Immigrants living and working in the Turks and Caicos Islands will soon be the holders of plastic identification status cards as proof of their legality in the country, as another milestone in the long journey to overhaul the Ministry of Border Control and Employment is reached.
This initiative was one of the more critical areas of focus for the Ministry as a measure in combating the expansive circulation of forged government documents among immigrant workers and residents locally. As promised by the Deputy Premier, Hon. Sean R. Astwood in his August 2017 ministerial speech in the House of Assembly, the Ministry has now moved to a more secure and controlled form of status documents that will limit the opportunities for replication and circumvention of the system.
The new ID cards will be utilized for both labour and immigration products, as they are set to replace the familiar paper cards for Work Permits, Freelance Permits, Permanent Residence, Residents Permits and Homeowners Permits. Additionally, there will now be cards issued for persons endorsed on the different products.
The initiative, which was approved through amendments to the 2016 Immigration Regulations during the November 15th meeting of Cabinet, improves the security of the government issued ID, provides a convenient way to carry proof of status, and facilitates proof of identity for endorsed individuals. On December 1st the departments commenced training and are conducting familiarization exercises internally, with stakeholders and with the general public. This process will continue over the upcoming weeks.
The Ministry aims to have the paper cards out of circulation by the end of 2018 and will commence distribution of the new cards by January 15, 2018.
The Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Culture, Heritage and Gaming via the Department of Maritime and Shipping, hosted a team from the Maritime and Coastguard Agencies, London, United Kingdom from 4th-8th December 2017.
Among the team were Mr. Richard Pellew, External improvement and Assurance, Programme Manager; Graeme Carnegie, External Improvement and Assurance, Programme Manager and Mr. Simon Whitbourn, Solicitor for the MCA United Kingdom.
Mr. Whitbourn’s main objective was to meet with representatives from the Attorney General’s Office to gain an understanding of the current state of TCI’s Maritime Laws and also the process for making new legislation. It is the hope that TCIG will benefit from CSSF Maritime Obligation and Contingent Liability Project so that we can draft the necessary legislation that will enable TCI’s maritime laws to be brought up to date and meet our obligations as far as Category 2 Shipping Registry are concerned.
The Other team members met with the Department Maritime and Shipping where matters relating to the British Shipping Registry and the enhancement of the department were discussed and reviewed. Further meetings with the Minister and Permanent Secretary responsible for Maritime Affairs were also held. These meetings were fruitful in helping to plot a way forward that would strengthen this sector.
On Thursday 7th December and Friday 8th December the team visited the Ministry Office on the island of Grand Turk, the Maritime Grand Turk Division, Parliament members, the Governor’s Office and the Director of Ports Authority to establish agreements with Maritime regulations.
The team departed for London on Friday 8th 2017.