Biden Approves Controversial 30-Year Oil Drilling Deal
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, March 14, 2023 – The Biden Administration, on Monday approved a 30-year $8 billion oil drilling project to the dismay of climate activists.
ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer, initiated the drilling Project called the Willow Master Development Plan. The Government has agreed and will allow the company to develop leases it has had since the late 1990s.
The environmentalists’ concerns about the drilling project included: potential damage to the environment and destruction of calving grounds for the local Caribou, which Alaskan natives depend upon.
The Biden Administration, in an attempt to justify the decision says it has given ConocoPhillips only three of the five drill sites it wanted.
“[This] significantly scales back the Willow Project within the constraints of valid existing rights under decades-old leases issued by prior Administrations,” a press release from the Department of Interior said, stating that it ‘reduces the project’s freshwater use and eliminates all infrastructure related to the two rejected drill sites’.
In addition, the administration is promising to limit, but not completely stop the drilling of oil in special areas in Alaska and designate 2,800,000 acres in the Arctic Ocean as completely off-limits.
Greenpeace says the American Government is relying on hasty and inefficient analysis to assess the potential impacts that the proposal would have on local communities.
The three-decade-long project comes as the US promises to cut its non-renewable energy use massively by 2030.
The United States is leading in the Western Hemisphere when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions; a nation which shares its neighbourhood with the Caribbean, a bloc of countries struggling against the debilitating and destabilising effects of global warming.
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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