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Turks & Caicos Gov’t offers interest-free Christmas advance to Civil Servants

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File photo, TCI Govt Health Care workers

TurksandCaicosIslands – December 10, 2020 – TCIG PRESS RELEASE – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government is pleased to advise of the approval of the Public Financial Management (Special Christmas Advance) (Temporary Provisions) Bill 2020 which was approved by the Cabinet and subsequently the House of Assembly to facilitate the payment of an interest free Christmas Advance to all interested Civil Servants.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government has for the past two decades and beyond, always provided its staff with some form of a Christmas Advance/Loan Program. 

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In 2011 TCIG regrettably ceased the direct offering of the program itself due to fiscal constraints.  However, a partnership was entered into with the local financial institutions to offer a program to staff at commercial interest rates.

In 2019 TCIG reinstated the direct offering of an interest free Christmas Advance to its staff on more favorable terms than in the past as the previous programs only allowed a maximum payout of $2,000 while the new program allows staff up to a maximum of their basic monthly salary.

Some 1,148 civil servants benefited from the 2019 program at a cost of $2.9m to the Turks and Caicos Government with a payback rate of over 99% demonstrating its great success.

Commenting on the program Deputy Governor Anya Williams said:  “We are pleased to once again offer our staff an interest free Christmas Advance Program this financial year. 

Health Care workers celebrated during pandemic; among the civil servants eligible for Christmas loan

Civil servants have worked tirelessly throughout the past few months during the pandemic to ensure that service continued to be delivered to persons across the Turks and Caicos Islands in a highly difficult environment. 

They have done an excellent job in responding to the pandemic by working to keep us safe and healthy, ensure that revenue continued to be collected, expenses continued to be paid, our borders were able to be reopened, our streets continued to be policed and maintained and our children continued to receive instructional learning through our online learning platforms, among other areas.

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We are grateful for their continued dedication and commitment and will continue to do our best to improve the social, economic and physical well-being of civil servants across the TCI by continuing to establish policies and programs to their benefit.”

Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson in commenting said:  “Notwithstanding the fiscal challenges around the world at the moment, my Government is pleased to once again facilitate an interest free Christmas Advance program for the civil service this year.

Health Care Workers celebrated amidst pandemic, file photo

We know that this has been a very difficult year for many persons, including persons in the civil service who while receiving their full salaries during the pandemic may still have been impacted by other means due to loss of income by other family members.

Having prioritized our finances, we have as a government sought during the pandemic to provide much needed support to persons across the Turks and Caicos Islands through our Stimulus, Business Grant, Feeding and other assistance programs and will continue to provide support and assistance where necessary to all persons possible, including those in the civil service.”

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TCI Man tries to escape major Gun Trafficking case, caught in Provo Airport

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 1, 2024 – He was reportedly trying to flee the Turks and Caicos last Thursday February 16 and now he is arrested and charged as among the people allegedly part of a gun smuggling ring.  GINO GERBEX, who was caught in the airport trying to evade authorities is the brother of LORENZO GERBEX.  Lorenzo has already been before the courts and is granted $20,000.00 bail with conditions.

Gino Gerbex is the older brother and was checked in for a flight out of the TCI when he was taken into police custody and taken before the Court to face gun charges; the man has been remanded to Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

While one brother was on his way out of jail on bail, that is Lorenzo Gerbex; the other brother, Gino Gerbex, was on his way into prison on remand on gun conspiracy charges; that was Tuesday February 20.

Both brothers are formally charged with conspiring to supply firearms and ammunition following a six month long investigation.

He appeared before the Hon. Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin charged with conspiring with JUMILLO ISMA, now deceased and others to supply guns and bullets in 2022 and 2023 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Chief Magistrate explained to him his limitations in such an indictable case and transferred the matter to the Supreme Court for April 10th, 2024. The elder Gerbex was also remanded to that date but can apply for bail in the Supreme Court at any time.

Three others, RYAN SMITH, JAMES FERGUSON AND LORENZO GERBEX have already been charged in this conspiracy ring and with others not yet named.  Smith, Ferguson and Gerbex have been granted bail.

A fourth accused SHAKEME SEYMOUR who had asked for time to consult an attorney or apply for legal aid had his matter, on Tuesday February 20th, transferred to the Supreme Court by the learned Hon. Grand Turk Resident Magistrate Ms. Patricia Arana.

He was remanded to the same Sufficiency Hearing date of April10th. He too has the right to apply to the Supreme Court for bail.

It is anticipated that the older GERBEX brother will be granted bail in a matter of days.

It is not clear if officers of the Serious Crimes Unit have exhausted their arrest list in this matter, evolving from the reported discovery of a cell phone found in a white Fuga car in 2021, believed to be left behind when Isma fled the car.

Jumilla Isma was gunned down in October 2023 mere yards away from the departure terminal of the Providenciales International Airport; he too was trying to flee the Turks and Caicos Islands on a British Airways flight but was murdered, along with another young man, Mike Forbes, before he could board the plane.

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GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS SICK OUT ACTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (March 1st, 2024): The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) assure the travelling public that all measures are being implemented to mitigate the sick out action by Air Traffic Controllers at the Howard Hamilton International Airport.

All agencies – The Office of the Governor, The Office of the Premier, The TCIAA, The Turks and Caicos Royal Police Force, Experience Turks and Caicos – are working together to ensure that our travellers are not inconvenienced.

Our law enforcement partners, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force have affirmed their commitment to ensure the safety and security of travellers, airport personnel and the TCI community amidst the challenges posed by the action of the Air Traffic Controllers and are working with all partners to ensure safety.

All travellers are advised to check with their relevant airlines for any possible delays.

END

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Industrial Action at TCI Airport

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Hon. Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of the Opposition

 

The leadership of the People’s Democratic Movement is currently monitoring the ongoing industrial action at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, our nation’s primary gateway. It is disheartening to know that our workers’ job dissatisfactions, in particular the Air Traffic controllers, have reached a point where they saw that it was in their best interest to take this stance here today.

The PDM believes in being proactive rather than reactive, and that discussions to ensure the workers’ satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, should be ongoing, and discrepancies and complaints should be addressed at their earliest time to minimize dissatisfaction.

Delays at the airport are not good for anyone: not good for our people who have to travel to and from our family islands, not good for persons traveling to seek medical attention, not good for visitors leaving to return home, not good for visitors who have chosen the Turks & Caicos Islands and have the choice to cancel and go to another destination to go on vacation, not good for the taxi/tour operators and our people working in the tourism industry, and not good for the image of the country.

This also underscores the critical need to engage the International Labor Organization (ILO) to conduct a thorough assessment of our outdated labor laws. This review must encompass both the public and private sectors to safeguard against any exploitation, mistreatment, or under-compensating of workers in our country,

The People’s Democratic Movement is dedicated to this cause and is committed to formally engaging the ILO to conduct a comprehensive review of our labor laws within the first 30-60 days of assuming Office as the new government of these islands. Additionally, we stand steadfast in implementing any recommendations for improving employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity, while also providing the environment for business long-term success.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that considers the needs of both the workers and the businesses, the Peoples’ Democratic Movement believes that our country can create a balanced regulatory framework that supports economic growth, protects workers’ rights, and fosters a fair and sustainable work environment for all stakeholders.

The PDM is the ANSWER…

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