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TCIG cuts Economic Stimulus by over $10 million while 2,000 people wait for cash

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – December 22, 2020 – The pace and procedure of financial support to thousands of Turks and Caicos Islands people amidst the catastrophic Covid-19 pandemic has attracted some commendation but mainly it has elicited stinging criticism.

Government last week rushed through the House of Assembly a measure to grant a Christmas loan of up to one month’s salary to Civil Servants, while casually accepting that as many as 2,000 people who applied for stimulus cash were still waiting the promised funds. 

The first stimulus payouts began in April, yet of the 9,000 people who had applied and the 7,165 applications which were approved, there remains nearly 400 people, eight months later, who have yet to be paid.

The fact is revealed in the 61-page Appropriations Committee Report which guided debate on the recent Budget Supplementary.

Families across the country have been devastated by the pandemic’s walloping effect on travel and tourism.  In some households, both mother and father lost income or experienced a drastic reduction in salary. 

Public sector salaries were uninterrupted during the pandemic, yet the urgency of the government was clear and the Christmas loan for its workers was fast-tracked.

The same sense of resoluteness was less tangible in relation to the thousands who have been pining for their stimulus monies.

Taxi and public license drivers still wait.  In a press conference, it was announced there is a $500,000 allotment to this category of workers.  However, until they work out an arrangement with the National Insurance Board, the free funding is frozen.

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From the report:  ‘Taxi Drivers Stimulus – The Taxi Drivers stimulus is still outstanding as the Ministry of Finance is awaiting confirmation from the Taxi Drivers that they had entered into arrangements with NIB’

In the second round of Economic Stimulus, the TCI Government offered $600 to Turk and Caicos citizens who were adversely impacted when the national lockdown and subsequent raft of restrictions were imposed from March to July.

The deadline for applications was December 9 and 3,129 Belongers applied for the financial help.  The Report did not state who, if anyone, had received the payout.

The Appropriations Committee Report informed 90 percent of the 900 Business applications approved are paid; however it means 90 local companies, months later, are still hanging on in hope for the critical cash.

Also striking in the report is the stated reduction of $5.5 million in funding to the Economic Stimulus plan.  However, the same report informed that the Committee approved $19.3 million as the new budgeted sum for the stimulus. This agreed figure falls nearly $12 million below the previously budgeted $25 million dollars for financial support to workers amidst the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the country is apparently swimming in cash due to, what can only be labelled, a wise savings strategy firmly guided by British oversight of the once fiscally beleaguered territory. 

In the Report presented in the House of Assembly on December 16, 2020 it is outlined that cumulatively, TCIG has $155 million dollars set aside.

The breakdown is:  the National Forfeiture Fund: $6.4 million; National Wealth Fund: $25.8 million; the Development Fund: $26 million and Unrestricted Cash: $96.8 million.

While some countries committed to monthly payments up to a specific number of weeks of stimulus money to people who suffered lost wages as a result of the unexpected, unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government opted for a one-time only payment approach.

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Sports

Inter-High and Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships set to end TCI School Sports Season 2023/24 with a bang

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, February 19, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) Track and Field season is in full effect and post the completion of the Track and Field Development meets, the tension has intensified.

On February 10 and 17, the TCAAA alongside the TCI Sports Commission hosted Track and Field Development Meets, to allow athletes to compete and see where they fare up against their peers before the ultimate Nationals. The Distance and Jumps meet took place first with Sprints and Jumps following the following Saturday.

Athlete to Watch

CARIFTA Medalist Love Joseph did not compete in the Distance and Jumps meet, however, he has competed in a few regional meets this year. Joseph won the 800m and 1500m at the Diana Lynn Thompson Invitational on February 10 in Nassau, Bahamas. In the 1500m, he ran 4:22:17 which is a season’s best but not his personal best. In the 800m, he achieved a personal best time of 2:05:86. He now attends the Clement Howell High School, last year competing for the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School.

He also achieved a personal best time of 4:15:37 in the 1500m at the Youngsters Goldsmith Track and Field meet at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on February 3, 2024.
Inter-High School Track and Field Championships (Nationals) | February 29 – March 2
The three-day event will take place at the National Stadium on Venetian Road from Thursday to Saturday, slated to be a showstopping weekend. Junior athletes will not just be competing for a place on the podium, they will also be vying for a spot on the National Team to compete in the CARIFTA Games. This year’s CARIFTA is set to take place in Grenada from March 30 – April 1.
Following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight. Last year, the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School came out on top with 18 Gold, 22 Silver and 13 Bronze medals. Clement Howell High School followed with 16 Gold 6 Silver and 10 Bronze medals with Marjorie Basden High School in third with 12 Gold 9 Silver and 8 Bronze medals.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

How to Watch
Entry tickets will be sold at the booth, $10 for adults and $5 for children per day. The event will be livestreamed from the TCI Sports Commission and FLOW our streaming partner’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It will also be broadcast via radio on RTC 89.1 FM.
Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships | March 19 – 21
This year, primary school students will once again get their chance to show what they are made of. The Primary School Championships bring in a high number of schools participating with 18 schools partaking last year. Likewise, following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight.
The two-time champions Ona Glinton Primary School clinched the win in 2022/23 with 19 medals total – 8 Gold 6 Silver and 5 Bronze. Second Place Ianthe Pratt Primary School took home 20 medals – 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze while Richmond Hill Primary School placed third with 12 medals – 7 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

Upcoming events in the Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) 2023/24 Sport Schedule

  1. TCISS Inter-High School Track and Field Championships – February 29 – March 2, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)
  2. TCISS Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships – March 19-21, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)

The full TCISS event schedule, standings and further updates can be found on the TCI Sports Commission’s website https://www.gov.tc/sports/our-events/tci-school-sports.

For the latest news on the TCISS, fans can follow on Instagram (@tcisportscommission) and Facebook (Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission). To share your experience with TCISS on social, use the hashtags #TCISS and #morethanjustsports.

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Crime

Three Arrested, Drugs Seized in North Caicos

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Serious Crime Unit detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have arrested  three men and seized a quantity of marijuana and cocaine during anti-crime operations in North  Caicos. 

Senior Officers and Magistrates issued Authorities and Warrants to Search four premises from  noon on February 14th to 3 pm today (February 16th). 

Three males, two of whom are aged 21 and an 18-year-old, were arrested for murder.  Investigations remain ongoing. 

Head of the Serious Crime and Public Protection Unit Superintendent Dean Holden said: “Our  team’s dedication and intelligence-led policing continue to play a significant role in disrupting  criminal activities.  

“Our operations will remain ongoing throughout the TCI as we continue to pursue leads and  ensure those responsible for causing fear are held accountable within the confines of the law. Our  communities deserve to feel safe, and we won’t rest until that goal is achieved.  

“I wish to also thank members of the public for their continued support and information ”. 

Additionally, Tactical Officers conducted a series of operations in Grand Turk. Several field searches were conducted in Over Back, and several items relating to ongoing  investigations were found, including a firearm. 

The public is asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at  231-1842, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and anonymously give any information on  illegal activity.

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Caribbean News

Deputy Premier Spot on, TCI TODAY Removed from EU Blacklist

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Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Sixteen months after being added to the European Union’s Black List for non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, the Turks and Caicos Islands is now off that list.

“Today,the Council removed The Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles and Turks and Caicos Islands from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.”

The release explicitly states that in the case of the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas, “ever since October 2022, deficiencies in the enforcement of economic substance requirements had been identified in both of these jurisdictions by the OECD Forum of Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP).”

It was recommended for remedy to the deficiencies has now been “converted from hard to soft recommendations,” said the statement.

That pivot was fundamental in the de-listing of the two countries said the information from the Council.

“…which allowed the Code of Conduct Group to consider these jurisdictions with no or only a nominal corporate income tax.”

When Magnetic Media spoke to E. Jay Saunders, Turks and Caicos Deputy Premier and Finance Minister in March 2023 he had full confidence that it was only a matter of time before the TCI was given a more favourable position with the EU. 

“There is no question about it. I’m confident that by February 2024, we will be off the list– I’m completely confident and there are no lasting repercussions.”   

 It had been sub-par computer systems that landed the TCI on the list.  The Deputy Premier, at the time offered that the EU was being too dramatic and its language, disproportionate surrounding the issue. 

That black listing and gray listing is often viewed as a black eye in the financial services sector, therefore this announcement today is vindication for the TCI and a huge plus for the Fintech ambitions of the Misick-led government.

 Twelve others remain with the unsavory categorization including Caribbean neighbours: Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands; Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda.

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