14 TCHTA MEMBERS APPROVED AS COVID-19 TESTING CENTRES
PRESS RELEASE: With the recent Center for Disease Control announcement of new testing requirements for travellers entering the United States, our tourism-dependent destination was faced with an immediate need for an increase in testing capacity to provide visitors convenient access to COVID-19 testing.
The Ministry of Health welcomed the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association to complement the make-up of a Task Force assembled to develop a strategy that would significantly bolster the country’s capacity for testing. TCHTA members, led by President Todd Foss, quickly rallied and offered assistance for a timely solution.
While Turks and Caicos is fortunate to be one of the first destinations in the region to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine program, the need for visitors to test prior to their return home could easily threaten the vitality of the hospitality sector, already fragile due to the effects of the global pandemic.
The Ministry of Health thoughtfully and swiftly rolled out a certification programme with strict requirements enabling the certification of resorts and businesses as testing sites. An inspection and training programme was dispatched soon after, and MOH personnel ensured designated staff members at all properties were guided in the administration of the Lateral Flow Antigen tests accepted by the US.
Through this remarkable partnership, the country’s testing capacity saw exponential growth in a matter of days. Fourteen (14) TCHTA members are now approved testing sites with more applications currently being processed. Those members are: Amanyara Resort, Associated Medical Practices, Beaches Resort, Club Med Turkoise, COMO Parrot Cay, Flamingo Pharmacy, Grace Bay Club, Grace Bay Medical Centre, InterHealth Canada, Omnicare Medical Center, Sailrock Resort, Seven Stars Resort & Spa, The Palms, and The Shore Club.
To facilitate the needs of guests on-island departing within the first few weeks of the new requirement, TCHTA member Seven Stars Resort graciously provided a portion of their on-island kits to other approved testing sites, ensuring guests convenient and timely access to testing.
President Todd Foss stated, “It was inspiring to see the public and private sectors working so well together in order to solve yet another serious threat to the economy of the island”.
The association is also working to educate members and their teams on the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and TCI’s vaccination programme. Ms. Alrisa Gardiner, Primary Health Care Manager of the Ministry of Health, was invited to lead a session for the association’s 200-member group.
learned about the properties of the vaccine, who should and should not
take the vaccine, the importance of herd immunity and more. To
date thousands of residents have received their first doses of the vaccine
in Turks and Caicos in just a few weeks.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a recipient of the Safe Travels Stamp issued by the World Travel Council. With the country’s vaccine roll-out and the increased testing capabilities, TCI proudly maintains its designation as one of the safest and most convenient places to travel to.
With a firm commitment to the sustainability and longevity of this country’s leading sector, the TCHTA is proud to partner with Government and the Ministry of Health in these efforts to ensure the protection and continued strengthening of the industry and brand TCI.
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 19th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Grand Turk. All other members were present.
At this meeting Cabinet:
- Approved the terms and conditions for an application from a land surveyor for a licence.
- Approved the making of the Revised Edition of the Laws 2021 (Commencement Order) 2022 subject to the approval of the House of Assembly; laws will be now be made available free of charge to members of the public on the Attorney General’s website. Physical reproductions will continue to be sold.
- Discussed proposed amendments to the Insurance Ordinance as drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers and consultation with the industry.
- Approved for the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be introduced to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
- Approved the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee Budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for office furniture and supplies; confirmed annual payments for the annual membership costs to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Agencies (FIA) and annual costs of the FIA’s travel costs for the Egmont annual meeting.
- Approved a three year rental lease agreement for the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, religious Affairs and Gaming, and the Tourist Board and Department of Culture in Providenciales.
- Approved a lease agreement for a temporary HQ for the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in Providenciales.
- Was updated on the proposed merger of NIB/NHIP Compliance and Collections. Further consideration was requested before Cabinet can take a decision.
- Noted the award of the following contracts in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Ordinance:
- PN 005600, TR 21/48, Furniture and equipment for Mental Health Facility – Grand Turk
- PN 005611, TR 21/30, Ballistic Vests for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force
III. PN 005614, TR 21/37, Bellefield Landing Civilian Safety Project – Safe Boat Slips
- PN 005627, TR 21/53, Furniture and Equipment for Public Works Programme Management
- PN 005630, TR 21/08, Vehicles for Government (resubmission)
- Approved for a request from American Airlines to waive the import customs duties and customs processing fees for replacement parts for an aircraft that had an emergency landing on Providenciales to be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
- Noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) for legislative amendments to be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the TCIAA. Cabinet requested further consideration. Proposed amendments will be considered by the House of Assembly for approval in due course.
- Approved the grant of a long lease to an applicant for a funeral home and cemetery on 60003/231 PT (2.5 ACRES)
Turks & Caicos Islands Government retains it BBB+ credit rating
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – On the 29th of March 2022, Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) released the results of the review of the 2021 sovereign credit rating for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). S&P has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating for long-term bonds, denominated in both domestic and foreign currency, of BBB+. Additionally, the agency also maintained the outlook as Stable for the TCI.
The Rating Agency advised that the stable outlook takes into account that the country’s economy will continue to recover given the strong performance of tourism and will improve in 2022. Furthermore, S&P believes the TCI will continue to adhere to prudent financial management and limit borrowing, and that fiscal reserve balances will increase during the next two years. Additionally, the rating agency also expects continuity in TCI’s institutional relationship with the U.K.
In its report, the rating agency advised that the rationale for the rating was a result of the Country’s institutional and economic profile. That is, the economic recovery led by resurgence in tourism and continued institutional stability. S&P indicated that despite the short-term pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the TCI Government’s prudent actions, aided by the U.K.’s swift transfer of vaccines, allowed international travel to resume as early as the first quarter of 2021. The combination of the Government’s swift response, coupled with pent-up demand in key source markets, led to a strong recovery in tourism, which in turn, has led to a better-than anticipated economic recovery. S&P estimates GDP per capita to be $23,674 in 2021, up from $20,757 in 2020 – a 14% year over year increase. Tourism remains the core pillar of the economy, indirectly accounting for about 65% of GDP.
S&P indicated that the ratings could be revised upwards if better-than-expected GDP increases and continued favorable growth prospects were to substantially boost economic resilience. Additionally, the rating agency also stated that they could also raise the ratings if better availability of timely data, especially on external flows and stocks, were to boost transparency and indicated that TCI enjoyed a significantly stronger economic or external position.
However, if the rebound in tourism is interrupted or turns out to be weaker than expected, leading to prolonged stress on revenues, this may cause the TCI Government to run persistent fiscal deficits that could materially worsen public finances. This could lead to a down grading of the rating.
Commenting on the rating, Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade, Hon. E. Jay Saunders, stated that “I am happy and extremely proud that S&P saw fit to maintain our country’s credit rating at BBB+, particularly at a time when many countries had theirs downgraded – mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the strength of our economy, and particularly, our government’s prudent handling of it. We have taken particular note of S&P’s comment that they could raise the ratings on better availability of timely data, and we are working towards achieving that.”
TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.
Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.
Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.
Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”
Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.
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