Connect with us


Public Sector Pension Plan at $14.71 Million in Year One



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, May 19, 2023 – The first ever payouts have already been made from the new Public Sector Employees Pension Plan totaling over $162 thousand; it means civil servants are finally reaping post retirement benefits after years of agitating for a more comprehensive package.

The news was shared by E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister during the 2023//24 budget debates on Tuesday May 16th.

The fund was introduced in March of 2022 to begin in the 2022/23 financial year and saw a 10 percent pay increase for civil servants split 60/40, with the 60 being placed into the new retirement fund.

Saunders laid down the numbers first for residents; On the establishment of the fund in 2022 the Government seeded $7.9 million.  As the employer, the Government then contributed – over the past year – another $4.5 million; the employees contributed $2.4 million and the employees pension on wages was $2.24 million in cumulative contributions by staff.

“But would you believe this pension fund that we just started a year ago has already paid out pension benefits in the [amount] of $162 thousand?” He asked.  That cash was disseminated between 21 public sector retirees in year one.  Saunders described it as another way the Government was delivering on the Citizens’ Contract.

The fund had been created to restart the Government mandated pension program which had been cut in 1992, with the introduction of the National Insurance scheme though payouts still remained for some.  When the Interim Administration arrived in 2012, those benefits were discontinued for many pensioners, reported Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles, Attorney General, when she laid the bill in 2022.

The Public Sector Employees Pension Plan is a complement to the retirement payouts from the National Insurance Board, NIB, which were deemed insufficient.

The pension fund is accessible to any individual who has left the public service be it due to resignation, dismissal, redundancy, disability, or retirement.


Canadian analysts watching for recession 



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#Canada, September 9, 2023 – Financial analysts are watching the Canadian economy for the possibility of recession following a contraction in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2023, and a decision to keep interest rates at 5 percent.

The Bank of Canada decided to ‘hold steady’ on interest rates this Wednesday, a week after Information shared by Statistics Canada revealed the country’s GDP declined last quarter, failing to reach the over 1 percent growth that was predicted by economists.

“The slowdown was attributable to continued declines in housing investment, smaller inventory accumulation, as well as slower international exports and household spending,” Statistics Canada explained.

Central Banks in North American countries like Canada and the US have been hiking interest rates over the past year to balance out inflation. Both countries want inflation levels to remain at 2 percent.

A recession occurs when a market records negative GDP growth for two consecutive quarters. If Canada records another contraction in its GDP for the third quarter of the year, it will officially be considered to be in a recession.

In late 2022, the Royal Bank of Canada had predicted the country would fall into recession early this year because of cooling housing markets and high interest rates.

The country has not recorded a recession since the beginning of the pandemic.

Continue Reading


TCI Commercial Banks CAUTIOUS about LENDING, Report reveals



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, August 14, 2023 – Credit risk in the Turks and Caicos is decreasing; however, local banks are still very cautious with their lending practices, according to the latest annual report from the Turks and Caicos Financial Services Commission (2021-22).

The FSC Bank and Trust Department oversees the six banking institutions operating locally, their report indicated that the bank’s liquid assets grew massively because residents began to save more money.

“The increase in the sector’s assets was funded by customers’ deposits, which grew by 26.5 percent,” it said. That pushed assets between the six banks to $2.7 billion. Banks are turning a profit, just not as much as before COVID-19. Still, the cash was good enough that they could shutter loan loss provisions they had made.

Not only were customers depositing more money, but with the improved state of the local economy, residents wishing to borrow were resilient to the impact of COVID-19.

Also, fewer residents were defaulting on their loans, the FSC found, with a 29 percent drop in non-performing loans (loans in default), and because of that banks spent 40 percent less on provisioning (money used to cover loans in default). Only four percent of all the loans in the country were listed as non-performing, a decline from five point four (5.4) percent the period prior.

Despite this, fearing rising inflation, and health crises globally, banks responded with ‘conservative lending practices and risk appetites.’

This was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents locally have complained bitterly about the difficulty they face in securing loans and Washington Misick, TCI Premier, has repeatedly put local banks on blast for de-risking and vowed to have the UK step in, to date there has been no change.

Meanwhile, five of the six banks recorded increases in assets and loan portfolios were smaller for four of them.

The FSC also revealed that with banks holding tight to the purse strings, an unregulated credit market had been allowed to flourish locally, which they said was a cause for concern.

“A growing non-bank lending market has emerged in the TCI, which creates competition for the banking sector. This increases the risk to the financial sector if left unregulated and should credit conditions deteriorate,” they explained.

Another concerning revelation is that Money Sending Businesses (MSBs), which are heavily patronized in the country because of the high level of expatriate workers, are taking a hit as well. This time because of high banking costs, de-risking and the emergence of alternate ways to send cash.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Gradual Reduction Anticipated for Paper-Based Banknotes in Circulation



#Kingston, June 18, 2023 – The quantity of paper-based banknotes now in circulation is expected to be gradually reduced over at least the next 12 to 24 months.

This, as the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) undertakes phased disbursement of the new Polymer replacement versions.

BOJ Governor, Richard Byles, told JIS News that persons will be able to conduct transactions using the existing banknotes alongside the Polymer versions during the period.

“You will see both in circulation, and both will be legal tender. Nobody needs to worry that they will be caught with old notes. You can always bring those notes here [at the BOJ to be exchanged],” he informed.

Mr. Byles said while the BOJ only accommodates private persons in relation to exchanges, “because of the special nature of the notes [being introduced], we said [that] the public can come here too [to bring in the old notes] and get the new notes”.

He added, however, that “you can also take them to the [commercial] banks and get them exchanged.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Byles, advised that full withdrawal of the existing banknotes from circulation is “going to take a while.”

He said while the Bank has not set a specific date, “we’re going to let the [new] notes gradually go out into the system.”

“The old notes, when they come in… depending on what the quality of them is like… we’ll take them out of the system. However, there’s going to be a point in time when [after] the BOJ assesses that enough of the old notes have come in and enough of the new notes have gone out, that we can say ‘alright, everybody [who has] old notes, bring them in [within a specific period, and then] try and have a cut-off at that point,” the Governor indicated.

Meanwhile, the BOJ has issued over $11 billion worth of new banknotes, since the exercise commenced on June 6 with disbursements to deposit-taking institutions (DTIs).

The new Jamaican banknotes was officially released to the public on June 15.

Mr. Byles advised that up to mid-afternoon on Friday (June 16), the total stock of notes issued totalled $11.5 billion.  He said a breakdown for each denomination showed the $5000 note accounting for the highest disbursement of $4.7 billion, with the sum for the $1000 bill totalling $3.2 billion.

The equivalent value of the other disbursements were: $2000 – $1.7 billion; $500 – $1.5 billion; $100 – $250 million; and $50 – $75 million.

The new series of polymer Jamaican banknotes comprises upgraded $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 notes, and the newly introduced $2,000 bill.

The $50 note features National Heroes, the Right Excellent Paul Bogle, and the Right Excellent George William Gordon, while Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, appears on the $100 bill.

National Heroes, the Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons, grace the $500 note, while National Heroes the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, post-Independent Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, and the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley, are featured on the $1,000 denomination.

Two former Prime Ministers, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, and the Most Hon. Michael Manley, are highlighted on the $2,000 bill.

Another two former Prime Ministers, the Most Hon. Sir Donald Sangster and the Most Hon. Hugh Shearer, appear on the $5,000 note.  This marks the second time in Jamaica’s history that a new series of banknotes is being introduced and comes 54 years after the country got its own currency in 1969.

The Polymer substrate is being used to print Jamaican banknotes because of the material’s durability, compared to the paper format, which is expected substantially lower associated costs.


Contact: Douglas McIntosh

Release: JIS

Continue Reading