#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
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne. The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.
Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.
Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
JAMAICA: Government Revenues Soar
#Kingston, November 25, 2022 – There has been a jump in Government revenue collection, with tax revenues for the first six months of the fiscal year exceeding budget by $35 billion.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the out-turn is as a result of higher-than-expected economic performance.
“The first quarter growth came out at 5.7 per cent… and all categories of revenue are over budget. Revenues from income and profits are up by nearly 13 per cent or $10 billion,” Dr. Clarke said.
In addition, he noted that revenues from production and consumption are up by seven per cent or $7 billion and revenues from international trade are up by 15 per cent or $18 billion. Revenues from motor-vehicle licences for the first six months of this year are 16 per cent higher than budgeted.
Dr. Clarke was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 22) where the First Supplementary Estimates for 2022/23 were approved.
The approval reflects a revised expenditure of $971 billion, from the previously approved budget of $912 billion for the financial year.
Minister Clarke said the First Supplementary Estimates come within the context of positive overperformance of the economy.
“As a result of this revenue overperformance… we are able to come to this Parliament six months after and put a Budget that proposes $60 billion in new expenditure,” Dr. Clarke said.
The largest component of the supplementary budget is the allocation for public-sector salaries and wages in keeping with the restructuring of compensation.
“We are allocating $16 billion there and there is another $2 billion to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and then about $3 billion for statutory deductions, making a total of $21 billion,” the Minister said.
Contact: Latonya Linton
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