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Finance

Benefits of the Budget for Borders Services detailed by Minister Musgrove

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 23, 2023 – The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services has managed to not only exceed its revenue expectations for the 2022/23 financial year but to spend nearly all the cash budgeted for projects in the country. Minister Arlington Musgrove made the revelations in his Budget Speech where he disclosed increases and allocations for the ministry insisting the budget was ‘much ado about something.’

He listed for residents the Tangible upgrades and changes that they would see thanks to the allocations that included the previously announced $4.8 million border management system.

IMMIGRATION MINISTRY

Interesting for residents is a $41 million allocation to be paid out over the next three years towards the redevelopment of the South Dock Port, $570,000 for port improvements in Grand Turk, $400,000 for the improvements to the South Caicos Port, and $500,000 for phase two of the Bellfield Landing in North Caicos.

Upgrades to the ports to facilitate larger vessels are a major need in the country as it struggles with extremely high cost of living, exacerbated by high importation costs.

Anticipated to be welcomed by residents is the announcement of two fire trucks for airports – one each for Salt Cay and North Caicos; the JAGS McCartney International is due to have a fire hall constructed, according to Minister Musgrove.

These will be funded via a $38 million allocation to upgrade airports broken down as follows:

  • $8.7 million dollars in Grand Turk;
  • $15 million dollars in Providenciales;
  • $2.4 million dollars in South Caicos;
  • $8.4 million dollars in North Caicos;
  • $800,000 in Salt Cay, and;
  • $200,000 in Middle Caicos.

Also on the way are new vehicles for customs; $200,000 worth of protective clothing, non-lethal weapons, and accidental insurance desperately needed by immigration frontline officers who face increasing danger in their profession.

Musgrove said contrary to what was said as a criticism about lack of training by Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader, there was $2.3 million for implementation, data management and training of staff in addition to various training initiatives that are sponsored by the UK Government.

NORTH AND MIDDLE CAICOS 

Musgrove who is also the MP for the Twin Islands, explained what was in store for them:

  • Refurbishment of the Aged Care and Special Needs Centre;
  • Community Parks and Recreational Facilities Development;
  • Roads and electrification development, and furniture and equipment for the primary schools.
  • $750,000 for the renovation of Bambarra Beach;
  • Renovation of the Lorimer’s Community Center
  • Increase budgeted for District Administration to $193,000 and
  • A brand-new ambulance,
  • $1 million for the construction of the Bottle Creek Community Centre;
  • $850,000 to repair the Raymond Gardiner High School Block;
  • $500,000 for the refurbishment of the Horse Stable Beach Complex, and;
  • $117,000 for the purchase of equipment for the DDME.

Musgrove’s Ministry brought in unaudited actuals of $186 million, $15 million more than the expected $171 million.

It spent 98.5 percent of its operating expenditure targets.

Althea Been, Permanent Secretary in the ministry had indicated the unspent cash was personnel costs they had not managed to fill.

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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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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Caribbean News

CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN UNVEILS REBRAND TO CIBC CARIBBEAN HONOURING HERITAGE WHILE LOOKING TO NEW ERA OF GROWTH, INNOVATION AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE

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Bridgetown, Barbados, February 2, 2024 – CIBC FirstCaribbean yesterday unveiled its rebranded regional bank, CIBC Caribbean, promising it is not just a “cosmetic change but a strategic move to position ourselves as a modern, forward-thinking institution.”

Speaking during the evening ceremony at the bank’s Barbados-based head office, Chief Executive Officer Mark St. Hill said the decision to rebrand “reflects our dedication to adapt and evolve with the needs of our clients and the dynamic landscape of the financial industry. In an era of rapid technological advancements and changing customer expectations, rebranding is not just a cosmetic change but a strategic move to position ourselves as a modern, forward-thinking institution”.

St. Hill told the audience, which included Barbados Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Amor Mottley, CIBC President and Chief Executive Officer, Victor Dodig, members of the diplomatic corps and scores of excited bank staff, that the bank is on the cusp of “a new era of growth, innovation, and service excellence through our rebranding initiative”.

“Our new brand identity is a testament to our heritage, symbolizing the values that have been the cornerstone of our success for the past 100 years. At the same time, it embraces a fresh, contemporary look that signifies our readiness to embrace the future. We want our clients to feel a renewed sense of confidence in our ability to meet their financial needs, coupled with the assurance that we remain rooted in the principles that have guided us since our inception,” St. Hill said.

Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, the featured speaker at the event, thanked CIBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer Victor Dodig for “having the confidence in this country to recommit in this way [for us] to be a serious part of the global brand of CIBC. It was so easy for you to choose anywhere else, but you chose Barbados, and you chose to recommit after some difficult years and that has not escaped us as government or a country. I’m sure it has not escaped your employees as well.”

“I believe that your commitment to the country was reflected not just this year with the rebranding but when your bank took the decision to come back into the domestic market and to purchase $100 million in BOSS bonds…that was a huge step of confidence,” Prime Minister Mottley said. She also praised the bank for thinking “outside the box” and being “innovative” as lead arranger and lender for the Barbados Blue Bond.

She thanked the bank’s employees as well noting that it was clear “there is an abundance of talent and genius and that this bank has tapped into it”.

The rebranding event commenced with a flag-raising ceremony conducted by members of the Barbados Cadet Corps whose smartly attired cadets unfurled 10 national flags which fluttered proudly in the evening breeze, representing the territories where the bank is located as well as that of parent company Canada, and the corporate flag.

The rebranding ceremony was punctuated with performances from the island’s leading entertainers RPB, the band Two Mile Hill as well as dancers and stilt walkers. The event concluded in dramatic fashion with the bank’s old corporate logo hovering in the night sky then slowly transitioning to the iconic new CIBC brand, to cheers from the hundreds of staff and specially invited guests.

The Prime Minister along with executives and staff members also placed items representing the bank’s milestones over the years as well as a letter from the youngest member of staff, into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years.

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