By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 19, 2022 – Recognizing the disjointed state of statistics in the country, the Government has decided to phase out the old Department of Statistics and institute a new body.
- E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade with responsibility for statistics described the current structure as.
“fragmented with no coordination mechanism, no common strategy and program, and no institutional leadership— [as] statistics are currently disseminated by various agencies, leading to no overarching strategy or plan.”
With the passing of the new Statistics Bill on December 13th a new body independent of the government will be formed, the National Statistical Authority. It replaces the Department of Statistics and fulfills yet another promise of the people’s contract between the PNP government and the residents of the TCI.
Saunders said the “recent obligations at the local, regional, and international levels have placed new demands on the national statistical system” and current staffing could not keep up.
The Authority will have access to all records, documents, returns, and certificates in the control of public bodies Saunders explained. Whether this will include the police was not specifically stated by the Minister.
As it stands now, getting statistics from the police in the Turks and Caicos is a dismal affair, queries go unanswered, murder victims ago unnamed and suspicious deaths are reported and never heard about again. There are instances of all these in 2022 alone. But it’s not just the police, statistics on inflation and interest rates were not accessible to the public even as the globe struggled through a cost of living and supply chain crisis and there were multiple instances where statistics on COVID-19 cases just stopped being disseminated for extended periods of time in the midst of the pandemic.
And population sizes on the islands remain obscure.
“It is our Government’s intention for the Statistical Authority to become the Statistical Governing Body of these islands, and lead the processes required for the modernization of the data management systems.” Saunders explained
He detailed that the new agency would oversee
- The measurement of new concerns like the environment. climate change, and sustainable development.
- Regional and International reporting commitments.
It also makes provisions for mandatory annual reporting by the Authority to the House of Assembly and the creation of an advisory body, the National Statistical Committee (NSC). This committee will be comprised of heads of other agencies and the representatives of the private sector “to ensure a participatory, consultative, all-inclusive, and transparent approach to the development and dissemination of national statistics.”
Saunders ensured that there would be no mass firing of employees. All would be able to choose whether they wanted to stay on with the new authority or remain a public servant in another department.
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU
#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.
This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.
This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper, was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”
The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.
Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”
Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.
Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.
Guyana to build regional food hub
#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.
In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”
Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.
Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.
In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh, Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.
Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.
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