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Silence, as Turks & Caicos residents wait on stimulus cash and food assistance

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 10, 2020 – Residents are clinging to the hope that announcements about cash and food assistance in the midst of the coronavirus crisis are still on their way. 

It has been a month since the Premier and Finance Minister unveiled a stimulus suite which included payouts to workers who had lost earnings during the Covid-19 lockdown and public service licensees, like taxi drivers who protested that they were not included in a first round of stimulus monies.

The Premier’s Office revealed it would manage food distribution to all 11,000 households across the Turks and Caicos and would bring breakthrough policy change to enable payments from the National Insurance Board (NIB) to its contributors who were unemployed or underemployed.

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While the NIB unemployment and underemployment benefits require legislative change, Cabinet has already accepted the broadening of benefits schedule and the House of Assembly must now deliberate and vote on the measure. 

Still, the silence since September 10 by Hon Sharlene Robinson, the Premier is deafening and the stall is becoming increasingly painful for households which have seen their individuals earnings plummet.

 A press conference, where an update was expected was first postponed and then never materialized. 

On September 18, an update from the Office of the Premier reiterated the need for support to residents who are suffering dire financial straits due to the drastic down turn in travel and tourism.

“We have an obligation to our people and we must help our people to survive during this period of great challenge experienced worldwide. Though our revenues are down and our monthly obligations are growing due to rising healthcare and COVID-19 related costs, as a Government, we are obligated to do what we can,” explained the Premier.

Hon. Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier & Minister of Finance on Sept 10

Laptops and electronic devices are duty-free to families and the Customs Department has approved suitable applicants for the concession.  It was one of the stimulus supports uncorked on September 10. 

“With schools switching to online learning as a result of the pandemic, this measure is to assist students. TCIG has provided tablets for many identified by educators and this initiative is to provide further support to parents and students in addition to support given by many private sector donors,” said Premier Robinson.

Previously, food help was coming from the Department of Social Services.  On September 10, Premier Robinson had a major announcement which shifted who would provide groceries to families.

“A National Food Assistance Programme for All: 11,000 households throughout the TCI will benefit from this programme, with the exclusion of tourism properties. Those households will have an ability to opt out should they wish to. This will be fully funded by TCI Government under the Ministry of Finance but managed by the Office of the Premier, Local Government and Community Affairs through the assistance of volunteers.”

The ‘National Food Assistance Programme for All’ initiative was praised.  To date, however, islanders have learned nothing new and heard nothing more.

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FLOW CUSTOMERS BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SPEEDS

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New upload speeds to improve online gaming, video conferencing & Online Voice Calls

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, JUNE 24, 2022 – Flow TCI wishes to remind customers of a broadband speed increase to our existing broadband plans, which took effect on April 25th, 2022. An incremental rate increase for the new higher speed plans has taken effect.

The rates were increased by US$4 for the following plans and the download and upload speeds will increase by the following allotments:

All customers will be migrated from all previous fixed broadband plans to the new broadband Fibre to the Home plans. The new speeds will improve the overall broadband experience for all customers for online gaming, voice over IP calling, video conferencing, and social media usage.

For more information on our new Fibre to the Home plans, visit https://discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/broadband-overview for more details.

 

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2022 Hurricane Preparedness Exposition

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“Mission Ready – Pledge to Prepare; Be Smart Take Part”

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 23, 2022 – The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) will be hosting its 3rd Hurricane Preparedness Exposition on 1st July 2022 from 10:00 am at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will feature booths from over twenty-five different agencies, partners and public safety officials this year. The event provides critical stakeholders with roles in disaster management an opportunity to interact with the public, demonstrate their services, and guide individuals and businesses on how they can prepare for this hurricane season.

The goal is to ensure residents are ready should a hurricane impact our region by offering a one-stop shop for the general public to gather helpful information and ask their hurricane and storm-related questions.

We ask all residents to come out and participate in this preparedness event. The event is free, fun and educational with tons of giveaways, including the chance to win a Graceway Smart Supermarket Hurricane Supplies Shopping Spree on 1st July 2022.

This venture also encompasses the principles of Public-Private Partnership, as it demonstrates the Disaster Risk Reduction commitment of the private sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also highlight’s the Public Sector Department’s determination to ensure all major entities are involved in its goal of building a resilient country.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will be on Friday, 1st July 2022, at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. We look forward to your participation.

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PDM Slams Gov’t over Airport Shut Down

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – The People’s Democratic Movement criticised the government for the recent shutdown at the Providenciales International Airport, maintaining that the strike was a repeat of “past actions that have not been addressed by the government of the day.”

There have been firefighter strikes under both the PDM (August 2019) and PNP (May 2021, June 2022) Administrations.

National Chairman of the PDM Ezra Taylor maintained that the strike was “indicative that their issues are not being addressed sufficiently. He expressed that if the issue was economic they should go to the House of Assembly and resolve it.

“While the government continues to brag about an economic boom in this country the citizens continue to feel economic pressure… compensation to our people is still marginal.”

Describing the firefighters as professionals Deputy Leader Robert Been said, “just like any other department, they deserve proper wages and proper working environments. It appears that the 15% salary increase wasn’t equal across the board. I am sure the firefighters communicated this before making their decision to strike. These kinds of situations can and could have been avoided by proper communication and mutual agreements by parties involved.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority has maintained there was no communication of the strike beforehand. Been said another group, the security officers, might soon be striking as well.  The TCIAA has confirmed this. Been lambasted the Deputy Premier.

“It makes me question the Deputy Premier when he makes statements about us living our best lives in Turks and Caicos.  I’m of the view that he’s just fascinated with the lyrics of the song because nothing has change to approve the lives of our people.” He further called on the government to, “Please take care of your people, please visit your department and find out issues, challenges, and concerns they may have to avoid repeats of today’s event.”

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