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Banks fail, causing ripple effects but what of the Turks & Caicos banking security

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By Dana Malcolm with Deandrea Hamilton

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 23, 2023The reputation of banking is taking a fierce hit now as some experts forecast a snowball effect for the sector with the recent collapse of three banking institutions; but the Turks and Caicos is not worried, at least not yet.  

While Magnetic Media obtained confirmation that the TCI Financial Services Commission has held a debriefing with the industry, there is confidence the fallout will not befall banks in these islands.  

“I don’t think there’s going to be any effect on the Turks and Caicos but certainly it would be remiss of us if we don’t monitor it,” said E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and TCI Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade.  

In fact, he explained that the FSC which oversees the sector had already given a brief update, maintaining that the effect on the country was negligible and he believed they would continue to  monitor it. 

In case you’d missed it, the global banking sector took a major hit last week with the collapse of three regional American banks and a mad scramble to save others costing about $318 billion, according to media reports.  Now the US Treasury is taking out more even money to insure smaller banks, a strategy in order to undergird the banking system.

One Jamaican Investment banker explained the possible ripple effects of the collapse.   

“I can’t say that it would be good for us but what would affect us is if there are any local banks that are holding bonds or securities from these institutions,” he said.  “But the banks that have been collapsing overseas are not your global banks,” he added. 

The financer explained that these were regional banks which operated in small areas. 

Still when you are speaking of billions of dollars, many lean toward the collapse being quite sizable as it crossed borders with Canadians also frightened that they’d lost it all in SVB’s failure.  

Silvergate Corp went first, gutted by the upheaval of Crypto. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) fell next (making the most noise because of its proximity to the tech Eden Silicon Valley) as clients drew out their funds in a panic, leaving the bank high and dry. New York Based Signature Bank followed. 

Finance Minister, E Jay Saunders aimed to allay fears; reassuring the Turks and Caicos that its local banking ventures would likely be buffered from the effects. 

“Our banks are not investment banks, they are commercial banks, and we have Canadian banks – they are very very conservative so I don’t expect – Scotiabank, RBC or CIBC FirstCaribbean – for this to be affecting them in any way.”

SVB is not an international bank and most of the people who banked there were super high net worth businesses or venture start ups. Most of the banks here would not be looking to invest in companies like those. Where we [in the Caribbean] would have an issue is if [for example] a- JP Morgan or Citibank- got pulled in,” the Jamaican explained.  

US-based First Republic was saved by loans and Swiss bank Credit Suisse, bought out by a competitor UBS and thus saved by the skin of its teeth after multibillion dollar losses caused its borrowing power to dry up. The Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, Swiss National Bank, and the European Central Bank, had to step in, doling out loans and making currency easily available to staunch the bleed.  

Our Latin American neighbours say the whole debacle could push growth down to zero if it spreads to the region. This from Inter-American Development Bank Chief Economist, Eric Parrado in a March 19 annual meeting, reports Reuters. 

 In any eventuality, analysts say the uncertainty could slow down lending globally, making it tougher to get loans for banks and in turn residents; for the TCI that could be dismal as borrowing for natives is already sized up as a game of mastery and curry favouring.

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RTCIPF Observes World Down Syndrome Day

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On March 21st, 2024, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force joined the international, regional and local communities in observing World Down Syndrome Day. 

Officers showed their support by wearing brightly coloured and mismatched socks to raise awareness. 

The head of the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Grantley Williams, Training Manager Mrs Odessa Forbes and Media Relations Officer Denyse Renne visited the SNAP Centre and interacted with the students.

In a message to the TCI community, the RTCIPF noted that stereotypes perpetuate stigma and hinder inclusion, preventing individuals from reaching their full potential. 

Instead, the RTCIPF calls for individuals to foster an environment of acceptance and support where everyone is valued for who they are. 

By breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions, we can create a more inclusive society where individuals with Down Syndrome are empowered to live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities and, by extension, the TCI. 

As law enforcement officers, we must protect and serve all members of society, regardless of their abilities. 

Let’s work together to ensure that individuals with Down Syndrome are treated with dignity and respect and that their rights are upheld.

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CARICOM speaks out on Climate Change, looking to May meeting to amplify call for Climate Funding

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March 3, 2024

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains on the frontlines of global climate crisis, an issue the Region has been aggressively advocating on for the past thirty years. Despite the many commitments and promises of international partners, the window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is rapidly closing.

Heads of Government are concerned that while COP 28 was widely regarded as a historic event, with the completion of the first global stocktake (GST), on progress in achievement of the Paris Agreement goals, the outcomes of GST show that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties will not keep global temperatures below the 1.5 degree goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Heads of Government also expressed concern to be heading to COP 29 where a New Finance Goal will be articulated to replace the 100bn goal, which has not yet been met, even as developing countries require trillions to deal with the escalating impacts of climate change. Developed country parties have not provided enough finance at scale, technology and capacity building support required to help developing countries tackle their pressing needs to build their resilience, especially in adapting to the adverse and increasingly catastrophic impacts of climate change. The clear absence of definitive timelines for action and quantitative commitments for scaling up of investments, and particularly adaptation finance emerging out of COP 28, cause great concern to our Region.

The Conference noted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS), recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries and a special case for sustainable development, have been facing strong push back against the recognition of their special circumstances especially in the context of climate finance. There is limited international support for special allocations for SIDS within financing arrangements and available climate finance from international and private sources is limited, expensive and too onerous to access.

In light of the preceding, Heads of Government called for CARICOM to take a strategic, unified and coordinated approach to ensure that the Region remains influential in the climate and development arena through engagements with key partners and advocacy groups.

They called for renewed focus by the Region to advocate for inclusion of forests, nature-based solutions and blue carbon into market mechanisms with the aim of articulating clear regional positions and strategies.

Heads of Government reiterated the call for improved readiness programmes, simplified approval procedures, a change to the criteria for determining access to low-cost finance, and for the adoption of programmatic approaches to address the bottlenecks in accessing finance.

The Region reiterates its support for the Bridgetown Initiative’s call to expand capital adequacy of international financial institutions.

Heads recognized that the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to be held in Antigua and Barbuda, 27 – 30 May 2024, will be an inflection point for many of these discussions to be articulated. As such, the Region remains committed to participating in the Conference at the highest level.

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South Caicos Development Plans shared with Washington-Misick led Administration

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On Monday, 12 February 2024, the Premier led a delegation to tour the island of South Caicos to view the ongoing public and private sector projects, involving the remodelling and rebranding of the airport terminals, historical districts, and the East Bay Hotel.

The tour of the various developments reinforced the Government’s commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to boost the island’s activity and economy.

Photos courtesy of the TCI Office of the Premier

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