#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – December 17, 2020 – A starting loan of $80 million dollars is approved by the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly and it will help to mitigate the economic fall-out resulting from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local economy.
Losses sent the Turks and Caicos into recession and demanded that funds be found to fill the hundreds of millions of dollars lost in government revenue.
Premier Sharlene Robinson, on Wednesday December 16, informed the House, that it took a mere seven weeks of a competitive bidding process following the October announcement of the need for the loan, to agree on the Republic Bank Ltd as the best lender.
The loan is for up to $80 million at a per annum interest rate of 2.9 percent. Turks and Caicos has 12 months to repay the loan and can borrow an additional $100 million with no additional fees or penalties, said Mrs. Robinson, TCI Premier and Minister of Finance.
The Opposition Leader believes it took the PDM Administration too long to move to secure the loan.
“It is surprising that it took us until October to be able to reach out to financial institutions,” said Washington Misick, who is also the former Minister of Finance, “We could have seen this coming and could have better prepared to provide relief to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands based on those projections. The good thing about numbers, the good thing about financial planning is you could always present what is called flexible budgets, scenario analysis that would say what the worst situation is, the best situation is and more likely situations.”
Mr. Misick is convinced the Turks and Caicos will need more money and shared the Opposition will support the measure largely because of those who would be adversely impacted if the borrowed funds were any further delayed.
“…for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and particularly the persons who would most likely be impacted, by the inability to pay government expenses in the absence of having this stand by line of credit
There was also concern and caution expressed by the Opposition Leader about when Turks and Caicos would begin to see some semblance of normal in the leading industry of tourism.
“It is anticipated that tourism would be in full swing by the middle of December, which is where we are now my understanding is the average occupancy rate in the islands is around 35 at the most 40 percent. So, I’m hoping – as I have spoken to the budget in April – that again we are not being over optimistic about what the real situation is.”
Misick agreed that the cost of the borrowing is reasonable.
Republic Bank is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and is a publically traded company on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE).