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Reactions varied to $18 Million Pay and Grading increase 

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Deandrea Hamilton and Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – On Monday December 4, the TCIG announced public sector pay raises ranging from 10 to 57 percent which impact just under 2000 civil servants and based on reactions to the $18.2 million salaries boost, the increase is either still not enough, or, it’s right on time.

As many celebrate the long-awaited pay increase, varied perspectives are pouring in, including concern in the private sector.

Some residents, in speaking to our news team, have listed all the bills they would be paying which includes an increased NIB contribution and pension deductions plus inflationary factors which affect grocery and electricity prices.  These individuals say the rising cost of living will eat into their new cash. But one could always ask, imagine what would be left in a salary that did not have the raise to offset these economic shocks.

Still, the premier, when he spoke to the nation on Monday, was resolute about the precedent setting benefits to the 2,000 employees who work for the government.

“The government must no longer be the last resort in the 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 history has done more to cater to the vulnerable of our society,”  said Washington Misick, TCI Premier.

It is true that come April 2024, National Insurance Board contributions for private sector employees will increase to 5.5 percent, while public employees 5.075 percent and Self-employed persons will pay 10 percent more than they are currently putting into the worker insurance plan.  Fees for the National Health Insurance Plan have not increased and last fiscal year, the government provided a 10 percent increase for public sector workers of which six percent already covers pension costs.

Others, public sector workers or not, were expressively jubilant at the news of the increases which go up to 57.1 percent, officials namely: Anya Wiliams, Deputy Governor; Washington Misick, Premier and E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier announced. Positive comments on the Facebook live broadcast numbered in the hundreds.

However, directly to our newsroom, we have fielded other private sector worries including how they’re faced with possibly having to raise school fees.  Without any government subsidy for the private school sector, this owner said it was the only way to offer comparable salaries to keep their teachers from flocking to the public sector due to the new, more lucrative offers.

TCIG announced that teachers’ pay would improve significantly.

The Deputy Governor, in her speech during the press conference said:  “374 staff in the teaching sector will receive the following pay increases effective December 1, 2023. Trained Teachers 12.8%; Graduate Teachers 25%; Heads of Department 29.9%; Vice Principals 42% and Principals 57.1%.

The basic salary for a Graduate Teacher has been increased to $48,320.00; The basic salary for a Head of Department has been increased to $56,037; The basic salary for Vice Principals has been increased to $66,610; The basic salary for Principals has been increased to $79,178.

All Teachers will continue to receive a Materials Allowance of $100 per month or $1,200 per annum in addition to their basic pay.

The compensation package for our 286 Graduate Teachers will be increased to $60,320 per annum, which places us at the upper point of the teaching scales in the region.”

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“Mad Max” Convicted of Murder

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MEDIA RELEASE

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 23, 2024 – Blue Hills resident KENDALL RONDRE DEAN has been convicted of murdering JOSHUA SWANN.

Mr. Dean, also called “Maddie”, “Mad Max”, and “Dre”, was found guilty by a nine-member jury yesterday (April 22nd) in the Grand Turk Supreme Court.

Following the verdict, Mr. Dean was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison, pending sentencing on 10th June 2024.

Based on the evidence presented, Mr. SWANN of Five Cays was shot multiple times about the body on Sunday, August 8th, 2021, while at North West Point, Providenciales.

Mr. Swann was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Detectives of the Serious Crimes Unit received a report, and following intensive investigations and interviews, Mr. Dean was arrested and subsequently charged.

Shortly after the verdict, Deputy Commissioner of Police Rodney Adams said, “This conviction demonstrates the RTCIPF’s commitment to bringing to justice those who cause the most harm throughout our communities using illegal firearms.

“This is an example of the effective coordination of the various units across the Force in supporting the lead detective in bringing about this conviction. The RTCIPF is grateful for the information provided by witnesses who came forward.

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Airports Authority aims for 24-hour airport and announces Scholarship programme

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 19, 2024 – In an attempt to move to 24-hour-a-day operations Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is steadily recruiting Air Traffic Controllers to work at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International Airport, according to Godfrey Smith, TCIAA CEO, reporting to the Appropriations Committee.

Speaking on April 8th Smith said a cabinet paper would be sent soon requesting six more Air Traffic Controllers to make round the clock operation at the Provo International possible and to open the airport in Grand Turk till 12 a.m.

Currently, 17 posts are filled and seven are vacant.

Smith was candid with his responses to recent industrial action from ATCs which led to resignations and firings.

“What we have to do is find systems to mitigate such actions and that has to start with filling these jobs, putting people in that want to work and doing right by people – and we always try to do right by our staff. Persons may not think that we are but we always do – we ain’t pick no fight,” he said in the meetings held at the NJS Francis building ahead of the National Budget Communication.

Smith indicated that recruitment was an issue across the board, ‘we need to find ways to recruit a little bit better’ he told the committee. Also in need of a push was capital spending or projects according to the CEO, who said the agency had ‘not been very good’ at meeting that mark but insisted they had recognized the issue and could do better.

A very important key performance indicator drawn up by the TCIAA is increasing passenger satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. For the TCIAA part of this means a 30 percent increase in seating by Q2 of this year.

When queried on if they could even handle this increase the CEO said,

“The fact of the matter is we already have the capacity there. What we need is to make the service a bit better.”

Staff shortages have become such a frustrating issue that the TCIAA is instituting a scholarship program created by Authority Chairman, Selvyn Hawkins

“What the board wants to do is basically allocate $25,000 annually for a scholarship and they’ve approved it already.”

This process would cover tuition and all other costs for one student.

The student would return as a summer intern and other breaks to work at the TCIAA and upon graduation, assume a role at the company.

“We identify a particular skill we need, we go after it and we build capacity that is in a nutshell the nexus of the program,” Smith said.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is allocated $49 million this financial year; over $20 million goes to salaries.

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Flow TCI offers Gigabyte Speeds to Customers

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Company delivers fastest speeds nationwide and boosts service reliability

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, APRIL 19th, 2024 – More connections, faster speeds and greater support for customers. This is the promise from communications and entertainment provider, Flow TCI, as it embarks on an initiative to provide households with enhanced connections, greater overall reliability and now, for the first time, speeds up to one gigabit person second.

FLOW TCI Country Manager, Joanne Missick shared: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We listen to our customers and want to exceed their demands, so we are focused on delivering unmatched value with customer centric products and services that are future proof. Flow subscribers on our Fibre Extreme package can now access up to one gigabyte speeds and subscribers on our Fibre Plus and Fibre Max package, as of April 1st, are also now benefitting from up to 5x more speeds.”

This is third speed boost for Flow customers in the last two years. This comes under the umbrella of the the Company’s recently launched “Working for You” campaign, where technicians are going into the neighborhoods across the island to conduct repairs, decommission copper cables, and increase the brand’s visibility in local communities.

“To date several neighborhoods have been served by technicians and the company will continue to go across the islands to ensure each neighborhood receives personal attention. We recognize that over the past few months some customers have experienced issues with the quality and delivery of our services. This is not what we stand for. Flow remains committed to providing technology and innovation that enables growth and positively impacts lives”, says, newly appointed Head of Technical Operations, Simeon Thomas.

Thomas adds, “We have been closely monitoring and reviewing every aspect of our network and there is room for improvement across each of the islands. Where we find shortcomings, we are taking concrete actions and assigning our technicians to rapidly make all necessary adjustments and improvements for our customers”.

Flow has made significant investments in expanding and modernizing its infrastructure and delivering a more robust and reliable network paving the way for the country’s digital transformation.

For more information on speed increases visit https://www2.discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/price-adjustment-speed-increase on our website.

Thank you for your usual assistance in sharing our stories.

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