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T&T Heats up with Festivals, New Meetings Space and Hotel Deals this Summer



image004PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – June 9, 2015 – Rated the “happiest” Caribbean nation for the second time by the World Happiness Report, the dual-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago is sizzling with hot hotel deals, a thriving culinary scene and a diverse mix of cultural events this summer. With a 20 percent increase in US arrivals recorded in the first quarter of 2015, the destination is gearing up for summer with a selection of new restaurants, hotels, festivals and deals for US travelers.

New Meetings & Convention Space
Shaw Park Complex, Tobago
Set to officially open in July 2015, Tobago’s Shaw Park Complex, situated in Scarborough, is a first-rate multi-functional facility with theater, indoor sport, conference and convention amenities designed to cater to the needs of international, regional and local event organizers. The facility features a main hall that seats 3,700 and six other meeting/lecture rooms, ranging from 150 to 286 seats and will address four pillars of development including business, tourism, culture and sport. For more information, visit, call (868) 461-4112 or email

Hotel News and Updates
Bacolet Beach Club, Tobago
Bacolet Beach Club, one of Tobago’s premier boutique hotels, recently completed expansions that include the addition of the “West Wing” building. The addition features 15 luxurious, marble tiled suites and an infinity pool overlooking the hotel’s private bay. Each room’s private veranda offers panoramic views of the nearby sea and Bacolet Bay. Rates start at US $220 for the Bay De Luxe rooms, based on double occupancy. Rates include transfer from airport (four night minimum stay), full American breakfast, taxes and Wi-Fi. For more information, email or call 868.639.2357.

Courtyard Port of Spain, Trinidad
Marriott’s Courtyard Port of Spain recently upgraded one of its suites to include a full kitchen complete with the replacement of the carpet in the bedroom and living room. The upgraded suite now features Pergo flooring, a stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, electric counter top stove, and a range of small appliances, dishware, tableware and cutlery. The suite also offers a Jacuzzi tub and a large balcony overlooking the poolside terrace. The one bedroom suite can comfortably accommodate a couple or a small family, as a pull-out sofa is available in the living area. For larger families, an adjoining guest room with two queen beds is available. Rates start at US $359 for the suite, based on double occupancy. The hotel is also offering 20 percent off standard room rates for stays June 15 – September 15, 2015 with a booking window of May 15 – July 30, 2015 and a two night minimum. Guests can also take advantage of 10% off dinner at the main restaurant of the hotel during their stay. For more information, visit

New Restaurants and Entertainment
LUCE Sushi Bar & Lounge, Trinidad
Located on the restaurant level at Hilton Trinidad, LUCE is no longer the best kept secret in Port of Spain. Known for its inspiring presentation and bursting flavor, LUCE officially opened XXX. With breathtaking views of Queens Park Savannah and lush Northern Range, some have been referring to it as “the little oasis.” LUCE features floor to ceiling glass panels and an outdoor terrace and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. For daily updates and menu highlights, visit

Buccaneers Beach Bar & Grill, Tobago
Situated on the shores of Stonehaven Bay at Grafton Beach Hotel, Buccaneers is the only restaurant and “liming spot” on the beach in Tobago. Conveniently located just 15 minutes from Crown Point, Buccaneers features signature cocktails and a fantastic beach inspired menu complimenting the atmosphere of the island and its local cuisine. Guests can watch the sunset while enjoying happy hour cocktails from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. For more information, visit

Zoe Snorkeling Tours, Tobago
Owned and operated by popular Tobago waterman Duane Kenny, Zoe Snorkeling Tours is all about personalized service. Pickup locations vary based on the guests’ preference with tours starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 12 p.m. Guests can relax and enjoy the ride of the comfortable and covered 140 horsepower jet boat, complete with a swim platform on the back. The cost of the tour is US $80 per adult and US $40 per child under the age of 12. Price includes a three hour tour with snorkeling gear, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. For more information, visit

Cultural Celebrations and Festivals
Trinidad Fruit Festival
The fourth annual National Fruit Festival in Trinidad will take place at Nu Image Simplex Complex North Road, New Grant from June 19 – 21. This event is aimed at providing knowledge on local produce and focuses on the importance of maintaining local supply to meet international demands. In addition to featuring a variety of local fruits, the festival will host a Best Chow competition and aerobic challenge. Admission is free and prizes will also be given throughout the festival. For more information, call (868) 771-2473.

Tobago Dragon Boat Festival
Held at Pigeon Point Heritage Park on June 22, the annual Dragon Boat Festival offers locals and visitors alike many activities, including dances, magic shows, music, boat racing, dragon dances, food and much more. More than 20 teams from both islands compete for titles as thousands of residents and visitors cheer. The festival showcases the island’s beauty and gives patrons a chance to sample delicious local Creole and Chinese cuisine. For more information, visit

Tobago Heritage Festival
Beginning July 16 with celebrations coming to a climax in a J’ouvert and street parade on Emancipation Day (August 1), Tobago Heritage Festival is one of the most important festivals of the year for the island. Both Trinidad and Tobago have extensive cultural backgrounds, from European to African to Amerindian, creating a very unique and diverse culture. Tobago Heritage Festival celebrates traditions that are mostly African, with eclectic events and dances hosted in various villages throughout the island. Tobagonians from various communities have used this celebration of culture to educate and entertain both visitors and local youth. The main event each year is the traditional “Ole Time Wedding,” held in the village of Moriah. This mock marriage ceremony highlights the influences of European culture on the local population featuring a colorful procession of the satin-garbed bride and top-hatted groom while guests dance in the streets. For more detailed information, visit

Tobago Blue Food Festival
One of the most unique food expositions in the Caribbean, the Blue Food Festival is an annual festival where local chefs and creative, indigenous cooks come together to share their knowledge, cooking secrets and tasty blue creations with commonly-used local ingredient dasheen, the Caribbean root vegetable that actually turns blue when cooked. On October 18, 2015, guests will be treated to cooking demonstrations and competitions, samples of local chefs’ creations, and entertainment by popular local performers.
A large percentage of Trinidad & Tobago’s population consists of East Indians and a significant amount are Hindus. The nation’s Hindu festivals, customs and traditions form an integral part of society. The celebration of Divali, also called Hindu Festival of Lights, is the perfect time for travelers to immerse themselves in Hindu religion and culture. Its formal event, Yagna, showcases a traditional ambiance of Indian décor, film, music and food. The highlight is Divali night, November 11 this year, when earthen lamps made of artistically designed bamboo arches and plantain trees, called deeyaas, are lit across the country. For more information, visit

Hotel Packages
Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre, Trinidad
Nestled in the foothills of the Northern Mountain Range, less than ten minutes outside Port of Spain, Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre caters to both the leisure and business traveler. Valid for the month of August 2015 only, take 30 percent off with rates starting at US $90 for single occupancy and US $100 for double occupancy. All rates are inclusive of taxes, breakfast, wireless internet, and a complimentary cocktail evening. For more information or to book, email with attention to Barry Bidaisee.

Coco Reef Resort & Spa, Tobago
With 135 rooms, suites and villas, Coco Reef Resort & Spa offers easy access to the three most magnificent beaches in Tobago: Store Bay, Pigeon Point and Coconut Bay. This summer, the resort is offering a number of enticing deals for travelers. From May 1 to December 20, for $3,000, guests can enjoy transportation to and from ANR Robinson International Airport, deluxe ocean view accommodations with a private patio or balcony for five days and four nights, daily breakfast buffet, nightly dinner at Tamara’s Restaurant or Bacchanal’s Bistro including one glass of wine per person, five total spa treatments per person (spa manicure, spa pedicure, Swedish massage, sun repair facial and sun repair facial treatment), nightly entertainment, complimentary watersports and night/day tennis. This rate is based on double occupancy. Also valid May 1 to December 20, Coco Reef Resort guests can enjoy the exclusive web package for two. At $2,800, this package includes transportation to and from ANR Robinson International Airport, a 50-minute Swedish massage per person, ocean view accommodations with a private patio or balcony for five days and four nights, complimentary breakfast and lunch, unlimited beer, house wine, local rum drinks, vodka, gin, scotch and sodas, day/night tennis and complimentary watersports. For more information Coco Reef Resort & Spa, visit

Kapok Hotel, Trinidad
Locally owned and located just outside of Port of Spain, Kapok Hotel is offering every fifth night free for travel July 1 – August 31, 2015 with a booking window of June 1 – 30, 2015 using promo code SUMMER. Rates start at US $138.00 for standard room category. Offer available only on or

Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Tobago
With 178 deluxe oceanfront guestrooms and 22 suites, all complete with breathtaking ocean views, three oceanfront swimming pools, a PGA designed 18-hole golf course, a PADI 5-star dive center, tennis, spa services, kids club and variety of excursions, Magdalena Grand is offering 25 percent off for travel now through December 18, 2015 with a four-night minimum stay. This offer includes two free rounds of golf and must be booked by July 31, 2015. For booking information, email or call (868) 660-8500.

Plantation Beach Villas, Tobago
With six luxurious villas, each outfitted with modern amenities that provide stunning panoramas of the Caribbean Sea, Plantation Beach Villas is ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways and group reunions. Planation Beach Villas is offering a “Stay for 7, pay for 5” special, which is valid on reservations booked through November 2015 for travel during the months of June, September, October and November 2015. Rates start at US $440 per villa per night for a group of four guests or US $550 per villa per night for groups up to six guests. For booking information, email or call (868) 639-9377.

Villas at Stonehaven, Tobago
With 14 spacious villas set on the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, Villas at Stonehaven borders a protected bird sanctuary nestling in 260 acres of forested hills. Stonehaven is running a summer special of 20 percent off rates valid for stays from June 1 – July 15, 2015. For stays from July 16 – November 30, 2015, guests can take advantage of 15 percent off the room rate. To receive either of the offers, room must be booked by June 30, 2015 using booking code Sum15. Rates start at US $330 per night for two adults and one child in a One Bedroom Luxury Ocean View Villa. For more information or to book online, visit

About Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago is located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean. With its careful approach to tourism, the dual-island nation offers a distinct blend of culture, eclectic cuisine and an assortment of eco-adventure activities. Trinidad, the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ is home to the world famous Carnival and the birthplace of the steel pan drum, the only new acoustic instrument to be invented in the 20th century. Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean island with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco-attractions that include the Main Ridge Rainforest, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere and the six-time award winner for World’s Leading Ecotourism Destination by the World Travel Awards. For more information on Trinidad & Tobago visit or

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CARPHA, HCC and PAHO call on the Caribbean Community to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” for Caribbean Wellness Day



September 9, 2022 – The Caribbean Community is celebrating Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) 2022 under the theme “Our Neighbourhood, Our Health”. In commemoration of the day, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are calling on the region to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” around three main themes – Active Societies, a Smoke Free Caribbean and Healthy Schools.

In a statement commemorating the occasion, Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA noted that, “We take this opportunity, at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, to create a renewed vision and re-commit to the practices and policies that we know support the health and wellbeing of our Caribbean people.”

Built spaces and urban planning laws can significantly impact the level of movement in society and is a crucial element in ensuring a healthier Caribbean.

“The commitment of governments towards the implementation of intersectoral public policies and programs so that all neighbourhoods have basic services, safe public transportation, areas where we can socialise, safe streets, places to walk and green spaces, is so important.” PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said. “I want to recognize the efforts of many municipalities in the region that are working on making their municipalities healthy, responding to the needs of people, and facilitating strategies that improve the conditions of places where they are born, work, study and have fun,” she added.

Another issue to be addressed during the “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” campaign is the negative impact that cigarettes have on both public health and the environment.

Dr. St John noted that, “Millions of trees are cut down annually to produce the number of cigarettes that the industry demands to maintain profits, while cigarette butts and packaging can contribute to environmental pollution.” She asserted that, “This reimagining of a smoke-free Caribbean, that limits the negative impact of the tobacco industry on our health and our environment is necessary, not just for our own health but for the health of the next generation.”

Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition noted that “Healthy Schools are a cornerstone of our neighbourhoods and a building block of a productive society.  A Healthy school is smoke-free, promotes inclusive physical activity and is protected by healthy school policies.” He elaborated, “These policies would limit the sale and marketing of foods full of sugar, fats and salt both in and around schools, while increasing the availability of healthy foods and drinking water.”  In keeping with this, the recently launched digital campaign, ‘#ActOnFacts – The Food in Schools Matters’, encourages public and policymaker support for the introduction of policies that puts the health of our children at the centre.

Caribbean Wellness Day

Caribbean Wellness Day is celebrated each year on the second Saturday in September to address the threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The day was originally conceived by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is an integral part of the Port of Spain Declaration where the region united to fight the epidemic of NCDs. The event aims to increase awareness and promote activities to address non-communicable diseases including mental health issues.

The overall theme for Caribbean Wellness Day for the five year-period, 2020-2024 has been, “Power Through Collective Action”. It is this collective power that can be harnessed to affect the much-needed changes that can transform our spaces into enabling environments for a healthier Caribbean people. Collectively, the region has the power to bring the vision of a healthier Caribbean to life – one person, one neighbourhood, one nation at a time.

CARPHA, HCC and PAHO invite the public to join the celebration by visiting our social media pages to share your vision of Healthy Spaces. The campaign will feature key facts around the need for change, enable conversation in our communities and encourage our leaders to continue to build on the commitments made in the historic Port of Spain declaration.

Follow the campaign by using the hashtags: #CaribbeanWellnessDay, #CWD2022, #CWDHealthySpaces

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Covid Entry Vaccine mandate ‘working’ for Turks and Caicos



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, August 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos will not be dropping its vaccine mandate for visitors immediately according to E. Jay Saunders, TCI Deputy Premier, acting as Minister of Health; Saunders was speaking at a press conference on Monday August 8th.

He explained that while the government would certainly follow the advice of the health ministry the mandate would be around a while longer.

“We feel currently that the vaccine mandate is working for the Turks and Caicos. It certainly hasn’t slowed down the amount of tourists coming into the Turks and Caicos and we’re happy with that,” he said.

He expressed gratitude that the government would not have to be reactive and change the protocols just because of the low tourist arrivals.

“We are watching it to see what’s best for the country and so there’s no date on that. It’s not going to be in forever.

Eventually we are going to get to a point where we think that it’s safe enough, where we have enough herd immunity in the country where we can allow people to come in unvaccinated.”

While the acting minister did not have a specific date set for this removal he reassured that whenever the decision was made it would be with the best interest of the country in mind.

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#Cayman, August 20, 2022 – After cheers, celebration, and a proud victory for twenty-four old, Tiffany LeAnn Conolly, there is now dismay, disbelief, and shame.

Conolly was crowned Miss Cayman Islands Universe at the annual beauty pageant at the Westin Hotel on Saturday August 6.  Now, she is facing several criminal charges regarding an assault last year.  The newly crowned queen has not yet been convicted but appeared in Summary Court in March, facing two counts of common assault, two counts of damage to property, two further charges for disorderly conduct at a police station and one of assaulting a police officer.

Conolly was also arrested following an altercation at a former boyfriend’s house after allegedly assaulting her former lover and another family member, as well as a police officer at the detention centre following that arrest.

Conolly was still allowed to enter the pageant because she has not been found guilty of the charges; the case is still ongoing. On Saturday, she was awarded Miss Photogenic, Miss Best Smile and Miss Best-In-Gown.

The Miss Cayman Islands Universe title comes with a number of rewards and responsibilities, including a $70,000 three-year educational scholarship.  Nonetheless, Conolly may not be allowed to represent the island at the international pageant should she be convicted.

Chloe Powery-Doxey, the first runner-up and winner of Miss Best Legs, will become the new Miss Cayman Islands Universe if Conolly is convicted

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