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We Need a Better Reason for giving up the keys; DMMO talks should continue

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Editorial

Deandrea Hamilton

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 1, 2023 – People are still unsure about the Destination Marketing & Management Company, (DMMO) which newly inked bylaws on April 14, pushed further down the road of being fully established in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

It is reasonable that residents and citizens are skeptical about the new engine which will drive tourism management, marketing and development in the islands.

First off, it means change, and the change is dramatic.  From many seats in the theatre watching this story play out, there was simply no need for it.

A tweak of the current TCI Tourist Board legislative framework here and a nip and tuck there, and the existing entity could do – to be fair – just what the premier and minister of tourism on Monday April 24 claimed are the stark differences and advantages to the DMMO, as it is called.

The Premier, C. Washington Misick was quizzed about the role of government; he essentially conveyed that elected government is out of the intimate management of this entity.  A board will determine the marketing, a board will determine the direction of tourism, a board will hire the staff and a board will spend the money; largely the people’s money.

To this Editor, it is a bit odd that Government, in particular a Progressive National Party led-government would even want to hand over its leading industry to a group, it would legally not be able to control.  And here’s but one reason why…

Just now, the Turks and Caicos has managed to claw back some semblance of control when it comes to the issuance of Crown Land.  After 11 years of having zero say, now the elected politician, hired by the voters will be able to participate in who gets what and does what when it comes to land and development in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The British, fabulously and appropriately agreed to have us back at the table, where we should be.

So, why this ‘happy’ declaration by the Premier that elected government is handing over its main breadwinner to a group it has no legal right to tell what to do.  In essence, it is taking the electorate – that is you and me – out of the driver’s seat when it comes to Tourism Management in the Turks and Caicos.

Yes, red flags are waving high even amongst supporters of the Progressive National Party.  I am sure this discomfort among the electorate is further aroused by the fact that at this time, TCI is driving a Lamborghini with epic real estate sales, tourism arrivals, government recurrent revenue and touristic development.

Why hand over the keys now? And did we really give you permission to do this?

And though Premier Misick is clinging to the story that the transition to a DMMO was never hidden, that he and his election team penned that this was coming in their Party’s manifesto, in the absence of national debates or any speech ever given pointedly about the design of this change during the 2021 campaign season, it remains unfair to the public to say, ‘but I wrote it down in the book’.

After all, we all know what they say about ideas stuffed into books.

Curious thing is so much about what was presented at the press conference last week seems excellent to implement.  However, once again this casual style of sharing information and the utter failure of governments to – time and again – actually be transparent when it comes to involving this highly educated and exposed public at every step of national decision making, is running interference.

The press conference last Monday helped.  Sadly though, now it’s time for more as we all savour the morsels thrown out. Now, we want to move from appetizer to soup du jour.  All of this, as the Government is already back of house washing the dinner plates on an idea which, as they have touted, will revolutionize the No.1 industry.

While this can go really well and we may all look back at this moment in time and say, ‘Boy Washy really did us justice!’

Isn’t it just wisdom for government to acknowledge, with gravitas, that history dictates that not all revolutions have a happy ending and spend more time convincing the people this DMMO is the ideal move at the ideal time.

Besides, this needs to be an institution which gets greater agreement, especially among our political parties.

The bi-partisan backing of a DMMO is essential to guaranteeing that the voter does not deliver a mandate – through a General Election or otherwise – to de-construct it.  Another dismantling would assuredly be costly; an expensive, untenable bill which is never borne by immature politics and politicians, but by the Public, who is too often last to be consulted or utterly ignored.

Spend more time and some money on public education about this very new idea; since it’s our tourism engine which is revving up, we not only have the prerogative, as a people, to choose the road but we can also determine the pace.

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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Government

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL POST MEETING STATEMENT

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Monday, 1 July 2024: Her Excellency Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and the Hon. Premier Charles Washington Misick, co-chaired a meeting of the Turks and Caicos Islands National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday, 27th June 2024 at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales.

Also in attendance, the Hon. Deputy Premier, the Hon. Attorney General, the Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF), the Permanent Secretary National Security Secretariat (NSS), the Head of the Governor’s Office and the NSS Threat Lead.

Apologies were received from the H.E the Deputy Governor and the Hon. Minister for Immigration and Border Services.

Members were briefed by:

  • The Commissioner of Police on the current overview of policing operations and crime, including on the three (3) separate shooting incidents that resulted in four (4) fatalities in Providenciales between 21- 23 June 2024. These incidents are currently under investigation. NSC was also updated on two (2) ongoing safeguarding matters. The RTCIPF are actively pursuing persons of interest. Council discussed strategic approaches to strengthen Offender Management. Council was also updated on the multiagency response and successful rescue to the emergency ‘crash landing’ of a small aircraft inbound to the Howard Hamilton International Airport due to engine failure.
  • Members of the TCI/UK Joint Maritime Security Delivery Board on progress of the UK-funded project to install coastal surveillance radars and various wider maritime security enhancement initiatives which will significantly increase TCI’s Maritime Domain Awareness. The primary function of the TCI/UK Delivery Board is to oversee the current projects and to explore options for strengthening multi-agency collaboration along with identifying opportunities for training and capacity building.
  • Mark Fenhalls KC on his recently completed review of case progression with the criminal justice system. The review was commissioned by the NSC and supported by the UK Ministry of Justice. The focus of the review was to assess the current backlog of cases – particularly, serious violent crime and explore potential considerations to drive justice outcomes in a more expedient manner. Recommendations included wider adaptation of technology and case management systems, cross-training, increasing capacity and infrastructure development. The NSC commissioned an action plan against the recommendations to be taken forward in liaison with criminal justice partners.

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