#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).
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI.
The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues.
The session aimed to highlight success stories and explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.
The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.
As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.
In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor, immediately.
Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.
- Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
- Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.
Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales. Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.
The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.
In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing locally.
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