By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, July 31, 2023 – An explosive back-and-forth in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, July 19th, has exposed a clear line of separation regarding the potential Public-Private Partnership to redevelop the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International Airport.
Several senators on both sides of the House expressed concern over the Motion, while others defended it wholeheartedly.
Members of Parliament, including Akierra Missick, Member of Parliament for Leeward and Long Bay, Matthew Stubbs, Member of Parliament for The Bight, and Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader, expressed serious concerns about the clarity of the motion and surrounding communication from the government.
“Our people have been burned too many times by these big contracts,” he said.
The Leeward and Long Bay MP emphasised the confusion stemming from how the $400 million project was being presented to the people, expressing that the government was allowing it to fester because of their approach to communication about the massive deal.
“The issue is we did not communicate effectively, where we were seeking to get to today. A press release here and there, an argument with Magnetic Media, a print release, [that] isn’t sufficient. We allowed this mischief to fester on the streets, and then we [the members of the House] are just obligated to agree on what is being put in front of us when no one said, ‘Let’s have a meeting.’ We meet on smaller bills all the time, so I was shocked that for something this detailed, members of the House, didn’t really get a chance to vent, articulate, or ruminate on where we need to go.”
Missick, taking offence to the insinuation that some members of the House did not truly understand the processes necessary in the procurement, revealed that not only had it not been discussed in a meeting with PNP backbenchers, but said she was confused and she knew others were as well because the documents seemed to suggest a PPP was the only way to go.
Akierra Misick during her statement said, “It says Section 26 of the PPO has decided to utilise a public-private partnership procurement method. Utilisation seems to be the result of a decision, not a consultation or a request for a genuine clear approach to support an option. I don’t believe that there had been any malice, but I would like to, when I say yay or nay at the end of this debate, make sure that I have made the best decision possible with the information that has been given to me.”
She questioned why an international airport operator was potentially being hired when the local companies had proved competent, maintaining that she was struggling to see the benefit to the islanders.
“[People] don’t want jobs working for international operators, so let’s stop throwing this idea of employment around without understanding what that actually means [my people] ain’t sweeping no bathrooms– my people shall own and operate their own businesses from this airport, and they should be able to do so without worrying about being priced out.”
Citing the massive surplus enjoyed by the TCI Government each year, she rejected the reason for entering into the PPP to avoid debt.
Following her contributions, the MP to the Bight also stood up.
“I would like to get a little bit more time— to get a better explanation on how Turks and Caicos Islanders will be benefitting from the redevelopment of the airport.’ Stubbs said and then queried what programs would be implemented to train islanders to take up positions in the airport.
“I need more clarification– this feels like an exploration— I am a PNP member, this is my government, but I have people to represent– to represent my people, I need more details,” he maintained.
The supporters of the bill, including Washington Misick, TCI Premier, Jamell Robinson, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development and Arlington Musgrove Minister of Immigration and Border Services, held fast to several points, including that residents would be able to invest and it was faster and more economical to do the PPP.
“The greater the amount of risk transferred from the government to a private investor, the greater the value for money for the project,” Musgrove said. “If the project is not executed through a PPP and executed through traditional contracting, the project would be the lead for an additional two or more years.”
The minister explained that public financing would be less straightforward and would likely lead to taking on more debt. He also said that public operators were less efficient than private operators, often only getting to 95% of what private operators achieved.
“Over the years, TCIG and the TCIAA simply have not maximized the income potential of the Providenciales International Airport,” he said.
Both Misick and Musgrove also seemed keen on emphasising that there was no sale of the airport, lashing out at social media chatter that they said was baseless.
Robinson, for his part, announced that residents would soon be able to buy shares in the airport, which was welcomed by both sides of the House. He explained how the potential investment could work.
“If each Turks and Caicos Islander finds $1,000 to invest in this project, we could easily find $15 million and [say] this government finds $15 million to match that— and what if the NIB, through their Domestic Investment Fund, that’s the people’s money- invests 20 million dollars—right away were looking at 10 percent of whatever investment tied up in the duration of the contract– right then we would have some real ownership stake in our airport, ” he explained.
The contributions from Akierra Missick prompted a tirade from the Premier who lashed out at the MP for what he described as an ‘astonishing speech.’ He seemed to have taken issue with her comment that other Members of the House were ‘throwing shade.’
“I am not at all surprised about some of what has been said here today. This doesn’t apply to everybody, but clearly, on behalf of one person, the argument became too personal.”
He went on to slam the motives he perceived from the speeches, appearing to single out the representative of Leeward and Long Bay in particular.
“It was an astonishing speech from one particular person so far, I interpret that as a mixture of cherry-picking facts without any figures that I find to be self-serving and selective, and to be honest with you, distortion, misrepresentation, and misquotations that’s what I saw. This particular piece of infrastructure is just too important for us to allow ourselves to be distracted by people who are smarting over sour grapes, and that’s all. It is an intent to create confusion to the public.” He said of Missick, who until January of this year, had been a member of his Cabinet and was dismissed without explanation.
The Premier still did not address the concerns regarding how the motion was communicated to the public or other legitimate concerns raised by both the MPs who spoke.
Amid the verbal melee, the bill was pushed through and has since passed. But it passed without the input of the Opposition and several members who had to leave because of time constraints, including Akierra Missick.
New Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force Commissioner announced by Governor
Her Excellency The Governor has today announced Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF). The appointment follows a rigorous open recruitment campaign that included a stakeholder the panel, a separate community panel, and consultation with the Hon. Premier Charles Washington Misick.
Commenting on the appointment, the Governor said: “Following a competitive recruitment process, I have appointed Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force. Mr. Martin brings a strong set of leadership skills and regional operational experience, having led the Royal Grenada Police Force. With a distinguished career and commitment to public safety, I am confident that Mr. Martin will lead our force with integrity, innovation, and a firm focus on building trust with communities across our islands. I would like to thank Commissioner Trevor Botting for his dedicated service to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands over the last six years.”
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Martin said: “It is with excitement, I accept this prestigious position to lead the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) as its Commissioner of Police. I look forward with optimism to leading the men and women of the RTCIPF in confronting the law enforcement challenges and applying practical, proactive strategies to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and visitors to the shores of Turks and Caicos Islands. I am honoured to take forward this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of this beautiful nation by leading the police force into an era of modern policing. I am fully aware of the dynamic, complex, diverse, and multi-dimensional nature of the local and global criminogenic environment. This era demands a police force that must ensure safety and security by working collaboratively with colleague officers, and stakeholders to ensure that communities are free of the fear of crime. Be assured, I am committed to
delivering on this intention.”
Mr. Martin was, until June 2023, the Chief of Police of the Royal Grenada Police Force. He served in that role for five years and in the police force for 37 years. He is currently serving as the lead of the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit as part of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security. He is a former President of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police and obtained an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Durham University in 2016, where he studied under the UK Chevening Scholarship program.
Mr. Martin will take up his post at the beginning of February 2024.
Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit Partners with RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean to host Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, December 5th, 2023 – Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit, in conjunction with partners RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean, successfully conducted a comprehensive Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training at the Blue Haven Resort on November 28th, 2023. This initiative aimed to empower business owners with essential insights into financial statements, the significance of meticulous recordkeeping, and the specific requirements outlined by leading banks for prospective commercial clients. Attended by fifteen participants comprising both established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, the session proved to be a pivotal learning experience.
Ms. Shanice Williams, the proprietor of LLS Consulting, expressed her appreciation, stating, “I extend my gratitude for putting together an exceptional training session. The presenters delivered a wealth of well-digested information that has proven highly valuable for me and my recently established business. I’m delighted to have been part of this and eagerly anticipate future sessions.”
Mrs. Nancy Missick-Rolle, CEO of Executive Tours, shared her positive experience, “I found the training very beneficial for improving my financial literacy. The presenters were well-versed and articulate in their delivery, making the material relatable and extremely practical. The BSU did an excellent job managing the event and advising the group of the programs and services available for assistance.”
Ms. Shanice Swann, Interim Branch, and Country Manager at RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. expressed her pleasure in facilitating the training seminar. She stated, “It was a pleasure to facilitate a training seminar on the topic of financial statements in conjunction with the Business Support Unit at Invest TCI. This session was an enriching experience that entailed engaging with vibrant small and medium-sized businesses within the islands and cherishing their invaluable feedback on the topic. A popular quote that sticks with me is, ‘Success is not always about greatness, but it is contingent on consistency.’ The participation of business owners in seminars like these solidifies their unwavering dedication to sculpting a consistent path toward success.”
Curley Been, Manager, Business Banking, CIBC FirstCaribbean, stated, “Participating in the Financial Literacy for MSMEs on November 28th, 2023, was truly enjoyable. In our dynamic economy, there are more opportunities than ever for individuals to become business owners and contribute to TCI’s growth. Understanding how to navigate this entrepreneurial journey, secure financing, and achieve growth is crucial for business success. As a representative of CIBC FirstCaribbean, I felt honored to present on the topic of ‘Making Your Business Bankable’ for both existing self-employed individuals and upcoming new business owners. We trust that the insights shared were beneficial to all attendees and eagerly anticipate future collaborations with InvestTCI on upcoming events.”
Mrs. Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, underscored the significance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs. She stated, “The importance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs cannot be underestimated. We are delighted to have partnered with RBC and CIBC FirstCaribbean to provide our MSMEs with this informative, interactive, and impactful training that will benefit their businesses and help them make more informed business decisions. MSMEs must prioritize financial education to allow them to reap the maximum benefits for both their businesses and the wider economy. MSMEs are the lifeline of our economy, and ensuring that they are resilient and sustainable is our core objective.”
The BSU invites business owners to take advantage of its face-to-face and e-learning training programs. The training is offered free of charge, and the information provided is vital to ensuring the success of their businesses. For further details, please contact the BSU at (649) 338-4787 or via email@example.com.
Combined Team of Ministry of Health and TCI Hospital personnel attend United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Workshop in Anguilla.
#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – A combined team of Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS) and TCI Hospital personnel recently represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at a three-day UKHSA AMS Workshop, which was held in Anguilla between November 29th and December 1st, 2023. The team included Mrs. Winsome Hayles-Parker – Lead Medical Technologist in Microbiology, TCI Hospital, Mr. Andre Morgan – National Pharmacist, MoHHS and Ms. Arlene Siebs – Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, MoHHS. The workshop was well attended by physicians, pharmacists and laboratory personnel who hailed from the United Kingdom, St. Helena, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman and Montserrat.
The workshop involved both laboratory and non-laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions were practical sessions that were geared toward the diagnostic technologies used by the various UKOTs in the detection of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens and the use of BioFire in diagnostics. Most territories are now equipped with the BioFire Assay Technology, which forms part of the laboratory setup for molecular resistance markers.
The non-laboratory sessions included parallel professional development sessions on topics including AMS, the use of the MicroGuide antibiotic prescribing App, antibiotic surveillance, situational analysis of AMS in the UKOTs and AMS accreditation. Importantly, the attendees were able to discuss case presentations on clinical management and infection prevention and control.
In providing comments, Ms. Siebs stated, “Medical Laboratory Scientists must continue to improve their skills and competency as we work together in combatting AMR through laboratory services. I was thrilled at having the opportunity to compare disc susceptibility testing with automated analysers for the detection of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms.”
Mrs. Hayles-Parker believes that “the information gathered will be of value in helping us in the TCI to uphold the standards on AMS and in the long term with the fight against AMR. As we move forward as change agents, we are better able to assist with safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of the TCI.”
Mr. Morgan concluded that “the three-day workshop was a major success and I am excited to utilise the information acquired in strengthening the TCI’s National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance, which will, in turn, develop and strengthen antimicrobial stewardship in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I hope that these advances will continue to safeguard against this emerging AMR global threat by implementing strategies that will ensure sustainable pharmaceutical care for the present and future.”
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