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Learning Curve | Opinion

When one hears this phrase it conjures up so many ideas. Chief amongst them is the ideal that the curve is steep and therefore short. Which translates to a new system or an idea is absorbed, understood and put into practice in the least amount of time from expression (being first heard).

This is not the case here in the Turks and Caicos Islands. For some unknown reason a NEW IDEA takes several years before it can be recognized as ‘common good’ and be expressed (utilized).

Case in point:

A. Many years ago an approach to the supermarkets here in TCI / Provo was made and an idea pitched for them to begin to print a full color page advert in the newspapers on Wednesdays. This advert would have all the upcoming Specials.

  • Needless to say, all the “shops” refused.

  • SIX years later the adverts appeared.

B. A proposal was given to several establishments to have water machines outside their businesses.

  • The businesses approached refused it as a bad idea

  • Eight years later, many businesses have water machines

C. It was proposed that there be ONE Government Card issued in Turks and Caicos. This would be a Multi-Use Card – Driver’s License / ID / Status Card / NIB.

  • Nine years later a CARD is adopted but it is still used for ONE purpose???

D. There was a proposal to have Labor Dept. / Immigration / Scholarship “loosely linked” Why? to streamline the process of identifying JOBS available to Turks and Caicos Islanders, so that Scholarships could be offered for jobs that have PERMITS now. Students would be guided to get degrees in these fields and have a better chance at employment upon return home.

  • Ten years have passed and still, nothing has been done. Not even an Exploratory Committee set up to “look” at this radical idea.

E. After giving Lectures at several schools in 2007 – 2010 a “suggestion” was put forward to examine the issue of “statelessness” for Youth here in TCI. The projection was that in 10 years they would be of legal age and in the majority – confused, disenfranchised, easy to manipulate! Possible source of much “National Discomfort”

  • Eleven Years later still nothing concrete has been done?

F. Suggestions were put forward as to how to “form” a TI-centric fledgling Condo Rental Market. To capture this burgeoning business model and steer its benefits towards TI’s.

  • To date, nothing has been done and TI’s for the most part have been shut out of the major part of this market

  • On top of which the TCIG has no system in place to ensure that all revenues from this industry are reported and taxes on the same collected.

G. Meeting for Tourism and Hotel Industry was convened and an idea expressed: “Why is a high-end destination ‘advertising’ in Magazines and “Places” where all other Caribbean Countries (with a lesser developed product)?

The ideal expressed is that TCI should be at very “posh” places: Polo / Grand Prix Racing /Kentucky Derby / Any major Sailing Event / Monaco Boat Show! Places where the attendees can afford to come and enjoy our Island.

  • Nine years later, there is an article in a local paper that TCI Tourist Board had attended Polo in Florida?

H. Water Sports? A proposal was put forward to two different Boards at the Community College, to create a Course that would focus on training TIs so that they may have the professional “tools and certificates” in this growing Industry. Both BOARDS did not see any value in such a Course

  • Now TI’s are shut out of this lucrative market for several reasons - Funding / Training. New Development uses these reasons to bring in their “own people” in!

I. 2011 – 2013 a local shop that deals with money transfers wanted to make a “card” available to its clients. One for TCI workers, one for whoever that person was supporting “at home.” The Client can now avoid the many fees and trips to shop in order to send money HOME!

  • TCIG would not Grant a Permit for this to happen???

  • Eight years later this Company now has permission to do a chopped down version of the original card???

J. 2015 – 2017 an enterprising young TI had a vision as to where the Consumer Market was heading. So he made an investment in several “products” to facilitate this growth. An E-Wallet was created so that online purchases could be made (deposits etc). Plus would be needed for his other ventures: Home Deliveries of everything and Online Taxi Service.

  • Local Businesses did not adopt the E-Wallet

  • TCI people did not adopt it??

  • Five years later everyone is talking about needing something like this (spurred on by Covid-19 and the need for contactless buying)

There are many more examples that the writer can state, but this is enough to drive home the original headline – Learning Curve?

More to the point, why is that Curve so “low" and “long” here? Why does it take such an inordinate amount of time for an “IDEA” to permeate the culture and be adopted? There is no lack of “intelligencia” here! So, any proposal can be examined on its own merits by competent people in various fields! Again, why is this not happening?

This snail’s pace of adoption of new ideas will only continue to promote the disenfranchisement of the Turks Islander. This is not what anyone wants, but it is what is actually happening.

I have been told that there are “rules” governing everything. Like the Rule of C.B.E / C.S.E/ C.K.E – Can’t be Everywhere / Can’t Know Everything / Can’t See Everything. I’ll accept that. However, how does one explain that the “ideas” above were seen and expressed in the right places to the right people, yet nothing happened?? In one case the College Board said there were zero benefits to Turks Islanders!

Examination and “trial” adoption of “ideas”, even under our archaic British System ought to take less time. None of the ideas expressed above are “original”. Many of them are already in “play” in several countries with specific modifications, throughout the Caribbean and the World.

To stay relevant and be able to compete in this NEW WORLD post-Covid-19, Turks and Caicos has to examine this "malaise"! We have the professionals needed to design and develop a strategy for change. FIX THIS!!!

My hope is that once WE get this done. We could be the “hot spot” for the rest of the Caribbean, not only for “high-end tourism” but an example of innovation, technology and collaboration all geared towards the betterment of our nation.

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