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Premier Of The Turks And Caicos Islands, Dr. The Honourable Rufus W. Ewing Addresses The Foreign Affairs Committee On Governance In London

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London, United Kingdom, Tuesday December 1, 2015 – The Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Dr. The Honourable Rufus W. Ewing, yesterday, made representation on matters of governance as it relates to the Overseas Territories and particularly, as it relates to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The address was delivered to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the presence of other Overseas Territories Leaders, who are gathered in London this week to attend the Joint Ministerial Conference 2015.
The Premier’s address, which was delivered in part (due to time constraints) but later submitted, read:
“Members of the FAC it gives me great pleasures of address you all here this morning on behalf of the British Overseas Territories on the issue of governance.

“The Overseas territories enjoy a long period of relationship with the United Kingdom Government ranging from Bermuda in the early 1600s to the British Antarctic Territory as recent as 1908.
“The territories have in common the Queen as the head of state who is represented in the territories by a Governor or such person appointed by the FCO whose authority varies across the territories ranging from limited reserve powers in areas of foreign affairs, security and defense to those far reaching powers and responsibilities extending into the internal administrative governance of the territories which often overshadow the roles and responsibilities of locally elected government.

“These governance and administrative arrangements are laid out within each territory’s constitution where the good governance framework also receives its genesis and are refined by subordinate good governance legislations giving birth to good governance bodies.

“Even though each overseas may territory differ greatly from each other in size, population, economy, administrative capacity and level of political maturity, each territory has a right to self determination and self governance based on the settle will of the peoples of each territory and this self determination include the choice to remain a British OT. The British government has the responsibility to ensure that the territories are protected and are provided with a constitutional and governance framework that ensures good governance and supports progressive move towards self governance in whatever form.

“The constitutional construct varies greatly between the overseas territories and the rationalization for such construct seems haphazard and reactionary to circumstance in many instances and not based on the principles of the UK’s responsibility as laid out in the UN Convention and principles of modern democracies and good governance.
“There are many territories who feel strongly that the reserve powers of the governor are too wide in scope and overreaching into the daily executive decisions of the territory. There are many territories who feels that the governor has too much influence in the legislature in addition to veto powers.
“There are many territories who feels that the UK’s persistence as borne in the constitutional construct, to separate politics from governance the territories undermines the ability of locally elected politicians to deliver their political mandate and a shift in decision making powers to the FCO.
“There are many overseas territories who are concerned about not only the reserve powers of their governor but also the method and criteria used for the selection of their governor as this impacts heavily not only on the style of governance but the extent of interference of the governor outside of their constitutional remit.
“Ladies and gentleman I have spoken broadly on governance arrangements and concerns that you may find across the OTs, so I now turn my attention specifically to the Turks and Caicos Islands to highlight such governance concerns.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands as a UK Overseas Territory was administered via its own Governor since 1972 after the Bahamas went independent and in 1976 gain its own constitution that permitted elected ministerial system of governance.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands has had its constitution suspended twice for allegations of maladministration and corruption as was discovered in two commissions of inquiries. There are many including myself who still question the need for suspension of the constitution as a necessity to intervene and correct and weakness in governance as whatever failures there were did not have its origin in the constitution. The elected government of the TCI believe in and embraces the good governance bodies that have been implemented prior to and during the direct rule from the UK, but we are of the view that there are many provisions within the new TCI constitution when combined with the mandates of the good governance institutions stiffles the ability of any elected goverment to govern effectively.
“Governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands is even further controlled by the UK via the new role of a Chief Financial Officer who has decision making and veto powers as it relates to financial management as a condition of the U.K. loan guarantee which will expire in February of this year. The financial legislative framework in the Turks and Caicos outside of the provisions for a CFO has many provisions for safeguarding and ensuring sound financial management and we as an elected government are sufficiently confident that with these systems in place there would be no need for a CFO beyond the timeframe specified.

“There are many concerns related to the current Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution and these concerns were well articulated in the recent report on the TCI Constitution and the subsequent House of Assembly recommendations for constitutional amendments which were submitted to the FCO. In the new year we will be addressing these concerns and other governance issues with a bipartisan team interfacing with the FCO and this FAC so as to improve and strengthen the relationship between the TCI and the U.K. Government with respect to governance in the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Mr. Chair on behalf of the Overseas Territories I thank you for this opportunity to address this body today on these issues of governance.”

The meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee was the first of several to be held with the Overseas Territories Leaders and key UK Government Committees and officials, including the Plenary Sessions of the Joint Ministerial Council, which also began yesterday, December 1st at Lancaster House in London.
Premier Ewing is scheduled to deliver another address at the JMC later today at the Plenary Session on the Challenges Facing Small Island Economies.

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Grace Bay Beach Crowned Caribbean’s Best  

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (February 29th, 2024) – Experience Turks and Caicos is pleased to announce that the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach has been recognised by Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards No. 1 Beach in the Caribbean and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking No. 5 among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach has consistently ranked among the top beaches in the world on the Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards since 2019.  The highest level of Tripadvisor’s awards, the Best of the Best winners are among the top one percent of listings around the world on Tripadvisor.

As the world’s largest travel guidance platform, Tripadvisor has unparalleled authority with travelers and diners. This award is based on genuine feedback from anyone in the community who has visited and left an authentic, first-hand review on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period, making it a valuable and trustworthy designation of travelers’ favourites.

Responding to this latest accolade for the Turks and Caicos Islands’ most famous beach, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said as a luxury destination, the Turks and Caicos Islands has a natural allure with its breathtaking beaches that allows affluent leisure travelers to unwind and relax in comfort.

“Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award is one of the most recognised and coveted awards in the travel space, so it is very valuable to us to have our very own Grace Bay Beach included yet again among the best beaches in the world. I want to thank all of our visitors who continue to make the Turks and Caicos Islands their vacation spot of choice and who enjoy the white sand and clear, turquoise waters of Grace Bay Beach. For those who are yet to experience the beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I urge you to visit and spend some time with us. We look forward to welcoming you,” said the Minister.

“Congratulations to the Turks and Caicos Islands and Grace Bay Beach on its recognition in

Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards Best of the Best for 2024,” said John Boris, Chief Growth Officer at Tripadvisor. “Ranking among the top percentage of businesses globally means you have made such a memorable impact on your visitors that many of them took time to go online and leave a glowing review about their experience. Travelers rely on Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best lists to help them navigate the myriad things to see, eat and do across the globe. We hope this recognition continues to drive business to you in 2024 and beyond.”

Tripadvisor said Grace Bay Beach is a scenic spot with powdery-white sand and bright blue waters where you can relax on the shore, swim in the calm sea, try some water sports and at the end of the day, go for a walk along the beach and catch the breathtaking sunset.

Check out all the reviews and discover more about Grace Bay Beach HERE.

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Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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She Pivoted then She Soared: Meet Sandra Lightbourne, Telephone Operator Turned Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos

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February 29, 2024                                                                                           

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: In 1983, Sandra Lightbourne embarked on her professional journey at a popular telecommunications company, as a telephone operator. Little did she know that her career would evolve into a remarkable story of resilience, adaptability and continuous growth.

She quickly proved her mettle and climbed the corporate ladder. From the sales department to customer service, and later as the billing and credit control manager, she demonstrated not only a keen understanding of the industry but also an ability to excel in diverse roles.

However, every success story has its challenges. After facing redundancy, Sandra embraced change and transitioned into the dynamic world of hospitality. In August 2013, she started anew as an administrative assistant at Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC). She described her transition to the hospitality industry as a smooth one owing to the fact that she had received extensive customer service training and brought with her experience, and a fresh perspective to her new environment.

“I will never forget the wise counsel of one of my customer service lecturers, Mary Duprose who said, ‘to be successful in anything you do, do it right the first time.’ Because of this teaching, I have always had a keen eye for detail. It has been embedded in me to always carry out a task to the best of my ability. There is no compromise for me when it comes to that.”

Additionally, she is appreciative of the continuous training and development she has had through the Sandals Corporate University. She has completed several courses, some of which are:  Leadership Excellence Level 2, Professional Communication, Professional Leadership and Art of Selling. She has also successfully fulfilled the requirements for the Autism and Sensory Awareness Training Programme with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

When asked what she loves most about her job, Sandra shared, “helping people is who I am. I enjoy solving guest and team member issues. Of course I do not like to know that situations arise to make a guest disgruntled but when it is brought to my attention and my intervention appeases them, it brings me great satisfaction.”

Sandra is so passionate about guest satisfaction that in a lighthearted moment she quipped, “if I were to have a superpower it would be to create smooth, perfect vacations thus eliminating guest concerns.”

Her dedication and contributions have not gone unnoticed. She recalls her most memorable experience at BTC being the time she was selected to participate in a familiarization tour of other resorts within the Sandals chain. She was chosen to be among a small group that flew to Grenada, Barbados and Antigua on the company’s private jet. “I was both humbled and honoured to have such an opportunity to see what the other resorts had to offer. This experience helped us to evaluate ways in which we could improve our resort.”

With such a mindset, it is no wonder that just two years into her role, Sandra earned a well-deserved promotion to executive administrative assistant, showcasing her commitment to excellence.

The pinnacle of her career came in 2021 when she was bestowed with the distinct honour of serving as the executive office manager. This recognition not only reflects her exceptional skills but also speaks volumes about her leadership qualities and the impact she has made at BTC. She continued to receive accolades and was one of the recipients of the Pace Setter Award in 2023. The Pace Setter Award, formerly known as the General Manager’s Award, is awarded to a team member who leads from the front and is always working alongside members of their team. He/she is punctual, hardworking, and reliable and is always willing to go the extra mile. The awardee is one who inspires the team and accepts nothing less than excellence. Sandra embodies these qualities.

She has been inspired by Managing Director, James McAnally. “Jamie has had the most profound impact on me, not only because I work directly with him but I recognize the passion that he has for the success of the resort. He knows the property and though there is so much to manage, his personable nature always inspires that personal touch which makes me feel valued. Other team members have attested to this.”

The respect between the two is mutual. The Managing Director, in highlighting what he admires most about Sandra shared, “I respect Sandra for her innate qualities of care, steadiness and confidentiality. As our world becomes increasingly busy and with so many team members and guests, Sandra is a pillar of stability in our Executive Office. She not only represents the resort on a global scale but also me personally, and having someone I can trust is something I am grateful for.”

Outside of work, Sandra enjoys spending time with her four children and grandson as she seeks to instill in them positive values that will help them recognize their full potential. “I want them to be the best, not just in terms of rank or winning but more so in terms of character and the positive influence I would like them to have on their peers.”

Sandra has turned setbacks into opportunities. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals, highlighting the importance of adaptability, continuous learning and unwavering determination in the ever – evolving professional world. As Sandra continues to thrive in her current role, her story remains a testament to the potential for growth and success that lies within every career, regardless of the obstacles faced along the way.

 

Caption: Sandra Lightbourne, Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos shares a smile as she sits at her desk at the World’s Number One All-Inclusive Family resort

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