By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 22, 2022 – A 14-year old land dispute has reached its end, it seems, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government escapes being sued for breach of contract in connection to a South Caicos property sold to private developers back in 2008.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government prevailed in the Privy Council case and has reclaimed yet another parcel of Crown Land that was sold, according to case files, in 2008 when a $100 million dollar development was proposed.
CMO BWI Ltd, also the developers for the Sail Rock resort on South, claimed the contract for the land (also) located in South Caicos was breached after an agreement and subsequent renegotiation went sour with the introduction of new law. The developer filed a suit against the Government, saying TCIG reneged on its own agreement and aborted a perfectly legal contract.
According to case files provided at the Privy Council’s website, “CMO are the developers of property situated in South Caicos to whom the Government in 2008 granted the right to carry out a mixed-use development. The total cost of the development would be $100,000,000. The agreement included the right to restore and use, as part of the development, certain parcels of Crown land. These parcels were to be granted to the developers in the Downtown Restoration Lease at a peppercorn rent if and immediately after they had invested $2 million on Island Improvements.”
The breach, according to the complainant involved the transition from UK Direct Rule to TCI Governance in November 2012. The new constitution now turned over Crown Land management to the Attorney General’s Chambers and established a Crown Land Recovery Unit which was charged with repossessing land sold off in allegedly ‘sketchy’ deals.
The then government, led by Michael Misick, former TCI Premier had agreed to the $100M project for South Caicos, which also roped in general improvements for the island. CMO agreed to those terms and reportedly began investing in infrastructure enhancements just before the government they knew was gone.
UK Direct rule was imposed in 2009 and with it came a partial suspension of the TCI Constitution, locally elected and appointed leaders.
It put the project in limbo but in 2013, according to the case file, there was an amended agreement with the government which meant, “there was no longer a requirement for the Appellants to present proof of having expended $2m in order to obtain the Downtown Restoration Lease, although it was necessary for the Appellants to notify the government that they were ready to commence the island improvements.”
One day later, CMO informed the government they were ready to begin “island improvements” which meant the government had to execute the restoration lease. That did not happen however and it was nearly two more years before the TCI Government would take definitive action. The action was to deny the Downtown Restoration Lease citing a new Crown Land Ordinance (CLO) had been written, which essentially nullified significant elements of the previous contract.
“In January 2015, TCIG gave formal notice that it would not grant the Downtown Restoration Parcels Lease, stating that it was precluded from doing so by Section 34 and Part B of Schedule 2 of the CLO with prevented it from entering into any lease unless it was at market rent, having followed the process prescribed by the CLO.”
In July 2016, the developers began proceedings in the Supreme Court which they lost and on July 11 this year, the case was heard at the Privy Council in London.
On November 3, the Privy Council maintained that the Court of Appeal was right in dismissing the Appellant’s appeal, agreeing that the contract in 2013 had canceled out the agreement in 2008 and that the 2013 agreement could not be carried out under the new TCI law.
CTO Gears Up for SOTIC 2023 in Turks and Caicos Islands
#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2023 – Preparations for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s much-anticipated State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) are well underway, with the program set to take place at The Shore Club Turks & Caicos on Providenciales from October 9-13, 2023.
CTO’s business meetings and destination media briefings will precede the official conference program, which features panel discussions spanning diverse themes – from tourism investment and financing to aviation competitiveness and the burgeoning film industry. CTO’s popular Caribbean Youth Congress also makes its return this year.
Neil Walters, CTO’s Acting Secretary General, anticipates a plethora of meaningful discussions and industry networking to unfold in Turks and Caicos. “SOTIC has traditionally been the CTO’s flagship event held in the Caribbean, and with its return this year under the leadership of our newly appointed Secretary General Dona Regis-Prosper, we are confident the forum will set the stage for sharpening our industry’s collective vision to become even stronger and more effective in positioning the Caribbean as the world’s leading destination for leisure as well as business travel.”
Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, shared her pride in hosting the return of SOTIC after a hiatus of five years, stating, “The selection of Turks and Caicos reflects our dedication to hospitality and excellence. As the first major event being held under our new destination marketing and management organization, SOTIC is a significant opportunity for us to collectively shape the narrative of our region’s growth in a post-COVID environment.”
“As Minister of Tourism and Vice Chair of the group of British Overseas countries and territories within the Caribbean Tourism Organization, your presence at SOTIC 2023 holds immense importance,” said Minister Connolly, as she extended a heartfelt invitation to delegates.
Minister Connolly looks forward to showcasing the captivating beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Territory’s dedication to sustainable tourism development. She underscored the potent impact of coordinated action and regional collaboration that conveys a strong message of unity to stakeholders within and beyond the region’s borders.
Environmental Health Department Recognizes Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2023
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands May 12, 2023 – Mosquito Awareness Week is fast approaching, and its an important initiative which was established with the approval of CARICOM in 2014 to raise awareness about the link between mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit and to strengthen initiatives aimed at eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week will be observed this year from May 8th – 14th, 2023 under the theme “Small bite, big threat” and slogan “Beat the buzz: Prevent, Protect, Control”.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is present in the Turks and Caicos Islands, can spread diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.
During the Month of May, the Environmental Health Department will be discussing ways to control vector populations and prevent the spread of diseases. This can include using insect repellent, eliminating breeding grounds, and properly disposing of waste.
Vector Control Awareness Month in the TCI is an extension of Mosquito Awareness Week, recognizing the threat posed by mosquitoes and is a reminder that we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of vector-borne diseases. Let’s work together to keep our communities healthy and safe.
For additional information, please contact the Environmental Health Department on 1649-338-2143/44.
Social Services hosts Special Event for TCI Younger Ladies
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, May 2, 2023 – Another edition of the government’s mentorship program “The Lady in Me” was held this week. This time young ladies in Providenciales were the ones being treated. The program targets at-risk adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
Photos of the beautiful setup shared with our news team show branded gifts waiting for the girls as they spent the two-day event sponsored by UNICEF focusing on how to cultivate healthy physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being.
Students from various schools arrived in uniforms immaculately pressed for the event put on by the Department of Social Services.
Acting Governor Anya Williams was in attendance and expressed faith that the initiative would cause true change.
“It was a pleasure to share with them my insight into the importance of making the right decisions in their youth, which will help to shape their futures and why they should see and value themselves as their greatest asset and to hear from them their goals, aspirations and the challenges that are currently being experienced by our younger generations,” she said.
In introducing the program the Government had said it was aiming to help participants: “examine the adolescence values, competencies, belief systems, inner feelings, motivations, critical thinking, and communication skills,” in order to “build their self-awareness and interpersonal relationships to strengthen their self-esteem— to create a sense of pride and enhance self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem as they mature and improve personally and professionally.”
The Department said the event was expected to impact 100 girls.
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