By Dana Malcolm
May 30, 2023 – Two £10 million pound allotments ($12.3 million) for security and the environment were only a small part of the agreements made between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories recently.
The countries have revealed in detail what transpired at the Joint Ministerial Council on May 11th – 12th, and highlights include promises of cash and more freedom and beefed up security. Included in the list of 29 agreements were:
- A reaffirmation of the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Territories.
- UK support for requests for the removal of the countries (who wish it) from the United Nations list of non-self- governing Territories.
- Over £10 million earmarked to support OT law enforcement and border security capability and capacity building.
- Acknowledgement of the irregular-migration challenges that some Overseas Territories are facing, including as a result of the current situation in Haiti, and a commitment to exploring options to increase support.
- A commitment to meeting the reasonable needs of Territories where financial self-sufficiency is not possible, as the Overseas Territories continue to have the first call on the aid budget.
- Discussions regarding access to concessional financing,
- A brand new ministerial-level annual dialogue focused on tackling illicit finance, to be first held in the British Virgin Islands.
- £10 million per year until 2025 for applicants to Darwin Plus;
- Commitment to prioritise climate change actions in UK funding.
- A new joint UK Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy.
- Technical support for OT’s in climate change.
- A commitment to exploring ways to ensure that funding for the Overseas Territories is not cut short as a result of loss of access to EU environment funding.
Maritime and shipping
- Commitment to strengthening maritime capabilities in the territories and recognise the need for future investment by promoting defined career pathways and supporting those wishing to work in this essential industry.
- Collaboration on ensuring effective maritime security within the Territories.
- Commitment to resolving problems with the process for issuance of visas for students with British Overseas Territories Citizenship to study in the UK.
In addition to that, the UK Parliament has unanimously passed a motion to defend the sovereignty and borders of Overseas Territories from foreign powers among other promises following this year’s Joint Ministerial Council Meeting.
The revelation was shared by the office of Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday May 12th. Communication passed on to the residents of the TCI by the Office of the Premier, explained that following a Backbench Business Debate on the future of the OT’s including the Turks and Caicos, UK politicians formally agreed to the following:
‘This House is committed to upholding the interests of British Overseas Territories and their citizens; recognises the special historical, cultural, and social bonds that bind the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories; and calls upon the Government to ensure that British Overseas Territories citizens’ rights as British citizens are upheld, to defend the sovereignty and borders of Overseas Territories from foreign powers, and to consider the unique circumstances of each Territory when formulating policies which affect them.’
The formal commitment solidifies the bare minimum of what the Overseas Territories have been asking of the United Kingdom for years, and now the UK must put it into practice with funding and laws. It is only immediate tangible support of this commitment, that will truly benefit residents across the OT’s and validate the UKs claim to treating them as equal British Citizens.
Kearns’ Office said the OT’s have the genuine support of Members of Parliament as MPs from across the House urged the Government to ensure that the JMC was a success, and that OTs are listened to, and their requests acted on.
Kearns herself said she was “Full of optimism for the future of British OTs,” following the meeting.
REOPENING OF THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
The First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly of the Turks & Caicos Islands
The Opening Ceremony for the First (1st) Sitting of the First (1st) Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Twelfth (12th) Legislature of the House of Assembly occurred on the 14th September at 10 o’clock in the forenoon with its usual pomp and fanfare.
During the proceedings, the Honourable Premier and Minister for Public Policy, Hon. C. Washington Misick, moved the motion that the House of Assembly be suspended to allow for the reading of the Speech from the Throne, presented by Her Excellency, the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.
The Speech from the Throne, having highlighted some of the Government’s accomplishments since being elected to office on 19th February 2021, culminated with the proposed Legislative Agenda to be considered for the upcoming legislative year which included, but is not limited to:
Constitution (Amendment) Order;
Retiring Allowance (Amendment) Bill;
Community College (Amendment) Bill;
Gaming Control (Amendment) Bill;
Business Licensing (Amendment) Bill;
Real Estate Licensing Bill
Immigration Bill; and
Crown Land (Amendment) Bill
The Speech from the Throne took a long-term perspective and placed emphasis on fulfilling the objectives of the Vision 2040 document and the Government’s strategic plan to move the Turks and Caicos Islands towards developed country status within the next two decades by investing in projects and policies that will result in a more robust triple-bottom-line economy.
The Speech from the Throne also addressed short to medium term deliverables; highlighting that the Government has twelve (12) high-priority projects being progressed. It posited that the National Delivery Unit (NDU) is tasked with assisting project owners and implementers advance the Government’s priorities. The value added by this Unit is the facilitation with streamlining of project management processes to ensure the most efficient timelines and use of available resources – all for the ultimate benefit of the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The day’s proceeding ended with a motion entitled: Write-Off of TC Invest/TOLCO Loan that was tabled by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable E. Jay Saunders. The motion which sought to write off $10.8 million in debt accumulated by scores of borrowers was passed. This write-off was a welcomed intervention by many Turks and Caicos Islanders, laden with debt obligations for over 11 years following the divestiture of the former TC Invest Agency. The write-off directly affects over 150 borrowers but is indirectly beneficial to many more.
For some, giving them a second lease on life, which, when property ownership is considered can be extended to inter-generationally.
Turks and Caicos Islands Government Reminds Residents in the Islands of North, Middle and South Caicos of the Availability of On-Island Customer Services
#TurksandCaicos, September 19, 2023 – The Customer Services Department, in the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services, herby reminds residents in the islands of North and Middle Caicos, and South Caicos of the availability of its services on those islands.
Persons in North and Middle Caicos applying for work permits, visas, residence permits, homeowners permits, birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates can submit applications at the Immigration Office in North Caicos and conveniently pay for such applications at the Government Treasury, both located at the Paul Higgs Complex, Bottle Creek, North Caicos.
Persons in South Caicos applying for work permits, visas, residence permits and homeowners permits can submit applications to the Immigration Office located in the new Government Complex near Regatta Village and at the District Commissioner’s Office for birth, marriage and death certificates. Services can be paid into the Government Treasury also located in South Caicos.
Unfortunately, applications for naturalisation and permanent residence certificates cannot be submitted on islands other than Grand Turk and Providenciales at this time.
Speaking on the availability of these services in the family islands, the Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams stated: “As a part of our efforts to improve service delivery across the Turks and Caicos Islands, additional recruitment and training has taken place on the islands of North, Middle and South Caicos in order to provide more on-island support to the population of those islands and to ease the burden of persons having to travel to Grand Turk or Providenciales to receive certain services.
The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services is heavily focused on the implementation of our new border management system. This system will give persons the ability to access services from anywhere in the Turks and Caicos Islands and around the world. More updates on this will be issued periodically through press releases and stakeholder engagement.
Meanwhile, our newly appointed Director of Business Transformation is currently performing an in-depth audit of systems and processes across government, to assist in mapping out plans to make necessary changes in government ministries and departments to improve service delivery.
The transformation of service delivery across government is a key objective for the public service in this and future financial years. We recognise where there are gaps and we are working diligently to improve the way we serve the public going forward.”
Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services with responsibility for the Customer Services Department and the elected representative for Electoral District 4: North and Middle Caicos, remarked: “As a government, we have a responsibility to bring our services to the people and to ensure that doing business with the public service is easy, convenient and efficient. There should be no barrier to services for residents who do not reside in the islands of Grand Turk and Providenciales.
The majority of these services have been available in the family islands for quite some time now, but we recently refreshed our training, processes and our engagement in these islands, to ensure that we are serving the people in the most efficient manner.
I am proud of my team’s efforts to improve these services and I am reminding the people of ED 4, as well as South Caicos, that they do not need to travel to Providenciales or Grand Turk just to submit applications or pay receipts, as they can do so conveniently on their home islands.”
The Customer Services Department continues to review all of its processes and procedures in all islands, to ensure that it is meeting its mandate to the public and invites you to participate in its customer satisfaction surveys which are undertaken quarterly.
Avi Adams appointed Director of Department of Tourism Regulation
#TurksandCaicos, September 19, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Avi Adams to the post of Director of the Department of Tourism Regulation (DTR) within the Ministry of Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries, Heritage, Religious Affairs, and the Environment.
Mr. Adams is a native of Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, who graduated from the H.J. Robinson High School in 2000. His tertiary education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Bernard M. Baruch College, CUNY, New York, NY, and a Master of Business Administration from Edinburgh University, Edinburg, SC. He also holds several certifications in accounting, finance, and human resources.
Mr. Adams has a proven track record of success in various roles, including ten years as an Accountant/Financial Analyst, ten years in Human Resources and 15 years of management experience. He has also worked in the hospitality industry for the past three years. His previous roles include several at Fortis TCI, including Supervisor of Accounts Payable, Superintendent of Supply Chain Management and the Manager for Human Resources. Mr. Adams also most recently served as the Human Resources Manager at the Shore Club Resort with the Hartling Group.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Adams stated:
“It is incredibly humbling to be chosen to lead the new Tourism Regulatory Department. Only with God have I come this far, and it will only be him that sustains me to continue pushing forward for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.
I am thankful for everyone who has contributed to this new beginning. I am excited to take on this new challenge with the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that the Turks and Caicos Islands remain a premier tourist destination. I am confident that my skills and experience will positively impact our work.”
Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, in extending congratulatory remarks to Mr. Adams, stated:
I am pleased to officially announce and congratulate Mr. Avi Adams on his appointment as Director of the Department of Tourism Regulation (DTR) within the Ministry of Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries, Heritage, Religious Affairs, and the Environment.
The Department of Tourism Regulations (DTR) has been formally established under the Ministry of Tourism to absorb the functions of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board Quality Assurance Unit and TIDES Training Unit. The DTR’s mission is to develop and promote a regulatory environment conducive to a dynamic, competitive, and sustainable tourism sector in TCI.
As Director, Mr. Adams is tasked with the DTR’s oversight, coordination, and leadership, which will be responsible for regulating our leading industry. Mr. Adams will also play an integral part in legislative and policy reform that will help shape the success of our tourism product.
Mr. Adams comes to us from the private sector with a vast amount of administrative and leadership experience that will add invaluable support to efforts being made by the Ministry of Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries, Heritage, Religious Affairs and the Environment.
This appointment is a pivotal step for the Turks and Caicos Islands as it moves into its new tourism management and regulatory structure.
Congratulations on your new appointment, Mr. Adams and welcome to the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service!”
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