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DMMO money to stay private but directed by Government 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 5, 2023 – The Destination Marketing and Management Organization is moving full speed ahead but some members of parliament are worried about how the organization will be monitored and how much return on investment the government will get.

The concerns were tabled during the Appropriations Committee where statutory bodies were called up to defend and explain their budgets submitted to the house, which made up the total budget for the 2023/24 financial year.

Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary of Tourism represented the DMMO as did Interim Director of the Tourist Board Miquel Swann and Diandra Been, Financial Controller at the Tourist Board.

The board is predicted to make up to 11 million next financial year (2024/25) from member contributions, a guest levy, and its own revenue streams when all collection models are properly set up.

Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader in his capacity as a member of the Appropriations Committee queried how the finances would be monitored and whether TCIG will make any money from it

Clerveaux with assistance from Athenee Harvey-Basden, Permanent Secretary of Finance explained that by virtue of the DMMO being registered as a nonprofit, as well as it being a corporate entity it was not a statutory body and its funds would not go back to TCIG

“This is not the same thing as a typical statutory body,” was Clerveaux’s response; “All funds would have to be budgeted appropriately.  In other words the government is coming out with a Tourism Policy, and that policy will give guidelines on how these funds are to be used, so once there is a surplus to what was projected, it wouldn’t be called excess.  It would just be a surplus that can now be used more effectively.”

He maintained that any surplus would be used more effectively within the organization, rather than being added as income to the Government.

Harvey-Basden explained that there were ways the DMMO could be monitored.

“Quarterly assessments can be produced based on the contribution that the ministry provides.  They can in certain instances request how those funds have been expended.” She said,

She explained this would be similar to the system used for organizations like the Red Cross, or the Turks and Caicos National Museum where the government would get a brief summary.

Fears of many residents that the government had handed over management of the number one industry to were confirmed somewhat under questions from Astwood.

“Is it just the government partnering with a corporate entity or is this a government entity?” He queried

“I think by the nature of registering in a nonprofit organization, as it says, it is a partnership between the Government and private entities,” Clerveaux responded.  He did clarify that board decisions needed a ⅔ majority vote.

In response to what the government would get back from subvention the PS confirmed

“This is not a revenue generating stream for the government.  This is a partnership that allows the body to discharge— the policy mandate that the government would be designing and developing for it to execute.  It’s not a revenue department like Customs where you are expecting money to come in.”

The money going into the organization, including the tourist levy will be managed by the DMMO to carry out its main functions; those functions will be guided by the government via the said tourist policy.  TCIG will be able to streamline where the money goes but will not make a direct profit

“Let me be clear, it’s not that the DMMO is going to be developing businesses directly, it will support business.” Clerveaux said that support would be through marketing local product to tourists directly and the creation of standards to improve local businesses.

“Why isn’t that being done in the tourism department,” Astwood queried.   “That can be done easily inside that department. Why do we need a Corporation to do those things and to generate all this money leaving TCIG hands?”

Clerveaux indicated this was an issue re-policy which was developed by the Government but maintained there was an accountability clause and the Government policy would direct all spending.

Government

FINALISATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROPOSALS

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Turks and Caicos

 

  1. Today Her Excellency the Governor convened a meeting with the Honourable Premier, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Attorney General, Sir Jeffrey Jowell KC and the FCDO’s Deputy Director Adam Pile to finalise the package of constitutional reform so it may be submitted to the Privy Council in July. Also in attendance was Her Excellency the Deputy Governor.
  2. The bipartisan constitutional talks with the UK Government in Grand Turk (October 2023) agreed to move to a fully elected House of Assembly*, with four additional elected members replacing the members appointed by the Governor, Premier and Leader of the Opposition. In the wider package of constitutional reform, all other major issues have been agreed in further meetings and correspondence, bar the timing of a transition to a fully elected House of Assembly*.

Scope of work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission

  1. The Electoral District Boundary Commission was stood up in February to review in the first instance the boundaries of the electoral districts into which the islands are divided in line with s.61 of the Constitution. The Governor, in line with the agreement of the UK Government, has asked that they then assess options for the composition of the four additional elected seats. This work will need to be put out to public consultation and submitted to the House of Assembly, after which further work will be required to implement the approved changes.
  2. In order to deliver constitutional reform for the Turks and Caicos Islands this summer, the agreed package of reforms now need to be submitted to the UK Government so it may be made by His Majesty The King in the Privy Council in July.

Transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*

  1. Given this timing, it was noted that there are two options for the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly*:
  1. A transitionary phase that provides for an all-elected House of Assembly* at the forthcoming election with four additional ‘all island’ candidates for the next term, following which the further work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform the composition of the four additional seats going forward; or
  2. Retain the status quo of four appointed members at the forthcoming election and wait to move to an all-elected House* until the subsequent election, following the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission which will inform the composition of the four additional seats.
  1. Agreement was not reached at the meeting on which option to pursue.
  1. The Honourable Premier continues in his view that the transition to an all-elected House* should take place at the forthcoming election with the four additional elected seats contested on an ‘all island’ basis. This would be a transitionary phase, until the subsequent election where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  2. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition has confirmed his view that the transition to an all-elected House of Assembly* should not take place at the forthcoming election, that the status quo should be retained with four appointed members; and the move to an all-elected House of Assembly should only take place at the subsequent election, where the work of the Electoral District Boundary Commission will inform what additional constituencies may be implemented.
  1. In light of the need to provide a clear position to the UK Government, a motion will be tabled for debate in the House of Assembly to allow a full debate on when a fully elected legislature should be introduced.
  • other than the Attorney General

 

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Government Prepares to roll out Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) for Senior Citizens

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#TurksandCaicos, May 31, 2024 – The Office of the Premier and Public Policy and the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Trade wants to advise the general public that plans for the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), aimed at supporting the elderly population within our society are underway. $3.1 million in funding was approved in the current Budget Year 2024/2025

The Financial Assistance Programme, a cornerstone initiative of the Government, is a commitment to augment the social welfare of the aged in the TCI.   It is being carefully crafted to support elderly citizens who may be facing financial hardships.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring the smooth implementation of the Financial Assistance Programme as promised; and to meet the originally proposed deadline for payment of the benefit in July 2024 posed for eligible individuals.  The payment, when distributed will be retroactive to 1 April 2024.

The Government reaffirms its dedication to fostering a society that cares for its elderly population and provides them with the assistance and resources necessary to build stronger communities where everyone can not only survive but thrive.

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TCI GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – Ms. Patricia Arana has been sworn in on13 May 2024 as Resident Magistrate, Grand Turk.  She first joined the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands as Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court in April 2022.

Prior to taking up the position of Registrar of the Magistrate’s Court, she was the Deputy Registrar General at the Supreme Court of her native Belize in Belize City. She started her judicial career as a Magistrate in 2010 and was promoted to the position of Senior Magistrate in 2015. As Senior Magistrate, she worked in several districts in Belize, and acted as Chief Magistrate on several occasions.  She was also within that period, seconded for two years as Legal Counsel to the Financial Intelligence Unit of Belize.

Ms. Arana is a graduate of the University of the West Indies where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Degree, and a graduate of the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, where she obtained her Legal Education Certificate. There she distinguished herself when she received the H.H. Dunn Memorial Prize for Legal Drafting and Interpretation.

Regionally, Ms. Arana currently serves as an Executive Member of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) on behalf of the Judiciary of the Turks and Caicos Islands. She is also an active member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges (CAWJ), and the National Garifuna Council (NGC) Orange Walk Branch.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, Ms. Arana has since her appointment in 2022, served in various capacities: ADR Administrator and lately a member of the Mediation Committee, a member of the Breach Process Rules Committee, Justice of the Peace Vetting Panel, Justice of the Peace Disciplinary Panel, and Election Adjudicator.

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