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A sweet suite of support for 21,000 households and individuals in Turks & Caicos

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – September 13, 2020 — Thousands of households in Turks and Caicos will benefit from a new stimulus grant program rolled out by the country’s premier and finance minister on September 10.

“Today I am pleased to announce the launch of a new stimulus grant program to attempt to address the economic fall-out resulting from the pandemic, the Turks and Caicos government has  re-apportioned or reclassified $5m in stimulus grant that were appropriated in April 2020,” said Sharlene Robinson during a press conference at the Office of the Premier.  

Three hundred taxi drivers; 9,700 workers and 11,000 households are expected to benefit from the stimulus suite featuring cash payments, unemployment benefits and food assistance.

“$4.5 million will now be made available in direct assistance to employees that would have been impacted during the national lockdown in the Turks and Caicos islands during the period march to June 2020; it is being proposed that these individuals will be given a one off payment of $600,” explained the Premier in her statement broadcast live on national radio and over social media.

The Premier shared the criteria for eligibility will be revealed later and informed native Turks and Caicos Islanders, who benefited from the first wave in stimulus payouts, would be able to apply for support once again. 

“If you would have received a first stimulus, you would only need to provide proof and not necessary for you to through the entire process of providing documents again.”

Previously all hospitality workers – indigenous and expatriate – were deemed eligible for $1,200 government cash assistance.   Taxi drivers and other public service vehicle license holders were not included but are now singled out for government cash support.

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“Half a million dollars has now been made available for a separate stimulus program for persons operating within the public service vehicle license sector; this included eligible operators in the community cab, taxi and private transfer vehicle category,” the Premier added, “This will certainly assist the taxi drivers who have been waiting for their stimulus to be offered and to be approved.”

Taxi drivers had protested in July; demanding inclusion in the stimulus payouts.  Many of the drivers were either not registered with the National Insurance Board, NIB or had sizable arrears.  Efforts to bypass these restrictive requirements were stalled.  The Premier and Finance Minister, last Thursday delivered the welcoming news following a decision by Cabinet.

“We will be opening that stimulus program back up, for persons to apply,” explained the Premier who, on Thursday repeated that details of distribution of the funds were to be announced.

Acknowledgement of the traditionally slow tourism season, the usually busy hurricane season and the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic even on back to school, has not been lost of the government, shared Mrs. Robinson.

“Your government has identified approximately 11,000 households within the Turks and Caicos Islands; identified by parcel and head of household for this program,”  it was added that, “This program will be led under the Office of the Premier, Local Government  and Community Affairs who will provide further information on the temporary food program.”

It is a temporary program, approved by the TCI Cabinet, which will support households nationwide.

During the press conference, which welcomed media via ZOOM, Premier Robinson announced an unemployment and under employment benefit scheme to come for the Turks and Caicos workforce through the NIB. 

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The NIB has approved $4.2 million for eight weeks of unemployment benefit payments.

“Contributors would have had to have a minimum of 250 or five years of contributions with special provisions for Turks and Caicos Islanders and PRC holders, the applicant must either have been laid off or terminated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.


“The proposed benefit rate is fifty percent of the individuals’ average weekly, insurable earnings and is payable for an initial period of eight weeks or until the exhaustion of the $4.2 million.”

The NIB fund is expected to support 2,200 workers.

Crime

PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.

 The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.

 As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.

 The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.

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Caribbean News

Turks & Caicos Islands Cabinet Report, Meeting held January 10

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#TurksandCaicos, January 26, 2023 – His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 1st meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday 10 January 2023 at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales.

All Members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the Fiscal Strategic Policy Statement (FSPS) 2023-27 which includes the fiscal targets of the Government for the next four (4) years to be submitted to the UK Government before being submitted to the House of Assembly for approval. Members also agreed a wide range of associated steps going forwards.
  • Approved an application for duty concessions on the importation of construction materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings from Grace Bay Club Ltd. to allow the resort to complete refurbishment work.
  • Approved an extension and revision to the MOU between the TCI Government and TCI Finance Limited, which leads on the development and growth of Financial Services in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • Approved adjustments to the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro- Grant Incentive) for the provision of compensation for registered farms that incurred damages due to Hurricane Fiona in 2022. Members also supported the adoption of a “Farmer Information System”.
  • Approved proposed measures to control the roaming of livestock in the country covering the registration of livestock farms, construction and maintenance of holding facilities, and the transport of livestock.
  • Approved a proposed model and structure for the New Destination Management and Marketing Organisation and Tourism Regulatory Authority. Members also approved an implementation process, the composition of the appointed Board of Directors, staffing implications, and a financing model, including the establishment of Tourism Improvement Districts and the payment of fees by tourism entities.
  • Approved amendments to the Schedule of the Ports Authority (Stevedorers, Fees, and Charges) Regulations 2008, introducing a variation of stevedoring tariffs. Members also agreed next steps.
  • Noted the impact of the moratorium on the issuance of new visas to Hattian nationals originating out of Haiti and approved the implementation of a moratorium on the issuing of all visas to Haitian Nationals entering the Turks and Caicos Islands for six months with effect from 11 January 2023.
  • Approved the granting of a licence to a named individual for the purpose of erecting a swim deck protruding from the Crown parcel 60400/366 into the adjoining sea and the payment of associated annual fees.
  • Approved the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Planning Department on Providenciales for a period of three years.
  • Discussed the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Gender Affairs and Social Development Departments on Grand Turk and agreed next steps.
  • Approved the use of existing funds for the use of retrofitting the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College.
  • Approved the gradual outsourcing of janitorial services for government buildings, including schools.
  • Approved the observance of Public Holidays on 8 May 2023 to mark the King’s Coronation and on 19 June 2023 to mark the King’s Birthday.
  • Was updated on issues related to the Ministries of:
  1. Tourism,
  2. Education, and
  3. AG Chambers,
  4. Office of the Deputy Governor, and
  5. Office of the Governor

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Government

DELANO ARTHUR APPOINTED AS COMMISSIONER OF ENERGY AND UTILITIES

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#TurksandCaicos, January 26, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Delano R. Arthur to the post of Commissioner of Energy and Utilities in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation, Energy and Utilities.

Mr. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan (2002) and a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems and Management from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona (2007).

With over fifteen (15) years’ service as an Engineering Professional, Mr. Arthur served in the posts of: Senior Technical Associate at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) in Freeport, Bahamas from 2006-2009; as a Senior Project Officer and Diplomat with the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) in Georgetown, Guyana from 2009-2011; as the Manager of Information Technology at the Grand Bahama Power Company Ltd. (GBPC) from 2012-2015; as the Operations Manager of Transmission and Distribution at GBPC from 2015-2018 and as the Director of Grid Solutions at GBPC from 2018-2022.

Mr. Arthur during his tenure at the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) gained extensive experience in all aspects of engineering, technical automation, transmission, distribution and energy supply where he provided strategic and tactical planning advice on the design and operation of GBPC’s Grid inclusive of transmission and distribution, sub stations, power transformers, renewable energy, protection and relaying devices. He also served as the Technical Storm Lead for Hurricane Matthew, as well as the Project Owner to rebuild GBPC’s 45MW Base Load Generation Fleet in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Commenting on his appointment Mr. Arthur stated:

“My father and mother, having been born and raised in Conch Bar and Bottle Creek, respectively, humbles me as I consider this a pleasure to serve the people of these Islands.

I am also grateful to be part of the team that will pioneer the way in strengthening the Regulatory Regime for Energy and Utilities in these Islands, while we move towards a Net 0 carbon footprint”.

Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service Her Excellency Anya Williams in commenting on Mr. Arthur’s appointment stated:

“It is with great pleasure that I extend congratulations to Mr. Delano Arthur on his appointment as the new Commissioner of Energy and Utilities here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This appointment is extremely critical in helping the Turks and Caicos Islands not only progress Energy Reform here in these islands, but also in ensuring that the appropriate regulatory functions are carried out and adhered in these islands.

Having had the early opportunity along with Premier the Honourable Dr. Charles Washington Misick to meet with Mr. Arthur since his appointment to discuss the vision for Energy Reform here in the islands and to understand his early assessment and futuristic plans for the Energy and Utilities Commission, we are fully confident in his ability to lead on these initiatives and pledge our full support of the provision of the necessary resources to ensure the Commissions success.

I wish Mr. Arthur well on his appointment and welcome him to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service.

Congratulations Delano!”

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