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



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.


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.

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Social Services hosts Special Event for TCI Younger Ladies



By Dana Malcolm

Staff writer



#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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What’s at LJMMA? President explains snazzy equipment 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Situated on a Cay of its own, the LJM Maritime Academy (LJMMA) is the Bahamas’ only school of its kind and with sponsorships from Campbell Shipping, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruises, and more it boasts an extremely well-equipped campus. The Turks and Caicos Community College (TCICC) is now partnering with the LJMMA to bring those amenities to TCI students through TCICC.

Brendamae Cleare, President of the institution, joined in on a maritime stakeholder meeting introducing the partnership to the Turks and Caicos’ residents on Tuesday, March 21, detailing everything that the LJMMA had to offer.

“We have– classrooms, workshops, a bridge simulator room, a crane simulator, an engine simulator and we also have a GMDSS simulator and radar simulator as well,” she explained.

The simulator building was commissioned to the tune of $30 million and is only in phase one. Also included alongside the fancy simulators, which give students hands-on experience with the boat engines and cranes that they will work with in the future, there are temporary administrative offices, libraries, nurse’s stations and more.

Other buildings on the Cay include, a firefighting simulator and the school even has lifeboat simulators, which mimic what it would be like pushing the lifeboat off the side of a huge vessel and maneuvering it in the ocean.

The Maritime Academy was birthed in 2011 when executives at Campbell Shipping including Lowell J. Mortimer (which is the only Bahamian-owned shipping company Cleare says), realized that there were no Bahamians working on their ships and were determined to change that.

“We had the college of the Bahamas, which is now the University of the Bahamas. We had a technical and vocational institution. We had banking and tourism colleges, but nothing like maritime but [we said] why not maritime?”

And the LJMMA so was born, named after its founder Mortimer. In its first year, it fielded over 180 applications and accepted just over 40 students. It is semi-regimented, which means strict rules for students, just as they would have to abide by on vessels.

The institution is accredited by the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Institute of Materials, Minerals, Mining and others.

Cleare said the vision of the school was to become a globally recognized institution of excellence, in maritime education and training.

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