Turks and Caicos Premier, Galmo Williams’ Address To The Nation

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – Premier and Minister of Development for Turks and Caicos, Hon. Galmo Williams, MP give his address to the Island on Thursday, June 25th:

“My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, today our country remains at a standstill. It has been nearly a month since Sir Robin Auld submitted the final report of the Commission of Inquiry to H.E. Governor Gordon Wetherell and the people of our country still do not know if or when the constitution will be suspended and whether an interim administration will be introduced.

Our country cannot continue to operate in this manner. The atmosphere of uncertainty looms over our land and has created fear in the minds of citizens, residents and investors alike. Investors who want to purchase homes, land or develop property are afraid to do so when the future of our country remains uncertain.

Today, I am going to share with you the plans that my administration has for the Turks and Caicos Islands if we are allowed to continue serving our country and I urge you to demand that the Governor shares his plans for our country as well so that at the end of the day the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands are able to hold him accountable for his actions or inactions.

The economic challenges we face today are not unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Globally countries are facing the challenge of stimulating their economies in order to make it through this recession and my Government is committed to implementing measures that will boost our economy and see us through these trying financial times.

To this end, my Cabinet and I have prepared a financial proposal which we have submitted to Governor Wetherell for his support and consideration. My Cabinet proposes a stimulus package which will bring outstanding debts up-to-date, revive the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands and complete infrastructural works throughout the TCI.

As with other countries, stimulating the economy of the TCI require some borrowing, and we have requested that the borrowing guidelines for the TCI be reviewed in order to facilitate and effective stimulus plan for our country.

We all are aware of the devastation South Caicos, Salt Cay and Grand Turk faced in the wake of hurricanes Hannah and Ike. To date, no funds have been released from the 5 million pounds HMG has approved to carryout repairs to government buildings and assist the vulnerable and uninsured with rebuilding their homes and lives.

We are three weeks into the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the promises of HMG have not been delivered, our people remain vulnerable and have not been able to rebuild their homes and lives, civil servants continue to work in substandard and hazardous conditions. We cannot sit back and allow these issues to go unaddressed.

If HMG approves the changes to the borrowing guidelines as requested, my Government will commence renovating all government buildings, including the schools in Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos, the completion of the airport in South Caicos, complete the government building in Middle Caicos, build medical facilities in Middle Caicos, redesign and reconstruct the causeway between Middle and North Caicos, completion of the North Caicos Airport and Seaport and invest in Agricultural development in North Caicos.

Additionally, we will work along with the private sector and potential investors to boost the economies of these Islands so as to alleviate dependence on the government and create job opportunities for those persons wishing to continue to reside in South Caicos, North Caicos and Middle Caicos.

It is my Government’s intention to revitalize the economy of Grand Turk by working with investors interested in developments there to see those projects through to completion. This will ensure job availability within the private sector in Grand Turk. Additionally, we will renovate all government buildings which were seriously damaged during last year’s hurricanes so that civil servants can return to working in a safe and modern office environment and our students are able to attend school in proper and functional classroom facilities.

In Providenciales, my Government intends to start the construction of the Community College campus and introduce accredited bachelor degree programs which will allow TCI students to study at home as well as save the country millions of dollars in overseas scholarship tuitions and subsistence. My Government recognizes the dire need for additional primary schools in Providenciales and will commence the construction of two new primary schools on Providenciales to address the overcrowding issues at the government primary schools.

Labour and immigration are two major concerns for my Government and our people, to this end, my Cabinet and I will work closely with Labour and Immigration personnel to ensure that policies and laws are enacted so that Belongers are truly given first preference for every job opportunity in our country. We will assist these departments by providing the necessary human and financial resources which will enable the departments to police our laws and send out a strong message to those who intentionally marginalize and refuse to hire Belongers for positions they are suitably qualified to fill.

My Government is committed to rebuilding our country and reviving our economy through this economic stimulus proposal. Although borrowing is required in order to achieve the goals outlined. The fiscal stabilization plan introduced by my Government has tremendously decreased our recurrent expenditure and puts TCIG in a position to meet all of its monthly obligations once outstanding debts have been cleared.

I have outlined to you the people of our beloved country my Government’s plans for the next two years. If we are afforded the opportunity to continue serving you, we will bring these projects to fruition. I now call on you to demand the same from the Governor; if he is going to serve as your representative then he must say to you what his intentions and commitment to you is for the next two years, you have a right to know what will happen during his tenure.

We do not know what tomorrow holds for our country or its future, however, we have the assurance that God is in control and he will never leave us nor forsake us if we hold to his unchanging hand. I call on the religious leaders form all denominations to come together in prayer, seek God and ask that he reveal to us the direction he is taking us in and whatever his will is for the Turks and Caicos Islands and its people, it is my prayer that we accept his will, unite as one people and get through the challenging times together.

May God bind us together as one people with cords that can never be broken and may his bountiful blessings be upon our and our people.”

Hon. Galmo Williams, MP
Premier and Minister of Development

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