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Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI. 

The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues. 

The session aimed to highlight success stories and  explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.  

The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.

As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.

In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor,  immediately. 

Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.

  • Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
  • Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.

Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales.  Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.

The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.

In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing  locally. 

Caribbean News

Deputy Premier Spot on, TCI TODAY Removed from EU Blacklist

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Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Sixteen months after being added to the European Union’s Black List for non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, the Turks and Caicos Islands is now off that list.

“Today,the Council removed The Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles and Turks and Caicos Islands from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.”

The release explicitly states that in the case of the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas, “ever since October 2022, deficiencies in the enforcement of economic substance requirements had been identified in both of these jurisdictions by the OECD Forum of Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP).”

It was recommended for remedy to the deficiencies has now been “converted from hard to soft recommendations,” said the statement.

That pivot was fundamental in the de-listing of the two countries said the information from the Council.

“…which allowed the Code of Conduct Group to consider these jurisdictions with no or only a nominal corporate income tax.”

When Magnetic Media spoke to E. Jay Saunders, Turks and Caicos Deputy Premier and Finance Minister in March 2023 he had full confidence that it was only a matter of time before the TCI was given a more favourable position with the EU. 

“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.”   

 It had been sub-par computer systems that landed the TCI on the list.  The Deputy Premier, at the time offered that the EU was being too dramatic and its language, disproportionate surrounding the issue. 

That black listing and gray listing is often viewed as a black eye in the financial services sector, therefore this announcement today is vindication for the TCI and a huge plus for the Fintech ambitions of the Misick-led government.

 Twelve others remain with the unsavory categorization including Caribbean neighbours: Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands; Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda.

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Government

Repatriation and Security, how TCIG spent the money

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 14, 2024 – Repatriation and other exportation costs are 66 percent higher for the first three quarters of the 2023/24 financial year (April to December) than they were in the same period of the 2022/33 year. 

The Q3 Financial Report tabled in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, February 6 revealed the cost of recurrent expenditure items including Repatriation.

Around $4.08 million was spent to send irregular migrants back home between April and December 2023. The figure does not include the interceptions between January and March 2023, those would have been counted as a part of the previous financial year. Total costs will be revealed in April of 2024 when the current financial year ends. For Q3 alone (October to December) $1.264 million was spent on these costs, $532,000 more than was spent in Q3 of the previous financial year. 

The already large figure comes as no surprise to residents who have been dealing with recurring instances of migrants landing on their shores and running through their yards all year. 

Conversely, the government drastically underspent the cash budgeted for security expenses with only $579,000 used from $1.4 million for the October to December quarter. It was in line with the trend seen all year as, only $1.6 million of the budgeted $2.9 million was spent between April and December.

Other than salaries, Social Welfare was the highest cost factor for recurrent expenditure with $1.8 spent in Q3 alone and $5.9 million for all three quarters combined. 

As for non recurrent expenditure, the SIPT trial and land purchases cost the government the most amount of cash, $1.6 million in Q3 alone and $5 million over all three quarters. 

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Finance

TCI Budget spending down, increased profits

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 14, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos third Supplementary Appropriations Bill will reduce spending for the country by $1.07 million according to E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister and included in the supplementary are provisions for land purchases and money for a mortgage cooperation. 

It comes as the Turks and Caicos records $350 million in profit for the first three quarters of the year. That information came along with the Supplementary, as Saunders tabled the third quarter results allowing residents to see the financial performance of the year so far. 

Both were tabled on Tuesday, February 6th during a sitting of the House of Assembly. Despite a deficit recorded in the Q4 of the 2022/23 financial year the economy was back in form by Q3 of the 2023/24 year with $94 million in revenue recorded, a six percent increase over estimates. 

“This performance is attributed to higher than expected: Import Duties, Customs Processing Fees, Stamp Duty on Land Transactions, and Hotel and Restaurant Taxes,” the Finance Minister revealed. 

Saunders was quick to assure that the historic budget, which was increased twice in previous Supplementary bills to a total of $443 million, would not pass the set targets and there was no increase in spending for this quarter. 

“There is no impact on the existing budget envelope through this supplementary budget. There will be no breach of the debt sustainability targets agreed upon by the Governments of the UK and the TCI,” he assured. 

Even though no money will be added there will be shuffling for new expenses. Saunders provided a short list of the changes. 

  • $9.5 million to acquire land and settle an ongoing claim against the government.
  • $7 million as seed funding for a Mortgage Corporation.
  • $300,000 to rollout e-Government projects for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • $800,000 for miscellaneous adjustments for other Supplies, Materials and Equipment – Governor’s Office, Civil Servant Week and allocation to support the ongoing pay and regrading exercise and productivity audit. 

As for what was spent, it cost $82.2 million to run the country in the third quarter, $5 million less than expected. 

The Government under spent once more with an operating surplus of $12 million. 

In terms of tangible benefits for residents 19.6 million was spent on capital projects including the South Dock redevelopment and two 1 million gallon reverse osmosis tanks. 

Unfortunately the supplementary also saw cuts to the Capital Works portfolio by $7.7 million. 

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