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DP gets the nod on $1.5M WRITE-OFF for Local Airlines

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ two domestic airlines will benefit from a 50 percent government write-off of fees charged by the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, amounting to over $1.5 million and dating back seven years.

In exchange, a clean slate on that debt for a lump-sum payment by both interCaribbean Airways and Caicos Express Airways.

“In return, both airlines have committed to significant lump-sum payments and have agreed to adhere to stringent terms for future transactions.  Such a proposal not only acknowledges the past oversights, but also establishes a clear path forward, building trust and fostering collaboration” said the Minister in presenting the motion.

The Government Motion authorizing the write-off was passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, August 16th, 2023; tabled by E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister.

Those charges include a monthly two percent late fee instituted by the TCIAA on accounts in arrears.  It was found the TCIAA did not have the authority to apply those late fees so they will be rolled back.  The MPs agreed that the levy had not been imposed with malice, but to act as a deterrent to the late payment of fees. Still, facing the possibility that airlines could go to court and the TCIAA could possibly lose the case, the write-off was decided.

“Mr. Speaker, the current debt situation involving interCaribbean Airways, the TCIAA and the TCIG dates back to 2016, with unresolved legal actions and long standing receivables.  Mr. Speaker, what our government is seeking to achieve, after thorough deliberation and consultation, is to reach a compromise outside the court system,” Saunders explained.

When Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader, questioned why the Government did not write off the entire amount, considering that the two percent fees were unauthorized, Saunders maintained that the write-off was not just for those fees but encapsulated them, as well as other arrears.

The motion was met with support from both sides of the House.

Still, several members of parliament indicated that they wanted to see changes made to benefit the people of the Turks and Caicos in tandem with the debt forgiveness.

Matthew Stubbs, Member of Parliament for the Bight, spoke directly to interCaribbean Airways, encouraging them to improve their caliber of service.

“…Lord knows we need better service from interCaribbean.” he said.

Astwood queried how the residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands would benefit from the deal.

“There should be some talks between the Government and the airlines.  We give you all this money, what are you going to do for the people of the Turks and Caicos islands? How is your service going to look different in the upcoming months?”

Akierra Missick, Member of Parliament for Leeward and Long Bay, said she was hopeful that at least some of the savings would be passed on to the residents of the TCI.

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Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk

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#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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LAST AMERICAN TOURIST SENTENCED TO A FINE OF $1500.00 OR SIX MONTHS IMPRISONMENT IN DEFAULT, SHE’S ALSO SENTENCED TO 23 WEEKS IMPRISONMENT SUSPENDED FOR ONE YEAR

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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