November 9, 2020 – Please allow me an opportunity to air my very serious concerns regarding this ongoing impasse with Beaches, and the latest developments which are more discouraging than encouraging.
After the latest volley of statements between the TCIG and Beaches Resorts, I must insist that the playing of games with the lives of the people must stop!
Only a few short days ago we heard all these great things about mediation and how it holds hope for a resolution, but barely had the print dried that mediation was out the window like everything else. Now we are left in a state of chaos with no idea about what is going to happen as we race toward the peak periods; Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond.
First the TCIG comes and says Beaches called off the mediation, followed almost immediately by the resort denying this and pointing toward a letter which the TCIG had sent to the resort on the cusp of the mediation. The clear implication is that whatever was contained in that letter derailed the talks that were to come. Beaches for its part has demanded that the letter be published. Well if that is how we get to the bottom of this then I also wish to see the contents of that letter.
That is important for several reasons the most urgent being that if there was something in that letter that impacted the mediation then we have to wonder why it is that the Premier and the TCIG would do such a thing, and what is the reason behind refusing to resolve this matter while people suffer.
On the other hand, if the letter does not contain anything that could be seen as disruptive, then we have questions to ask of Beaches.
But at this point the only party that has called for full disclosure is Beaches, and I shudder to think that the TCIG is intentionally prolonging this debacle while people all over the TCI suffer. If this is a political gimmick as is being suggested, then shame on the TCIG for so playing with the lives of those who elected it to serve.
The people of the TCI can no longer sit idly by while we hear empty talk and promises.
One has to ask the question, what does it profit Beaches to keep its doors closed at a time when it needs to open resorts and it probably needs all the business it can get? It simply does not compute. If the liability is $26 million as is being claimed, then I cannot see a multi-billion dollar company allowing such a sum to prevent it from opening – unless it’s not about the money.
Let’s look at this practically; the TCIG is accusing it key investor of not meeting all its tax liabilities, however Beaches has stood its ground insisting that not only has it paid its taxes according to its long standing agreement with the government, but that it is actually owed millions in overpaid taxes. Then there is the letter sent by the sitting Finance Minister Washington Misick confirming the arrangement. So it is not hard to see why Beaches has taken the stand it has, and I can understand why the resort is standing its ground because essentially it is being accused by a host government of not meeting tax liabilities. That is a damning thing to say has far reaching implications, and any company that is within its rights will defend itself from such an accusation whether it is $26 million or $26 dollars. Furthermore Beaches has been very public in its defense so this cannot be about simply evading payment as the TCIG has suggested.
So what is the truth?
We are no longer comforted by the platitudes we hear from the TCIG regarding its willingness to ‘engage in discussions (facilitated or otherwise) in good faith, with a view to ultimately arriving at a workable resolution for both parties.” We need more than words we need action, we need to see real effort, we are tired of the talk, talk and more talk.
Well you had the opportunity to do that on November 18th in the mediation, and if it is that the TCIG has done something – in this case the finger is being pointed at the contents of a letter sent to Beaches on October 29th – that has derailed that process then the people deserve to know why. So let the citizens be the judge indeed, publish the letter and let Beaches publish its response.
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.
The Shore Club makes Travel + Leisure
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – The Shore Club is the perfect place to escape the cold with your family according to well-known travel magazine, Travel + Leisure at least. The Turks and Caicos resort was featured in the worldwide magazine’s January feature last month.
“It’s hard to overstate the grandness of our accommodations,” travel writer Hannah Selinger gushed as she described the luxurious Shore Club experience that retails for around $750 per night.
The resort owned by Stan Hartling, 2021 TCI Humanitarian of the Year, was lauded for its use of local materials including coral harvested in Long Bay on which the property resides. The writer was particularly impressed with the expansive space and multiple amenities at the resort which even when significantly booked “never feels even remotely full”.
She described the food and the entirety of her experience as ‘extremely satisfying’.
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