#TurksandCaicos, July 1, 2023 – The interests of the Turks and Caicos Islands come first and already decided is a national familiarization tour, for the newly appointed governor to become directly acquainted with the islands and islanders.
In her first official, Her Excellency Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam was poised, succinct and clear about expectations and her role as the 16th governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“I am acutely aware of some of the issues on your mind, in particular national security, the constitution, social development, and the economy. My meetings with elected representatives, communities, officials, and bodies over this coming month will equip me with what I need to focus my priorities to best serve the interest of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” she said.
Crime was high on the list of deliverables for the new governor and with a decades long background in law and overseeing courts, she promised a rework of the justice system to come.
“Tackling the present challenge of the safety of these Turk and Caicos Islands requires now more than ever a strong relationship between the police, partner agencies, and our communities that they serve. I will be working with all involved to address the stark levels of criminality and much needed justice reforms, ” she promised.
She thanked Anya Williams, Deputy Governor for her ‘admirable and dedicated service’ over the past three months in the role of Acting Governor and reflected on the preparation she had for the role in the last six months meeting with former Governor, Nigel Dakin and Williams herself.
Selvaratnam maintained that her time in Anguilla, which ended in May, had also prepared her well for the job.
“My previous role taught me much about the issues and challenges which Caribbean Territories face, and our relationship with the United Kingdom and the region more widely. I will build on that experience to deliver the constitutional responsibility I now come to bear.”
After her address, she was presented with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers by one of the island’s boy scouts and met each member of the House of Assembly personally escorted by Gordon Burton, Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Selvaratnam will spend the first 10 days of her tenure touring the Turks and Caicos and visiting each constituency; a tour she says she anticipates will help her serve the country better as she aims to meet as many residents as possible.
“As I make my way through each and every inhabited island, I will listen and I hope to begin to appreciate your rich and multifarious societies, to witness with my own eyes, the beauty and diversity of each of the Islands and to learn about the gains and the challenges these bring.”
She had been brought to the House of Assembly under honour guard led by Trevor Botting, Commissioner of Police.
Selvaratnam took her oaths just after 10:00 am at the House of Assembly, at HJ Robinson High School auditorium after which she was addressed by Premier Washington Misick and Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition, both welcoming synergy and speaking bluntly about their own expectations.
“I’m sure each constituency is unique and only through meeting as many of you as possible can I begin to understand your respective concerns and ambitions for the islands and how I must shape my governorship,” she said as she doubled down on her thrust to properly serve all islands and cays.
Public Sector Pay Increase budgets $600,000 more for TCI Parliamentarians
#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – As the rest of the civil service gets salary increases between 10 and 60 percent, Turks and Caicos parliamentarians are enjoying pay hikes as well.
“Since the last pay and grading review, almost a decade ago, there have been no increases towards the salaries of the members of the House of Assembly,” said Anya Williams, Head of the Public Service and Deputy Governor in a Monday December 4 press conference.
The DG sought permission from the Integrity Commission to include Parliamentarians in the review with that permission received, consultants investigated and found that the salaries for Members of the HOA were not competitive.
“In most instances, the salaries for CEOs of statutory bodies topped that of the Premier and members of the House of Assembly.”
In a Public Sector pay raise that now increases government spending on salaries by $18.2 million, the Deputy Governor explained elected officials are not left out.
“With the approval of the Integrity Commission, a new remuneration package has also been approved for Ministers and Members of the House of Assembly that with the exception of across-the-board increases, unlike the mainstream public service would not have benefited from previous increment or other increases in pay.
A total of $600,000 or 3% of the total pay and grading budget has been allocated to facilitate these adjustments.”
The review resulted in the presentation of a new remuneration package which the Integrity Commission has approved. Williams did not say how much of an increase they would each be receiving but under the new system, which adds an 11th band for Executive staff in the TCIG, increases would see base pay in ‘executive one’ at $117,000; in ‘executive two’ at $146,000 and in ‘executive three’, $178,000. .
Deputy Permanent Secretaries fall under the new Executive One band, Permanent Secretaries under Executive Two and the Attorney General and Deputy Governor under the Executive Three band.
Remarks Delivered by the Honourable Charles Washington Misick Premier On the Pay and Regrading Review 2023 4 December 2023
#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – Luke 12:48 KJV……. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Foremost in my government’s mind in commissioning the review of the pay and regrading of public service employees are the three principles of Justice: Equity, Equality and need as it relates to the changing economic fortunes of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Because change is constant, we must constantly strive to counter balance the impact of negative changes to our people. As our economy grows our people must participate in the economic dividends of growth.
Social changes and demographic shifts, require a rebalancing paradigm between equity, equality and need. The pay and regrading initiative by my administration is another step in a series of steps that my government has taken to reflect the critical pre conditions of economic justice.
Every time that I have served as a member of the executive arm of government, I have made changes to boost the pay and the working conditions of people in these Islands – both public and private sectors.
This time the recent pandemic, supply-chain shortages, wars and other exogenous factors have fueled inflation making it difficult for families to cover the cost of shelter and food.
Even as my government have provided social programs to make up for the gap between pay and inflation, inflation continues to outpace these assistance programs thereby eroding the quality of life my government promised our people.
But as we promised that no one would be left behind we continue to try to match benefits against costs.
Unless benefits are matched by an increase in productivity, we would merely be adding fuel to the fire of inflation. It is therefore critical for all to understand the Ying and Yang between productivity and pay.
It is also important to understand that equality is only fair when all starts at the same position while equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments for imbalances.
On the other hand, need speaks to necessity rather than desirability. Equality, equity and need is reflected in the end product of the consultant recommendations – leaving no one behind.
When in 2015 public servants received a pay increase, we promised that it would follow with further improvements to public service working conditions. We are now delivering on that promise.
In 2015 we increased the minimum wage and promised that we would make further increases on a needs basis and as dictated by the cost of living. We delivered on that earlier this year.
And now this comprehensive review of the public service pay has resulted in a reorganization of the structure scale to align with modern practice, competitiveness and when the new management system is added civil servants will be more accountable.
But it does not stop there. I have asked and cabinet has agreed to extend the consultancy to include a productivity audit of the public service. We simply cannot and should not reward poor performance or worse dishonesty in the delivery of service to the public who are paying for the service. The public deserve better and we promised them better.
The same admonition I issue to public servants I issue to ministers and parliamentary colleagues who have also after almost twelve years receive an uplift in pay for the first time.
Also, it is socially unjust, inequitable, and unconscionable to ignore the need of our pensioners and recognize their service and the hardship they face in trying to live off of a pension that have been eroded by inflation.
In that regard the consultants will now turn to reviewing the pension of former civil servants with a mandate to have this completed by the end of the financial year with the intention of awarding a retro-active increase in pension effective December 1, 2023 – the same as the new pay arrangements for currently serving public servants.
And finally, my government have commissioned an actuarial review of vulnerable Turks and Caicos Islanders age 70 and over with the aim of purchasing an annuity to provide a guaranteed cost of living assistance of $1,000 monthly. The government will pay the NIB to administer this program which will become effective on April 1st 2024.
The government must no longer be the last resort in choice of employment. We have injected equality, equity and need in our remuneration structure and hope that our private sector partners will do the same.
My government is committed to empathy and compassion and a genuine commitment to build a safety net around the vulnerable and we are doing that as well.
No government in the history have done more to cater to the vulnerable of our society.
GRETHEN BEEN appointed as Head of Secretariat
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – The Office of the Deputy Governor is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Grethen Been to the post of Head of Secretariat in the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.
Ms. Been is a proud native of the serene Salt Cay and brings with her a wealth of experience from a fruitful career at the National Insurance Board in Grand Turk.
Her educational foundation flourished in the Turks and Caicos Islands, earning her an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College in 2002. Advancing her studies, she attained an Advanced Level Certificate in Administrative Corporate Secretaryship, collaboratively certified by the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, through distance learning in 2002. Furthering her career, she completed an Executive Diploma in Management focused on Social Security from the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados in 2009. Her most recent academic achievement, a Master of Business Administration in Leadership and Sustainability from Robert Kennedy College – Cumbria University, was completed in 2023.
Ms. Been’s professional journey took root in September 1998 as a Clerical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Education, marking her dedication to public service. Transitioning to the Turks and Caicos National Insurance Board in March 2001 as a temporary Data Entry Clerk, she laid the groundwork for an illustrious career, spanning over twenty-two years, manifesting in various capacities. Her recent tenure as a Claims Adjudicator in the benefits department stands as a testament to her exceptional standards of performance, imbued with a profound sense of accountability and trust earned through her steadfast dedication.
Reflecting on her path, Ms. Been said:
“It was Mac Anderson who wrote, “your dreams are blueprints of your soul. They should take you by the hand and lead you to your life’s purpose and passion. They are one of, if not the greatest, source of self-motivation that you have. So, nurture them and feed them inspiration whenever you can”.
God is faithful, He did it. I acknowledge His handy work as I continue my quest to fulfilling what I deem as His plan and purpose for my life.
To Her Excellency Anya Williams and the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I am humbled and honoured to be afforded the opportunity to give of my talents and abilities in service for the greater good of the Turks and Caicos Islands Public Service. I am excited about the rewarding possibilities that will continue to manifest themselves on this leg of my professional journey and likewise look with great hope and optimism to traversing the rough terrains and challenges that may lie ahead. I have an assurance that, “the will of God will never take me, where the grace of God cannot sustain me” – Billy Graham. Also, “Being confident of this, that He that began a good work in me, will carry it through to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippian 1:6.
Of significant importance to my achievements are my late parents to whom I pay special homage; my father who was always enthused about our educational and professional advancement, being my constant push and encouragement, and my dear mother who taught me the importance of affectual fervent prayers and whose prayers are the bedrock of my survival and success. All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it to them.
Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, in extending congratulatory remarks to Ms. Been, stated:
“It gives me great pleasure to officially announce and to congratulate Ms. Grethen Been on her appointment as Head of Secretariat within the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and welcome her back to the core public service.
Heads of Secretariats are essential to ministry operations. They are responsible for the overall office administration, safety, and operations for key government services within their respective ministries and work closely with their Minister and Permanent Secretary to ensure the appropriate carriage of processes to achieve ministry objectives.
Having dedicated her life to public service, Ms. Been is no stranger to government operations and financial management.
We wish her well on her appointment and look forward to supporting her in her new role.
Congratulations Ms. Been!”
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