TCI Finance Minister tables new bill to TIGHTEN DUE DILLIGENCE
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 15, 2022 – Turks and Caicos is aiming to strengthen its investor vetting process, taking note of the scandalous FTX debacle in Nassau, Bahamas involving an American crypto currency businessman now charged with fraud against millions of clients.
In an effort to prevent instances of financial misconduct in the Turks and Caicos, Members of the House of Assembly have now passed a bill that gives Invest Turks and Caicos Agency the power to assist with carrying out certain background checks on potential clients.
The Invest Turks and Caicos Islands Agency (Amendment) Bill laid by E Jay Saunders, Minister of Finance Investment & Trade on Tuesday December 13 will strengthen what Saunders described as the agency’s Know Your Client (KYC) capabilities.
The Minister explained that KYC was a due diligence process used to verify the identity of a person or business and assess the level of risk involved in doing business with them. Saunders referenced the collapse of FTX in neighbouring Bahamas and the subsequent indictment of Sam Bankman-Fried.
Deputy Premier Saunders offered that the case had nothing to do with The Bahamas Government, still FTX ‘brought them a headache they certainly didn’t need.’
“Our Government is amending the Invest Turks and Caicos Islands Agency Ordinance to empower Invest TCI to develop policies, particularly, the Due Diligence Policies, and to charge fees for conducting Due Diligence checks—.” he explained. “A Due Diligence check involves careful investigation of the economic, legal, fiscal, and financial circumstances of a business or individual. This covers aspects such as sales figures, shareholder structure, and possible links with crimes.”
It also allows Invest TCI to assist with due diligence for applications of permits under the investment category in the Immigration ordinance.
Saunders maintained that as money transfer tech multiplies and becomes more sophisticated it is increasingly important for the country to safeguard its assets and become even more aligned with global anti-money laundering standards and best practices.
Recently the TCI was placed on the EU blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions. Despite the lopsided parameters, investigated by Magnetic Media and repeatedly chided by world leaders that are used to decide who lands on the Blacklist, it’s not a place any country wants to be.
Saunders has committed to get the Turks and Caicos Islands off the infamous list.
Guyana Gov’t working to overhaul sexual offences act
#Guyana, March 13, 2023 – The Government of Guyana has hired a consultant to continue to make changes to the country’s 2010 sexual offences Act which is in dire need of reform, to reflect the evolving society, as well as to increase its effectiveness.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, said the works are underway to facilitate the overhauling of the Act and the expansion of the legislation to cover areas that should fall under its ambit.
In this regard, the AG said the consultant will begin work shortly. “Fortunately we were able to get the very person who drafted the act some ten years ago to resume working on the act with a view of correcting whatever gaps we discovered in the legislation and whatever weaknesses there are.”
Meanwhile, in a further representation of the government’s zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence, the AG said the family violence bill intended to replace the country’s domestic violence legislation, is currently in its finalisation stage and will be made available to the public soon.
“Domestic violence, sexual abuse, and related matters continue to be a problem in our country, and we have to be aware of these issues and continuously work to address them,” he highlighted.
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has stated that the government will be overhauling the ‘Domestic Violence Act’ of 1996, with some 40 proposed amendments, aimed at addressing all forms of violence.
The proposed amendments include the expansion of the current Domestic Violence Act, which encompasses the definition of domestic violence. It also provides for updated penalties for breach of protection orders and the inclusion of batterer intervention programmes and counselling as remedies under the law.
Further, work has begun on an inquiry into an initiative that will study and examine the cases of femicide that have occurred in Guyana over the past five years.
Femicide is the killing of girls of women, particularly by men, on account of their gender. The word is also used to encompass the killing of women by their intimate partners and family members.
AG Nandlall explained that the issues have to be analysed from a sociological and scientific perspective, “… look at the trends and examine the possible causes and all the factors that may be relevant in order for us to detect root causes. When that study is completed, it will produce a report which we will then look at carefully and studiously to draw from it possible solutions.”
These are all projects that will be explored through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan, to advance the government’s legislative agenda.
CDB Solid Waste Study Experts in Country and Public Meeting Called
#TurksandCaicos, March 13, 2023 – Years after it was first approved and subsequently fumbled by various administrations, consultants from the Caribbean Development Bank are finally in the Turks and Caicos to carry out the CDB study, which aims to relieve locals of the solid waste woes that have plagued them for years.
Kyle Knowles, Wheeland MP and Chair of the Solid Waste Task Force shared the information with Magnetic Media last Wednesday.
“As of the end of February, the CDB consultants have been present to carry out the long-awaited consultation in Providenciales – importantly, the consultation takes into consideration all solid waste facilities throughout the country: North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and Salt Cay were all assessed as priority areas for the revamping of solid waste.”
He explained that since the study has already begun, the consultation would run for a span of 12 months. It will see back-and-forth visits to the TCI by experts, who will be collecting data and assisting the government with its technical skill set. Knowles explains that it will be the consultants’ responsibility to use this data to create a comprehensive plan on how to best collect, dispose of and manage solid waste countrywide.
“They will create the Bill design and come up with the initial concept needed in the Turks and Caicos— creating policy for the country [then] the government will come in on the back end and fund it.”
A meeting was on Friday called for the Communities immediately affected by the Providenciales Landfill in the Wheeland District; the invitation states: “We encourage all interested parties to attend the meeting and contribute to the discussion.”
Acknowledging the sheer size and the mountain of issues associated with the Providenciales dump which he says has been underserved and scandalized for years, and which lies in his constituency, Knowles said a short-term tender is being created that will encapsulate not just solid waste disposal but the actual management of that site. He hopes that it will create immediate improvement in some areas.
“We’re talking about a dump site that has been mismanaged 8 to 10 years and we are trying to fix it in a 2 to 3 year period— the smoke, the stench, the operations themselves and security issues, accessibility, those are the things that we look to have immediate impact on which should ultimately relieve some of the concerns of the public, while still working towards the goal of achieving transformational change.”
Knowles campaigned heavily on the issue, vowing that he would fix it.
Now, the Wheeland MP announces the Government is ready to tackle this vexing issue head-on; at least beginning the process of resolving this solid waste nightmare for all islands.
He said: “The gist of it is this, solid waste remains at the forefront of my Government’s agenda, and we are working towards eradicating this issue in the short term and long term. We are aware of the problems affecting the citizens of Wheeland, and are committed to bringing tangible change.”
The project reveal meeting will be held at Healing Waters Ministries on March 22 from 6:30-7:30pm.
Premier says he anticipates Millions to come from DMMO
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 9, 2023 – The Government is expecting hundreds of millions in profit from the Destination Marketing and Management Organization once it is set up; the DMMO replaces the TCI Tourist Board which is in wind down mode; a complete closure set for June this year.
“Within the next ten years, the DMO is forecasted to drive economic growth by an additional $640 million annually while preserving the environment and improving the lives of our people,” said Washington Misick, TCI Premier during his State of The State address carried live on Monday February 27th.
Maintaining that the transition from Tourist Board to DMO/DMMO would definitely go forward he explained, “The TCI is one of the most desirable tourism destinations in the world. We are catering to the higher end of the market so more is demanded. Visitors want customized experiences and services. We campaigned on creating integrated marketing and management of the TCI to maximize the returns for all stakeholders. The DMO will achieve that.”
Regarding the concerns from residents about the sacking of the Tourist Board workers, the Premier, who was addressing the issue publicly for the first time, doubled down on what Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism had said; emphasizing that employees would receive generous severance packages.
“I have listened to your concerns about the DMO. I understand that change is uncomfortable to those directly affected, but it is necessary for collective success. There will be plenty opportunities in the DMO, the new Tourism Regulatory Unit and other agencies for current employees of the Tourist Board. We will make the transition as smooth as possible.”
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