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$16 Million Stimulus Announced by PNP Gov’t, coming in August

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 15, 2022 – A new $16 Million Price Inflation Stimulus (PIS) is on the way for Turks and Caicos Islanders. The announcement was made by Premier Washington Misick in a press conference on Thursday.

“Rising prices of fuel, supply chain issues, increasing commodity prices, and rising food costs have negatively impacted the purchasing power of every household. Bills are increasing at such a fast pace that salaries can’t keep up,” he said.

Misick explained that the stimulus package was created in order to combat this and the 9.1per cent inflation rate. The package has three parts. The first is a $1,000 payout for Turks and Caicos Islanders and British Overseas Territory Citizens.

From the bulk stimulus approved for relief amidst soaring oil, food and fuel prices, $12 million dollars have been allocated for cash in the pockets of roughly 12,000 people.

“The stimulus is intended to provide relief for homeowners who require assistance with rent— for homeowners who require assistance with electricity bills— with loan payments and utilities to provide relief for transportation expenses and groceries.”

Misick explained that those who had applied and were approved for  the $500 Inflation stimulus, which was issued earlier this year would not have to reapply as their payments would be processed automatically and money would start to be dispersed by next month.

The stimulus in February this year was intended to serve up to 13 thousand people, however, a report informed that of the 13,094 applications, 11,481 were approved.

The individuals who were unsuccessful in the first quarter stimulus can now re-apply, however those who were registered and received the cheques which were being issued up to March, are guaranteed this new financial help funded by the public purse.

Information issued several weeks ago explained, an additional $ 600,000 was allocated to pay the deferred individuals who were approved after the payment period of the early 2022 Inflation stimulus.

Based on the explanation of the qualifiers by Premier Misick, 519 Islanders who were not immediately approved for the stimulus in February will be able to apply for this new one. The premier did not address whether the requirements that blocked younger applicants from the last financial relief, due to a lack of requisite identification would be waived.

The second part of the PIS package engineered to combat the massive thirty-eight percent food increase, is a waiver on customs duties and Customs Processing Fees on nearly two dozen breadbasket items.

This measure is set to begin on August 1st  and will apply to breadbasket items on a list to be published by the Ministry of Finance.  It is an across the board break; goods brought in by grocers or individuals will all be temporarily duty free and Customs Processing Fee free.

The third part of the stimulus package is a $2 million injection into the works program to provide more jobs.

As an addition, the customs duty exemption for returning residents has been raised by $200 to $600 dollars. This increase applies to items acquired on non-business travel. Completion of the sometimes cumbersome but formerly requisite declaration forms will be waived on the goods below $600.

“We will keep the situation under review.—The stimulus that we will give you in August is just the first supplementary for the financial year. We do have a supplementary appropriations bill that we will bring to the house in September,” said the Premier, hinting at supplemental relief which may come in the future for TCI residents.

Misick maintained that the government had been paying attention to inflation and had the statistics to prove it. However he acknowledged the breakdown in communications that had caused people to feel underrepresented in the financial tsunami over the past few months, explaining that his government is still constructing the Communications Secretariat to improve public relations.

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Statement on Incident Involving Visitor on 2nd October 2022

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#TurksandCaicos, October 4, 2022 – The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regrets the unfortunate incident involving the death of a visitor to our islands on 2nd October 2022.  The incident which occurred was accidental and not one in which the victim was targeted.  While the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force (RTCIPF) continues their investigations, we wish to reassure the public (citizens, residents, and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.

The TCI has long established itself as a safe destination for visitors from around the world.  Evidence of this can be seen in the countless awards the destination has won, most recently at the World Travel Awards.  Our commitment to providing safety to residents and visitors is unwavering.  The government will continue to work with local authorities including the RTCIPF and our partners in the international community to protect residents and visitors alike.

The incident which occurred on the date mentioned above is one that is rare and does not reflect who we are as a people.  On behalf of the government and people of these islands, we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

As this matter is now an on-going police investigation, further statements will be referred to RTCIPF.

The TCI remains a safe destination and the government is working assiduously for it to remain as such.

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Bahamas News

Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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