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Grenada’s Leo Garbutt named 2020 hotelier of the year

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Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Leo Garbutt is flanked by CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass and Frank Comito, CHTA CEO and Director General.

#THE BAHAMAS – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has named respected Grenada hotelier Leo Garbutt 2020 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year.
The owner of Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel in Grenada received the coveted honor during the opening of Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Nassau last night as recognition of his exceptional contributions to Grenada and the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry over the past 30 years.
“We all know that 2020 vision is perfect and at this moment this is a perfect moment in my life,” said an emotional Garbutt upon receiving the coveted award. The hotelier thanked CHTA, previously awarded hoteliers of the year, the people of Grenada, his wife and his family for their support.

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Frank Comito, CHTA’s CEO and Director General, described Garbutt as “an adept, self-taught entrepreneur, whose love of his hotel, his adopted island and the Caribbean drove him to master the intricacies of the industry in our region.”

Garbutt began his hotel career by chance when a delayed flight to his native United Kingdom landed him in the Calabash Hotel in 1986. That led him to fall in love with the island and the hotel. “We all know that love makes people do strange things and despite a complete lack of experience in the hospitality business he and his wife bought what was then a 22-room hotel and built it into today’s 30-suite world-class award-winning luxury resort and spa,” said Comito. “As they say Amor Vincit Omnia – love conquers all!”

Garbutt’s commitment to excellence has seen the continuous improvement of his hotel product and service over the years. TripAdvisor now ranks Calabash the top luxury hotel in the Caribbean. A member of the coveted Virtuoso and Fine Hotels & Resorts programs as well as the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group, Calabash’s worldwide recognition has significantly raised Grenada’s international profile as a top-class tourist destination.

Leo Garbutt’s love for Grenada and the tourism industry grew as he invested his time and treasure into the property, and he and his staff have made significant contributions to the community. Now Second Vice President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association, over the years he has pushed many initiatives to promote sustainable tourism, notably including the recent national ban on Styrofoam and single use plastics.

Calabash is strongly committed to the community and the staff are 100 percent Grenadian. Dedicated to looking after their island and community, the family supports early childhood education through Grenada Schools Inc and the island’s children’s homes through Pack for a Purpose, with donations to The Bel Air Children’s Home, The Dorothy Hopkin Centre for the Disabled, The Queen Elizabeth Home for Children and Programme for Adolescent Mothers.

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His daughters Adele and Beth and niece Hannah work alongside Garbutt to maintain and add sparkle to his five-star offering. The team works tirelessly to treat staff and guests as if they were extended members of Garbutt’s family, making Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel their home away from home.

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace host sponsors are the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Baha Mar, and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, while Platinum sponsors include ADARA; AMResorts; Figment Design; Interval International; Marketplace Excellence; Mastercard; STR; TravelClick, an Amadeus company; Travelzoo; U.S. Virgin Islands; and HM&B.

Gold sponsors are American Airlines, Best Western International, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Travel + Life powered by Islands, Caribbean Wellness & Education, HCP Media, playAWARDS, Questex Travel Group (Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor), Questex Travel & Meetings Events, Sojern, Symova, Travel Relations LLC, and TravPRO Mobile.

Silver sponsors are 7 Pillars Marketing on Demand; Arrivalist; BCV, a Rategain Company; Caribbean Journal; Condé Nast; Copa Airlines; Gamemasters Escape Solutions; interCaribbean Airways; Mitel; Northstar Travel Group; Pegasus; Saint Lucia Tourism Authority; SiteMinder; St. Martin / St. Maarten Tourist Office; Travel + Leisure | Blue Group Media; and TripAdvisor.

PRESS RELEASE: CARIBBEAN HOTEL & TOURISM ASSOCIATION

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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