#MIAMI (January 31, 2020) – No cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the Caribbean, assured regional tourism and health officials, who are hard at work aiming to keep the region coronavirus-free. A partnership established five years ago between the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the private sector-led Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the public sector Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is helping to drive a concerted effort by the region’s health and tourism stakeholders to help prevent and mitigate any impact from the spread of the virus, which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global public health emergency of international concern.
The three organizations quickly mobilized over a week ago, with CARPHA playing a key role in gathering facts and preparing briefs and tools for the region’s largest industry, tourism, based upon its consultations with global health authorities, including WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We see CARPHA as a key intermediary between global and local health authorities in brokering information and sharing intelligence essential to monitoring the situation with the Novel Coronavirus and preventing its spread into our region. This is important to the health of our residents and visitors and also important to the Caribbean’s economic well-being, as tourism is the region’s most important contributor to employment and revenue,” stated CARPHA’s Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John.
“CARPHA is recommending that Caribbean Member States be proactive and vigilant. They must step up surveillance measures at points of entry, communication strategies which emphasize good hand hygiene, and measures targeted at reducing the importation of this new virus to our shores,” stated Dr. St. John, who underscored that currently, there are no restrictions to travel to the Caribbean. While the risk to the Caribbean from the coronavirus is low, health authorities and tourism stakeholders are being vigilant, activating cautionary measures, monitoring and reporting procedures.
CARPHA established the world’s first Tourism Health Program (THP) nearly five years ago to work collaboratively with CHTA and CTO to address health and safety threats. Over 200 hotels throughout the region are also part of a Tourism Health Information System (THiS), and with the coronavirus threat, CHTA is encouraging every hotel in the region to be part of the THP and THiS. CARPHA offers a range of online support materials and videos to guide the tourism industry.
Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, advises that the organization is working with its federation of 33 national hotel and tourism associations throughout the region, advising them to be vigilant with sanitary precautions, monitoring of guest and employee illnesses, and prompt reporting to local health authorities any questionable illnesses.
“The Caribbean is one of the world’s great escapes, affording the traveler with the opportunity to be refreshed and renewed as they enjoy our incredible natural beauty, people and cultures. We want to safeguard our guests and employees and provide assurances that they will continue to enjoy all that we offer. CARPHA is an invaluable partner in helping us to do this,” said Comito.
CHTA and CARPHA are also planning a webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, to brief the industry on the latest developments and offer additional advice on cautionary measures that can be taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, notwithstanding bolstering existing influenza preparedness plans and implementing measures to protect the most vulnerable in the Caribbean.
About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 55 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses.
Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.
For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.
138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces
#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.
During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.
The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.
The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.
Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.
In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.
I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Caption: FILE PHOTO
International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea
By Dana Malcolm
The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine. The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.
The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.
Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.
“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime. The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.
Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica
By Dana Malcolm
#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.
The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.
The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare. It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.
Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.
“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”
The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.
“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”
Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”
InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.
American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.
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