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Draft Utility Policy Explained, Consultancy continues until May 24 

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Dana Malcolm 
Staff Writer 

The Multi-sector Utility Regulator Policy developed by the government is going to make utilities affordable and reliable for residents in the Turks and Caicos, at least that’s what the TCIG hopes.

Currently, in the consultation phase, when this policy is signed into law it will allow for the creation of a unified Regulatory Commission that oversees water and sewage, telecommunications, fuel, and electricity and makes sure that the monopolies or semi-monopolies that provide these services are doing so in the best interest of the residents who pay for their services.

The draft copy of the Policy lays out the specific objectives which are listed as:

  • Affordability which is measured by processes and outcomes during rate hearings.
  • Reliability which is measured by regulatory decisions enabling minimal service interruptions and timely service deliveries such as interconnections.
  • Economic Competitiveness which is measured by decisions on rates and service delivery compared to relevant jurisdictions.
  • Innovation which is measured by regulatory decisions enabling access to new technologies and business models, and finally
  •  Environmental Sustainability which is measured by regulatory decisions that advance/support regulatory service providers in meeting government goals on climate change and other aspects of sustainability.

All of this is geared toward value for money and better service for TC Residents but how will the Regulatory Commission operate to achieve the aims?

Firstly it won’t be directly controlled by the government. The document explains that TCIG alone will have the power to set the legislation that regulates the sector. The Commission is then bound to follow those rules and all its decisions must be based on law. However, The Commission will be independent of the Government in the operation of its duties and responsibilities.

Some of those legally established duties include: managing utility rates and tariffs; monitoring and compliance; granting and renewing licenses and Research and Development to advance the use of new technologies.

Another requirement of the body will be transparency, to ensure that both customers and investors trust and can substantiate the decisions being made.

The Multi-sector Agency will it be able to carry out inspections if providers fail to provide necessary information, and it has the authority to ‘collaborate with academic institutions, research organizations, and industry players to support innovation’.

Importantly the agency is to be charged with ensuring decisions advance the public interest for today and the future.

Additionally, according to the draft policy, it is to have a board made up of experts in utilities who must be ‘persons of integrity’ appointed by the government. With no need for a team of experts 24/7 The Commission will have a Chief Executive Officer who will manage a small team of regulatory officers and staff which will be supported by experts on an as-
needed basis.

The government is now undertaking consultation to get thoughts and concerns from all stakeholders including residents regarding the policy and eventual setup of the Agency. The need for the Regulatory body is crucial according to Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands have witnessed unprecedented growth, bringing to the fore the urgent need for regulatory reform in our utility sector. The current challenges, including requests for rate increases and water shortages, underscore the limitations of our existing regulatory framework to effectively manage and mitigate such issues,” he said

The consultation will run until May 24, 2024.

 

Caribbean News

BIRTH CERTIFICATE IN BRAILLE

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KINGSTON, May 8 (JIS): BY: SHERIKA HALL

For many years, members of the visually impaired community have faced significant challenges in accessing printed information, often having to rely on others for assistance.

This lack of autonomy has hindered their ability to fully participate in various aspects of society.

However, with the recent implementation of Braille birth certificates, this long-standing barrier is being removed, paving the way for a more inclusive landscape where individuals with visual impairments can navigate their own journeys with greater independence and confidence.

On May 1, 2024, Executive Director at the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB), Conrad Harris, was the first person to receive a copy of the freshly printed Braille document.

He expresses his elation to JIS News, describing it as a “great experience” to have a document in a format that he can easily read.

“One of the issues we have from time to time is that when we have information that is in print, we may ask somebody to read it, but the person who reads it might only read the information that they think is important and not necessarily everything in the document,” Mr. Harris explains.

This, of course, is no longer the case, as “having a Braille certificate means that I am able to go through it myself. I can easily check the spellings of names and places, which I might not be easily able to do with something that is in print,” he said.

The Braille certificate also provides an opportunity for the document to be easily identified and separated from others.

“If you need it for a particular reason, you can easily separate it from the other documents that you have versus probably having to ask somebody to look through or using some kind of technology to scan the information, which would take a little bit longer,” the Executive Director says.

Additionally, this initiative will provide an added sense of security as there are those people who generally want to keep their personal information private.

Designed in collaboration with several key stakeholders, including the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), these Braille certificates are meticulously crafted to ensure that every detail is conveyed with precision and elegance.

Each certificate, according to the Department’s former Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Keeper of Records, Charlton McFarlane, features embossed Braille text, allowing recipients to tangibly experience the pride that comes with being able to read the information for themselves.

He further shared details on why the initiative was undertaken in the first place, during an interview with JIS News.

Mr. McFarlane said that while participating in the first post-COVID Civil Registration Conference for Latin America and Caribbean countries, held in the Dominican Republic in 2022, using civil registration as the basis for inclusivity was key among the topics discussed.

“We looked at some case studies and the one that stood out to me was for a State in Mexico that offered birth certificates and other vital documents in Braille,” he said.

He even went as far back as 2008 when he was serving as a Director within the Ministry of Health.

During that time “we collaborated with members from the disabled community to produce health education material in Braille. So, with that experience, knowing what it had done and then with what I saw happening in Mexico, I got the idea that we could really produce all vital documents in Braille”.

Before embarking on the initiative, he acknowledged that he did, in fact, reach out to members of the JSB, the Combined Disabilities Association and the Jamaica Counsel for Persons with Disabilities.

“I don’t like to waste time and resources, so I reached out to them first,” Mr. McFarlane said, adding that “once I received a resounding yes, details on how to produce the certificates were shared.

“One of the things we [had to take into consideration] was having two separate documents (one with the standard print and the other in Braille), because the Braille is bulky when printed,” he noted.

This posed another challenge as not many business entities would accept the braille copy due to their inability to read the Braille text.

However, as the consultations went on, a decision was made to have the two documents intertwined into one.

“Right now, how it’s done, is the material is printed and then the Braille is embossed over it,” the former CEO said.

The introduction of Braille certificates is not just a symbolic gesture, it represents a tangible commitment that “the Government is absolutely very, very serious about inclusion for every single citizen, regardless of the level of vulnerability that may exist,” Mr. McFarlane added.

This certificate, he added, is not only for members of the visually impaired community but for all persons who would like to have their birth certificates in both print and Braille formats on one document.

 

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Turks and Caicos Retains Championship at 28th Annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament

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Please note:

Photos by TCI Sports Commission

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – In an historic showing, the Turks and Caicos Islands Golf Association (TCIGA) dominated the 28th annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament, held in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, from April 25th to 27th, 2024. The victory marks a turning point for TCI golf, and much of the credit goes to the exceptional team of players assembled by Sean Wilson the Head Professional at the Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Course.

56 golfers, playing under the banner of the TCIGA were rewarded for their enthusiastic participation across both the Men’s and Women’s divisions.

“This back-to-back win is an indication of the growing interest and increased participation in the sport of golf in TCI,” stated TCIGA President Fraser Dods.

“We’ve been competing at this tournament since its inception almost 30 years ago, and finally bringing home the George Noon Cup two years in a row is a truly proud moment for Turks and Caicos golf.”

Clean Sweep for Team TCI

The team’s success was based on strong and determined performances in every flight and category.

The Turks and Caicos men’s team secured the Robert Grell Trophy, while the ladies claimed the Jodi Munn Barrow Trophy.

This clean sweep across all team divisions highlights the growing depth and talent within the TCI Golf Association membership.

The “Classic”organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, brings together golfers from the twelve membercountries of the CGA. The Caribbean Classic is an individual and team event, competed for by teams of unlimited number of players from each participating member country, playing eighteen holes of golf each , over 3 days.

Team Turks and Caicos amassed the most points overall and won the George Noon Cup last year, for the first time in 27 years of competing at this event. To repeat as champs is a proud moment for TCI sports in general and for TCI Golf specifically.

Individual Accolades Abound

Beyond the team triumphs, individual golfers from TCI shone brightly. Female players, namely Wendy Ayer, Christine Dickenson, Tazmaraa Gowans, and Andrea Todd, all secured podium finishes in their respective divisions

The men’s side also saw impressive performances from Justin Simons, Mark Fulford, Arthur Lightbourne, Mervin Cox, and Simon Dobbs. Their individual excellence contributed significantly to the overall team victory.

Looking Ahead: Building on Success

TCI Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes is optimistic about the future. “This win exemplifies the immense potential of golf in the Turks and Caicos,” he stated. “We encourage young islanders to take up this fantastic sport.”

Head Golf Professional at Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club, Sean Wilson, echoed the sentiment. “This is a monumental achievement for TCI golf,” he said. “Bringing home trophies in all three divisions is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the TCIGA and its players.”

The Caribbean Classic second victory creates a new legacy for golf in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The TCIGA is administrated by a golf-loving volunteer executive comprised of Fraser Dods, Mark Fulford (VP), Denise Douglas (Secretary), Paul Murray (Treasurer), Andrea Todd and Roberto Stipa.Through their collective efforts, and the growing participation of TCI golfers, the future looks bright for this sport in the region.

The Caribbean Classic is one of the highlights of the Caribbean Golf calendar. Organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, it allows participation of amateurs from 12 countries, including the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Martinique, St Lucia, and USVI.”

 

 

 

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GRACE BAY BEACH RANKED AMONG TOP BEACHES IN THE WORLD’S 50 BEST BEACHES

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (May 3rd, 2024) The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Grace Bay Beach has once again been recognised among the top beaches in the world.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches has listed Grace Bay Beach among the top beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach, located on the island of Providenciales was listed at number 17 on the annual list.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches list, sponsored by Banana Boat, is a collaboration with over 1,000 of the world’s leading travel influencers and professionals.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches 2024 is a reflection of the opinions and experiences of top travel influencers and professionals around the world. The beaches were ranked according to eight important criteria: unique characteristics, wildlife, untouched, soundtrack of nature, easy to enter the water, often calm water, not too crowded and frequency of idyllic conditions.

Grace Bay Beach also featured among the top 20 in the 2023 World’s 50 Best Beaches list.

This is the latest accolade for Grace Bay Beach this year. Known for its powdery white sand and breathtakingly turquoise blue water, the famous beach was adjudged the number one Caribbean beach in February in Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking number five among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

In January 2024, Grace Bay was recognised as the #9 Best Beach in the Caribbean in the 10Best Reader’s Choice with Bambarra Beach in Middle Caicos ranked at #2.

Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said she is proud of the continued recognition of the leading beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“As a destination that prioritises sustainable development and environmental preservation, the fact that Grace Bay Beach features consistently as one of the top beaches in the world stands as a testament to our commitment to stay “Beautiful by Nature”. I urge visitors to come to the Turks and Caicos Islands to experience this and many other of our beautiful beaches across the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the Minister.

Tine Holst, Co-Founder of The World’s 50 Best Beaches, said the list is meant to inspire travellers.

She said: “Our 2024 list is a reflection of the countless days spent by our judges, Beach Ambassadors and World’s 50 Best team discovering beaches around the world. The list will help inspire travelers to leave the beaten path behind and enjoy the most stunning and relaxing beaches on earth”.

Read World’s 50 Best Beaches description of Grace Bay Beach here.

 

About the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands is made up of two groups of islands in the Lucayan Archipelago: The larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, thus the name. It is home to the best beaches in the world with majestic white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Each island and cay are a destination of its own. Providenciales is home to world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, luxury hotels, resorts, villas, spas and restaurants. Grand Turk is ‘home away from home’ for our cruise passengers, and our sister islands are the gateway to nature, exploration, and culture. Considered the world’s best-kept secret, TCI is an effortless escape – with an ease of connectivity through direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

 

CONTACT: Laura Dowrich  Email: ldowrich@myexperiencetci.com

 

 

 

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