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EU Blacklists TCI as non-cooperative; DP Saunders says ‘they’re overreacting’ 

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By Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 15, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos has been listed on the EU blacklist again as of February 14th, but E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister says this is due to an excessive response from the EU coupled with compliance policies that do not make allowances for smaller economies.  

“We’re working with the EU as partners but their language– is disproportionate to what is going on. Their words are disproportionate, and their reaction is disproportionate, we’ve had this conversation and they know it,” he maintained.

He spoke to MM by phone on Monday (March 13) following our queries about why the TCI’s financial services sector was repeatedly making the dreaded ‘Blacklist’. 

The DP explained that February’s announcement was based on an October review. 

“The European Union doesn’t do their own assessments, the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) does them, and in order to cut down the amount of work they don’t review you every month, they review twice a year and one of them is a peer review so other countries will review you,” he continued, “so our chance to get off is basically once a year.”  

He maintained that the language used to describe countries like the TCI and The Bahamas was excessive for the perceived infractions. 

“The Bahamas said they didn’t meet their requirements around their computer systems, and they called The Bahamas non-cooperative; [that] reaction is disproportionate to the issue that The Bahamas has with their IT system,” he said. 

The same issue he says is affecting the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

“Our portal was not capturing all the data in the time frame that it should have been and so we had issues with implementation.”  

The Finance Minister explained that the systems required to comply with the EU’s expectations were extremely expensive and while countries with more robust financial services sectors like Cayman and Bermuda, who pull in hundreds of millions of dollars annually, could possibly afford it, countries with less revenue in the industry would struggle. 

“Smaller nations try to go with something cheap and the cheap systems start to give problems and the EU comes in ‘you didn’t meet the requirements you’re non-cooperative’ and that’s exactly what happened with us,” he said.  

The EU listed the Turks and Caicos among 16 jurisdictions that ‘refused to engage with the EU or to address tax good governance shortcomings as of February 14, 2023.’  

Only one tax deficiency was attached to the Turks and Caicos in the EU document. It said the TCI “Does not ensure the effective monitoring of company obligations regarding substance requirements in the jurisdiction.” 

The only reason the TCI is moving ahead so quickly, Saunders said, is an abundance of cash from the healthy tourism sector bolstering the economy and sheer luck landing them one of the best consultants in the business.  

The Turks and Caicos first landed on the blacklist in October 2022 after being put on the grey list six months earlier. The EU claims the overall goal of the list is to ‘improve tax good governance globally, and to ensure its international partners respect the same standards as EU Member States do.’  

Despite this, the list has repeatedly come under fire for being skewed. Created by EU members to assess non-EU members, it does not include or punish EU member states for their own tax practices, despite some of them being listed as the most notorious tax havens in the world. 

While frustrated with the arbitrary nature of the list, Saunders says the TCI will comply anyway and the country was working swiftly to get off of the list. 

“I think there are a lot of countries throwing their hands up but we’re not taking that approach. We’re taking the approach to say we’re gonna partner with the European Union and we’ll help them achieve what they want to.” 

A major reason behind this according to Saunders, is the country’s aspirations at having a major financial services sector that can help diversify and increase the country’s revenue, so that in the case of a pandemic, the country still runs like a well-oiled machine.   

Other regional countries joining the Turks and Caicos on the list for the time are Anguilla, The Bahamas, The British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and The US Virgin Islands. 

Caribbean countries on the grey list currently have six months to reassess their tax practices before they are dumped onto the blacklist. Grey listed jurisdictions include Aruba, Belize, Curaçao, Dominica, and Montserrat.  

Bahamas News

Bahamas Government and Grand Bahamas Port Authority in squabble over millions allegedly owed

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas#DavisAdministration#PortAuthority, April 9, 2024– The Bahamas Government according to reports, says the Grand Bahama Port Authority owes 357 million dollars in back payments over the last five fiscal years, 2018 to 2022, and in a letter sent to the Port Authority last week by the Davis Administration, the government is giving them 30 days to pay up. However, the Port Authority clapped back in a statement, denying the government’s claim saying that they do not owe the sum of 357 million dollars

 

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Government

Moesha Morris appointed as Senior Procurement Officer

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 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, 28 March 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor proudly announces the appointment of Ms. Moesha Morris to the post of Senior Procurement Officer in the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department within the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Ms. Morris’ journey within the civil service commenced in 2016 when she joined the Human Resource Management Directorate as a Clerical Assistant, marking the beginning of her dedicated service to the nation. Demonstrating a keen intellect and a strong work ethic, she quickly made her mark, earning accolades for her contributions to the department’s operations.

Building upon her foundational experiences, Ms. Morris pursued higher education, completing an Associate’s Degree in General Studies (Humanities) at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College. Driven by a thirst for knowledge and a passion for understanding human behavior, she embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University.

Upon the successful completion of her studies, Ms. Morris returned to the civil service in 2021, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose. With determination and dedication, she navigated through various roles, showcasing her versatility and commitment to professional development. From Administrative Officer to Scholarship Officer, and then to Procurement Officer, she steadily ascended the ranks, earning recognition for her exemplary performance and leadership qualities.

Ms. Morris is distinguished as a self-motivated, results-driven individual with a resolute work ethic and an unyielding pursuit of excellence in every endeavor. Her relentless commitment to continuous improvement is exemplified by her ongoing pursuit of professional certifications with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. These endeavors underscore her dedication to enhancing her expertise in procurement and project management, positioning her to provide invaluable counsel on procurement matters across government entities and public bodies.

Reflecting on her appointment, Ms. Morris expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve in her new capacity:

“I am thrilled and deeply honored to step into my new role as Senior Procurement Officer within the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department. This promotion is a testament to my belief that hard work and dedication truly prevail in the professional world. I am humbled by the recognition of my efforts and grateful for the opportunity to further contribute to our department’s success. Achieving this promotion within just 12 months is truly remarkable, and it reinforces my commitment to excellence in every aspect of my work. I will remain committed to driving impactful outcomes and upholding the standards of the Public Service.”

Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams in extending congratulatory remarks to Ms. Morris stated:

It is with great pleasure that I extend my congratulations to Ms. Moesha Morris on her appointment as Senior Procurement Officer in the Contracts and Corporate Performance Management Department within the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Ms. Morris’ exemplary track record of academic achievement, professional competence, and dedication to public service make her an outstanding choice for this important role. Her passion for procurement excellence and her commitment to continuous improvement will undoubtedly contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of procurement processes within government entities.

In her new capacity, Ms. Morris will play a vital role in driving forward the government’s public sector investment programme, ensuring transparency, accountability, and value for money in the procurement of goods and services.

We wish Ms. Morris well as she continues to serve, and my office stand ready to assist in whichever we can to aide her further development.

Congratulations on your well-deserved appointment, Moesha!”

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Government

Davis Gardiner Jr. appointed as Executive Administrator

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, 28 March 2024 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Davis Gardiner Jr. to the post of Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.

Mr. Gardiner’s journey towards professional excellence began with his secondary education at Raymond Gardiner High School, where he demonstrated a commitment to academic achievement and personal growth. Building upon this foundation, he is currently enrolled at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, pursuing his Associate’s Degree in preparation for further studies in Business Management. His dedication to continuous learning and professional development underscores his ambition and determination to excel in his chosen field.

Mr. Gardiner’s appointment as Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services marks a significant milestone in his career trajectory. Tasked with providing executive administrative support and strategic guidance, he is poised to make valuable contributions to the efficient operation of the ministry and the realization of its objectives.

Driven by a passion for organizational excellence and a desire to make a positive impact, Mr. Gardiner is committed to leveraging his education and skills to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative processes within the ministry. His dedication to professional growth and his willingness to embrace new challenges position him as a valuable asset to the leadership team.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr. Gardiner Jr. expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve in his new capacity:

“I am eternally grateful to be given this opportunity to serve as the newly appointed Executive Administrator for the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services. I am elated to serve my country and be a part of the change, a change for good that is. I am forever thankful to the almighty for the great blessings he has placed upon my life to be where I am today.

I am grateful for my family and friends who pushed me to never give up and always prove the negativity wrong.

I believe that I will do well in this position by the grace of God.”

Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams in extending congratulatory remarks to Mr. Gardiner stated:

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Mr. Davis Gardiner Jr. on his appointment as Executive Administrator within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.

Mr. Gardiner began his career with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government as the Administrative Officer with the Immigration Population Policy Council (IPPC). During his tenure, he showed an incredible work ethic that was eventually noticed by executives in TCIG.

We are happy to have him officially join the public service and wish him well in his new post.

Congratulations on your appointment, Mr. Gardiner!”

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