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TOLCO List does not include Premier, no names will be published says DP

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – Following the massive $10 million debt forgiveness of 176 loans given under a now dismantled TC Invest, some residents are demanding to know who exactly benefitted from the write-offs, but E Jay Sanders, Finance Minister says to do that would be ‘completely irresponsible.’

Residents reached out to Magnetic Media with reactions ranging from concern to outright suspicion at the write-off applied to mortgage debts, stemming from decades-old TCInvest loans.

Embroiled in controversy, the Government-funded investment company was closed in 2012 under the interim British Administration and a new collection agency was established to recoup the millions of dollars in outstanding funds from loans paid out through the company’s tenure.

The non-performing loans under TC Invest were sold to TOLCO for $0.00 under the then-PNP administration.  Over the years, TOLCO and then TCIG failed to recoup any significant percentage of the sums owed, despite numerous write-offs.  In the end, both decided to cancel the debt altogether.

The announcement about the debt cancellation was made in Parliament on September 14; and while there was praise for the move which was touted as a ‘blessing to TCI families’ there also rose suspicion and a call for transparency. 

Many took to social media, questioning who exactly will be feeling relief and want a list to be published by the Government, detailing the write-off.

Saunders said this was not possible for several reasons including the fact that it would mean publishing resident’s personal financial information.

“We cannot put people’s information out there who didn’t necessarily ask for a write-off.”

The decision was a gift due to the futile efforts to  collect on the aging debt.

The deputy premier, to Magnetic Media, stressed that there were checks and balances in place from the Integrity Commission to auditors to validate the process.

Additionally, the Finance Minister maintained that decisions made in Cabinet were policy-based, not discretionary, ensuring government officials could not pick and choose who benefited from a particular write-off or other policy, based on their own discretion. Once decided on, the policy should benefit all eligible individuals.

He did clear up one rumor from those he described as mischief makers, he said the Premier is not included in that list.

Now, residents are also querying whether other loan holders outside of the TC invest/TOLCO bracket will get similar relief.

Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader, and Alvin Garland, Opposition Appointed Member spoke on that in the House of Assembly.

“I am happy for these people but all my member is saying is let’s look at something for the other people. Other people in the Turks and Caicos are suffering too. Let’s look at some sort of economic relief– be creative,” said Astwood.

The bill passed with bipartisan support.

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InvestTCI facilitates the Development Agreement Between TCIG and Molo Hotel Group 

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 14th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Molo Hotel Group reached a pivotal juncture on Monday, May 13th, 2024, with the ceremonial signing of a development agreement at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales. The agreement, which received official Cabinet approval on March 13th, 2024, signifies a steadfast commitment to advancing the economic landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Molo Hotel Group is a family-owned business, renowned for its distinguished portfolio of high-quality hotels worldwide. The development initiative encompasses the construction of three distinct IHG branded hotels: InterContinental Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Turks and Caicos and Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos. Scheduled for completion by 2027, each resort boasts a distinctive design from luxury to laidback sophistication spanning across the shores of Grace Bay Beach.

Kimpton Turks and Caicos – an epitome of luxury lifestyle living, will feature 192 guest rooms including three outdoor pools, a luxury spa and a fitness center. Additionally, seven dining options ranging from a beachfront restaurant to a rooftop bar.

Adjacent to the Kimpton, InterContinental Turks and Caicos will offer 59 classic luxury suites with panoramic ocean views. Mirroring its counterpart, this resort will offer an array of dining options and upscale facilities.

Steps away from the Intercontinental and Kimpton resorts, Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos will embrace a sense of community and contemporary elegance, offering 56 bedrooms. The resort will feature an onsite restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor pool, and fitness room.

Beyond the realm of hospitality, this development agreement underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing employment opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Molo is partnering with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) to actively promote hospitality as a career choice and support in developing training programs, career fairs, seminars, workshops, and events to raise awareness about hospitality careers. Molo has committed to provide employment and apprentice opportunities to TCICC students and provide mentoring and practical on property training to students.

The signing event was graced by Hon. Charles Washington Missick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier, Hon. Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Łukasz and Marcin Slominski, Owners of Molo, Ross Morrow, Managing Director Molo, Arik Kono, Vice President Upscale Development for IHG, Dr. Candice Williams, President and CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Angela Musgrove, InvestTCI CEO, Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chairperson of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Dr. Delores Stapleton- Harris, Vice President of Academic, Vocational and Student Affairs for the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Mr. Kevin Baxter, Dean of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Sheryl McLaughlin, InvestTCI Investment Services Executive.

Commenting on the development agreement, Premier, Hon. Misick, stated “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing of IHG/Molo Hotels is a significant step towards a sustainable future for hospitality in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three hotels, Kimpton, Intercontinental, and Hotel Indigo, will be introduced, enhancing our tourism product and creating employment opportunities.”

He further added, “Partnerships with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission are underway, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to developing human capital and elevating tourism offerings. This project will bring economic growth, embrace local talent, and enrich our economy.”

Additionally, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, emphasized “This collaboration confirms our commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within our country. We have worked closely with Molo Hotel Group, and we are confident that this transformative project will further position the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier destination for travel and investment. Much to our delight, it will also provide opportunities for engagement with our Community College and small business community.”

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating through its primary Investment Promotion

Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, remains committed to attracting and facilitating Foreign Direct Investments to the country by providing a comprehensive suite of services. Through strategic initiatives and targeted promotion, the agency catalyzes sustainable development, driving innovation and small business opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

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Crime

Male Charged with Robbery

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#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man who allegedly stole a vehicle.

The accused, DANVANTE  BRISCO, 30,  of  Kew Town, Providenciales, was charged with:

  • One Count: Robbery
  • One Count: Taking Motor Vehicle Without Authority
  • One Count: Using Offensive Weapon to cause fear

Mr. BRISCO appeared in court today (May 13 ) and was granted bail of $7500.00 with one surety.

The matter was adjourned to July 05 for a Sufficiency Hearing.

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Crime

Dock Yard Male Charged  

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#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – A 20-year-old Dock Yard male appeared in court today (May 13th) charged with a series of firearm-related offences.

The accused, JAMES SIMON, was denied bail and remanded into custody pending a Sufficiency Hearing scheduled for July 05th, 2024.

Mr. SIMON faces the following charges: 

  • One Count: Robbery;
  • One Count: Gang Membership
  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm for the Benefit of a Gang
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition for the Benefit of a Gang.

The charges against Mr. Simon followed investigations by officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force into a robbery at the parking lot of a Casino where three males robbed a victim.

Additionally, Mr. Simon is charged with the following offences, having been arrested on May 02nd, 2024, along South Dock Road.

  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition
  • One Count: Unlawful Entry

Officers also charged a teenage minor who was in the company of  Mr. Simon on May 02nd with One Count of UNLAWFUL ENTRY. 

The accused, seventeen and from Kew Town, Providenciales, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on May 20th.

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