TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT - Thursday 29 July 2021
His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 20th meeting of Cabinet on Thursday 29 July 2021 at the Office of the Premier on Providenciales.
All members were present.
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:
- Positive cases and profiles of those infected,
- Oxygen generation at the Cockburn Town Medical Centre on Grand Turk and at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center on Providenciales,
- Staffing levels in the above medical centres, agreeing next steps, and
- Progress with the vaccination programme incl. registration of 12-15 year-olds.
Accepted a charitable donation valued at $1.66 million from Great Shape Inc., in collaboration with the Sandals Foundation, for the provision of free dental work for residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands, in particular the under-served, and vulnerable groups of the population. Members also approved the waiver of import duties on related equipment and supplies, the waiving of a medical license and fees for temporary work permits specific to this charitable donation.
Approved the acquisition of lands by private treaty on parcels in the Bight and Thomas Stubbs on Providenciales where TCIG laid asphalt roads for the general public.
Noted the 4th Quarter Financial Report for FY 2020-21 of the Government’s Statutory Bodies and discussed specific issues relating to various bodies and next steps.
Approved amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority Ordinance to include lands compulsorily acquired for public purpose for Redevelopment of the Providenciales International Airport and the North Caicos Airport.
Approved the ‘Teaching Standards Framework’ for leadership and teacher training within Primary and Secondary Schools and associated amendments to the Education Ordinance, subject to consultation with the education. Members also discussed education standards and independent reviews of schools, and agreed on next steps.
Noted progress made in implementing the moratorium on first time work permit and the positive impact in facilitating Turks and Caicos Islanders to be gainfully employed. Approved an amendment to the policy on the moratorium on first time work permits and endorsed waivers previously granted. Members also approved additional waivers in accordance with the policy where all routes to employ Turks and Caicos Islanders have been demonstrably exhausted.
Received a presentation on the National Youth Policy and approved an Implementation Plan to support this policy, delivering youth development in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Members also discussed how to engage with public and private sectors to deliver this initiative.
Discussed the waiving of Planning Application fees for developments in lieu of unavoidable delays caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic and agreed not to grant these because mitigation was possible.
Were informed of consultancy work being provided by WSP Caribbean Ltd for the construction of the TCI Government Complex and broader work still required for completion of this project.
Approved for the Government of TCI to enter into a Development Agreement with JEM TCI Holdings Ltd. (East Bay Resort South Caicos) to build a full-service watersports operation at the resort, expand existing restaurants and the construction of new restaurants.
Noted and approved a paper proposing the regulation of the Private Security Industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands and approved a stakeholder workshop and public consultation process by the National Security Secretariat.
Discussed a public beach access in the light of recent policy decisions and agreed for that beach access to be retained for public purposes.
Discussed and clarified implementation issues regarding the policy surrounding the issuing of government stamps for persons on permanent and short term contracts. Members agreed that the Ministry of Immigration should review the policy to address specific issues.
Discussed the issuance of police records and agreed on next steps.
Were informed of issues concerning the application and or renewal of business licenses and unintended impacts on other legal obligations e.g. work permit and driver license renewals. Members agreed on next steps.
Were informed on the issue of welfare benefits and possible increases for recipients.
Discussed work required for the re-opening of schools with a particular emphasis on staffing, vaccinations and children on waiting lists.
Discussed policy surrounding large scale events incl. Fish Fry on Providenciales and other events attracting large numbers of people in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions to protect public health.
Were presented with a report on salaries being paid by the TCI Airports Authority.
Were updated on training being provided to the TCI Regiment.
Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.