Editorial: Resolve in Beaches case is Urgent and Important
By Deandrea Hamilton – October 25, 2020 — Why won’t the Turks and Caicos Islands Government just turn up at the table in the Beaches Resort dispute? There are so many solid reasons the Government should make every effort to confront the law suit and the claims.
The squabble had long ago gone public and why the wrangle rages on is concerning on many levels. Chief among them is that Beaches Resort is an investor and customer of the TCI Government, another is the fact if the Government is right about its position, the country stands to benefit fiscally to the tune of tens of millions of dollars from settlement of the suit.
Even the National Audit Office of the Turks and Caicos Islands is desperately worried about money managers and money management systems within the TCI Government.
The Auditor General, in the financial statements report for the year ending March 2018 made striking interpretations, candidly expressing in the Executive Summary that, “We remain extremely concerned about inaccurate financial reporting over 10 years or more of disclaimers or adverse audit opinions, weak financial controls…” the report also said: “Arrears have significantly increased over the last several years. Currently, there exists $165 million owed to TCIG…”
Frighteningly, these kinds of reveals not only punctuate but populate the report which is a public document, available at the National Audit Office website.
Government should act with haste given there are thousands of people dependent upon Beaches resort for their personal economies; hundreds of businesses which experience healthier earnings due to the over 70 percent of long stay arrivals Beaches Resort attracts; the myriad of taxes government gains due to the bustle of arrivals and commercial activity and one has to challenge whether the Government cares as much as it says it does given these factors.
Government-spun handouts to help are not going well amidst the pandemic. The country is cash-strapped and entered a recession 25 days ago.
Magnetic Media has fielded and published a variety of comments on the matter; many wish they did not know about this fiasco and all want it to stop. Basically, islanders tell us they want airlines to come back, tourists to come in and money to start making.
Should Beaches get away with paying its taxes? Certainly not! Now more than ever, Turks and Caicos needs that money, so how about someone actually making a move to get it.
It truly is a wonder why TCIG seems so complacent in gathering up these acorns for what economists predict will be a very, very long winter; and $26.5 million is a lot of acorns.
Beaches has delivered on some strong language which has elicited raised eyebrows, mine included. But I’ve had to ask myself are the characterisations really off-base?
Action speaks louder than words.
Bottom line, if we want to reignite the buoyancy of tourism in Turks and Caicos, which is hinged on this strategic alliance with Beaches Resort; I may have to reluctantly agree that the labels are hard but true.
Here is what the Auditor said: “The NAO is especially concerned now that since raising this audit issue over six years ago, millions in Capital Assets ($425 million and quite probably more) have not been properly accounted for. We are unsure as to what these amounts make up, where they are located, their condition and whether or not they will ever be accounted for.”
Residents have turned their anger about these characterisations upon the resort when more accurately, this is a time when TCI Government should not be allowed to get away with its lack of transparency and accountability this hundreds of millions of dollars the Auditor’s Report claims the country was owed up to the end of 2017-2018 fiscal year.
It is not okay that the TCI Government plugs along at virtually no pace regarding this matter, all the while earning an uninterrupted, full salary while thousands of personal incomes are cut, thousands are laid off, thousands are in need of socio-economic support and businesses have had to shut their doors.
Many families are valiantly struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, relevant leaders are on vacation. Able to take themselves away from the stresses brought on by the coronavirus, while, it seems intentionally escalating a matter instead of ‘handling’ it.
Maybe Government leaders did need that pay-cut. A slash in salaries over seven or eight months, as it has been for thousands of residents, may have fostered empathy and urgency.
But there is no pay cut for them and there is no urgency from them.
So, to the country leaders we note that there is time, though very little and there is ZOOM.
It would seem more in synch with the struggle of the residents in this season, if vacations were cut short or interrupted in order to give the Beaches Resort matter some undivided attention and equitable closure.
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.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: 1.3 Million Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Administered in Region
Bahamas News1 week ago
Minister Glover-Rolle Delivers CARICOM Statement at UN’s Commission on the Status of Women
Caribbean News1 week ago
Turks & Caicos inspires and debuts Drake Fashion Line, NOCTA
Government1 week ago
Right on Cue, Provo Dump burning again as CDB Consultants prepare for Community Meeting
Caribbean News5 days ago
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: Persons Encouraged to Purchase Coffee Festival Tickets Early
Caribbean News1 week ago
UK Imposed Procurement Process Slowed TCI getting off EU Blacklist
Caribbean News6 days ago
TCI native Phildreka Mayham promoted to Learning and Development Manager at BTC