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Cabinet update and actions from session held on 12 June 2013

Governor Ric Todd chaired the Turks and Caicos Islands’ (TCI) Cabinet on Wednesday at the House of Assembly Building on Grand Turk.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The TCI Cabinet
The TCI Cabinet met on Wednesday, 12 June 2013.

The Premier and all Ministers, except the Deputy Premier, were present at the meeting. The Deputy Premier was in London representing the Government of TCI.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Discussed draft legislation prepared by AG’s Chambers at the request of the Minister of Finance on the introduction of a flat rate customs duty on the cost of freight and insurance for cargoes imported into the TCI. This new revenue raising measure was an integral part of the Financial Framework prepared previous by the Ministry of Finance and financial modelling by officials had shown the duty, whilst necessary, would have only a small impact on the cost of individual imported items. Ministers said they would view very seriously any evidence where individual businesses appear to increased prices unjustifiably. Cabinet agreed the Bill and the Minister of Finance will present it to the House of Assembly at the next sitting (on 24th June) with a view to it becoming law on 1 July;

  • Also, discussed draft legislation prepared by AG’s Chambers at the request of the Minister of Finance on amendments to the application of stamp and share transfer duty. Several technical changes were explained relating to the threshold ceiling on stamp duty payable for multi-million dollar loans; the percentage duty applied to loans for property purchase and on loan transfers to a different provider; the percentage allowance made when property is purchased to account for furnishings and chattels; and the applicability of stamp duty to share transfers with respect to land holding companies. The proposals from the Minister of Finance were supported by Cabinet and the AG was instructed to bring forward draft amending legislation to be reviewed at the next Cabinet meeting;

  • Received a presentation on disaster preparedness by the Director of Disaster Management, Dr Virginia Clerveaux. The presentation explained the preparations that had been put in place and those that were still underway. Cabinet noted that lessons had been learnt since Hurricane Ike and as much as possible will be done within the constraints of public finances. There can never be total assurance but where priority improvements still need to be made resources will be found. Dr Clerveaux also explained the funds available from international bodies and how TCI could do more to secure them. All ministers acknowledged the need for their ministries to be well prepared and integrated into disaster management plans. They also undertook to encourage public institutions to ensure they have plans in place to address emergencies and for citizens, communities, churches and the private sector to understand what is expected of them;

  • A further presentation was made by the management of the NHIB to describe to Cabinet the findings from their review of the ordinances and regulations under which they operate. They explained several areas where the body could improve its effectiveness and value for money. The NHIB were requested to present to the Ministers of Health and Finance as swiftly as practicable a detailed set of changes to their underlying legislation and procedures, together with draft text for any necessary legislative changes to be taken forward and to consider the efficiencies from a possible merger of the NHIB and NIB payments systems;

  • Considered and supported a proposal from the Minister of Finance that an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) be concluded with NCPA Ltd for the development of a marina at North Creek on Grand Turk and agreed that the Governor would sign the MoU when it had been finalised by AG Chambers;

  • Agreed that the order bringing into effect the Universities, Colleges and Technical Institutes Ordinance from 1 July 2013 should be signed by the Governor;

  • Heard an update from the Minister of Border Control and Labour that work on a draft Ordinance on Immigration and Citizenship was at an advanced stage. He noted that the legislation was essential and it was agreed the preparation of the draft Ordinance would be the first priority of AG’s Chambers when the necessary Finance Ordinances had been prepared;

  • Noted that the CFO and the Budget had, as requested by Cabinet at its meeting on 29 May, clarified remaining issues relating to the 2013/14 Budget and that the Budget will, with CFO’s support, be sent forthwith to UK Ministers by the Minister of Finance;

  • Noted the following ministerial travel commitments:

    • the Deputy Premier would represent TCI on behalf of the Premier at the G8 Event on Trade, Tax and Transparency hosted by Prime Minister Cameron in London on 15 June as well as related events and would meet FCO Minister Simmonds on 13 June

    • the Premier would attend the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad from 3-7 July

    • the Minister for Health would visit the UK from 18-20 June to attend the 62nd Westminster Seminar

    • the Minister for Government Support Services would attend a CEDEMA Ministerial Conference on disaster management in Suriname from 24 - 30 June.

Further information on the issues addressed by Cabinet will be provided by Ministers in due course.

Cabinet took the opportunity to offer their best wishes to Dr Philip Rushbrook on the completion of his posting to the Governor’s Office when he moves to a new role in London at the end of the month.

Cabinet will meet next on Wednesday, 26 June 2013.

Published 13 June 2013