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Governor says TCI is growing fastest in the Region, but TCI Citizenry not benefitting



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 9, 2023 – Legal Migration is contributing to a rapid population growth rate for the Turks and Caicos, now the Governor of the territory is labelling the islands as “the fastest growing Caribbean country” amidst concerns that an insufficient number of those people are able to become full citizens of the TCI.

The Governor, Nigel Dakin, in an instagram post on Saturday March 4th said the country was growing at a rate of roughly four percent confirming data shared in 2022 by Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

On an annual basis, 1,000 applicants successfully receive British Overseas Territory Citizens (BOTC’s) status, but only around 60 of those people become official TCI citizens, said Governor Dakin.

“There are many who were not successful and feel aggrieved. Judicial Review is pending; if the process was followed correctly by the Commission it will withstand review – if it wasn’t, a remedy is needed.”

The Governor exposed, in a striking photograph, what it looks like when he is about to confer citizenship onto individuals approved by the Status Commission; he informed in the Instagram message that he wholeheartedly accepted the 42 recommendations and would sign the documents making the approved applicants full fledged citizens of the British Overseas Territory.

For those whose applications were met with a nod of approval, there has been a lawsuit filed and others expect the Governor to intervene.

“I accepted the Commission’s positive recommendations in their entirety. What the Ordinance does not allow me to do – correctly in my view – is second guess those the Commission do not recommend.

While I appoint the Chair, I was clear if the Premier and Leader of the Opposition could agree, I would accept their shared recommendation. They did.”

The Governor maintained that by law he was not allowed to second guess the members of the TCI Status Commission, which, as a body approves and rejects applicants seeking citizenship in the Turks and Caicos.

He also revealed that while he had appointed the Chair of the Committee, it was an action on the advice of both the Government Administration and the Opposition for a very specific reason.

“This is because I believe that while it was essential to start this process, it was also important to ensure the Turks and Caicos Islanders felt full ownership. The growth has been discombobulating – on present projections the population in 1980 (7,000) will grow to ten times that, in less than a lifetime.”

The potentially landmark lawsuit against that Commission broke the dam on the polarising views on the matter of one’s pathway to citizenship in the Turks and Caicos.

The Governor’s report also followed Minister Musgrove, who in a press conference in February said this population growth is not coming from birth or citizenship approvals but from residents who hold Permanent Residency Cards and then become naturalized as BOTCs.

Dakin continued: “How a stable nation is built with an asymmetry between those who “Belong” “de jure”, and those who “belong” “de facto” is a sensitive issue.”

Nigel Dakin has long been calling for a frank discussion on the highly contentious issue.





Turks and Caicos


  1. Today Her Excellency the Governor convened a meeting with the Honourable Premier, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Attorney General, Sir Jeffrey Jowell KC and the FCDO’s Deputy Director Adam Pile to finalise the package of constitutional reform so it may be submitted to the Privy Council in July. Also in attendance was Her Excellency the Deputy Governor.
  2. The bipartisan constitutional talks with the UK Government in Grand Turk (October 2023) agreed to move to a fully elected House of Assembly*, with four additional elected members replacing the members appointed by the Governor, Premier and Leader of the Opposition. In the wider package of constitutional reform, all other major issues have been agreed in further meetings and correspondence, bar the timing of a transition to a fully elected House of Assembly*.

Scope of work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission

  1. The Electoral District Boundary Commission was stood up in February to review in the first instance the boundaries of the electoral districts into which the islands are divided in line with s.61 of the Constitution. The Governor, in line with the agreement of the UK Government, has asked that they then assess options for the composition of the four additional elected seats. This work will need to be put out to public consultation and submitted to the House of Assembly, after which further work will be required to implement the approved changes.
  2. In order to deliver constitutional reform for the Turks and Caicos Islands this summer, the agreed package of reforms now need to be submitted to the UK Government so it may be made by His Majesty The King in the Privy Council in July.

Transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*

  1. Given this timing, it was noted that there are two options for the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*:
  1. A transitionary phase that provides for an all-elected House of Assembly* at the forthcoming election with four additional ‘all island’ candidates for the next term, following which the further work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform the composition of the four additional seats going forward; or
  2. Retain the status quo of four appointed members at the forthcoming election and wait to move to an all-elected House* until the subsequent election, following the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission which will inform the composition of the four additional seats.
  1. Agreement was not reached at the meeting on which option to pursue.
  1. The Honourable Premier continues in his view that the transition to an all-elected House* should take place at the forthcoming election with the four additional elected seats contested on an ‘all island’ basis. This would be a transitionary phase, until the subsequent election where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  2. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition has confirmed his view that the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly* should not take place at the forthcoming election, that the status quo should be retained with four appointed members; and the move to an all-elected House of Assembly should only take place at the subsequent election, where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  1. In light of the need to provide a clear position to the UK Government, a motion will be tabled for debate in the House of Assembly to allow a full debate on when a fully elected legislature should be introduced.
  • other than the Attorney General


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Government Prepares to roll out Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) for Senior Citizens



#TurksandCaicos, May 31, 2024 – The Office of the Premier and Public Policy and the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade wants to advise the general public that plans for the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), aimed at supporting the elderly population within our society are underway. $3.1 million in funding was approved in the current Budget Year 2024/2025

The Financial Assistance Programme, a cornerstone initiative of the Government, is a commitment to augment the social welfare of the aged in the TCI.   It is being carefully crafted to support elderly citizens who may be facing financial hardships.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring the smooth implementation of the Financial Assistance Programme as promised; and to meet the originally proposed deadline for payment of the benefit in July 2024 posed for eligible individuals.  The payment, when distributed will be retroactive to 1 April 2024.

The Government reaffirms its dedication to fostering a society that cares for its elderly population and provides them with the assistance and resources necessary to build stronger communities where everyone can not only survive but thrive.

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#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – Ms. Patricia Arana has been sworn in on13 May 2024 as Resident Magistrate, Grand Turk.  She first joined the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands as Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court in April 2022.

Prior to taking up the position of Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court, she was the Deputy Registrar General at the Supreme Court of her native Belize in Belize City. She started her judicial career as a Magistrate in 2010 and was promoted to the position of Senior Magistrate in 2015. As Senior Magistrate, she worked in several districts in Belize, and acted as Chief Magistrate on several occasions.  She was also within that period, seconded for two years as Legal Counsel to the Financial Intelligence Unit of Belize.

Ms. Arana is a graduate of the University of the West Indies where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Degree, and a graduate of the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, where she obtained her Legal Education Certificate. There she distinguished herself when she received the H.H. Dunn Memorial Prize for Legal Drafting and Interpretation.

Regionally, Ms. Arana currently serves as an Executive Member of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) on behalf of the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands. She is also an active member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges (CAWJ), and the National Garifuna Council (NGC) Orange Walk Branch.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, Ms. Arana has since her appointment in 2022, served in various capacities: ADR Administrator and lately a member of the Mediation Committee, a member of the Breach Process Rules Committee, Justice of the Peace Vetting Panel, Justice of the Peace Disciplinary Panel, and Election Adjudicator.

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