge overall compliance has been extraordinarily good. We are up at around 90% or above and that does give us the very best chance of defeating this. TCI you are at the moment the envy of many others in the region for the way we are all holding together on this.

Away from this I do want to call out, as at times I have done in the past, a malicious use of fake news. Imagery circulated today suggested a huge Sloop was in Provo. It wasn’t.  For those that risk their lives out on the sea stopping this happening, and for the last eight months they have an extraordinary high success rate, can you imagine how disheartening this is?

But beyond just undermining people, who I see as amongst our present national heroes, a few weeks ago this type of fake news would have been wrong – in a moral sense – because it was produced by a person that wanted to cause fear and generate hate. The difference today, under new law, is that this is now a criminal offence. As a result, a police investigation has started; I look forward to a future prosecution.

Perhaps a final note to say that the ‘Security Assistance Team’, the Premier and myself greeted yesterday, are now settled in quarantine. Myself and the team leader, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Jones, had a three-way teleconference with his commanding General today in the UK.

The team are very clear on their initial task which is to properly understand the health capacity in all its forms we have in TCI so we can support and help build greater capacity against COVID19 while, at the same time, understanding how UK military capability – which comes in different forms –can support our anti-illegal immigration operations.

The two of course link together in terms of the fight against COVID19. They have a further set of sub-tasks such as hurricane preparedness and support to building our regiment but the two main tasks will dominate.

That’s it for now TCI. Day 11 over, day 12 soon to begin. I’ve barely left the house for the last few days – and there’s a lot I miss – not least the beaches and the sea – I guess they will only be all the better when I can enjoy them again – which of course I will.

 Good night.

Provided by the Governor’s Office, Turks and Caicos Islands

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News

Opposition Leader strong admonition to New RBC Manager

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – The Opposition has proposed to the new Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), that the institution open new branches in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), with services that can lead to financial inclusion.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Edwin Astwood says while the Managing Director has his welcome to the TCI, he said a meeting she had with significant Government officials, has been keenly noted, especially for RBC’s involvement in funding key Government projects, and for “talks to progress further than this, I believe the discussion on Financial Inclusion must take place.

“Providing much-needed access to banking services to individuals and businesses in our underserved communities. This can help improve financial literacy and access to financial products for the family islands population outside of Providenciales,” the Opposition Leader said in a statement.

He added that a discussion on Supporting Economic Development, must also be on the table, as a “caring Government” would have been soliciting the respective bank for more access to capital for the people on TCI-owned businesses, stressing that the Opposition is cognizant of the fact that by offering small to medium-sized business loans, banks can support entrepreneurship and economic development in communities throughout the TCI.

Further, he said access to capital is crucial for small businesses to start and grow, and by providing loans, banks can help stimulate local economic activity and job creation, underscoring that when banks invest in rural districts through branches and business loans, they contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the community.

“Small businesses are often the backbone of rural economies, and by supporting them, banks can help these communities thrive. I believe that banks doing business should be concerned about Building Customer Relationships. Opening branches in our family islands and underserved communities of Providenciales and providing business loans can help banks build long-term relationships with customers,” he said

He argued that by being present in the community and supporting local businesses, banks can establish trust and loyalty among residents, which can lead to increased customer retention and satisfaction.

Mr. Astwood in his strident statement, said citizens deserve better from banking institutions, and the people of Providenciales where the banks are located deserve better, and “our people in the family islands deserve better, therefore the TCI deserves better, and that is a PDM Government who will work to foster a healthy and inclusive financial system that includes serving the interests of all our people in all our islands,” he said.

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News

Norman B Saunders Airport Opens, opportunities touted by Gov’t

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – Employment and business opportunities are now looming in the South Caicos, and Government officials are urging young people, along with entrepreneurs to prepare themselves and maximise the openings.

Speaking at the renaming of the of South Caicos Airport to the Norman B. Saunders Snr. International Airport, Deputy Governor, Hon. Anya Williams said the Government is diversifying the economy, and expanding tourism to all the outer islands.

“You have to be part of that. For this airport to operate as an international airport, we need additional staff. We will need immigration officers, custom officers, fire officers, and we will need other staff,” the Deputy Governor said.

She added that the Government is providing small grants, assistance in preparing business plans, and technical advice for the setting up of “your businesses. Prepare to come back home because your island will need you,” she told her audience.

The Deputy Governor noted that having had the opportunity to work with Mr. Saunders, she found him to be a great “encourager, and someone who is so smart and articulate,” and always take the opportunity to “grant wisdom” to others, and “I developed so much respect” for the former Parliamentarian, she said.

For Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, the new airport is a catalyst for progress, as the Government has signed an agreement with American Airline, while major resorts are entering the area, and “plans are afoot to have an activity here, that you have never seen before in South Caicos,” he said.

Declaring that young people should “get ready,” the Premier said, “this is your moment, so, South Caicos, I want you to appreciate what you see here, I want you to treat it properly and well, and all of you, young people should strive to leave a positive legacy,” as Mr. Saunders has done, he said.

Mr. Misick also said Mr. Saunders who became Chief Minister of the Turks Caicos Islands (TCI), from 1980-1985, with responsibility, among other things, as well as  Immigration, Fisheries, Civil Aviation, went “above and beyond the call of duty,” in the performance of his duties, and “we are all better for it. Naming this airport in his honour, is only a very small token” of the recognition he should be given, the Premier said.

In his response, Mr. Saunders said he enjoyed all the moments in public live, and “we believe that South Caicos will be the next big spot, and area for tourism. I trust that this place will be the gateway to other islands, and I am confident that everything I did, was for the benefit of this country,” he said.

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Caribbean News

C&W Business to connect ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Media Hub  

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Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (May 23rd, 2024) – The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will feature a first-of-its-kind remote Media Hub at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.

And more than 200 traveling journalists are expected to cover the pinnacle event on the cricketing calendar and they will experience unparalleled connectivity and seamless connections, courtesy of C&W Business.

C&W Communications, the parent company of C&W Business, is the Official and Exclusive Telecommunications Provider in the Caribbean for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“This groundbreaking facility will ensure that media professionals have access to high-speed internet and reliable telecommunications services, enabling them to cover the event seamlessly and efficiently,” said Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, B2B, C&W Communications.

“We are very proud to be providing these connections through which the stories of this prestigious event will be told around the world. Our company has a long and proud association with cricket in the West Indies and we eagerly look forward to this next chapter.”

The Media Hub will serve as a central location where journalists can view all tournament matches and participate in a full range of in-stadia media activities.

“Our goal is to provide a world-class experience for the world’s press, and we are committed to delivering the best connections over the Caribbean’s best network. Our installation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is at an advanced stage and we have overbuilt it with added bandwidth and redundancy,” added Collette.

“This is a great moment for the Caribbean, and we are honored to play our part in welcoming the press and facilitating all their connectivity needs at the first-ever Media Hub for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.”

Part of the Liberty Latin America group of companies, C&W Communications is the leading entertainment and communications provider in the Caribbean with operations in 20 markets with the brands Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business and BTC. The company’s services are underpinned by over 50,000 kilometres of the most modern subsea and terrestrial fibre networks in the region.

Flow has also been announced as the presenting partner for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean.

More than nine hundred volunteers from across the West Indies will participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Volunteer Programme, which will serve as a cornerstone for supporting various aspects of the tournament including hospitality, logistics, and fan engagement.

As the Presenting Partner for the Volunteer Programme in the Caribbean, Flow will also play a pivotal role in ensuring volunteers are fully prepared to elevate the experience when tens of thousands of fans, media, players, and officials visit the West Indies in June.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 blasts off on 1 June with the tournament’s first match featuring USA taking on Canada at the Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Full match fixtures are available HERE.

Match tickets, including party-stand tickets for Caribbean fixtures, and hospitality packages are available at tickets.t20worldcup.com. Box offices across the Caribbean are now open and tickets are available for sale there. Locations and operating hours are available HERE.

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