Current Affairs

A New Day: The Next Steps for the PNP Government

After a very eventful election weekend, the Turks and Caicos Islands has returned to the daily scheduled programme – now with a newly elected government.

To recap the 2021 election, the Progressive National Party (PNP) received an overwhelming win, securing 14 out of 15 seats, leaving the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) with a solo seat.

We have previously broken down the PNP’s plans for the next four years if they were to be elected, but having now gotten over this hurdle, what comes next?

Swearing-In

As it now stands, the very first point of business for the PNP government is to be officially sworn in by the Governor as members of Cabinet. The Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick and the Deputy Premier, Hon. Erwin Jay Saunders were both sworn in on Saturday, February 21st. This, however, will happen for the other Ministers on Wednesday the 24th of February.

This means that the Islands will once again have a fully functioning government and Ministers will be able to commence work under their portfolios and in the House of Assembly – we explained how the House of Assembly works here.

Below is the line up of Cabinet Ministers as announced by Premier Misick:

  1. Charles Washington Misick – Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade
  2. Erwin Jay Saunders – Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services
  3. Akierra Missick – Leader of Government Business and Minister of Infrastructure, Housing Planning and Development
  4. Josephine Connolly – Minister of Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Maritime, Gaming and Disaster Management
  5. Otis Morris – Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation
  6. Arlington Musgrove – Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services
  7. Rachel Taylor – Minister of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services

The Six Month Plan

Before coming into office, the PNP published its plan for their first 200 days in government. With categories mirroring those in the Citizen’s Contract, the plan outlines the immediate tasks that they will undertake to perform. These are further broken down by time frame: days 1-30, days 1-100 and days 101-200.

First 30 Days

Firstly, to kickstart their term in office, the new PNP government will effectively restructure Ministry portfolios. As a result, some of the restructured Ministries, according to the Contract, will be the Ministry of Immigration & Border Services; Ministry of Education, Labour & Employment; and Ministry of Finance & Business Innovation.

First 100 Days

Spanning multiple categories of COVID-19 Assistance, Budget, and Youth, the government intends to hit the ground running in the first 100 days. Initial items on their agenda include possible payroll subsidies to businesses with the aim of returning the underemployed and unemployed to full employment. Additionally, there should be a suspension of the now mandatory obligations to NIB, NHIB and TCIG in order to qualify for financial COVID-19 assistance.

Further tasks for the first 100 days will be to:

  • Establish a National Apprenticeship Program;
  • Set up a business incubation and start-up program;
  • Work with industry leaders and government agencies to align the needs of the labour market with education and training systems;
  • Begin branding TCI as a ‘competent and capable offshore financial centre’ with the help of a global consulting firm; and
  • Set aside funds to retrofit schools for post-COVID-19 teaching.

First 200 Days

A hefty portion of the 200 Day plan deals with the latter half of the time period. Covering sections such as Employment, Cost of Living, Food Security, and Financial Services, here are some of their goals:

  • Designate areas for agriculture and make land available on long term leases to TCI Islanders at a minimal rental rate per acre;
  • Provide tablets for all students;
  • Provide internet packages to students in poor families;
  • Create sidewalks, clean the environment and conduct road maintenance to create short-term jobs and enhance the country’s physical appearance;
  • Provide agricultural grants;
  • Set up a Government Nursery;
  • Distribute a backyard gardening kit to households;
  • Introduce fair competition laws to facilitate the ease of entry into critical market segments;
  • Tackle price gouging;
  • Restructure the medical treatment abroad program;
  • Create the framework for Community Councils as part of local government;
  • Facilitate the creation of Credit Unions to expand access to affordable financial services;
  • Boost ‘Community Oriented Policing’;
  • Address civil servants’ pension; and
  • Draft the Freedom of Information legislation.

In addition to all the above, the government has plans to maintain high transparency and accountability levels with the public, through regular press conferences and town hall meetings.

We at WAVES Magazine, encourage you to engage with the outlets provided so that you can help in shaping our country for the future.

Read the PNP’s full First 200 Days Agenda here.

Davanya Deveaux

WAVES Magazine Editor

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