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TCI: EU tours and praises projects funded; Largest Education sector investor at $21 Million USD



The $21 million dollar investment of the European Union into the public education sector of the Turks and Caicos Islands was to ensure access of more children to quality and diverse learning – a transformation – which was on display for the visiting Ambassador from the EU Delegation; in country June 20-23rd, 2021.

“We have come here today, to acknowledge the significant marker in the very constructive and fruitful partnership we’ve been building up over the years between the European Union and the Turks and Caicos Islands, lately in particular in the field of education,” said Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen, EU Delegation Ambassador in addressing an audience of school faculty and students, the project’s contractor and high level government officials. 

A site tour and plaque unveiling ceremony was held at the newly constructed Thelma Lightbourne Primary school in Long Bay, Providenciales.  The school opened following the 2021 Easter break when the new government relaxed restrictions.  It allowed children – across the country – to resume in person learning or to incorporate a hybrid approach after Covid-19 forced the dramatic closure of schools a year earlier.

For the past four years, the TCI Ministry of Education has been drawing from the EDF-11 Fund.  A fund initially granted for the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2013; earmarked to Education as a boost to build capacity in schools, which are often oversubscribed.  

“It is a very important day for me to see the result or at least one of the results, the European Union has wanted to do and to support here in the country,” the Ambassador added, “What has been done and what is in the making for the future, it is the Turks and Caicos Islands.  It is the former government, it is the current government, all the stakeholders, the teachers, the staff at the school and anyone involved in the education sector with our program; they’re the ones to be applauded.  What we did from the European Union side, was sign a cheque, giving support, accompanying a process which was really a process of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Today, the Thelma Lightbourne Primary School stands as a tangible symbol of European support of students in the British overseas territory. 

Originally from Belgium, Ambassador Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen, was appointed by the EU in September 2020 and is stationed at the EU Delegation office in Kingston Jamaica; H.E Van Steen, with 25-years diplomatic experience is the ambassador to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

In her first ever visit to TCI, Ambassador Marianne Van Steen had high praises for the destination and high anticipation for the two-school tour which would also take her into the island of South Caicos.

“We will support what we think is important and that is indeed what we did and I am very happy to see that indeed we have done something good.”

The student of Thelma Lightbourne Primary delivered a profound poem, ‘Hey Black Child’ by award winning writer Useni Eugene Perkins.

Education Minister Rachel Taylor was moved by the piece and moved by the premises and acknowledged the work to get to completion.

“I want to take this opportunity right now to commend the former Minister of Education, the Hon Akierra Missick whose vision this was and to also give props to the former government, who actually caused this project to materialize.  And then again to our government for being here to unveil; so you see consistently must develop throughout and we all must give credit where credit is due.”

Also on hand was patron of the school, Mrs. Thelma Lightbourne, a 40-year educator; Hon. Akierra Missick, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development; Hon Josephine Connolly, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage; Hon Kyle Knowles, Member of Parliament for Wheeland and the project’s contractor: JaMalco Ltd, owned by Jermaine Malcolm.

“We have become for the education sector, I think, the biggest donor with 17.52 million, that’s $20 or $21million USD.  It was not just because we were wanting to increase access to education for all children of the island(s) by constructing this school and refurbishing or renovating or improving other schools but in the Government’s sector reform program we also wanted to support the quality of the education by making sure the teachers are being trained and by making sure there is a better match between what the country needs in terms of labour and what the country can offer,” explained H.E. Van Steen.

Her Excellency commended Ministry of Education for now establishing a plan toward full activation of a Technical and Vocational institute. 

The ladies toured the school, approvingly.  The tour followed the plaque unveil, which in sophisticated black and gold is embedded in the wall of the school’s entry way.  He plaque reminds students now and into the future of the generosity and support of the European Union.

“I am very happy to see the school, I am very happy to hear that the access to about 200 to 300 students is now guaranteed,” said the Ambassador, who applauded the room made for Special needs children. 

“It looks state of the art, and I have no doubt it is.  It looks amazing.  I am particularly happy that indeed there are also special facilities foreseen for children with special needs and that is very much in line, with what I have heard is the motto of the relatively new, recently established government that actually says, we do not want to leave anyone behind.”

A similar service was held on the island of South Caicos at Iris Stubbs Primary school; also newly rebuilt thanks to EU funding. 

Iris Stubbs was devastated in the hurricanes of 2017; EU funding supported a completely fresh reconstruction which was completed in December 2019. 


Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly 



#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.

Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests.  The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.

The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:

  1. House of Assembly in Grand Turk
  2. Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
  3. Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
  4. Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.

The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.

For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:

By telephone at:  946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: or

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.

This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister  of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.

This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper,  was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”

The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.

Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General  of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”

Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working  to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.

Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.

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Caribbean News

Guyana to build regional food hub



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.

In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.

Guyana seems to really want this to become a reality and Zulfikar Mustapha, Agriculture Minister, expressed this, highlighting what Guyana has over its Caribbean sister Islands.

“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean.  What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have.  We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”

Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.

Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.

In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh,  Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.

Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.

Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.

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