#SANTA BARBARA, CURAÇAO, December 10, 2020 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the world’s leading all-inclusive company, announced today the signing of an agreement that will bring Sandals® Resorts to a brand-new destination, at the Santa Barbara Resort on the island of Curaçao.
This will mark the ninth island destination for the brand in the Caribbean region. The new Sandals Curaçao will initially include 350-luxurious rooms and suites stretched along the Spanish Water Bay and the Caribbean Sea, with a further expansion planned in the coming years. Formerly the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, part of a broader 3,000-acre development, the resort will be completely “Sandalized,” a process set to begin in 2021.
Sandals Curaçao will bring the opulent resort innovations to the island, which have become synonymous with the world-renowned Sandals Resorts brand across the region. Conceptual plans for the resort include adding key elements for the signature Sandals experience, including new expansive pools, a variety of 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining options and lavish accommodations, including magnificent newly constructed River Suites. Guests will also have access to the neighboring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course, two onsite marinas and 38,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the largest on the island.
World-famous for its vibrant culture, pristine beaches and coves, Curaçao also boasts spectacular dive sites and exotic marine ecosystems. With year-round temperatures of 80 degrees, it’s touted as the perfect anytime-escape. The resort will have a positive, immediate and long-term impact on the island and the people of Curaçao. In year one alone, it is expected to have an over $40 million economic footprint and an impressive track record on the creation of new employment. The resort alone will add over 1,200 local jobs, comprised of 800 new team members, and 400 local tradesmen and craftsmen. This will be followed by a positive economic ripple-effect for the community extending to the local taxi and transportation sectors, wider supply chain, agriculture, increased airlift and increased yearly tourism numbers—especially with the key US tourism market.
Roald Smeets, Director of the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, said: “We have a unique opportunity to attract a globally-recognized hotel operator, owner and investor such as Sandals Resorts, which will bring an unprecedented boon to the Curaçao tourism industry and the local economy. Its position as both a hotel operator and owner, with the ability to attract regular scheduled airlines from North America, distinctly marks it out from other hotel groups. We found its impressive plans for the site and dedication to building the profile of Curaçao as a world-class tourism destination particularly compelling. Its future investment into the community will reinvigorate the tourism market, secure the livelihoods of hundreds of families and benefit every individual on the island through rejuvenating the local economy. Curaçao has a tremendous future ahead, due to this exciting new venture, which will put Curaçao truly on the global stage.”
Sandals Resorts International Founder and Chairman, the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, along with Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart, had this to share: “It has been our distinct pleasure to work alongside the government of Curaçao and the Smeets family on this exciting new endeavor for the Sandals brand,” stated Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “We wish to express our deepest gratitude to Roald Smeets, who has been instrumental to this process and absolutely delightful to work with. We plan to do more than our part to raise the world’s appreciation of this beautiful country.”
Adam Stewart added, “Each time we expand, we bring with us the full potential of our 40-years in hospitality. The new Sandals Curaçao embodies our philosophy of forward-thinking and looking through a new lens. It is a promise not only to our guests but to our team members for continued innovation. Curaçao is a place to be discovered, and we are so proud today to become part of this community.”
Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.
The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.
The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.
Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.
In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.
The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.
Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.
Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.
Photo Caption: Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG
New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Rules governing Justices of the Peace in the Turks and Caicos are now significantly stricter after the passing of the amendment to the Magistrates Amendment Bill in July 2022.
Despite the fact that Justices of the Peace are allowed the same powers as a magistrate previously the only requirement for their appointment was the discretion of the Governor and that they be under 65-years-old.
Justices of the peace have always by law been allowed to receive complaints, sign charges and issue warrants for the apprehension of persons charged with criminal offenses. They can also issue search warrants summons and administer oaths.
Considering the potentially unchecked execution of these powers, the attorney general’s chambers lobbied for a change in the system.
“These are very wide powers and there is no framework for the supervision and regulation of the whole of justices of the peace in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
The amendment rectified this and the Chief Justice now has the power to make binding rules and regulations governing the appointment of JPs, a code of conduct disciplinary action and orientation and periodic training for JPs.
In addition, to maintain separation of powers the governor will be stripped of the power to disallow laws made by resident magistrates. That power now belongs to the Chief Justice.
Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, TCI Attorney General maintained that the amendment was short but necessary.
Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe
By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Young people in the Turks and Caicos are very sexually active and while there are no concrete statistics, the newest members of the Rapport all said “Yes” to the question about whether there is rampant sexual activity.
“As a young person I totally agree that they are having a lot of sex,” Arean Louis said.
This is particularly concerning given wider statistics point to a very young age group which is still contracting HIV/Aids.
“Caribbean statistics are showing that between the ages of 15 and 25 those have the highest amount of HIV rates.”
Young adult members of Rapport TCI all agree that youth in the TCI must be made aware of HIV and other STIs. Arean Louis, Denae Dennie and Arielle Neely spoke to Magnetic Media on their way to the International AIDS Conference.
All three agreed that our young people are having a lot of sex.
“I would say that our young people are having sec the only thing that I would say is I hope that they are letting their partners know their sexual history, their status, and that they’re being safe.” Dennie said.
Louis added, “As we talk about HIV and AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands we most definitely need to bring awareness to our young people because there is no set age— kids nowadays just like to experiment.”
He stressed safe sex, using protection and abstinence to maintain sexual health.
“What we aim to do is keep them safe here, we’re tired and we don’t want to see anymore STD and STI new cases in the Turks and Caicos.”
Dennie says she still thinks there is fear surrounding HIV but with education and protection, the world can get to zero new cases and it was something she was looking forward to.
The final member Arielle Neely explained that there were not enough tools and resources to educate youth.
“There are not enough tools or enough record to educate them. Our parents think they’re doing a good job by telling us don’t have sex but telling us don’t have sex isn’t enough. You have to teach us about birth control planned parenthood.”
The three members had high hopes for Rapport and stressed that they need more members to make an effective change on sexual health in the TCI.
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