#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 24, 2020 — Less than 72 hours after the Turks and Caicos celebrated a jubilant reopening of its borders to tourism came the unsettling announcement by Beaches Resort Villages & Spa; the resort today revealed that it will not reopen until October 14.
Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC) is the country’s largest private sector employer; said to have some 2,000 staff members.
While the statement, made earlier today, is distressing for the team, which has not seen a regular paycheck since March, the implications on air travel to Turks and Caicos is far reaching in its impact on employees and employers across the country.
Beaches Resort accounts for 70 percent of long-stay visitor arrivals to the Turks and Caicos; these are the guests who fill up the airplanes of major carriers like: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines, West Jet, Air Canada, South West Airlines and British Airways which run regular commutes from Providenciales (PLS) to popular hubs in North America and Europe.
James McAnally, General Manager of BTC today confirmed the worst fears of many.
In a media statement, Beaches said, “We know all too well the tremendous fallout the closure of Beaches would have in terms of employment, revenue, airlift and the overall economy in the TCI, and we wish to assure our valued guests, team members and stakeholders that we are sparing no effort to have the resort ready to receive guests well ahead of the popular Christmas season.”
Other resort properties and partners in the tourism industry realize this decision, forced upon Beaches Resort by the unplanned, unprecedented Covid-19 outbreak worldwide, could and likely will have a harrowing ripple effect.
It is possible that airlines could decrease frequency in flights or worse, cease operations altogether until Beaches Resort is reopened.
Beaches (BTC), in that statement, clearly recognizes how essential its operation of 750 plus hotel rooms has on the tourism and travel sector.
The executives of the resort give good effort to offering a bright side perspective, which is that the sprawling family all-inclusive has no intention of pushing its opening back any further.
“…this announcement will provide an important signal to the airlines who can now start planning on recommenced scheduled airlift to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a major boost for the overall industry and economy.”
The problem is, with the global impact of Covid-19 being felt in the worst possible ways, it is hard to celebrate Christmas in July.
For some of the Beaches team members who tell Magnetic Media they have not yet been directly informed by the resort of its decision, two and half more months of no work and little pay, if any, is depressing and distressing.
One staff member reported having a “near panic attack.”
Covid-19 is not to be taken lightly.
It is a potentially deadly virus which has now infected 16.7 million people in the seven months since its dastardly debut in January 2020.
The hospitality and travel industries have been shattered by the contagion which demands that people do not touch each other; that they remain distant; that tends to thrive on most surfaces; which is highly infectious; that disguises itself as the common cold; it debilitates its human host by sometimes severely sabotaging its respiratory system and which has no vaccine to date.
Nearly 650 thousand people have died from the coronavirus.
The implications of resuming operations at one of the Caribbean’s largest resort properties are not lost on Beaches or onlookers.
On any given day, thousands of people can be found on the property, booked for vacations which give them access to over 20 restaurants, six outdoor pools, a waterpark, adventures and tours, spa, twelve bars, four luxury resort villages which cover 93-acres on the world famous, Grace Bay Beach.
“As anyone can imagine, this is no small undertaking due the many variables of cost, size and sheer magnitude of the resort; however, we have always kept our promises to the people of the TCI, and we intend to do so again.”
In the statement, Beaches Resort admits it will be reliant upon its staff to be TCI Assured certified opening day. “It is to this proven and dedicated team that we entrust our highly touted Beaches Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, explicitly designed to ensure the strictest health and safety measures. Guests can rest assured therefore that when our doors open on October 14, you will be in the safest hands and will be taken care of by a team that is unmatched in its level of training and development.”
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
Next Year, more courses, more staff, new location for TVET says Minister Taylor
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – TVET offerings in the Turks and Caicos will definitely increase, especially for incarcerated people according to Minister of Education Rachel Taylor. Taylor was responding to queries from a resident about the limited course offerings in a Town Hall meeting on Monday November 21st.
“By next year you will see more programs being offered, not just at the prison, but also at the community college.” she said.
Mentioning that the Turks and Caicos Community College already offered courses like Commercial Food Preparation, Customer services as well as Electrical Engineering, but not some others like masonry, she said that the one thing they were working on was synchronizing courses between high schools and higher education.
“We will have to align the courses that are offered in high school also in the community college. Persons may not be aware but the Caribbean Vocational Qualification is actually level one of TVET, so when our students finish with the carpentry and the masonry and data entry, they can move into level two at the community college.”
In order to make that happen there are several things the government must do, she explained.
“Currently, we have to get onboard additional manpower at the community college [that] has already been budgeted.” She said that interviews were already taking place for adult learning assessment officers and a larger space at Alliance Business Plaza had been procured.
“We have recently purchased Club Pillows, which will be our new Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, which will provide us a better outlet to introduce additional courses.”
Referencing the new program geared towards inmates, she said, “The first phase of the MOU is the introduction of the Commercial Food Preparation and Customer services so we will definitely increase the offerings. We will have that dialogue with the inmates in terms of the — kind of training they would want to receive.”
Increased TVET offerings had been one of the major requests from young people during a recent youth survey. The Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute has also been flown into the TCI to consult and help broaden the offerings provided in the technical, vocational programme.
Claudine Ewing Appointed CEO of United Way TCI
November 25, 2022 – United Way Turks and Caicos is pleased to reintroduce Ms. Claudine Ewing as our Chief Executive Officer.
Inciting change and promoting growth are major attributes of one that leads a Nonprofit Organization; attributes that is regularly exhibited by Ms. Ewing, who was among the founding leaders of this 4 years old Non-profit Organization, she held the post of Executive Director for 2 years and was able to incite change and growth for many young people through our various programs and initiatives. During the severe period of Covid she was forced to leave, to become a caregiver for her parents who demanded much of her time.
However, her love for philanthropic work always held a place in her heart and she knew that one day she needed to continue on the path of changing the lives of young people for the betterment of our country.
Ms. Ewing’s ability to be a creative thinker, forge relationships with community partners, promote volunteerism, leverage the community to be consistent and get involved, are just some of the qualities that she bring to this role in such crucial times to strengthen the fabric of our community.
Ms. Ewing said “ I’m excited to be back on the team and even more excited to get our program initiatives back up and running, with creative ideas and community conversations that will have everyone engaged. “
Chairman of the Board, Mr. Mark Fulford said “As a Board we are please to pledge our support to our Executive Director Ms. Claudine Ewing. We encourage the community to get involve, as we reignite our Program Initiatives and continue to forge relationships with fellow Non-profits to have a greater impact in our community”.
About United Way Turks and Caicos:
United Way Turks & Caicos was established in 2018 by a group of Turks and Caicos Islands business leaders, together along with an established international donor. Our vision for ‘giving back’ and contributing to society is aligned with United Way World wide’s mission and values. This was the driving force behind the desire to replicate the success of the United Way model in the Turks & Caicos Islands. United Way Turks & Caicos Islands is comprised of 15 Board Directors within diverse sectors of our society and business community.
Together we set the goals for UWTCI and envision a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through Education. Our Mission is to improve lives by cultivating and inspiring the caring power of the community to advance the common good of all which is being executed by an Executive Director and Staff supported by hundreds of volunteers.
Contact info: 6493334545
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