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TCI National Hero’s death still mysterious, JAGS McCartney monuments destroyed by hurricanes

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Rt. Excellent JAGS McCartney file photo super-imposed on March 2018 photograph of Junkanoo Club by Deandrea Hamilton

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – Thursday, May 10, 2018 –Thirty-eight years after the sudden death of the Turks and Caicos Island’s first Chief Minister, there remains an enigmatic mystery about what really happened to JAGS McCartney.  

Facts on what caused his plane to crash over New Jersey, USA on May 9 1980 are elusive, invisible and seemingly undocumented.

What is certain is that it was an unfathomable tragedy for a nation just beginning to swap its short britches for long trousers on its way to self determination and decolonisation.

James Alexander George Smith McCartney was a different type of Turks and Caicos Islander. The 34 year old was heavily under the influence of the pushy political and civic leaders of the day. Movements and revolutions in The Bahamas and Jamaica both inspired JAGS to return to the land of his birth to turn national leadership right side up.

Some say JAGS was ahead of his time as his bold quest to dethrone British rule in the TCI was unrelenting and unheard of. Though many islanders fought against him and his ideas, JAGS fought back with a brilliant strategy that would one day lead to formation of the country’s first political party – the People’s Democratic Movement – and a Turks and Caicos where the islanders, as Cabinet Ministers called all of the shots. 

I am told that JAGS first educated his people, then agitated for reasonable rights and then documented, in a hand written new constitution, that power ought belong to the indigenous people.

Bar room napkins were where that transformative legislation was scribbled and after and all night show down involving gun fire, rock and bottling throwing and a kind kidnapping, the governor left Waterloo and gave JAGS and the people the power.

The two men signed at the iconic Junkanoo Club and set the wheels in motion for a more democratic nation.

For a reason undocumented JAGS in his fourth year as Chief Minister took a trip to New Jersey. There is no record, we could find of the type of aircraft or who was on board the small plane with JAGS.

In all of the archives of plane crashes – both massive and minute – there is nothing on our JAGS at the United States National Transportation Safety Board’s website.

One item appears to be JAGS’ crash; there are no details on the aircraft or lives lost. No names… only that it happened on May 9, 1980.

The body of the TCIs only national hero was reportedly never found. Nor was his plane. And it remains taboo to talk about the incident at home especially, but why?

Some news articles from the day suggest it may have been a failed drug smuggling attempt or a plane planned to never make it back home or a sinister plot to shush the uprising of strong, black, Caribbean people…

But there are islanders who believe JAGS was on a noble mission to bring new investment, establish food security and demonstrate that the Turks and Caicos could stand on its feet, as a successful island chain.

Today, the Rt. Excellent JAGS would have been 72-years-old if he were alive.  James Alexander George Smith McCartney was the youngest democratically elected leader in history at the time, and continues to hold the record for being youngest Commonwealth country leader in history.

Many have gone on record to say that it is their firm belief that the Turks and Caicos would have a much more altered and autonomous state of being had the man lived and served longer.

On Monday May 28, 2018 the country will commemorate the only National Hero in the traditional memorial service at the National Memorial Park in Grand Turk; the day is also a public holiday.

Terribly, both the publicly owned National Memorial Park and the famous, Junkanoo Club – still owned by McCartney’s family – were badly battered in the September 2017 hurricanes: Irma and Maria.

Our images here were taken in March 2018; six months after the hurricanes.

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Bahamas News

Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell

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#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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Agreement Signed!  Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals

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#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen.  I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.

The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.

“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.

Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled.  Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.

“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.

Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.

“I really want to thank our employees at the Port.  We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk.  We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community.  The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.

Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market.  Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.

“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better.  New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers.  Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”

The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project.  The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented:  the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.

Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown.   What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.

 

 

 

 

Carnival elation Dec 11

Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26

Carnival freedom Dec 12

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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