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TCI: Travel Agents Shine Bright at Sandals Resorts Annual S.T.A.R Awards



#TurksandCaicos, February 07, 2018 – Providenciales – Sandals Resorts International (SRI) celebrated the 16th Annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Awards to honor the top travel agents in the SRI network, on January 26, 2018 at beautiful Beaches Turks & Caicos.  A total of 300 travel agents and companions from North America, Canada and Latin America attended the conference in Providenciales to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to the Sandals brand.  Many notable figures from the Turks and Caicos community attended the awards ceremony, including the Governor of Turks and Caicos Islands, His Excellency Dr. John Freeman; Deputy Governor, Her Excellency Anya Williams; The Premier of Turks & Caicos Islands, Hon. Sharlene Cartwight-Robinson and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ralph Higgs.

Many travel agents displayed their stellar work with top award wins, including the Chairman’s Award for Eileen Nason of Discenerning Journeys; the CEO Award of Excellence for Tracy Mcgaughey of A-Aarons All Inclusive Travel and Flemming Friisdahl of Travel Agent Next Door; and Wedding Vibe as the top USA Sandals travel agency. Below is a full breakdown of all S.T.A.R. Awards winners.


Sandals Resorts created the S.T.A.R. Awards in 2002 as a way to recognize top travel agents and their agencies as well as showcase the latest resort products and on-island attractions.  In addition to top product, regional and national categories, the S.T.A.R. Awards announced the Worldwide Top Ten Travel Agencies, Chairman and CEO Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Among the impressive awards taken home this year, the distinguished group of winners included the following:

  • Lifetime Achievement Awards:

o    Kim Cook, Love To Travel

o    Wanda Keefer, All-Seasons Vacations

o    Mary Fowler, Riverside Tours And Travel

o    Marcia Perkins, Destination Wedding.Com

o    Georgiann Jowarskji,  Custom Travel Services

o    Bonnie Rygg-Haley – Bon Voyage Travel

o    Lisa Hoppe, Lisa Hoppe Consulting

o    Robert Rizzo, Travel Only

o    Barbara Scrocco, Travel Only

o    Lisa Tetzlaff, Valente Travel


  • Outstanding Achievement- Social Media:

o    Katie May,  Classic Travel Connections


  • CEO’s Award of Excellence:

o    Tracy Mcgaughey, A-Aarons All Inclusive Travel

o    Flemming Friisdahl, Travel Agent Next Door


  • Chairman’s Award:

o    Eileen Nason, Discerning Journeys


  • Outstanding Sales Achievement-Weddings:

o    Marcia Perkins, Destination Weddings.Com

o    Lynn Thomas, Alpha World Travel

o    Wanda Keefer, All-Seasons Vacations

o    Denise Kerkhoff, Wedding Vibe

o    Terri Flood, Escapes Unlimited, Az

JS Johnson Insert

  • Worldwide Top Sandals Travel Agency:

o    For Usa – Wedding Vibe

o    For Canada – Tripcentral.Ca, Bedford


  • Worldwide Contribution to the Sandals Foundation:

o    Wanda Keefer owner of


  • Worldwide Top Ten Travel Agencies:
  1. Wedding Vibe, Bristol
  2. Enchanted Honeymoons, Omaha
  3. Twinsburg Travel Cruise Inc.
  4. Royal Travel, Maryville
  5. Island Getaways, Brookfield
  6. Discerning Journeys
  7. V.I.P. Vacations Inc.
  8. Loyalty One Travel Services, Canada
  9. Escapes Unlimited, Az, Llc
  10. Classic Travel Connections


  • Top Retail Travel Agency Chain Worldwide:

o    Liberty Travel


  • Top Producing Agency in Latin America:

o    Honeymoons SAC/Travel shop, Peru


Release: Sandals Resorts


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Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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