#TurksandCaicos, September 19, 2017 – Providenciales – It is ten days since Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands. We thank God that no lives were lost but we are all too conscious of the damage done to people’s homes – not least to the homes of the most disadvantaged members of our communities – as well as to core infrastructure.
Since Irma’s passage across the islands we have been wholly engaged on the provision of help to those most in need and upon the process of gradual recovery from Irma’s worst effects, especially in our family Islands. To this end the TCIG has been and remains totally dedicated through all relevant agencies led by DDME but including government ministries and also non-governmental bodies and organisations, not least the commercial sector to direct help and assistance where most needed.
But assistance and recovery from such a disaster cannot be achieved by TCI alone, resilient as the people of these Islands are and as they have proved once again. We have therefore welcomed the very considerable level of advice and direct help provided by the UK, Canada, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other governments and by regional and other international bodies and organisations. Such assistance is ongoing, but we wish here to highlight the following contributions – which in the case of military forces are not about boots and policing but about vital aid to local communities which is being warmly welcomed – to assist immediately and directly the recovery of the most challenged parts of these Islands:
– UK military have been helping to clear debris and repair buildings in order to restore services. For example they have cleared out several Government buildings including the Treasury to allow reconstruction to commence.
– In South Caicos, the UK military have made repairs to the clinic, decontaminated water storage tanks and have cleaned up primary and high schools anticipating their reopening.
– The UK military are working closely with the Bermudan military, who have sent 30 of their rank to assist in Grand Turk, and the Canadian military who have a frigate ship based off South Caicos from which they to are assisting the local community, not least with provision of water.
– The UK’s Department for International Development has delivered 400 shelter kits and 655 litres of bottled water to South Caicos.
– Yesterday in Provo, UK Aid delivered 276 shelter kits which include two 7×5 tarpaulin sheets and 24m of rope each, these are vital for repairing roofs.
– UK Aid will shortly be delivering a health kit to South Caicos which contains enough vaccines for 10,000 people for three months.
We remain grateful for the additional show of support from the UK Government evidenced by the visit of Lord Ahmad, Minister of State at the FCO with responsibility for the UK Overseas Territories. We are equally grateful for the visits of regional leaders and the visit of the Chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon Dr Keith Mitchell who led a high level Caribbean delegation in a show of regional support.
Our responsibility for disaster management does not of course end with Irma and we must state clearly now that the recently formed Hurricane Maria may also pose a threat to the TCI later this week. Once again we must make ourselves ready as a community and as individuals to face down that new Hurricane should it, as currently seems highly possible, threaten and risk further damage to these Islands and people.
We in government will again prepare shelters and take other measures; but this must involve us all as individuals and families and we encourage you now to prepare as best you are able to take steps to ensure adequate water and food provision both during as well as after the possible passage of Maria which is forecast currently to be possible on Thursday and Friday of this week.
Press Statement: TCIG
Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring
By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.
CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.
“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.
Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”
Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.
“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,” Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.
The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.
The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.
Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars
By Dana Malcolm
#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.
Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.
As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.
He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”
David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent. By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera. Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.
“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”
Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.
“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.
Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’
There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.
On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.
In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.
“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”
David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.
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