POPULATION POLICY FINAL REPORT
The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services is pleased to announce that we are in possession of the final draft of the Population Policy document, as mentioned by the Hon. Minister during the last House of Assembly meeting.
By way of background the company Kairi Consultants Ltd was awarded the contract to develop a Population Policy for the Turks and Caicos, working closely with the Strategic Policy and Planning Department, the Statistics Department and of course my Ministry.
The Policy has to be seen in the context of Vision 2040, which seeks to reduce the rate of population growth in the country to 2 percent by 2040, which will result in the halving of the current rate of above 4 percent.
Therefore, the overall aims of the Population Policy for TCI are as follows:
- Sustainable development and eradication of poverty
- Increased and improved availability and accessibility of high-quality social services
- Attainment of gender equity, gender equality, empowerment of women, social justice, and youth development
- Development for all individuals among the resident population
- Harmonious inter-relationships between population, resource utilization and the environment
- Development of the education, skills development and job placement of TCI citizens.
As we seek to achieve the objectives as fore mentioned, the following will have to be taken into account:
- The Labour Market – economic expansion based on productivity growth with the existing and entering labour force
- Labour force upgrading – the labour force upgrading through continuing education and training.
- Immigration control – improved policing of the borders to reduce and eliminate illegal entry into the country.
- Caymanian control system – managing labour circulation
Plans are afoot to review the current system that’s available within our sister islands of Cayman, where the situation is similar and how best we can adopt what’s there, to modify to make it work for the TCI.
- Relative simplification of the process of naturalization – this applies specifically to persons born of non-Belonger parents resident in TCI.
- Establishment of a Population Council – bipartisan and multi-partite.
It is envisioned that this Council, shall be supported by a Secretariat and shall comprise a cross section of members, as it carries out its daily functions.
There are other measures to be adopted which will complement this policy, and may not all be seen as a part of population policy generally. These are:
- Upgrading/retrofitting of infrastructure and housing: the infrastructure including the disaster shelters, and housing have to be retrofitted to withstand the likes of Dorian, which can no longer be treated as rare weather episodes in light of global climate change in the Caribbean. In the absence of such infrastructure upgrade, there is the risk to life and limb and to the psyche of a surviving population when a hurricane flattens a community leaving a population in an enervating despair.
- Inculcation of a culture of learning and self-upgrading among the population at large: as the country seeks to diversify the economy and to embark on higher niche markets in tourism and financial services, there will be need for higher quality personnel than was required in labour intensive activities before. We must be encouraged to upgrade ourselves and to be available for higher quality employment.
- Inculcation of a commitment across the entire population to healthy living based on diet and exercise: a healthy population can deliver a healthy work-force to the labour market, and a healthy life style.
- Small business promotion and TCI Invest support and entrepreneurial training: the diversification thrust, along with the continued growth of the economy based on the existing sectors, creates opportunities for which we must be prepared to participate, not only as employees but also as entrepreneurs in our own right.
- Programmes of cultural assimilation and enculturation: We cannot avoid adjusting to the reality that the economic expansion of our country cannot continue without the inflow of large numbers from abroad, to dwell and work among us. Mutual respect and understanding and good will need to be promoted at all times by all.
This document is expected to be made available to the general public in the coming weeks, for their review and information.