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Premier’s Address State of State 2023



Theme: Delivering on the Contract

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Ps. 107:1


I am proud to stand before you this evening to report on the progress we have made over the last two years.

On February 19th, 2021, our country was in the midst of a pandemic that had crippled the world. Our people faced fear as COVID -19 brought death and destruction on our land.

So many had lost their jobs, could not feed their families, could not pay their rent and sadly, some were even living in their vehicles.

It was a desperate time. There was uncertainty about the future.

You called upon the Progressive National Party to lead these islands out of the pandemic, reconstruct the economy and restore hope.

You elected the PNP in a landslide victory and charged us with a mandate to:

  • Rescue the economy
  • Create better paying jobs
  • Develop high quality and lasting infrastructure
  • Create a healthcare system that is accessible and delivers quality care And
  • Create an immigration policy that will support the development of our islands We listened and took your concerns seriously.

Our commitments to you were outlined in a carefully developed document: the People’s Contract. The contract covered fifteen broad areas:

  1. COVID -19
  2. Economy/Jobs
  3. Food Security
  4. Health Care
  5. Safety/Security/Justice
  6. Education
  7. Crown Lands 8. Housing
  8. Infrastructure
  9. Environment
  10. Youth/Elderly/Disabled
  11. Immigration
  12. Digital Government
  13. Poverty Alleviation and 15. Accountability

Over the past two years we have had much progress and although we have been delayed in some areas, we are persistent. We have also added new priorities as global and local changes demand.

Importantly, we promised you transparency, honesty, and accountability at every step of our journey. I have kept that promise.

I have spoken to you on many occasions about the challenges we face, our efforts to reorganise the government for better service delivery, modernise the economy, and confront global issues that are significantly affecting our country.

Our communications will get better over the months ahead as we implement our communications strategy and establish a new communications directorate. It is important to keep you updated as we make this important journey together.

We still have so much more to do to improve your lives and the prospects for future generations. We understand the day-to-day challenges you face and we share your dreams for a better life for your families.

Your voice in the decision-making process for the future prosperity of our islands is important.

We never forget that we work for you.


When we took office, we moved quickly to help ease your burdens, fix the economy, and restore hope. Through the faithfulness of God, we were able to bring you some relief.


We tackled COVID with a vigorous vaccine programme and a public education campaign to encourage our people to get vaccinated, practice handwashing and other good social and health habits.

Building on the efforts of the previous administration, we devised and implemented a travel policy that facilitated rapid increase in visitor arrivals. This has paid off.

Despite the global economic fall out, we continue to see unprecedented tourist arrivals, but we know that even with our strong economy, the long-term effects from:

  • the pandemic
  • the war in Ukraine and
  • problems with the global supply chain are causing severe hardships for many of you.

That is why we have:

  • Provided status holders and BOTC with up to $2,500 in stimulus payments.
  • Forgiven over $15million of legacy debt and penalties of small business owners.
  • Given stimulus and grants to operators within the cruise sector.
  • Approved a 28-percent increase in the national minimum wage from $6.25 to $8 per hour.
  • For workers in security, manufacturing, construction, banking, financial services and insurance, the minimum wage is $9 an hour.
  • The new rates will take effect on April 1st this year.
  • Employers cannot pay less than the minimum wage.

We have made sweeping improvements for public servants:

  • A new (6%) pension and gratuity programme for persons employed after 1992.
  • Reinstated 25% gratuity for persons employed before 1992.
  • Made a deposit of $8.4million into the public service pension fund. An additional $2 million will be invested this year.
  • Gave a 4% across-the-board-salary increase to public servants.
  • Police salaries have been increased by 10%; and
  • Increased the Immigration Task Force allowance by 100%

We are delivering for you!

We have also:

  • Reduced customs processing fees from 7.5-percent to 5-percent.
  • Removed all customs processing fees from bread-basket items and essential home products.
  • Reduced the fuel tax from .85 to .64 cents per gallon.
  • Subsidised residential electricity bills for September to December 2022.

We are delivering for you!


As part of our poverty alleviation measures and in keeping with our promise in the People’s Contract, we have:

  • Increased social assistance to $500 monthly per child for up to three children per household. For adults, it moves from $120 to $1,000 monthly per household.
  • Moved foster care assistance from $120 to $300 weekly per child for up to three children per household.
  • Increased the National Insurance Board (NIB) pensions and changed the rules so that persons between 60 and 65 years old can work fulltime and receive their retirement pensions.


We believe that the long-term success of the Turks and Caicos Islands will only happen if we invest heavily in human capital development. This begins with a good education and improved skills training.

In our People’s Contract, we promised to develop a lifelong learning environment to increase the employability of graduates at all levels. Turks and Caicos Islanders must be able to improve their knowledge and skills at all stages of their life.


We have achieved all commitments on education made in the People’s Contract including:

  • Free tuition at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) for all citizens of our beautiful islands and will be introducing satellite campuses for the sister islands starting April 2023.
  • The implementation of policies for early childhood education and safeguarding children.
  • In addition to the improvements in school infrastructure, we are providing more scholarships and school support for students at all levels.

To give Turks and Caicos Islanders access to the best jobs, we are aligning scholarships with labour market needs. We have delivered for you!


Under this PNP administration, the economy is roaring back. All the significant economic indicators are trending in the right direction.

We have focused much attention over the last two years on modernising the drivers of the economy and our policies and programmes are showing good results.

  • New investments in the tourism industry are at an all-time high and importantly investors are showing interest in all islands.
  • The cruise sector is at 70-percent of pre-pandemic levels with over 700,000 landings in 2022.

We also:

  • Expanded the MSME programme and increased cash grants for the qualifying sectors.
  • Removed tax holidays from new development agreements to improve future revenue for investment in social development.
  • Established TCI Finance – a sister entity to Invest TCI. The focus is to attract global financial services converting the Turks and Caicos Islands to a preferred FINTECH
  • Established a National Delivery Unit in the Office of the Premier and Public Policy to ensure the efficient delivery of priority projects.
  • Every project, every piece of legislation and every dollar spent must be guided by sound policy, delivered on time, within budget and of maximum benefit to our people.
  • This unit will help drive that process.

We are delivering for you!


We have started the transition from the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board to a Destination Management Organization (DMO).

The TCI is one of the most desirable tourism destinations in the world. We are catering to the higher end of the market so more is demanded. Visitors want customised experiences and services.

We campaigned on creating integrated marketing and management of the TCI to maximize the returns for all stakeholders. The DMO will achieve that.

Within the next ten years, the DMO is forecasted to drive economic growth by an additional $640 million annually while preserving the environment and improving the lives of our people.  We are delivering for you!

I have listened to your concerns about the DMO. I understand that change is uncomfortable to those directly affected, but it is necessary for collective success. There will be plenty opportunities in the DMO, the new tourism regulatory unit and other agencies for current employees of the Tourist Board. We will make the transition as smooth as possible.

Crucially, every employee will get a separation package in line with their current salary and years of service.

On behalf of a grateful TCI, I thank the hard-working men and women, past and present for all that you have done to make these beautiful islands among the most desired in the world.

The DMO is building on the success of the Tourist Board.

Our only goal is to keep the TCI ahead of the competition by delivering unsurpassed customer satisfaction, showcasing our culture and promoting the best of our islands and our people, And we will deliver!


 My government takes the matter of food security very seriously. The pandemic and recent supply chain issues is a wakeup call. The government has taken steps to encourage and improve food production across our islands in the following ways:

  • Provided farmers with grants to upgrade their farms.
  • Provided hurricane relief grants to farmers.
  • Removed all import duties on farm vehicles.
  • Opened the first farmers’ market in the TCI; and
  • Established 16 school gardens.

We are delivering for farmers!


Our efforts to improve the health care system has been relentless.

  • The Ministry of Health continued to lead the fight. We ramped up vaccination to around 80-percent of the population and ensured that the country remained open.
  • We improved the quality of diagnostic services with the acquisition of a state-of-the-art MRI machine and CT Scanner.
  • We are improving dental care. Clinics have been upgraded, new dental equipment installed and additional dental surgeons hired. All dental clinics are now fully operational.
  • Three brand new ambulances have been purchased. Two for Providenciales and one for North Caicos.
  • The TCI’s first mental health facility (Centre of Hope) was opened in December. This landmarkachievement makes the TCI more equipped to deal with mental health issues.

We are delivering for you!


 We are committed to creating a safe and just society. We will not allow criminals whether local or foreign to put our people and economy at risk.


We are making significant financial investments in border protection, internal security, and our justice system. We have enacted a suite of new legislation, are building new national security structures, and professionalizing and expanding our local security forces.

  • Millions have been spent to upgrade the human, physical, technical, and investigative capacity of the Royal TCI Police Force (RTCIPF).
  • More officers have been placed on frontline duties, especially in communities that are challenged by drugs and gang violence.
  • Members of the TCI Regiment have been deployed to assist with patrols and other duties.
  • New CCTV camera systems are being installed across the islands, starting with the most vulnerable communities.
  • A new Gangs, Drugs and Guns Unit has been established, supported by specialist detectives from the UK.
  • They will work within our own force to help with the current challenges and build our local capacity and capability.
  • Officers from the Royal Bahamas Police Force seconded to the TCI, continue to make a big difference.
  • We have enacted anti-gang and gun laws with harsher punishments for those who continue to spill the blood of innocent people.
  • The new laws give our police the authority to investigate, stop and search, detain and breakup gang activities.
  • To further harden our borders, along with our international partners, we have increased aerial and sea surveillance.
  • The UK has gifted us a surveillance aircraft to help police our borders. This should be on island soon.
  • We bought two armored vehicles. I am happy to report that one is in the TCI and the other will arrive soon. We have delivered for you!
  • We have begun to reap the rewards from these investments – there has been a significant increase in the number of vessels intercepted and persons repatriated.
  • The police are being successful in their detective and intelligence efforts and are taking violent criminals off our streets. We have delivered!


We are changing the way crown land is distributed to ensure that Turks and Caicos Islanders have access to available land at affordable prices.

Cabinet has increased the discount from 25% to 50% on the purchase or conversion of residential Conditional Purchase Leases, (CPL) to freeholds.  This came into effect on February 13.

Additionally, Cabinet has approved the following:

  • A project to implement the recommendations of the recent crown land review report.
  • The first phase of amendments to the Crown Land Ordinance will be debated on the 28th
  • The first phase of an amnesty programme to forgive outstanding rent and claims, allowing lessees to acquire a freehold title, will also be debated on 28th

The Crown Land (Amendment) Ordinance will:

  • Extend from three to six months, the time to accept an offer to purchase a residential freehold or leasehold.
  • Allow a person to surrender a CPL without payment of arrears.
  • Allow the executor or administrator of an estate which had an expired residential CPL to purchase if the property was being used as a primary residence by the deceased.

The Crown Land Amnesty Bill will:

  • Establish a two-year amnesty period during which arrears of rent and other claims on residential CPLs will be written-off for persons who apply.
  • Offer various options to assist persons to acquire titles. The options include:

ü Conversion of residential CPL to freehold title ü  Purchase of freehold titles by instalments ü  Conversion of CPL to long lease ü Surrender of CPL  ü Allowing persons to shrink, reconfigure and in exceptional cases to exchange the plot.

  • Allow persons to apply for a service certificate for utility, telecommunication, or other services on residential crown land.

These measures are in addition to existing concessions, such as stamp duty reduction, available to first time TCI home buyers.

We are delivering for you!


The demand for decent housing has exploded in recent years, has led to a severe housing shortage for our people and the mushrooming of shanty towns with poor or no infrastructure.

Turks and Caicos Islanders and legal residents need quality and affordable housing. We are answering that need through a new housing policy. The policy has been approved by the Cabinet and is now ready for implementation.

The policy has a mixture of solutions in addition to the existing support to Turks and Caicos Islanders who are first time homeowners.

An initial $3million will be set aside for housing support in the supplementary appropriation tomorrow to kick-start the programme. The new policy:

  • Supports housing developments that will result in savings to homeowners.
  • Introduce a home improvement programme to increase the number and quality of liveable housing.
  • Help community renewal and the construction of houses on vacant lots.
  • Increase the housing stock in rundown communities so residents will return.

Our priority is to embark on a massive affordable housing programme to help more persons get back on the housing ladder.  We are delivering for you!


With the increasing number of shanty towns, the Government had to set up the Informal Settlement Unit (ISU) to confront this major problem.

Informal settlements have developed on both public and private land across the TCI, but Providenciales is the worst affected.

These settlements degrade our environment. The communities lack basic amenities and is a potential health hazard. Fixing the problem requires a whole-of-government approach.

I am pleased to announce that Justice Carlos Simons KC has agreed to lead the Informal Settlement Unit (ISU). He will work across government departments to, among other measures:  • Contain illegal development; and   • Remove illegal structures.

We are committed to delivering safe communities!


We are investing in infrastructure that will make the lives of all our people better and support the longterm development of the country.

  • Early in our term, we implemented a cross-country works programme which continues today.

Road improvements are ongoing across all islands. An additional $5 million has been placed in the supplementary budget for road and electrification including solar streetlights across all islands.

Another, $2 million was spent on roads in North Caicos in Fiscal Year 2022/23.

The redevelopment of the Providenciales (Howard Hamilton) International Airport is progressing well.

Phase One of the redevelopment programme is nearing completion. Phase Two will focus on the preparation of data and documents for the tendering process and award of the concession for the airport redevelopment.

Let me be clear! 

Full ownership of the airport will remain in the hands of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Progress is being made to redevelop the Clifford Gardiner Airport – in North Caicos through a PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP).

The combined service station at the South Caicos Airport was commissioned in February 2023 and the new terminal building will open by the end of March 2023.

Repair and improvement works at Hon JAGS McCartney Airport in Grand Turk is progressing as planned and should be completed within the next 90 days.

We are improving water services in Grand Turk with:

  • A one-million-gallon saltwater reverse osmosis plant
  • Two one-million-gallon storage tanks
  • A water distribution pumping station
  • Smart water meter installation is 65% complete. Remaining smart meters will arrive in the Turks and Caicos Islands shortly.

Assisted by the government, Provo Water Company is constructing a 1.5-million-gallon storage facility to support the growing demand of the island. Talks are ongoing with the water company for the establishment of a wastewater treatment programme for Providenciales.  Phase one would include the Grace Bay strip, to protect our ocean eco-system.

Grand Turk Community Enhancement and Sustainability Agency (CESA) has been established, office accommodation has been identified, a board of directors has been appointed and staff recruitment is ongoing. We currently have $8.7million available of which $7million in planned projects is set for financial year 2023/24.

We are delivering for you!


Our ports are critical to domestic and international trade and growth of the TCI economy. Their modernisation and expansion are a critical component of VISION2040 plans.

Millions are being spent on port rebuilding, rehabilitation, and expansion on all islands.

I am excited to tell you that a contract for the construction of Phases 1 and 2 of the South Dock Port Redevelopment has been signed with a local company. The redevelopment of South Dock is a game changer and will significantly increase economic benefits.

Vessels with larger loads will be able to berth. This will reduce the shipping costs, the cost of doing business and cost of goods.  The works include:

  • Construction of a new general cargo terminal with two berths, to accommodate two vessels at the same time.
  • Construction of a massive container yard for general cargo and bulk materials.
  • Construction of internal roads and installation of a new scale.
  • Construction of a safe-water drainage system

We are delivering to facilitate commerce!


In the era of climate change, depleting water resources and food insecurity, sustainable development is important.

We must preserve ecologically sensitive national assets such as our coastal areas and fishing habitats. We cannot continue to risk our long-term survival on ill-advised short-term gains.

As stated in the People’s Contract, we will not permit investments which are incompatible with environmental sustainability.

We have:

  • Established stricter rules for the importation of used cars.
  • Are making progress with our solid waste management framework and other environmental projects. We are delivering for you!


In keeping with the People’s Contract, our immigration laws are being amended to:

  • Enforce our policy which puts Turks and Caicos Islanders first, for employment and business opportunities.
  • Create additional categories of investment and residence certificates to attract specialist industries and skills.
  • Establish annual quotas for Permanent Residence Certificates (PRCs) and TCI Status; and
  • Impose stiffer penalties including revocation of PRCs or TCI status who break our immigration laws.

Those facilitating and harbouring illegal migrants… BE WARNED. We will deliver!


Turks and Caicos Islanders by heritage are a minority in our homeland. This may diminish our influence in the economic and political affairs of the TCI.

The law presently provides that second generation Turks and Caicos Islanders born outside of the islands qualify for TCI status.

To encourage their engagement, we are developing a Diaspora Database. This will include information on where they live, their skills and resources. With this information, we can better communicate and target talented persons of working age who wish to return to their homeland to contribute to its growth and development.

Engaging with our diaspora will make it easier to amend the law to further limit the grant of TCI status. We must make the land of our heritage attractive to our diaspora.

We have started this process of engagement by retaining two liaison officers to assist in establishing and maintaining connections with the diaspora in the Bahamas.  They will report to the Office of the Premier and Public Policy. A physical office will be opened in the Bahamas soon.

We are delivering to protect our franchise!


My government came to office with e-Governance and digitalisation of customer service processes as one of our main deliverables.

Over the last two years, we have recognised that this task will take time, more resources and expertise than originally thought. We have also realised that there is user resistance to the e-Systems already in place.

Digitalisation is not only about buying equipment and software but also the training and ongoing supervision of users.

Achieving a well-run, fully integrated digitalised government requires in-depth planning, expertise, and significant investment.

  • An initial $4million has been allocated from the Development Fund for the formulation of a digitalisation strategy. Elements of this will cover a contract management system, a national identification card to replace the various IDs in use.
  • The national identification consultancy evaluation was completed earlier this month. We will update you once a contractor has been chosen and the work begins. I can assure you that the wait for a world class national ID is nearing an end.
  • Digitalisation of birth, death and marriage records is 85-percent complete.
  • Counsel has been retained to advise on the contract management framework.
  • Work is progressing on plans for a fibre connection throughout the islands; and
  • We will bring broadband to every community, if not every home, at an affordable cost. We are delivering!


My fellow islanders and residents – we work for you!

Every public servant, including politicians must be accountable to you.

Everyone must receive the highest quality service from government and from those of us you voted into office to look out for your interests.

In the People’s Contract we promised you accountability, transparency, effective leadership, and effective communication. We have held regular press conferences and media interviews. We have had community meetings and citizen updates.

The Premier’s and other pages on the various social media platforms, contain a wealth of information.

We are building a Communications Directorate that will use multiple electronic and other formats to interface with members of the public including our diaspora. On this we are delivering!


We have faced some serious global challenges. The war in Ukraine and the global supply chain problems, have created severe hardships for our people who see the cost of goods, especially basic food items going up every day.

We have spent millions on stimulus and other assistance to residents and local businesses. Despite the challenges, the economic outlook for 2023 and beyond is very positive.

Tourism and a robust construction sector are contributing to a better-than-expected economic performance.

Stay-over arrivals increased in 2022 and all indicators are that this trend will continue into 2024. The cruise ship sector is projected to completely recover by the end of 2023.

Construction grew at about 4-percent in 2022. An increase in planning applications indicates that this excellent performance will continue into 2023 and beyond. Construction is being boosted by:

  • Foreign direct investment in tourism-related projects
  • An increase in domestic private sector investments; and
  • The Government’s infrastructural development programme.

Between the start of the financial year in April and the end of December 2022, revenue increased by $20.9 million or 8-percent over the same period in previous financial year.

Expenditure increased by $35.7 million or 20-percent, due to additional spending on security and social intervention measures.

The unemployment rate is projected to fall below 7-percent in 2023.

Our GDP is projected to increase from $924 million in 2020 to $1.24 billion in 2023.

We have delivered!


On 28th February, we will set the stage to establish the Citizen’s Empowerment Fund with an initial allocation of $7million when we lay on the table of the house, the third Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

This fund will initially be dedicated to the creation of the National Credit Union to benefit all status holders.

Cabinet recently approved:

  • A write-off of $1.87million in unpaid interests for the TCI Invest portfolio from the period 28th February 2020 to January 2023.
  • A moratorium on interest payments from February 2023 to March 2024.
  • Implementation of a reduced interest rate of 6.79-percent equivalent to current market rate. Interest foregone as a result of the interest reduction, will amount to $330,000 dollars for the period February 2023 to March 2024.

We are delivering and empowering you!


My fellow islanders and residents, this evening I want to speak to you on the important matter of constitutional advancement.

To ultimately create a politically independent country, with a self-assured and confident people, we need a modern and active constitution.

The constitution provides the framework for decision-making, promotes good governance, and secures human rights and responsibilities.

As times change, the constitution must be flexible enough to respond to the needs of the people.

We have had extensive internal discussions on constitutional changes.

This process has been delayed, but we have engaged constitutional specialist, Sir Jeffrey Jowell, KC. He has extensive experience in Overseas Territories Constitutional Law and has advised on the drafting of constitutions around the world.

Sir Jeffery will come to the TCI next month to meet with the government, the opposition, and other stakeholders. We must constantly review our relationship with the UK.

As we decisively demonstrate our capacity to govern with competence and integrity, the UK must recognise, accept, and endorse that we have the authority over our domestic affairs. 

This has been recognised for other Overseas Territories and the TCI must not be treated differently.

While we recognise that the constitution places the powers for international affairs with the Governor, we believe there must be room for delegating responsibility for the relations with our immediate neighbours and within the region without the need for a letter of entrustment from the UK Government.

Together with the Leader of the Opposition and with your support, I intend to accelerate the ongoing constitutional discussions, so that final decisions may be made well before the end of this year.


My people, in two short years, the government that I lead has kept the promises in the People’s Contract. We:

  • Rescued the economy.
  • Are creating the climate for better paying jobs.
  • Increased the minimum wage.
  • Are developing modern, high quality and lasting infrastructure.
  • Are creating a healthcare system that is accessible and delivers quality care; and
  • Investing in our people to support the development of our islands.

Proverbs tells us that without a vision the people perish.

We are step by step making the vision in the People’s Contract a reality. We draw inspiration and courage from those before us who braved the elements, endured hardships, tilled the soil, raked salt, and fished the ocean. They had a vision for a better life for their children.

We are standing on their shoulders and building on their dreams – we are working and delivering for you.

We are creating a society where every child can thrive, achieve, and believe in the TCI dream. We are creating the conditions and opportunities to give all our people a better quality of life.

The TCI Story is still being written and the best is yet to come.

Faith and hope are our guiding lights.

Proverbs 14:23, tells us that all hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

No matter the challenges, let us come together with a single purpose: to make our beautiful by nature, Turks and Caicos Islands – the place where dreams flourish, justice abounds, love is abundant, and hope is endless.

We will continue to deliver for you!

Thank you! May God bless you and bless our beloved islands.

Have a good night!

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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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