TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT - Wednesday 4 August 2021

His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 21st meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 4 August 2021 at the Office of the Premier on Grand Turk. 

All members were present with the exception of the Hon Minister for Education. Mrs Khalila Astwood-Tatem was also present as Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

Was given an update by the Ministry of Health on the measures being taken to address and mitigate against the threat of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the country, including: 

  1. Positive cases in light of the Delta variant arriving in TCI, 
  2. Recent outbreaks of the Norovirus in TCI, 
  3. Advances with PCR testing in the National Laboratory, 
  4. Staffing levels at the Cockburn Town Medical Centre on Grand Turk and at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center on Providenciales, and 
  5. Progress with the vaccination programme, now standing at 66% fully vaccinated. 

Members also discussed options to address the arrival of the Delta variant in TCI including for all visitors to be fully vaccinated on arrival, higher penalties for non-adherence of regulations (mask wearing, social distancing, use of logbooks etc.), recommended health insurance for visitors and the need to consult industry before agreeing new measures. 

Approved amendments to existing measures under the Public and Environmental Health (COVID-19 Pandemic) Regulations 2020, with effect from 6 August until 31 October 2022, as follows: 

Large public/private social gatherings, including functions at hotels/villas/tourism accommodations, be reduced to 50 persons only,  

  1. Imposing a US$550 fine for individuals for not wearing face mask/covering in public places including hotels/villas/tourism accommodations and US$5,000 fine for those businesses/venues where the offence takes place, and 
  2. After three fines, businesses breeching the COVID-19 Regulations will be closed for a period of two months. 

Discussed a revised three-year strategic Plan for the National Culture and Heritage Policy for the Turks and Caicos Islands and agreed next steps required prior to its implementation. 

Approved the appointment of Tremmaine Swann (Chair), Dr Denise Tennant, Dr Jameiko Harvey as Members, and Chief Medical Officer, Ms Gogontle Gatang, and Chief Executive Officer to the Health Regulation Authority as ex-officio Members of the Medicine and Dentistry Professions Council and Dr Derrick Aarons as Secretary to the Council for a period of two years with effect from 9 August until 31 March 2023. 

Approved the appointment of Ms Claudette Gibson (Chair), Mrs Jackurlyn Sutton (Deputy Chair), Nurse Alrisa Gardiner, Ms Beatrice Burton as Members, and Ms Dominique Gardiner and Chief Executive Officer to the Health Regulation Authority as ex-officio Members of the Nursing and Midwifery Professions Council and Dr Derrick Aarons as Secretary to the Council for a period of two years with effect from 9 August until 31 March 2023. 

Approved the appointment of Mr Samajeo Williams (Chair), Ms Janell Hamilton (Deputy Chair), Ms Donniek Gardiner, Mrs Carol Robinson as Members, Ms Libby Charlton, Mr Andre Morgan and Chief Executive Officer to the Health Regulation Authority as ex-officio Members of the Allied Health Professions and Pharmacy Professions Council and Dr Derrick Aarons as Secretary to the Council for a period of two years with effect from 9 August until 31 March 2023. 

Approved the appointment of Hon Ricardo D. Gardiner (Chair), Dr Alexis Missick, Mrs Karen Lightbourn, Ms Charlene Higgs and Mr Leo Selver as Members of the Health Appeals Tribunal and Dr Derrick Aarons as Secretary to the Tribunal for a period of two years with effect from 9 August until 31 March 2023. 

Approved Planning Application PR 15404 for the erection of a boundary impasse fencing at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex, Downtown, Providenciales on parcel 60602/401. 

Discussed briefings from Statutory Bodies for future Cabinet meetings. 

Approved amendments to the Credit Union (Amendment) Bill 2021, embedding the requirement for Deposit Insurance across both banks and credit unions operating in the TCI. Members also agree next steps required for the full implementation of these amendments. 

Approved the design and development of a Revenue Authority (RA) for TCI, to administer and enforce the laws currently under the remit of the Inland Revenue Department. Members also agreed the integration of the Customs Department into the new RA, composition of Board Members and for all taxes, duties and fees to be managed by the Authority. 

Approved the appointment of Zhavago Jolly (Chair), Dominique Rolle, Zaneta Burton, Crystal Charles and Devon Williams as Members and Permanent Secretary RTC and TCIG Senior Press Officer as Ex-Officio Members of the Radio Turks and Caicos Board of Governors and Cynara John as Secretary of the Board for a period of two years with effect from 9 August 2021 until 31 March 2023. 

Was updated on a recent discussion between HE the Governor and the President of Fortis (Canada) with a particular focus on renewable energy. 

Was updated on the appointments of the Hon EJ Saunders as the Minister of Finance and the Hon Jamel Robinson as the new Minister of Health. Members expressed their huge thanks  

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.