First major talks in years
By Dana Niland
Turks and Caicos Governor Peter Beckingham met with Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, Andres Navarro in Santo Domingo last week in the first high level talks between the two sides in years.
Also in attendance were Turks and Caicos Minister of Border Control and Labor, Clara Gardiner, two Dominican Vice Ministers, the Head of thee Navy and a team of officials.
“This was a meaty and productive exchange, the first for many years,” said Beckingham. “I am grateful to the DR Foreign Minister, Andres Navarro, for giving so much of his and his team’s time for such a high level exchange. I am delighted that the Foreign Minister intends to visit the Turks and Caicos Islands to see for himself the successes I described.”
At the meeting, the Dominican Republic expressed a wish to open a full time Consulate in The Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Governor agreed to discuss this request with the Premier and Minister of Border Control and to notify the Foreign Minister as soon as possible.
The two parties noted the increasing number of arrests of Dominican fishermen operating illegally within TCI Waters, and agreed to open a dialogue about the possibility of cooperation between the Dominican navy and TCI police force to prevent this activity.
They also noted the likelihood of illegal human trafficking between the two countries, and agreed to increase efforts to prevent this practice.
Both sides noted that there are potential opportunities for more trade between the countries, including in construction materials and processing, as well as in direct investment in the tourism and services sectors.
“Given the small size of TCI compared to DR these talks represent a real breakthrough in our relationship,” Beckingham said. “I am grateful to the support of the British Ambassador in facilitating them, and I am confident TCI can build on them for our long term benefit.”