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Turks and Caicos in RECESSION; GDP to decline by $272.8 million

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Magnetic Media photo of Grace Bay Road restaurant & bar with plans to reopen October 15

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – October 2, 2020 – The Turks and Caicos is now officially in a recession; it is another suffocating symptom of the coronavirus pandemic and to think, only slight inroads have been made by the World Health Organization in the effort to unravel who and what unleashed this mammoth of a crisis on the planet.

In a normal year, the Turks and Caicos Islands would have been hundreds of millions of dollars richer. 

In this year, the ‘Unprecedented and Unpredictable Year 2020’, Sharlene Robinson who is Premier and Finance Minister of the UK overseas territory, has had to make a starkly different announcement about country earnings and the direct and trickle down effects due to the crushing impact on our leading industry:  Tourism.

Hon Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier & Minister of Finance

“The trigger point for a recession is usually two consecutive quarters of negative growth. All indications are that, despite having to go on lockdown at the end of March, the country experienced economic growth in the first quarter of this year. The second quarter, undoubtedly because of the necessary restrictions which had to be imposed, saw minimal activity and even though the level of activity in this quarter was more than the activity in the second quarter, when compared with the level of activity during the third quarter of last year, we are heading towards a second quarter of negative growth. Hence we can conclude that this economy is heading towards a recession,” said the Premier on September 10 in a national press conference held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales.

That second quarter ended on September 30 for the TCI. 

It means the Turks and Caicos is now officially two days into a recession and that translates into deep losses for this once burgeoning archipelago, which expected the economy to grow in 2020 by 5.4 percent. 

Tourism contracted by 53 percent.

Providenciales International Airport, PLS outfitted for reopening of the borders which took place on July 22

“In constant market prices it is forecast to decline from $303 million to 142.4 million or by $160.6 million,” informed Premier Robinson when Magnetic Media requested a dollar figure on the whopping shrinkage made known in her presentation early last month.

Overall, the Turks and Caicos Islands economy is forecast to contract by over 26 percent or $204.7 million.

Premier Robinson advised that GDP will “decline from US$ 1.2 Billion to US$ 924.6 million or by $272.8 million.”

During a House of Assembly meeting on August 17, Opposition Leader Washington Misick condemned the PDM Administration’s handling of the pandemic and surmised the country was facing a “deep recession.”

“The PDM does not understand what it will take to reverse the trend of this pandemic, nor the political will to try. They failed to take the measures needed between March 28th and July 22nd to put the needed resources behind the potential prevention and control of a surge of COVID-19 cases after the opening of the border and the resumption of business operations. They did not make the investment to acquire, train and undertake mass testing before the full relaxation of restrictive measures. What we should be looking at today is a reprioritisation of the budget focused on reversing the COVID-19 trend instead we are asked to approve reallocation of funding for a political agenda,” said Misick in his rebuttal of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

Hon Washington Misick, TCI Opposition Leader (file photo)

Washington Misick described the economy as being on “life-support” and the tourism industry as running “on fumes”.

And the future for travel and tourism is not looking bright. 

An ominous ‘third wave’ of the highly infectious virus is sweeping the planet and the COVID-19 death toll has surpassed one million. 

This confluence of crises is reviving extreme restrictions, extending barriers to travel and prompting unimagined measures to stem the flow and stop the spread of COVID-19.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, on Monday signed an executive order which requires New Yorkers to quarantine for 14-days upon return from any country which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has listed at Level 2 or Level 3. 

The Turks and Caicos, has since August 6, been charted as ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’.

“The east coast, and particularly New York, is a major gateway for visitors to our destination. Additionally, the USA market as of 2019 accounted for 82% of air arrivals to the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Consequently, the Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism have taken actionable steps in response to this decision. The Tourist Board, has reached out directly to New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and the Ministry of Tourism is working closely with the Ministry of Health to address the CDC’s categorization of Turks and Caicos as a level 3 country, said the Ministry of Tourism and the TCI Tourist Board on October 1 in a joint press statement.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo holds Coronavirus briefing. Dr Howard Zucker Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

It may be a fight in futility though, as the Turks and Caicos has faced this ‘Coronavirus Blacklisting’ before.  The United Kingdom, despite TCI being one of its overseas territories, has since August made quarantine mandatory for 14 days for anyone travelling from these islands.

Income from cruise ship travel is sunk. The CDCs ‘No Sail Order’, just hours before it was due to expire on September 30 is now extended until October 31, 2020.

Grand Turk, the cruise hub of the Turks and Caicos welcomed over 1 million cruise visitors each year but has not seen a ship in port since March.

Premier Robinson in her September 10 address announced budget reallocations to support an extended stimulus package to the tune of $5 million. 

TCI Cabinet meets; file photo pre-COVID-19

A food assistance program, a new round of stimulus payouts which would include ground transportation operators and for the first time, the National Insurance Board would financially support its contributors falling into unemployment or underemployment.

“Throughout this pandemic, TCIG has seen many policy shifts within its budget. To date, it is estimated that TCIG has paid out over $15.3m in expenses relating to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Premier.

The country awaits, however, activation of the new $5 million stimulus payout scheme. Details were promised for mid-September but to date government has been silent on when these funds will manifest for a people who have been in recession long before now and who fear the worst is yet to come.

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TCIFA Referees selected to participate in FIFA RAP Course

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#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2022 – It is always a massive boost when not only our players are given opportunities to develop, but also our Match Officials. The FIFA RAP (Referee Assistance Programme) presents referees with an opportunity to not solely refresh their understanding of the laws of the game, but also to improve with the ultimate objective of being appointed to the FIFA list of International Referees. This year, a FIFA RAP Course is set to take place in Nassau, Bahamas on August 25-28. From the TCIFA, three referees have been granted the chance to partake in the course; Watson Antoine, Anice Bernadin, and Leonard Suckrajh.

The course also serves to renominate existing FIFA Referees onto the list of International FIFA Referees for 2023. Last year, Anice Bernadin made it onto the list for International FIFA Referees for 2022 as an assistant referee, being given the chance to represent the Turks and Caicos Islands on the international stage.

The program is divided into two parts- theory of refereeing, as well as the practical elements. In order to qualify for this list, referees are required to pass the FIFA Fitness Test.

Patrice Senior, Head of Referees at the TCIFA, commented the following, “The role of the referee is key for the implementation of a football match, that is to interpret and enforce the laws of the game. Referees require positive learning environments with a framework that incorporates continuous development based on meaningful performance objectives – that allows successful promotion through the ranks from the grassroots level, up to the football league and beyond.

She continued by saying, “I am pleased to see the hard work and dedication of our referees in these Turks and Caicos Islands. I would like to congratulate those persons nominated by the TCIFA, Watson Antoine, Ancie Bernadine, and Leonard Suckrahj, and wish them all the best on their journey to the 2022-2023 FIFA International Referees list.”

Patrice also extended thanks to President Sonia Fulford and the TCIFA. She’s also shown gratitude towards the Bahamas Football Association for continuing to include the TCIFA.

Refereeing is a vitally important part of football. For our referees here in the Turks and Caicos to be given the chance to improve their knowledge and experience in an international setting is nothing less than magnificent.

 

Written by: Joshua Hall, Intern

For more information, please contact TCIFA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Candia Ewing at 941-5532 or cewingtcifa@gmail.com

 

Address:

TCIFA National Academy

Venetian Road

Providenciales

Turks and Caicos Islands

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FortisTCI partners with Sam’s Club and Cargo Express/Tropical Shipping for Solar Energy 

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Thursday, August 18, 2022) – FortisTCI is pleased to announce that Cargo Express/Tropical Shipping and Sam’s Club have signed onto the Utility-Owned Renewable Energy (UORE) program.

FortisTCI has leased the 18,000 square foot roof space of Sam’s Club, a grocery wholesale business on Leeward Highway in Providenciales, to install a 312.8 kW solar photovoltaic system. Once commissioned, the system will produce renewable energy for the country’s electricity grid and avoid approximately 317 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

FortisTCI has also leased the 13,000 square foot roof space of Cargo Express/Tropical Shipping’s building on South Dock Road in Providenciales to install a 200 kW solar photovoltaic system. The system is projected to avoid approximately 188 metric tons of carbon emissions annually once commissioned. Both systems will be installed by the end of 2022.

The UORE program, operated by FortisTCI, has been in place since 2015. The program now has 18 partnerships following the recent signees, which will increase the number of solar energy system installations across partner properties.

Customers undergo a pre-qualification process, and successful applicants receive incentives for leasing their roof space and the solar energy produced by the system. FortisTCI purchases, install, maintains, and owns the solar system at these properties at no cost to the customer.

Commenting on the partnership, Director of Cargo Express/Tropical Shipping, Carl Simmons stated: The Cargo Express brand is eager to partner with FortisTCI in advancing renewable energy initiatives in the TCI. This partnership allows us to protect the environment by generating electricity using solar energy, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels. The installation of solar panels on Cargo Express’s 13,000 square foot roof will benefit our organizations and the wider community.”  

Owner and Manager of Sam’s Club, Gus Karagianis stated: “I am very fortunate to qualify for the UORE program operated by FortisTCI. I hope that more businesses that can qualify for the program, embrace the opportunity, and one rooftop at a time, we can all make a difference in creating a more sustainable energy future.”

President and CEO at FortisTCI Ruth Forbes stated: “We wish to commend our newest UORE customers for supporting the journey to a more sustainable energy future. Roof-mounted solar installations have allowed us to steadily increase our solar footprint year-over-year. Our studies have found that at least four acres of land are needed to produce 1MW of solar energy.

Therefore, we continue to maximize roof spaces through customer partnerships. We also continue to pursue regulatory reform to advance our clean energy plan, which includes investing in utility-scale solar projects. By December 2022, we expect to have at least 2.6 MW of solar energy installed on the grid.”

 

Photo Captions:

Header: (L-R) Vice President of Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning at FortisTCI, Rachell Roullet,  President and CEO at FortisTCI, Ruth Forbes, Owner and Manager of Sam’s Club, Gus Karagianis, and Manager of Innovation and Resource Planning, TeAnn Thomas.

Insert: Rachell Roullet,  President and CEO at FortisTCI, Ruth Forbes, Director of Cargo Express -Tropical Shipping, Carl Simmons,  and Manager of Innovation and Resource Planning, TeAnn Thomas.

 

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TCI Beach Soccer National Team Players Train in Italy

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#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2022 – In June of this year, Pisa Beach Soccer, located in Italy, presented an opportunity for two of our Beach Soccer National Players to train alongside their team. This opportunity was nothing short of astounding. Herby Magny and Makenson Cadet were the two fortunate players who were chosen to train with the Pisa Beach Soccer team. Pisa Beach Soccer is ranked at the top of the Italian Serie AON Beach Soccer League and in addition to that, they are the reigning champions from last season.

This entire experience would not have been possible for Herby or Makenson if it was not for the recommendation of Matteo Marucci, Head Coach of Pisa Beach Soccer as well as Head Coach of the Turks and Caicos Islands Men’s beach Soccer Team. Coach Marucci has a long-standing history within the sport of Beach Soccer, representing Italy in both the 2015 and 2017 Beach Soccer World Cups.

Both Herby and Makenson engaged in a series of intensive training sessions that took place over a ten-day span.  These were morning and evening sessions. The morning sessions were coached by Bruno Xavier, Captain of the Brazilian Men’s National Beach Soccer Team. Bruno is not a new face to the Beach Soccer World, he was awarded World’s Best Player in 2014 and was a part of the Dream Team from 2014 to 2018. In the morning the focal point was working on core, balance, agility, and strength. The evening sessions consisted of a training session with the Pisa Beach Soccer first team under the supervision of Coach Marucci.

When asked for a comment on what It was like to train with the team, Herby Magny had the following to say, “It was one of the best experiences in my soccer career. It has made me fall in love with the beautiful game of beach soccer even more. Training with the Pisa Beach Soccer Team was conducted at a different level than how I’m used to training. The level of intensity and professionalism stood out the most, as most of the players are key players for the Brazilian & Italian national teams.” He went on to add, “The first 2 sessions were difficult as the guys did not really know us and so they didn’t pass to us during the games, however by the third day onwards it was fantastic, as we proved ourselves. The guys welcomed us like their own teammates and involved us in every play.”

Fellow teammate, Makenson Cadet, had this take on his time spent in Italy, “The experience was needed. Italy is beautiful, the food was delicious and training in a professional environment was top notch.” He continued, “What really stood out to me is the passion they had for the game, it’s unbelievable some of the players still have to work full-time jobs because they are not getting paid enough, but they still showed up every day with the same strong mentality. Matteo is a really good coach and a good person as well.”

Without doubt, these training sessions challenged Herby and Mackenson for the better. Both players expressed an abundance of gratitude for the chance to take part in the training sessions. Experiences like these are crucial in the development of our players here at the TCIFA.

 

Written by: Joshua Hall, Intern

For more information, please contact TCIFA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Candia Ewing at 941-5532 or cewingtcifa@gmail.com

 

Address:

TCIFA National Academy

Venetian Road

Providenciales

Turks and Caicos Islands

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