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PDM not satisfied with Gov’t Press Event; says PNP ‘arrogant’

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 1, 2023 – While the establishment of the Destination Marketing and Management Organisation may have been in the PNP’s Citizens’ contract, residents who voted for the PNP were not expecting a total breakdown of the Tourist Board, this is according to Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition.

His claim was part of a response to the recent press conference held by the government to shed light on the DMMO. Astwood slammed Washington Misick, TCI Premier for quoting his Citizens’ Contract, where Misick said the plan for the DMMO was listed.

In other words, he is saying that all those who voted for this PNP administration supported the closing down of the Tourist Board and replacing it with the DMO. Somehow, I do not think that this is what the Premier’s supporters were expecting,” he challenged  “Maybe some in the inner circle would have known the sneaky details, but not the majority of the people who voted for the PNP and the last election.”

The government is defending their investment in the DMMO as doggedly as the Opposition is denouncing it but in the verbal melee Astwood highlights one question that remains unanswered. Why were the Tourist Board employees let go?

Minister Josphine Connolly explained that the Board’s structure and information collection methods were unsuitable for the new era of tourism the government is trying to usher in, but thus far nothing has been shared that indicates the employees were unsatisfactory in any way.

In truth, the staff are constantly on the receiving end of compliments from the Minister for stellar work, supportive research and credited for having led TCI’s destination marketing for three consecutive years of robust growth.

The recent DMMO press conference did not explain the dismissal, but informed that staff recruitment and retention will no longer be a function of TCIG.

Piggybacking on an example of Apple and its Ipod shared by E Jay Saunders, Minister of Finance, about taking a good product and making it better the Opposition Leader criticized the touted improvement which lessens TCIG control of the country’s number one industry.

What did not happen, Mr. Minister, was that Apple did not give control of their star product or their new upcoming star product to another company, nor did they put the management and sale of their new star product into the hands of others, like this Government is doing right now. So yes, Honourable Minister of Finance they made a good thing better, but they did it themselves, bringing the talent, using the accumulated experience, employing the latest technical advancements. The Government should be doing the same- The Government should be Making the People’s Tourist Board better and not shutting it down, leaving our Turks and Caicos Islanders jobless,”  he maintained.

Edwin Astwood described the decision to move forward without widespread public consultation as arrogant.

Government

Proposed Amendments for Business Licensing in TCI heard at June 4 Cabinet Meeting  

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 17th meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday June 4th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Knowles and the Ministers of Home Affairs and Public Safety and Utilities.  Ms. Yaa McCartney attended in the capacity of Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Received a presentation from the Ministry of Finance on the proposed amendments to Business Licensing which was being put forward as a result of the consultations that had taken place and agreed next steps.

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Government

TCI Cabinet hears NHIP Change Management Plan in Meeting held April 24, 2024  

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam chaired the 12th meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday April 24, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members were present with the exception of the Ministers of Education, Tourism, Border Control and Public Safety who were away from the islands on official duties.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Received a presentation from the National Health Insurance Plan Consultants on the organizations Change Management Program.
  2. Noted an information paper on the work of the Economic Substance Consultancy which was undertaken to provide services to the Financial Transactions Information Exchange Unit (FTIE) in regard to the previous blacklisting of the Turks and Caicos Islands which has since the engagement of this consultancy been reversed.
  3. Approved the reinstatement of the Grand Lucayan MOU for an additional six months from the execution date of the previously approved MOU.
  4. Approved the settlement of a Claim Against Government in line with a ruling of the Court.
  5. Approved the grant of a license for the beach nourishment and installation of four groins lying seaward of parcels 60703/253-263, 330, 331-342 situated at Cheshire Hall for the protection of the shoreline of the said parcels.

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Caribbean News

Government Progressing with Plans to Build Seven STEM and STEAM Schools

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#MontegoBay, July 3, 2024 – The Government is progressing with plans to construct six Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Schools and one Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says arrangements to build the STEAM school, being cited in Montego Bay, are “proceeding.”

“The land is acquired and the budget is in place from the Ministry of Finance [and the Public Service]. By the end of the year the Ministry of Education [and Youth] can give a timeframe on it,” he stated.

Regarding construction of the STEM Schools, Dr. Chang advised that  “we will be opening the first one in Portmore [St. Catherine] very soon.”

He was speaking during the University of Technology (UTech) Western Campus’ recent STEM Summer camp launch at the institution’s campus in Montego Bay, St. James.

The camp, being held in western Jamaica for the first time, will see some 100 youth from communities in Hanover, Trelawny and St. James engaging in several STEM-related activities.

For his part, Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) President, Oral Heaven, said Jamaica has been declared a ‘STEM island’, adding that the camp serves as testament to the country’s growing prominence in the global STEM landscape.

“This designation opens the door for so many things, through multinational STEM investments [and] real money for our people, positioning Jamaica as a hub of innovation and technological advancement,” he outlined.

Dr. Chang pointed out that there is “a legacy of STEM activity” in the west, noting that the Government is committed to expanding opportunities in the sector.

“It is imperative, therefore, that we attract some of these investments to Montego Bay”, adding that, “we must focus on the positives and potential solutions that STEM can offer.”

The STEM Summer Camp will be held in two phases for junior and senior participants under the theme: ‘Think, Collaborate and Innovate to Grow and Be Resilient’.

Junior participants will attend from July 8-19, and the older youth between July 15 and 26.

 

Contact: Serena Grant

Release: JIS

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