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Stepping Stones
Edition 7
Stepping Stones
Edition 8
Stepping Stones
Edition 9
Stepping Stones
Edition 10
Stepping Stones
Edition 11
Stepping Stones
Edition 12
Stepping Stones
Edition 13
Stepping Stones
Edition 14
Stepping Stones
Edition 15
Stepping Stones
Edition 16
Stepping Stones
Edition 17

Whenever I sit down and think about the topic for my weekly Stepping Stones column I am beset by the myriad of ideas that come to mind. There are so many things going on in our Turks and Caicos right now: National issues to tackle and personal stories affecting families and communities that I hear every day. Many of these stories and concerns I hear are negative, but we must remember that the purpose of this column is to inspire; to inspire every reader to turn negatives into positives.

My goal is to empower and encourage you; to let you know that no experience in your life is too difficult to overcome; no defeat is permanent and that no failure should overwhelm you.

I have very dear friends from other countries living here in the Turks and Caicos Islands- people of different cultures, creeds and race. These are persons I have embraced, loved and served. These are individuals who we can learn from and who, equally, can learn from us. So after listening to a few experiences I will share some with you.

I asked a very intelligent young lady this week to share with me what it is like for a foreigner living and working in the Turks and Caicos Islands during an elected government versus the present interim government. This Caribbean native was quite frank, and said that honestly there were few differences between the two periods.

However one difference that she could name was that under the Interim Administration times have gotten harder - for locals and expatriates alike. She said “combined with the general decline in the world economy and the Government’s conservative investment approach, new and raised taxes and fees (with more to come)- a lot of persons have experienced salary cuts and/ job cuts. Usually the first set to go are expats, because of course employers will show preference to Turks and Caicos Islanders.”

She continued, “if positions do become available, Turks and Caicos Islanders would get preference over expats, if only because bosses are looking for ways to reduce expense and locals need no permits (which are set to increase).”

So there we have it, my fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, a different perspective.

An increasing number of expatriates are leaving the country, and though the motto of “Turks Islanders First” stands proudly and strong, this mass exodus does have its disadvantages. The Turks and Caicos Islands is faced with a rapidly declining population.

Many of us can remember the rapid growth of the Islands a few short years ago. Everyone benefitted. More businesses got their start; there was a booming construction sector, more Turks Islanders became land owners in their own right- building apartments, plazas and office spaces.

Now resources are stretched thin. Less demand and too much supply has resulted in more apartments standing empty, more offices spaces displaying dusty "For Rent" signs, less patronage for struggling businesses, and a smaller population to impose taxes (which means each person pays more).

What can we take away from this? We are all facing struggles alike. I am hoping that we can all try living together here in the Turks and Caicos Islands complimenting each other as one people who need each other.

Job opportunities are scarce and a few openings occasionally become available. What are Turks and Caicos Islanders doing to position themselves when these jobs become available?

We must use these stories and perspectives as Stepping Stones. We cannot allow ourselves to just be the complainers. Choose to test your talents and use your education to make yourselves the first choice for jobs. Not because of Labour policies that dictate a preference for Turks and Caicos Islanders, but because you are the best at what you do. And for those of us, who are employed, show up at your jobs, do it to the best of your abilities and take your responsibilities seriously. You are a representative of what a qualified, motivated and driven Turks and Caicos Islander can do.

Side Note: I must commend Mrs. Sheba Wilson for writing such an important article which I am going to encourage you to read, (volume 8 no 11, page 17) of the Turks and Caicos SUN). I am going to also ask you to read the last paragraph of Mr. Royal Robinson’s article in the last week’s SUN Newspaper on page 6.