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Gov’t Payroll to increase by $11 Million; Salaries and Gratuity boosted by PNP Administration

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2022 – There will be a nine million dollar increase in the country’s largest payroll as the Government, last week announced, employees in the public sector would be receiving a four per cent salary increase in the new budget year.

I am pleased as well to advise that my government has budgeted this year for an across the board 4% increase in public service salaries, some seven years since the last increase took place in 2015, during my last term in office.

This investment to the tune of $9m demonstrates our commitment to the Public Service of these islands and our intention to continue to transform lives in these Turks and Caicos Islands.”

When it comes to the gratuity program, which has long been characterized as unfair by long term public sector workers native to the TCI, the newly established fund will get two million dollars.

“As a major part of my governments’ focus on human capital development, my government is fully committed to improving the pay and working conditions of the public service which is the engine of the government.

In 2021/2022 my government budgeted $2m to fund the initial injection into the new Public Service Pension and Gratuity Programme, which I am pleased will come on stream in 2022/2023; and will go a long way in helping to improve the compensation package provided to public servants as well as to assist in preparing for their retirement.”

That two million is being carried over from this year into the new budget cycle.

While these developments will undoubtedly be welcomed, the news does not equate to a ten per cent raise in salaries for the civil service, as the government issued release had stated.

“Following months of technical planning, consultation and other meetings, I am pleased to announce that the new Public Service Pension and Gratuity Programme is well on its way towards implementation, with the first draft of legislation having already been prepared and shortly to be debated in the House of Assembly.

This is a momentous achievement for the Turks and Caicos Public Service following the cessation of our previous programme which created a significant disparity in the public service between pre and post 1992 employees that received different post-employment benefits.

This new programme seeks to recognise and to appropriately compensate our long serving employees by ensuring that when they leave the civil service they are assisted in meeting the financial demands that still remain with them at that time,” explained Anya Williams, Deputy Governor and Head of Public Service.

The new public service pension and gratuity program still has to pass through the House of Assembly.

Retroactive payments were not itemized in the report.

Both announcements will mean an increase in spending in the public service by at least $11 million per year.

Caribbean News

Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.

The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.

After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.

The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.

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Bahamas News

Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.

This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre.  Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.

It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”

Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.

The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.

As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.

Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.

Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.

“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

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