#TurksandCaicos, March 11, 2021 – Annually, the members of the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association host a night of celebration, applauding the exceptional service and achievements of employees in the hospitality sector.
This year, the 13th annual TCHTA Star Awards focused on the efforts of those in the industry and on the front-line who showed selfless commitment to their teams and to the wider Turks and Caicos communities.
The closure of the country’s borders due to COVID-19 delivered a devastating blow to the tourism sector; the largest industry and revenue-generator in Turks and Caicos. Still, these Pandemic Icons went above and beyond to do their part in maintaining the strength and vitality of the sector and the country at large.
Many of the country’s most anticipated events have been cancelled because of COVID-19. Todd Foss, President of the TCHTA, said it was important to the association that it not lose the opportunity to give accolades to these beacons in the community. “The heroism and selflessness shown by employees in the tourism industry and by the essential workers in our community is something we are honoured to pay tribute to. We are thankful to the Board of Directors and members of the association for their continued support of this event, and especially thankful to The Palms for providing a venue and protocol team to assist us in producing this special edition of the TCHTA Star Awards.”
In contrast to the fanfare of the sold-out formal event held a year ago, this year’s ceremony was limited to awardees and their managers in strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Awardees were scheduled in groups and set to arrive every half hour. A greeter ensured each group was sanitized and properly distanced as they filed onto the lawn, and seating was spaced appropriately. Once awards were received, the awardees exited the space immediately and the resort team re-sanitized the area in preparation for the next group.
Despite the strict protocols, the beauty of the event left nothing to be desired. The perfectly manicured Croquet Lawn was immaculately decorated with confetti-filled balloons in the event’s signature black, white and gold colours, and each group provided with white parasols to keep them shaded. Take-away breakfasts sponsored by The Palms and Beaches Turks & Caicos were available to guests as they exited.
Stacy Cox, CEO of the association shared her excitement at the execution of Pandemic Icon Awards, “This year’s event was intimate, yet dynamic. Our awardees have exceeded the standard set by the TCHTA. They are gold-star individuals who embody the true spirit of the Star Awards. We are ecstatic that the event was so seamlessly executed, and that our new Minister of Tourism, Hon Josephine Connolly could join the festivities. The TCHTA is proud of the accomplishments of these hard-working tourism professionals, and those of our essential workers who have dedicated themselves to working keeping Turks and Caicos healthy and safe.”
Along with the tourism employees, special awards were given to Ministry of Health, the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force, Interhealth Canada, and The Salvation Army for their work in the communities throughout the pandemic. Cargo Express, TCI Distributors, and the TCHTA Community Staples committee were also awarded for the accomplishments of the feeding program held last year.
Hon Matthew Stubbs was in attendance as shadow Minister to the Minister of Tourism, Hon Josephine Connolly, who gave the keynote address and joined in the presentation of the awards. Mr. Jeff Morgan, General Manager at The Palms, delivered the welcome address. Ms. Sonia Simmons, TCHTA Communications Manager, was Mistress of Ceremonies.
Press Release: TCHTA
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Support for Flood-Affected Farmers
#Kingston, November 26, 2023 – A total of $157 million is to be provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, to support farmers affected by the recent heavy rains from Potential Tropical Cyclone 22.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, made the announcement during a National ‘Eat Jamaican Day’ ceremony in Portland on Friday (November 24).
The Minister lamented that the country had moved from a period of harsh drought to the next extreme – flooding.
“A number of our farmers suffered tremendous loss and the team from RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) has been out since last week Saturday, trying to quantify what has been the losses that have been suffered by our farmers,” he said.
According to the Minister, preliminary figures reveal that $274 million in damage was done to the agricultural sector, with livestock farmers suffering about $25 million in losses; equipment loss of over $10 million; $173 million in crop loss; and $64 million in damage to the farm road network.
“The good news is that we are not going to leave our farmers alone and we know, as they said to the Prime Minister when he toured last week, that once they get some support, they are willing to go back out and farm,” Mr. Green indicated.
The $157 million support package from the Ministry will be used in several ways. A total of $70 million is to be provided for crop support – inputs, seeds, and fertilizers – and another $8 million for equipment support.
A total of $15 million will be expended for support to livestock and $64 million will be used to rehabilitate farm roads.
Minister Green also announced that resulting from a gift from the Kingdom of Morocco, 24,000 bags of fertilizers will be distributed among farmers over the next two weeks.
The Minister informed that the parish that was most affected by the recent weather event was St. Thomas and that, “almost every farming community in St. Thomas suffered from flood damage.”
Farming communities in St Andrew were also cut off because of landslides.
Contact: Mickella Anderson-Gordon
Photo Caption: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green.
Photo by Mark Bell
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