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TCI Government asked to Reconsider Vaxx Rule for Foreign Home Owners

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Foreign TCI homeowner should be made a category on the TCI Assured portal with the opportunity for those who fit the category to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands without being vaccinated, abiding by the same rules as an unvaccinated resident of the country; it is a position now put out to the public by Dameko Dean.

Mr. Dean is speaking in defence of at least one family which is cut off from their investment.

The shocking decision of the TCI Government to implement a vaccine mandate for all tourists to the country on September 1st did more than stop ‘unvaxxed’ guests from entering, it also stopped ‘unvaxxed’ foreigners who own homes in this British overseas territory. Dean is among those who feel the rule is insensitive.

“I think it’s unfair and inhumane to deny these foreign homeowners access to their homes after they have invested so heavily to our economy.  Our government, he said, encouraged foreign investors to purchase homes here in TCI without providing any notice, prior to purchase, that their right to visit their new homes will be abruptly taken away.”

In a Letter to the Editor, Dean explained he knows of homeowners who continue to pay bills for their homes but are unable to have access to them because of their choice not to become vaccinated.  He said while a tourist can choose anywhere in the world to visit, a foreign homeowner does not have that option.

The matter has not failed to capture the attention of the Minister with responsibility for Health and Human Services, Hon Jamell Robinson, who said a case has already been made for the small number of people who fit into this category.

He told our media house that the government’s intention is not to bar people from coming to Turks and Caicos and that includes home owners, agreeing that the request for a different rule for foreign home owners in is not unreasonable.

One letter which has gone to the premier and the governor was shared with us.  In it the husband and wife homeowners inform of their purchase of a Grace Bay located residence with a $1.3 million price tag in March this year. The couple also informs that they had initiated an application for Permanent Residency Certificate (PRC) status when a vaccine mandate forced a termination of their application.

The wife, now 25-years-old, shared that she has been a regular traveler to Turks and Caicos since she was a few months old; her parents are also homeowners and PRC holders in the country.

In her letter dated November 14, 2021 the homeowner describes the situation as having put her family in an “untenable position” because of their decision not to take the coronavirus vaccine.

She labelled the vaccine “experimental” and shared that she and her husband are healthy, had and caught and recovered from Covid-19 in February this year and now have natural immunity to the virus.

She reminded country leaders in the letter, that a stamp duty of $100,000 was paid for a home she now cannot visit and called the mandate instituted on September 1 unfair.

“There is nothing equitable about this decision,” she said, adding that the public literature on investing in the Turks and Caicos does not reflect the drastic change in entry requirements and she labelled it a breach of the TCI Constitution.

“We as property owners are not visitors when we are in TCI, we are in our homes.  It is more than a seven day package tour…I respectfully request that you reconsider the vaccine policy for property owners.

The request is being considered at the government level and requires cross department agreement and presentation to Cabinet for approval.  A vote will determine if the rule will change.

The change, if any, will obviously not come in time for this family’s plan for a huge gathering in TCI for the Thanksgiving holidays, which the home owner informed (via her letter) is now happening in nearby Bahamas, where there is no such restriction.

 

 

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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