Honorable Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of the Opposition
#TurksandCaicos, April 9, 2022 – The PNP Government after being elected into power as the Government of the TCI have shown the people that they cannot handle the work. After 420 days into Office it is now quite clear that the workers the people hired on February 19th, 2021 are not the same workers who showed up for the job.
The objective “we come for this work” was all over each of their resume which convincingly got them on the job, but now that they are on the job it is quite clear they cannot handle the work, for which they were hired.
The people in this country are hurting more than ever before because this PNP administration does not understand the hardship and the real problems that are facing real people.
The minister of finance loves to talk about a “Booming” economy and a country doing extremely well, and people living “their best lives” but sadly he along with the honorable Premier and other members of this government are talking about a prosperous economy that does not exist for most Turks and Caicos Islanders.
Pricing is increasing daily it is now harder for the average Turks and Caicos Islander to providing for and put food on the tables for their families to eat. While this administration got the nerve to brag and boast about people in the TCI “living their best lives”? Honorable Premier and Honorable Minister of Finance, let me remind you that a country in which its people are struggling to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families, is not one in which you can say “the people are living their best lives” but instead it is a country in which the Government is not handling the people’s work.
Over a year ago the People spoke; this PNP Government walked into Office with everything ready to go; They were handed this country on a golden platter, projects tendered and awarded, money in the bank, new development agreements, policies, and a prepared blueprint to move this country and its people ahead were all in motion and ready to go.
But instead of taking the realm of Government from day 1 as the great workers, they claimed they were on the election trail. They believe that the effective way of running a country is to talk ”the work” and not do “the work”.
We have seen that this high level of inflation is not transitory, and strong policies and measures must be put in place immediately. These Band-Aid measures that this PNP government is putting in place and promoting are not going to work to combat inflation, The measures do very little to lower the cost of goods and services. We need to see a fundamental change in policy and structures that will ensure any concession and tax write-off to suppliers will create real savings down to our people.
Many of our people in the TCI are running out of money long before payday. And in all this, wages and pay are off pace with inflation. Everything that we are earning is being wiped out by the high prices everywhere. This government must get to work and do something about this.
Our people can no longer afford to go to the grocery stores only to pick up an item look at it and put it back down because the price is too expensive for them to purchase. Our people can no longer tolerate having to choose whether to pay their mortgage or buy food for their children.
Our people can no longer bear having to sell their hard earn possessions just to keep a roof over their heads. And if the hard financial strain on families is not enough, violent crimes are at an all-time high, and even with the gun amnesty- crimes committed with guns are at an all-time high.
Too many innocent men and women across the country are being robbed, hurt, or killed, and too many homes and properties are being burglarized.
With this increase in crime, detection, and prosecution of those committing crimes are at an all-time low, and our Premier remains silent as a mouse.
This PNP administration’s Band-Aid crime measures are doing nothing to address the present crime situation, and do not address the root causes of crime.
Our national security is at the highest risk level than it has ever been. Aside from people, more and more guns and drugs are coming. Whatever the number of illegals that are intercepted is, there is about three times that number that get through undetected. And as more and more illegal persons call home and let their family and friends know that they made it, the numbers will only increase. It is becoming an overwhelming situation for our border control agent. And again, our Premier remains as silent as a mouse.
This PNP administration’s inability to effectively tackle the issues outlined has led me to one conclusion, that they simply do not have the mental readiness required to tackle the job the people hired them to do. And without serious interventions being put in place, sadly, our people’s issues will continue to be ignored and our economy is poised to worsen.
So, I close with the same sentiments I started with, and stated all through this document, “This PNP Government, just cannot handle the country’s work”
PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.
The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.
As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.
Turks & Caicos Islands Cabinet Report, Meeting held January 10
#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:
- Education, and
- AG Chambers,
- Office of the Deputy Governor, and
- Office of the Governor
Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.
JAMAICA: Multibillion-Dollar Shipyard Project Launched
#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
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