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Gov’t will not go to FortisTCI for you; Premier responds to our question on Representation

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#TurksandCaicos, July 25, 2022 – Residents must take concerns about their consumption to FortisTCI themselves according to Premier Washington Misick who says the government cannot step in to seek clarification.

“First of all, if people are unhappy or feel as if they have been billed wrongly the first step would be to approach Fortis about why their bill is so high or why consumption has gone up,” Misick said.

He maintained that Fortis had a system where they would come in and assist with an audit of power consumption for residents.  He said questions alluded to ‘potential sleight of hand’ and the government would not insert themselves.

“The government wouldn’t get involved in any fight until there is hard evidence to prove—- the court system also exists for people to take their issues to.  Yes we do have a department of that deals with consumer protection and yes if that matter is reported and there is justifiable reason to suspect that something untoward is happening we will look into it and engage on behalf of consumers generally.”

He maintained though that this type of investigation would be terrible for FortisTCI.

“That would be a really bad reflection on Fortis, which is a publicly listed company from a reputational point of view. It could be extremely damaging if it could be proven that they are stealing from people.”

At the same time Misick unapologetically cast doubt on other companies and whether they were truly passing on the proceeds from the Food and Fuel Tax Break sanctioned in March.  This was despite acknowledging earlier in the press conference the massive increase in shipping costs and costs of goods.

“We reduced the CPF on fuel from seven percent to five percent and we expected that it would have had an impact on the power bills.   At the same time prices continued to rise.  Fortis has indicated that it has had no impact or very little impact on the bill. We could have gone several ways with the stimulus we could have reduced taxes by that amount or more through customs duty or CPS and leave it to the force of economics and have it trickle down to the population but we’ve learned that it doesn’t work that way because the merchants whether they be Fortis or the supermarkets or any other entity never seem to pass the savings on.”

The Premier maintained that it was a misunderstanding to say  the government had not done anything about the electricity bills as the stipend would  help and there would possibly be several stimulus payments in a single household to offset costs.

Additionally Missick maintained that they were in negotiations with Fortis about several issues including renewable energy and investments which could ‘potentially impact the cost of power.’

“For those people who are saying we haven’t touched the fuel factor or the decisions that we made we left Fortis out of the loop that is not the case.”

In March the government confirmed they had not met with any business owners including Fortis TCI to consult on the implementation and logistics of the Food and Fuel Tax break.  FortisTCI had also explained in March that because of the rising fuel costs the 2.5 percent decrease was unlikely to make a dent in electricity prices.

Residents still have questions about the raised consumption on their June bills which combined with the raised fuel bills sent some bills up hundreds of dollars.

In three days, the current FortisTCI electricity billing cycle ends.

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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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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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