November 9, 2020 – Please allow me an opportunity to air my very serious concerns regarding this ongoing impasse with Beaches, and the latest developments which are more discouraging than encouraging.
After the latest volley of statements between the TCIG and Beaches Resorts, I must insist that the playing of games with the lives of the people must stop!
Only a few short days ago we heard all these great things about mediation and how it holds hope for a resolution, but barely had the print dried that mediation was out the window like everything else. Now we are left in a state of chaos with no idea about what is going to happen as we race toward the peak periods; Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond.
First the TCIG comes and says Beaches called off the mediation, followed almost immediately by the resort denying this and pointing toward a letter which the TCIG had sent to the resort on the cusp of the mediation. The clear implication is that whatever was contained in that letter derailed the talks that were to come. Beaches for its part has demanded that the letter be published. Well if that is how we get to the bottom of this then I also wish to see the contents of that letter.
That is important for several reasons the most urgent being that if there was something in that letter that impacted the mediation then we have to wonder why it is that the Premier and the TCIG would do such a thing, and what is the reason behind refusing to resolve this matter while people suffer.
On the other hand, if the letter does not contain anything that could be seen as disruptive, then we have questions to ask of Beaches.
But at this point the only party that has called for full disclosure is Beaches, and I shudder to think that the TCIG is intentionally prolonging this debacle while people all over the TCI suffer. If this is a political gimmick as is being suggested, then shame on the TCIG for so playing with the lives of those who elected it to serve.
The people of the TCI can no longer sit idly by while we hear empty talk and promises.
One has to ask the question, what does it profit Beaches to keep its doors closed at a time when it needs to open resorts and it probably needs all the business it can get? It simply does not compute. If the liability is $26 million as is being claimed, then I cannot see a multi-billion dollar company allowing such a sum to prevent it from opening – unless it’s not about the money.
Let’s look at this practically; the TCIG is accusing it key investor of not meeting all its tax liabilities, however Beaches has stood its ground insisting that not only has it paid its taxes according to its long standing agreement with the government, but that it is actually owed millions in overpaid taxes. Then there is the letter sent by the sitting Finance Minister Washington Misick confirming the arrangement. So it is not hard to see why Beaches has taken the stand it has, and I can understand why the resort is standing its ground because essentially it is being accused by a host government of not meeting tax liabilities. That is a damning thing to say has far reaching implications, and any company that is within its rights will defend itself from such an accusation whether it is $26 million or $26 dollars. Furthermore Beaches has been very public in its defense so this cannot be about simply evading payment as the TCIG has suggested.
So what is the truth?
We are no longer comforted by the platitudes we hear from the TCIG regarding its willingness to ‘engage in discussions (facilitated or otherwise) in good faith, with a view to ultimately arriving at a workable resolution for both parties.” We need more than words we need action, we need to see real effort, we are tired of the talk, talk and more talk.
Well you had the opportunity to do that on November 18th in the mediation, and if it is that the TCIG has done something – in this case the finger is being pointed at the contents of a letter sent to Beaches on October 29th – that has derailed that process then the people deserve to know why. So let the citizens be the judge indeed, publish the letter and let Beaches publish its response.
TWO SEXUAL Assault Cases begin in Providenciales Supreme Court
Freelance Court Reporter
#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – On Monday 25th September 2023 in the Providenciales Supreme Court before her Ladyship Ms. Tanya Lobban Jackson and a seven member Jury to be empaneled, there are TWO sexual assault/rape cases are listed to commence.
TRIAL 1: NICHOLL PRUDHOMME allegation date is on January 17th, 2022. The defendant is represented by Ms. Sheena Mair, who is also on bail.
The reported virtual complainant in this case is an adult in her 20’s.
TRIAL 2: DARROL FORBES allegations totaling six counts linked to alleged sexual abuse of one of his underage daughters.
The incidents, for which Forbes is being tried, range in dates from June 1st to August 31st in 2020.
Forbes is represented by Keith James and is on bail.
Finance minister not worried about Q1 negative growth
#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – E Jay Saunders, TCI Finance Minister, isn’t worried about an economic downturn following a quarter of negative growth in Q1 of 2023.
Speaking to Magnetic Media on Tuesday September 19th, the country’s Deputy Premier said: “Revenues don’t grow forever— you will have declines— but I am not nervous.”
During the recent Throne Speech, it was revealed that revenues were down and spending, too had decreased for the first quarter of TCIG’s fiscal year.
Saunders explained that with any country or even business, there were quarterly dips and spikes in economic performance but what mattered was the overall picture, which for the Turks and Caicos keeps climbing.
He also explained what could have caused the dip.
Saunders said that over the past two years the sale of luxury condominiums from places like the Ritz Carlton and post pandemic traveling boom, had rocketed the country’s income pumping up the cash brought in from stamp duties and other related taxes.
With less travel predicted and the country in a sort of in-between stage of construction with major buildings in the process of being finished but not as much new inventory on the market, Saunders said a drop in profits was not far-fetched.
He stressed though that this was not a reflection on ‘Brand TCI,’ rather the expected rise and fall of the economy. With the introduction of new real estate and the prime tourism season, revenues are expected to rebound.
The dip does however highlight an issue in the Turks and Caicos, that is its heavy dependence on tourism to buoy the economy and how quickly that can turn, as evidenced by the recent pandemic.
The Government says it has clocked the issue and is working to diversify the economy to isolate residents from economic shocks. The question is whether those reported efforts to build other significant revenue streams for the TCI happening quickly enough.
Royal TCI Police Briefs
#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 –
A 30-year-old male suspect remains in police custody assisting detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force with investigations, after the seizure of an AR15 Assault Rifle and several rounds of ammunition.
Preliminary reports state, that around 1.37 a.m. today, information was obtained regarding a suspicious vehicle that was intercepted by Police Officers.
This led to the arrest of the suspect, who was in the vehicle when officers intercepted it in the vicinity of Rock Plaza, Millennium Highway. A search of the vehicle resulted in the assault rifle and ammunition being found.
In a separate incident today at 8.25 a.m., Marine Branch officers acting on information proceeded to an area off Sapodilla Bay, South Dock, and noticed several packages floating in the sea. Eighteen packages were retrieved from the sea.
Upon inspection, the packages contained cocaine with an estimated street value of $250,000. Both incidents remain under active police investigations.
Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said today, “This arrest and drug find was a result of information obtained from members of the public and great teamwork between different sections of the Force on the land and at sea. We remain grateful for your assistance and trust in the Police Force as we continue our partnership to ensure the TCI remains a safe place to live work and visit.
“This is the second assault rifle seized within the last two weeks and these successes are the result of hard work and commitment by my officers to pushing back on criminals intent on causing harm to our communities.
“I wish to again thank and encourage the public to continue working alongside us, if you see something, say something, there are options available for sharing information with us”.
The public is being asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at 232-8752, or call TCI Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and give any information on illegal activities.
Additionally, persons are encouraged to contact the Miami-Dade & Florida Keys Crime Stoppers at 1-305-471-8477 and give any information anonymously.
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