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Statement by the Governor – H.E. Nigel Dakin CMG – on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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I thought it important to give an update on the UK’s response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the support TCI is, and will provide, in terms of sanctions.

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 3, 2022 – Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state. It is a clear breach of international law and the UN Charter. I spent some of early military career in West Germany, defending Europe from the threat of Soviet aggression, and to see columns of Tanks from Russia’s ‘First Guards Tank Army’, bearing down on cities and civilians, in a democratic state, is unconscionable.  Ukraine – who are standing up to this aggression with admirable courage – have already suffered horrific attacks – missiles and air strikes have torn through apartment blocks; innocent people including children have lost their lives.

Today (2 March) 141 Countries voted in the United Nations deploring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling for an immediate withdrawal of Forces.  With the exception of Cuba that vote, deploring Russian aggression, included every Caribbean country.  While thirty five countries abstained, only 5 voted against (Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria). Of the abstentions, six of Russia’s allies, who voted with her after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, abstained today including – most notably in our region – Cuba.

It is the first time in 40 years the ‘Security Council’ has referred a crisis to the assembly and only the 11th time an emergency session of the UN general assembly has been called since 1950.  . The initial General Assembly resolution was co-sponsored by some our closest neighbours: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.  Good for them.

Staying with our region, CARICOM (where our Premier presently is, representing TCI) heard the Chair, the Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceno say: “As we meet, Russia has invaded Ukraine. This is a flagrant violation of international law. We condemn in the strongest terms this unjustified invasion. There must be an immediate cessation of hostilities, an immediate and unilateral withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. We call for all to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

The events of the last few days have demonstrated that the Kremlin was never serious about engaging in diplomacy – and was focussed only on deceit and furthering territorial ambitions. The Russian government lied not only to the world but crucially to their own people. This is not an argument with Russians, many of whom will deplore their President’s actions, but with the small circle who control the Russian State, and who have enriched themselves on it. It is vital for the safety of every nation that President Putin’s venture should ultimately fail, and be seen to fail. The UK stands with Ukraine – and I personally admire the defence the Ukrainians are mounting.

As families shelter from rocket attacks, and paratroopers drop on a Ukrainian city, and Tank columns are on the move, the number of refugees seem to be in the region of well over 500,000.  From our perspective, in the Caribbean, it is worth acknowledging there were disturbing reports that suggested those with African or South Asian heritage or ethnicity were being discriminated against. The UK Government – and others in this region – have received absolute assurances from the Ukrainian Government that this is not sanctioned and will not be tolerated, and that all will be treated equally.

The UK means what it says in terms of defending the Ukrainian people’s right to choose their own destiny. As a result it has launched the largest package of sanctions in the UK’s history – sanctions that TCI have been, and are, also bringing into force. This is being implemented in partnership with our international allies in order to cut off funding for President Putin’s war.

 These will inflict serious economic pain and we have agreed with international partners that many of Russia’s key banks will be removed from SWIFT (the foundational process by which money is moved between banks). This is the first step towards a total SWIFT ban. New sanctions will devastate Russia’s economy and targets Vladimir Putin directly and his inner circle including Sergey Lavrov.

More than 100 companies and oligarchs at the heart of President Putin’s regime have been hit with sanctions yesterday worth 100s of billions of pounds, asset freezes and travel bans on Russia’s banking and defence sector.  This includes asset freezes on VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, worth £154 billion, Rostec, Russia’s defence giant, responsible for $13bn of arms exports per year. Sanctions will also soon be implemented on 571 members of the Duma and Federation council who sanctioned the invasion of Ukraine.

The UK have banned Aeroflot and all other Russian commercial and private jets from UK airspace and these airlines and private jets are equally banned from TCI airspace and all other Overseas Territories. The UK will be introducing new financial measures to freeze the assets of Russian banks and lay legislation before the UK Parliament to ban the Russian state and Russia’s economically vital industries and companies (like Gazprom) from raising finance on the UK’s money markets – the most important financial centre in Europe.

This legislation will also prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in sterling, and as soon as it comes into force it will apply to Sberbank – Russia’s largest bank.   Additional legislation will ban exports to Russia across a range of critical sectors, this includes critical, high-end technological equipment. It will blunt Russia’s military-industrial capabilities and act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come.

Working with allies the intention is to cripple Russia’s economic development in both the short and, if necessary, the long term. The UK and our allies are united and clear that nothing and no one is off the table. UK sanctions will also apply to Belarussian individuals and organisations that have supported the Russian invasion.

Beyond sanctions, we are already providing a range of economic, humanitarian and defensive military assistance.  The UK have pledged £220 million of aid, which includes £120 million of humanitarian assistance providing Ukrainians with access to basic necessities and vital medical supplies.   The funding will help aid agencies respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities. UK Government humanitarian experts have also deployed to the region to bolster the UK’s support to countries receiving those fleeing the violence in Ukraine.

Having been one of the first to send sophisticated anti-tank weapons to the Ukrainians – to allow them a fighting chance to defend themselves – and watching them use these to good effect in defending their homeland, the UK continues to help Ukraine strengthen its defences with joint exercises, maritime support and by training over 20,000 members of its army.

The UK is ramping up support for trade in priority industries to £3.5 billion – including £1.7billion to boost Ukraine’s naval capability.  We are also providing $500 million in loan guarantees to support Multilateral Development Banks, such as the World Bank, to bolster Ukraine’s economy.  We particularly welcome Germany’s decision to suspend Nord Stream 2 that brings Russian Gas to Europe. We must hold Russia responsible for their actions, which will be met with severe costs, and to do this Europe must reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

The Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression has led the Russian people into a quagmire and, as demonstrated today, turned Russia into an international pariah.  The world community now stands against them and in solidarity with Ukraine.  The Russian government’s attempt to conquer an independent state by force of arms, is an attack on the security and freedom of Europe but it goes far wider than that.  It’s an attack against the international order and its impacts, particularly if President Putin were to prevail, will be felt globally should dictators, and those who see themselves as the ‘strong’ set against weak neighbours, believe they can act with impunity.   I’m proud of the Ukrainians who are resisting, I’m proud to be associated with those supporting them, and I’m proud that TCI – in the only way it can – is supporting them through the imposition of sanctions against those who wage war against democratic neighbours.

Caribbean News

Turks & Caicos Islands Cabinet Report, Meeting held January 10

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#TurksandCaicos, January 26, 2023 – His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 1st meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday 10 January 2023 at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales.

All Members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the Fiscal Strategic Policy Statement (FSPS) 2023-27 which includes the fiscal targets of the Government for the next four (4) years to be submitted to the UK Government before being submitted to the House of Assembly for approval. Members also agreed a wide range of associated steps going forwards.
  • Approved an application for duty concessions on the importation of construction materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings from Grace Bay Club Ltd. to allow the resort to complete refurbishment work.
  • Approved an extension and revision to the MOU between the TCI Government and TCI Finance Limited, which leads on the development and growth of Financial Services in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • Approved adjustments to the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro- Grant Incentive) for the provision of compensation for registered farms that incurred damages due to Hurricane Fiona in 2022. Members also supported the adoption of a “Farmer Information System”.
  • Approved proposed measures to control the roaming of livestock in the country covering the registration of livestock farms, construction and maintenance of holding facilities, and the transport of livestock.
  • Approved a proposed model and structure for the New Destination Management and Marketing Organisation and Tourism Regulatory Authority. Members also approved an implementation process, the composition of the appointed Board of Directors, staffing implications, and a financing model, including the establishment of Tourism Improvement Districts and the payment of fees by tourism entities.
  • Approved amendments to the Schedule of the Ports Authority (Stevedorers, Fees, and Charges) Regulations 2008, introducing a variation of stevedoring tariffs. Members also agreed next steps.
  • Noted the impact of the moratorium on the issuance of new visas to Hattian nationals originating out of Haiti and approved the implementation of a moratorium on the issuing of all visas to Haitian Nationals entering the Turks and Caicos Islands for six months with effect from 11 January 2023.
  • Approved the granting of a licence to a named individual for the purpose of erecting a swim deck protruding from the Crown parcel 60400/366 into the adjoining sea and the payment of associated annual fees.
  • Approved the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Planning Department on Providenciales for a period of three years.
  • Discussed the renewal of a lease for the rental of office space for the Government’s Gender Affairs and Social Development Departments on Grand Turk and agreed next steps.
  • Approved the use of existing funds for the use of retrofitting the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College.
  • Approved the gradual outsourcing of janitorial services for government buildings, including schools.
  • Approved the observance of Public Holidays on 8 May 2023 to mark the King’s Coronation and on 19 June 2023 to mark the King’s Birthday.
  • Was updated on issues related to the Ministries of:
  1. Tourism,
  2. Education, and
  3. AG Chambers,
  4. Office of the Deputy Governor, and
  5. Office of the Governor

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Multibillion-Dollar Shipyard Project Launched

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#Kingston, Jamaica, January 23, 2023 – Economic opportunities are expected to abound for Jamaica, through the establishment of a multibillion-dollar ship repair and maintenance facility in the country.

Called the German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ) Shipyard, the project will provide dry docking (lifting the ship out of the water) for commercial vessels up to 20,000 tons, and a range of maintenance and repair services to vessels operating in and around the Caribbean and Central America.

Phase one of the project, which is to be completed by October/November this year, is being undertaken at an overall cost of nearly $6 billion (or US$37 million), with financial partner Sagicor Bank committing to half of this amount as a bank loan. This will see the first floating dry dock, JAM-DOCK 1, becoming operational.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who  delivered the main address at Tuesday’s (January 24) launch at the Kingston Harbour along the Sir Florizel Glasspole Highway,  said that “this project will earn foreign exchange”.

“It will provide high-quality jobs, and it will contribute greatly to the prosperity of our country,” he added.

Mr. Holness noted that the development will contribute to the positioning of Kingston Harbour as a global logistics hub, pointing out that each year, Jamaica receives approximately 3,000 port calls while approximately 180,000 vessels operate within the region.

“With the investments that are being made in improving Kingston as a logistic hub, we are certain that we have now closed one of the major gaps that have existed and that more ships passing through the region will be inclined to come to Jamaica,” he said.

For his part, GSRJ Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Colonel Martin Rickman, said that the project “represents a new industry for Jamaica with great opportunities for other spin-off businesses, hence even contributing more to the economy”.

He pointed out that Jamaica’s “excellent geo-strategic location” makes the country particularly suitable for having a shipyard.

Detailing the specific operations of the facility, Colonel Rickman explained that “we here at GSRJ Shipyard will be able to lift that ship out of the water to conduct many types of work on the hull, the propeller, engine repairs and the entire nine yards, so this is significant for us”.

By international maritime law, all ships are required to be dry-docked to check for safety and integrity once every five years and attain class certification.

The CEO said that the training component of the project is crucial to enable  workers to meet the international standards to carry out the required operations.

He informed that some persons have already been trained.

In his remarks, President and CEO of Sagicor Group, Christopher Zacca, said that as lead arranger, the organisation is “confident that this new development will make a significant impact on the country’s shipping industry while also contributing to our productive economy”.

“We want all Jamaicans to share the vision of the stakeholders; this is a big deal for Jamaica and we want Kingston to have the leading ship repair and servicing port in the Caribbean,” Mr. Zacca said.

The GSRJ’s partners include Harren and Partner Group, Germany; Kingston Holding, Jamaica; Kloska Group, Germany and HAT-SAN Shipyard, Turkey.

Government agencies involved in the project are the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), the National Land Agency (NLA), National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Attorney General’s Department, and others.

Several private-sector entities are also involved in making the project a reality.

The GSRJ started business in Jamaica in 2016 with the intention to build a ship-repair facility at the Kingston Harbour to boost employment and introduce the country to viable economic activities in the shipping and maritime industry.

 

Contact:  Mickella Anderson

Release: JIS

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DELANO ARTHUR APPOINTED AS COMMISSIONER OF ENERGY AND UTILITIES

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#TurksandCaicos, January 26, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Delano R. Arthur to the post of Commissioner of Energy and Utilities in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation, Energy and Utilities.

Mr. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan (2002) and a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems and Management from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona (2007).

With over fifteen (15) years’ service as an Engineering Professional, Mr. Arthur served in the posts of: Senior Technical Associate at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) in Freeport, Bahamas from 2006-2009; as a Senior Project Officer and Diplomat with the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) in Georgetown, Guyana from 2009-2011; as the Manager of Information Technology at the Grand Bahama Power Company Ltd. (GBPC) from 2012-2015; as the Operations Manager of Transmission and Distribution at GBPC from 2015-2018 and as the Director of Grid Solutions at GBPC from 2018-2022.

Mr. Arthur during his tenure at the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) gained extensive experience in all aspects of engineering, technical automation, transmission, distribution and energy supply where he provided strategic and tactical planning advice on the design and operation of GBPC’s Grid inclusive of transmission and distribution, sub stations, power transformers, renewable energy, protection and relaying devices. He also served as the Technical Storm Lead for Hurricane Matthew, as well as the Project Owner to rebuild GBPC’s 45MW Base Load Generation Fleet in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Commenting on his appointment Mr. Arthur stated:

“My father and mother, having been born and raised in Conch Bar and Bottle Creek, respectively, humbles me as I consider this a pleasure to serve the people of these Islands.

I am also grateful to be part of the team that will pioneer the way in strengthening the Regulatory Regime for Energy and Utilities in these Islands, while we move towards a Net 0 carbon footprint”.

Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service Her Excellency Anya Williams in commenting on Mr. Arthur’s appointment stated:

“It is with great pleasure that I extend congratulations to Mr. Delano Arthur on his appointment as the new Commissioner of Energy and Utilities here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This appointment is extremely critical in helping the Turks and Caicos Islands not only progress Energy Reform here in these islands, but also in ensuring that the appropriate regulatory functions are carried out and adhered in these islands.

Having had the early opportunity along with Premier the Honourable Dr. Charles Washington Misick to meet with Mr. Arthur since his appointment to discuss the vision for Energy Reform here in the islands and to understand his early assessment and futuristic plans for the Energy and Utilities Commission, we are fully confident in his ability to lead on these initiatives and pledge our full support of the provision of the necessary resources to ensure the Commissions success.

I wish Mr. Arthur well on his appointment and welcome him to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service.

Congratulations Delano!”

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