#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – October 25, 2020 — Turks & Caicos is facing economic downturn following the decline in tourism to the archipelago due to the coronavirus, but plans are in place to diversify the island’s tourism product by supporting a Film Festival.
A resurgence of the concept was successful in the latter part of 2019, with the help of DigicelTCI and its brand ambassador, Usain Bolt.
In total, 39% of Turks & Caicos’ GDP is directly from tourism. The islands would often welcome over 1.5 million visitors to its shores annually, but COVID-19 has reduced the number to a fraction of this. A large number of visitors to the islands arrive on cruise ships, with 354 cruise ships visiting the islands in 2019, however many of the industry’s leading operators are yet to resume normal service following the border closure in March.
In the wake of this, plans have been drawn up to diversify the economy by utilising the natural beauty of the islands.
A Film Festival will be the centrepiece for a large scale plan to expand Turks & Caicos’ tourism industry, Premier Sharlene Robinson announced on October 19 at the Turks & Caicos Conference, (TACC).
“Tourism is the economic engine of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Premier Cartwright-Robinson said, “The Government in an effort to help diversify the tourism product and introduce new experiences in supporting the development of an annual Film Festival.”
“The ambition for the festival is to help further establish broaden the tourism product and introduce new experiences for visitors and to “provide avenues for entrepreneurship for locals.”
The Premier was speaking at the welcome of TACC, which was this year held virtually.
Turks & Caicos has had 698 confirmed cases of coronavirus, as well as 6 fatalities, but Premier Robinson was optimistic about the chance of economic recovery through visitors and firms returning to the islands: “We are certain that our visitor numbers will continue to increase, given the extent of our health protocols, which are a testament that we in the Turks and Caicos Islands indeed care about the health and safety of all who enter these islands.”
The Film Festival is also targeted at harnessing the young talent on the islands through the involvement of schools and those interested in film production.
Blue Hills Man Charged with Manslaughter
#TurksandCaicos, February 8, 2023 – A 48-year-old man has been charged with two counts of manslaughter.
He appeared before a Magistrate on January 30th. Following his court appearance, the matter was committed for sufficiency hearing on April 06th.
Andre was charged in connection with an incident which occurred on December 24th at the Residence Yard, Five Cays.
Two female minors -ages six and seven- died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Press Release: RTCIPF
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
TCI Office in Bahamas identified
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.
The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others. Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.
The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.
When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.
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