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Former TCI Premier questions equity of Stimulus Package and Emergency Orders; says reconsider Gym as Detention Center



#TurksandCaicosIslands – FULL STATEMENT by MICHAEL MISICK:

I sat and waited patiently to see what would this government’s so-called stimulus package would look like. When it was finally announced, I like other citizens was curiously optimistic that it would provide the type of relief our people need and rightfully deserve.

As details of the plan were revealed by the Premier, I carefully examined the entire stimulus program giving the government the benefit of the doubt. After analyzing it closely the conclusion that I have come to is that this sham of a plan is purely smoke and mirrors. The reality is that there is not much in it for Turks and Caicos Islanders.

While the gesture of $1200, at first sight, may seem generous we have to put that into its true context.  First of all, this is a one-time payment and we do not know how long this crisis will last. Secondly, it targets the hospitality workers, in particular, leaving other sectors uncovered.  Unfortunately in our country, 90 percent of the hospitality workers are not from here so many may just collect the check and leave this country resulting in us as a nation reaping no benefit.  Thirdly the red tape that has been wrapped around this money will mean that it will take a long time for anyone to get it if they get it at all.

The stimulus package for self-employed persons and small to medium businesses is in the same category being very difficult to access. The last few years under this administration has been very hard on the small businessman, many are fighting tooth and nail just to keep their doors open, I am sure most small business don’t have there NIB or NHIP paid up to date.  So while they may truly be hurting this alone is a gigantic obstacle that will bar them from receiving the aid.

What is abundantly clear however and extremely easy to access is the stimulus that provides for 50 percent reduction in stamp duties and 3 months exemption from import duties.  So it does not matter if a developer or ex-pat is up to date with NHIP or behind on NIB there is no qualifier, there is no bar, and no hindrance, just a big sweet free for all for import, stamp duty breaks and tax holidays. In my view this is unnecessary. We are giving away monies that could me use to help the poor, the same people who were given renovation tax holidays after the hurricane are the same people that will get the holiday again. Think about it, we did not have a hurricane so why is there a need for repairs?

Noticeably absent from the stimulus package is help for the people that would need it the most. The poor, the unemployed, the youth and the elderly. It is my view that all adult citizens should get this payment of $1200 whether working or not, $1200 is too small as it should be at least $1500 per citizen. The old folks on retirement pension should get it as well as the young mothers without jobs. There should also be made provision for children. Every Turks and Caicos Islander child in my view should get a $500 payment to sustain them during these times They too need food and supplies.

Instead of giving stamp duties and duty-free concession to the rich and the building material companies that will buy and stock up to sell at regular prices, I believe a better way to help our citizens is for the government to forgive and forgo all back fees on government lease land to Islanders and award them freehold title at no cost. Furthermore, all of the land that interim government and their so-called “recovery team” have taken from Turks and Caicos Islands should be returned so that islanders can build there dream home or business and be empowered.

Why is it that every time there is a stimulus we the Citizens of this country are left out? Why is it always us that have to subsidize the folks that are making millions of dollars when the economy is good without giving much back? This blatant and total disregard and shameless contempt for us as a people can be plainly seen.

Why is it that all the local businesses especially the restaurants and takeouts are closed when IGA  has been allowed to stay open to sell groceries and boil fish and grits, rum, beer and sundry, while our brothers and sisters have to close their place of business and sit at home fretting over how to pay their bills? Why is the Wine Cellar is told to close while IGA is allowed to sell wine, vodka, and whiskey by the case, bottle, and shot? Can someone answer these questions for me? Something is Rotten in Denmark and it is not cheese. I say the law should be fair and the law must be clear. If a category of business is exempt by law then let it be exempt across the board with no favoritism. The system of having to apply to a secret close door committee for your business to be included on an exempt list leaves room for subjective selections rather than an open and transparent process whereby everyone is equal under the law.

While I am writing it pains my heart to have seen the notice published in the gazette by the Minister designating the only sports complex that we have in Providenciales as a detention center. This is a direct attack on the athletic development of our youth and this can not be allowed to happen. As the person who with my hard-working ministers was responsible for building this complex, I am appalled that this would even be considered. This complex was built for the enjoyment of our citizens especially young people it was built as a place designated for growing sport and developing strong all-around individuals. I was blessed to see many a NBA star and streetball legends visit that facility and marvel at its foresight and quality. I call on the minister and the government to reconsider their plans for turning the Gustavo Lightbourne sports complex into a detention center whether it be permanent or temporary, think of the children, our children, your children and their need to have this facility to develop their skills. There must be another suitable place that can be rented and use for this purpose.

Finally, I say to citizens and residents alike as difficult as it may seem we have to stay safe and stay inside and avoid personal contact with others. This virus is no joke and if it is not contained it could have a devastating effect on us as a country with the possibility of countless lives lost. We only need to see what’s happening in Italy, Spain, and America. I know that when we watch TV we sometimes think, well it’s happening there and can not happen here but in this global village we live in nothing is far away anymore. So let’s abide by the curfew and the other emergency measures that have been put in place for our protection and safety. Let us be our brother’s keeper and keep each other safe and out of harm’s way. Continue to pray medical professionals and essential workers, pray protection for our elderly and at-risk persons and most of all pray for the good Lord to Bless and spare our Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk



#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk





Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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