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No End in Sight for Conflict in Ukraine; TCI Gov’t Rolls Out $15 Million Tax Break to ‘Hold Down’ Costs

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By Deandrea Hamilton

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#TurksandCaicos, March 16, 2022 – Tax cuts worth $15 million were announced by Washington Misick, Turks and Caicos Islands Premier as a first step toward helping to “hold down” the escalating cost of goods in the marketplace; he addressed the nation on Tuesday March 15 in a press conference carried live.

Premier Misick said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated an already record-setting inflationary period as the world trudges out of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Even before the crisis started, or the conflict started between Russia and Ukraine we were already experiencing high rates of inflation and we spoke to you and told you that we would be dealing with it and dealing with it by the appointment of a commission to look at minimum wage and some other issues.  That Commission has been appointed and the work is now beginning on that front,” he said on Tuesday evening.

While his government is prepared to swallow a budgetary loss of $15 million dollars, at this time, it could be that more action is needed as the country’s leader expressed uncertainty about an end to the conflict which has already claimed 691 lives and has forced three million people to flee the country.

“The conflict is not over, it is far from over and we cannot at this stage, predict with any degree of certainty what will happen as we move forward but the Turks and Caicos Government has taken into consideration the fact that the cost of the conflict will further impact the cost of living and the quality of life as a result of that. So we come today to speak to you about the initial package of relief that we will provide to try to mitigate the serious impact on the consumers of the Turks and Caicos Islands and they focus on food and fuel.”

Recognizing that the two eastern European countries together are super powers in oil and wheat production, the Premier somberly shared what intervention was approved at Cabinet, for now.

“There is a tax, which is an 85 cent levy per gallon on fuel; it is actually sometimes referred to as the additional duty on fuel and then there’s also the CPF.”

The Customs Processing Fee is a 7.5 per cent tax on the purchase value of the goods.

Government has decided to trim both.

“The Government has agreed, in Cabinet to provide a $15 Million package; a relief worth $15 Million for the time being,” said Hon Misick, “over the next 12 months and depending on how the situation unfolds, we will then be revisiting the concessions we are providing.”

The fuel sold at the pumps is taxed; the TCI Government takes from each gallon sold, 85 cents.  That fuel tax will be reduced by 25%, said the Premier, which translates to the consumer saving 21 cents per gallon.

Government is forgoing collection of $2.7 million dollars due to this concession which takes effect from April 1.

“In addition to the fuel, there’s also proposed a CPF which now stands at 7.5 per cent, that will now be reduced to 5 per cent.”

Right now, prices at the pumps in the Turks and Caicos Islands resident for regular fuel is almost unbearable.  One fuel station is already past $7 per gallon for regular gasoline.

Nearly 100 per cent of what people in the Turks and Caicos consume is imported, more than 85 per cent of the imports are from the United States and around 14 per cent is from the region, according to 2019 statistics.

“Things have gotten significantly worse as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.  A little known fact until very recently, between Russia and Ukraine – they actually together produce 50 per cent of the world’s wheat and they are of course super producers of gas and oil; so today what we have already noticed is that the price has gone up significantly at the pump; supply lines and supply chains have started to tighten already.”

Now that the announcement is made outlining what Cabinet has decided in order to soften the blow on local prices due to the global inflation, E. Jay Saunders, the Minister of Finance and his Consumer & Trade Department must meet with local fuel suppliers, utility companies, grocers and other retailers to communicate the changes and expectations.

The hope is the Commercial sector, which has never before experienced any policing of its pricing, will need very little in terms of spot checks.

Government is optimistic these entities will do the right thing by passing on the full savings to consumers in support of their relief package for residents of the Turks and Caicos.

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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Provo Water Company Boosts Water Distribution Infrastructure in Providenciales with Key Improvement Initiatives

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PROVIDENCIALES, TCI, APRIL 9, 2024: Provo Water Company (PWC) remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the water distribution network in Providenciales by making significant progress on various improvement projects while innovatively addressing short-term distribution challenges.

The company is currently working on two projects to enhance water distribution on Providenciales. The first project will see the installation of a new city water transmission main line from the TCWC Production Plant along June Plum, Gardenia Way, Kakeka Streets, and Garden Loop to the Leeward Highway, extending from the Long Bay Hills Drive junction to the roundabout near Crackpot Kitchen. This pipeline upgrade will provide increased water supply to the network and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2024, enhancing water reliability and ensuring better service for the community.

The second project, which is set to be completed by the end of September 2024, will focus on upgrading the fittings at major water junctions along the Leeward Highway. These improvements to the water supply network’s central artery will increase water flow to the Suzie Turn Reservoir, and enhance water availability and quality for customers located west of Turtle Cove.

These projects not only tackle the current water distribution issues causing nightly restrictions but are also essential components of PWC’s long-term strategy to support the island’s population growth and flourishing tourism industry. In the immediate term, the organization has resourcefully repurposed a newly built water tank located in the Industrial Park area. Originally designated for a future project, the water company has utilized the new tank as an additional source to replenish the Suzie Turn Reservoir, addressing the water supply issues that began in March.

In response to the new development, Managing Director Robert Hall stated, “We are pleased to have found a way to utilize this water tank as a temporary aid in addressing the high-water demand. The activation of this tank reaffirms our commitment to fulfilling the water requirements of our community in response to the growing demands of our customers and stakeholders.”

Situated in the heart of the Industrial Park area, the new tank boasts a capacity of 1.5 million gallons. This tank will work hand in hand with the Suzie Turn Reservoir to meet the water supply needs in the northern and southwestern areas of Providenciales, bridging the gap until ongoing projects deliver a lasting solution.

Once the two current projects have been completed, the new water tank will serve a critical role in a future project and in safeguarding Providenciales with an emergency water supply during crises like hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“This water system investment speaks volumes about our proactive approach to directly addressing water challenges. Through expanding storage capacity and optimizing distribution efficiency, we are well-positioned to deliver reliable, high-quality water services to our customers,” Hall said.

He also added that, amid these efforts, advocating for water conservation practices is crucial. Small actions, such as fixing leaks, using water-efficient fixtures, and practicing mindful water consumption, can play a significant role in safeguarding our valuable water resources.

In addition to these initiatives, the organization will continue to optimize and promote its robust educational campaigns and community engagement programs aimed at raising awareness about water conservation and the importance of sustainable water practices. By empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to make informed choices about water usage, Provo Water Company aims to foster a culture of responsible water stewardship that benefits both the environment and future generations.

“As we move forward, we remain committed to serving our community and look forward to the positive impact that these new initiatives will bring to this island.” Hall concluded.

For additional details about Provo Water Company and its water efficiency and conservation initiatives, visit its website, provowater.com and social media pages at @ProvoWaterCompany for tips and announcements, or contact our customer service team at customerservice@provowater.com.

 

Pic: Provo Water Company’s Managing Director, Robert Hall, and team working to expand water storage capacity to optimize distribution efficiency.

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Bahamas News

Saxons Brass Section Thanks CWCO for Continued Commitment

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS (April 9th, 2024) Behind the vibrant costumes and electrifying beats of Junkanoo parades are committed members, mentors, and supporters such as Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO). In a heartfelt acknowledgment of years of generous support, the Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited the water supplier to present a plaque of appreciation.

Jeremy Adderley, speaking on behalf of High Voltage Brass, said, “Without CWCO’s support, we would not have had the brass costumes needed to compete and secure our two-straight victory. Their support also helps us as we plan lessons for our young members to enhance their musicianship skills, not just for Junkanoo but for college and beyond.”

Adderley highlighted that the plaque is a token of High Voltage Brass’ immense gratitude for CWCO helping the Saxons Superstars keep culture alive and for being a steadfast partner in developing future leaders.

He added, “Every year, it is a struggle to make it to Bay Street. Many of our members are eager to participate, despite their circumstances, and every year our group continues to grow. Thanks to CWCO’s generosity, we look forward to continuing to grow and succeed alongside their great team and establishment.”

Henderson Cash, CWCO’s General Manager, said, “Receiving this plaque from the Saxons Superstars is a profound honor for us at CWCO. It symbolizes the strong relationship we’ve built over the years, rooted in mutual respect and a shared commitment to preserving Bahamian heritage.

“Our support for the Saxons Superstars’ brass section is emblematic of our broader mission to invest in our community’s vibrancy and the potential of its young people. We are deeply committed to continuing this support and fostering the traditions that make our culture so unique.”

 

Photo Caption: The Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO) to present a plaque of appreciation.

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