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What on earth is going on in the House of Assembly; Budget Debate shockingly UNEVENTFUL



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 


#TurksandCaicos, April 19th, 2024 – Tradition has been flipped on its head for the 2024/25 Budget Debate following a refusal by Government Ministers and the Opposition Leader to debate the spending sheet, and the public is left holding the short end of the stick.

Following a tradition of transparency mirrored across the globe in different governments,  parliamentary front benchers usually speak directly to what funds allocated to their ministries will be used for, outline the benefits to the general public and even update on progresses over the preceding fiscal period but not so in the Turks and Caicos Islands this time around.

The National Budget and its breakdown in spending is the heart and head of the sitting administration and without it, nothing can be achieved and yet, there was on Wednesday April 17, one day after the official communication by the finance minister, total radio silence.

“[They] sat there in silence all day and refused to give an account of their ministries or constituencies to the electorate in the final budget debate after collecting hefty salaries for the last 3+ years,” said one angry resident responding to the unusual display.

The decision not to speak means the public has no idea how ministers plan to use the $485 million of the people’s money that they’ve been allotted this year.

Many are livid.

“Them PNP ministers didn’t report on their budgets because they ain’t do ***** for their constituents, so they don’t have ***** to report. Report card score is zero O,” ranted one individual.

Others were just as disappointed in Edwin Astwood, the Opposition Leader.

“It is shameful that the Leader of the Opposition didn’t come prepared to deliver his rebuttal to the Premier’s speech; and to make matters worse, he had the audacity to go on live interview during lunch and say he wasn’t prepared,” said one resident.

Astwood defended his decision to the public.

“Instead of myself getting up and speaking right after the Premier and then you would have eight or nine persons speak after me, spinning a different story, I said, as the Leader of the Opposition I need to be able to address the Premier and all his ministers.”

That didn’t happen and the debate was shockingly wrapped up with only contributions from the Premier, in his capacity as finance minister, and the two Governor’s Appointed Members.

The entire fiasco was apparently brought down by the change in protocol, where Astwood, who usually speaks before the Ministers, asked to speak after them instead so that he could respond to them all in full. It’s a decision that was accepted by the Speaker and which Astwood says he informed the Ministers of as well.

“They were afraid of me speaking after them and they were saying ‘We’re gonna make sure you speak before us.’ I told them ‘If you don’t get up, I am not getting up.’ This is your Budget. You need to tell the people how you are spending their money in your current ministry,” he said.

Astwood accused them of ‘playing chicken’ while some Residents couldn’t comprehend the actions of either side.  A choice to break with tradition and play tit for tat over respectfully seizing the opportunity to inform the Electorate what was to be done with public funds over the next 12 months.

“You mean to tell me that Seven (7) Ministers, Six (6) Elected Backbenchers, and 1 PNP Appointed Member were terrified to speak before the Leader of the Opposition because he would have torn their speeches apart???” asked a resident.

As the story evolves some residents applaud Astwood for standing his ground.

“The Leader of the Opposition did absolutely the right thing.  His insistence that the Ministers should defend the budget was correct and he was right to “Break with Tradition,” to let them all speak and then Reply.  It is a good move for democracy and accountability,” a TC resident explained

In response to the confusion and outrage, the government released the following statement late Tuesday.

“If there is no one willing to speak, a decision is made by the Speaker to advise members of his intention to close the debate. The mover is then asked to wrap up the debate on the motion. Today, this is what occurred in the House of Assembly.”

On Wednesday when we sought clarification on the matter Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier and Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development told us, “We will be in Committee as of 10 am today. Debate on the second reading of the bill is completed.”

When we asked why Robinson decided to forgo his speech he told us this, “What took place yesterday was very unfortunate as the Leader of the Opposition chose our 4th budget presentation to try and break a long-standing convention. As for residents, I have already begun distributing relevant information in relation to what is in store for Budget 2024/25 from an Infrastructure standpoint.”

No other official statements have come from the ministers regarding the decision though Magnetic Media has reached out to all of them.


InvestTCI facilitates the Development Agreement Between TCIG and Molo Hotel Group 



Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 14th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Molo Hotel Group reached a pivotal juncture on Monday, May 13th, 2024, with the ceremonial signing of a development agreement at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales. The agreement, which received official Cabinet approval on March 13th, 2024, signifies a steadfast commitment to advancing the economic landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Molo Hotel Group is a family-owned business, renowned for its distinguished portfolio of high-quality hotels worldwide. The development initiative encompasses the construction of three distinct IHG branded hotels: InterContinental Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Turks and Caicos and Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos. Scheduled for completion by 2027, each resort boasts a distinctive design from luxury to laidback sophistication spanning across the shores of Grace Bay Beach.

Kimpton Turks and Caicos – an epitome of luxury lifestyle living, will feature 192 guest rooms including three outdoor pools, a luxury spa and a fitness center. Additionally, seven dining options ranging from a beachfront restaurant to a rooftop bar.

Adjacent to the Kimpton, InterContinental Turks and Caicos will offer 59 classic luxury suites with panoramic ocean views. Mirroring its counterpart, this resort will offer an array of dining options and upscale facilities.

Steps away from the Intercontinental and Kimpton resorts, Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos will embrace a sense of community and contemporary elegance, offering 56 bedrooms. The resort will feature an onsite restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor pool, and fitness room.

Beyond the realm of hospitality, this development agreement underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing employment opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Molo is partnering with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) to actively promote hospitality as a career choice and support in developing training programs, career fairs, seminars, workshops, and events to raise awareness about hospitality careers. Molo has committed to provide employment and apprentice opportunities to TCICC students and provide mentoring and practical on property training to students.

The signing event was graced by Hon. Charles Washington Missick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier, Hon. Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Łukasz and Marcin Slominski, Owners of Molo, Ross Morrow, Managing Director Molo, Arik Kono, Vice President Upscale Development for IHG, Dr. Candice Williams, President and CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Angela Musgrove, InvestTCI CEO, Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chairperson of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Dr. Delores Stapleton- Harris, Vice President of Academic, Vocational and Student Affairs for the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Mr. Kevin Baxter, Dean of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Sheryl McLaughlin, InvestTCI Investment Services Executive.

Commenting on the development agreement, Premier, Hon. Misick, stated “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing of IHG/Molo Hotels is a significant step towards a sustainable future for hospitality in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three hotels, Kimpton, Intercontinental, and Hotel Indigo, will be introduced, enhancing our tourism product and creating employment opportunities.”

He further added, “Partnerships with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission are underway, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to developing human capital and elevating tourism offerings. This project will bring economic growth, embrace local talent, and enrich our economy.”

Additionally, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, emphasized “This collaboration confirms our commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within our country. We have worked closely with Molo Hotel Group, and we are confident that this transformative project will further position the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier destination for travel and investment. Much to our delight, it will also provide opportunities for engagement with our Community College and small business community.”

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating through its primary Investment Promotion

Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, remains committed to attracting and facilitating Foreign Direct Investments to the country by providing a comprehensive suite of services. Through strategic initiatives and targeted promotion, the agency catalyzes sustainable development, driving innovation and small business opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

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Male Charged with Robbery



#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man who allegedly stole a vehicle.

The accused, DANVANTE  BRISCO, 30,  of  Kew Town, Providenciales, was charged with:

  • One Count: Robbery
  • One Count: Taking Motor Vehicle Without Authority
  • One Count: Using Offensive Weapon to cause fear

Mr. BRISCO appeared in court today (May 13 ) and was granted bail of $7500.00 with one surety.

The matter was adjourned to July 05 for a Sufficiency Hearing.

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Dock Yard Male Charged  



#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – A 20-year-old Dock Yard male appeared in court today (May 13th) charged with a series of firearm-related offences.

The accused, JAMES SIMON, was denied bail and remanded into custody pending a Sufficiency Hearing scheduled for July 05th, 2024.

Mr. SIMON faces the following charges: 

  • One Count: Robbery;
  • One Count: Gang Membership
  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm for the Benefit of a Gang
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition for the Benefit of a Gang.

The charges against Mr. Simon followed investigations by officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force into a robbery at the parking lot of a Casino where three males robbed a victim.

Additionally, Mr. Simon is charged with the following offences, having been arrested on May 02nd, 2024, along South Dock Road.

  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition
  • One Count: Unlawful Entry

Officers also charged a teenage minor who was in the company of  Mr. Simon on May 02nd with One Count of UNLAWFUL ENTRY. 

The accused, seventeen and from Kew Town, Providenciales, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on May 20th.

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