#TurksandCaicos, May 5, 2021 – Government on Monday met with Carnival Cruise Line; a meeting which is aimed at preparing Grand Turk for a return to cruising and a return to what is forecast to be even more cruise passengers.
“I am made to understand that Carnival has sold its small ships and has invested in larger vessels and in fact, even before the pandemic was looking at extending the pier to accommodate the large vessels,” said Premier Washington Misick during his 50-days-in-office press conference held Monday.
“What I can tell you is that I am having a meeting with Carnival at 3 o’ clock this afternoon (Monday May 3) because I understand that the sailing of cruise vessels, may be green-lighted by the CDC as early as July and we want to make sure that we get carnival as quickly as possible in order to alleviate the hardships for those persons in Grand Turk who make their living one way or another by engaging with Carnival.”
Turks and Caicos continues to hold its ban on cruise ship arrivals; a post-Covid-19 measure due to expire in August. However, with demand for Grand Turk and a port of call expanding beyond Carnival Cruise Line, that could change.
“I can say to you that, there are other interests in the industry in Grand Turk by other cruise vessels. I can also say to you that we had a very fruitful meeting on Friday to look out how we could accelerate draw down on the Carnival Infrastructure fund for the benefits of the improvement of the environment in Grand Turk and how the government itself can make major investment by improving the visitors’ experience by preserving the history, particularly looking at how we can authentically develop the historic district in Grand Turk.”
Despite plans to do so, in speaking directly to the Premier and Finance Minister it was explained the previous government never did draw down on the Carnival Infrastructure Fund – said to currently hold $11 million dollars – in order to lend direct financial support to islanders.
It would have been an extraordinary use of the Fund, but the Coronavirus Pandemic indisputably created extraordinary circumstance.
The new PNP Government promises to get spending happening on projects to enhance the historic character of Grand Turk.
Cruising resumption dates have been a moving target amidst the pandemic but the industry is aiming for a July return to cruising from US ports, with CDC approval. Currently, vaccination of staff in Galveston Texas and Port Canaveral, Florida – major disembarkation ports – is well underway.
When cruises do resume, it is the new administration’s view that Grand Turk should be ready and look ready to give visitors a better experience on island.
TCI Tourist Board 2020 figures reveal 66 per cent of the tourism arrivals lost were due to the halt to the cruise industry; it has been 14 months since a cruise call in the country’s capital.
Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.
“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.
Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.
And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.
The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”
Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.
“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”
Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.
The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’
The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year. Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.
While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home. So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.
In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg. The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.
Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.
This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands
By Sherrica Thompson
#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.
Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.
There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage. The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.
“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said
Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.
Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.
Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.
Cayman photo credit: RC Cord
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