#MIAMI (April 22, 2020) – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) joined together for Earth Day (April 22) to share their collaborative intent to emerge from the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) crisis and help rebuild a stronger, more resilient Caribbean for the environment and the people that depend on it.
Patricia Affonso-Dass, President of CHTA, the leading association of private sector tourism companies in the Caribbean, said the reopening of the region’s shuttered tourism sector is an important opportunity to address head-on the challenges posed by climate change, which she described as “the biggest challenge to the future of the Caribbean and the life-support systems which make our region habitable for our people and so attractive for visitors from all over the world.”
Affonso-Dass endorsed the call for action on climate change issued by the organizers to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by noting the hospitality and tourism sectors’ contributions to the climate problem as well as actions Caribbean destinations can take to neutralize climate changing damage. “Earth Day’s message of ‘climate action’ is a reminder to us individually, as companies, organizations and governments of our need to act responsibly. There is ample opportunity to more than counter and reduce any negative environmental impact from travel,” she said.
Caribbean islands are among the world’s most vulnerable to impacts from climate change, with storm frequency and intensity, flooding, wind damage and sea level rise all predicted to worsen. This increases threats to islands’ infrastructures and people who call the Caribbean home. TNC has long been working towards protecting the Caribbean from the impacts of climate change by promoting the protection and restoration of coastal habitats (such as mangroves and coral reefs) to reduce risks, and by helping governments, partners and communities implement sustainable development initiatives that prioritize nature.
Rob Brumbaugh, Executive Director for TNC’s Caribbean Division, commented that this Earth Day presents an excellent opportunity for the two organizations to renew their commitments to produce actions which enable nature and people to thrive together. “The Caribbean region is more dependent on tourism than anywhere else in the world, and the tourism industry relies on healthy, thriving natural ecosystems to sustain it. By working together, we can advance towards building a more climate-smart Caribbean and protecting the natural beauty the region is known for,” he said.
Affonso-Dass contended that dangerous carbon emissions, neglect of natural resources, and poverty were major contributors to environmental degradation and pointed out that sustainable tourism education and effective communications were powerful anti-poverty and conservation tools. These tools, she said, give communities the resources needed to improve their lives and their environments which, in turn, attract visitors and the revenue they bring.
“Our collaboration with TNC, and its impressive science-based conservation track-record, has enabled us to more strategically develop our approaches to ensure the natural resources of our Caribbean destinations can be enhanced – because we recognize that tourism, our region’s major earner, can only thrive if our coasts, our beaches, our seas, our forests, our fauna and flora, and our people, also thrive,” she said.
Brumbagh stated: “In order to create a climate-resilient Caribbean, we need to take steps to mitigate climate change both through better technology and business practices as well as through nature-based solutions. We need to better recognize the role that nature can play in absorbing excess carbon as well as helping communities adapt to a changing climate. Both of these are of prime importance for responsible tourism development.”
Affonso-Dass lamented that the emissions from air and sea travel were significant but was encouraged by the advances being made in the aviation industry to reduce emissions through more fuel-efficient aircraft and a diminished reliance on fossil fuels: “We in the hotel sector are making great strides in reducing our carbon footprint through efficiencies which are welcomed by our guests and by our members, who see how these measures, which mitigate climate change, can also increase efficiency and revenue.”
Both organizations concurred that Earth Day awareness in the Caribbean should extend far beyond April 22, and urged the taking of active roles in raising awareness of the need for climate action while there was still time.
The organizations declared: “We rejoice in the clean air, pristine waters and glistening forests so, together, we will do our part in conserving these natural jewels, on Earth Day, and beyond. Through our collaboration we are determined to ensure that our tourism-friendly Caribbean is also a climate-friendly Caribbean.”
About The Nature Conservancy (TNC) The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org/Caribbean or follow @CaribbeanTNC on Facebook.
Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti
By Sherrica Thompson
Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.
The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”
Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.
The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.
St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship
By Sherrica Thompson
#StKittsandNevis, November 29, 2022 – The twin island of St Kitts and Nevis is about to chart its busiest cruise seasons yet as the world’s largest cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante in the country on Thursday, November 24.
About 6,495 guests arrived on the ship, with 2,259 crew members on board.
The oasis class ship was welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, who led a delegation on board last Thursday to host a brief plaque exchange ceremony.
“You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6,988,” the Prime Minister said.
The Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson, said the ship’s visit was a result of the country’s comprehensive negotiations with stakeholders.
“The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion,” Thompson said.
WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year
#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – The WE GOIN’ KEW’ festival charity event was a huge success bringing people together to enjoy Turks and Caicos Islands food and cultural performances and organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Unity Committee.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, residents from across the Turks and Caicos Islands chain found their way to the Bellefield Landing in Kew, North Caicos, to support what is being described as the biggest festival of the year with an estimated two thousand people attending. The event also saw fifteen vendors present, serving local Twin Island dishes, and featuring three local bands, and artists from The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas.
Proceeds garnered from the WE GOIN’ KEW Festival will support key projects across North and Middle Caicos and assist with completing the homeroom at Ashley’s Learning Center, according to the Director of the TCI Unity Community, Mr. Alvin Hegner.
Hegner added, “This charitable event was held for the people of the Twin Islands and Ashley’s Learning Center. We wanted to give back to the community while showcasing local food vendors and craft and farmers’ markets. On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the people of the Twin Islands for their unwavering support and for helping us to create an extraordinary outcome. Thanks to Sharmaine Clarke for her coordinating efforts on the Twin Islands”.
A special thanks to the event’s sponsors for making it all happen in various ways: The Wine Cellar, Turks Head Brewery, Anderson Media, Big Josh Country Club, Play Big Win Big Entertainment, Prime DJ’s, JACA TCI , Grant Thornton, LEW 1 Shipping, Rasco Sounds, Building Materials DoITCenter, Engel & Volkers, Wymara Resort and Villas, Fortis TCI, FLOW, Dragon Cay Resort, Digicel, MEP Solutions: Electrical and Plumbing, HAB Group, Waratah Construction TCI, RED Hospitality and Leisure & Lady Grace, Catamaran, Mac N Cheese Adventures, The Strand, Beaches Turks and Caicos, BCQS, Turquoise Horizons, Franks Hardware, Delta Electric, AE&S construction, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Caicos Isle Management, Island Drilling, Ports Authority, Turks and Caicos Islands, Robinsons’s Variety, Island Convenience – Grace Bay, Got You Covered, Reliable Security, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, TCI Ministry Of Health, District Commissioner Of North Caicos Madam Musgrove, and the District Commissioner of Middle Caicos Sir Delancy.
The WE GOIN’ KEW Festival is now an annual event. The scheduled date for WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 is Saturday, November 4, 2023. The proceeds from WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 will assist with housing projects throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.
TCI Unity is a nonprofit organisation geared towards helping those in need in the Turk and Caicos Islands. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCI Unity distributed over 500 meal boxes to families in need throughout the country.
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