Providenciales, 24 Dec 2015 – A very happy Christmas to everyone in Turks and Caicos!
It is tempting to start a message like this by saying that it has been another eventful year. I’m not sure that, for TCI and most of its residents, it has been any more or less significant than most years. We have, fortunately, escaped the worst of the tropical storms or hurricanes which hit some of our neighbours, and we have been untroubled by some of the traumatic and dreadful events which have hit, through international terrorism, the citizens of Paris and other cities. On a brighter note it was great to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Waterloo residence in Grand Turk, which is an outstanding example in the region of TCI’s history.
So overall we can look back on a year which has seen TCI take a number of steps to strengthening its economy, its tourism and its international standing. By next March the economy will have improved enough for us to pay down most of the remainder of the loan guaranteed by the UK Government in 2010, and to secure a small loan from the commercial banks.
Tourism continues to increase by leaps and bounds and 2015 saw TCI crowned by Trip Advisor as the world’s No.1 island destination. We are now the envy of many of our Caribbean neighbours with a growing air lift across the United States and Canada, with Fort Lauderdale and Chicago being two of the newest cities with direct flights. I’m sure many of us will benefit from the competitive air fares that these new routes bring. We should also not forget the valuable service provided domestically, and internationally, by our two domestic airlines.
Growing alongside these developments we have also been able to enhance our own reputation internationally. Our tourism success is entirely dependent on our standing, and although there remains a worrying level of burglaries and aggravated robbery, and sadly some still unsolved murders, overall our security reputation is high. We wouldn’t get the number of tourist visitors if it wasn’t. Can I pay tribute here to the work of the police force; they sometimes have to put themselves in positions of danger to protect us.
TCI’s international standing was also enhanced by the magnificent achievement of Delano Williams in winning a bronze medal as a member of Great Britain’s 4 x 4 men’s relay team at the World Athletic Championships in Beijing earlier this year. He is a great Ambassador for TCI, I have enjoyed meeting him, and appreciated his support for my wife Jill’s Footsteps4Good walk/run in Provo. We should all wish him well for the Olympics next year.
We need to protect the reputation of our environment. The thousands of tourists who come here expect to see pristine beaches and clean surroundings. I would also like to acknowledge the work of NGOs and many individuals who give up their time to protecting and cleaning up our surroundings. Walking through some of the islands for Jill’s second fund raising event I was able to see what a beautiful environment we have, but how quickly it can be ruined by litter and debris.
Finally, at Christmas, we should of course remind ourselves – in whatever way we see appropriate – of the message of Christmas, about sacrifice and giving. I was interested to hear our politicians, from both main parties, extolling the virtues of graciousness, peace and good will at the lovely Christmas tree lighting in Grand Turk this month. I hope that they, and all of us in Turks and Caicos, will remember those virtues – shown to us above all in the life of Jesus – throughout 2016.
Jill and I look forward to seeing as many of you as we can again next year, and we wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas, and a blessed and prosperous New Year.
Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.
The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.
The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year. In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.
In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
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