By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, July 25, 2022 – The consultants carrying out the living wage study commissioned by the Government to assess how much a baseline wage for TCI Islanders needs to be are almost ready to provide a preliminary report according to Premier Washington Misick in a press conference on Thursday July 14.
The Government has shied away from raising the minimum wage in the past several months instead focusing on creating a living wage. Misick maintained that social help would go hand in hand with creating this living wage citing projects like daycare for low income households and nutritional grants, as examples.
“By the time you add all of those together the living wage will be significantly higher than a minimum wage,” he explained.
That living wage will have to contend with inflation though as the inflation rate in the Turks and Caicos was revealed to be 9.1 percent on Thursday. This is after a 38 percent spike in food prices and a 23 percent hike in electricity.
The US and UK are both recording the same 9.1% inflation rate as they struggle to get prices down as well. In the Caribbean, Jamaicans are battling a 10.9 percent inflation rate while the Bahamas has a 4.1 percent inflation rate and in the East, Japan’s inflation rate is 2.5 percent.
As the TCI gets most of its food and essential imports from the US, it is not unusual for the country to inherit their high inflation rates.
Regardless, Misick says the survey is progressing well.
He maintained that he would not leave the people out of the loop and said there would have to be public consultations before the study was concluded.
U.S. Embassy UPDATES Travel Advisory, Warning against taking Guns & Ammo to TCI
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, September 4, 2023 – After judges and attorneys in the Turks and Caicos vocalized their concern over the number of American tourists arrested for breach of firearms laws, there comes a notable change in the Travel Advice from the US Embassy, based in Nassau, Bahamas.
Too many arrests and too many convictions of American visitors to Turks and Caicos over guns and ammunition, including a man, who was this week sentenced to 8 months in prison, have resulted in a sensible notice.
“To avoid U.S. citizens facing arrest in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for bringing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons into the country, U.S. Embassy Nassau updated the TCI Travel.State.Gov page to reflect the criminal penalties attached to traveling unlawfully with such weapons,” said a media release issued on Friday September 22.
The advice is clearly warning US citizens not to take their guns and ammo into the TCI, where unless you are licensed by local law enforcement, it is illegal with a mandatory jail term of 12 years.
In late March, David O’Connor was found with 44 rounds of ammunition while exiting the Turks and Caicos Islands. In May, O’Connor was sentenced and fined between five to six thousands
Most recently, the defendant was not so fortunate and in this case was sentenced to time in Grand Turk Prison. Michael Grim was arrested in early August, caught at the airport exiting with 20 rounds of ammunition. He was on Monday September 19, sentenced to eight months in prison with his parents looking on in the courtroom.
It is expected further action would come in defence of Grim; possibly an appeal.
Now, the United States, which is partnered with the Caribbean islands in efforts to curb firearms movement into the countries has outlined, what travellers to the TCI need to keep in mind, even if they are legal gun owners in the United States.
“… that declaring a weapon in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring the weapon into TCI and will result in arrest.”
A tab on the Travel.Gov.State website is also newly created to support giving accurate information to travellers to the TCI.
Interestingly, the U.S. Embassy also warns that if travellers disregard the advice and are arrested in the Turks and Caicos on firearms offences, they will not be able to get them out of trouble.
“If a U.S. citizen illegally brings a firearm or ammunition into TCI, U.S. Embassy Nassau will not be able to secure their release from custody. The website reminds U.S. citizens that all foreign nationals are subject to TCI laws and must follow local law enforcement procedures.
However, if you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.”
Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and the Labour Tribunal visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and the Labour Tribunal visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between the 4th to 8th September 2023. The Ministry was represented by Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Pascal Bacchus and Madam President, Mrs. M. Doreen Quelch Missick represented the Labour Tribunal.
This initiative was geared towards exposing the TCI to the workings of the Labour Tribunal in different jurisdictions, primarily, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For FY 23-34, training of staff was identified as one of the Key Program Strategies of the Ministry and as such, this exposure provided the opportunity for participants to observe best practices, standards and policies in employment dispute resolution.
A number of key similarities and differences were observed in both jurisdictions. Moreover, a number of nuances were observed which can enhance the TCI commitment to resolving disputes equitably. All jurisdictions have provisions to resolve disputes through conciliation before reaching the Labour Tribunal stage. However, Northern Ireland has an additional layer in their dispute resolution mechanism and that is Judicial Mediation. It is envisaged that these observed best practices will be adopted and implemented to form part of the decent work agenda ensuring social justice for all. Participants were also given the opportunity to observe live Labour Tribunal Matters being adjudicated upon.
The agencies visited were;
- Labour Relations Agency – Northern Ireland
- Office of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal – Northern Ireland
- Equality Commission – Northern Ireland
- Workplace Relations Commission – Republic of Ireland
- Law Centre – Northern Ireland
Commenting on this visit and collaboration, Minister for Immigration and Border Services with responsibilities for the Labour Tribunal Hon. Arlington Chuck Musgrove opined, “My Ministry and Government continues to upskill staff to ensure better service delivery to our citizens and those who work and reside among us. As our country continues to grow and develop, there will always be disputes between employers and employees. Hence, both the collaboration and training are timely, to ensure that disputes are resolved to the highest standards and to ensure equity for all involved.”
Beaches Turks and Caicos Summer Internship Scores A+
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: More than 95% of the participants who started the Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC) Summer Internship Programme received their certification for participation in the recently concluded event at the conference room at the resort.
Youth Ambassador and Internship Coordinator for the Department of Education, in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Arielle Neely, was the guest speaker at the event. She encouraged participants to maintain their network and apply what they have learnt. She also urged them to continue communicating with the organisation in order to benefit from work experience opportunities during the holiday periods.
Neely’s advice to the youth was not limited to internship or work. She also took the time to affirm them by offering wise words of counsel to build their self – esteem. Her passion for young people was evident as she implored them not to put limits on themselves. She shared, “ensure that you do the right thing during your growing process.”
Having been a beneficiary of BTC Internship Programmes herself, Neely, now has a platform to use the conglomeration of skills and training that she received to help positively impact young people.
Some of the participants testified of the benefits they have had. Donique Matthews, a second-year medical student of the University of Havana, Cuba, worked in the human resource department. Though not in her area of specialization, she acknowledged that she learnt the importance of building human relations and maintaining quality customer care.
Valedictorian of the cohort, Grevoney Dean, was based in the animations department. He expressed his appreciation for learning in that area “I have found my passion,” Dean stated. He views animation as an integral component in helping to ensure that the Beaches brand provides family entertainment. “This is my second year in the internship programme and I intend to maintain my ties with the organisation and hope this will result in full time employment.
Aspiring real estate entrepreneur, Dassy Lacoste, who graduated as salutatorian and a student of the Turks and Caicos Institute of Professional Studies (TCIPS), worked in the food and beverage department. She boasted about the wonderful opportunity to meet new people and develop her problem solving and communication skills.
James McAnally, general manager, noted that Beaches is always willing to develop the human capital of the nation. “Though the interns may not have been assigned to organisations or departments that are directly related to their interests or studies, the benefit of work experience in any field is undeniable. I commend the young people who completed the programme and salute the hard working staff of Beaches Turks and Caicos that made it all happen,” McAnally stated.
Human Resource Manager, Owenta Coleby, praised the efforts of her team in ensuring yet another successful internship programme. She highlighted that participants should not view this simply as an opportunity for earning money but that they should build on every skill set and seek to learn from the team members responsible for training. “The training that is provided at Beaches Turks and Caicos is world-class which they receive at no cost to them. In fact, we pay them for being willing to show up for training because we know that an investment in our young people today, is an investment in the Turks and Caicos Islands for tomorrow.”
Header: Coordinator of Internship within the Ministry of Education in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and former summer intern with Beaches Turks and Caicos, Arielle Neely shares with the audience techniques on how to gain from the experiences gained during the internship programmes
1st insert: Donique Matthews (right) successful intern with the Beaches Turks and Caicos resort accepts her certificate from Amin McCartney, Deputy Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education during the graduation exercise at the conference room at the resort.
2nd insert: Section of the audience where graduates were in rapt attention to the presentation
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