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SANDALS Resorts announces Expansion to CURAÇAO

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#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.

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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.” 

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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.”

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TCI Census Contests Results coming soon

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2022 – After the revelation that the 2022 National Census had to be put on the back burner because of gang violence, the Department of Statistics is reassuring residents that the competitions held in relation to the census have already been judged and results will be announced soon. 

In a follow up to a Magnetic Media report of Tuesday November 29, we spoke to Shirlen Forbes, who heads the Department of Statistics.  Mr. Forbes explained that the logo, slogan and tagline contests for the census already had their winners.

Prizes for the logo competition ranged from $400 to $1000.The slogan competition open to high school and TCICC students only had prices ranging from $150-$400 and the tagline contest start up to $350 in prizes up for grabs for primary school students in the TCI.

If the reduction in crime holds steady, Forbes said the Census is expected to resume work in January 2023.

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Customers across both Internet Service Providers impacted by freak outage Saturday

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2022 – Magnetic Media can report, the strange countrywide outage affecting both Flow and Digicel customers over the weekend was a regional issue not just affecting The Turks and Caicos according to the service providers.

Numerous calls and complaints flooded Magnetic Media newsroom on Saturday; angry residents said their internet and mobile services had dropped.

Unusual was that customers of both providers were affected in this simultaneous event, which eventually we learnt had stemmed from beyond TCI shores.

At Digicel, the issues emerged from the night before with a drastic slow-down in speed of its internet services.  Technical staff was able to right the anomaly.

At Flow, the tech team was equally hard at work.  Flow’s serviced dropped completely.

On Monday,  we reached out to Flow and Digicel to find out exactly what caused the national disruption.  Flow Communications Executive Darron Hillaire told us, ““There was a multi-site outage that is still currently being investigated, as far as we know the cause was offshore, and details are still limited at this time.”

Providers in Jamaica confirmed that there were some regional issues that would likely affect countries maybe not in the form of total Internet outages but small drops in service coverage.

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TCI Gov’t Doubles Down on $7.5 Million Spend on Fibre Optic Cable needed for E-Government

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2022 – Static, crackling and the beeps of on screen messages that WhatsApp reconnecting were frequent interruptions on a recent Magnetic Media telephone interview with the TCI’s Deputy Premier, E. Jay Saunders.  Saunders, also the Minister of Finance with responsibility for E-governance  as he spoke to us from one of the family islands evidencing the need for e-infrastructure intervention; it also happened to be the very subject of our interview.

A new fibre optic cable is coming and it is the lynch pin in the development of a reliable, effective e-government system for the TCI.

Upwards of $7.5 million dollars is allocated to the investment on behalf of taxpayers; a pretty penny but it’s a desperately needed upgrade, said Saunders, who is confident the cable will revolutionize country-wide telecommunications.

“I’m personally excited by it because if we build it we will literally transform the TCI.  It’s one of those things you will look back on and think this was a watershed moment, where the Turks and Caicos moved up a notch.”

He  went on to detail the expected cost and the timing of the project.

“It’s going to be a multi-year project, it’s not going to be started and finished in one year so what we are budgeting in the next financial year is $7.5 million to start with– We want to get it done as quickly as possible.”
He stressed that if more cash was needed it would be provided.

“We think it will be less than two years but more than one year” Saunders said, emphasizing that the 18-month mark was likely.  He explained that he fully expected the cable to not only improve the quality of life in the TCI, but to turn a profit as well.

“Not just a profit- I truly believe that we’ll make a return on the investment for the people of the Turks and Caicos. Government services will certainly improve, particularly as we transition to e-government—and the carriers obviously utilize it.”

Saunders, who is a former CEO of Digicel Turks and Caicos had previously explained the value of the cable to enhancing the network between Provo and Grand Turk  in discussion with Robert Hall on RTC FM; he had appeared on a September 28th episode of Expressions radio talk show.

“All of the carriers send their signal from Providenciales to Middle Caicos and then to South Caicos and then the signal is sent to Grand Turk and so  if something happens to that tower in Middle Caicos, which is the least populated island then South Caicos goes down and Grand Turk goes down. It’s a very fragile setup.”

That setup limits the amount of data customers can receive, even the amount of cable channels Saunders told us, “The limiting factor is the wireless connectivity- once we get that domestic fibre in we will be able to get the same service to the family islands that we have in Provo.”

Talk of the fibre optic cable came up again during the recent town hall meeting held in Provo on November 21.  The Deputy Premier was addressing a question about e-Government.

The need for a revamp of the cable system was especially evident after the passage of Hurricane Fiona. Both Flow and FortisTCI suffered damage to its systems including downed poles which caused weeks of inconvenient service interruptions to residents.

In addition right now there is only one fibre optic cable coming into the islands; if that gets damaged the TCI is effectively disconnected from the Globe.  The new cable is also expected to give the Turks and Caicos full redundancy, in terms of connection to the wider world.

The fibre optic cable is expected to begin implementation  in January.

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