Unfortunately, it has come to this. The time to take drastic measures to reclaim the birthright of Turks Islanders. By this, I mean the sun….sand…sea…!
Water Sports Industry accounts for a large chunk of the amount tourists spend in Turks and Caicos. Yet hardly any Turks Island natives are involved or employed in any meaningful way. Therefore, not being able to share in the “bounty”!
Yes, bounty, due to the tremendous costs for any type of Water Sport. Translation, for Tourist to Parasail, Dive, Snorkel, Fish, Kiteboard, Ski-Doo and more the prices in TCI are a lot higher than the average for the Caribbean. The Tour Operators charge a premium for their services. (Whether or not the charge/ cost is justified vs the delivery of the service will be dealt with in another article.)
Water Sports in Turks and Caicos is a “protected category” of business and only born Turks Islanders are allowed to hold a Business License. In actuality, there are very few Operators that are TI…to date!!! How did this come about? Simply, and craftily, where an investor from outside TCI “finds” a local friend to be the 51% registered beneficial owner of the Company. Now this “investor” can operate legally and with impunity.
I have zero objections to this practice. However, I recommend that the legislation should be adjusted (legal wording) to reflect that in order for any Company set up this way to be in operation, then the TI individual has to have a ‘job’ in the Company. He/She has to do some type of meaningful work on behalf of the company and not be just a figurehead that collects a check at the end of each month, not knowing anything about the operation.
Furthermore, this 51% stakeholder has to become a signatory on any Bank Account(s) that this Company holds here in Turks and Caicos. The TI can now know more about the Operation as a whole. True transparency amongst partners would be achieved.
To this end and to make a new start the TCIG should suspend ALL Water Sports Licenses for the next Season, Or, give 90 days’ notice to all Companies so that they can make the adjustment to the NEW PARADIGM.
If, according to the rhetoric that is so easily bandied about “Turks Islander” is to be “first” then TCIG ought to put in practice legislation that will encourage this to happen. A means to monitor this should also be devised. There will always be “loopholes” to be exploited, but a “dynamic Government” can discover them and “plug” them!
The bottom line is simply that Turks Islanders deserve to have a much larger share of the “monies” collected from Water Sports. Especially if it is a “protected” category. Regardless of what “new” device an investor uses to circumvent this.