#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – November 14, 2020 — Perhaps on Wednesday the negotiations for a long standing tax dispute between the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos will begin and perhaps, on December 21st the property which employs 1,800 people will finally reopen to guests.
The website on Thursday night held the date for opening as Wednesday November 18. Today, the Beaches website informs that opening for Beaches Resort in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is postponed by nearly five weeks to Monday December 21.
The date has been bumping back on the 2020 calendar since July, when international travelers were first welcomed back to Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory, after it shut borders due to the wave of Covid-19 walloping the world.
No opening in July for Beaches Resort almost immediately impacted airline schedules; it meant less flights and naturally, less tourists and less income for thousands of families and businesses.
At the time, Beaches Resort promised to reopen on October 14 but stunned the nation when the Board of Directors of the resort also explained the opening was hinged on getting resolve in a four-year-old tax row.
October 14 came and went, no opening for the sprawling resort which accounts for around 70 percent of long stay visitors to the Turks and Caicos. Instead, guests who had booked vacations began receiving apologies from the resort and the offer to either re-schedule or to visit a Beaches Resort in Jamaica.
October 15, Beaches reiterated that the decision not to reopen was regrettable but necessary, as there remained no resolution. The TCIG said it was owed over $26 million dollars by Beaches Resort. Beaches Resort claimed it owed nothing and had been, for years, wrongly charged and suffered breaches in its development agreement.
A volley of spicy comments was swatted around in the public domain through press releases and media statements. The stalemate between TCIG and Beaches Resort was now ugly but there was agreement on a mediator and the new challenge turned to confirming a date for negotiation of the dispute to begin.
November 18 was given as the new reopening date for Beaches Resort once and if the matter was settled. November 18 was also the date given by Government for when the negotiation would start.
Despite urging from the likes of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) to expedite the mediation meetings; there was no change for an earlier date. Onlookers knew this fact would create a problem and now we learn that it has… the Board is also immovable on its terms; the date for opening is no longer November 18 and that means a tourism rebound is stymied by stubbornness.
The initial announcement and stipulation for reopening by Beaches Resort executives came on July 24. One-hundred and thirteen days later and there is still no resolution, therefore the gate of the country’s most significant tourism partner remains closed and the impact is far reaching, even devastating for the TCI’s rebound amidst this unprecedented pandemic.
Beaches Resort and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government are today both quiet about the reopening date change and about whether the negotiation with the mediator actually begins next week.
New License Plates rolled out for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – The long-awaited new license plates for the Turks and Caicos have arrived, and notable changes have been made to them. The new license plates were gazetted to come into effect on December 1st, along with the new rules regarding tints. Wilbur Caley, Head of the Department of Motor Vehicles, shared the updated designs with Magnetic Media.
Each inhabited island now has their own specific plate, and so too do the highest public officers in the country, including the Governor and his Deputy; the Premier and his Deputy; Speaker; Attorney General; Opposition Leader; and all Ambassadors, Ministers and MPs.
The island-specific plates apply to all private vehicles, charter vehicles and taxis. The new Grand Turk plates feature a cactus on a green background; the North Caicos plates feature; Providenciales plates have what appears to be Grace Bay Beach; Middle Caicos plates show a native basket weaving; Salt Cay shows a depiction of a TC Islander working the salt flats and South Caicos has a red lobster on an orange background.
New plates are also in store for company vehicles, rentals and car dealers.
All drivers in the TCI must get these new plates affixed to their vehicles. Caley explained that over 16,000 pairs were in stock, and the DMV had 4,000 more on the way.
The DMV has had trouble with residents not outfitting their vehicles with the proper plates before. The public has had trouble with the DMV not having sufficient plates in stock, waiting months to be handed a plate.
The Department had explained those days of shortages are in the past, they now have sufficient plates for both front and back end tagging of vehicles. It is also touted as being part of a crime prevention strategy by Police.
Back in June, Caley had told Magnetic Media that an estimated 3,000 vehicles were driving around the islands with incorrect plates; an offence which incurs a $300 fine.
Residents without license plates have roughly a year to apply for and affix the new plates to their vehicles. Residents must do so between December 1st 2022, and November 30th 2023.
North Caicos will get better Roads in the New Budget Year says Premier
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – With a Triple B+ credit rating and no debt to speak of, even if the government were to slow down development, the Turk and Caicos Islands will still have ample resources to carry out enhancements for all islands according to Washington Misick TCI Premier.
The premier was speaking at a recent town hall meeting in North Caicos and replying to a question regarding when certain dilapidated roads on the island would be upgraded.
He maintained that the government had made plans to improve on the roadways.
“We are putting in this budget for 23/24 funding for a feasibility study for the road, that has to come, it’s a must!” He reassured them, explaining that better roads would allow North and Middle Caicos residents to have more centralized schools and resources. Not to mention residents could more easily and safely drive, lowering the social cost on the government.
Misick, who is originally from North Caicos maintained that he wanted the entire country to have access to the developments.
“We are committed to investing heavily in roads, as I said we have no debt. If you have no debt you have no credit. Fortunately for the Turks and Caicos we have no debt but we have a Triple B+ credit rating and even with the massive investment we are making in the airport in Providenciales, institutions are tripping over themselves to lend the Turks and Caicos money.”
Still the Government has shown zero interest in taking up any of the potentially beneficial offers.
Recently the PNP government which has described itself as frugal returned a loan that had been procured from Republic Bank in Trinidad to assist with possible economic shortfalls associated with Covid-19. Consistently registering ‘in the black’ and with an economy outperforming projections, the loan negotiated under the Sharlene Robinson led administration was deemed no longer necessary and retired.
E Jay Saunders, Finance Minister and Deputy Premier, at the time had said that “There was a cost to having this [loan] facility in place, even if it was not being utilized. So, as it was in our economic interest to retire it, we did so,”
At the time of the announcement, this news organisation, as did many others in the country opined that the loan could have been used on any number of legacy problem areas including improving the public sector, enhancing public infrastructure, undergirding residents through more stimulus money or tackling of the waste management issues across the islands.
SCOTIABANK TCI WINS ANOTHER MAJOR BANK OF THE YEAR 2022 AWARD
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – Scotiabank Turks and Caicos (TCI) has been named Bank of the Year 2022 by internationally recognized UK-based banking publication -The Banker.
The award celebrates increased product innovation, digital transformation and the widespread recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and is contested by the leading financial institutions in the world.
The Bank of the Year 2022 award is the third major banking awards that Scotiabank TCI has captured this year including Global Finance Magazine (New York) Best Bank 2022 that was awarded in July and Best Digital Bank 2022 by the same publication in September.
Across Scotiabank’s global operations, similar Bank of the Year 2022 accolades have also been secured in Canada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
Dr. Suzan Snaggs -Wilson, Managing Director, Scotiabank TCI said “our success, and by extension, this award, is the direct result of the bank’s decision to expand and accelerate our digital transformation over the past two years . This was a central part of both our COVID-19 response strategy and general modernization objectives as we worked to align our operations with customer trends that favour self-service and remote banking conveniences.”
Snaggs-Wilson noted that the Bank has made strategic investments in technology and innovation to better serve customers, and that gains in digital have and allowed it to fast-track the optimization of the many products and services as key financial enablers for customers.
She also thanked her team of Scotiabank employees who she says “have kept focus on delivering friendly, high quality financial services and enabling the financial wellbeing of the Bank’s customers and without whom, the success of the Bank would not be possible.”
The Banker is the world’s longest-running international banking magazine, providing economic and financial intelligence for the world’s financial sector.
The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries judged and ranks them on their ability to deliver results, improve strategic positioning and enhance service to customers. Over 1,000 applications are collected each year and judges select winners based on which bank they believe has made the most progress over the past 12 months.
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