#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – April 6, 2020 — Two-hundred and twenty-five Haitian migrants were deported over the weekend from the Turks and Caicos Islands after a string of illegal boats from Haiti breached TCI waters; some of them intercepted and many others making landfall.
Airports for both countries have been closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic , but on Sunday those airports were opened. From the Turks and Caicos multiple flights to Cap Haitien and in cell phone video shared on social media, the men and women are seen disembarking chartered flights and mounting chartered buses or Tap Taps (as they are called in Haiti) to be returned to their villages.
Earlier in the week, the US Coast Guard via OpBAT helped the TCI Police Marine Branch turn back a boat with some 300 illegal migrants, trying to break-out of impoverished Haiti. People Traffickers are obviously aiming to take advantage of these precarious times brought on by the contagion which has sickened over 1.3 million people worldwide.
But law enforcers in TCI stand ready. Minister of Immigration, Delroy Williams said this in a media release:“Soon you will hear of measures being put into place to protect these islands and its people. Measures such as but not limited to:- time limits on work permits; the closing down of first time work permits; enforcement operations and raids crafted to rid these island of illegal migrants”.
The Minister also pointed to the current Haitian consul office and questioned its practicality in the territory.
“The time has come when we must ask if certain Consuls are welcome here! I have had enough of this illegal problem and vessels landings and I am sure the people as well. So note if anyone found with illegal immigrants whether at their residence, personal vehicles or place of work, shall be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law and those who are on work permits or other permits, recommendations shall be made for these status to be revoked.”
The Minister reiterated the law; that anyone found with illegal migrants will feel the full weight of of the hefty fines up to $20,000 and jail time of up to four years or both. Minister Williams asked residents to remain calm and to report sightings of migrants.
Images of inside the temporary detention center, overwhelmed by the 170 illegal migrants caught on Saturday proved the onslaught was too much to handle and the flights were arranged with interCaribbean and Caicos Express airline companies, both based in the TCI.
By the end of the day on Sunday, all 225 illegal Haitian migrants were repatriated.
TCI Tourist Board – Represented at New York Travel & Adventure Show
Manhattan, New York (Friday, February 3, 2023) – The Turks and Caicos Islands recently participated in the successful New York Travel & Adventure Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York from Saturday, January 28th – Sunday, January 29th. The event was New York’s largest travel gathering since 2019, providing the perfect platform to showcase the Turks and Caicos Islands and its unique luxury offerings as a multi-island destination. This was part of a larger effort by the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board to showcase the destination at several major travel shows in the United States.
Mary Lightbourne, the Acting Director of Tourism, and Gabriel Saunders, the Senior Public Relations Officer, proudly represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at the event and emphasized its status as a premium travel destination. During the event, they engaged with travel enthusiasts, media outlets, influencers, and more to further increase visibility about the World’s Top Trending Travel Destination for Fall 2022. Visitors at the booth were given informational brochures on the destination and treated to a tasting of Bambarra rum, as well as Bambarra rum cakes. As a special souvenir, they were also gifted Beach Buddies keychains, designed as queen conch shells, spiny lobsters, Turks Head cacti, flamingos, and pelicans – symbolizing the coat of arms of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The New York Travel & Adventure Show was an ideal platform to facilitate us bringing the stunning beauty and diverse offerings of the Turks and Caicos Islands to a massive audience of travel enthusiasts”, stated Mary Lightbourne. “Through this opportunity, we were able to foster valuable connections with key industry leaders and share our islands’ captivating allure with travel lovers in a significant source market”, added Lightbourne.
Attendees had the chance to interact with the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board’s representatives and learn about the destination’s diverse offerings, including world-class beaches, turquoise waters, luxury resorts, and vibrant culture.
“We were honoured to showcase the distinctive character of our destination and provide attendees with a taste of the local flavours and products that make our tourism product truly remarkable,” said Gabriel Saunders. “The Turks and Caicos Islands offers an unparalleled travel experience and we were grateful for the opportunity to inspire more people to come discover its beauty” added Saunders.
The New York Travel & Adventure Show was a two-day event that brought together top travel experts, destinations, and cultural attractions from around the world to provide inspiration and information to travel enthusiasts. The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board also represented the destination at the recent Chicago Travel & Adventure Show and will be an exhibitor at the upcoming Atlanta Travel & Adventure Show and the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show.
The Idea that became an Iconic Event for Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 2, 2023 – An idea executed to perfection with the help of the entire Turks and Caicos community, that’s Island Fish Fry. Born 10 years ago, in January 2013, it was a partnership between the Government, Private institutions, vendors and supporters all working together to make develop an authentic TCI experience; today it is an indisputable success.
Since its inception, Island Fish Fry has become a staple of the TCI community. It’s where you can get your T-shirts to Lobster Mac and Cheese, a taste of Monkey Bag rum or TCI brewed beer, natural coconut water in branded coconut mugs, the oceanic beauty captured in charms and household items or glittering handmade bangles with entrepreneurs and crafters clamouring for their space at the ‘Fry’.
We spoke to several people who told us about the history of the event and what they love most about the evolution and realization of Island Fish Fry Ralph Higgs, Former TCI Tourist Board Director under whose direction the event was conceptualised recalled its beginnings.
“I do remember my first Fish Fry, it was the 29th of January 2013— It came as a result of many of our local businesses, mainly restaurants and other businesses featured at the fish fry saying ‘we don’t have an avenue or an outlet where tourists can come and try our products’. Hence the idea of a weekly fish fry where tourists can come and try our products, try the cuisine, see the art and craft and then go on to enjoy it.”
Higgs says the event is a source of pride especially considering its capacity to nurture the arts in young Turks and Caicos Islanders
“Well I feel proud of the event but more so many of our local businesses and artisans that have found themselves at fish fry,” he used Wellington Williams, one of the country’s most prolific jewellery makers, as an example, “I remember him as a little boy trying to find his way in that business and he approached us at the Tourist Board for space at the Fish Fry and we were delighted to have him display his art. I think the rest is history. He is a success story by every definition and there are many others who have been able to find their footing because of the event.”
In a decade, the well-loved event has not faltered, only inclement weather and the Covid-19 pandemic have the reputation of putting the brakes on the outdoor festivity which features live music, community dancers, on the grill cooking and picnic styled eating. Yet, even those challenges were overcome.
In 2021, Josephine Connolly became the country’s newest Minister of Tourism and in our chat with her about Island Fish Fry, Connolly described her elation when she was able to lead a team into resuming the event, finally.
“Fish Fry belongs to the people of this country— We made a concerted effort to make sure that a sense of normalcy returned to the people of this country, our tourist arrivals [had] continued to increase during COVID therefore we had to continue with the fish fry to ensure that our guests received their TCI flavour though it. I am elated that Fish Fry returned and the entire Turks and Caicos and our guests are elated.”
Higgs praised the continuity of the event highlighting the vendors, musicians, entertainers, crafters, officials and others who have persevered to ensure there was a rich range of Turks and Caicos creativity and culinary skill on display week after week.
“There were many who came and showed support and many of them are still at the fish fry playing music, selling their goods and services and I’m so proud of all of them.”
Island Fish Fry celebrated its ten year anniversary on Thursday January 26th 2023.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
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