#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.
New License Plates rolled out for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – The long-awaited new license plates for the Turks and Caicos have arrived, and notable changes have been made to them. The new license plates were gazetted to come into effect on December 1st, along with the new rules regarding tints. Wilbur Caley, Head of the Department of Motor Vehicles, shared the updated designs with Magnetic Media.
Each inhabited island now has their own specific plate, and so too do the highest public officers in the country, including the Governor and his Deputy; the Premier and his Deputy; Speaker; Attorney General; Opposition Leader; and all Ambassadors, Ministers and MPs.
The island-specific plates apply to all private vehicles, charter vehicles and taxis. The new Grand Turk plates feature a cactus on a green background; the North Caicos plates feature; Providenciales plates have what appears to be Grace Bay Beach; Middle Caicos plates show a native basket weaving; Salt Cay shows a depiction of a TC Islander working the salt flats and South Caicos has a red lobster on an orange background.
New plates are also in store for company vehicles, rentals and car dealers.
All drivers in the TCI must get these new plates affixed to their vehicles. Caley explained that over 16,000 pairs were in stock, and the DMV had 4,000 more on the way.
The DMV has had trouble with residents not outfitting their vehicles with the proper plates before. The public has had trouble with the DMV not having sufficient plates in stock, waiting months to be handed a plate.
The Department had explained those days of shortages are in the past, they now have sufficient plates for both front and back end tagging of vehicles. It is also touted as being part of a crime prevention strategy by Police.
Back in June, Caley had told Magnetic Media that an estimated 3,000 vehicles were driving around the islands with incorrect plates; an offence which incurs a $300 fine.
Residents without license plates have roughly a year to apply for and affix the new plates to their vehicles. Residents must do so between December 1st 2022, and November 30th 2023.
North Caicos will get better Roads in the New Budget Year says Premier
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – With a Triple B+ credit rating and no debt to speak of, even if the government were to slow down development, the Turk and Caicos Islands will still have ample resources to carry out enhancements for all islands according to Washington Misick TCI Premier.
The premier was speaking at a recent town hall meeting in North Caicos and replying to a question regarding when certain dilapidated roads on the island would be upgraded.
He maintained that the government had made plans to improve on the roadways.
“We are putting in this budget for 23/24 funding for a feasibility study for the road, that has to come, it’s a must!” He reassured them, explaining that better roads would allow North and Middle Caicos residents to have more centralized schools and resources. Not to mention residents could more easily and safely drive, lowering the social cost on the government.
Misick, who is originally from North Caicos maintained that he wanted the entire country to have access to the developments.
“We are committed to investing heavily in roads, as I said we have no debt. If you have no debt you have no credit. Fortunately for the Turks and Caicos we have no debt but we have a Triple B+ credit rating and even with the massive investment we are making in the airport in Providenciales, institutions are tripping over themselves to lend the Turks and Caicos money.”
Still the Government has shown zero interest in taking up any of the potentially beneficial offers.
Recently the PNP government which has described itself as frugal returned a loan that had been procured from Republic Bank in Trinidad to assist with possible economic shortfalls associated with Covid-19. Consistently registering ‘in the black’ and with an economy outperforming projections, the loan negotiated under the Sharlene Robinson led administration was deemed no longer necessary and retired.
E Jay Saunders, Finance Minister and Deputy Premier, at the time had said that “There was a cost to having this [loan] facility in place, even if it was not being utilized. So, as it was in our economic interest to retire it, we did so,”
At the time of the announcement, this news organisation, as did many others in the country opined that the loan could have been used on any number of legacy problem areas including improving the public sector, enhancing public infrastructure, undergirding residents through more stimulus money or tackling of the waste management issues across the islands.
SCOTIABANK TCI WINS ANOTHER MAJOR BANK OF THE YEAR 2022 AWARD
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – Scotiabank Turks and Caicos (TCI) has been named Bank of the Year 2022 by internationally recognized UK-based banking publication -The Banker.
The award celebrates increased product innovation, digital transformation and the widespread recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and is contested by the leading financial institutions in the world.
The Bank of the Year 2022 award is the third major banking awards that Scotiabank TCI has captured this year including Global Finance Magazine (New York) Best Bank 2022 that was awarded in July and Best Digital Bank 2022 by the same publication in September.
Across Scotiabank’s global operations, similar Bank of the Year 2022 accolades have also been secured in Canada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
Dr. Suzan Snaggs -Wilson, Managing Director, Scotiabank TCI said “our success, and by extension, this award, is the direct result of the bank’s decision to expand and accelerate our digital transformation over the past two years . This was a central part of both our COVID-19 response strategy and general modernization objectives as we worked to align our operations with customer trends that favour self-service and remote banking conveniences.”
Snaggs-Wilson noted that the Bank has made strategic investments in technology and innovation to better serve customers, and that gains in digital have and allowed it to fast-track the optimization of the many products and services as key financial enablers for customers.
She also thanked her team of Scotiabank employees who she says “have kept focus on delivering friendly, high quality financial services and enabling the financial wellbeing of the Bank’s customers and without whom, the success of the Bank would not be possible.”
The Banker is the world’s longest-running international banking magazine, providing economic and financial intelligence for the world’s financial sector.
The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries judged and ranks them on their ability to deliver results, improve strategic positioning and enhance service to customers. Over 1,000 applications are collected each year and judges select winners based on which bank they believe has made the most progress over the past 12 months.
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