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Beaches Resort makes bombshell reveal; lawsuit against TCI Gov’t still in court

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Beaches Turks & Caicos, Caribbean Village - From Trip Advisor

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – September 13, 2020 — Beaches Turks and Caicos, on Friday September 11, made a bombshell reveal; that its lawsuit against the Turks and Caicos Islands Government – filed in January 2019 – remains unresolved.

“The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as the other defendants, were legally due to file their defence in June 2019 – well over a year ago. They did not. We have patiently waited upon the Government to file its defence but to no avail.”

A Magnetic Media article, published on March 14, 2019 reported this:

An unprecedented interest rate of 213 percent, an audit which exonerated the family all-inclusive resort of fiscal misbehavior, a surprise bill of reported back taxes, breach of government’s own agreement and deviation from its own written assurances plus over-payment of taxes by Beaches are among the reasons, Sandals Resorts International says it is forced to move forward with the lawsuit against TCIG.

“It is indeed most unfortunate that we had to litigate against our host country, but given the injustice we had no alternative. Based on the number of communications that our organization has been receiving, it is clear that the investment and banking community together with the travel trade including the airlines are all paying close attention to see whether the Government will honor its commitments.”

Beaches T&C has not changed its stance and in the Friday media statement claims the resort was compelled to file to take the matter to court and could not withdraw the lawsuit due to a string of alleged injustices perpetrated against them.

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The pending litigation had also threatened Beaches operations in Providenciales; still government is accused of inaction.

“Our numerous meetings, conference calls and letters have led to no positive action on the part of TCIG. We remain anxious to resolve the matter in a lawful and principled manner but we cannot do so in an environment where our correspondence go unanswered, our law suit un-defended and our good faith overtures to engage in steps toward resolution are not reciprocated and have led nowhere despite assurances,” informed the statement issued by Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos.

The charge against TCIG is becoming a common refrain.  Magnetic Media continues to be on the receiving end of complaints about the lack of response from Government Ministers and Officials. 

The reoccurring reports by members of the public fuelled an article on September 6, 2020 by Deandrea Hamilton, Magnetic Media owner, headlined:  PDM Administration, the “NO REPLY” Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Beaches Resort adds to the growing list of frustrated stakeholders and candidly expressed its disappointment about the lack of progress in the legal matter. 

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“No investor, and in particular Beaches, wants to be involved in court proceedings with a host Country. However, given the gravity of certain fundamental breaches of our Development Agreement(s), such as provisions relating to the payment of the Customs Processing Fee, Beaches had no choice but to protect our legal and constitutional rights by filing a lawsuit against the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which is available to the public. This occurred in May 2019.”

The family all-inclusive, resort village has been operating in Turks and Caicos since 1995.  While negotiations in 2019 did result in a Revenue Control Department amnesty that exempted Beaches and others from past due payments and penalties, Beaches Resort informed our news organisation that the gesture fell short.   

“Since 1995 when we commenced operation in the TCI we have consistently and faithfully paid taxes in accordance with our Development Agreement(s) and the laws of the TCI. In 2017 TCIG unilaterally breached our Development Agreement(s) and other written governmental commitments which over the years formed the basis of our substantial investment in the TCI. 

We have over-performed on all our obligations to TCIG and the Government have virtually “torn up” legally binding commitments given in writing as a basis for our investment. As a foreign investor, international law assures us of fair and equitable treatment by our host country, and one should expect no less from TCIG.”                

Magnetic Media has reached out to the Minister of Finance, who is Premier Sharlene Robinson about the statement from Beaches.

Hon Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier & Minister of Finance

Beaches Resort, in the media release, said they have no further comment.

The general public worries that this looming lawsuit could impact a planned reopening of Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos on October 14.

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.

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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