Governor: Turks and Caicos Has “Real Potential” for Economic Growth

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Above: the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Turks and Caicos Islands has “real potential for economic growth,” according to Governor Ric Todd, who launched the territory’s new Green Paper on economic development Monday.

The paper, which is intended to kick off a public consultation on the future economic development strategy for the TCI, was drafted by a team of officials led by Turks and Caicos Chief Economist Stephen Pollard, a former senior executive at the Asian Development Bank.

“The Green Paper recognizes that the TCI has real potential for economic growth,” Todd said. “It also recognizes, too, that in order to achieve and maximize growth, the way that things have traditionally been done here may need to change; these issues require public debate.”

Todd pointed to a number of factors he said made the territory a “great value proposition,” including its relatively short distance from the North and South American markets, the fact that English is spoken in the territory and that it uses the US dollar.

“While the economy is certainly in much better shape now than it was when the Interim Administration took over in 2009, I recognize that not everyone on the islands may not feel or be benefiting from these improvements,” Todd said. “That is why it is important to begin a thoughtful stock take of what economic policy direction the people of the islands want to take in the future. The question is, while we are doing significantly better now, what are the things that are holding the economy back?”

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom announced that elections would finally return to the territory in November, a major milestone for the TCI, which was swept by allegations of widespread corruption that led to a Commission of Enquiry and the suspension of autonomous rule.