By Dana Malcolm with Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, May 15, 2023 – Much ado about nothing is how Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition is describing the historic $424.3 million dollar budget laid in parliament on April 26 by the PNP Administration; he says it fails to address the issues impacting Turks and Caicos residents and much of what was touted is simply not true.
“While laying the Budget estimates in the House of Assembly, the previous week, the Minister of Finance stated that “Our government policies and priorities for FY2032/2024 have been meticulously crafted to enable us to carry on with our mission of Delivering on the Citizen’s Contract: Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Progress for All.” A pretty good empty phrase.
Well, the numbers and programs showed that this is a Lie, this budget does not address any of those issues for our people and our country,” said Astwood in a media statement on Wednesday, May 10.
He said the budget does not address the cost of living; housing; border crisis; training of residents; increasing access to quality; and affordable health care; beautification; salary inequalities.
“Most of all it does nothing more for our people,” he said, in a strongly worded press release on May 10th. “The Honourable Minister of Finance also stated the fact that this is the Biggest Budget Ever for the TCI, and that “his PNP Government is investing $424.3 million into our people and our country. This is also a lie, and if you had the time to listen to the Appropriations Committee Hearings, you would know from the information provided that, outside the normal recurrent expenditure on salaries and allowance and renovations, nothing is being spent on our people or our country.”
He claimed the majority of the money would not go back to the residents of the Turks and Caicos and by virtue of the insight gained from his position on the Appropriations committee said this:
“Outside the normal recurrent expenditure on salaries and allowance and renovations, nothing is being spent on our people or our country. The Recurrent Expenditure increases are mostly for the Destination Management Organization (DMO), $14 Million on Professional & Consultancies, $28 million in Subventions to Statutory Bodies, $22.8million to InterHealth’s InfraCo Unitary payment, and $35.4 million for InterHealth’s ClinCo payment and Treatment Abroad, $7.2 million for SIPT, Hosting Conferences, 56 new positions (to add to the 400 vacant positions), and Land Acquisitions.”
Based on the budget presented by E Jay Saunders, Acting Premier and Finance Minister on April 26th recurrent expenditure is the bulk of the budget at $348 million. Recurrent expenditure pays for civil servants salaries, free healthcare and dental, social programs like home help and more.
Astwood also said not enough money was being spent on roads and electrification combined for the entire country, and claimed that government programs ‘have been cut or are greatly underfunded.’
“This is a Historic Budget of constraints,” he said. “Local and international Training Cut, Internal training cut, youth activities cut, no increase in international scholarships, no expansion of Preventative Health, no expansion to national security and Border, small and medium contracts cut, preventative maintenance and clearing cut, and no increase in grants to entrepreneurs and startup businesses, just to name a few.”
He frowned on the claim that the budget was ‘green and gender based’, explaining that he had yet to see any specific programs to address these issues. He highlighted too that there was nothing budgeted for a salary increase but admitted the government is doing a grading exercise to see what increases are needed. The Opposition Leader called for an immediate increase.
“The PDM is asking the government to give civil Servants a 10% across-the-board increase as a cost-of-living adjustment. I do not care that they would get the brownie points if they do this, my only concern is that our people need it, and they need it NOW, not a year from now.”
The budget will be debated on May 16th.
Reginald Charles Appointed Assistant Director of Planning
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce Mr. Reginald Charles’ appointment to Assistant Director of Planning – Administration in the Physical Planning and Development Department within the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development.
Mr. Charles received an Associate’s Degree in Environmental Science from the Turks and Caicos Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Charles joined the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in 2014 as an Environmental Health Officer with the Department of Environmental Health and was later promoted to Land Use Planner within the Physical Planning and Development Department. He was later appointed as the Secretary to the Physical Planning Board and advanced to the post of Environmental Compliance Manager. Until this appointment, Mr. Charles was the Assistant Director of Planning for a substantial period. He was able to gain valuable experience in the management and administrative functions needed to be successful in carrying out his tasks.
Mr. Charles, in commenting on his appointment, stated: “I am very excited to contribute to the success of my department, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and my country. I have won the support of my colleagues, management, and staff, and they have helped to champion my cause, to which I am very grateful.”
Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, in extending congratulatory remarks to Mr. Charles, stated:
Mr. Charles is a hardworking and dedicated public servant who has previously served in various capacities in the public service: Environmental Health Officer in the Environmental Health Department and as a former Land Use Planner and Environmental Compliance Manager in the Planning Department. In 2020, he was appointed Secretary to the Planning Board and has previously acted as Assistant Director of Planning.
Mr. Charles has had a progressive public service career, which we are proud of, and we are sure he will do well in this new role.
Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion Reginald!
Talestra Dixon Appointed s Registrar
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce Ms. Talestra Dixon’s appointment to the Registrar post in the Registrar General’s Department within the Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation, Public Safety and Utilities.
Ms. Dixon completed her secondary education at the Raymond Gardiner High School in North Caicos and received two scholarships from the Ministry of Education. Ms. Dixon earned an Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College. She later achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Labour Employment Relations from the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Ms. Dixon joined the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in 2021 as an Assistant Compliance Investigative Officer in the Citizenship and Naturalization Department—a post she held until this most recent appointment.
Ms. Dixon, in commenting on her appointment, stated: “I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to begin this new journey within the public sector. My goal is to attain the mission, vision, and values of the civil service by assisting in creating strategies, policies and procedures that would continue to provide an efficient and effective work environment and its products, along with providing good customer service to all.”
Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, in extending congratulatory remarks to Ms. Dixon, stated:
Ms. Dixon is one of our young professionals who recently joined the service and has already started to make a good name for herself. She adds to the team of Ms. Kayon Cox as Registrar General to assist in taking the Registrar General Department to the next level as we progress towards digitizing our services.
Congratulations on your promotion, Ms. Dixon!”
Leonardo Glasgow Appointed Assistant Director of Planning
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce Mr. Leonardo Glasgow’s appointment to Assistant Director of Planning – Enforcement in the Physical Planning and Development Department within the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development.
Mr. Glasgow received an Associate’s Degree in Building and Design Technology from the Turks and Caicos Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Glasgow recently returned home from the United Kingdom after taking study leave for a year to pursue and complete a Master’s Degree in Property Development and Planning, also from Nottingham Trent University.
Mr. Glasgow joined the Turks and Caicos Islands Government in 2016 as a Planning Technician within the Physical Planning and Development Department. He was later appointed as a Land Use Planner and held that post until this most recent appointment. He played a vital role in developing the National Physical Development Plan.
Mr. Glasgow, in commenting on his appointment, stated:
“I must firstly thank God through whom all my success is attributed. I am constantly reminded of Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
This appointment humbles me, and it is an honour to be given the opportunity to lead and develop my department as I strive to be a better leader by being the best public servant I can be.”
Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, in extending congratulatory remarks to Mr. Glasgow, stated:
Mr. Glasgow has given over seven years of service to the Planning Department. He has specialized skills in building and design, architecture, and property development. He has recently returned to the service following his Master’s of Property Development and Planning degree in August 2023, assisted by grant funding from the Public Service Professional Development Fund.
I am proud of Mr. Glasgow’s accomplishment and know he will do exceptionally well in this new role.
Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion Leonardo!
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
News1 week ago
Police say DNA confirmed identity of headless body
News1 week ago
Carnival cruise port is open to others Cruise ships — Management
News4 days ago
Invest TCI Hosts Successful Second Annual General Meeting at the Ritz Carlton
Caribbean News1 week ago
Smart City Project a Testament to Innovation, Progressive – Dr. Morris Dixon
Finance1 week ago
UK holds steady on interest rates
Caribbean News3 days ago
Jamaica declares DENGUE OUTBREAK; control measures amped up
News1 week ago
Grand Turk drops in Rank for Cruising, Port profits down; Still Optimism High after major meeting with Carnival
News3 days ago
Kenya and US sign agreement to support pending Haiti mission