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The TCI Business Outlook by Philip C. Galanis

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CONSIDER THIS …

“Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.” Winston Churchill

As published in the Nassau Guardian, June 10, 2024 – On Friday, June 7, 2024, Counsellors Limited staged the first-ever Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Business Outlook (the Business Outlook) at Beaches Resort, Villages, and Spa on Providenciales. By any objective measure, the event, which was attended by ninety participants, was an outstanding success. Drexwell Seymour, Managing Partner of HLB TCI Ltd., and Deandrea Hamilton, CEO and Consultant of Magnetic Media, moderated the historical event. The theme for the Outlook was “Opportunities for Growth and Inclusion for All TCI Stakeholders.”

Therefore, this week, we will Consider This … what were some of the highlights of the first TCI Business Outlook?

Keynote address

The Hon. Charles Washington Misick, MP, Premier of the TCI, delivered the keynote address. During his remarks, Premier Misick highlighted some of his government’s fiscal results over the past few years and the challenges that the jurisdiction faces in the years ahead.

The Premier observed that the TCI has been very successful, particularly in the management of its fiscal matters. He also shared that the TCI Government’s budgeted 2023-24 revenue was $415 million, a healthy budget surplus of $56 million, and the government had accumulated no national debt. He confirmed that his government had approved more than $1 billion in investment in the tourism sector. In addition, he stated that investments of another half a billion dollars were in the pipeline and that, over the next two years, the tourism plant would increase by at least 1,600 new hotel rooms. While most of those investments will be made in Providenciales, high-end brands such as Marriott will be developed on some of the other islands in the Turks and Caicos.

The Premier also noted that his social budget had increased from $3 million to $10 million since coming to office, recognizing that it was important that no Turks Islander be left behind. He also alluded to the need to rationalize taxes so that they are more equitably applied across disparate social groupings.

Tourism drives the TCI economy

The Hon. Josephine Connolly, MP, Minister of Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming, and Disaster Management, built on Premier Misick’s presentation regarding the role tourism plays in TCI economy.  Tourism drives the TCI economy, according to the Minister of Tourism, accounting for nearly 80% of the gross domestic product, most of which is centered in Providenciales.

In 2021, the United States was the main market for inbound tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands, making up more than 80% of the nearly half a million stop-over visitor arrivals registered in that year.

This was confirmed by Stacey Cox, CEO of Turks & Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association, and Alvin Hegner, Chairman of Experience TCI, both of whom delivered presentations on tourism and its importance to the jurisdiction. The Turks and Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association is dedicated to fostering sustainable growth in tourism for the benefit of its members and the wider TCI community.

Experience TCI is the tourism authority responsible for promoting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier travel destination and boosting the number of visitors, enhancing their experience, and thereby driving economic growth and sustainability in the Turks and Caicos Islands through a thriving tourism sector.

Catalyst for growing business

Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest TCI, and Paul Pirie, CEO of TCI Finance, delivered presentations on the Catalyst for Growing Business. Invest TCI was established to assist local and foreign investors in accessing government concessions for investing in the Turks and Caicos islands and to provide investors with introductions to local service providers/suppliers. On the other hand, TCI Finance has a mandate to grow the jurisdiction’s financial services sector in competition with other financial offshore centers such as The Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands. The presenters outlined their plans for achieving their objectives.

Mr. Pirie noted that financial services presently account for less than 10% of the island’s gross domestic product, which he hopes to grow to 30% in the years ahead, notwithstanding the sustained assaults that similar offshore financial sectors experience from the OECD and the Financial Action Task Force. Some participants questioned TCI Finance’s ability to achieve such an aggressive objective considering the existing regulatory framework in which the offshore financial sector currently operates.

The sessions on Access to Capital and The Future of Banking were presented by Kerryl Lyn King-Henry and Terrance Gibson, the Country Managers of the Royal Bank of Canada and CIBC, respectively. Both presenters addressed the challenges that its current and prospective customers face in accessing capital and the steps the banks are taking to address those challenges. In addition, Mr. Gibson addressed the challenges that some of the bank’s customers face regarding access to banking services on some of the smaller, more remote, and less populated islands in the Turks & Caicos Islands, similar challenges that Bahamians face on similarly placed islands within its archipelago.

Modern healthcare services

The session on Committed to Health and Innovation was extremely interesting in terms of both the content and the timeliness of the information imparted to Outlook’s participants. Mr. Dennis Deveaux, CFO of Doctors Hospital Health Systems in The Bahamas, and Dr. Denise Brathwaite-Tennant, CEO of TCI Hospitals, updated the audience on the latest offerings by both organizations, highlighting that world-class medical services are available at both institutions and that both organizations are constantly reviewing how they can improve their services locally in order to avoid patients from seeking modern medical treatment abroad.

Infrastructure

Honorable Jamell Robinson, MP, Deputy Premier, and the Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, delivered a presentation on “Addressing Infrastructure and Housing Challenges.” The Minister informed the participants that the demand for residential housing will be between 8,500 and 13,000 new homes and apartments over the next few years. He advised us that most of this demand is being generated by the growth in the economy, principally in the tourism sector, and that affordable housing will continue to be a major challenge for his ministry for the foreseeable future.

The Minister also spoke about some of the infrastructural developments that will take place in the Turks and Caicos, with great emphasis on improving the Providenciales International Airport. That improvement has been pegged at approximately $400 million and is projected to begin later this year.

Minister Robinson also discussed the need for the government to address the congestion that has arisen on Providenciales and what his government intends to do to expand the road corridors throughout the island. He noted that his ministry will provide infrastructural development for airports on the neighboring islands of the TCI.

Mr. Devon Cox, Vice President of Operations at Fortis TCI, the electric company made a presentation on the country’s electricity infrastructural needs. He informed Outlook that in light of the anticipated increase in the number of hotel rooms and other ongoing development projects on the islands, the need for reliable, affordable electricity would increase exponentially and that Fortis has developed a master plan to address the demand. He also provided an analysis of the power infrastructural developments that will take place on the other islands of the archipelago.

Mr. Delano Arthur, Executive Director of the Energy and Utilities Commission, informed the audience about some of the plans to regulate the utilities industries in the TCI. The Energy and Utilities Commission plays a very similar role in the TCI to that of URCA in The Bahamas. Although it is not statutory, plans are being made to establish the Energy and Utilities Commission as a statutory body shortly.

The Bahamas diaspora

The day’s final session was entitled “The TCI-Bahamas Diaspora—Embracing a New Mindset of Collaboration.” Ms. Vernae Mills, Executive Director of the TCI Bahamas Diaspora office in Nassau, Bahamas, addressed the participants on the role that the office plays in assisting Turks Islanders who live in The Bahamas and encouraging and facilitating their return to take advantage of opportunities in the TCI.

Conclusion

As we indicated before, the first-ever TCI Business Outlook was a stunning success. This Business Outlook was historical because it was the first time that The Counsellors Limited has hosted this successful series outside The Bahamas. As Mrs. Joan Albury observed when she summarized the day’s event, “We hope that this will be an annual feature in the TCI business calendar, and we will make every attempt to host it early in the year, so then it becomes much more meaningful and effective for its participants.”

Our countries, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands have been intertwined for centuries, two tiny specks of the giant British Empire, together in an azure sea. To continue our relationship in the 21st century, in this instance in the realm of business, has the potential to promote productivity for our two countries that share geography, climate, backgrounds, customs, and success stories. To, once again, using the effective TCI Business Outlook as the forum, come together to mutually benefit our countries is historically appropriate and very satisfying to those of us who live in this little corner of the diaspora

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Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk

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#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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LAST AMERICAN TOURIST SENTENCED TO A FINE OF $1500.00 OR SIX MONTHS IMPRISONMENT IN DEFAULT, SHE’S ALSO SENTENCED TO 23 WEEKS IMPRISONMENT SUSPENDED FOR ONE YEAR

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

(Feel free to contact us at phone number #3423407 for advertisements, sponsors, and/or donations in support of this Growing Media Network)

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