#TuksandCaicos, May 5, 2021 – Monday, May 3, 2021, marked 50 working days of the new TCI PNP administration. Even though the new government took over in the middle of the pandemic when the future economic potential of the islands seemed murkier, the country is doing far much better than anticipated from a financial standpoint.
Speaking about the progress made by the new government, the Premier explained the country’s financial state while emphasizing how critical planning has been vital in fulfilling the Citizen’s Contract; the Progressive National Party’s 2021 campaign manifesto.
“In these early days, planning has been critical. Hence, upon establishing the financial position from an insider’s point of view, our effort has been centered on planning for fiscal sustainability and fiscal soundness in these unprecedented times,” said the Premier, and Minister of Finance, Hon. Washington Misick.
“We have spent the last two months rejiggering the budget to mitigate unforeseeable risks and put the country on a trajectory of growth as global efforts take us to the other side of this pandemic,” he added while explaining the new government’s strategies in overcoming the consequences of the pandemic.
In his speech, the Premier focused on new spending; these will be included in the new Budget set to be read in June 2021.
“At this juncture, we are on target to deliver the Budget by the end of June, including an additional $48 million in brand new spending,” said Hon. Missick. Even though the far-reaching effects of the pandemic led to a 26 per cent shrink in revenue collection, the Premier admitted the fiscal performance was better than projected.
Announced was $2 million dollars for a law enforcement training academy; $6 million dollars has been carved out for land purchases, in order said the Premier to buy back beach front land for the development of recreational sites for the people of the country.
Also in that ‘new spend’ list was $3 million for software toward the digital transformation of Government; $2 million to reinstate public sector pensions and there is to be a half a million dollar investment for a health information system.
Significantly and uniquely, $15 million is allocated to poverty alleviation projects including community enhancements and coming soon is urban renewal programs across the country.
A hotline will be set up; the Premier said he is creating a way for residents to speak directly to government instead of to social media.
“The overall outturn of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government fiscal performance has been better than expected when the budget was last revised. This is due to improvement in revenue collection in the final quarter of the year as well as reduction in expenditure for the year.
“Turks and Caicos Islands Government was able to end the fiscal year 2020/2021 with a lower-than-expected operating deficit. The total deficit for the financial year was $93 million after debt repayment. This deficit was funded from the cash reserves,” said Hon. Misick, before shifting focus to the achievements made during their 50 days of governance.
Turks and Caicos, as a result of the better performance of the economy may no longer have to increase borrowing from the Republic Bank.
The last quarter’s actuals outperformed estimates, negating an early trigger to draw down on funds from the $80M facility negotiated with Republic Bank. Because of that, the requirement to negotiate the restructuring of that facility for a larger facility is no longer necessary.
The Premier conservatively forecasts, the economy will expand by 2.5 per cent in the current fiscal period.
FortisTCI Presents Sponsorship Funds to the National Cancer Society
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Wednesday, October 20, 2021) – FortisTCI has presented the National Cancer Society of Turks and Caicos Islands with a $5,000 sponsorship to help support the Society’s ongoing programs and the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk-a-thon, which will be held on Saturday, October 30. FortisTCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes made the presentation on Tuesday, October 5 to the Society’s President Veronica Rigby, and former president Rosemary Jolly.
FortisTCI is a long-standing sponsor of the National Cancer Society and over the years has supported programs such as the annual walk-a-thon and the Society’s Night for the Fight event.
FortisTCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes said, “We are proud to once again show our support for the National Cancer Society and the very important work it does. Cancer is a disease that touches almost everyone in our community, whether directly or indirectly, and it is vital that we have a dedicated organization like the National Cancer Society that continues to educate the community, and provide tangible support to cancer patients. As we mark October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we hope this donation will assist in enabling the Society to expand its outreach efforts.”
National Cancer Society President Veronica Rigby remarked, “On behalf of everyone at the Society, I thank FortisTCI for their continued support. Beyond this sponsorship and their financial commitment through the years, we know we can also count on FortisTCI employees to support our activities. We have a partnership that works well together, as we do everything we can to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.”
Students display culinary skill and creativity in Bahamas Young Chef Competition
#TheBahamas, October 19, 2021 – – Despite setbacks and limitations due to COVID-19, Lamont Missick, H.O. Nash; Gerardo Annacius, Anatol Rodgers and Brianna Butterfield of Kingsway Academy, overcame the odds and finished first, second and third respectively in the second phase of the recent 29th Annual Bahamas Young Chef New Providence District Culinary Competitions.
With hybrid lessons and just two weeks of in-person classes supervised by teachers, the three students, who are enrolled in Family and Consumer Science Education, stepped up to the plate and earned the right to enter the upcoming third phase (National Round) of the annual contest.
Now into its 29th year, the annual district competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education along with Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, was held at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School, October 7 and 8. Under the watchful eyes of judges who are all professional chefs — Clement Williams, Jimmy Dean, Chief Judge Gerald Rolle, Hazel Rolle, and Celeste Smith — the students were required to use Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour to prepare a dish and dessert based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots.”
Following the grueling round in the kitchen and interviews by the judges, Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer congratulated the students and parents, and offered advice to the teachers.
“We appreciate all of the time and effort that you put into your children. This competition is a true partnership between home, school and industry. The chefs are willing to give their input and give them [the students] the benefit of their experience.
“We have three young persons who are very much into what they are learning in school. They are putting their best foot forward. All of them are automatically in the national round,” said Ms. Turnquest.
“COVID-19 is forcing us to use technology in new and creative ways. You are now able to bring industry professionals into your classroom almost on a regular basis who don’t have to leave where they are to get into your classroom to give the students the benefit of their knowledge.”
She urged the students to use the judges’ critiques to refine and elevate their dishes.
“You saw the experience of working in the kitchen with persons viewing and walking through while you are working. That is something valuable. Take advantage of it and we’ll see you again for the National round. Congratulations to all of you today.”
Lamont Missick, 14,
Flour dish: Pineapple upside down muffin
Rice Dish: Land and Sea Rice
Lamont said he used the opportunity to sharpen his culinary skills.
“I realized my love for culinary arts from the age of 8. I remember watching Ratatouille, and hearing that “anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great. I aim to be great and one day become and executive chef in my own restaurant,” said the ninth grader.
Flour dish: Sugar apple almond muffins
Rice dish: Spinach Carrot Rice Cup with grouper pineapple sauce
“I love to cook and I wanted to boost my cooking skills,” said Brianna.
Gerardo Annacius dubbed his dishes ‘Fall ‘n’ Love’.
Flour dish: Toasted bennie spiced cream puff with native pumpkin and coconut crème filling topped with ginger caramel
All of the judges commended the students on their dishes and encouraged them to continue to work hard.
Lamont was praised for his organized and sanitized kitchen-station. Also noted was his flavorful ‘spot on’ rice dish from which exuded flavors of conch, lobster, salt beef and coconut milk.
Chef Williams encouraged him to improve his presentation and move away from serving rice the old fashioned way of “cupping” in a bowl.
The judges were impressed with Annacius’ theme: “Fall ‘n’ Love’ and gave him pointers on how to improve his dish and dessert.
“You experienced a slight setback in the kitchen and your dessert dish did not come out as expected — but you did not stop, you made an effort to present something. Your dessert was flavorful; it did not rise like it should but you executed based on what you had,” said Chef Smith.
By Kathryn Campbell
JAMAICA: Frontline workers and athletes hailed for their roles in battling COVID-19
#Kingston, October 19, 2021 – The performance by frontline health workers and Olympians from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo has benefitted Jamaica tremendously.
This from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Hon. Olivia Grange who made the comment while speaking at a virtual National Heritage Week Thanksgiving Church Service held Sunday (October 17) at the Waltham Park New Testament Church, 65 Waltham Park Road, Kingston, under the theme, ‘Saluting our Heroes…Safeguarding Our Legacy.’
During the service, there were virtual scripture readings by Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness and the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding. The service was aired on local television stations and streamed on the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s social media pages.
Minister Grange said that the work by the two groups, health care workers and athletes, “have benefited our nation immensely in the COVID-19 [coronavirus] pandemic times.”
She read comments from a newspaper article by nurses in St Ann, who had explained that although their jobs posed many challenges, “they were working towards a greater good”.
“It is a good feeling to know that we would go down into history as a set of people who did what we could do to alleviate the pandemic. It is a good experience to be part of this life changing time for the country,” Minister Grange recounted from the article.
The Minister said that the athletes should also be commended for giving Jamaicans “much to cheer about by their performance” during the pandemic.
“They represented us so well, that Jamaica ended up with nine medals putting us sixth place in track and field and 21st overall out of 206 competing nations. All of that against the background of the pandemic which had severely disrupted their training schedule,” she said, adding that the athletes should also be praised for setting a good example by getting vaccinated prior to the games.
Minister Grange urged Jamaicans to use Heritage Week to show respect and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of not only the National Heroes, but also for the “heroes of today.”
“It is important that we celebrate our National Heroes and the everyday heroes who make such a difference in our communities,” she added.
She said that the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Awards 2021 which has been pre-recorded to observe the gathering limits of COVID-19 protocols, will be aired on National Television on Monday, October 18.
In his virtual remarks at the national thanksgiving service, Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen said that Jamaicans should treasure and build on the legacy left “by those who have helped to shape our nation.
“Today we continue to use the inspiration and opportunities created by our heroes as well as the traditions of our parents to be our guide, to open new horizons of social progress, economic growth and individual excellence,” he said.
Contact: E. Hartman Reckord
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