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Finance Minister Saunders says Housing Investments are Paramount for TCI



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, December 21, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos is prioritizing housing investment, says E Jay Saunders, Finance Minister, speaking at the launch of the New Investment Policy which was rolled out at the Wymara resort on December 8, 2023.

He expressed that the government would be more than willing to accommodate an investor with an affordable housing project.

“Affordable housing is very important to us. More than anything else, and I tell developers this all the time; if you came to us with an affordable housing project, we’d roll the red carpet out for you,” he maintained.

He added that this is more important to the Turks and Caicos than the hundreds of millions of dollars of development on Grace Bay.

“We’ve got to get affordable housing fixed,” he continued.

Addressing the Policy’s launch, Saunders said the Government’s vision is to drive the transformation of the Turks and Caicos Islands and promote sustainable development that benefits the people.

The aim of the policy, he says, revolves around attracting foreign direct investments and foreign domestic investments, “to key sectors and locations that will benefit the growth and developments of the TCI and our people.”

The key areas of investments he mentions are tourism, renewable energy, manufacturing, fishing, agriculture, infrastructure development and the most important, housing developments.

In continuation, the minister points out that the government is committed to economic, social and environmental sustainability, making sure that  the TCI’s economic growth strategies meet the needs of the people today, without compromising those of the future.

Additionally, the government is also committed to ensuring a seamless investment experience, improving business conditions across the islands and providing incentives to up the [number in value] number of domestic enterprises.

The government, through the newly launched document, he says, is offering various incentives and support to investors, by incorporating Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) into the system.

Regarding investment projects, Saunders underscored that the Government has streamlined the approval process which involves initial due diligence, review by ministers and the submissions of a standard development agreement.

In a previous news conference, Deputy Premier Saunders described the policy as a big win for the TCI.

“It’s a win-win win; a win for the economy, a win for investors and a win for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” he maintained.

The policy, as highlighted at the launch, was created with a vision of becoming a catalyst to the islanding achieving the vision 2040s goals and aspirations, and ultimately becoming a global leader in levels of prosperity and human development.

Caribbean News

RBC appoints new Head of Caribbean Banking



NASSAU, April 21, 2024 – RBC Financial (Caribbean) Limited, (“RBC”) has appointed Chris Duggan, a  native of the Cayman Islands, as Senior Vice President and Head of RBC Caribbean Banking, effective  April 1, 2024. He succeeds Chris Ronald, who has been leading the bank’s operations in the Caribbean  for the last 2.5 years and has recently returned to Canada as Regional President, Atlantic Provinces at  RBC.  

Duggan, who is based in Nassau, The Bahamas, is taking on responsibilities as Head of RBC Caribbean  Banking to carry out the bank’s strategic direction and manage the overall business strategy and vision across the Caribbean region. He has a career spanning more than two decades in the financial industry  across both the United States and the Caribbean. 

Most recently, he was the Cayman Islands Government Representative to North America, in Washington  DC, primarily focussed on financial services. Prior to his tenure for the Cayman Islands Government, he  served as a senior executive at DART Family Office and Butterfield Bank. 

RBC’s Executive Vice President, Personal Financing Products, Erica Nielsen said “We’re delighted to  welcome Chris to RBC. Born and raised in the Caribbean, Chris has a deep understanding of the  regional financial landscape and a passion for representing the culture. He is highly driven, outcome focused, and passionate about building trusted relationships with clients, communities, and employees.  His appointment demonstrates our continued commitment to the region. I am confident that under Chris’  leadership, Caribbean Banking will continue to grow and serve our clients and communities.” 

As an active member of the communities where he lives and works, he has held leadership roles on the  boards of numerous charitable organizations over the years. Duggan was awarded the Queen’s  Certificate and Badge of Honour in recognition of his outstanding service to the Cayman Islands  community during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Largest ever Nat’l Budget to end on $436 million



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

After two increases the Turks and Caicos budget is expected to end the financial year with expenditure below $440 million according to Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Finance Minister. 

Misick tabled the fourth and final Supplementary Appropriations Bill in the House of Assembly on March 21 and the debate began on March 24. With that Bill the premier sought to reduce the budget from $442 million to $436.29 million. 

The budget had increased rapidly in the earlier quarters of the fiscal period, then it sunk. 

The initial budget earmarked $424.3 million for the year with the expectation that the year would end in a deficit. But during the first supplementary appropriations bill in September 2023 that was raised by $13.4 million bringing it to a grand total of $437.6 million.

That extra money was to be used for the following:

  • $4.2 million for community development, including road improvement and more.  
  • $1.4 million for a Community Centre in Bottle Creek 
  • $450,000 on the long-awaited refurbishment of the sports field in South Caicos. 
  • $1.4million for  consultancies  
  • $1 million on repatriation 
  • $1 million to Social Programs  
  • $1.8 million to InterHealth Canada 
  • A $500,000 injection to the country’s Climate Resilience Coastal Protection Study
  • $851,000 for software and consultancy to get the Turks and Caicos off the EU blacklist 
  • $2 million for the cleaning of government agencies  

Then during the second appropriations bill  total expenditure was pushed further to $443.4 million  increasing the planned deficit to $25.6 million, which would have been funded from cash reserves. That money was to be used for:

  • An $800,000 investment in a reverse osmosis plant in Grand Turk;
  • An $800,000 allocation for the renovation of the Bambarra Beach Vendors Market;
  • A $600,000 check for the Boundary Commission and claims against the government; 
  • An allocation of $800,000 for community enhancement and environmental sustainability;
  • $410,000 for Educational investment (furniture and equipment for schools);
  • $276,000 for Law enforcement resources (additional police vehicles);
  • $250,000 for National Security improvements (the hiring of a strategic lead) and;
  • $180,000 for Maritime security enhancement (the purchase of a 3rd sea patrol vessel

By the third supplementary in February, $1.07 million was shaved off the budget and money reallocated from some projects to fund others. Here’s what those reallocations should have looked like:

  • $9.5 million to acquire land and settle an ongoing claim against the government.
  •  $7 million as seed funding for a Mortgage Corporation.
  • $300,000 to rollout e-Government projects for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • $800,000 for Miscellaneous adjustments for other Supplies, Materials and Equipment – Governor’s Office, Civil Servant Week and allocation to support the ongoing pay and regrading exercise and productivity audit. 

That brought the country to its final and most recent (4th) supplementary tabled by Misick on the 21st of March. Despite an expected deficit of about $18.4 million from projected income of $417.8 million, the country could end the year in a surplus as the economy has outperformed income estimates and the government continues to underspend. 

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Avoid Credit Card Fraud, CIBC makes security changes



Rashsed Esson

Staff Writer 

To foster greater security, CIBC First Caribbean is making changes to credit and debit card Point of Sale terminal transactions to reduce the risk of fraud associated with “key-entered” transactions.

In a statement issued on March 19, the organization informs that after April 30th, 2024, vendors will no longer be able accept payments by manually entering card numbers. If they attempt to do so the transaction will be declined. 

After March 30th, only Chip and Pin or contactless are approved. 

The bank expressed that this is being done as it is their priority given the ongoing issue of fraud.

The BAI Mission, a financial services entity, reports that in 2023, fraud trends increase compared to previous years, as technologies evolve, as pointed out by a financial services leader.

It reports that according to recent NICE Actimize Fraud Insights, the first half of 2023 saw a 22 percent increase in fraud globally, as the move to cashless payments increase. 

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