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High Level Welcome & Orientation hosted by the TCIG Audit Committee

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On Tuesday May 25, 2021, the TCIG Audit Committee hosted a Welcome & Orientation Session with the Chairmen and CEOs of the Statutory Bodies within the Turks and Caicos Islands. This was the first session of this kind to be held with all the Senior Executives in one sitting.

Present were His Excellency the Governor Mr. Nigel Dakin, Honorable Premier Mr. Washington Misick, Deputy Governor Mrs. Anya Williams and Permanent Secretary of Finance, Mrs. Athenee Basden. Remarks were also received on behalf of the Attorney General Mrs. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles.

The session was opened by the Chairman Sanfra Foster who invited the executives in her remarks to lead intentionally and model accountability in their respective roles.  She shared that the people in the room were most significant as collectively they are responsible for managing $558 Million Dollars in TCIG Assets and represented $492.6 Million Dollars or Half Billion Dollars in total equity as at September 2020.  She articulated the need for effective management by executives and proper oversight and governance  by board members.

The group listened intently to the importance of the Statutory Bodies to the TCI Government and their significance in the wider economy. Key points were discussed around the governance and reporting requirements under the Constitution, Public Finance Management Ordinance and Regulations in addition to the role of Boards and their Executives.

The half-day agenda also involved group discussions led by the Audit Committee Members around the issues and concerns raised in the Statutory Body Governance Review Report conducted in January 2018 (aka Turnbull Report).  A Risk Matrix was shared by the CIA using five key points from the report which highlighted areas of responsibility where management and oversight are crucial.  Executives offered feedback to the report findings and there was a mutual understanding and acceptance that a formal follow up process is needed to identify the progress made and the opportunities which still may exist in these entities.  The Audit Committee promised to engage with each entity to review the recommendations made in the report and to update the risk matrix once evidence of resolve and sustainability has been provided.

The Audit Committee views this Welcome and Orientation Session as a tremendous starting point in its aim of helping to improve the governance, risk and control framework across the Statutory Bodies.  It also seeks to build on the collaboration and relationships established with the executives, providing support and guidance while influencing leaders to be intentional as they drive improved team and entity performance.  Further sessions with management teams and board members will be held throughout the year.

Also in attendance were the Chairmen and CEOs of the following Statutory Bodies.

  1. Human Rights Commission
  2. Integrity Commission
  3. Civil Aviation Authority
  4. National Health Insurance Board
  5. TCI Community College
  6. Invest TCI
  7. Tourist Board
  8. National Trust
  9. Financial Intelligence Agency
  10. Ports Authority
  11. National Insurance Board
  12. Telecommunication Commission
  13. Airport Authority
  14. Financial Services Commission
  15. Gaming Commission

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TCI House of Assembly Members take ‘info-gathering’ trip to Isle of Man

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – A five-man Turks and Caicos delegation recently visited the Isle of Man on a diplomatic mission to the country.  Hon John Malcolm, Deputy Speaker of the TCI House of Assembly; Hon Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition; Hon Kyle Knowles, Member of Parliament for Wheeland and Hon Shaun Malcolm, All Island Member of Parliament represented Turks and Caicos on the visit.

The Isle of Man is a self-Governing British dependency which means the country sets its own laws and is not bound by British ones.  The delegates during their visit have called on the Lord Bishop of Sodor, the President of Tynwald Laurence Skelly, the Mayor of Douglas Janet Thommeny, and Lieutenant Governor John Lorimer.

Additionally, they were welcomed at the House of Keys (Parliament).

After the experience, MP Shaun Malcolm expressed that the Turks and Caicos would eventually like to get to this place as well telling news organisations in Isle of Man, “There are parts of your [governance] system that we in the Turks and Caicos do desire to have in terms of full internal self-government.”

Malcolm praised the independence of the electorate noting that the TCI hoped to get to the point where there was more autonomy and internal control of the governance of the country.

Malcolm couldn’t help but give some press to his own country making sure to note that “we boast the best beaches on the globe literally!”

Malcolm described the trip as an ‘information gathering trip.’

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TCI Labour Market shortages impacting Electricity provider, FortisTCI 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – In the wake of their new apprenticeship program energy company FortisTCI has revealed they are woefully short on skilled labour. Representatives of the company spoke at the apprenticeship launch explaining the difficulty the company is facing.

“Recruitment is one of the things that we do have challenges with, particularly in the technical area.  The engineers, the linesmen, the operators, we are limited locally with finding those skills…the labour market is under tremendous stress right now, it has been a difficult challenge for us.”  Fortis TCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes said.

While she could not provide a concrete number on how many unfilled positions existed she explained what the company needed.

“We have talked a lot about transitioning to more sustainable sources of energy, we are looking for skills in that area, also on the data analytics side and we’re always looking for engineers, technicians, I.T. persons, cybersecurity,” she explained “we’re also looking for skills on the business side, we have accounting roles that are currently open that we are unable to fill because we can’t find any qualified accountants and the list goes on.”

In terms of how badly the lack of workers is affecting them Forbes said they had been able to manage so far despite the fact that it was not ideal. In the meantime persons in the company we’re taking it as an opportunity to upskill themselves and Fortis was able to promote a batch of nine individuals recently.

FortisTCI has a history of seeing opportunities for growth in talented young people and providing them with opportunities to hone their talents but with the advent of this worker shortage they are going a step further to grow the skills base in the Turks and Caicos.   A FortisTCI university is ‘most definitely’ in the works they say.

The shortage is not due to them losing employees at all as young people employed to the company have glowing reviews of their workspace. Director of Human Resources Claudia Munnings explained that the company was enthusiastic about creating an environment for growth.

“One of the things that we are focusing on is our employee experience and transforming that experience… the thing that most motivates persons is the opportunity for growth.. you can grow where you are planted and it’s very important for people to accept the opportunity to grow in the areas where they are and embrace those opportunities for training, learning and development so that when the opportunity arises to move upward they are prepared for it . That is something that we have pushed.”

Munnings explained that they were constantly pushing their employees further in their careers but the gap persists. The recently announced apprenticeship program at FortisTCI is one step in closing the gap.

“One of the things that we are looking at as an extension is extending some of the training courses we have internally to members of the public.”

While the construction of a university remains in the works they are currently working on other way to funnel students into the industry.

“We see ourselves strengthening our relationships with the TCI Community College and with High Schools and even the primary schools, getting in there as soon as we can. We’re always looking for ways to bridge the talent gap in the Turks and Caicos Islands. ”

The TVET program by the TCICC is one the company has its eye on currently as well.  For people already qualified FortisTCI is still accepting applications for its apprenticeship program, which offers Associate and Bachelor’s degree graduates an opportunity to experience the business environment within its three major divisions, the job will begin on August 2, 2022 with the top 4 candidates.

They will be allowed to work for a period of two (2) years and will rotate within a specific division for the first 6-12 months for broad exposure with a specific placement for the subsequent 12 months based on their proficiency. Munnings promised it would pay well with many of the benefits afforded to employees.

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The Children Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) to establish National Office in the TCI

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – The Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) will soon establish a national office in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The international ministry held its official launch and fundraiser in the TCI on Friday, June 17, at the Beaches Resort to raise approximately $75 000 to establish the office.  The office will allow the CEF to have a national director who will coordinate all its activities across the TCI.  The CEF will also be partnering with schools and churches to help reach and influence the nation’s children.

While speaking at the launch, CEF's Local Representative in the TCI, Girlene Rigby, reflected on her journey to becoming a part of the international organization.  She said the ministry had been impactful in shaping her life.

“The impact is so great when you start so young with children. I believe that has really been what has kept me and brought me to where I am today. Having that intervention very early on and teaching me the importance of knowing Christ has caused me to want more and know more about Christ,” said Rigby.

She further stressed the importance of engaging the young people of the TCI, noting that we need to do this to safeguard our future.

“If we are to save our country, sustain ourselves economically, and continue to grow as a country and be prosperous, we’ve got to reach the next generation because if we don’t, we’ve endangered our own future,” she noted.

Assistant Regional Director for the Caribbean at the CEF, Sean Miller, was also present at the launch. In addressing the attendees, he noted that the greatest natural resource of the TCI is its children.

“Children may not make up 100% of the TCI, but they absolutely make up 100% of the future of the TCI. We talk often about the beautiful by nature TCI and the plentiful natural resources that it has. I’m here to say tonight that the greatest natural resource of the TCI is the children,” said Miller.

Miller also noted that he was excited about the launch and was looking forward to seeing the TCI have a National Director to represent the CEF on the island.  The Child Evangelism Fellowship is a bible-centred non-profit organization that trains local people and equips them with the materials and resources to reach and influence children.  So far, there are over twenty established CEF branches throughout the Caribbean, and the TCI is poised to be the next.

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