#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 25, 2020 — The reopening date of Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos may again be delayed as the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) will not be ready for sessions to resolve the multi-million tax dispute until November 18.
A mediator is selected and while the unnamed Queen’s Counsel attorney-at-law has said he can accommodate meetings from November 8, TCIG is unable to make the date.
November 18 is the day Beaches Turks and Caicos is scheduled to reopen. Beaches Resort has announced that it will not reopen, however, until their matter is resolved.
The Premier – in speaking to media – asked Beaches Resort to stop bashing the Turks and Caicos Islands Government; Beaches in effect is saying ‘no’ to relenting on its robust language and unflattering characterisations of TCIG’s handling of the ongoing legal matter with the release on Saturday (Oct 24) of yet another strongly worded statement.
“Heartless, vindictive and incompetent is what the TCIG have proven themselves to be. Their eyes are blind and their ears are deaf to the extreme hardship and suffering of the citizens of the TCI,” said Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos, which added, “The TCIG advised that they are not available until November 18, 2020. Even after the mediation, Beaches understands that the matter will then need to go to the House and Cabinet for approval. The end does not appear to be in sight.”
It is a volley of high voltage remarks which is polorising the people of the Turks and Caicos who either find the lingering impasse, irritating or irrational.
Beaches Resort continues to point to government inaction as inexcusable and its Board refuses to reopen without the multi-million dollar tax row being settled. It is a reality which has caused negative economic ripples as other major resort employers remain closed, airline arrivals are jeopardized and the thousands who depend on tourism and the consumption, services and entertainment linked to it, are financially depressed.
“Beaches for four years has been waiting for the Government to resolve a very simple matter in a fair and equitable way. Beaches made themselves available for mediation the week of November 8. Given the seriousness of the matter, we would have thought that the TCIG would have made themselves available at the earliest opportunity – any responsible and caring government certainly would have.”
Some residents are cringing at the labelling and one comment circulated on WhatsApp captures the tone of those who believe Beaches Resort has gone too far.
[SIC]“Beaches benefitting more from us, than us from them. They’ve exploited us wayyy too long bringing in their staff from JA. Trust me another company ready to take yah place Beaches you get too demanding. You’re too cocky. Yu need us. We don’t depend on you. We are the most sought after you know that.”
But has the resort and investor overstepped its boundaries?
Those urging a resolve to the matter are dumbfounded at the lack of expediency on the part of Government given how much is at stake.
The Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, on October 21 said this: “The effects of this unfortunate situation have the potential to be far-reaching. At an extremely fragile time where all Caribbean countries are fighting for the rebounding of their tourism product, travel partner confidence is essential. Unfortunately, this can be quickly lost with our partners, with frustrations being felt by those working diligently to sell Turks and Caicos to a limited market, only to have to manage cancellations with no real answers to provide to travelers.”
The Turks and Caicos on October 1, officially entered a recession according to Premier and Finance Minister Sharlene Robinson. It is also true that the Turks and Caicos, has been ranked #1 in the world – according to the World Travel & Tourism Council – for having lost the most earnings, percentage wise, as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on travel and tourism.
Given these unprecedented circumstances; the plummeting cash in the Public Purse and the insistence by the TCIG that Beaches Resort does indeed owe over $25 million in unpaid taxes, many had hoped for more immediate movement toward mediation.
Police De-Briefing with TCI Governor Daniel-Selvaratnam
#TurksandCaicos#Anti-Crime, February 23rd, 2024 – De-briefing Acting Commissioner of Police Christopher Eyre held a meeting with Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North, the Hon. Otis Morris, today (February 21st ) at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.
The debriefing was to discuss concerns raised by residents during last evening’s Anti-Crime Town Hall meeting at the H.J Robinson High School, Grand Turk. Commissioner Eyre expressed his deep appreciation to Her Excellency and Hon Morris for their attendance, saying that work was already underway to address the community concerns.
Commissioner Eyre said: “I acknowledge the challenges raised and wish to assure you that the Executive of the RTCIPF remains steadfast in ensuring the TCI is safe. We listened to your concerns, and I assure you that rebuilding trust and strengthening community-policing relations are top priorities.“
The RTCIPF has taken a holistic approach in the fight against crime. Increased visibility, greater stakeholder collaborations and ongoing dialogue forums to appraise you will occur. We are accountable to you.”
Too much secrecy with Airport Tax increase says former Deputy Premier Sean Astwood
#TurksandCaicos#Tax, February 23rd, 2024 – “The TCIAA should not be allowed to announce and implement new or increased taxes or fees in this already difficult financial climate without more details,” says Sean Astwood, Former Deputy Premier regarding the increase in the Airport Development Fee from $20 to $35 describing the increase as not proactive but premature.
Astwood said there were a number of questions that he believed every Turks and Caicos Islander should ask and have the right to know the answers to including ‘Why now?’
The Opposition PDM member pointed out that only one airport has international flights and it would soon undergo a change in structure, paired with the ‘unexplainable’ delay in the completion of the airport in South Caicos and the possibility of ongoing negotiations in relation to the one in North Caicos, he queried: ‘Why not wait to see what amount or step may be needed in facilitating services in these Airports before a hike in fees?’
“In this climate, taxpayers must have more information and the benefit of a complete picture from not just the TCIAA Chiefs but from the Premier himself. The people must know what the current earnings of the TCIAA is; how has the management of the Airports increased to warrant such a large increase; how much does it cost to operate all of these airports; what is the estimated increase in revenue and how will these monies be used,” the former DP said.
He also questioned the avalanche of resignations that had recently affected the TCIAA
“I have serious concerns with the Premier’s oversight of this matter knowing that the TCIAA is no doubt experiencing a major problem with the vast number of Turks and Caicos Islanders resigning from their positions including high level positions. This alone requires a more in-depth investigation.”
Astwood also demanded information about the ongoing canopy project at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International which should have been completed in less than six months but was running on two years.
“TCIAA has quickly developed a reputation for big spending recently and stalled projects. We need answers as taxpayers. Why now? How much do you intend to raise? How will it be used? The people deserve a response. In a “proactive” step, this information must be provided to the public before this increase is implemented,” he ended.
Justice system instructed to improve coordination
#TurksandCaicos#Violence, February 23rd, 2024 – Violence exploded in the Turks and Caicos between January 26 and February 2nd, and with signs pointing to the involvement of recently released convicts the National Security Council is on a mission to reduce the risk of flare ups when offenders rejoin society.
The Police Force, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and other criminal Justice partners have now been instructed to review how they coordinate with each other and complete their specific roles to support case progression. Assessments about public safety in respect to offenders during bail hearings are also to be given keen attention.
The NSC is also planning to engage with the Judiciary as part of this review to help with delivering verdicts in a timely manner,
Called after the January 26 killing in Grand Turk which allegedly involved a former inmate, the meeting gathered law enforcement and other partners so that the NSC could get a sense of how effectively they were working with each other to ‘secure criminal justice outcomes.’
“The NSC— sought briefings on the effectiveness of liaison between the RTCIPF, the office of the DPP and wider criminal justice agencies in respect of case progression, including the assessments made to public safety that inform representations at bail hearings,” a statement revealed.
The information detailing the January 30th NSC meeting was released on February 2nd.
With senior leadership from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF), the TCI Regiment, TCI Border Force, HMP and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the room, the NSC looked into two incidents involving recently released inmates.
Two days after the meeting the NSC chairs had to be briefed again about another incident involving a former inmate where two men were left dead on February 1.
The Council headed jointly by Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor says the risk reduction strategies discussed in the meeting NSC will seek to address HMP exit arrangements and risks to public safety.
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