TCI: Slightly Bigger Budget: $342.9 Million Nat’l Spending for New Fiscal Year
#TurksandCaicos, June 6, 2021 – Covid-19 devastated the Turks and Caicos islands because the jurisdiction is so heavily dependent upon travel and tourism as its economic lifeblood; the Premier Washington Misick did not need to state it but the fact was a preamble to his 2021-2022 Budget Address on June 29 which would aim to illustrate how TCI absorbed the hit, learned from the hit and to where it can pivot because of the hit.
“Mr. Speaker, it has been a tough period as we have dealt with the ravages of COVID. There have been suffering and death. We mourn the loss of each person and send condolences to their loved ones. I ask that we stand and observe a moment of silence not only for those who died from COVID but all the souls we lost in recent times.
May their souls rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon them.
Hon Speaker, this is the first budget in my administration that is just about four months old. My team and I have hit the ground running. In fact, less than two weeks after taking office, we were already delivering for the people. That is what we intend to do throughout this term.”
Several training campuses are earmarked including one for Hospitality and at least four financial institutions are being built up including the long-touted Credit Union.
“Institutions such as a Development Finance Institution, a Credit Union, a Partial Credit Guarantee Fund are all intended to work in concert to achieve economic prosperity, societal well-being and reduce income inequality,” said the Premier who shared more on the concept.
“$250 thousand dollars will facilitate the creation of a Credit Union to encourage and expand access to affordable banking, insurance, and financial services for all.”
On the new training campus for uniformed officers, he said: “Two million dollars is being spent to acquire property, develop the framework and programs for the training of law enforcement personnel. This is a priority. This National Security Training Academy will provide ongoing training for Police Officers, the Military, Customs, and Immigration Officers. It will facilitate recruitment and training of the best candidates our country has to offer and rebuild a positive image of these various bodies.”
When hurricane Ike compounded by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 took its toll on the Turks and Caicos, it was a 19.8 per cent blow said the Finance Minister in reflecting on previous tough times … Premier and Finance Minister Hon Washington Misick said the Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in 35.8 per cent losses in government revenue.
Hotel and Restaurant Tax was down a staggering 73 per cent after TCI was shut off from the world between March and July. No hotels meant less need for imports, particularly food and drinks and so import duties were down 34 per cent and customs processing fees dipped by 38 per cent.
The two border taxes account for 60 per cent of governments revenue, said the premier in the address.
“Mr. Speaker, COVID has been devastating to us – a Tourism reliant country. In FY 20/21, overall Government Revenues declined by $112.9 million or 35.8 -percent compared to Financial Year (FY) 19/20. This decline stemmed from a 73.0- percent fall in hotel & restaurant tax, a 44.6 – percent fall in imports and a 38.1- percent fall in customs processing fees. Import duties and Customs Processing Fees (CPF) are the largest revenue generators and combined account for 60 percent of the TCIG Revenue.”
A projected deficit of $100 million was missed; the actual was 88.7 million which, said Hon Misick, was funded from TCIG cash reserves.
“Coupled with the loss of revenues Mr. Speaker, a demand was placed on the country’s finances with the compulsory health measures to protect life. Resources had to be redirected and our reserves had to be used to pay for testing, additional bed capacity, respiratory and oxygen generating equipment and treating COVID-19 patients. There was also more than the usual expenditure on cleaning, sanitization, and personal protective supplies.”
The new budget is only two per cent more than last budget year; $342.9 million is the projected spending. Revenue for the upcoming budget year is pegged, conservatively at $274.5 million, he said.
“The Estimated expenditure is $342.9m. This is a 2 percent increase over last year and 9 percent over the rollforward Estimates. “
Itemised were: $304.2 is for recurrent expenditure – the day to day expenses such as wages, goods, and services; $11.7m for non-recurrent expenditure; and $27.0m in capital development.
TCI Police Detective Holden Speaks Up on Blue Hills Rapes
#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – Following the announcement that several women had been robbed and assaulted in Blue Hills in the past weeks, Magnetic Media queried why the Police would wait until they had a man in custody to release an alert.
TCI’s newest addition to the top brass Detective Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime, Safeguarding and Public Protection, told us that it initially appeared to be an isolated offence and not part of a series of incidents.
“The full circumstances needed to be investigated to ascertain the facts before a public alert could be considered. Misinformation in such a case would only cause unnecessary public concern and confusion and could adversely impact the investigation and the safeguarding of persons involved—” he said. “Even now there is no definitive information that these offences are linked, and investigators remain open-minded.”
Holden claimed an early alert with limited information could have hindered the investigation and they were trying to protect the women who may not have wanted to be identified based on where they lived.
As it turns out, the public concern was very much warranted, because there have been more violent sexual attacks, and more victims got hurt, forcing their hands.
“When further similar offences were committed, the overriding principle of sustained public protection was considered, hence the alert/release issued,” he said.
That alert was coupled with the news that a man had been arrested. Whether those further similar incidents could have been prevented if the public was informed earlier and taken extra precautions, is the underlying question. To date, we don’t know how many victims there are.
Police have increased patrols in the Blue Hills area and condemned the crimes as unacceptable. They have not indicated if anyone was charged for the offences yet.
Louise Garland Thomas High School are TCISS Inter-High Track & Field 2023 Champions
#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – After a festive three days of competition, the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 have concluded with the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School reigning as Champions. Featuring a great turnout, eleven schools from across the Turks and Caicos Islands met to compete at the National Stadium March 9-11, 2023.
The competition was stiff among athletes, who were all competing for top spots and by extension a spot-on Team TCI’s CARIFTA 2023 team. From high-spirited invitationals to entertainment by DJ Shakes, spectators enjoyed the best Nationals competition yet.
- 1st Place: A. Louise Garland Thomas High School
- 2nd Place: Clement Howell High School
- 3rd Place: Marjorie Basden High School
Twenty athletes have been selected for Turks and Caicos Islands National CARIFTA Team, some who would have competed in the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 and some living abroad.
Here are the athletes:
- Roniesha Johnson U-17 Girls CHHS
- Branary Delancy U-17 Girls LGTHS
- Krysann Williams U-20 Girls LGTHS
- Anesha Varus U-20 Girls CHHS
- Lynn Antoine U-20 Girls Unattached
- Chyna Simmons U-20 Girls BWIC
- Rayvon Black U-17 Boys Denbigh/Jam
- Renaldo Registre U-17 Boys RGHS
- Jarmal Missick U-17 Boys HJRHS
- Melique Evans U-17 Boys CHHS
- Love Joseph U-17 Boys LGTHS
- Kaeson Garland U-17 Boys MBHS
- Shamar Garland U-17 Boys HJRHS
- Alieandio Durham U-20 Boys CHHS
- Bernard Hyde U-20 Boys CHHS
- Markey Zepherin U-20 Boys CHHS
- Rayvon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
- Anthon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
- Alidavidson Higgs U-20 Boys JC/Jam
- Darvioun Rigby U-20 Boys Keiser/USA
Soca Warriors crush Bahamas at home
By Rashaed Esson
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.
The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).
Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.
Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.
Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches. Next match for the Soca Warriors is against Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day. The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.
Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.
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