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Almost shut out of TCI representation in 2019; two years later Tajhari Williams makes Swim History for Turks and Caicos winning a Medal in Opening Event of CCCAN

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#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2021 – A couple of years ago, Tajhari Williams was almost shut out of attending the Swim Carifta Games staged in Nassau; thought to not be ready for the major meet because his times were not as fast as others.  But as one of the few Turks and Caicos Islands youngsters trying to master the sport of swimming, it was thought that young Williams should be on the team, must be on the team.

Complaints were filed, letters were written and the Turks and Caicos Sports Commission intervened; ruling in agreement that as a Turks and Caicos Islands hopeful, Williams should go, if only for the experience he would gain in the meet.

Tajhari, at the age of 11 years old attended his first regional swim competition; his events were the 50m backstroke; 100m backstroke; 100m free; the 50m freestyle and the mixed 11-12 year olds 4x100m freestyle relay.  Truth be told, his times and finishes were less than impressive but his coach confidently point out, it is a matter of perspective because even then, Tajhari managed to improve on his best times, significantly.

The rally to get Tajhari to the CARIFTA Swim meet had done what his supporters had argued and had done what the sports director, Mr. Jarrett Forbes believed; the exposure to racing at the regional level woke up a beast in the boy. 

Now, that very same boy, who was almost counted out of national representation, is a part of Turks and Caicos swim history.

Thirteen year old Tajhari Williams left Providenciales on Sunday, with his eyes set on swim hardware at the highest level of swim competition for the Caribbean and The Americas; and on Wednesday June 23, after swimming the best 30-laps of his young life, he got it!

A bronze medal for Williams in the boys 13-14 1500m freestyle race.  Young Williams, a student of Louise Garland-Thomas High School in Long Bay, is one of five boys who make up the national team.  Three of his team mates – Jayden Davis, Mateo Gardiner and Lenin Hamilton Jr – are from his home club, TCI Aquatics Swim Club. 

Almost daily training with his coach, Lenin Hamilton of TCI Aquatics, has birthed a highly competitive contender in the pool despite the myriad of dynamics, which saw the Club struggle to stay afloat.  With no public facility for swimming, thriving on the grace of individuals like Amy Schwartz of Banyan Beach Club the boys did not stop and did not settle.

With an ease on restrictions for competitive athletes amidst the pandemic; the boys practiced their drills.  Drills were repeated in the pool when they could, but for months in the rough surf of the waters off Ricky’s Flamingo Café.

On the beach is where they did land exercises to build strength and agility whenever the waves were too fierce and it is where they swam pier to pier; commanded to keep technique as they built endurance and speed.

In February 2021; Williams, Gardiner, Hamilton and Davis travelled to Nassau, Bahamas.  There they dominated, Young Williams was named best in his age group, capturing the prize and logging numerous personal bests.

By May 2021, the group returned to Nassau Bahamas – a bit crest fallen about the second-year cancellation of the CARIFTA AQUATICS MEET which was to be held in Barbados.  Covid-19 struck again, but the boys led by their “Coach” did not quit and during the Mako Aquatics Swim Meet, they clocked another string of best performances.

The performances not only proved the caliber of coaching and athleticism in the swimmers, but exposed that the need for competition level swim facilities in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Tajhari Williams was an underdog when pit against the swimmers of 2019.  Those swimmers who were touted to be better and more deserving of opportunities are, for reasons unknown, no longer competing. 

But a son of the Turks and Caicos – Tajhari Williams – has used his moment of struggle to eke out a dominant existence as a fierce competitor, record setter, strong student and trailblazer; now to be remembered not as the one who almost did not go, but as the one who went and the very first Turks and Caicos Islander to win a medal at the prestigious, Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships, CCCAN.

Bahamas News

Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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Bahamas News

Storm Chasers Gear Up !

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – In the unfortunate event of a hurricane when most people are huddled in bed there’s a group of around 287 people across The Bahamas and soon to come, the Turks and Caicos islands who are in the storm working keenly to provide invaluable insight to meteorologists about the real life impact and intensity of weather events.  This is already benefiting The Bahamas department of meteorology, and very soon the Turks and Caicos Islands will also stand to gain.  The origin group is Stormwatch Bahamas, which is moving assertively now to hatching Stormwatch Turks and Caicos. We spoke to Craig Lowe, Founder and Storm Rescue Unit Captain for The Bahamas.

 

“It’s all about growing the weather community and protecting the public.” he explained.

 

That depends on much needed partnerships with locally emergency agencies. This weekend for the first time a Skywarn Instructor from the National Weather Service will be training both teams to take on the huge task of becoming a Storm Chaser. TCI is already equipped with the president and several volunteers but Lowe says they are always accepting more.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Record Tourism Arrivals 2023

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 27th, 2024 – The Bahamas tourism sector set a new tourism record with over 9 million arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation. Air arrivals climbed by 17 percent and cruise arrivals 43.5 percent. This indicates a 38 percent increase over 2022, solidifying The Bahamas as a sought after destination in the Caribbean. 

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