Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 21st meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday at the House of Assembly Building on Grand Turk.
The following post-Cabinet update issued by the cabinet secretary on Thursday, opened with a note that “The attorney general participated fully in yesterday’s meeting, fulfilling his legal and governance duties in advising the government.”
All ministers were present except Porsha Stubbs-Smith, who is out of the country on official business. Due to disruptions in service at the Grand Turk Airport, Ministers Gardiner and A. Misick attended the meeting via teleconference.
At this meeting Cabinet:
• Approved proposed amendments to the Customs Ordinance (CAP 19.04) to mandate the keeping of records by importers, which will facilitate Post Customs Clearance Audits; the Attorney Generals Chambers has been asked to draft the appropriate amending legislation for later review by Cabinet and onward submission to the House of Assembly;
• Approved the Revocation of the Domestic Financial Services Sales Tax (DFSST Variation of Rate of Tax) Order 2013 which would have increased the rate of tax from 10% to 12%. Cabinet agreed to forego the tax increase and instead agreed to undertake a review of the DFSST legislation in light of concerns expressed by the Bankers Association;
• Received a report from the Attorney General and agreed minor amendments to the Tax Information Exchange Ordinance to permit the Turks and Caicos Islands to give domestic legal effect to the Multilateral Convention on Tax Matters and to enable the Tax Information Exchange Agreements entered into by the Turks and Caicos Islands to have retrospective effect in respect of requests related to criminal tax matters;
• Received a paper from the Minister of Home Affairs and Environment regarding deteriorating air quality issues on Providenciales. Cabinet requested that the Minister of Home Affairs and Environment and the Minister of Health establish a working group (involving all relevant Ministries and Agency's) to consider developing appropriate environmental legislation to counter deforestation, pollution and littering;
• Received a paper from the Minister of Home Affairs and Environment outlining TCI’s interest in joining the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. Cabinet endorsed the Ministry’s proposal to forward a request to the CCI Secretariat to participate in the program;
• Received a paper from the Attorney General regarding the development of a strategy for the recovery of arrears in Crown Land rent. Cabinet invited the Attorney General to further develop the proposal and present recommendations which will include flexible payment plans to Cabinet at a later date;
• Received a paper from the Minister of Home Affairs and Environment providing information on the functions and affairs of the National Trust. Cabinet agreed to meet with the Directors of the National Trust to further discuss the contents of the paper;
• Received and discussed a report from the Minister of Finance providing the results of a mid-term budget review;
• Noted the preliminary report of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Taxation and requested a further meeting with the Committee to discuss its recommendations in more detail. Cabinet noted its thanks to the Blue Ribbon Committee on Taxation which was established on 18th July 2013 and held its first meeting on the 2nd August 2013 for providing their valuable time and expertise to assist this work. The Committees objective is to provide advice to the Turks and Caicos Government to broaden and modernise the tax base;
Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.