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Hurricane Irma destroys Barbuda

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Antigua and Barbuda, September 6th, 2017 – St. John’s – The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston Browne has officially confirmed the total destruction of Barbuda, with almost 100% of homes being destroyed by Hurricane Irma and at least one confirmed fatality.

Antigua, which is approximately 38 miles away from its sister isle Barbuda, experienced heavy rains, flooding and hurricane enforced winds damaging some buildings and vehicles. However, Barbuda wasn’t as lucky as Prime Minister Browne revealed the island is now “barely inhabitable”.

Prime Minister Browne also confirmed that Hurricane Irma’s fury took the life of a 2-year-old infant as the baby’s mother was trying to escape a destroyed property during the hurricane.

With approximately 1,600 residents on the island of Barbuda, Browne said as the eye of the Hurricane passed over the island, it caused “absolute devastation, and this is no hyperbole.”

Since early morning, there was also loss of communication between the islands, cell towers were damaged, no water, no electricity, the airport and hospital damaged, and all residents have been left homeless. As a result, the prime minister has estimated the damages to “be no less than $150million and that is no exaggeration,” he said

At present, Hurricane Irma is now 50miles East Northeast of Antigua moving in a West Northwest direction for its next victim, which is expected to be Puerto Rico. As it spreads to the Greater Antilles, it can hit Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Cuba and Florida leading into the weekend.

The unprecedented destruction caused by Hurricane Irma now leaves the island completely vulnerable to the other brewing hurricanes and residents will need to be evacuated as soon as possible as Hurricane Jose continues to grow in strength. As for the psychological impact of its people, that may be far greater.

Story By: Kay-Marie Fletcher

 

 

Caribbean News

Millions to come from FSC 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#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.  

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Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#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.  

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New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#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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