Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood continues to knock the Washington Misick Administration over the scrapping of the Tourist Board, which has been replaced by the Destination Management Organisation (DMO). The following is the latest news release by the opposition leader:
It should be now clear to everyone that this PNP Government does not have a clue or concern about our people of the Turks & Caicos Islands:
The entire transfer of the Tourist Board, the getting rid over close to 50 years of Legacy and experience has been thrown away by this hapless, money-grabbing PNP Administration. Additionally, we are hearing of many falsehoods and untruths being released by the PNP Government.
As I have stated in previous releases and also during the Budget Debate; owing to its legacy and massive achievements in the promotion of Tourism for the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Tourist Board was one legacy institution that the Government should have retained, enhanced, and expanded.
These are our qualified and experienced people. I am not concerned about whom they vote for, or whether or not they vote at all. What concerns me is how a government elected by the people, is extinguishing our people, and our Institutions.
I continue to believe that all that was stated that the DMO would deliver, could have been delivered by enhancing the staff complement and expanding the functioning and offerings of the existing Tourist Board.
Further, this PNP Government sold the Country a Bill of Goods about dubious, future, and speculative returns for tourism but actions speak louder than words. I would ask readers to consider these points;
1. After promising staff that they would be getting redundancy and severance benefits they are now seeking to renege on those promises.
2. It is normal that severance and redundancy benefits are issues settled by law under the Employment Ordinance and I will add at my insistence, Common Decency.
3. No new redeployments in government or the DMO have been confirmed.
If you hire someone over 20 years, more or less, use them, benefit from them, and then change your mind about continuing to employ them because you think foreign workers who are less qualified than your people are better than your own TCI people, then the least you can do is pay them their benefits.
You, as an elected government, should not be listening to any foreign legal opinion or any Director’s opinion to decide that you, the PNP Government, no longer want to pay the Tourist Board Staff what they are owed, and what they have earned through their years of employment.
Common sense and decency, or the minimum concern for your people would lead you as Premier and Minister of Tourism to insist that your people be paid what they are owed.
Where are the voices of the other PNP Ministers and MPs on this? Does their silence mean that they are in full support?
this is not a matter of law but really a matter of caring for your people, the same people and their families that you are asking to vote for you.
Is this the Kind of precedent this PNP Government wants to set in the TCI? That after the people deserving of this money, you promise them the pay, you then go behind their backs, you listen to a legal opinion, you listen to Directors, and then say the staff cannot be paid?
This is more than a stab in the back, it is an attack from all sides and lower than any low this PNP Government continues to aspire to.
The PDM Opposition continues to demand that the Tourist Board Workers be paid their deserving severance pay and that they be offered first right of refusal for available jobs in the PNP’s DMO, or with other available jobs in government for which their skills correspond to.
This is not the time to abandon our Tourist Board Staff and leave them out in the cold, especially with global inflation and the cost-of-living spiking.
you need to do right by the people, you have the money, $423 million, pay them, and stop playing games with people’s lives!
This travesty must end.
Is this what the 14 elected PNP Ministers and backbenchers have been elected for?
What are you saying to the people and the voters?
Are you now telling our people that “we the PNP can make you promises, break those promises and at Election time come to you with idle talk of empowerment, a citizen’s contract, living your best lives, and vote for PNP, we will take care of you?
Well, this defaulting on Severance and redundancy benefits is a complete and deliberate of past and future promises ever made by this PNP administration.
It is time for fairness and justice, and the time is now.