#TurksandCaicosIslands – May 7, 2020 — Tourism sector employers in the Turks and Caicos Islands believe they will have to gradually decrease basic salaries to their staff and may eventually have to lay-off workers, up to 44 per cent of them, as the COVID-19 crises continues to paralyze the travel industry.
The shocking findings herald a possible collapse of the Turks and Caicos economy and are revealed in a survey conducted by KPMG and commissioned by the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, TCHTA. Compelling statements and suggestions are made to the TCI Government about possibly decreasing the economic disaster which looms now, due to the unprecedented pandemic.
An excerpt from the survey report says: “If the effects of the pandemic are thought to continue for another six months the monthly fall, based on monthly payroll data of respondents, will be US$46m which for the period April to October represents a cumulative fall (including April) in economic activity of approximately US$300m.”
Stretch out any continued negative impacts on travel and tourism due to the Coronavirus, the Turks and Caicos could see economic activity usually enjoyed due to the employees resident within these islands, plummet by as much as US$460m over nine months.
More than 5,600 employees are represented in the report by a range of employers who were surveyed from April 12-20; the cumulative pay for this sampling of workers in hotel and tourism is estimated at $11.9 million per month.
While there is no concrete number of how many TCHTA members were included as the source of the survey data, KPMG informed that 48 per cent of those surveyed had between one and 20 staffers; 31 per cent of responders employ between 21-100 people; twelve percent of the employers have from 101 to 500 staff members and nine per cent of those who completed the survey questions, employ over 500 people.
It was revealed that since the impact of the pandemic on this tourism destination, fifty-six percent of employees were retained, 30 percent were furloughed or temporary laid off and 14 percent have been terminated.
Currently the islands have zero tourists with all ports of entry closed to visitors during the public health crisis; so the leading industry is already in dire straits. The KPMG survey exposes there is still more ground to loose however, including the loss of spending by the employees from the country’s leading industry.
Food shopping to rent to fuel and school fees, dining, banking, services, utilities and entertainment will all suffer tremendous decreases in business activity if 44 percent of the industry workers are laid off and if the remaining 56 per cent are not able to receive their full pay.
KPMG explained it this way: “… it is clear from the survey results that the percentage of base pay being paid in April is not sustainable. Fifty-nine per cent of employers indicated that at the end of April they will have to reduce this percentage of basic pay which will reduce the level of economic activity even further particularly when taking into account the 44 per cent of the workforce that will be let go shortly.”
One solution put forth in the document is a government supported staff retention program.
“Seventy per cent of employers indicated they would be willing to contribute to some form of a Coronavirus staff retention program (“the program”) which would be a program, ideally backed by new legislation, which ensures current employees continue to be employed and receive some pay even though there may be no work for them for a certain period. Employees would also have their continuity of service maintained. They would not be considered to be unemployed. The program would be voluntary with “Participating Employers” and “Non-Participating employers.”
With tourism salaries contributing as much as $55 million per month to the country’s GDP, according to the survey, there is an unequivocal message being transmitted: that Government’s support of a staff retention program would mitigate the severity of further fall out in the face of COVID-19.
In the end, it is stated within the TCHTA and KPMG survey report: “No economy the size of TCI’s can sustain such dramatic falls in economic activity.”
TCI Police Confirm Passenger Death after Emergency Landing at PLS
A female passenger who fell ill during a flight while on route to Charlotte, North Carolina from the Dominican Republic was taken from that plane and transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center where sadly, she died.
The 41-year-old woman had been escorted to the hospital by police units; we are told that CPR was performed on the passenger.
Police in that statement on Wednesday informed, s a post mortem will determine the cause of death.
Police hear major concerns from GT residents
#TurksandCaicos, March 4, 2024 – Given the opportunity to liaison with the top brass of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, residents came prepared with the concerns that have been plaguing them for years, from detective work to 911 issues.
”Y’all didn’t say anything new, we keep hearing the same thing and we keep getting the same result,” was the complaint from the very first resident who spoke; but her biggest concern was the force’s detective work.
The resident said she was not averse to sharing information with the police, far from it.
“Someone sent me a video where a young man was sitting on a bed putting two bullets in a gun— and he called two names, he said one bullet for one of these people.”
After sending the video to the police the woman says, incredulously, the police asked her to find the room where the young man was so they could go and collect the gun. Her frustration was: “It seems like the police put more of the burden on the community to provide them with information instead of going out there.”
In response to the concern, Dean Holden, Superintendent of Crime expressed that the police had had success recently, and over time because of community intelligence and would do better at working to communicate that success so residents were assured that they were making a difference.
A concern raised by another resident was the disconnect between 911 operators and Grand Turk residents.
“Once you call 911 operators they don’t know addresses in Grand Turk. I called the 911 operator, this was right by the police station, she didn’t even know where I was,” explained a resident sharing details of a car accident weeks prior.
The complaint has been an enduring one. Magnetic Media has received similar complaints regarding other serious incidents like fires and murders.
Oswald Skippings, Former Chief Minister demanded a more proactive approach to crime fighting with which Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor agreed. He didn’t just put the blame on the police, drawing the Governor and parents into the limelight outlining that they too had a part to play in the prevention of crime.
“There is a need for the government to reach down to unemployed residents, especially the youth and it’s easy because we have a small native population. We need to go under the trees, by the bars wherever these people associate and reach out to them.”
On the panel listening to the concerns were Micheal Woodbine, Superintendent of Prison; Dean Holden, Superintendent of Crime and SPPU; Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner; Chris Eyre, Acting Commissioner; and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor.
The meeting was called after the public slaying of a young man in Grand Turk on February 8, 2024.
Not Enough Police in Grand Turk; Residents are vocal in Anti-Crime Town Hall Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, March 4, 2024 – Residents of Grand Turk, while appreciative of the recent police Anti-Crime Town Hall meeting on February 21, say they’re concerned about the number of officers being deployed to the nation’s Capital.
One resident who spoke to the police officers during the event brought statistics.
”I want to speak to what I see happening in Grand Turk. In the ongoing capacity carrying study. It has been noted that the population in Grand Turk is around 72 to 7300 – that works out to about 927 persons per square mile.”
The resident maintained that 927 persons per square mile on an island like Grand Turk was in the police’s favor and much could be done for crime fighting using both humans and technology. Citing the millions of visitors that visit the island’s shores each year, residents lamented that there was no police enforcement to go along with that.
”We live here, we see the change, probably the parliamentarians don’t see it but we see it and we expect that as citizens to have more than three police officers working the night shift.”
Other residents were in agreement, expressing frustration at the blind eye that they say is often turned to the capital.
“Why did it have to get to this point, that there had to be a shooting basically at the high school in order for people to [realize] that 20 or 15 or 28 officers just doesn’t cut it,” said one longtime resident
He complained that nine years ago, having moved to Grand Turk there were over 40 officers but with the increase in killings in Providenciales officers were stripped from Grand Turk. Now residents say they want them back.
Earlier, during the meeting police had promised that the increased presence in Grand Turk would not be temporary and they were exploring ways to increase the Force complement.
Hosting the meeting were executives of the Royal TCI Police including new Acting Commissioner Christopher Eyre; Dean Holden, Superintendent and Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner. Attending were Her Excellency, the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and Otis Morris, Minister of Home Affairs and the Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North, the Hon. Otis Morris.
The meeting was held at H.J. Robinson High school.
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