Premier Rufus Ewing will be attending the 2013 KPMG Island Infrastructure Summit in Miami this week, as a keynote speaker, to what is anticipated to be well over 200 investors, bankers and financiers, developers and other public sector leaders.
As announced in a press briefing on Friday, Ewing will be presenting three major projects that the government has identified for the country and what he has termed “transformational” and “life changing” development opportunities.
With new resort developments on the horizon and previously stalled developments remobilizing, the total number of room keys is expected to almost double over the next five to eight years. It is with this exponential growth in mind that the first of the three projects is the re-expansion of the Providenciales International Airport. This would-be third expansion would develop a first class international arrivals and departures terminal that will offer travelers the luxury and comfort that is characteristic of a luxury high end destination like the TCI. The current expansion will be re-commissioned as a domestic and regional cargo terminal to ensure full utilization of the facility. This new airport would also have the capacity to facilitate flights from other markets and extend its service to aircraft registry as a regional hub, offering a viable alternative to the United States hub in Puerto Rico.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is strategically situated to capitalize on the transshipment of goods from North America, South America, Europe and the Caribbean. It is with this opportunity in mind that the second project being presented is the East Caicos Development Corporation. This project proposes a mega cruise port, mega cargo port and mega yacht port with resort facilities, duty free shopping and other tourist attractions. Ideally situated, and as a ship registry, the potential would be there to benefit from shipments coming from Canada and the USA to the Caribbean and South America and likewise from Europe, and return. Major cruise companies could have routes beginning in East Caicos as a major hub and Ewing has confirmed that major cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have already expressed interest in utilizing this port.
As a natural complement to the Providenciales airport expansion and the East Caicos Development Corporation comes the third project, the linking of the Caicos Islands to form one land mass. This project will be achieved in phases, with the first being the linking of Providenciales to North Caicos and the second linking East Caicos to Middle Caicos and East Caicos to South Caicos. The benefits of the one land mass are tremendous, ensuring that the economies of all the Caicos Islands have the opportunity to benefit from the development of East Caicos. The cost of imported goods would decrease, the cruise ship passengers arriving in East Caicos would have access to the delights of Providenciales and the high number of tourists arriving at the Providenciales International Airport could experience the flavours of the other islands.
The access to all of the islands would also aid in the diversification of our tourism product towards eco-tourism, with guests having the ability to enjoy the Marsh Lands of East Caicos and the Lucayan Caves of East Caicos and the caves of Middle Caicos, as well as the cultural and historic attractions of South Caicos. Other benefits would include the immediate creation, and accessibility to jobs, less need for the duplication of government supported services and the possibility to develop a trucking industry that would transport food and cargo between the islands.
When asked about how he feels and what he hopes to achieve in Miami, Ewing said, “The Turks and Caicos Islands is ripe with opportunities for investment, and the timing is right in this season of expectancy when Investors are looking to be a part of something big and life-changing for themselves, the country, the region and I daresay, the world. So it is our aim to attract the right investors and show them why they should partner with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands as opposed to anywhere else.”
“Our economy is stable with a projected growth of 3.4% in 2013. The development projects on stream will increase our room keys by fifty percent in three years and we are strategically located to be a major player in transshipment of aircraft and large vessel registry. In addition to this, our Caicos Islands are home to some of the largest marshlands and cave systems in the region and can therefore support our development of an eco-tourism center, attracting the environmentalist at heart, while preserving the natural eco-system of the island. So knowing the great potential here the government has already begun preparing the way forward and through the development of policies and the formation of public private partnerships, we will take the Turks and Caicos to a higher level of economic growth and development.”
In a recent article published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) entitled “Robust Economic Growth Must be Private-Sector Led,” Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank asserted that, while policymakers must do outreach, the private sector has to take an active role in “generating economic growth.” Further, Alejandro Werner, the director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the (IMF) stated that “durable growth” has to be “private sector-led.”
The Premier will be joined in Miami by members of his staff, the Minister for Government Support Services, George Lightbourne, whose ministry will be largely involved with this type of development, and a host of business persons from a wide cross-section of the private sector, representing business gurus, lawyers, accountants, the Tourism and Hotel Association, real estate, contractors, civil engineers and the banking industry.