#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 19, 2020 — Negotiations to resolve the multi-million dollar claims of non-payment or over-payment linked to Beaches Turks and Caicos could begin in 20 days, now that a mediator proposed by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government has been accepted by the resort.
“After four years, the Government has finally agreed to a process of mediation to which we are fully committed in an effort to bring this long outstanding matter to a fair conclusion. TCIG proposed a list of mediators and we agreed to one of them. The Mediator is available the week of November 8, 2020 and we have advised the TCIG that we are ready, willing and able to proceed. We trust that the TCIG will enjoin in the mediation process during this period in good faith as committed,” explained Beaches Resort in a statement issued today.
In response to Magnetic Media questions about who is the mediator and what is the proposed timeline for start and conclusion of the negotiations, the Premier said via email that, “The matter with Beaches remains sensitive. Both TCIG and Beaches are moving with urgency and until dates are finalised, TCIG is not in a position to state a timeline outside of as soon as possible.
I will ask Beaches and TCIG’s lawyers as to whether information about the mediation process can be shared at this point.”
Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier and Minister of Finance, in a letter issued last week to media informed of the offer of a mediator.
“Obvious by its absence in Beaches’ press release is reference to the ongoing urgent discussions and actions between the parties’ respective lawyers to appoint a qualified mediator to facilitate a resolution. TCIG has since May this year agreed to a mediator and it is hoped that such a mediation will take place next month.”
Beaches Resort over the weekend confirmed to Magnetic Media that it was true; they were in receipt of a list of candidates. The fact had not made it to any of their public statements on the litigation.
The Premier rejected the characterisation of ‘incompetence’ by Beaches Resort and in a TCI Sun newspaper article, was resolute that government has not ignored the law suit for years.
“The line being peddled by Beaches that a lawsuit remains unresolved after 4 years is demonstrably untrue. As I have previously made clear, Beaches first issued proceedings in May 2019. We continue to await their amended claim, promised by their attorney in August 2020. They have also brought proceedings seeking to challenge an assessment made in February 2020. It does not follow that, because Beaches repeatedly assert that they don’t owe taxes, that that is legally the case,” she said.
Magnetic Media has learned the individual, a male, is a Queen’s Counsel (QC) attorney with experience in negotiating tax disputes.
The background and adeptness of the QC is critical as there is so much riding on the process, not least of which is the impending re-opening of the resort on November 18.
Beaches’ Board of Directors is adamant that it will not re-open the property which employs 2,000 people and which attracts the lion’s share of long stay visitors to the country, until the matter is addressed.
“We echo the sentiments of TCIG that the Turks and Caicos Islands is also beautiful with remarkable people and we look forward to re-opening our doors in due course once approved by the Board of Directors. The statement also explained, “Beaches TCI wishes to make it clear that it has made no unreasonable demands whatsoever. Beaches is not asking TCIG for any favours or special treatment and any suggestion to the contrary, is simply a PR spin on the facts.”
Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos claims its Development Agreement was breached and they had been overpaying taxes.
“Beaches simply wants the Government to honour the terms of its Development Agreement(s) and other legally binding commitments, nothing more, nothing less. Breaches of these Agreement(s) by TCIG is the reason Beaches was compelled to file its lawsuit in May 2019.”
TCIG claims Beaches Resort is severely in arrears to the tune of a reported $20 million dollars.
Beaches TC, five days before opening its mega resort property on Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, announced it would postpone reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic from October 14 to November 18; it was a devastating announcement.
The result is a volley of spicy statements which had not nudged the needle until now.
The mediator has indicated he can begin the negotiation process on November 8. The ball is now in TCIG’s court.
GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS SICK OUT ACTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS
PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (March 1st, 2024): The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) assure the travelling public that all measures are being implemented to mitigate the sick out action by Air Traffic Controllers at the Howard Hamilton International Airport.
All agencies – The Office of the Governor, The Office of the Premier, The TCIAA, The Turks and Caicos Royal Police Force, Experience Turks and Caicos – are working together to ensure that our travellers are not inconvenienced.
Our law enforcement partners, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force have affirmed their commitment to ensure the safety and security of travellers, airport personnel and the TCI community amidst the challenges posed by the action of the Air Traffic Controllers and are working with all partners to ensure safety.
All travellers are advised to check with their relevant airlines for any possible delays.
Industrial Action at TCI Airport
Hon. Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of the Opposition
The leadership of the People’s Democratic Movement is currently monitoring the ongoing industrial action at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, our nation’s primary gateway. It is disheartening to know that our workers’ job dissatisfactions, in particular the Air Traffic controllers, have reached a point where they saw that it was in their best interest to take this stance here today.
The PDM believes in being proactive rather than reactive, and that discussions to ensure the workers’ satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, should be ongoing, and discrepancies and complaints should be addressed at their earliest time to minimize dissatisfaction.
Delays at the airport are not good for anyone: not good for our people who have to travel to and from our family islands, not good for persons traveling to seek medical attention, not good for visitors leaving to return home, not good for visitors who have chosen the Turks & Caicos Islands and have the choice to cancel and go to another destination to go on vacation, not good for the taxi/tour operators and our people working in the tourism industry, and not good for the image of the country.
This also underscores the critical need to engage the International Labor Organization (ILO) to conduct a thorough assessment of our outdated labor laws. This review must encompass both the public and private sectors to safeguard against any exploitation, mistreatment, or under-compensating of workers in our country,
The People’s Democratic Movement is dedicated to this cause and is committed to formally engaging the ILO to conduct a comprehensive review of our labor laws within the first 30-60 days of assuming Office as the new government of these islands. Additionally, we stand steadfast in implementing any recommendations for improving employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity, while also providing the environment for business long-term success.
By adopting a comprehensive approach that considers the needs of both the workers and the businesses, the Peoples’ Democratic Movement believes that our country can create a balanced regulatory framework that supports economic growth, protects workers’ rights, and fosters a fair and sustainable work environment for all stakeholders.
The PDM is the ANSWER…
JOINT STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY THE ACTING GOVERNOR AND THE HONOURABLE PREMIER ON THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STRIKE AT THE HOWARD HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos 1 March 2024 – The Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams and Premier Hon. Charles Washington Misick can confirm that industrial action in the form of an apparent sick out is currently being taken by a number of Air traffic Controllers (ATC) at the Howard Hamilton International Airport on Providenciales and the JAGS McCartney International Airport on Grand Turk regarding issues of pay and working conditions.
The Acting Governor and Premier met earlier today with the Executive Chair, CEO, and senior leadership of the TCIAA. Following on from this a meeting was held with the Chairman of the TCI Air Traffic Controllers Association; a further meeting is planned with the Air Traffic Controllers later today to discuss their return to work.
The Air Traffic controllers in 2022 received two separate pay increases totaling 31%.
In addition to this, the Government following the implementation of the Public Service Pay and Grading Review in December 2023, committed to a comprehensive review of the pay and benefits of all statutory bodies which led by PGR Consultants Erst and Young (Jamaica) is due to commence in March 2024 and should not exceed four months.
Acting Governor stated: “The safe and efficient operation of our airports is critical to ourislands both from an economic and a national security perspective. All stakeholders have been engaged to ensure all contingencies in place.
We are working with TCIAA officials to ensure that there a minimal disruption to incoming and outgoing flights and are engaging with ATC officers to discuss and agree their return to work.”
Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick stated: “I am collaborating with TCIAA and all stakeholders to restore smooth operations at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. My government and I are in frequent communication with all stakeholders, domestically and internationally, as the situation unfolds.
The safety of all travellers is our top priority, both domestically and internationally, and we will do our best to avoid any disruptions to anyone’s travel plans.”
The Honorable Arlington Musgrove, Minister for Immigration and Border Services has been engaged throughout the morning on this matter and is currently en route to the TCI following his attendance at the Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), so that he can attend the planned meeting later today with the Air Traffic Controller Association, the Acting Governor, Premier and TCIAA leadership.
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