The Premier Honourable Charles Washington Misick and Deputy Premier Honourable Erwin Jay Saunders met with approximately 70 Turks and Caicos Islanders living in the United Kingdom on Saturday, 13 November in Manchester, United Kingdom.
The aim of the meeting, according to government, was to advise the diaspora on Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s vision for 2040 and beyond, including projects ongoing and proposed; but also, to hear from the diaspora, some of their concerns particularly as it relates to their return to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Among the concerns highlighted by the diaspora were:
Access to better healthcare services and specialized medical care;
Greater special needs support and assistance;
Employment opportunities for returning students; and
Ease of access to Government-issued documents;
The Premier assured the group that the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) has already begun a review of TCI’s healthcare systems, saying that the TCIG has also allocated $300,000.00 to assist with out of school special needs support and to assist with assessments and overseas care of students with special needs.
The TCI delegation shared updates on investment opportunities for young professionals, post-degree job opportunities for returning students and financing for start-up businesses to support local investors and entrepreneurs through the Access to Finance initiatives which will be aimed at providing access to development financing for Turks and Caicos Islanders.
“My government is aware that TC Islanders are currently unable to take advantage of investment opportunities due to a lack of access to capital. My Government is currently developing a fund which will grant access to financing for young entrepreneurs, and will poise TC Islanders in the best position for advantageous investment,” Premier Misick stated.
Students were urged to consider the potential for growth in underdeveloped sectors in the TCI, when choosing subject areas. Emphasis was placed on agriculture and other sectors including communications and information technology and the subsequent increase in job opportunities in those sectors with the impending establishment of the Communications Directorate and implementation of new e-government systems.
The Office of the Premier and Public Policy has said it was in the process of establishing a diaspora register to gather information on the number of Turks and Caicos Islanders abroad, location and area of study and/or skills training.
It said further that the information compiled will be shared with various ministries to assist citizens’ transition and assimilation once home.
The government pointed out that the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is committed to providing policies, programmes and favourable conditions that allow for Turks and Caicos Islanders who are returning home with degrees, job experience and training to benefit from gainful employment and leverage investment and business opportunities that will ultimately aid the development, diversification, strengthening and longevity of the TCI economy.
The Premier and Deputy Premier were joined by Hon. Shaun Malcolm MP; Hon. Kyle Knowles MP; Deputy Secretary and Head of Secretariat in the Office of the Premier and Public Policy, Mr Miquel Swann; Ms Denika Been, Executive Administrator for the Ministry of Finance Investment and Trade; Ms. Lareesa Robinson; and Administrative Officer for the Office of the Premier and Public Policy, Mr Aaron Garland.