By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos Islands government will implement a living wage for residents by early next year according to Premier Washington Misick.
“We are making significant strides for the implementation of a living wage by the first of April 2023 to address these issues.”
Misick was speaking at a recent public meeting in Providenciales; prompted by questions from residents about the extremely high cost of food, gas and other essentials in the country. Back in July the Premier had said consultants working on the country’s Living Wage Study were almost ready to give a preliminary report.
Some residents were concerned that come April the government would only have the report ready not actual implementation plans but the Premier allayed those fears.
“It will be fully ready,” he said. “In fact we will have to announce it not later than January because we’ll have to give people an opportunity to prepare for it and that includes the government— so it will be launched not later than the first of April.”
The living wage comes after months of residents have been asking for an increase in the minimum wage which the government was hesitant to execute, maintaining that the living wage would be of greater benefit to residents in the long run.
MIT defines a living wage as an income which draws on local cost elements including transportation, childcare and other essentials including taxes to determine the minimum employment earnings necessary to meet a family’s basic needs.
The research is specific to the area that it is focused on and should provide the poorest Turks Islanders with enough cash for a comfortable life.
In July, Premier Misick had promised 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.
If those consultations are to happen, and if the premier’s timeline for a January 2023 announcement holds, those consultations or the result of consultations would need to be made public within the coming weeks.
Heavily in Debt, Grenadian government forges ahead with year-long TAX AMNESTY
By Shanieka Smith
#Grenada, December 8, 2022 – With over $600 million in tax debt, the government of Grenada has announced a year-long tax amnesty starting January 2023. Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dickon Mitchell said the amnesty will forego all interest and penalties for the total arrears as far as December 2021.
Mitchell said “many of us have not been paying our fair share” and a change needs to be made in order to prevent any further increase in debt.
“To halt the further accumulation of arrears, all arrears for 2022 onwards will be strictly enforced pursuant to the Tax Administration Act, including the requirement of tax clearance certificates to travel, to access loans from financial institutions, garnishees, et cetera,” he added.
Mitchell noted that efficiency is important in maintaining a good tax system. He said the government will make strides to improve the current system by simplifying it and reducing the number of taxes.
In the coming year, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will also conduct property revaluation, which will allow for a more growth-friendly tax system.
“The IRD will implement a pilot that will allow public officers to pay their property taxes through monthly deductions,” Mitchell said, adding that private sector firms will also be included.
All revenues from the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program will be identified as non-tax revenue as of January 2023. According to Mitchell, the CBI and Residency by Investment (RBI) programs are a $29 billion industry that largely contributes to the country’s economy.
Mitchell said that strengthening the CBI and National Transformation Fund programs is a major goal for 2023, and this will require continued partnerships with entities such as the United States and European Union. He added that the newly implemented measures will ensure the transparency and sustainability of the program.
SCOTIABANK TCI WINS ANOTHER MAJOR BANK OF THE YEAR 2022 AWARD
#TurksandCaicos, December 6, 2022 – Scotiabank Turks and Caicos (TCI) has been named Bank of the Year 2022 by internationally recognized UK-based banking publication -The Banker.
The award celebrates increased product innovation, digital transformation and the widespread recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and is contested by the leading financial institutions in the world.
The Bank of the Year 2022 award is the third major banking awards that Scotiabank TCI has captured this year including Global Finance Magazine (New York) Best Bank 2022 that was awarded in July and Best Digital Bank 2022 by the same publication in September.
Across Scotiabank’s global operations, similar Bank of the Year 2022 accolades have also been secured in Canada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
Dr. Suzan Snaggs -Wilson, Managing Director, Scotiabank TCI said “our success, and by extension, this award, is the direct result of the bank’s decision to expand and accelerate our digital transformation over the past two years . This was a central part of both our COVID-19 response strategy and general modernization objectives as we worked to align our operations with customer trends that favour self-service and remote banking conveniences.”
Snaggs-Wilson noted that the Bank has made strategic investments in technology and innovation to better serve customers, and that gains in digital have and allowed it to fast-track the optimization of the many products and services as key financial enablers for customers.
She also thanked her team of Scotiabank employees who she says “have kept focus on delivering friendly, high quality financial services and enabling the financial wellbeing of the Bank’s customers and without whom, the success of the Bank would not be possible.”
The Banker is the world’s longest-running international banking magazine, providing economic and financial intelligence for the world’s financial sector.
The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries judged and ranks them on their ability to deliver results, improve strategic positioning and enhance service to customers. Over 1,000 applications are collected each year and judges select winners based on which bank they believe has made the most progress over the past 12 months.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried admitted he’d screwed up
By Shanieka Smith
December 2, 2022 – An interview with FTX founder Sam Bankman- Fried on Wednesday at the DealBook Summit revealed that there were no risk management teams or form of corporate control to help govern the organisation.
The CEO said he was shocked by what had taken place. While he had made loans to his hedge fund Alameda, Bank-Fried said he did not intentionally commingle the funds.
Bankman-Fried acknowledged that he had a responsibility to the company and all its customers but he “screwed up.” “There was no person who was chiefly in charge of positional risk of customers on FTX, and that feels pretty embarrassing in retrospect,” he shared.
The investigation is ongoing and it still needs to be clarified whether customers will be able to regain any funds.
Former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Howard Fischer said that Bankman-Fried’s comments are being scrutinised. “Everything he says that turns out to be contradicted by admissible evidence will be taken as evidence of deceit.”
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