Turks and Caicos is best known for its beautiful tropical weather, white sand beaches and award winning scuba diving. Located in the Caribbean, this island paradise has been receiving notoriety for being a popular celebrity destination.
Recently, on August 14, 2009, Great Britain exercised its privilege as colonial overlord of the islands to take over the Turks and Caicos government in response to concerns about corruption by its former Premier, Michael Misick.
Despite a newly elected government having been installed in the Spring of 2009, Great Britain suspended Turks and Caicos' constitution. Direct rule by Great Britain over the islands will be likely for a minimum of two years.
Now that Great Britain is in charge it is also responsible for the debt, budget and finances. Martin Stanley, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the new government, will attempt to draft a budget next week with the help of the newly appointed Advisory Council.
The bulk of the debt is owed to a medical contractor in Florida for health care for Turks and Caicos citizens. However, Stanley has announced that the budget is under "firm control" and that monthly spending has been reduced by almost half from last year.
In addition to Great Britain's best efforts to reduce spending, what about stimulating the Turks and Caicos economy? What plan does Stanley have for that, if any? Focusing on tourism is the practical method to get the islands' finances back on track. The leading cash receivables in the islands are fishing, tourism and banking, and not in that order.
Turks & Caicos has enjoyed a robust economy due, in large part, to the investors and businesses which stimulate tourism and thus the economy. Since its main economic growth is tourism dollars, it would be in the island's best interest to insist that Great Britain offer better incentives for businesses and developers.
As it stands, Great Britain could offer assurances to the developers that their projects are welcomed. This is true particularly in the wake of the Nikki Beach Resort failure, a former major revenue earner and employer for Turks and Caicos citizens. Many islanders who were employed by the posh Nikki Beach Resort, are currently out of work. This turn in the unemployment numbers is a matter that can be also addressed by tourism dollars.
Recent news of a newly appointed tourism board assembled by Great Britain is exciting. However, it will be necessary for the board to listen to Islanders urging the new government to make certain that tourism is properly addressed targeting both the tourists and the businesses that create jobs and revenue for Turks and Caicos.
Incentives for foreign investors will play an important role in solving the employment problems and encouraging economic regrowth in Turks and Caicos.
Anita Mendiratta of CNN, put it well, "And, importantly, tourism attracts high levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Investors sharing the vision for the destination with the home government confidently inject significant levels of key resources into tourism and general infrastructure development projects, enabling the destination to proactively engineer their future."