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Beaches Resorts Becomes First Resort Company In The World To Attain Advanced Certified Autism Center Credential



#Providenciales, May 1, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – With Autism Awareness Month coming to a close, Beaches® Resorts is proud to announce its commitment to enhancing its autism-friendly resorts by now becoming the first resort company in the world to attain the Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This new certification training to be completed in May spans all three Beaches Resorts – Beaches Negril Beach Resort & Spa and Beaches Ocho Rios Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort in Jamaica, and Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in Turks & Caicos – with a core focus on the company’s Kids Camp, Entertainment and Watersports operations, as well as staff from other areas of the resort. In April 2017, Beaches Resorts led the charge and became the first resort company in the world to be recognized by IBCCES as a Certified Autism Center (CAC).

With one in 59 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S., special needs travel is the fastest growing family travel segment. Beaches Resorts’ new level of commitment to this underserved market empowers its staff to confidently ensure every family can enjoy the award-winning Luxury Included® vacation experience in a safe, fun and comfortable manner tailored to their specific needs.

“We are proud to continue paving the way for families with individuals who have special needs, including children on the autism spectrum, to travel comfortably and truly live up to our tagline – the ‘Resorts for Everyone’,” said Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “As a family-built brand, we want to provide all families with a superior level of service that makes them feel the most welcomed at our resorts. We are especially excited to further expand this important training to our resort’s watersports program, with PADI® certified dive professionals and other team members earning a special ‘ACAC’ designation for each Aqua Center at Beaches, allowing children on the spectrum to safely experience the incredible waters of the Caribbean.”

The Certification Process & Special Services

The ACAC designation is the next level of certification once an organization has achieved the CAC certification. It underscores that the organization has gone above and beyond to train its staff and provide substantial modifications for visitors with autism or similar sensory needs, and designations are granted by the IBCCES.

The ACAC certification process – which will come to life across different aspects of the resorts, both pre-travel and on property – entails a variety of important aspects including:

  • An in-depth training of 40 credit hours on autism sensitivity and awareness, in the areas of communication, motor skills, social skills, environment awareness, emotional awareness, bullying, early childhood identification, transition to adulthood, and more. 
  • Activities and accommodations that must be available for guests on the spectrum
  • An annual onsite audit and review
  • Substantial changes to protocols and physical space to accommodate various needs

Special Services include the option of a ‘One-on-One Beaches Buddy’ – personalized, private childcare with a buddy who is certified by IBCCES, and can be pre-booked (for a nominal fee) – as well as:

  • A personalized pre-travel questionnaire to identify requests and preferences with a dedicated Special Services team to assist in the vacation planning process
  • A Culinary Concierge program to support specific dietary restrictions and special requests
  • Modified check-in options for private, in-room, check-in and the availability of sensory toys for children during check-in
  • Identification of quiet spaces during noisier times of the day and evening
  • Modified design and decoration in Kids Camps and Entertainment areas to create a more sensory-friendly environment

Since achieving the CAC certification in April 2017, Beaches Resorts has also been instrumental in extending training to hundreds of its travel agent partners, as well as internal sales and marketing teams, through IBCCES’ Certified Travel Agent Professional (CATP) in an effort to better communicate with and assist families within this highly specialized market.

“Beaches Resorts has gone above and beyond to lead the hospitality industry toward a more inclusive future for all families seeking unforgettable vacations tailored to their needs,” said Myron, Board Chairman of IBCCES. “By becoming the first resorts to achieve the ACAC certification, Beaches is even more prepared to welcome families with autism, and we applaud them for their ongoing commitment and leadership in providing travel options for this underserved market.”

Calming Waters

Beaches Resorts’ watersports teams have also earned another first – staff have completed the ACAC training and certification, and are among the first to earn the designation in conjunction with a collaboration between the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and IBCCES. The certification makes appropriate programming from autism-certified staff available for families looking to enjoy daily PADI-certified diving at the company’s world class dive operations, voted Top 10 in the world. According to a recent study of 1,000 parents with a child on the spectrum, 87 percent would be more inclined to visit centers where staff are trained and certified in autism awareness. Many individuals on the autism spectrum are drawn to water, and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (ASDF) highlights that swimming can help children on the spectrum improve speech, coordination and balance, social skills, self-esteem, cognitive processing, communication skills and oral motor skills.

“Diving has frequently proven to be a transformative and healing experience for individuals with physical or emotional challenges and their families,” said Kristin Valette-Wirth, Chief Marketing Officer of PADI Worldwide. “We are honored to work together with our global network of dive centers and resorts, including our longtime partner in Beaches Resorts, and IBCCES to offer more opportunities for those with special needs to heal, explore and connect through diving. Together with Beaches Resorts and IBCCES, we look forward to inspiring and enabling more travel and shared experiences for all to create lifelong memories that have the power to transform lives.”

The Introduction of Sesame Street’s Julia

In September 2017, as part of its long-standing partnership with Sesame Workshop ®, Beaches Resorts introduced the arrival of Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet on the autism spectrum, who brought an exclusive new activity to Beaches Resorts: Amazing Art with Julia. During this activity, children are greeted by Julia, a 4-year-old girl on the autism spectrum, who loves to paint. Julia highlights how people can express themselves through art, and children can explore, experiment and create in an open-ended art activity. As part of brand-wide efforts to increase awareness of autism, all Beaches Resorts staff underwent sensitivity training with “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” resources. 

For more information about Beaches Resorts’ autism-friendly resorts in the Caribbean, please visit

Release: Sandals Resorts

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Caribbean News

TCI Premier and Delegation visit NCI in Jamaica



#Manchester, Jamaica, 14 August 2022 – The Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and his delegation have arrived at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica.The Premier will give the address at the second commencement ceremony and will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree.  The Premier completed high school at West Indies College which is now NCU more than 50 years ago.  Premier Misick and his delegation are on a four day visit to Jamaica.The Office of the Premier and Public Policy will bring commencement live on its Facebook page at 2PM EST.The Premier’s delegation includes: First Lady, Mrs. Delthia Russell-Misick; Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services; Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Mr. Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Ms. Althea Been, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Immigration and Border Services; Mr. Miquel Swann, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Premier and Public Policy; Mr. Edwin Taylor, Commissioner of Labour; and Mr. Bentley Johnson Aide De Camp.

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.


Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package



#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.


Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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