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Thorough Report on Connolly’s Ministerial Portfolio in the HOA by new Tourism Leader

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#TurksandCaicos, April 2, 2021 – House of Assembly held a session on Tuesday March 30, but it was during the March 22, 2021 meeting the nation heard from Tourism & Environment Minister, Josephine Connolly who said there is already preparation ongoing on ways to enhance the speed of service of the TCI Assured portal.

“Mr. Speaker, the Ministry and Tourist Board spent most of the last year very much involved with the COVID 19 response and the setting up and management of the TCI Assured Portal. Mr. Speaker the portal continues to assess persons entering the country to avoid the importation of COVID 19. In the coming weeks, we will assess the workings of the portal and work with the Ministry of Health to review the current entry protocols.

Mr. Speaker we expect that over the next few weeks the arrival rates from the United States will increase. Although they will not meet the pre COVID 19 figures, with increases in vaccination it means that we must determine how we will manage the portal in the coming months,” said Minister Connolly who was reporting following a string of departmental debriefings within her ministerial portfolio.

Minister Connolly said new promotions for Turks and Caicos have been launched in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, even as the US continues to discourage non-essential travel and as Joe Biden, President of the US, this week announced a fourth wave of COVID infection for the States is looming. 

TCI is working the safe and secure destination angle in its promotions said the Minister, who also encouraged vaccination. 

“Although, Mr. Speaker we know we will not meet the pre COVID numbers, we are still encouraged that the numbers regarding arrivals show increases in arrival. This is not for us to let our guard down. Mr. Speaker we are promoting our islands as a safe and secure destination with clear pre-arrival protocols and a vaccination program. We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. This act helps you and helps our country as well. It will put us on the map as a country that doing all it can to prevent and protect against the spread of COVID 19. Get vaccinated!”

With social gatherings still banned under current health protocols, the Fish Fry, which was successfully staged at the Bight beachside Park is not able to be held, however, when the weekly native show and marketplace does resume, it will be at a new location in Providenciales. 

“I should mention that I was also briefed on the future of the Fish Fry. The Fish Fry is a staple for visitors and residents. Several factors including COVID 19 has put the Fish Fry on hold. I am informed of discussions and decisions on a new site for the Fish Fry and in the coming weeks will be discussing this matter so that we make the best decision possible on the suitability of a new site and timelines to achieve our objectives for this,” informed Minister Connolly.

The Gaming sector is under pressure to morph to a Commission ahead of the expanded casino and gaming landscape which is coming as a result of the RitzCarlton resort due to be completed construction in four months.  Also the Minister for Gaming, Josephine Connolly revealed that the transition to a Gaming Commission is frustrated by a lack of capacity. 

“Mr. Speaker, I am currently continuing my review of this program, I am working toward a speedy placement of key personnel and reviewing several matters to ensure that the Gaming sector is on the right footing.”

The Minister who gave the report in the House of Assembly session on Tourism, Environment & Coastal Resources, the National Trust, Environment & Maritime Affairs, Disaster Management and Emergencies and Gaming said debriefings with each of her departments have been enlightening. 

She said the National Trust needs support with Marketing and Public Relations as culture becomes more intertwined with Heritage for cultural preservation, she commended the DDME as one of the best run government engines but informed that improvements in voluntary support, early warning and communications systems and erasing the issues surrounding shelter management are among her focuses there. 

“Mr. Speaker my aim would be to ensure that we address the shelter management issues and that we establish systems to improve early warnings, stronger volunteer involvement, and communication systems that will ensure that we can communicate throughout a disaster and immediately following. Mr. Speaker the evidence is there that for an effective disaster management response, everyone has to be involved and see themselves as part of the solution.”

Meetings are planned over the next few weeks to establish the Throne Speech promise of organising and expanding the fishing industry – the country’s third industry and the Maritime sector needs new laws, said Minister Josephine Connolly.

“Mr. Speaker my aim is to ensure that the new laws that are drafted are at the top of our Legislative agenda. These new laws will help to modernize the Maritime Sector and improve the safety and security issues surrounding our boats and ship register. Mr. Speaker I am pleased at the effort that the new Director and her team have put in to make sure the Department is ready for the Maritime Audit of our Industry. We aim to marry this industry more strongly with our fishing industry and ensure that the resources that are needed are in place.”

Adding to this, it was explained:  “Mr. Speaker during the next few weeks I will be meeting with representatives from the Fisheries Advisory Committee, the Fishing Corp and all other stakeholder and interest groups. These groups are important to our vision of inclusiveness. I am looking forward to meeting with them and together designing a way forward.”

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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss forced to break tax cut promise

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, October 6, 2022 – A month into her tenure as Liz Truss, UK Prime Minister is going back on one of her biggest campaign promises to cut taxes for certain British citizens.

The tax cut in question had been part of the PMs signature campaign to ease the economic burden in the UK and one that she and former Finance Minister and candidate for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had repeatedly clashed about. It would have seen the top earners, meaning anyone bringing in over £150 thousand a year, pay less money to the government.

Unfortunately the plan rocked Britain’s economy pushing the pound on par with the US dollar for the first time in years.

It is an economic blow, and at a time when families are already struggling with incredibly high energy bills and inflation. The money to find these tax cuts would have been borrowed an idea that her own party signaled it would vote against.  In addition to the economic impacts British citizens had also been strongly opposed to that facet of the economic plans.

In letting go of the tax cut, Truss said, “We get it and we have listened” the admission coming days after she defended it to the public.

Still there are parts of the larger package that will still go on which will afford tax cuts to lower income families and put a cap on energy costs.

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Bahamas News

Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.

In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is warning them to cease and desist.

“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.”  It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries.   And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis.  This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.

“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.

And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.

“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”

If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says  is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’

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Caribbean News

Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, October 6, 2022 – Barbados is now hosting the first-ever global fintech conference in the Caribbean.

Over 300 delegates from across the globe and varying sectors within the industry will be attending the event. It began on Wednesday October 5, concluding October  7 and is being staged at the Hilton Barbados.

The Fintech Islands conference will feature renowned fintech leaders delivering key addresses and over 20 hours of curated content. The mandate of the event is to create a world-class event that will be a catalyst for the growth of the fintech ecosystem in the Caribbean.

One major highlight of the conference will be the welcome address by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who will also host an exclusive VIP meet and greet.

Some of the major themes of the event that are relevant to the context of the Caribbean venue are Financial Inclusion, Climate Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Decentralised Finance and Embedded and Open Finance.

The event will have a range of speakers from founders, CEOs and fintech leaders from North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Africa.

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