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Ministry of PPID Pleased With Launch of National Physical Development Plan

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#TurksandCaicos, October 8, 2021 – It was an exciting week for Minister Hon. Akierra Mary Deanne Missick & Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, as the long awaited National Physical Development Plan, went live on October 1, 2021.

The Ministry lauded the Department of Planning’s accomplishment of a contemporary National Physical Development Plan for the TCI since these islands have not had an up-to-date development plan for the past twenty (20) years.

The Plan will promote and encourage sustainable physical, economic and social development, while at the same time protect and enhance the natural environment of the TCI. Additionally, it will be a tool to be used to ensure that physical development occurs in a sustainable manner that protects the environment and ensures an equitable share of natural resources are protected for future generations.

The Planning Team and Ministry are particularly proud of the Plan as it will create cohesion among key TCIG Stakeholders while securing the Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development’s role as the manager of physical development throughout the TCI.

In the past week leading up to the launch date, the Planning team, inclusive of the Director, Mr Dainer Lightbourne, Deputy Director, Mr Toriano Williams and Acting Assistant Director Mr Reginald Charles, joined by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mrs Bridgette Newman, with support from Directors, Mr Garvin Thomas (PWD) and Mr Neroy Kennedy (Estates), toured the Islands; to present individualised copies of the Plan, along with sectional maps and other promotional paraphernalia to the District Commissioners of North, Middle and South Caicos. Due to inclement weather, the Salt Cay trip was delayed.

The District Commissioners were all elated to receive copies of the Plan and stressed how much a part of the process they felt.

The Team did not stop there as a number of other key stakeholders inclusive of the Directors of Invest TCI, DECR, Environmental Health, Land Registry, Land Survey, Agriculture, Tourism, Tourism Risk Manager as well as a number of past Chairmen of the Physical Planning Board were all presented with copies of the Plan.

On the heels of the launch of the Plan, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has already received accolades for its design. The Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has recognised the National Physical Development Plan for a design award: Going beyond Land Use: The Turks and Caicos Islands National Physical Development Plan (2020).

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. Landscape architects lead the planning, design, and stewardship of healthy, equitable, safe, and resilient environments. The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship.

Commenting on the awesome job of the Planning Team and how excited she was at the conclusion and launch of the Plan, Minister, the Honorable Akierra Mary Deanne Misick stated, “The National Physical Development Plan will shape the physical development that will take place in these Islands over the next 10 years.

The Plan, we encourage all to review whether in person at the Planning Department or online via www.gov.tc.

The way physical development whether commercial, residential, private or public has changed in these Islands. All proposals must fit within the Plan, and ensure we are developing a sustainable and resilient Turks & Caicos Islands inclusive of heritage sites, environmental protection, green spaces, transportation network, and interconnection of our Islands.

Over the upcoming months, the Ministry of PPID will continue to highlight the plan, its function, and its purpose.

We will have town hall meetings around the Islands to explain the specific plan for each Island and have stakeholders which are all of us who live and work in these Islands to truly gather where we are going as a Country physically.”

 

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Caribbean News

Grants for farmers

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#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony.  For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.

This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment

In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support

  • Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
  • New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
  • Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD

To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.

Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.

Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.

I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.

My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.

Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister

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Bahamas News

U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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