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TCI Budget spending down, increased profits



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 14, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos third Supplementary Appropriations Bill will reduce spending for the country by $1.07 million according to E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister and included in the supplementary are provisions for land purchases and money for a mortgage cooperation. 

It comes as the Turks and Caicos records $350 million in profit for the first three quarters of the year. That information came along with the Supplementary, as Saunders tabled the third quarter results allowing residents to see the financial performance of the year so far. 

Both were tabled on Tuesday, February 6th during a sitting of the House of Assembly. Despite a deficit recorded in the Q4 of the 2022/23 financial year the economy was back in form by Q3 of the 2023/24 year with $94 million in revenue recorded, a six percent increase over estimates. 

“This performance is attributed to higher than expected: Import Duties, Customs Processing Fees, Stamp Duty on Land Transactions, and Hotel and Restaurant Taxes,” the Finance Minister revealed. 

Saunders was quick to assure that the historic budget, which was increased twice in previous Supplementary bills to a total of $443 million, would not pass the set targets and there was no increase in spending for this quarter. 

“There is no impact on the existing budget envelope through this supplementary budget. There will be no breach of the debt sustainability targets agreed upon by the Governments of the UK and the TCI,” he assured. 

Even though no money will be added there will be shuffling for new expenses. Saunders provided a short list of the changes. 

  • $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. 

As for what was spent, it cost $82.2 million to run the country in the third quarter, $5 million less than expected. 

The Government under spent once more with an operating surplus of $12 million. 

In terms of tangible benefits for residents 19.6 million was spent on capital projects including the South Dock redevelopment and two 1 million gallon reverse osmosis tanks. 

Unfortunately the supplementary also saw cuts to the Capital Works portfolio by $7.7 million. 

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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