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Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort to reopen October 14; staff and stakeholders unsettled

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#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. 

Beaches Turks and Caicos resort on Worlds #1 Beach Destination, Grace Bay Beach

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.

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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.

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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. 

Beaches Turks and Caicos water park

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.

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“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.”

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell

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#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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News

Agreement Signed!  Next Foghorns and Three Times the Arrivals

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#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – When the foghorns blare again at the Grand Turk Cruise Center it will be well into the Christmas season, but the scheduled arrival of the Carnival Freedom on November 28, will end a 20-month pandemic imposed pause on cruising, the economic life-blood, of the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“We have eleven meetings since May to make this happen.  I think it’s a huge, huge improvement on what we’ve had before, speaking to the value of the partnership of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival and we look to have a long and fruitful relationship,” said Hon Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government today, finally inked a deal with Carnival Corporation, which appeared hinged on the cruise company being granted the green light for an expansion to berthing at the Port, which opened in 2006 on the island of Grand Turk.

The signing of a new Development Agreement followed an October 7 Cabinet approval of the document; the brief ceremony was carried live on Facebook from the Office of the Premier in Grand Turk.

“Indeed as the Premier has stated, we met 11 times and many times in person, you were in every meeting and sometimes with members of Cabinet, the Attorney General and we worked on something that we will all be proud of for many years to come,” said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development.

Strongly intimated, by Premier Misick, that this expansion had been stalled.  Definitely stated, also by Premier Misick, it is full steam ahead for a resumption of cruising.

“We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 21/22. We are not stopping there. Government is investing heavily in the improvement of the Cruise Port and infrastructure in Grand Turk including: Acquisition of a Property to be converted into a Vendors Market. $1.5m dollars has been allocated to refurbish and improve the property. Additional properties will be acquired and developed to accommodate vendors who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood. 2-million dollars will be spent to construct a floating dock for the Water Sports Operators. We are providing up to $1 million in grants to eligible operators to help them prepare for the reopening of the Cruise Industry,” said the Premier during a National Address on September 23.

Three cruises to Grand Turk are booked for November and December 2021 and if all goes according to schedule – or better – the cruise calls on November 28, December 11, December 12 and December 26 will usher in a happier holiday season for the dozens of companies left in limbo with the crash of cruising in March 2020.

“I really want to thank our employees at the Port.  We have had employees who stayed here for the last two years working hard to maintain the port,” said Mr. Israel as he acknowledged the enthusiasm shown by the TCI Government to complete the deal; he added, “But I also want to thank the Community of Grand Turk.  We are a part of this community; we have been welcomed as a part of this community.  The Community has embraced us and we have embraced the Community, the business community and we need to look at this as a partnership,” expressed Mr. Israel during the live stream.

Outside of cruise tourism, Grand Turk draws dive enthusiasts from around the world and is increasingly experiencing popularity in the luxury villa market.  Nonetheless, these other distinctions for the island which is home to the Parliament and the Governor’s Residence, fall a distant second and third place to the thousands of cruise visitors travelling on four, five and six day itineraries; Cruising is what really brings the boom.

“We’ve had a long partnership of 20 years and this partnership is just getting better.  New horizon, new opportunities and when I look at this magazine, which is a magazine we issued when the port was opened, we expected that the biggest ship would be 1,800 passengers.  Within 90 days of today, we are expecting ships that will be able to carry three times the number of passengers…”

The Development Agreement gives Carnival Corporation the permissions and perimeters to begin a $25 million dock expansion project.  The Turks and Caicos Cabinet informed that the signatories represented:  the Crown, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Turk Cruise Terminal Ltd and Carnival Corporation.

Details of the Agreement were not revealed, therefore the scope of the expansion remains unknown.   What has been made clear is upon completion of the new dock, the largest ships in Carnival’s fleet will be able to moor in Grand Turk with the high probability that cruise passenger and crew arrivals to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, will triple.

 

 

 

 

Carnival elation Dec 11

Carnival Freedom Nov 28, dec 26

Carnival freedom Dec 12

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean

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