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Opposition Leader says TCIs must push for more rigorous process in Islander Status grants

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Hon. C. Washington Misick, as Minister of Finance, 2014 file photo

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 22, 2020 — PNP leader, Washington Misick has called for resistance against, what he described as ‘the UK agenda’ by making the process of gaining citizenship in Turks and Caicos more rigorous.

In response to the FAC report entitled: ‘Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship’ that includes the latest pronouncement of the UK of its intentions for the Overseas Territories on important issues, the opposition leader asks Turks and Caicos Islanders to petition the Governor.  Hon Misick also admonishes voters to push for the draft points criteria which are meant to supplement the requirements of the Ordinance for public consultation to be published.

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In order for anyone to vote for any cultural, social and economic change that is significant for the enlargement of the franchise, they must have Islander Status under the Turks and Caicos Islands Islander Status Ordinance 2015.

Currently, the Islander Status is acquired by right or by grant. According to Misick, many Turks and Caicos Islanders are concerned about the acquisition by grant.

Hon. Misick suggested that the amendment to the Turks and Caicos Islands Islander Status Bill that was approved on January 8 be replaced with one that accounts for the current trend and the need to protect the interest of heritage Turks and Caicos Islanders.

He argued that at minimum, subsidiary legislation should have rigidified the assessment criteria, suggesting that all applicants should stand before the Commission in person especially because of the large number of applications that were received between 2016 and 2018.

The Opposition Leader is also concerned by how the system’ favours’ the financially influential, which he believes potentially side-lines others with otherwise substantial contributions.

Hon. Misick has condemned the Government for ‘bending over backwards and putting the system through legal contortions just to accomplish the UK’s agenda’ but having what he believes is a completely dissimilar assertiveness laced with ‘excuses and roadblocks’ when it is time for the UK to assist and deliver to the people of these islands.

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“With all of the challenges faced by the Government and the hardships of the people the Government is caving into the dictates of the UK to expand the franchise with the expressed intention to alter the political hegemony in the interest of those who already have control of the economy,” he said.

Furthermore, Hon. Misick recommends that the Commission adopt rules to undertake a comprehensive interview of each applicant to determine whether the granting of Status to them is in the Public Interest, and in particular meet the criteria set out in Section 4 (7) of the Ordinance.

This, he said, is because the public is allegedly anxious over the fact that there is now an inverse relationship between the economic development of the islands and the social development of the local people.

Hon. Misick, the former Minister of Finance in the 2012-2016 PNP Administration thinks the Commission does not respect the Ordinance, however, they have been “advised by the AG Chambers that it has a quorum in the absence of a fully constituted membership”.

Hon. C. Washington Misick, Opposition Leader (PNP) Turks and Caicos Islands,
file photo

The Opposition Leader explains, “people who apply for Status have nothing to worry about. People who have made TCI their home and have shown that they are committed to “inclusive prosperity and camaraderie with the people of the islands” deserve to be granted Status. It is the people who have no respect for the culture, people or place who do not deserve to be granted status and who the rigid process is supposed to pick out.

Washington Misick, in the statement issued October 13 said the Opposition will not participate in any process which advances the Commission; restating the need for the draft points criteria for public consultation to be published.

By Magnetic Media Editorial Department

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TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 19th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Grand Turk. All other members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the terms and conditions for an application from a land surveyor for a licence.
  • Approved the making of the Revised Edition of the Laws 2021 (Commencement Order) 2022 subject to the approval of the House of Assembly; laws will be now be made available free of charge to members of the public on the Attorney General’s website. Physical reproductions will continue to be sold.
  • Discussed proposed amendments to the Insurance Ordinance as drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers and consultation with the industry.
  • Approved for the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be introduced to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
  • Approved the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee Budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for office furniture and supplies; confirmed annual payments for the annual membership costs to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Agencies (FIA) and annual costs of the FIA’s travel costs for the Egmont annual meeting.
  • Approved a three year rental lease agreement for the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, religious Affairs and Gaming, and the Tourist Board and Department of Culture in Providenciales.
  • Approved a lease agreement for a temporary HQ for the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in Providenciales.
  • Was updated on the proposed merger of NIB/NHIP Compliance and Collections. Further consideration was requested before Cabinet can take a decision.
  • Noted the award of the following contracts in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Ordinance:
  1. PN 005600, TR 21/48, Furniture and equipment for Mental Health Facility – Grand Turk
  2. PN 005611, TR 21/30, Ballistic Vests for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force

III. PN 005614, TR 21/37, Bellefield Landing Civilian Safety Project – Safe Boat Slips

  1. PN 005627, TR 21/53, Furniture and Equipment for Public Works Programme Management
  2. PN 005630, TR 21/08, Vehicles for Government (resubmission)
  • Approved for a request from American Airlines to waive the import customs duties and customs processing fees for replacement parts for an aircraft that had an emergency landing on Providenciales to be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
  • Noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) for legislative amendments to be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the TCIAA. Cabinet requested further consideration. Proposed amendments will be considered by the House of Assembly for approval in due course.
  • Approved the grant of a long lease to an applicant for a funeral home and cemetery on 60003/231 PT (2.5 ACRES)

 

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News

Turks & Caicos Islands Government retains it BBB+ credit rating

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – On the 29th of March 2022, Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) released the results of the review of the 2021 sovereign credit rating for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). S&P has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating for long-term bonds, denominated in both domestic and foreign currency, of BBB+. Additionally, the agency also maintained the outlook as Stable for the TCI.

The Rating Agency advised that the stable outlook takes into account that the country’s economy will continue to recover given the strong performance of tourism and will improve in 2022. Furthermore, S&P believes the TCI will continue to adhere to prudent financial management and limit borrowing, and that fiscal reserve balances will increase during the next two years. Additionally, the rating agency also expects continuity in TCI’s institutional relationship with the U.K.

In its report, the rating agency advised that the rationale for the rating was a result of the Country’s institutional and economic profile. That is, the economic recovery led by resurgence in tourism and continued institutional stability. S&P indicated that despite the short-term pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the TCI Government’s prudent actions, aided by the U.K.’s swift transfer of vaccines, allowed international travel to resume as early as the first quarter of 2021. The combination of the Government’s swift response, coupled with pent-up demand in key source markets, led to a strong recovery in tourism, which in turn, has led to a better-than anticipated economic recovery. S&P estimates GDP per capita to be $23,674 in 2021, up from $20,757 in 2020 – a 14% year over year increase. Tourism remains the core pillar of the economy, indirectly accounting for about 65% of GDP.

S&P indicated that the ratings could be revised upwards if better-than-expected GDP increases and continued favorable growth prospects were to substantially boost economic resilience. Additionally, the rating agency also stated that they could also raise the ratings if better availability of timely data, especially on external flows and stocks, were to boost transparency and indicated that TCI enjoyed a significantly stronger economic or external position.

However, if the rebound in tourism is interrupted or turns out to be weaker than expected, leading to prolonged stress on revenues, this may cause the TCI Government to run persistent fiscal deficits that could materially worsen public finances. This could lead to a down grading of the rating.

Commenting on the rating, Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade, Hon. E. Jay Saunders, stated that “I am happy and extremely proud that S&P saw fit to maintain our country’s credit rating at BBB+, particularly at a time when many countries had theirs downgraded – mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the strength of our economy, and particularly, our government’s prudent handling of it. We have taken particular note of S&P’s comment that they could raise the ratings on better availability of timely data, and we are working towards achieving that.”

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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