Providenciales, 05 Jun 2015 – Houston’s inaugural flight landed on Saturday at the Provo International, but stealing the thunder of that new commute was the hundreds of visitors arriving almost simultaneously for their TCI vacations. As many as nine airliners were on the ground Saturday and it seemed the International Arrivals area was going to burst at its seams with so many visitors getting in to Providenciales at one time. Saturday is the busiest day for the country’s gateway – Providenciales International Airport – and as hundreds filed in to be processed by Immigration, collect their bags at the one baggage carousel and file through Customs – it seemed an awful mess, but Lavern Reynolds, Terminal and Marketing Manager with the TCI Airports Authority assured things were under control.
“I don’t think it is overwhelming. I think it is one of those things whereby we have to put all of our ducks in a row; we have other partners that we are working along with which is Customs, as well as Immigration and the airlines and the other entities within the airport itself. I think it’s wonderful for us to be able to keep busy and give them work pretty much, all year round. So I think it keeps us on our toes because you might get a bit relaxed in the off season and then you have to speed things up for the winter season; this way you keep yourself at a very busy pace, all year round.”
Ralph Higgs, Tourist Board Director, was pleased with the processing speed of TCI Border Control but said, there is some work to be done.
“Today is clearly a very busy day. A very impressive eight or nine jets are on their airport at the same time, I think that speaks to a lot of positive things but it also speaks to situations that we must internally address as quickly as we can. Sometimes success can present challenges and we are very cognizant of that, and we will continue grow as we try to mitigate the challenges that growth brings.”
There was reportedly a disgruntled guest who posted a long waiting time on the arrivals side in Provo on social media; but President of the Hotel & Tourism Association, Michel Nuetelings said there have been no complaints officially.
“It would be better if they were spaced out, but I think we the airport expansion things are a lot smoother than they used to be and I think everyone is putting in every single effort possible to make it work. Now you always have a few people who may complain about it but I think we know how to turn those around in our hotels and in the various services they get to, they know how to turn that around and make sure people leave here with a memorable experience.”
It was unknown what the average processing time per guest family is at the PIA. Later, hear what Minister of Tourism, Porsha Smith and other delegates had to say about that inaugural flight from Houston which touched down Saturday in Provo.
BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’
Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support
#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.
Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.
“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.
“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”
The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.
In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.
Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.
“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.
“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”
Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.
Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.
Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.
“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”
Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.
The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.
Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.
“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”
Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.
“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.
Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.
“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”
Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel
CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel
#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.
Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.
Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.
Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.
“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.
Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.
“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.
She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”
AMNESTY CAN ONLY HAPPEN WHEN WE CREATE PLACES OF REFUGE IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR OUR HURTING BOYS
By Darron Hilaire Jr. – Youth Advocate & Mentor
We’re beginning a new week with a record-breaking murder report.
Here are some of my latest thoughts on the matter at hand.
I don’t agree that things are “out of hand”, as I’ve heard it said in many instances.
I think we are still dealing with a fairly young (relatively 10-year-old) issue.
I do agree that things are VERY BAD, but I also believe that intervention is still very much within our reach as a country – this context is very important.
When we are dealing with something bigger than us or foreign to us, it always seems “out of hand”. TCI’s crime and gun violence rampage are foreign issues. Just over ten years ago, all of this was unheard of in our little paradisiacal island.
Let me put it in a different context.
Mothers, for instance, who are not accustomed to disciplining boys or raising boys might say a boy is “out of hand” because, well, she doesn’t understand the nature of boys.
She will call his father and say, “Come deal with this boy of yours”, and the father would walk in, and it seems almost automatic to him how he dismantles the situation.
And, it is not automatic by any means, however, because he understands his own boyish nature, he doesn’t deal with the issue from the same extreme vantage point as the mother.
In an ideal situation, a healthy situation, he deals with it from a place of understanding.
To make matters worse, he deals with it from a place of aggression and rage – and this too has its implications on how boys grow up to be angry and aggressive men.
Let this be a caution by itself, that if we take the position of operating out of understanding, we have a shot at intervention, but if we take the position of operation out of aggression and rage, we will only further exacerbate the situation.
And this is what I believe we are doing – operating from a place of extreme.
On another note, I think the notices calling for a voluntary turnover of guns, a “gun amnesty”, as we’ve put it, is rather absurd.
I, on the other hand, am more concerned about what made these young men pick up the guns in the first place, rather than pressuring them to turn over their source of protection.
I think there are some questions we have to ask here – although, hypothetically for now, until we can come face to face with some of the offenders.
- WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU FELT PROTECTED?
- WHO OR WHAT ROBBED YOU OF YOUR SENSE OF SECURITY?
As simple as those questions sound, I think it humanizes the situation – which is something we have to start to do. These are human beings. These are boys or young men, rather. These are someone’s children, someone’s brother, someone’s friends.
These are not faceless, nameless, soul-less, and body-less people. These are boys/young men with bodies, faces, names, souls, human needs, and families.
And my hunch is that sometimes when we don’t feel protected, we feel tempted to take protection into our own hands.
That is easy for us to picture as a people, because the reason we are crying out for the powers that be to take an intervention if we’re honest, is not because we care so much about these young men and their lives and their families, we are concerned about our own protection.
Because, helplessness will drive us to make cowardice recommendations to have these young men eliminated from the society as if they never belonged here, as if their lives never mattered; but compassion will beckon us towards curiosity, care, and courage.
I think when we put it that way, that is a feeling that all of us can resonate with.
I think when we think about it that way, we can start to devise strategies for conscious intervention and stop reducing everything to tactical force.
YOU CAN NOT HEAL TRAUMA WITH MORE TRAUMA.
The tactical force will help with rounding up, YES, but it will not help with soul healing, transformation, and rehabilitation. It will not help with creating a place of refuge for the kind of amnesty to happen.
Amnesty doesn’t just happen.
In fact, AMNESTY WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN A COUNTRY WHERE VICTIMS AND OFFENDERS DON’T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN BE PROTECTED BY THE SYSTEMS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PROTECT THEM.
We can call for it all we want.
We can even pray for it; it will not come.
If there is corruption in the systems that are designed for our protection, there will be no amnesty – there will only be more outrage and more young men externalizing their pain by taking it out on the society that never protected them.
When we learn how to create safe places for our children, our young men, to take our wounds to, only then can we create and encourage systems of amnesty.
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