#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.
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Students not in school cite Fees as Roadblock
Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Concerning reports are coming out of Providenciales regarding the placement of students as the new term got started.
Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent, had the opportunity to speak with several young people who were supposed to be in school. Instead, they were hanging out close to home, as they said they couldn’t afford the fees of the private schools they had been placed in.
Edgar Howell, Director of Education, during an August 31st press conference, had indicated that at least 26 students were awaiting assistance with placement in private high schools and 35 students were awaiting placements in primary schools. Parents should have heard from the ministry within days.
“The schools are full and they don’t have any more money to continue the [private] schools they were going to. So, this bright September morning these children are actually just idle,” he explained.
By law (Education Ordinance 2009), all children between four and 16 years old in the Turks and Caicos Islands are considered of ‘Compulsory School Age’ meaning, they must be enrolled in an institution.
It has long been the practice of the Ministry of Education to place students in private schools and subsidize the fees when space has run out in public schools. This year was no different.
“The Ministry continues to provide assistance to the parents through the private school subsidy program and 375 students are being assisted for the 2023/24 school year,” Howell explained.
It’s not clear if these students were a part of that number.
We have since reached out to representatives at the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Education for information on students who are not in school, how many remain unable to fit into public school classes and what provisions are in place for those students; there has been no update.
Grand Turk residents say they suffered lack attention from TCIAA
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Upgrades are underway at the JAGS McCartney International Airport but Grand Turk Residents say they were subject to subpar conditions for far too long; the comments came at a town hall meeting hosted by the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority in the capital on Thursday September 21, at Dillon Hall.
“I am speaking on behalf of Grand Turk residents. It is unacceptable for the Airports Authority to treat residents how they do,” one resident told TCIAA executives at a town hall meeting in Grand Turk.
The airport was hit during Hurricane Fiona in late 2022, resulting in a destroyed roof and serious damage to the terminals from extensive flooding plus damage to the domestic and international arrival areas, deeming the area unfit for use.
The hurricane damage last year only exacerbated the destruction wrought by previous storms including 2008’s Hurricane Ike and 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The JAGS McCartney International was reopened for domestic arrivals just this past June after phase one of a restoration project. The international terminal was scheduled to open soon after but repairs are still ongoing. Residents told TCIAA executives, the work was simply not executed quickly enough.
“The lack of attention that they paid to the JAGS McCartney Airport after the hurricane, having the residents of this island come in like we’re from a third world country for months? It’s unacceptable for residents of this island for you all to leave us like that,” a resident maintained.
Ongoing updates include fixing the perimeter fence and parking lot as well as the fire station. Residents appeared grateful but cautiously optimistic.
“We see the plans that you have— which is good, and we hope that the next time we have a disaster we don’t have to be waiting for months [and] be treated like that.”
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