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With $343 Million in the Bank, TCI could run 303 Days on Cash Reserves



Deandrea Hamilton



#TurksandCaicos, December 21, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos Islands has so much money in the bank that it could run for ten months without any new income.  It is an enviable position and a curious analogy conjured up by E. Jay Saunders, the Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade.

Saunders is quick to explain, it is the very healthy financial state of the TCI which has bolstered his confidence to support a cumulative tens of millions of dollars in business write-offs, social help, offsets to inflation, duty exemptions, housing incentives, stimulus payouts, investment inducements and salary and pension increases among other efforts.

In another colossal announcement, the Minister during his second Budget Supplementary for the 2023-2024 fiscal period, last week Wednesday, announced the country has hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank.

“And Mr. Speaker, as of 31st of October 2023, I am happy to say that our cash reserves stood at a robust $343.0 million,” said Saunders in laying the Supplementary Appropriations Bill on December 13.

That figure is over $100 million more than what the minister uncorked in October 2022, when cash reserves stood at $240 million.  At the time, the Finance Minister offered that the Turks and Caicos had sufficient funds to more than meet the UK-set benchmark of having 90 days of operational funds in reserves.

On October 6, 2022 during a House of Assembly session to increase budget spending then, the Deputy Premier had said: “That means that if the TCI economy shuts down today, and our government was unable to generate not even $1 or revenue, we could pay all our bills for up to 212 days.

For reference Mr. Speaker, the UK government requires us to keep a minimum of 90 days’ worth of cash reserves, we’re at 212 days! And Mr. Speaker, my long-term goal is to increase this to 365 days. God forbid, if we ever go into another prolonged lockdown again, one thing is for certain, the TCI will not have to, as the saying goes, “beg, borrow, or steal” to pay its bills.”

Now, $103 million richer in its various savings funds and with at least two quarters of “planned deficits” the Turks and Caicos Islands Government has rolled out a slew of big ticket items including an $18.2 million salary increase for the Public Service including executive government officers like the Attorney General, Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Governor, which is a recurrent expense; a roughly $600,000 salary increase for 20 House of Assembly members, also a recurrent expense and now an additional $10.5 million for a variety of projects.

“I rise to Table the same. And I am doing so under the theme: “Delivering on the Citizen’s Contract: Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Progress for All.” Mr. Speaker, specifically, we are seeking an additional issuance of funds from the Consolidated Fund, amounting to $5,788,222.23, and from the Development Fund, an amount of $4,765,850. This revision will elevate our total expenditure to $443.4 million thereby increasing our planned deficit to $25.6 million, which will be funded from our cash reserves,” said Deputy Premier, Saunders.

Also fueling Saunders’ confidence is the earnings performance of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and seriousness said the deputy premier to fulfilling Progressive National Party campaign promises.

“Mr. Speaker, at the heart of this Bill lies our government’s commitment to the sustainable development and prosperity of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is structured to address areas across our government and our islands that require immediate attention and investment, and it reflects our Government’s foresight and responsiveness to the needs of our people and the demands of our growing economy.”

Saunders, later in his presentation explained, “Mr. Speaker, The utilization of our cash reserves for this deficit is a calculated and responsible decision, considering our reserves stand at a healthy level. As I like to say, this is not by luck, but by design. Mr. Speaker, Our year-to-date aggregate revenue stands at $249.6 million, exceeding our estimates. This performance is mainly attributed to the robust collection of: • import duties, • customs processing fees, and • work permit fees. This is a clear indicator of the robustness of our economy and the effectiveness of our revenue collection mechanisms.”

And yet, the country is still underspending in some critical areas.

“Mr. Speaker, On the expenditure front, we have been prudent and efficient. Our total recurrent expenditures totaled $182.6 million, significantly below our estimates. This underspending is primarily due to vacancies within the Civil Service and lower-than-expected spending on professional and consultancy services.”

That however may change given the raised wages in the public sector, following a Pay and Grading review which has boosted by impressive margins salaries for teachers, health care workers and domestic security personnel.


“Mad Max” Convicted of Murder





#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



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



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 on our website.

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