TCI Premier’s Press Conference disappoints; Islanders say they expected more
#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – August 25, 2020 — A press conference held by the TCI Premier today fell short of expectations and Magnetic Media continues to field a barrage of comments about the subject matter and the abrupt conclusion of the presentation by Hon Sharlene Robinson.
The press conference, held at 2pm today at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales, was attended by media in the room via Zoom. It was carried live on Facebook and radio.
A succinct report on Her Majesty’s Prison and the plan to curtail the anarchy, strengthen the human resources and restore dilapidated infrastructure at the facility was overdue; still residents expected more.
“That ending was so abrupt,” offered a listener in Grand Turk.
A woman in Providenciales commented: “I still trying to put my tea cup to my mouth and can’t because she hung up on us. All these relevant issues and you already had your face made up not to answer questions so why have a conference? We need answers. The woman hung up on us.”
From comments posted publicly during the social media broadcasts and those coming to our news organization directly, it is clear, the PDM Administration must reconsider its public relations strategy to heed the repeated concerns about the tone of the media sessions which seem defensive, dismissive and evasive.
From the Premier, residents learned of the deployment of members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands police to manage the facility, as Her Majesty’s Prison – home to 71 inmates – prepares for a new Prison Superintendent.
The current superintendent – Grahame Hawkins – will not renew his contract with the Ministry of Home Affairs; essentially quitting the job which has been uncommonly brutal from day one.
For those speaking candidly to Magnetic Media, this was not the national announcement they were looking forward to hearing. Many believe the focus should have largely been on the ongoing challenges linked to COVID-19.
“I guess we have to wait for another press conference later in the week!“
Desperation is building in the Turks and Caicos; no different from any other country struggling to regain footing under the weight of a crushing pandemic which has stolen the most valued of things.
Now outlawed are breathing God-given air without a face covering in public, touching fellow human beings with handshakes, hugs, high-fives or fist bumps. We feel strange clearing out throats, laughing out loud, standing too closely and most of us flinch, just a little, when a temperature gun is pointed at our foreheads.
Covid-19 has decimated our economy. The World Tourism Council reports that Turks and Caicos was robbed of $94 million between January and April alone; ranking No. 1 in the world for percentage loss of tourism revenue due to the pandemic.
People are despairing over the rocketing number of new COVID-19 cases; the dire financial strain on their families and businesses and the perilous prognosis for their more immediate futures.
Schools are not reopening, banks are not extending loans or special considerations, salaries are evaporating yet the bills keep on coming, and for many are even higher than before.
Plus, we are entering the height of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and the low of the Tourism Season.
The Government has announced a one-time stimulus payment for individuals and qualifying companies; but roll out of the monies has lost significant steam; the first round of distribution remains incomplete.
The Social Services Department is supporting 703 families, with room for 130 more until the allotted funds of $500,000 run out. Each family, which qualifies, receives $200 per month for three months.
Turks and Caicos is not an independent nation, but it is inhabited by a fiercely independent people who are usually able to take care of themselves and their families.
It is clear this ‘once in a hundred years’ pandemic has brought an unexpected burden which is burying many families and companies and the hope is for Government to act on a plan which can hopefully keep these islands from going completely under.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI.
The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues.
The session aimed to highlight success stories and explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.
The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.
As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.
In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor, immediately.
Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.
- Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
- Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.
Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales. Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.
The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.
In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing locally.
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