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TCI Governor statement on Salary Cuts and return of UK Chief Financial Officer; says its ‘fake news’

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H.E. Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor (file photo)

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 9, 2020 — I have been asked to comment, by Magnetic Media, on a piece of social media distributed by ‘CaribbeanNewsGlobal’ not least because it carries a photograph of a UK Minister and quotes unnamed, but supposedly well-placed sources in London, suggesting that the UK is making a set of financial demands on TCI.

These are non-attributed quotes, to an unnamed journalist, circulated by an unknown social media platform, purporting to be a Caribbean news outlet, that no one has heard of. As a result the story should be dismissed as an example of the very worst in social media fake news – if poorly executed. My statement of the 15th September, that includes a section on the economy, is the UK’s position. 

Without dignifying the story, but given the headline, there are two falsehoods that need to be squashed. The first, because in these difficult times families do not need to be subjected to unnecessary fear, is that there is no truth, whatsoever, that the UK is seeking a 20% reduction in civil service salaries.  No such conversation has taken place. 

The second, given those choosing to invest in TCI, or institutions intending to lend to TCI, follow commentary generated for internal consumption, it is also important to put on record – categorically – that there is no truth whatsoever that the UK has decided to ‘intervene in TCI’s finances’ nor any suggestion a CFO is needed. It was needed in the past because of previous rampant corruption.

Today the UK does recognise that the Finance Ministry in the TCI is first class and entirely able to manage the Territories Finances without UK oversight. This, after all, was the first year when TCI did not need to present its Budget for approval.

Hon Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier & Minister of Finance

Given TCI presently carries an extraordinarily small debt and given the Government of TCI has been prudent – entering the COVID crisis with strong reserves – should the TCI Government wish to take on well sourced and competitive debt the UK will, I’m sure, be supportive. That support is necessary because the UK takes on the contingent liability for all Overseas Territories debts. But that is where the conversation presently rests with the UK – the Premier as Minister of Finance signalling she is looking for the best deal she can secure, and the UK waiting to hear what the Governments approach to debt will be. 

Given the UK itself is having to borrow very serious sums of money to weather the COVID19 crisis it will obviously be sympathetic to an Overseas Territory that, over the last years, carried almost no debt. 

Looking forward the Governor’s Office will not be giving a running commentary on so-called news – as it relates to the UK / TCI relationship – purporting to come from ‘Caribbean News Global’.  It is clearly a fake news platform.

One truthful statement that relates to the TCI / UK relationship, which of course helps confuse the reader by mixing established fact with falsehood,  is that the UK is indeed supporting TCI’s Ministry of Health having sent Professor Ian Cumming to support the Premier, Minister and Permanent Secretary along with an epidemiologist, with a PhD from Cambridge, to support our own excellent Dr Malcolm and a fast stream civil servant from the UK’s National Health Service to work with the National Laboratory, and other areas, as the Minister of Health wishes. That would seem the right thing to do at time of pandemic and is a far better real world characterisation of the present relationship between the UK Government and TCIG.

Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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Caribbean News

The Shore Club makes Travel + Leisure 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – The Shore Club is the perfect place to escape the cold with your family according to well-known travel magazine, Travel + Leisure at least.  The Turks and Caicos resort was featured in the worldwide magazine’s January feature last month.

“It’s hard to overstate the grandness of our accommodations,” travel writer Hannah Selinger gushed as she described the luxurious Shore Club experience that retails for around $750 per night.

The resort owned by Stan Hartling, 2021 TCI Humanitarian of the Year, was lauded for its use of local materials including coral harvested in Long Bay on which the property resides.  The writer was particularly impressed with the expansive space and multiple amenities at the resort which even when significantly booked “never feels even remotely full”.

She described the food and the entirety of her experience as ‘extremely satisfying’.

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