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TCI Parliament must dissolve in 11 weeks; Elections could still be months away as PNP demands a date



#TurksandCaicosIslands – October 18, 2020 — The Turks and Caicos Islands, according to its constitution has to dissolve the House of Assembly within the next 11 weeks; Leader of the Opposition (LOO) Washington Misick is using this premise to demand a date for the next national polling.

“This Government has less than 11 weeks to the four-year anniversary of their election, 13 weeks before the date for an election must be announced, and the House of Assembly must be dissolved. In percentage terms, this government is 93% through its allotted term.”

Premier Sharlene Robinson has however, expressed that she will not be rushed in her prerogative to name the next voting day.

It could still be months before a general election is actually held in these islands.  The TCI Constitution Order 2011 establishes that an election cannot happen before 35 days after the dissolution of parliament.  It also gives the Premier, any premier, three months from the date of dissolution to actually state what will be the general election day. 

In other words, the Turks and Caicos Islands could be well into March 2021 before any general election is held.   

PNP Leader Misick, in a September 24 statement said Premier Sharlene Robinson would be ‘illegitimately’ making long term fiscal decisions if indeed a slew of measures announced were to come to fruition.  The actions are touted as critical financial strategies the Turks and Caicos will take in order to ride out the Covid-19 imposed recession. 

“For this Government to have squandered the last six months, and now to negotiate such a long-term commitment that will tie the hands of the next Government, is clearly unacceptable. There is also the undeniable fact that this Government is negotiating this significant obligation with one eye on the upcoming election, and may be more pre-occupied to get it done quickly, rather than get the best possible deal.

PNP members in a Elections Commission seminar, file photo

 I do not believe the UK Government should allow this significant lending to be passed in the dying days of this administration. The answer is simply to call the election now, allow the people to make their choice, and let the winning party negotiate the lending, knowing they will have to live with the terms for the next four years,” said Hon. Misick.

The PNP Leader has been shepherding his flock toward increasingly vigorous campaign activities including: rallies; door-to-door visitations by its ratified candidates; erection of street signs and the announcement in August of its general election campaign manager:  Jas Walkin.

JAS Walkin; PNP announced on August 25, Walkin of North Caicos would be its National Campaign manager

The fifth all-island elected member, who is also the immediate past finance minister said the PDM Administration cannot take credit for the tens of millions of dollars which it has been able to access amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“I said in the House of Assembly, that no one should confuse good luck with good management. I also pointed out that the $25M in the Capital Wealth Fund was not there through prudent management, but because of a law passed by the PNP Government to put money aside in good years. And finally, that $80M is reserved because of a requirement under the PFM. So, the majority of cash available left at the end of last year was not the result of prudent cash management, but luck, a law that the PNP introduced, and the PFM,” said the LOO in his press statement.

As the country’s constitutionally entrenched watch-dog, the LOO warned the premier about using her office to sway voters.

“I am especially concerned about the method of the food relief distribution announced by the Premier. It would be unfortunate if it were used as a political weapon ahead of the election – as it currently appears to be happening with small contract awards – especially in Grand Turk.  Perhaps the Governor should be concerned about this as well.”

The country’s last general election date was announced on October 27, 2016, when former Premier Rufus Ewing (PNP) dissolved parliament. 

Seven weeks later on December 15, Sharlene Robinson, the PDM Party Leader became the first woman premier.  Hon Robinson’s first House of Assembly meeting as the new premier was two weeks later, on December 29, 2016.

The TCI constitution outlines that the House of Assembly has to be dissolved four years from the December 29, 2016 date.


Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce.  Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.

As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.

The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee.  For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB.  As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.

Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.

The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.

As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.

The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts.  On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.

Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.

Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts.  Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.

These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.

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Caribbean News

TCI Police Detective Holden Speaks Up on Blue Hills Rapes



Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – Following the announcement that several women had been robbed and assaulted in Blue Hills in the past weeks, Magnetic Media queried why the Police would wait until they had a man in custody to release an alert. 

TCI’s newest addition to the top brass Detective Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime, Safeguarding and Public Protection, told us that it initially appeared to be an isolated offence and not part of a series of incidents. 

“The full circumstances needed to be investigated to ascertain the facts before a public alert could be considered. Misinformation in such a case would only cause unnecessary public concern and confusion and could adversely impact the investigation and the safeguarding of persons involved—” he said. “Even now there is no definitive information that these offences are linked, and investigators remain open-minded.”  

Holden claimed an early alert with limited information could have hindered the investigation and they were trying to protect the women who may not have wanted to be identified based on where they lived.  

As it turns out, the public concern was very much warranted, because there have been more violent sexual attacks, and more victims got hurt, forcing their hands.  

“When further similar offences were committed, the overriding principle of sustained public protection was considered, hence the alert/release issued,” he said. 

That alert was coupled with the news that a man had been arrested. Whether those further similar incidents could have been prevented if the public was informed earlier and taken extra precautions, is the underlying question. To date, we don’t know how many victims there are. 

Police have increased patrols in the Blue Hills area and condemned the crimes as unacceptable. They have not indicated if anyone was charged for the offences yet.  

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Caribbean News

Louise Garland Thomas High School are TCISS Inter-High Track & Field 2023 Champions



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – After a festive three days of competition, the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 have concluded with the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School reigning as Champions. Featuring a great turnout, eleven schools from across the Turks and Caicos Islands met to compete at the National Stadium March 9-11, 2023.

The competition was stiff among athletes, who were all competing for top spots and by extension a spot-on Team TCI’s CARIFTA 2023 team. From high-spirited invitationals to entertainment by DJ Shakes, spectators enjoyed the best Nationals competition yet.

Overall results:

  •     1st Place: A. Louise Garland Thomas High School
  •     2nd Place: Clement Howell High School
  •     3rd Place: Marjorie Basden High School

Twenty athletes have been selected for Turks and Caicos Islands National CARIFTA Team, some who would have competed in the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 and some living abroad.

Here are the athletes:

  1. Roniesha Johnson U-17 Girls CHHS
  2. Branary Delancy U-17 Girls LGTHS
  3. Krysann Williams U-20 Girls LGTHS
  4. Anesha Varus U-20 Girls CHHS
  5. Lynn Antoine U-20 Girls Unattached
  6. Chyna Simmons U-20 Girls BWIC
  7. Rayvon Black U-17 Boys Denbigh/Jam
  8. Renaldo Registre U-17 Boys RGHS
  9. Jarmal Missick U-17 Boys HJRHS
  10. Melique Evans U-17 Boys CHHS
  11. Love Joseph U-17 Boys LGTHS
  12. Kaeson Garland U-17 Boys MBHS
  13. Shamar Garland U-17 Boys HJRHS
  14. Alieandio Durham U-20 Boys CHHS
  15. Bernard Hyde U-20 Boys CHHS
  16. Markey Zepherin U-20 Boys CHHS
  17. Rayvon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  18. Anthon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  19. Alidavidson Higgs U-20 Boys JC/Jam
  20. Darvioun Rigby U-20 Boys Keiser/USA

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