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Caribbean News

Highly Sought After Kroll working to remove black-eye on TCI’s #2 Industry



By Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TurksandCaicos, March 15, 2023 – “I think we are going to be best in class, I think we are going to be the case study for how you go from being on the blacklist to putting in the proper systems to meet the requirements,” says E Jay Saunders, Finance Minister and Deputy Premier, in an expression of total faith in the upswing of the country’s financial sector. This is thanks to Government funding and expertise from Kroll, a company he describes as a world leader in financial compliance consultation.  

“We hired the absolute best, the former head of the Financial Action Task Force. This is no exaggeration or bravado; we have the best advising us on getting off of the blacklist – I’m not saying the biggest but certainly headed up by one of the best.” 

He told Magnetic Media in an interview over the phone that the Government had spared no expense to get Kroll, which had been on the ground in February. The country is currently fighting to get out of an EU blacklisting caused by poor computer systems, he says. 

While the Deputy Premier admits that the TCI stumbled in that regard, Saunders says the country was never non-compliant or unresponsive. The Minister explained that, coupled with the EU’s disproportionate language surrounding the blacklisting, to fit EU standards small countries with small economies had to spend an extraordinary amount of money and that was not always viable.

“Sometimes your industry just can’t afford it,” he maintained. “The only reason we got lucky is because we have a lot of cash.” 

He says connecting with Kroll via LinkedIn and getting them into the Turks and Caicos was a serious feat on the part of the Government.  

“They didn’t have to take it because this is a small jurisdiction for them. Just by luck, by the Grace of God, the company headed by one of the top people in the world dealing with the OECD accepted our proposal.” 

Saunders said several of the TCI’s financial services stakeholders had met with Kroll during their February visit and were deeply impressed with where the country seems to be heading with the help of the consultants, and the Government says it’s already putting $2 million into needed computer systems as part of this upgrade.   

“There is no question about it. I’m confident that by February 2024, we will be off the list– I’m completely confident and there are no lasting repercussions.”   

While October 2023 would be good, he said he didn’t want the company to rush for that deadline and skimp on proper upgrades. 

“We told them don’t aim for the minimum requirements, put in something that puts us best in class, we are already on it, don’t try to meet a deadline. I know people get concerned about that type of position, but I don’t want to be on, get off and then realize- we’re back on it,” he explained.  

The finance minister, who is also charged with transitioning all of the Government to electronic systems, said that the EU’s requirements were moving targets, upgraded and fine-tuned every year and with Kroll’s members having intimate knowledge of that they would equip the country with a system that would hold up to the rapidly shifting goal posts. 

“With that we can be best in class and start growing our financial services sector. I don’t want us to be constantly trying to catch up. We want them to put us in a position where we are the Switzerland of the Caribbean.” 

He was absolutely sure this would come to fruition. 

Currently, the Turks and Caicos Financial Service sector, its #2 industry is earning ?? annually; Saunders wants to grow that to ??? by????. He did not say. On the Government side, the regulatory body the Financial Services Commission is managed by both elected Government Administration and the UK Governor. 

“I think people are going to be surprised at how far we’ve come– I can guarantee we will be off the blacklist in twelve months, and I will not be surprised if the OECD writes a recommendation saying the Turks and Caicos did it right.”  

The desire to go along with the EU’s “arbitrary” regulations is fuelled by the knowledge that the TCI desperately needs to diversify its economy.  Financial services could be a new frontier, believed the DP.  

As for whether this blacklisting will affect those ambitions, only time will tell. 

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

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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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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