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Ministerial Statement by Immigration Minister Hon. Arlington Musgrove

Minister of Immigration and Border Services Hon. Arlington Musgrove

The following is the complete ministerial statement by Minister of Immigration and Border Services Minister Hon. Arlington Musgrove.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members of this House, the strangers in the gallery, my beloved people of the Twin Islands, North and Middle Caicos, persons viewing and listing via various streaming platforms, all persons living and visiting these beautiful by nature Islands.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be afforded the opportunity to stand in this Honourable House, to conduct the business of the people. Grateful to the good people of North and Middle Caicos for allowing me to be their representative. I do not take for granted the confidence that they have placed in me, and I am forever indebted to them.

I wish to offer my profound regrets and sympathy to all persons throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands who would have lost loved ones during the course of this year especially my bereaved families in my beloved Twin Islands.  Likewise, I wish to extend sentiments of congratulations and best wishes to all those celebrating any significant milestones and special occasions.


Mr. Speaker, Galatians 6:9-10, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the appointed time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Scripture goes on to say, “therefore if we have an opportunity, let us do good to ALL PEOPLE” Mr. Speaker, Paul’s instruction in his letter to the people of Galatia many years ago, resonates profoundly with this great government and in my view serves as the premise and guiding point by which we have served and continue to delivered on behalf of our people.

Many are the raging tempers, and the billows that roll, yet we remain steadfast, resilient, toiling on and traversing the stormy weather; seizing every opportunity to do good for and by our people. For you see Mr. Speaker, doing good is all we know, and as this budget shows, not just doing go, but doing more, “MORE IN 24”.


Mr. Speaker, at the offset I wish to acknowledge the hardworking and dedicated team in the ministry of Immigration and Border Services. I owe a wealth of gratitude and appreciation to Permanent Secretary Althea Been and her staff for their diligence, unwavering commitment and support, talents, and the unmatched standard of professionalism they continue to execute in effecting the government’s mandate. I am ever grateful for the work that they consistently do.


Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services continues to break barriers, defying the odds in our fight to secure and protect our borders, combating the threat of illegal migration, human trafficking, and contraband, and continuously exploring and devising ways to provide a better customer experience, taking a holistic approach at mastering the craft of our mandate for and on behalf of the people.

The October 30, 2023, launch of phase one of the Border Forces was a significant milestone in this government’s quest to provide a world class border management system and comprehensive border protection. With the $4.8 million dollars investment, ALREADY, phase one of the Border Force is making significant inroads bolstering our defense with strategic coordination and our intelligence competencies.

For the year 2023/2024 our teams have processed, detained, and repatriated over 4,400 persons from 35 boats, compared to 2882 persons from 31 boats in FY 2023/2024, and in addition to this, some 961 persons were removed in January to March of this year alone, through inland enforcement and compliance efforts. We have recorded a total of 103 deportations.


Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the number of seizures of prohibited and restricted goods, at our borders, totaled some 332, with penalties amounting to approximately $315 thousand dollars.

Worthy of noting Mr. Speaker, is that the Customs and Inland department attracted revenue amounting to $159 million dollars. That’s my ministry Mr. Speaker.

THIS good PNP government is serious in its fight against the invasive criminal elements that seek to threaten the inland and border security of these are Turks and Caicos Islands and has taken a bold approach with the financial investment into realizing its vision in this regard.


Mr. Speaker, we promised and drones we are getting. The drones procured are being shipped to the Turks and Caicos Islands and all the necessary operational procedures are being prepared to allow for proper implementation. The fit for purpose rummaging tools have been procured that will allow the Customs and Border protection teams to rummage vessels that are identified as high risk ensuring that the necessary checks are done to mitigate any associates risks.  And there is MORE Mr. Speaker, The Digital Forensic Equipment is currently enroute to the Turks and Caicos Islands.


Mr. Speaker there has been mounting reports and complaints about the fraudulent documents that are being presented in our various departments, particularly by those persons seeking to regularize their illegal status and some agents acting on their behalf. I wish to advise this honourable house and serve notice to the general public Mr. Speaker that the forgery equipment has been procured and shipped. All of this cutting-edge technology this government is procuring will benefit the entire Country.


Our in-house Training Manager, and our Trainer The Trainer program is yielding significant returns with a variety of courses and upskilling of our staff.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to welcome the team from the Maritime Department to the Ministry who joined us commencing 1st April 2024. This is another critical piece of building blocks of the border protection model envisioned by this good Government. Together with the Labour and Border Force units they are crucial for the improved security of our borders.


Mr. Speaker, the Ports Authority continues to deliver for the people and businesses across the Turks and Caicos Islands. Consistent with The People’s Plan for Progress:- Transforming TCI through Inclusive Growth, the nation’s port support prosperity and sustainable livelihoods throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.

For the 2023/24 financial year, the Ports Authority made significant progress in rebuilding and expanding the Turks and Caicos Islands ports system.

$1,765,000 was invested on capital projects on all Islands. A further $11.8 million was invested by the government in port related projects, managed by the Ports Authority.


Mr. Speaker, investments totaling close to $40 million have been contracted to date; for the new port office complex and phase 1 and 2 of the redevelopment project.

The groundbreaking ceremony phase 1 and 2 of redevelopment project took place on January 25th and the commissioning of the Bellfield Landing Boat slips took place on January 26th, 2024.

Tenders have been launched to construct a gazebo and water sports building based on the Bellefield Landing Master Plan. Major accomplishments in the development for the delivery of world class Port for the Turks and Caicos Islands Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, rehabilitation of the South Caicos port has been completed, including construction of asphalt pavement; and a Master Plan has been commissioned for $600, 000 for the development of Cedar Park, as a community waterfront park.


The Turks and Caicos Islands continues to be a world class luxury destination, with an increasing influx of international and private airlift.  With exponential rate of growth and development we are experiencing in aviation, The Turk and Caicos Airports Authority remains steadfast in its commitment to adaptability, responding aggressively to the evolving needs and dynamics of its operation.

In response, Mr. Speaker, the TCAA has initiated a congestion alleviation plan, which encompasses renovations aimed at enhancing various critical aspects of the airport. We hear the cries and concerns of the people and immediately shift gears to respond. Mr. Speaker, this is what a progressive government does.


Mr. Speaker, in efforts to minimize disruptions to daily airport operations, the project has been divided into phases.

As the Minister with responsibility for Aviation I’m pleased to advise that plans are progressing efficiently with the comprehensive Airports Master Plan. The goal is to develop a Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for the TCIAA, inclusive of sub-master plans specific to each airport, guiding future infrastructure enhancement, development, and expansion efforts.

To this end on August 15, 2023, the TCI Airports Authority released an invitation for prequalification (IFP) for the redevelopment project under a Public Private Partnership (PPP). By the submission deadline, we received eight (8) proposals, with five (5) pre-qualified bidders being announced. Thereafter the critical next step is the issuance of the Invitation to Tender, inclusive of the draft PPP Agreement. This is going to be done this year.


Mr. Speaker I am happy to report that as at the end of March 2024 the construction of the new and fortified perimeter fence line at the JAGS McCartney International Airport is now completed, with inspection by international regulators scheduled to be completed by May 2024.

Significant progress has been made with securing international airlift for our good people of Grand Turk. We hear your cries and we are on the threshold of delivering for you.


Mr. Speaker, the South Caicos Airport is in its final stages of completion with all of its additional works, and American Airlines is expected to commence services to the island during winter 2024.

International Airport Perimeter Fence Line has been down since the 2017 hurricanes. A contract to restore the fence line was initiated under this government and for performance reasons, the TCIAA had to withdraw the contract from the previous contractor. After conducting a second open tender exercise a new contract has now been executed and the project to complete the restoration of the NBS Sr. International Airport has now commenced. This project is scheduled to be completed within 180 days and the plan is to see the restoration of full commercial flight services resume at the airport by the last quarter of 2024.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority has invested in over 4225 hours of training for its staff both locally and internationally for 2023/2024. The most recent batch of Fire fighters have just completed their training at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Fire Training and Research Center. And Mr. Speaker, The TCIAA has just completed the recruitment exercise for onboarding of five (5) new Air Traffic Controllers.


Mr. Speaker, to my good people of the North and Middle Caicos, I want to say to you that “MORE” is here. Mr. Speaker renovation works have been completed at the Eric Arthur Terminal in Middle Caicos. Shortly, we will be issuing a request for proposals to operate the restaurant within the terminal.

A contract has been signed with Dykes Nelson Architecture International, and preliminary work have begun to design and provide construction management to the Clifford Gardiner Airport on North Caicos. The team has already made their first visit to the site. This is an investment of $23 million.


Mr. Speaker, a new fire truck has been commissioned for the Clifford Gardiner Airport in North Caicos. This is no ordinary fire truck Mr. Speaker. My people of the Twin Islands are getting a custom-built 4x4 Volkan Lion Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting truck. 


To my people of the Twin islands, you all already know I don’t think anything is too good for you.

On January 25, 2024, the Ministry of Immigration and Border Service opened a multi- purpose office which houses the representative of the Twin Islands. Mr. Speaker this is the first time that the people of North and Middle Caicos can say their representative has an office where they can visit freely to interact and share their views and opinions.

My good people of North and Middle Caicos would also be happy to know that this good PNP government has just finalized the purchase of Miss Bs Building for the Aged Care. Another first for the Twins Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Speaker, I wish once again to thank the people of North and Middle Caicos for affording me the opportunity to be their humble servant and the Hon. Premier for allowing me to servant as a member of cabinet. Humbled and Grateful as always Mr. Speaker.


May God bless you, bless this government and the members of this Honourable House. May He bless the people of North and Middle Caicos and the entire Turks and Caicos Islands.


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