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September 1: Tourists must be VAXXED to visit TCI



#TurksandCaicos, August 17, 2021 – In 14 days, things will change dramatically for the Turks and Caicos when it comes to who is allowed into the country as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to force sweeping reviews of rules in the travel and tourism industry.

Approved amendments to existing measures under the Public and Environmental Health (COVID-19 Pandemic) Regulations 2020, with effect from 1 September 2021 until further notice, as follows:  All visitors aged 16 and above to be fully vaccinated on arrival in TCI,” a rule evolving from the Turks  and Caicos Islands Cabinet meeting of August 11.

Turks and Caicos is setting the bar very high for tourists to enter the country, after guests accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the new cases of Covid-19 and following discovery of the delta strain within the islands.

Now, in addition to mandatory medical coverage, mandatory testing within three days of travel to Turks and Caicos, every tourist 16 years and older must be vaccinated.

The new measure is met with harsh criticism and deep concern, as the industry has in recent months shown tremendous signs of a pre-Covid 19 bounce-back.

Others say it is right move to make in order to protect these islands.

The Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association had the chance to weigh in on the government’s response to the spike in tourist positives last week; a poll which tipped the scales in favour of not mandating vaccination for tourists.

“Discussions were held last week Thursday (August 5) with the sector to get their feedback on possible measures for the surge in cases,” said newly appointed minister of Health, Jamell Robinson.

From the sector there was not unanimous support informed Trevor Musgrove, president of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, who also said the industry despite stands by the government’s “tough” decision.

“My understanding was that they voted against it,” said Ken Patterson, CEO of Seven Stars resort, “We don’t know what percentage of our tourists are unvaccinated, so no one knows what impact this will have on TCI.”

Patterson also believes government would be better strengthened in its response to the spike in tourism and imported cases of Covid-19 and the Delta variant with measures which empowered resort owners to get all frontline staff vaccinated and says, with some tweaking the new standard could be a plus for safe tourism.”

“Why are tourists being asked to provide a negative test and insurance if they are already vaccinated?  This could be made into a positive tourism message if these, now unnecessary, requirements are dropped.”

Still, new minister of Health Jamell Robinson said the Cabinet determined this would be the best rule as of September 1.

“We have to balance lives and livelihoods; 68 per cent of the 133 positive cases as of early July were visitors.  Community spread was evidence by the contact tracing.  With the pervasiveness of the Delta Variant, it could be asked, could we afford not to make the change?”

During the press conference Minister Robinson offered, “Ninety of the 133 persons who tested positive from early July to date were tourists; that is a significant percentage so based on that, we know we have to put measures in place to deal with that large proportion of the COVID positives and one of the ways of doing that is to ensure that all tourists coming in are vaccinated.”

The Health minister, during his debut press conference held on August 12 echoed a message and vision which had been shared by Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor ahead of the first batch of UK-gifted vaccines arrival to the Turks and Caicos.

“What this allows us to do, is to market the Turks and Caicos Islands as a vaccination-only destination.  So, that says to the world, we are a safe holiday destination that gives confidence to persons boarding that plane who are vaccinated that once they get into the Turks and Caicos Islands, the people they interact with, who are other visitors will be a vaccinated and the adults we have, at least 67 per cent of them are fully vaccinated.”

Cancellations are expected by the tourism and travel industry.  Cancellations are already being recorded to the destination.

Among the other Caribbean region countries restricting inbound travellers to vaccinated-only visitors are Anguilla, Puerto Rico and St. Kitts and Nevis, according to Travel




Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#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.

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Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

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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