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Turks & Caicos now has a Destination Marketing & Management Company, Bylaws signed

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By Shanieka Smith and Deandrea Hamilton

Editorial Staff

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 21, 2023 – Dubbed, a momentous occasion, the signing ceremony which launched most definitively the Turks and Caicos Destination Management Organization (DMMO) was held April 14.

The concept announced to the nation by Premier Washington Misick during his debut as a second term, democratically elected leader of the country back in 2021, had been met with mixed views including a petition, circulating this week to ‘Say No to the DMO’.  However, no matter what side of the issue one sits on, this past Friday seems to have cemented the future of tourism as being first and foremost in the hands of this historically established entity which makes the TCI Tourist Board redundant.

It also births the Tourism Regulatory Authority and while both remain somewhat mysterious in terms of their actual function and remit, the remarks from officials reflected a team excited about the country’s leading industry.

Speaking at the DMMO signing ceremony held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales, Josephine Connolly, TCI Tourism Minister said she is certain the Destination Management & Marketing Organization “will bring about positive changes” for the benefit of TCI.

She explained, years of research and planning have gone into this transition, which would not have been completed without help from her team at the Tourist Board.

The ceremony, which included lawyers of Graham Thompson Attorneys and a room filled with tourism and travel stakeholders, as well as members of the TCI Cabinet and business community, was held to accept and sign the bylaws for the Turks and Caicos Destination Marketing and Management Company.

This announcement makes more clear the actual name of the new engine, which has been called the DMO, the DMMO and its marketing and management titles swapped around as residents come to grips with what will be a striking change.

But Premier Misick has long held that he is intent on being maverick and and one who is keen on building institutions.  In the case of tourism marketing and management for the Turks and Caicos Islands, he is erecting two of them.

Premier Misick agreed that “a lot of thought” was put into the transformation and assured the public that their best interests were held at heart.

“I know that change is uncomfortable and progress is not easily accepted, but I would say to those persons who have their doubts that they should wait and see because I think like everything else over time, TCIG is going to benefit tremendously,” Premier Misick added.

Indeed, the transition is not without resistance as on February 10 after the DMMO activation timeline was announced, leader of the Opposition, Edwin Astwood, said the transition is a betrayal of trust. The remark came after 17 employees from the Tourist Board were made redundant in a notice in February.  The actual redundancy does not, however, take effect until June.

“This current PNP government, led by Premier Misick and his Cabinet ministers, has demonstrated an apathetic and uncaring attitude towards our people, the workers of the Tourist Board as it relates to their current and future employment status,” Astwood said.

Former Minister of Tourism, Hon Ralph Higgs, and former management staff member Pauline Saunders are also in disagreement and have urged the Premier to readjust his course.

Connolly later released a statement on February 13 disproving these claims. She revealed that each employee was interviewed and given the opportunity to apply for a position at the DMMO or leave. “Each member of staff was given a fair and generous remuneration package,” she added.

The DMMO replacing the Tourist Board will help to bring more tourist dollars into the country by creating an attractive and unforgettable experience for visitors, according to the PNP Administration. Connolly said residents will also be able to benefit from this transition through increased opportunities and economic growth.

Present at the signing ceremony were C. Washington Misick, Premier; Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism; Trevor Musgrove, President of TCHTA; Wesley V. Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education; Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health; Ronald Saunders, President of TCI Chamber of Commerce; Delton Jones, Director of Ports Authority; Devereaux Malcolm, Deputy CEO TCI Airports Authority; Selvyn Hawkins, Chairman TCI Airports Authority; Shawna Lewis, Deputy Director of Ports Authority; Stacey Cox, CEO TCHTA; Karen Whitt, Board Member TCHTA; Shavonda Lewis, TCI Tourist Board Member; Eunece Morris, Secretary TCI Chamber of Commerce and Christopher Wells, Graham Thompson Attorneys law firm.

Caribbean News

Saunders “surprised” by move to Backbench; promises to address the nation this week

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 28, 2023 – Surprise was one of the main emotions rolling off of  E. Jay Sauders, All Island Elected Member, when he spoke to Magnetic Media Tuesday afternoon. The brief phone interview came only minutes after he confirmed to the media around 3 p.m. that he had been removed from his post as Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Washington Misick, TCI Premier. 

“I am a bit surprised– I sit here at the pleasure of the Premier, the Premier acted in a certain way and it is his right to decide who he wants and doesn’t want in his cabinet and that’s the position that he took.”

The biggest question now is who will replace Saunders as the Premier’s right hand man, Magnetic Media spoke to a high-profile source around 3:30 pm who told us: “The Premier hasn’t made a decision in that regard as yet so there’s nothing yet to announce.” 

It’s likely, the source told us, that the Premier will take on the Ministry of Finance himself, having had experience with that ministry in the past. 

Sure enough minutes after that conversation a press release came from the Office of the Premier announcing that he is the new Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; the statement also bid Saunders goodbye.

I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served,” Misick said.

It comes as no surprise to residents however and a firestorm of comments followed the announcement,

“This is so wrong!!!” said one resident. 

It was a sentiment fielded by Magnetic Media over a dozen times.

“He is running this country and this party with his silly feelings.  And with Washy age, he need to relax himself.”

Another predicted, “This will hurt the PNP in the next election for sure, plus with the current conflict of interest matter pending with Washy and the Integrity Commission, this was not the best move at this time for him to be both Premier and Minister of Finance.”

The booting is the second high-profile shuffle in the Washington Misick-led PNP Administration following the removal of Akierra Missick, Elected Member for Leeward from her post as Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development in 2023. 

That shakeup went totally without explanation, similarly, no explanation has come from the Premier’s office this time either, but it follows a leadership challenge at the party’s national convention just days prior. 

Saunders had attempted to go against Misick for the head of the PNP party but could not get enough votes to push the challenge through. 

As a former CEO of DigicelTCI, E. Saunders initially served as the Health and Human Services minister as the country clawed its way back to health after a brutal Coronavirus Pandemic.  He was then appointed, by Misick, to the ministry for Finance, Investment and Trade, setting and achieving lofty goals including the achievement of a $400 million yearly revenue two years into his tenure and the removal of the Turks and Caicos from the EU Blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions. 

Now with one year left before a new general election is called, Saunders, in his own words, will join the rest of the backbench of politicians. 

Also feeling the “stick” is reported to be Jas Walkin, the man Washington Misick appointed to lead his winning general election campaign in 2021.  Walkin had put his name forward for party leader but hurriedly withdrew it. Reports of a suspension have been shared via social media with residents expressing disdain at the possibility.

The consensus from many, they’re not surprised and also not happy about the removal of Jas. 

For now, Saunders is focused on moving, 

“Depending on how quickly I can get through the packing up of my office, I’ll do a Public Address tomorrow, but no later than Wednesday,” he promised. 

The demotion also means a significant pay cut for Saunders from the Deputy Premier’s $175,000 base salary and $60,000 in allowances to the $97,000 base salary and $10,200 in allowances which is paid out to Members of the House of Assembly, where he will continue to serve as an All Island Elected member.

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Caribbean News

Kyle Speaks as Party Chairman

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

#TurksandCaicos, February, 27th, 2024 – After a challenge to the party’s leadership and resulting public chatter, Kyle Knowles,  Progressive National Party Chairman is calling for the PNP to ‘stand together in support of the ‘duly elected premier and leader,’ emphasizing that ‘the  re-election reflects the confidence and trust placed in him by the members of the party.’ The challenge was issued by E Jay Saunders, current Deputy Party Leader over the weekend, Knowles maintains there was unity, civility, and passionate debates during the National Congress. It comes on the cusp of a general election where the winning party will have for the first time 5 years in office.

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Government

Premier makes first national Statement, Announces who gets Finance Portfolio

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#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 27, 2024 – The Premier has advised Her Excellency Anya Williams, Acting Governor, in accordance with Section 34(2)(b) of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution the following change to ministerial appointments with effect from Tuesday, February 27, 2024: 

• Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier and Minister with responsibility for Finance, Investment, and Trade 

The Honourable Erwin Jay Saunders will continue to serve as Member of Parliament for the All-Island District. 

In announcing this ministerial change, the Premier stated, “I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served. My government will undertake a review of the various functions and responsibilities as outlined in the current ministerial portfolios, and I will advise the Acting Governor of any additional changes in due course.”

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