Department of Agriculture reports on Commissioning of Kew Farm in North Caicos
#TurksandCaicos, August 9, 2021 – It was a day of pride and joy for the community of North and Middle Caicos as the Department of Agriculture formally commissioned the recently upgraded Kew Farm facility on the 9th July, 2021. The event started at 2 pm and Her Excellency Anya Williams, the Honourable Premier Charles Washington Missick, the Honourable Deputy Premier Erwin Jay Saunders, the Honourable Josephine Connolly, the Honourable Rachel Taylor, the Honourable Matthew Stubbs and the Honourable Sean Malcolm and our esteemed farmers were in attendance.
The Kew Farm, North Caicos is a historical site and is part of the rich agricultural history of the Turks and Caicos Islands that started with the propagation of Sisal in the late 1940’s. Opened in the 80’s, the farm is now equipped with an office, animal pens, roads and lighting and a packing house.
It is the first Government Facility in the Turks and Caicos that is completely Solar-Operated. Not only will the farm have the capacity to carry out its day to day activities by effectively utilizing energy but it is now aligned with regional and international standards for modern farm structures.
The farm is the first Research Farm in the TCI and its mandate is not for commercial production as its goal is not to compete with farmers for the limited market share. But it would be utilized for Research and Training purposes so that farmers can have access to new technologies and interactive training to improve their production. The new journey to include agriculture sector in the National Development plans of the TCI has only just begun.
The Premier Hon. Charles Washington Missick recognized the stalwarts in the field of Agriculture.
He acknowledged the need to create the linkage between agriculture and the tourism industry – “Creating the right linkages would ensure that we are strategizing to have control of our own food.”
The idea is to start by introducing agriculture in a meaningful way into the curriculum, farmers forming co-operatives and creating the required market access. With the additional funds injected into the sector it would give farmers the added support.
The Hon. Josephine Connolly commented, “We cannot emphasize that food security and decreasing our high dependency on food imports is a major ambition, we have to create linkages for the Agricultural sector growth, so that we would be able to feed not only residents but visitors. We are serious about this agriculture sector. As you know during the recent budget session, we infused one million additional dollars into the sector. These funds will go toward several initiatives, including the setting up of a more structured and comprehensive grant scheme for farmers and the development of a National Nursery, that will provide seedlings and further support to farmers across these islands.”
The farmers were presented with the first incentive packages distributed by the Honourable Josephine Connolly with the assistance of Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism Mr. Arthur Been.
The package consisted of high yielding seed varieties that included corn, sweet peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and many other vegetables.
The staff of Kew Farm North Caicos were honoured for their hard-work and dedication by tokens of appreciation distributed by Her Excellency Anya Williams.
Truly a memorable day in the history of Turks and Caicos Islands Agriculture; it is certainly not the end but a new beginning.
Let’s continue to Grow TCI as we need you on board to make this happen.
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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