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Turks and Caicos Islands 10 April cabinet meeting update
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
His Excellency Governor Ric Todd chaired the meeting of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ Cabinet on Wednesday, 10 April 2013.
The meeting took place in the NJS Francis House of Assembly Building on Grand Turk. The Premier and all Ministers were present at the meeting.
At this meeting Cabinet:
examined the latest version of the Fiscal Strategy and Policy Statement (FSPS) prepared by the Ministry of Finance. This included revised estimates for expected revenues from existing sources. It also discussed options for further tax increases necessary to ensure the expenditure plans for 2013/14 and subsequent years are robust and sustainable. These included the legislative and administrative changes required to broaden accommodation tax to other tourist related services, a flat rate property tax and a professional service tax with a view to these measures coming into effect from 1 October 2013. Other tax raising options were considered and will be examined in more detail by the Ministry of Finance during April. Cabinet noted that budget preparations are continuing but cannot be finalised until the FSPS is completed and agreed. Various public bodies and units have notified ministries of an intention to bid for increased expenditure in the budget round. Ministries were asked to scrutinise the priority of these requests given the upper limit on financial resources that will be available.
discussed the proposal to extend National Health Insurance Board (NHIB) coverage to persons unemployed for more than 90 days and to unemployed graduates returning to the TCI from overseas studies. It agreed to consider the issue at the next Cabinet on the basis of further work by NHIB and the Ministry of Finance on the costs of this extension and options for how these costs could be covered.
heard a presentation by Mr David Candib from the Carnival Corporation about the reopening of the Grand Turk Cruise Centre on Monday 8 April 2013, following its closure for over four weeks. Mr Candib reassured the Cabinet that Carnival continued to view Grand Turk as one of its major cruise destinations and understood the important impact it had on the economic livelihoods for many people on the island. He apologised for the unplanned closure and whilst it would not be possible to route more ships to Grand Turk during the latter part of this season, he stated that they were planning a high number of ship arrivals in the next season following the slower summer period. He also mentioned comments received from passengers who have asked to have more and wider variety of attractions and excursions, including the opportunity to visit other islands such as Salt Cay. He said there was still considerable ‘untapped’ opportunity in Grand Turk and he encouraged entrepreneurs to come forward with proposals.
agreed to an urgent tender process for the emergency restoration of a large section of damaged coral reef off North West point, Providenciales, allegedly caused by a large ocean going yacht dragging its anchor earlier this week. The swift procurement was necessary on the advice of conservation experts that there was a window of only three days to commence the coral rescue work. A longer period of restoration and monitoring will go through the normal public procurement procedures. It is expected the full cost of the emergency work and subsequent monitoring and restoration will be covered in due course from the yacht’s insurers.
agreed to give further consideration to draft legislation prepared by the Financial Services Commission and presented by the acting Attorney General on the regulation of the Domestic Insurance Industry. It noted that the legislation needed to be put to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
agreed a proposal from the Minister of Border Control and Labour to review and launch a consultation on the Trade Unions Ordinance 1942 with a view to modernising the legislation..It also noted the Minister’s intention to present to Cabinet proposals on the reform of Employment Legislation.
asked the Minister of Government Support Services to prepare a cost and time estimate for the replacement of the reverse osmosis water production plant on Salt Cay, as well as to report on progress with the construction of the building and installation of similar equipment on Grand Turk and the design of a new water billing system using pre-paid water meters. These will be discussed again at the next Cabinet meeting.
heard an update from the Minister of Labour and Border Control of the details of the Haitian sloop carrying 111 people (no children) that was intercepted this week and the arrangements to ensure the Detention Centre is secure following the escape of 28 of the individuals brought ashore. Repatriation to Haiti of the first batch of the illegal arrivals has already taken place.
was advised by the Governor that following consultation the Immigration Appeals Tribunal Board members would be extended for a two year period.
The Governor passed to the Premier an invitation to attend the funeral of The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. The Premier will be unable to attend due to a prior commitment in Trinidad so TCIG will be represented by the Finance Minister, the Hon Washington Misick. The Deputy Premier will be Acting Premier during the Premier’s absence abroad form 14 to 19 April
Further information on the issues addressed by Cabinet will be provided by Ministers in due course.
Cabinet will meet next on Wednesday, 24th April 2013.