TCI: Ritz Carlton mostly sold, mostly staffed with Turks & Caicos Islanders
#TurksandCaicos, April 21, 2021 – Of the sixty residences at Ritz Carlton Grace Bay, nearly all are sold and of the 300 staff to be hired for the July opening of the country’s newest hotel, three quarters are Turks and Caicos Islanders.
Sixteen-year realtor, Carolina Malcolm, who is a senior Executive Sales Agent with Regency Christies is ecstatic about the interest in the Ritz Carlton. Malcolm, on Monday, explained only six units remain unsold at this stage, making the high rise resort in Providenciales a very hot ticket.
Turks and Caicos Labour Commissioner, Edwin Taylor had an equally healthy report about the ratio of locals to expatriate workers.
“I would say three quarters of the people who have been offered a job at the Ritz Carlton are Turks and Caicos Islanders. At the Open Day and Job Fair, which we hosted jointly with the hotel, we had 384 people turn out to apply and interview for jobs. At least 45 individuals made a lasting impression, some of them for senior positions; these candidates will be offered a place at the Ritz,” explained Taylor.
Striking what is perceived as a fair balance on the employment scene is often a pressure point for indigenous residents, who argue they are overlooked for the best jobs or are not allowed a foot in the door.
Both the Ritz Carlton and the Department of Labour have gone to great lengths to upend that narrative, with positive results said Mr. Taylor who adds salaries are also very competitive.
“The Ritz Carlton is offering starting salaries above minimum wage, at least two dollars over others in the market. It gives the hotel an edge and helps them to fill their staff quotas quickly.”
Danitra Clare, Human Resources Director with the Ritz Carlton, said the recruitment needs continue to grow with the exceptionally strong sales of the residences and strong bookings for July, which is when the country’s newest, tallest resort opens.
“We are looking at approximately 150 plus, local islanders who would have been offered positions within the Turks and Caicos so far and today, with this turn out, I pretty sure this is going to help us finalise our numbers,” said Clare during the staging of the Open Day held on April 14 at the Gus Lightbourne Gym, in down town Providenciales.
“We are specifically looking for persons in the Turks and Caicos and that is why we do these job fairs. To give persons that live here the opportunity to take on the role within hospitality.”
Steering those interviewees at the one day Job Fair was the energetic general manager, John Hazard who agreed that bookings are going well, dropping that the July 4 weekend will be sizzling at the RitzCarlton.
“Grace Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in the world and that address alone generates a level of buzz that we have already seen. Our forward reservations are already very strong and really encouraging. We continue to see that (throughout). There is just an incredible buzz around the hotel, the brand coming to the island and Grace Bay beach,” shared Mr. Hazard.
On the sales side, Regency Christie’s, as the exclusive brokers for the Ritz Carlton is pleased with movement of residences at Tower B. Tower B is home to 24 luxury two and three bedrooms suites.
In an idea of what buyers are prepared to pay to have a sky high home on #1 Grace Bay Beach, Malcolm shared that residences at RitzCarlton start just over $1.9 million USD; and if one scales up to the ninth floor, a home at the Ritz can cost just over $2 million USD for an ocean view suite.
On the hotel side, reservations are being accepted from July 2nd and currently the hotel is over 50 per cent booked. Carolina Malcolm is also encouraging those interested in a Ritz Carlton holiday in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos to visit the Marriott’s website to book your stay.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.
Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.
In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical. It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”
In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces. Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.
Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”
The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.
In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.
CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.
Hunger rates rise in Latin America and the Caribbean
June 5, 2023 – It’s an unfortunate reality for Latin America and the Caribbean as the number of people suffering from hunger surged by 30 percent; 56 million people now facing hunger, a large increase from 43 million in 2019.
It was revealed by Mario Lubetkin, Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), where he further informed that the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and the ongoing climate crisis are to blame for the surge.
Regarding the climate crisis, he emphasized that climate related challenges are on the rise as the region experiences combinations of droughts and floods; and to combat this, he expressed that proactive measures should be put in place to prepare farmers for potential severe impacts.
To help mitigate the surge in hunger rate, he put forth a three fold approach.
The first is the importance of effectively managing the current situation by whatever means necessary; for the second, he fingered the need for the creation of sufficient funds to mitigate the impact on farmers, for the third, he highlighted the need for collaboration among Governments, public sectors, and private sectors in order to mollify the burden of rising prices on consumers.
These highlighted efforts are in line with the aspirations and duties of the FAO which is devoted to supporting family farming, which makes up 80 percent of the workforce in the Agriculture sector.
Additionally, Lubetkin spoke of FAO’s commitment to quality products and brought attention to the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, which is geared towards eradicating hunger, ensuring food security, and promoting sustainable development in rural areas.
The organization also aims to enhance food security, a needed element in the regions, through innovation and digitization processes for example “1,000 digital villages,” one of their projects aids countries in using digital tools in agri-food systems and rural territories.
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