Categorized | Regional

No property taxes, says Turks and Caicos political party

Caribbean News Now
By Global News Staff

Turks and Caicos Islands — The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) has called for the early announcement from the Truks and Caicos Islands Interim Administration of no property tax, while welcoming the public consultation on revenue review that is due to begin in the second week of February.

In a press release on Wednesday, the PDM said, “We caution all stakeholders to remember that new revenue and expenditure measures were inevitable after a devastating period of financial chaos in governance by the Progressive National Party (PNP) where much of what the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands had worked so hard for over the years was squandered and compounded with the international economic downturn.”

According to the PDM, the current economic condition, inherited by the Interim Government, requires this serious level of capital injection to help stabilize government payrolls, rents to landlords and other unpaid debts (currently estimated at US$45 million).

“Additionally, we firmly request that the Interim Administration make provisions from this injection to help stimulate the construction industry and repair much needed infrastructure such as the Middle Caicos causeway and the Millennium Highway in Blue Hills,” the statement said.

Peoples Democratic Movement leader Douglas Parnell
The party has consistently called for greater financial assistance from the UK to help the TCI people cope with its dire financial circumstances, and the latest call came in October when PDM leader Douglas Parnell increased his earlier estimates from $122 million to $175 million, saying, “We believe based upon recurrent budget deficits, past due rents, loans and long term TCIG obligations and unpaid bills that $175,000,000 is what is now needed.”

The PDM dismissed any notion that these funds should be used to replace the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board with a private sector-led tourism promotion board.

“We will soon be providing alternatives to the public and to the Interim Administration, on how we can preserve and promote our tourism industry at a time when we are facing severe budgetary constraints. A committee has been put in place to undertake this task; and we will at the same time be stressing our belief that it is the responsibility of the government, through its Tourist Board, to promote the Turks and Caicos Islands as a tourist destination, while the Turks and Caicos Hotels and Tourism Association, TCHTA, spearheads the promotion of the individual tourism related facilities, such as the hotels and resorts,” the statement continued.

The party said it will use its regular dialogue with the Interim Administration to raise this and other issues including, but not necessarily limited to:

1. Revenue and expenditure discussions such as:
a) status of the request for financial stimulus and,
b) how we will achieve a balanced budget.

2. Economic discussions, measures that are vital to the growth of the TCI economy to grow new jobs and new business opportunities including:
a) any consideration of property taxes,
b) new investment prospects,
c) airport expansion,
d) housing policy and,
e) Consultation with us on new development projects.

3. Government management issues focusing on preserving Belonger employment and creating new private and public sector job opportunities including:
a) accurate and timely distribution of information,
b) transparency within the Interim Government,
c) the civil service,
d) cost of healthcare update,
e) alternatives to the Tourism Working Group’s proposals,
f) the new crown land policy,
g) status of healthcare and pensions, and
h) immigration policy.

4. Matters of constitutional reform, including:
a) timing,
b) the negotiations process,
c) the next general elections,
d) effectiveness of the current governmental arrangement,
e) milestones and dates to be accomplished, and
f) assent on bills.

“We further stress that a review of all statutory bodies is necessary, including the NHIP and the National Insurance Board, to ensure that the people understand and agree with any demands placed on them by the government regarding these bodies. We, in fact, demand that no decisions become final until the Turks & Caicos public is fully engaged with the process and the resulting findings, and is allowed to respond on matters that would be affecting their lives,” the statement said.

The PDM reminded the Interim Administration that the view from most of those that supported the temporary suspension of the constitution did so because they felt there was need:

1)  For a caretaker government to come into existence until a duly elected government could be formed, taking into consideration the needed further investigations resulting from the findings of the Commission of Inquiry;

2)  For the true picture of the financial condition of government to be determined and made public; and

3)  For the electoral reform process to be swiftly concluded, free from political interference.

“We remind our people that we continue to call on the Interim Administration and the FCO in our regular dialogue with them, to act speedily towards these ends with a view to general elections no later than the first quarter of 2012,” the statement concluded.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Caribbean News Now
By Global News Staff

Turks and Caicos Islands — The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) has called for the early announcement from the Truks and Caicos Islands Interim Administration of no property tax, while welcoming the public consultation on revenue review that is due to begin in the second week of February.

In a press release on Wednesday, the PDM said, “We caution all stakeholders to remember that new revenue and expenditure measures were inevitable after a devastating period of financial chaos in governance by the Progressive National Party (PNP) where much of what the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands had worked so hard for over the years was squandered and compounded with the international economic downturn.”

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According to the PDM, the current economic condition, inherited by the Interim Government, requires this serious level of capital injection to help stabilize government payrolls, rents to landlords and other unpaid debts (currently estimated at US$45 million).

“Additionally, we firmly request that the Interim Administration make provisions from this injection to help stimulate the construction industry and repair much needed infrastructure such as the Middle Caicos causeway and the Millennium Highway in Blue Hills,” the statement said.

Peoples Democratic Movement leader Douglas Parnell
The party has consistently called for greater financial assistance from the UK to help the TCI people cope with its dire financial circumstances, and the latest call came in October when PDM leader Douglas Parnell increased his earlier estimates from $122 million to $175 million, saying, “We believe based upon recurrent budget deficits, past due rents, loans and long term TCIG obligations and unpaid bills that $175,000,000 is what is now needed.”

The PDM dismissed any notion that these funds should be used to replace the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board with a private sector-led tourism promotion board.

“We will soon be providing alternatives to the public and to the Interim Administration, on how we can preserve and promote our tourism industry at a time when we are facing severe budgetary constraints. A committee has been put in place to undertake this task; and we will at the same time be stressing our belief that it is the responsibility of the government, through its Tourist Board, to promote the Turks and Caicos Islands as a tourist destination, while the Turks and Caicos Hotels and Tourism Association, TCHTA, spearheads the promotion of the individual tourism related facilities, such as the hotels and resorts,” the statement continued.

The party said it will use its regular dialogue with the Interim Administration to raise this and other issues including, but not necessarily limited to:

1. Revenue and expenditure discussions such as:
a) status of the request for financial stimulus and,
b) how we will achieve a balanced budget.

2. Economic discussions, measures that are vital to the growth of the TCI economy to grow new jobs and new business opportunities including:
a) any consideration of property taxes,
b) new investment prospects,
c) airport expansion,
d) housing policy and,
e) Consultation with us on new development projects.

3. Government management issues focusing on preserving Belonger employment and creating new private and public sector job opportunities including:
a) accurate and timely distribution of information,
b) transparency within the Interim Government,
c) the civil service,
d) cost of healthcare update,
e) alternatives to the Tourism Working Group’s proposals,
f) the new crown land policy,
g) status of healthcare and pensions, and
h) immigration policy.

4. Matters of constitutional reform, including:
a) timing,
b) the negotiations process,
c) the next general elections,
d) effectiveness of the current governmental arrangement,
e) milestones and dates to be accomplished, and
f) assent on bills.

“We further stress that a review of all statutory bodies is necessary, including the NHIP and the National Insurance Board, to ensure that the people understand and agree with any demands placed on them by the government regarding these bodies. We, in fact, demand that no decisions become final until the Turks & Caicos public is fully engaged with the process and the resulting findings, and is allowed to respond on matters that would be affecting their lives,” the statement said.

The PDM reminded the Interim Administration that the view from most of those that supported the temporary suspension of the constitution did so because they felt there was need:

1)  For a caretaker government to come into existence until a duly elected government could be formed, taking into consideration the needed further investigations resulting from the findings of the Commission of Inquiry;

2)  For the true picture of the financial condition of government to be determined and made public; and

3)  For the electoral reform process to be swiftly concluded, free from political interference.

“We remind our people that we continue to call on the Interim Administration and the FCO in our regular dialogue with them, to act speedily towards these ends with a view to general elections no later than the first quarter of 2012,” the statement concluded.