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Vaccine for Turks & Caicos expected early 2021, says Premier

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#TurksandCaicos – December 7, 2020 – The UK on November 13 revealed in its House of Commons that all of the overseas territories would receive from its inventory of 350 million doses of coronavirus vaccines when the time comes. The time is here as the United Kingdom begins vaccinations for the virus tomorrow, having ordered a 40 million dose batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

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Turks and Caicos is a British overseas territory and Premier Sharlene Robinson, during Saturday’s PDM rally talked about what the emergency decision by the UK to begin inoculations means for Turks and Caicos.

“Only this week, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve the Coronavirus vaccine paving the way for mass vaccinations. The first doses are already on their way to the UK with 800,000 due in the coming days. We are continuing our discussion with Public Health England and there is no doubt that TCI will be a part of the roll out in the new year,” explained the Premier and Finance Minister who also forecasts Turks and Caicos will return to pre-Covid levels by end of 2021.

It is no surprise that the TCI Cabinet agreed to accept the offer of vaccines. 

The UK has made significant investment in its overseas territories’ public health programs in the fight against the coronavirus.  The House of Commons learned that support to the tune of $33.5 million USD has been spent on the 260,000 cumulative residents of the OTs.  

“The Government has accepted the recommendations from the Independent Medicines & Health Care Products Regulatory Agency to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for distribution across the United Kingdom. After months of clinical trials involving thousands of people to ensure that the vaccine meets the strictest internationally recognized standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, thanks to the fantastic work Kate Bingham and the vaccine’s task force, we have purchased of more than 350 million doses of seven different vaccine candidates,” said Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister on December 2.

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The country’s Chief Medical Officer confirmed, in a recent Ministry of Health press conference that the vaccine would be free.

“We do have a draft immunization strategy, explained Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer, in response to our question in a press conference held in mid-November. 

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“In that strategy we are also including the communications strategy to ensure that the public is aware of the vaccine and our plans for the distribution.  It’s not mandatory; the vaccine as it is going to be brand new (and) we are entering into an agreement where we are able to get 20 percent  of our population covered.” There are mixed feelings among islanders about taking the vaccine.  The Premier, at the rally, reminded that the Covid-19 vaccine will be voluntary.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

New License Plates rolled out for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#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.

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North Caicos will get better Roads in the New Budget Year says Premier

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#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.

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Caribbean News

SCOTIABANK TCI WINS ANOTHER MAJOR BANK OF THE YEAR 2022 AWARD

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#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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