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Ministerial Statement by Finance Minister E. Jay Saunders on Home Owner’s Policy

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Delivered in the House of Assembly on March 17, 2022

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 24, 2022 – Mr. Speaker, on the 16th February 2022, Cabinet approved amendments to the First Time Home Owner’s Policy, aimed at assisting in promoting homeownership for Turks & Caicos Islands Status Holders and BOTCs, with commencement set for the 1st April 2022.

Mr. Speaker, our Government’s First Time Home Owner’s Policy allows first time property buyers, and persons renovating their homes after 10 years, to receive $50,000 in Stamp Duty and Import Duty concessions.

Now Mr. Speaker, this policy was first rolled out in 2019 by the then Government of the day, and unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it had a low uptake. Specifically, Mr. Speaker, during the period April 2019 to January 2022, the Ministry of Finance received approximately 100 applications, with 80 being approved for concessions totaling $570,000.

The breakdown of the concessions awarded are:

  • 31 Stamp Duty Waivers for a total of $441,035, and
  • 49 Import Duty Waivers for a total of $129,897.

Mr. Speaker, the previous Government had this policy in place for 34 months, and during that time less than 3 persons per month benefitted from it, with the average payout being approximately $17,000.

Mr. Speaker, our enhancements remove many, if not all, of the nuisances and obstacles that made the old policy unattractive. In addition to increasing the concession amount from $20,000 to $50,000, our Government also:

  1. Allows concessions to be applied to both Stamp Duty and Import Duties rather than one or the other, and
  2. Removed the restrictions limiting concessions to land purchases of $150,000 or less, and land + building purchases of $500,000 or less.

Mr. Speaker, imagine that. The old policy actually had restrictions that limited the concessions to land purchases of $150,000 or less, and land + building purchases of $500,000 or less. Mr. Speaker, as the previous Government crafted and/or signed off on this policy, this is tantamount to them intentionally punishing Turks & Caicos Islanders for wanting to own nice property. Mr. Speaker, the old policy basically said to Turks & Caicos Islanders (particularly Turks & Caicos Islanders) that if they could afford to buy land worth more than $150,000 or land + a building worth more than $500,000, that the Government didn’t think that they deserved the concession.

Mr. Speaker, our Government want Turks & Caicos Islanders to Live Best Lives, and that’s why we took a Red Pen to First Time Home Owner’s Policy. When we got to the restrictions that punished our people for wanting to own nice property, we told the Technocrats to “take it out!!!”. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t even wait for them to do it, I took it out myself.

Mr. Speaker, our desire to empower Turks & Caicos Islanders through property ownership didn’t stop at the First Time Home Owner’s Policy. We went further Mr. Speaker. Our Government also increased the Zero-Rated transactions under the Stamp Duty Ordinance from $25,000.00 to $100,000.00 for Turks & Caicos Islanders. Going forward, Turks & Caicos Islanders who purchase property worth $100,000.00 or less will pay zero (0) Stamp Duty. And those who purchase property for greater than that amount on: the islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, will pay a Stamp duty rate of just 4 per cent, and Providenciales and elsewhere in the Turks and Caicos Islands, just 6 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, with these policies, our Government just made private land as affordable for Turks & Caicos Islanders as Crown land. Mr. Speaker, we said that we will have people living their best lives, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

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Misick announces Longer terms in Office, Bi-Partisan Constitutional Changes 

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#TurksandCaicos, February 19, 2024 – Magnetic Media SOTS23 COVERAGE:  Premier WASHINGTON MISICK announced that there is bi-partisan agreement on the CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES which the people of the Turks and Caicos can expect including a FIVE YEAR term for the elected Government.

The House of Assembly will finally leave the HJ Robinson High Auditorium to return home at the NJS Francis building and when it does, it will be called a PARLIAMENT with only ELECTED MEMBERS; (as reported) ending the four year term and ending the APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS for a truly democratic composition of the house of representatives.

The State of the State Address, a creation of the Progressive National Party Administration, was carried live from Yellow Man and Sons Auditorium in Grand Turk, tonight February 19 which is also the three-year anniversary of the Misick-led government.

#TCIPremier #WashingtonMisick #SOTS2023 #TurksandCaicosParliament #tcinews

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Health

How to protect against HIV 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 15, 2024 – HIV/AIDS has killed more than 40 million people globally since it first appeared in the human population in 1959 according to the World Health Organization WHO and even though there are effective treatments there is no cure making prevention practices a top priority for vulnerable groups.

In recent months claims have emerged of rising cases locally creating concern in some Turks and Caicos residents.  The Ministry of Health has remained silent on the issue and has not published relevant statistics despite repeated queries from Magnetic Media.

Given the continued presence of the virus, individuals are still at risk from infection. In fact the WHO says in 2022, when 630,000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.3 million people acquired HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus behind AIDS, the most advanced form of HIV.

The virus spreads through the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food.

With this in mind there are several steps that residents can take to protect themselves including

  • Using condoms during sex
  • Limiting sexual partners
  • Being tested regularly
  • avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
  • Using personal protective gear when dealing with bodily fluids

Vulnerable populations can be administered Pre Exposure Prophylaxis which work to prevent infection and Post Exposure Prophylaxis which can prevent the virus from taking hold.

An HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence.  In 2024 HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). These drugs strengthen the immune system which HIV weakens significantly.

Still the WHO encourages residents to take preventative action.

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Health

CARPHA: Take Action to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Saharan Dust

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February 16, 2024 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging persons to protect themselves against adverse health effects of a Saharan dust plume, which has covered many parts of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in a Dust Bulletin dated February 9th, 2024 stated, “it is highly likely that particulate matter levels will be above the 24-hour outdoor air quality guidelines” as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA, explained “Saharan dust worsens air quality and increases the levels of particulate matter in the air.  This can be hazardous, especially to small children, older adults and people with underlying lung conditions and chronic cardiopulmonary diseases”.  Dr St John added, “Saharan dust can also worsen the health symptoms of those who suffer from asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”.

In light of the poor air quality levels, CARPHA is encouraging persons to take steps to avoid the harmful effects of Saharan dust. These include:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and when outdoors, wear a dust mask (eg. KN95)
  • Utilise a HEPA filter indoors to purify air in individual rooms
  • Persons who use medications for pulmonary conditions should carry them at all times and use as prescribed
  • At the first sign of difficulty while breathing, seek professional medical advice immediately
  • For less severe symptoms, standard allergy medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may alleviate symptoms

For more information, please see excerpts from the attached CIMH Dust Bulletin.

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