Short Airport shut down but guests take to social media as TCIAA scrambles to get Firefighters back to work
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – Tens of flights were delayed last Saturday when firefighters at the Providenciales International Airport went on strike for more than three hours over dissatisfaction with their wage increases. The strike occurred on one of the busiest days of the year with 35 commercial flights scheduled to land in the Turks and Caicos. All domestic flights and at least two international flights were canceled or held up because of the strike.
Private air carriers also experienced delays. Caicos Express Airways said their morning flights were all delayed and several passengers cancelled due to the delays. Provo Air Center said they had one cancellation (a fuel stop) and four delays with some passengers having to completely reschedule. Additionally, some commercial passengers got frustrated with the airport and called for charter flights instead.
InterCaribbean Airways had to cancel 10 flights. Blue Heron aviation said the delay did not greatly affect them as they only had one cancellation. All of this within a three hour timespan on June 18, 2022 when the fire crew at the airport, without warning, took industrial action.
As for the reasoning behind the strike the firefighters say the increase offered to them is comparatively thought to be not as good as it is for others employed by the Airports Authority.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) confirmed the issue around 8:00 am but it is thought to have been affecting the airport from before 7:00 am. The TCIAA told the public they would be ‘temporarily unable to accommodate air traffic’ as flights cannot be given clearance to land without firefighters on-site in case of an accident.
TCIAA officials immediately met with the firefighters in an effort to iron out the issue and restore services and they were successful in reaching a temporary solution the TCIAA confirmed. Firefighters returned to work around 11:18 am but the contents of that meeting have not yetmbeen made public.
Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of interCaribbean Airways praised the swift resolution between the two teams noting that in the past similar action had spread over days causing massive delays. Firefighters have had to resort to industrial action several times in the last 4 years. They were on strike in August 2019 and again in May 2021 both times resulted in much longer delays.
The travelling public was well aware of the strike commented on sites like TripAdvisor (the world’s largest travel website) immediately picked up on the issue. Tourist comments on the site ranged from outraged to disappointed.
“A total mess. What an embarrassment for TCI Tourism and waste of time and money for so many,” one individual lamented.
Another who appeared to be on the island said, “How awful for those trying to get here. (And I hope this is cleared up by Tuesday when we are set to return home.) I saw that the early Jet Blue flight out of JFK this morning made it halfway to Providenciales before being diverted back to JFK.”
Just after 11 a.m. one person who seemed to have been caught up in the incident said, “I am one of the ones stuck now hearing the PLS airport is open again. But we are already canceled and back with our luggage in a long ticketing line trying to see if they will do a special flight later today or tomorrow. This is after being in the air for over an hour and returning to Boston. JB has been waiting for the go-ahead since we came back at about 8:30 am from the
Turks govt to see if the flight can come in on a new schedule. Huge black eye for Turks. What a huge upset for all these folks and families…. Pay the firefighters a fair wage.”
Despite this the TCIAA spoke directly to the public, noting that they had the firefighter & #39;s best interest at heart and said the firefighters were upset because their pay increases would be staggered.
“The TCIAA wishes to advise that it has and continues to prioritize improving work conditions and salaries/wages at the TCIAA. Today’s industrial action occurred without any formal notice issued to the TCIAA and in response to a recent announcement by the TCIAA to its staff that it was immediately introducing a phased salary increase to all staff. To this end, the fire service received a 15 percent increase to be applied to all staff within the department. The announcement advised that this 15 percent increase was the first step of a two-part process leading to the introduction of a salary grading scale, during which time an additional increase was to be anticipated, ” a press release explained.
The TCIAA did not explain whether they had consulted with the firefighters on the nature of the increase and if it was a workable solution for them. The TCIAA say they are working to upgrade the fire tower to make employees more comfortable and would be working with the government on increases as the staff deserved it.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: 1.3 Million Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Administered in Region
Bahamas News6 days ago
Minister Glover-Rolle Delivers CARICOM Statement at UN’s Commission on the Status of Women
Caribbean News6 days ago
Turks & Caicos inspires and debuts Drake Fashion Line, NOCTA
Government7 days ago
Right on Cue, Provo Dump burning again as CDB Consultants prepare for Community Meeting
Caribbean News3 days ago
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
Caribbean News6 days ago
JAMAICA: Persons Encouraged to Purchase Coffee Festival Tickets Early
Caribbean News6 days ago
UK Imposed Procurement Process Slowed TCI getting off EU Blacklist
Government1 week ago
Staff of the Vector Control Unit attend the 89th American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) Annual Conference