#TurksandCaicos, February 25, 2021 – If we have learned anything from the recent election in TCI, it’s that our democracy is still intact and stronger than ever. Now that we have a new government in office, some may say we can breathe a sigh of relief. I beg to differ and caution you, not so quick.. we still have some difficult roads ahead.
We can all agree, these past four years was quite a challenging time for our country. Let’s spell it out, a relatively small country that depends solely on the tourism industry, stuck with a once-in-a-century pandemic and back-back devastating hurricanes; this is the epitome of any government being tested and tried. Nevertheless, in an age of increasing demands, entitlement and little room for excuses, it’s no surprise this past election was a landslide for the opposition.
Despite the unforeseen events, there is an expectation from the general public, no matter what, you still have to deliver on your promises with noticeable changes and reforms. Most importantly, knowing in what order of priority the challenges set before you should be pursued for the benefit of the people.
Prior to the pandemic, we had a seemingly robust and durable economy. However, in recent months, we quickly realized how delicate it is, and how swiftly it can be undermined if it lacks diversification of resources for long-term economic growth. I believe it is with well intentions for most political leaders to do good for their country. Be reminded, when the new PDM party got elected to office in 2016, they gave off the appearance of great strength, at least on the surface. But as we know for any leader to be effective, having the right team behind you is critical for success.
This brings me to my main points; at this juncture in our quest to move the country forward, lets focus on the opportunities that lies ahead rather them critiquing the past.
Let’s start with finding creative ways to stabilize the job market, conducting a deep dive into cost of living in these islands, expanding on agricultural opportunities and taking on other calculated risk. It is of paramount importance for the new administration to seriously consider strengthening of our fragile infrastructure or eventually the cookie will crumble. It is the framework for any reasonable successful and durable society.
Secondly, we cannot and should not base progress on maintaining the status quo, especially when it comes to critical infrastructure issues like our public sanitation services across these developing islands. Also, we must to be able to put aside political differences if only to protect our core institutions and values. And at some point, the politicians on both sides needs to see their interest as aligned as opposed to always in a conflict. The only way to bring about real change is through continued accountability of our political leaders and having a unified voice. Therefore, don’t stop blowing the “conch shell horns” just yet, the real test is about to come.
The newspapers along with the various social media platforms, also have a vital role to play, as the public relies heavily on the facts rather than hearsay or opinions. Also, the overarching negative comments of publicly attacking each other’s character has to stop. Being critical of his or her performance or lack thereof is more prudent.
Thirdly, given the rising voice and voting power of our youth in this country, they can no longer be ignored. Our youth are the most important segment of society in terms of the future of our country, which was manifested significantly in their eligibility to turn out and vote in this past election cycle. During the past several weeks, it has been fascinating to see how the political parties ramped up efforts to get their message out. And Kudos to the various talk show hosts for educating the masses and challenging the politicians on issues that mattered the most. This needs to become the norm.
We know the real success is when voters can cast ballots in significant numbers, which we saw in this election cycle despite the fears and exposure of this ongoing covid-19 pandemic. As a people, we must also be brave enough to speak up when we see corruption or things that undermines the basic principles of our core values. Leaders who fail to listen to the voice of the people has no place in the free world, because it weakens the core of democracy.
In my opinion, if the solidity of our institutions in these islands remains strong, and we can capitalize on missed opportunities, we will be in a much better position to weather the storms. Certainly, this new government is facing an uphill battle with returning the country to some kind of normalcy, but it’s time to heal the wounds and move forward.
If they make it a central focus of their administration to put the power back in the hands of the people, by restoring the rights of land to it’s citizens, in addition to restoring the original constitution as it once was or beyond, they will have accomplished much.
Concerned citizen of Grand Turk
From the Source Markets
British Airways Courtesy Call
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – Head of Destination Partnerships for British Airways paid a courtesy call to the Ministry of Tourism on Monday, November 27th to give an overview of their destination performance year over year and forward bookings. Left to right in the photo are Marc James, Head of Destination Partnerships for British Airways, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Josephine Connolly, Mr. Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Ms. Stacy Cox, CEO of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA). Also present in the meeting were Mr. Arthur Been, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Racquel Brown, Change Manager and Interim CEO, Experience Turks and Caicos, Mr. Avi Adams, Director of the Department of Tourism Regulations, and James McNally President of TCHTA and General Manager of Beaches Resort. Treated to
Travel Advisors in the United Kingdom were treated to a presentation about the Turks and Caicos Islands last week in Windsor, UK. The presentation was aimed at helping them to increase visitation from the UK and Europe. Victoria Crammer, UK Marketing Consultant, spoke to the group about the new non-stop Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow, London to Providenciales and played them a five-minute video about the destination. She also showed them images of Providenciales including restaurants and bars. The advisors were Salome Zeeman from Dream 2 Travel, Louise Worsley from Farewise, Annabelle Marshall from Travel Counsellors, Alison Lanson from Travel PA, Sonia Burdin from Worldwide Dream Villas and Iona from Your Holidays..
Turks and Caicos Islands star in Offshore Travel Magazine and Carib Journal
The Turks and Caicos Islands continue to grab headlines in our source markets. This week we showcase two articles published in the Canadian magazine Offshore and the US-based Carib Journal.
The winter edition of Offshore Travel Magazine featured South Caicos, Grand Turk and Middle and North Caicos. Read the entire article here: https://offshoretravelmagazine.com/digital-edition/OFFSHORE-winter-2023/offline/download.pdf
In an article headlined: Travelers keep flocking to the Turks and Caicos Islands, Carib Journal featured our latest air and cruise arrival figures which has surpassed one million from January to October 2023. Read the article here: https://www.caribjournal.com/2023/11/24/turks-and-caicos-islands-travelers-flocking/
TCI Census making strides; Provo progress slowed to crime
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – For a second year, criminal activity has had a direct effect on the long-awaited Turks and Caicos Islands Census causing delays, particularly in densely populated communities of Providenciales.
“Providenciales, facing distinctive challenges due to its transient population, periodic serious crimes, and logistical difficulties, reports a completion rate slightly below fifty percent, explained Shirlen Forbes. Chief Statistician in the Department in response to Magnetic Media.
Forbes went on to detail the issues in the November 27 update to our news organization.
“Multiple factors, including crime, contribute to the low completion rate on Providenciales. Enumerators face safety risks in certain areas with higher crime incidence, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and fear among residents. This has led to hesitations in visiting specific areas or households during periodic surges in violent crime, affecting the overall completion rate.”
The disheartening report emerges following a presentation at Cabinet.
Residents had suspected the unforgiving nature of the criminal element in the Turks and Caicos, known to shoot into crowds, recklessly and callously in an effort to hit their true target had created an unsafe environment. This unchecked violence has stymied the collection of the much needed information.
In order to fix it the Department admits it needs more time, resources and new strategies.
“It’s essential to recognize that extension to the data collection period is not unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands, as other countries in the region, despite having richer census-taking histories and more resources, have faced similar challenges.”
As for the other islands the prognosis is much better.
Middle Caicos and Salt Cay with their significantly smaller populations and almost crime-free communities stand out with a 100 percent completion rate. Still, the Department wants more refined data on these islands.
Grand Turk, South Caicos, and North Caicos all have completion rates exceeding 85 percent said Mr. Forbes. The goal for these islands is to conclude the census by December 2023.
As for Parrot Cay, Pine Cay, Ambergris Cay and West Caicos, which are mainly resort islands, the completion is expected within the next two weeks,
Chief Statistician, Shirlen Forbes said while the progress on all islands outside of Providenciales is commendable, his office is also hoping to funnel quality data to the government
“While completion rates signify progress, the importance of data quality cannot be overstated. High completion rates don’t guarantee accurate data if the collection is rushed or incomplete. Ensuring data accuracy and quality is imperative for the overall success of the census.”
Bahamas went into COP28 with BIG GOALS in mind
#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – The Bahamas government highlighted its intentions for the upcoming Cop28 conference which includes taking part in the negotiation process, advancing investment programmes and the launching of major projects.
According to Dr. Rochell Newbold, Climate Advisor, for negotiations, there are three potential outputs the country is looking to follow and they include loss and damage, the technical assistance that will be offered to countries within the loss and damage space and following up on the issues of global stocktake.
For the loss and damage fund, she speaks to the efforts of small island developing states since Cop27, to enhance matters relevant to the loss and damage fund.
This intention, that is to encourage dialogue around this issue, comes as there are geopolitical issues going on globally and global finances are going to those issues and not to global issues of climate change.
In fact, referring to actual statistics, she expressed that in as little as a few months, more than $200 billion dollars were raised and distributed to the issue of war and yet, for years there has been talks around $100 billion needed to address the climate agreement.
For issues of investment opportunities, opportunities which Newbold says would bring great success for The Bahamas, she referred to a current investment project in the country that is a financial grant to address energy and water needs on nine islands within the archipelago, which they are looking to expand.
Furthermore, at Cop28, The Bahamas will launch its BlueCo Caribbean project, driving the blue economy and investment strategy, Newbold said.
This program comes after a regional meeting last year where it was highlighted that the region needs a program to address the needs of island states as well as the fact that less than 0.1 percent of global investments go to the marine environment.
Regarding global stock take, it addresses everything related to the world’s position on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working to chart a better course forward to accelerate climate action, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Additionally, Newbold made another revelation that they will be unveiling The Bahamas Sustainable Investment programme, which has been worked on since Cop 27.
Described as a sleek and tactical delegation, the advisor said less than 20 people will be attending Cop28 including the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister with Responsibility for Energy and Transportation.
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