TCI govt aims to give cash jumpstart to cruise industry workers ahead of cruising restart

Cruise Industry Grant Assistance Programme to cost $3 mil. of total $8.3 mil. being spent on local works initiatives 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS — TC Islanders working in the cruise industry are on the verge of receiving a cash grant to help them prepare for the restart of cruising, said Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development Akierra Mary Deanne Missick.

Hinting at the financial aid to come, Missick explained that the government intends to spend $3 million on the cruising initiative as part of an overall $8.3 million being invested in different programmes aimed at “getting people into work”.

Wares for sale on a beach vendor's trolley.

“Next Cabinet, we will be approving the Cruise Industry Grant Assistance Programme, which will deduct from $3 million,” the minister said.

“That grant assistance program will provide a cash grant to operators in the cruising industry who would have lost an entire 18 months of actual work because of COVID-19 and the cruise industry being shut.”

Missick added, “So, the whole thing is to bring your business back to life in preparation for the return of cruising. That would include your taxi drivers, whether they need to upgrade vehicles, pay their insurance, buy parts; it includes all water sports operators, whether you want to invest in a new jet ski or repair the ones that you have; [and] the vendors, who may buy their wares like their T-shirts and souvenirs that they need to upgrade their stock or update their stock — inventory will be included as well.”

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    A taxi on the beachfront of Queen Street on old Cockburn Town, Grand Turk. (Photo: Visit TCI)

    She acknowledged that the government might need to exceed the $3 million in spending, but noted that it is “just a start” only for Grand Turk and Salt Cay “because based on the data from the business license department, the numbers that they have provided us for persons who are registered in the tourism industry in Grand Turk is showing that an equitable distribution of the $3 million is sufficient”.

    “The beautiful part about this is that at the end of October, we will have a supplementary appropriation,” said Missick. “So, if we note the uptake is beyond $3 million, then we’re able to supplement the account there.”

    The bulk of the $8.3 million being invested into local workers is allocated for a COVID Works Programme that will hire contractors for labour-intensive projects throughout the country. Five million dollars have been set aside for that programme, which is already underway.

    “There are categories that we are looking at investing the grant money in,” she concluded.

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