‘Save Our Summer’ launch deemed a big success
Save The Bays (STB) is calling its inaugural ‘Save Our Summer’ event a big success, with turnout exceeding expectations and much-needed funds raised to support the fast-growing environmental group’s diverse range of programs and initiatives.
CEO Vanessa Haley-Benjamin said more than 100 attendees learned about STB’s efforts to protect the environment from threats such as oil pollution and unregulated development, through a unique approach that combines public advocacy, education and – when necessary – court action.
“We raised awareness about the environment, forged new relationships, and saw a considerable boost in the number of signatures on our petition calling for an Environmental Protection Act and a Freedom of Information Act. All in all, the day was a big success,” Haley-Benjamin said.
None of it would have been possible without the help of STB partners such as Sands Beer and John Watlings Distillery, she said, reserving special thanks to the Green Parrot Bar and Grill, which hosted the event.
“Green Parrot provided us with the platform to share what we have been doing and what we have planned,” she said. “STB considers such partnerships invaluable and looks to forge even more with the wider community to build awareness.”
The fun-filled event had something for everyone, with the face-painting booth proving a particular hit among the children. Haley-Benjamin said family engagement was a priority, as a key focus of Save The Bays is engaging the next generation of Bahamians in the effort to preserve the environment.
Attendees both young and old rocked to the live entertainment provided by Green Parrot favorites the Long Island Connection, as well as Bahamian superstar and STB director Kirkland “KB” Bodie.
STB education director Joseph Darville said the funds raised will support ongoing programs such as the Youth Environmental Ambassadors, a conservation and leadership program for students. Another beneficiary will be Waterkeepers Bahamas, a groundbreaking effort to monitor water quality and safety around the country, in collaboration with the global Waterkeeper Alliance.
“More than 200 Waterkeepers are working daily to ensure that there are swimmable, drinkable, fishable waterways worldwide. Thanks to STB, The Bahamas is now part of that network, but this effort will require continued funding going forward,” Darville said.
Some of the funding will also go towards new initiatives, in particular an Oil Pollution Prevention Campaign that STB expects to launch in the coming months, according to STB’s CEO.
“Few challenges to our natural resources, and therefore our way of life, are as grave as the threat posed by oil pollution. Existing spills have already caused untold damage to marine ecosystems and groundwater reserves,” Haley-Benjamin said.
“With the prospect of offshore oil exploration now looming large, our organization feels Bahamians must do all they can to ensure that the proper safeguards, regulations and remediation protocols are in place.”
She added that the event was just the first in a series of awareness raising efforts, the next being a beach cleanup in partnership with RBC, Bahamas Waste and Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas.
“Corporate and community partnerships are the way forward for environmental organizations such as STB, which is seeking to engage the entire nation in the effort to preserve our natural heritage for the benefit of future generations,” Haley-Benjamin said.
“While collaboration can be a mechanism to raise funds, even more importantly, new relationships can increase access to knowledge resources and improve the effectiveness and relevance of our programs.”
“That is why we encourage all Bahamians who are concerned about protecting the environment to get involved. Follow us on Facebook, sign our petition and volunteer or become an official partner of Save The Bays.”
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
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