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TCI Gov’t called on to activate lenience on outstanding accommodation taxes

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 13, 2020 – The Hotel and Tourism sector of the Turks and Caicos Islands will inevitably lose 44 per cent of its workforce in the coming weeks as the coronavirus continues to hold the global travel and tourism industry hostage.  

Recommendations emanating from an April survey, commissioned by the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, TCHTA and conducted by KPMG are direct.

Government should support a Staff Retention Program.

Government should work with lending institutions to secure low interest; low risk loans to cover debt.

And Government should defer tax payments and waive penalty fees and interest charges for tourism businesses.

From the survey report:  “Most of the resorts in question are amongst the largest in terms of revenue generation and therefore tax generators. They indicated they had an exemplary prior payment record but with the onset of the pandemic they were experiencing cancellations at unprecedented levels and also had greater difficulty collecting receivables from similarly impacted tour operators. Such receivables included significant accommodation tax components.”

An impressive, 73 per cent of TCHTA members have paid their taxes up to February, but it is unlikely the Government will see any more revenue from the sector anytime soon.  There are no tourists in the country and it appears the ban on in-pound passengers via flights or cruises or pleasure craft will persist for at least three more months.

The remaining 27 per cent, who did not pay taxes in February expressed this in the survey:  “All of the respondents who had not paid their accommodation tax for February would support the deferral of payment of this amount along with the waiver of interest and penalties and would commit to pay all outstanding amounts.”

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Loss of this revenue to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is already hurting, and the report survey heralds that more fiscal pain is on the way.  The majority of survey-taking TCHTA members who have not yet paid taxes for February 2020, admitted that catching-up may not be possible within this year at all, without government leniency.

“If interest and penalties on outstanding amounts are not waived only 33% of the respondents who had not paid their accommodation tax for February could commit to pay all outstanding amounts in financial year 20/21.” Add to the loss in tourism revenue, the loss of economic activity predicated on tourism employees’ salaries.  Already, 14 per cent of hotel and tourism workers have been terminated and at this time, those employees reflected in the survey are receiving around 55 per cent of basic pay.

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Caribbean News

WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year

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#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – The WE GOIN’ KEW’ festival charity event was a huge success bringing people together to enjoy Turks and Caicos Islands food and cultural performances and organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Unity Committee.

On Saturday, November 19, 2022, residents from across the Turks and Caicos Islands chain found their way to the Bellefield Landing in Kew, North Caicos, to support what is being described as the biggest festival of the year with an estimated two thousand people attending.  The event also saw fifteen vendors present, serving local Twin Island dishes, and featuring three local bands, and artists from The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas.

Proceeds garnered from the WE GOIN’ KEW Festival will support key projects across North and Middle Caicos and assist with completing the homeroom at Ashley’s Learning Center, according to the Director of the TCI Unity Community, Mr. Alvin Hegner.

Hegner added, “This charitable event was held for the people of the Twin Islands and Ashley’s Learning Center.  We wanted to give back to the community while showcasing local food vendors and craft and farmers’ markets.  On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the people of the Twin Islands for their unwavering support and for helping us to create an extraordinary outcome.  Thanks to Sharmaine Clarke for her coordinating efforts on the Twin Islands”.

A special thanks to the event’s sponsors for making it all happen in various ways: The Wine Cellar, Turks Head Brewery, Anderson Media, Big Josh Country Club, Play Big Win Big Entertainment, Prime DJ’s, JACA TCI , Grant Thornton, LEW 1 Shipping, Rasco Sounds, Building Materials DoITCenter, Engel & Volkers, Wymara Resort and Villas, Fortis TCI, FLOW, Dragon Cay Resort, Digicel, MEP Solutions: Electrical and Plumbing, HAB Group, Waratah Construction TCI, RED Hospitality and Leisure & Lady Grace, Catamaran, Mac N Cheese Adventures, The Strand, Beaches Turks and Caicos, BCQS, Turquoise Horizons, Franks Hardware, Delta Electric, AE&S construction, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Caicos Isle Management, Island Drilling, Ports Authority, Turks and Caicos Islands, Robinsons’s Variety, Island Convenience – Grace Bay, Got You Covered, Reliable Security, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, TCI Ministry Of Health, District Commissioner Of North Caicos Madam Musgrove, and the District Commissioner of Middle Caicos Sir Delancy.

The  WE GOIN’ KEW Festival is now an annual event.  The scheduled date for WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 is Saturday, November 4, 2023.  The proceeds from WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 will assist with housing projects throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.

TCI Unity is a nonprofit organisation geared towards helping those in need in the Turk and Caicos Islands.  Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCI Unity distributed over 500 meal boxes to families in need throughout the country.

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Experts Make Recommendations on Framework to Help Caribbean Access and Use Needed Climate Financing

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November 29, 2022 – If Caribbean countries are to survive the impacts of climate change, then finding ways to make the money match their needs will be of paramount importance.

“It won’t be a rainbow that gets you to the pot of gold, it will be a framework that enables us to unlock the type of financing that we need for the actions that we committed to under the Paris Agreement in terms of  mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage,” was how Ambassador Jeanine Felson, Senior Advisor on Climate Matters to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), put it on Monday.

Ambassador Felson was among the regional experts speaking on Monday, November 14 at ‘Aligning Climate Finance Flows with Caribbean Countries’ Climate Resilience Needs’, a panel discussion coordinated by Caribbean institutions at COP27 to highlight the challenges of and propose solutions around climate change in the region.

The panel was coordinated by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and was an official side event at the United Nations’ climate change conference, currently being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Speakers highlighted aspects that needed to be considered, incorporated or strengthened in the effort to build an overall framework that would allow Caribbean countries to be able to access more climate financing and use it effectively.

CDB Director of Projects, Daniel Best, spoke of the new framework which CDB is proposing for determining access to finance by small island developing states, many of which are bedevilled by the twin dilemmas of being very climate vulnerable but also being considered middle income and hence ineligible for concessional financing.

CDB’s framework includes three tools: the IRC of a country, which estimates the ability to recover from an exogenous shock, the Recovery Duration Adjuster, to anticipate the length of the recovery period after a shock, which is much longer for developing countries when compared with developed countries, and the Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment Tool.  These calculations will then provide a more judicious means of determining access to finance for small developing states,” stated Best.

However, he stressed that financing frameworks must be improved and strengthened across the world’s development financing system, adding:

While international financial institutions may have pledged trillions of dollars to finance building resilience against the effects of climate change, those pledges may end up meaning very little if we do not strengthen the ‘architecture of the international financial system’ to ensure that these financial resources efficiently flow to developing countries and assist in meeting their development needs and boosting growth prospects.”

Head of the Climate Policy Unit at the European Investment Bank, Edward Calthrop shared how their institution was working to do just that, noting that as the largest provider of climate finance globally, the European Investment Bank is seeking to “work with public authorities to be able to quickly develop high quality studies to make sure infrastructure is designed for the future.

An important element for accelerating finance is having the capacity to deal with the resilience of projects…. Not just in the Caribbean, but globally, we need to get better and quicker at developing high design standards for infrastructure,” stated Calthorp.

Ways to accommodate for the issues of size and scale were also discussed with speakers noting it was a perennial issue for the region made up as it is of small states. Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Planning and Development, Hon. Pennelope Beckles, suggested ways this could be addressed in building out a framework that allows countries to be able to properly implement climate resilience projects, saying:

I think it is fair to say that attracting climate finance flows to the Caribbean is a multi-faceted issue. For flows of finance to be effective, recipients must be capable of receiving and utilising such financing. Given the unique nature of the Caribbean, it may also be necessary to create economies of scale that attract feasible investments and climate financing in order to maximise impacts. This, of course, will require coordination and collaboration by all countries of the region to create a uniformed enabling environment across the region.”

 

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Eric Salamanca is TCI’s new Energy Commissioner; TODAY he announces EU funding for Renewable Energy 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – As the globe looks to more sustainable energy, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ renewable energy bill is progressing with the help of a new Energy Commissioner.  Longtime resident, Eric Salamanca has taken up the post just when residents are bruised by the pinch of ever-increasing oil and gas prices globally.

The appointment was announced by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development and Acting Minister of Home Affairs.  He revealed the information while responding to queries by residents about the pace of renewable energy implementation in the Turks and Caicos Islands at a town hall meeting in Providenciales on November 21st.

“The bill is being worked on, and hopefully we’ll have some resolution to bring something to Cabinet in the future to be able to take to the House of Assembly to pass. We’ve just appointed our energy commissioner, so once he’s in, he will have sight of the bill to give his input so that can be finalized,” Robinson stated.

An energy analyst by profession, Salamanca worked with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources and other government agencies before the Energy and Utilities Department.  He has over 20 years of experience in his field.

On Tuesday November 29, Salamanca will make a major announcement related to funding accessed by the TCI Government through the European Union.

The programme is dubbed:  The Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID).  RESEMBID executive team members will join the press conference, to be held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales, virtually.

Turks and Caicos Islands is one of 12 overseas territories qualifying for a slice of the 1.4 million euros and in attendance will be Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor and Otis Morris, TCI Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities & Transport.

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