#TurksandCaicos, April 4, 2022 – April 1st passed over the weekend, and with it the start of the new fiscal year for the Turks and Caicos Islands, bringing several changes into effect.
The Gun Amnesty has officially ended and with it any chance of individuals with illegal firearms to avoid prison time if they are caught, with an unregistered gun or ammunition. Now, April signals the start of a new policing strategy to get illegal guns off of the street.
The initiative, which offered a cash incentive to the handover of unregistered weapons, was announced at the start of March. The Amnesty ran March 1-31st.
“Be reassured, we will match them every step of the way. We hope it does not reach there, but we are capable of doing just that, said Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner of Police in addressing a concern that the Royal TCI Police is outmatched when it comes to firepower. He added, “We will continue to do what needs to be done in terms of enforcement, however, the good news is that for this time, we are giving them one month to turn it in, and obviously moving forward, there will be zero tolerance.”
April also brings with it some reductions in taxes and the Food & Fuel Tax breaks came into force on the first day of the month.
In announcing the measure, designed to offset the staggering weight of rising inflation and the exacerbation caused by sanctions which followed the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Premier Washington Misick held a national press conference to explain how government plans to help.
“We are initially providing a relief of $15 million dollars over the next 12 months” this, he said was to ‘hold down costs to consumers.’
April 1 is also the start of the announced increase in National Insurance Board payments for workers and employers across the country.
“In order to protect its reserves, which are specifically set aside for the continuous payment of future benefits during periods of economic downturn, it is necessary to immediately increase the existing contribution rate structure.
Cabinet in accordance with the recommendations of the Actuary, has accepted and approved the implementation of incremental increases in the current contribution rates over the next three years with effect from April 1, 2022,” a January 2022 press release from the NIB explained.
In the private sector, the rate on taxable income is raised to 10 per cent; 5.5 per cent is to be paid by the employer and 4.5 per cent is to be paid by the employee.
In the public sector, the rate is up to 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.075 per cent and the employer or government paying 5.075 per cent.
The self-employed NIB rate is hiked to 8 per cent.
Pension increases for retired individuals over 65, who are for the first time accessing their pensions will see incremental increases up to 30 per cent; however the increase is for those who opt to tap their retirement later.
Also to begin April at the NIB, an outright end to invalidity payments which do not meeting a 300 contribution payment threshold. Previously, invalidity beneficiaries were accepted after 150 payments into the plan
Another whopper announcement for April came from the TCI Government for its 2,500 staff members.
The new Public Sector Employees Pension Fund and the Pensions Amendment Bills were also passed in the House of Assembly with a budget of $23 – $30 million dollars in the first year of the benefit to civil servants.
This means public sector workers officially have a working pension plan along with their NIB pension plan; historic and effective on April 1.
The new savings strategy – which employs a co-payment system – was designed to ensure islanders can look forward to healthier remuneration for disability, death, late and early retirement.
Attorney General Rhondalee Brathwaite-Knowles said, “It is the right of every public sector worker to not only be provided with the tools that allow them to appropriately carry out the roles that are recruited to do, but that they also receive fair compensation and benefits for doing so.”
Additionally, the start of the quarter offered to business licensees across the Turks and Caicos Islands a three-month opportunity to pay off their business license arrears. Government presented a ‘debt forgiveness’ offer to the tune of $1.4 Million and cancelled all penalty charges attracted due to unpaid business license fees, dating back to 02018.
Prime Minister Davis Gives Briefing on The Bahamas’ Interactions at CHOGM in Rwanda
By: Eric Rose
Bahamas Information Services
#TheBahamas, June 28, 2022 – During the press briefing upon his return from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis noted that, as he closely followed the news from The Bahamas the week prior, he was able to candidly exchange views with other leaders at CHOGM about what was happening in The Bahamas, compared to what was happening in their countries.
“I was able to learn some of the ways in which they are tackling the same challenges, and some of the ways in which they are creating new opportunities for their people,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the briefing in the VIP Lounge of the Lynden Pindling International Airport, on June 27, 2022.
Among those present at the press briefing included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper; Minister of Health and Wellness, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister David Davis; Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Myles K. LaRoda; Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle; and Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, like many other small island states, The Bahamas was being hit by global challenges, which are not of its own making. He said that the activities of larger nations were creating and exacerbating pressures on The Bahamas’ economy and national development.
“Whether it’s the pollution from the industrialised world that ultimately result in storms like Hurricane Dorian, or the behaviour of authoritarian leaders that cause global instability, CHOGM provided an opportunity to challenge some of those leaders directly,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“In my contribution to the Business Forum, in which I was one of only a small number of leaders who was invited to make a presentation, I emphatically made the point that ‘none of us will succeed if we try to do things on our own’,” he added.
“It is a similar point I made to the Bahamian people at the start of our administration: that our country will only succeed if we all work together, in partnership,” Prime Minister Davis continued. “The meetings and discussions we had at CHOGM emphatically reinforced the point: by working together we can achieve so much more than by trying to go it alone.”
Prime Minister Davis said that he was happy to report that his Government’s international efforts were “bearing fruit”.
He said: “Our voice is being heard. Other countries want to strengthen their relationships with us. Other world leaders and business people want to invest in us. And international organisations want to help us.”
“We are at an ‘inflection point’, a moment when we can see our fortunes changing. We are now in the kinds of discussions where we can not only make our needs known, but have our requests honoured.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the global idea of The Bahamas was shifting, and people wanted to do business with the nation.
“This kind of influence and these kinds of outcomes have become possible because of our decision to make our foreign policy work better and harder for us,” he said.
“For example, the pressure that we have been applying in terms of receiving funding and support to protect ourselves against the impact of climate change, that pressure is yielding results,” Prime Minister Davis added. “Before too long, we will be able to say more about the specific offers of funding and support that we have received.
“In terms of the big picture, there’s still a way to go before the polluting countries fulfil their stated obligations; but slowly and surely, The Bahamas is starting to benefit.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, at CHOGM 2022, his Government settled formal diplomatic relations with its host, Rwanda, and also with Tuvalu and Gabon.
“We are grateful to the President of Rwanda, who conferred special courtesies upon us,” he said. “On the first day we were there, we were honoured when he invited me to escort him into the opening session, and referred to me, referred to The Bahamas, as his special guest.”
“The next day we were all deeply moved to visit a memorial in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, paying tribute to the millions who died in the genocide there in 1994, just 28 years ago,” Prime Minister Davis added. “On that single site alone were buried some 250,000 people, more than half our population. I cannot describe the feeling of walking on such hallowed ground.
“To witness some of the horrors of that time, and to now see the modern state which they have since built, prompted tears of sympathy and admiration.”
“We can take what we’ve learned and apply it to our own national development,” Prime Minister Davis continued. “And they are keen to learn from us about how to build their tourism industry.
“As so many countries do, they recognise The Bahamas as world leaders in the sector.”
Prime Minster Davis noted that his delegation also held a number of meetings with other countries and organisations.
“The discussions covered multiple issues, as diverse as the emerging threats of new healthcare challenges, such as microbial infections, and how to secure energy supplies,” he said.
“We also participated strongly in events developing strategies to improve and promote the rights and welfare of young people and of women.
Prime Minister Davis said that he was proud to see the Office of The Spouse “so prominently engaged in the Women’s Forum”.
“Issues especially affecting women in The Bahamas were well-represented, from ways to better and fairer employment, to dealing with issues of gender-based violence,” he said.
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that in his delegation with the President of Botswana, they agreed to mutually support each other by Botswana helping The Bahamas to develop its livestock industry, and The Bahamas offering them support, again in developing tourism.
“As with so many of the African leaders we met, we recognised in each others’ faces, people who not only look like us, but people who remind us of specific individuals at home,” Prime Minister Davis said. “And as the President of Botswana said, they want to reconnect and strengthen ties with our brothers and sisters who were so cruelly taken from us hundreds of years ago.
“He has accepted our invitation to attend some of the celebrations surrounding the 50th Anniversary of Independence, and in return, invited us not just to engage in the technical issues of mutual interest, but also to get to know a little of their culture.”
“If we continue on this path, and succeed in The Bahamas becoming a kind of bridge between the Caribbean and Africa, opportunities for Bahamians and The Bahamas will continue to grow manifold,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis said that, in time, he hopes that many more Bahamians could be facilitated to visit, and even work for a while, in some of the countries “with whom we share so many ancient ties”.
“We were pleased to host a dinner for a small number of Bahamians who are already living in Rwanda or neighbouring countries,” he said. “Travel certainly broadens the mind, and our country will be richer from the kind of exposure these experiences will bring to each of us.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, in wider discussions about strategies about managing the economy, dealing with crime, improving housing and access to financial services, better protecting and managing the resources in our oceans and seas, time and again, the voice of the Bahamian people was strongly heard, and people expressed their enthusiasm in working with the nation.
“We have already issued a statement on the outcome from CHOGM,” he added. “We were especially pleased with the re-election of Patricia Scotland as Secretary-General.
Prime Minister Davis noted that The Bahamas played “an extremely active role” in encouraging others to join the nation in its support. He pointed out that, behind the scenes, over many months, there were efforts by some states to go against convention, and deny automatic re-election of the first female Secretary-General, whom he termed “a strong Caribbean woman”.
“We not only thought it unfair, but have benefitted from several of her initiatives, such as ‘The Commonwealth Blue Charter’,” Prime Minister said. “Their recent Ocean Action report, ‘An Ocean of Opportunity’, contains much which can benefit The Bahamas.
“I encourage you all to read it.”
“I also encourage you to read the formal documents which the Leaders produced, including the Final Communique, the Leaders’ Statement, the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter, the declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation, and so on,” he added.
“At the moment these documents may seem far away from the struggles which so many of us are facing every day.
“But these agreements, they will help to guide and shape our future.”
Prime Minister Davis said that if Bahamians wanted to safeguard and protect their tomorrows, then those were the kinds of actions the nation needed to “start taking today”.
“We return home inspired, confident that we have worked hard, productively and well on behalf of The Bahamian people,” he said.
“And of course, it’s always good to be home.
PHOTO CAPTION: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis speaks, on June 27, 2022, in the VIP Lounge of the Lynden Pindling International Airport, at a press briefing upon his return from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Rwanda. (BIS Photos/Eric Rose)
Nation’s Largest Privately Held Island Goes on Online Auction
Bahamas Tops Post-COVID Destination Choices
#TheBahamas, June 28, 2022 – It’s not often that a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself twice, but that’s exactly what’s happened in the case of Little Ragged Island.
The remote isle in the southern Bahamas is back on the market and has what it takes to draw the attention of the world’s wealthiest seeking a private tropical haven for personal pleasure or development potential.
The isle with an exotic feel and easy access to multiple airports short boat rides away is the largest private island up for sale in The Bahamas, a 100,000-mile open ocean archipelago that has remained a coveted destination among those seeking luxurious, secluded and easily accessible getaways.
According to industry analysts, interest is expected to be high when the island hits the online auction site this week with bidding opening July 25 for four days.
While COVID took a significant toll on the tourism-dependent economy, pent-up demand in the wake of early pandemic lockdowns continues to drive a real estate boom that has swept across the country’s many islands and cays — famed for their turquoise waters and hailed by former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly as the “most beautiful place from space.”
“Private islands in The Bahamas have long been regarded as a premier choice for anyone in search of the ultimate getaway, and St. Andrew’s or Little Ragged as it is commonly called is a fisherman’s and diver’s paradise,” said Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions Vice President of Business Development Danny Prell.
“Located in the Ragged Island chain, the 712-acre island, with its secluded coves and beaches is unlike anything on the market, away from it all, but only a two-hour flight from Miami. That lends a feeling of true remoteness, while maintaining advantages like easy access from key markets and an English-speaking local population.”
“This is the perfect blank canvas for a dream project such as a private residential settlement or a boutique resort with a large marina,” he said.
The award-winning agent said St. Andrew’s Island has great potential due to its topography, good elevations, beautiful beaches and superb fishing. bHalbert also noted that the island could be perfect for an eco-resort, describing the natural wildlife as “abundant” and noting that it has excellent snorkeling and diving potential.
Little Ragged Island’s location, just a mile from the Duncan Town airport, means great accessibility for transporting supplies to the island and accommodating workers while developing the island.
Though Little Ragged Island was grabbed up in an auction last year, global market conditions have landed it back on the market, presenting those who missed out on the initial opportunity with a second chance. It’s not the first time Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions has sold the same property twice. There have been cases, executives said, when a highly desirable property changes hands three times, all by online auction, one of the fastest growing marketing tools for exclusive properties in the real estate world.
“One of the reasons we have enjoyed the growth we have and now the affiliation with the famed international auction master of art and estates, Sotheby’s, not to be confused with the real estate franchise by the same name, is that we are extremely selective in what we accept to represent,” explained Prell. Quality and fair market pricing are prerequisites, he noted. And where once auctions were considered a last-ditch effort, today they are anything but. In fact, many in the rarified upper air of high-end markets rely on auctions to bring the most interesting, objectively-priced unique properties to market knowing that the curated database includes the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest and their representatives or agents.
“Of every 20 properties or estates offered to the online auction firm, Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions turns down 18,” Prell says.
“The 10% of properties we do take must have that special something that makes it Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions quality,” “Only then will one of our digital marketing and sales teams begin the process of preparing for the sale, always aligning with a local agent, working the database, understanding who the offering and the price point will appeal to, qualifying them for the bidding process which requires a deposit to participate and then watching the excitement unfold online.”
Once up on the Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions website, the sale of a property takes on a life of its own with a clock ticking and prices climbing. Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions has successfully auctioned off numerous properties in The Bahamas, while maintaining its commitment to working with Bahamian agents for each transaction. Little Ragged Island is selling without reserve.
To register or follow the auction, click on www.casothebys.com/auctions/r1-st-andrews-little-ragged-island-bahamas.
Caption: Twice in a lifetime opportunity – Little Ragged Island, also known as St. Andrew’s, is back on the market as a unique opportunity to own a piece of paradise in the southern Bahamas. It will be offered for sale to the highest bidder without reserve next month by Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions in conjunction with Bahamas Realty’s Stuart Halbert. The 712-acre island with two fresh water springs is the largest privately held island currently for sale in The Bahamas. Photo by Brett Davis for DPA
Release: Bahamas Realty
The Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) Results
The Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment was administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), to students completing Grade 6 throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands on May 12 and 13, 2022.
A total of four hundred and sixty (460) candidates were entered for the assessment in Language, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. Of the 460 candidates; Fifteen (15) withdrew and eighteen (18) candidates were absent during the administration of the assessment. Therefore, four hundred and twenty-seven (427) students were assessed.
The assessment scores represent a combination of the internal (School-Based Assessment) assessment and the external assessment which consisted of multiple-choice items assessing literacies in the four subject areas. Each paper carried a maximum of 75 marks for an overall total of 300 marks. The internal assessment carried a total of 200 marks.
Based on the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment scoring, the following results are reported:
– Developing Competence: 0-40%
– Competent: 41-80%
– Advanced Competence: 81-100%
For country-specific purposes the scoring has been modified as follows:
– Developing Competence: 0-40%
– Near Competence: 41-60%
– Competent: 61-80%
– Advanced Competence: 81-100%
Of the four hundred and twenty-seven (427) candidates who were assessed, twenty-six (26) or 6.08% are developing competence; one hundred and seventy-five (175) or 40.98% are near competence; two hundred and one (201) or 47.07% are competent, and twenty-five (25) or 5.85% demonstrated advanced competence.
Fifty-four percent (52.92%) of the candidates who sat the assessment scored grades in the range 61-100% demonstrating Competence or Advanced Competence in the literacies that students should acquire on completing primary school. When the candidates who demonstrated Near Competence are added, the overall pass rate for the country is 93.9% representing 401 candidates
While the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant move to virtual teaching and learning have no doubt impacted the candidates, the performance of the cohort is commendable.
Analysis by School
Sixteen primary schools (9 public and 7 private) entered candidates for the CPEA . Nine (9) schools have candidates who demonstrated Near Competence, Competence or Advanced Competence. Eleven of the sixteen schools have one or more candidates who demonstrated Advanced Competence.
A’Navia Mantock of the Ona Glinton Primary School and Vivian Parker of the Provo Christian School have both demonstrated Advanced Competence scoring 450 marks out of the possible 500 marks.
Below is The CPEA Results – Order of Merit by School – Rank by Score
Eliza Simons Primary School
Johanna Jean 401 80.2
Adeena Gilbert 399 79.8
Kaymia Jacques 399 79.8
Ona Glinton Primary School
A’navia Mantock 450 90.0
Mavarii Selver 428 85.6
Gabrille Stern 427 85.4
Matthew Ramjeawan 415 83.0
Kendruy Sanchez 398 79.6
Kennedy Batchelor 350 70.0
Iris Stubbs Primary School
Terrance Mitchell 422 84.4
Keyasia Lightbourne 382 76.4
Theana Joseph 378 75.6
Adelaide Omeler Primay Schoool
Mathline Belony 394 78.8
Sharwinna St. Elroy 363 72.6
Tyerah James 359 71.8
Charles Hubert James Primary School
Danae Hernandez 433 86.6
Mirsendy Obei 353 70.6
Tykeem Gardiner 324 64.8
Doris Robinson Primary School
Alexavier Forbes 337 67.4
Enid Capron Primary School
Akayla Seecharau 422 84.4
Carlisha Pierre 376 75.2
Taisha Louis 369 73.8
Ianthe Pratt Primary School
Sarah Forbes 432 86.4
Eshton Cherizard 398 79.6
Nehemie Fenelus 396 79.2
Oseta Jolly Primary School
Conroy Whittaker 397 79.4
Janeli Gustave 382 76.4
Antwan Ford 442 88.4
Davia Stubbs 437 87.4
Osshonn Saintil 428 85.6
Community Christian Academy
Kalean Seymour 416 83.2
Charles-Michael Forbes 402 80.4
Ojed’harlie Jolissaint 370 74.0
Murian Georgeson 368 73.6
Edrina Louis-Giles 354 70.8
David Lorestil 347 69.4
Provo Christian School
Vivian Parker 450 90.0
Mickayla Daniel 434 86.8
Roniel Diaz 411 82.2
Richmond Hill Preparatory
David Forbes 425 85.0
Felisha Lafleur 413 82.6
Nataliyah Musgrove 402 80.4
Shining Stars Preparatory
Johathan Blythe 439 87.8
Rhon-Anjae Champagne 438 87.6
Jireh Walkin 421 84.2
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