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TCI: The People’s Time Throne Speech delivered; Swearing in under sunny skies in Grand Turk

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#TurksandCaicos, March 8, 2021 – Home grown investment appears to be poised to be elevated, incentivized and prioritized according to the new Progressive National Party (PNP) Government Administration in its Throne Speech, which was on Parliament Opening and Swearing in day delivered by Her Excellency, Anya Williams, (Acting) Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Over the years, our dependence on FDI driven development has led to unintended consequences, instead of policy driven outcomes and results.

To grow and diversify the TCI economy will require a strong combination of domestic and foreign direct investments.

My Government’s new investment policy will place emphasis on domestic investment, including funding sources for qualifying start-ups and existing entities – especially in the productive sector.”

This was an early message in the 14-page Speech, which is a traditional conveyance on the intention of the new government, which in this case has been given a massive mandate after winning governance 14 to 1, against the People’s Democratic Movement on Friday February 19, 2021.

In order to achieve this more balanced approach to investment, which gives the domestic investor preferential standing is an overhaul of Invest Turks and Caicos Agency, again.

“My Government will revamp Invest TCI to make it more effective in investment promotion and facilitation, attracting new investors and retaining existing ones.

We will augment the team with world class commercial business and legal expertise and balance customer concerns against the different regulatory goals of agencies through better inter-governmental communication.”

Listed were the results these changes of the investment unit should bring, including:  Removal of barriers to and direct concessions in favour of domestic investment; Rebalance the current allocation of land use which was driven by foreign investors with an efficient and equitable land use policy; Incentivise joint-ventures and partnerships between FDI and local entrepreneurs especially in the productive sectors; Establish minimum investment thresholds for stand- alone FDI entities and strengthen compliance measures in the restricted business categories.

Development Agreements will also become more simplified and strategic. 

“Repeal the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and replace it with a new investment promotion legal framework that focuses on domestic investment, and genuine long-term alliances and partnerships with foreign investors.  Restructure the revenue system to eliminate the need for complicated development agreements and Create new types of investments.”

Premier Hon C. Washington Misick and the PNP’s message through H.E. Williams shared a new mantra for the party it seems; that this new session of Parliament is about creating wealth opportunity and equality; Misick dubbed it ‘the People’s Time.’

“We have made significant gains in some of the measurements of development, such as life expectancy; better access by our people to primary, secondary, and tertiary education; healthcare; improved infrastructure and greater access to electricity and clean water.

Regrettably, our people have not benefitted as much as they should from the significant growth in our GDP. Far too many remain on the margins and barely eke out an existence.

The next fifty years must be for and about the people. Everything we do must be centred on their wellbeing, welfare and wealth creation.”

The First sitting of the First meeting of the First session of the 12th Legislature was held on Friday March 5, 2021 at the Parade Grounds in Grand Turk, where Covid-19 public health protocols were observed. 

The Speaker for the House of Assembly is Hon Gordon Burton; his deputy is South Caicos Member, Hon. Rev. John Malcolm.


Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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