#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 25, 2020 – September will be starved of flights to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos and for the travel industry the slim serving of passengers and tourists could also mean starved pantries for the islands’ families.
Only international carriers, American Airlines and JetBlue will continue service to the Turks and Caicos throughout September; a usually slow season for the country. Uncharacteristically, British Airways has taken Providenciales off the schedule for next month.
Covid-19 fears kidnapped the busy tourism period through lock downs and curfews and border closures in a mad scramble to block and slow spread of the contagion, which is now nearing one million people dead.
Southwest Airlines had announced, for them, there would be no return until 2021.
British Airways about a month ago ended its commutes to Providenciales; the action has made European travel vexing for those going and coming.
Delta Airlines recently stopped flights to Turks and Caicos and will not return until November 1.
The decision by Delta is yet another casualty in what is increasingly becoming an economic war against the enigmatic enemy, which is COVID-19.
Delta initially reduced flights from its hub in Atlanta, Georgia to twice weekly, on Saturdays and Sundays only. Now, the airline which ran daily flights between the Turks and Caicos and the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, is temporarily halted.
Sadly, reduced flights to Providenciales were anticipated for a variety of reasons.
Not least among them, the announcement by Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos to reopen, not on July 22 as did the country’s airport borders, but in mid-October.
The competitiveness for COVID-19 test results within the requisite five days for approved travel to the TCI has also been fingered as tedious to travellers. Couple the entry requirement with measures by other countries to keep coronavirus case numbers down, and mandatory self-isolation upon return in destinations like the UK and Canada, travel has become a frenzied experience not worth the trip.
Air travel is no longer easy, no longer fun and potentially unsafe, yet it is the lifeline between the Turks and Caicos and its 500,000 long-stay visitors, which was for the first time achieved in 2019.
Air Canada has also decided to discontinue flights to the Providenciales International Airport.
The airline explains to Canadians that: “due to the impacts of COVID-19, government travel advisories and/or health and safety concerns” flights will end in September.
Air Canada will cease service on September 12, Magnetic Media is informed. The airline plans to return to the PLS on October 3.
While flights are usually decreased in September; travel and tourism professionals admit the pandemic magnifies the losses.
A Natural Racing Experience Thrills Senses, Protects the Marine Environment and Producers Winners
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 27, 2022 – Human beings have been enamored with the ocean since the beginning of time and the robust tourism product of the Turks and Caicos is proof of that, but only a few of us venture away from the sand to swim long, lovely laps in the ocean.
“It just somehow makes everybody a little friendlier; everyone is a lot happier when they swim in the ocean.” A founder of the annual Race for the Coch Eco Sea Swim, Ben Stubenberg, confessed that after swimming in the open water many people don’t want to go back to a pool because the (sea) water is “so perfect.”
This view may have a little something to do with the huge turnout for the Eco-Sea Swim races held on Saturday June 25 (2022).
Stubenberg, a swim instructor and avid open sea swimmer himself opened up to Magnetic Media about what it feels like to drive your body through the pristine waters, unencumbered, pushing your own physical limits for the most exhilarating exercise experience.
“All of your senses are engaged and you feel a connection with nature that you don’t get from standing on land.” He said, “This is something that you feel because there’s really no limits; its as far as you can go, it’s quite unlike a pool. This is salt water, you float better…it’s engaging with nature in a way that you can’t otherwise do when you’re swimming in a pool.”
In its 12th year, “Race for the Conch” Eco-Sea Swim is a registered non-profit in the Turks & Caicos Islands. The organizers explained that proceeds from sponsorships and race fees go to support The Provo Children’s Home, local learn-to-swim programs, the Reef Fund, and initiatives to support special needs children in the family islands.
The 2022 staging pulled in 135 swimmers in its biggest ever showing, 13 of whom were children from the Turks and Caicos. Adult, teen and even preteen swimmers came from the US, Canada, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos to participate in four races: A 2.4 mile; a 1 mile; a half mile, and a 100m kiddie race.
The top-ranked adults for the 2.4-mile races were Joseph Shields for the men and Alicia Uhl for the women.
Lenin Hamilton Jr and Taylor Schiffern won the one mile for men and women respectively and Lenin Hamilton Jr and Celia Wolf topped the half-mile.
Over the years, organizers have maintained that they wanted to have a more environmentally conscious race.
“We decided that as part of the race we wanted to have a commitment to a more ecologically friendly race that was more in line with our philosophy of trying to make the earth and the ocean a better place…we take that part of it very seriously. It’s not just something added on because it sounds ‘trendy,” said Stubenberg.
There are several ways the organizers set out to do this.
Only reef-friendly sunscreen is allowed on the beach and they provide ‘Stream to Sea’ sunscreen created by a local partner company called ‘Whole Health”. Race for the Conch Eco Sea Swim also serves its refreshments in biodegradable containers, often the rehydration drinks are coconut water coming straight from coconut trees, with no packaging needed.
Additionally, even the coveted conch trophies and medals are made by local artist Stanford Handfield crafted from actual conch shells from the TCI’s slice of the Atlantic Ocean.
Though the race is not yet totally eco-friendly, Stubenberg hopes Race will evolve to having a zero carbon footprint very soon.
Photo credit: Photo by Paradise Photography
Over 3000 Vehicles can be fined for wrong or no license plates says, DMV Director
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, June 27, 2022 – The grace period for incorrect license plates or vehicles partially outfitted with the new Turks and Caicos Islands license plates is over. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) last week issued a notice which warned that vehicle owners need to either collect their plates, order the proper plates or put on the license plates they already have at the front and rear of vehicles.
“Vehicles that are currently carrying plats that do not fit the description as outlines are not in compliance with the Road Traffic Ordinance. Licensees are therefore asked to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain the correct license plates immediately, failure to do so may result in drivers being ticketed,” said the notice.
Wilbur Caley, Director of the DMV said there are estimated to be over 18,000 motor vehicles in the islands and some 15,400 plates have been issued, with only around 180 plates to be collected in Grand Turk and a few still waiting for their owners in Providenciales.
“Some of those or a majority of the remaining 3000 have not come in to renew or license their vehicles and are currently driving around with a red or other colour or no plate on their vehicle.”
This is against the law and carries a $300 fine, said Caley.
“We have sufficient plates to issue to persons. WE have approval to issue temporary plates where we don’t have the substantive plate in stock,” explained the Director.
This is important to state as there was a time when the Road Safety Department could not keep pace with the demand for license plates once the new ones were introduced in 2019. Road Traffic police officers would stop motorists without plates, view paper work to ensure there was payment and a licensed driver was awaiting their new plates, but now that grace period is over.
“There are a number of vehicle owners driving around that have not come in to have their plates changed. We have stock to issue those plates.”
Office hours at the department are Monday through Thursdays, 8:30am – 3:30pm and on Fridays, the offices closes earlier at 3pm.
Rules for Industrial Action proposed by TCI Airports Authority
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, June 27, 2022 – In the wake of a major shutdown at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) on June 18 because of a sudden firefighters’ strike over wages and a narrowly avoided strike from security guards at the airport only days after, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is making moves to ensure strike action is regulated.
In a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, June 22 the government said it noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority that requested that new laws be put into place to set protocols for industrial action.
The government has requested more time to consider any legislative amendments that will be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the company. It is almost a certainty that amendments to the bill will pass the cabinet stage as the government promised they would reach the house of assembly “in due time”
Whether the proposed amendments to the protocol for strikes would only apply to employees of the TCIAA or all public sector workers was not revealed, and the severity of the promised changes has not yet been revealed to the public but what is likely to be included is a clause prohibiting unannounced strike action.
Over the last decade, the TCIAA staff have had to resort to industrial action at least six times under both PDM and PNP administrations.
The Government says it is “committed” to fixing the issues, especially salary disparities at the airport.
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