GOVERNMENT OUTLINES FINANCIAL YEAR PERFORMANCE

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government generated a US$77.3m operating surplus for the financial year ending 31 March 2015 it announced today, Wednesday, 13 May 2015.

The surplus further consolidates the Islands’ position as one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean region, with a 16% increase in recurrent revenue for the year to $246.5m.

The performance was built on record breaking visitor numbers to the TCI, and improved tax collection by both the Customs and the Revenue Control Unit.

Import duty was the single largest source of government income accounting for $61.6m of its revenue. Hotel and tourism tax contributed $51.8m; Customs Processing Fees $28.6m; Stamp Duty $25.8m; work permits and residency fees $17.6m; fuel tax $8.6m. 

Government recurrent expenditure was also controlled at $161.9m, 7% below the projected spend for the period. In recognition of the 2014-15 underspend, $6m has been carried over to the new financial year to be spent mainly on infrastructure projects.

“This positive financial performance has allowed the government to increase our spending in key areas of social development, with a 32.7% budget increase this year for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning, and a 27% increase for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Library Services,” said Minister of Finance Washington Misick. 

“We will continue to work hard to build sustainable sources of revenue, generate surpluses, maintain public spending and reduce our debts.”

The TCI is in discussions with a number of financial institutions as it prepares to refinance a UK-guaranteed $170m bond when it matures in February 2016. The TCI intends to issue invitations to tender for this requirement in the autumn of 2015. It is the TCI’s intention to use the $110m already held in reserve in the Sinking Fund, plus an additional contribution from the first half this financial year 2015-16 to repay most of the bond, with the balance being covered by new bank debt or a bond issue.  

Long Bay High School Opens for the 2015-2016 Academic Year

The new academic year will herald in several first for students in the Turks & Caicos Islands.  It will be the first day of preschool for the active and timid preschooler, the first day protective parents will release their babies and preteens from their hovering clutches into the hollow walls of educational institutions to receive quality education and for the Turks & Caicos Islands Government Ministry of Education it will be the first day a new high school will welcome its first set of students, coming some twenty-eight years after the first high school was built on the island of Providenciales. Like all other government educational institutions, the new school will open its doors at the commencement of the academic year 2015-2016 and will embrace its first batch of students who will intern be the first graduating class of the institution in 2020.

Located in the Long Bay Hills area, the Long Bay High School as it will be named, will be a fully functional high school separate and apart from the Clement Howell High School. The school will be built in phases, with the first phase accommodating all first formers (Form 1) or year one students who registered for public high school in Providenciales for the new academic year.

The second phase will give allowance for the enrollment of students entering forms two to five (forms 2-5). This is in keeping with the pivotal role that Education plays in nation building. Students will be afforded holistic development through the provision of educational opportunities and friendly learning environments for them to flourish into well-adjusted adults.

For more information on the Long Bay High School, please contact the Department of Education, Providenciales.

TCIG’s Lands Division visits the National Land Agency, Jamaica

A delegation from the Attorney Generals Chambers Lands Division returned from a study tour where they observed the modern integrated Land Registry, Cadastre and Estate Management systems of the National Land Agency (NLA), Jamaica on Thursday, 30th April 2015. 

Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), with its fully registered and digitised cadastre of land, was among the leaders in the region in Land Registration and Mapping.  However, over the past two decades, TCI has not made much progression from its digitised base layers. 

The next step for TCI is the implementation of an integrated web-based system for land administration, which would lead to a more efficient service for conveyancing and better land management.  This would allow for e-conveyancing, electronic document tracking, digital access to property sales data, automated lease management, among other thing.

Members of the TCI team included Commissioner of Lands, Tatum Clerveaux, James Fritz and Gervin Simmons, Director (acting) and Assistant Director (acting) of the Survey & Mapping Department respectively, Naomi Been and Ketietta Simpson, Assistant Registrar and Registry Clerk of the Land Registry respectively, and Shaaban Hoza, Chief Valuation Officer, Valuation Department.

Leading the delegation Mrs. Clerveaux stated; “The NLA study tour is  part of the Lands Division’s initiative to examine a range of IT solutions available to improve land administration and management in the TCI, due to the similarities in the organisational structure, practices and procedures, and advances made in automated land administration.

“The NLA was selected as one of two jurisdictions that the Lands Division will explore the IT options available for improving property registration and their potential impact on existing registration policies and procedures; as well as to identify an appropriate solution for the local context.  Our team will visit Cayman or Bermuda this year to observe their operation.”

Mr. Simmons added; “We were provided with the unique opportunity to engage in an educational work exchange, interact with Jamaican colleagues and understand how the Divisions of the NLA interface through a firsthand look at the Land Registry, Parcel Data Management and Estate Management systems currently in place. “