By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – An agreement to revise the approach to the dissemination of Crown Land has been reached by The Turks and Caicos and UK governments after their respective consultants made more than a hundred recommendations regarding the current policy.
Premier Washington Misick made the announcement in a town hall meeting in Providenciales on November 21st revealing that 164 recommendations were laid out by the consultants based on their review.
“The recommendations were agreed to lock stock and barrel both by the local and UK government and that has now been greenlighted for implementation. A paper will be going to cabinet again on the 9th to approve some low hanging fruit that we can deliver ahead of an implementation plan,” he explained.
“Gone are the days of a raffle for a piece of crown land in this country. That will be something of the past.”
It’s a welcome relief for both developers and residents.
The dramatic change in Crown Land management came in a new Ordinance instituted in in 2012 following a constitutional shutdown initiated by the UK. Alleged abuses linked to hundreds of acres of Crown Land under the Michael Misick-led administration, led to the radical change which has been a bone of contention for nearly 12 years now.
As for what the agreement between Turks and Caicos leaders and UK officials means for residents going forward, Premier Washington Misick reiterated the plan to provide housing solutions for people across the TCI to bring down the often astronomical costs surrounding building, owning and renting a home.
“One thing I can tell you as I’ve said over and over is the plan as it relates to residential properties is to try and deliver shelter, completed communities with all of the modern services rather than a piece of dirt like we have been doing in the past.”
He said there was a significant amount of work to be done but promised that issues including legacy properties and other recurring issues would be dealt with in due time.
Grants for farmers
#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony. For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.
This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment
In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support
- Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
- New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
- Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD
To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.
Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.
Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.
My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.
Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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