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Last flights to Canada from Caribbean & Mexico are this Sunday; 13 week suspension announced by Trudeau

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#TurksandCaicosIslands, January 29, 2021 – Four Canadian airlines have agreed to suspend flights to the Caribbean and Mexico until April 30 and news of the dramatic turn of events captured headlines. 

Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat will be cancelling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico from January 31until April 30 informed Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister on Friday. 

It was a move not completely out of the blue. After all the Prime Minister of Canada had said he was considering the extreme measure due to the extreme impact of new coronavirus variants on Canadians and their way of life.

The airlines had resisted “snap” measures which could have left travellers in a lurch, it seems to out rightly stop flights temporarily was the alternate decision.  It ends any opportunity for surprises and does not force the Government to seek a constitutional override to ban vacation travel.

 Air Canada has said it will run a few one-way flights to get Canadians home after January 31, and refund other customers.

“This decision was not made lightly but something we deemed necessary as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is based on ongoing collaboration with the government and the Canadian aviation industry,” a Sunwing spokesperson said in a statement.

In Turks and Caicos, there are Canadians who are now scrambling to find their way home; with plans to route through the United States.

But there are plans in the works to tighten those requirements too said a media report on CTV news.

In the coming weeks, non-essential travellers will also be required to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the U.S., Trudeau said, adding that the government was working on additional testing requirements for land travel.

There was more from the Prime Minister, who lost several government leaders in travel fiascos linked to non-essential travel; Trudeau said only 1 percent of cases of the coronavirus were due to travel, adding the one case is one too many.

Now, international passenger flights must land only in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal beginning next week. The new measures follow Trudeau’s announcement that all travellers returning from overseas must take a COVID-19 PCR test at the airport when they land and quarantine in a designated hotel for up to three days at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000.

If they test negative for Covid-19, there is leniency to allow for at home isolation but under much heavier scrutiny.

Canada is approaching 20,000 deaths from the virus; 32 are nurses alone.  Back in September, Canada reported that over 21,000 Covid-19 infections were health care workers.  Health professionals launched a petition calling for more strict measures and greater clarity on what is deemed, “essential travel”.

There is no clear path out of the weighty restrictions; the only inkling of a ‘when’ the measures would end was a vaguely conveyed, “ideally, later this year.”

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Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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