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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



#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

GBPA welcomes EY’s New Office to Freeport



#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has approved a business license for EY Bahamas Ltd., who is set to open a new office in Freeport.

With more than 300,000 employees globally, EY provides assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions services to businesses, countries and entrepreneurs. Significant economic impact from this investment will stem from the need for local housing, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation and more.

“We are pleased to welcome EY to Freeport,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.  “GBPA has been working with EY to take advantage of the BH-1B Visa program, which provides a significant opportunity for us to welcome more people to our city. We are looking forward to the economic boost to local businesses including grocery stores, taxis, car rentals, the housing market, restaurants and more. The ripple effects as a result of EY’s new footprint in Freeport will be a positive addition to our business community.”

GBPA and EY began serious discussions in 2019 prior to Hurricane Dorian regarding the benefits of operating in Freeport’s Special Economic Zone.  Since then, GBPA continued building its relationship with the firm and further helped them to understand the benefits of the BH-1B visa, which allows them to use Freeport to support their client’s needs across the region and globe.  Besides attracting local Bahamian and international talent, EY was drawn to Freeport’s proximity to North America, its safe environment, technology infrastructure and more.

EY has operated in The Bahamas for decades, providing rewarding careers for Bahamians. In its new Freeport location, EY will offer its clients solutions utilizing global talent, while creating new opportunities for employment and training for Grand Bahamians.

“Our Invest Grand Bahama promotional arm is dedicated to attracting these types of businesses that can benefit from our unique Free Trade Zone. We will continue to do our part as we promote the best Freeport has to offer,” Mr. Rolle concluded.

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Bahamas News

RM Bailey’s Class of 2022 told, go where your heart leads you; be courageous, innovative, be your best



By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services


#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – Vice-President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Barry Griffin appealed to R.M. Bailey Senior High School’s Class of 2022 to be advocates of change and to use their voices to encourage good governance and constant innovation.

Senator Griffin was the guest speaker at the school’s commencement exercise Monday, June 20, at Charles Saunders Auditorium. “Empowered to Make What Seems Impossible – Possible” was the theme for the event.

“What we need now from our leaders is a sense of urgency. There has long been this feeling in The Bahamas, and in particular the upper echelons of our country, that we have comfort and we can manage to navigate the twists and turns that come our way,” said Senator Griffin.

“But what Hurricane Dorian has taught us, what the pandemic has taught us, what the inflation and rising costs of gas, electricity and food has taught us is — something that those at the fringes of our society have known for far too long — that comfort we feel will not last for long.”

To make the change, he remarked that the love of an old  “anachronistic” system that no longer serves the nation and its students must be removed.

He appealed for expanded opportunities for all, structural changes in the economy and in politics.

“We must begin to call a spade a spade — we have a problem of inequality, a problem of equal access to opportunity and a problem of failed politics. And graduates the only way that changes, is by you making your voices heard.”

He offered the following advice to the graduates:

  1. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
  2. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  3. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, both are equally important.
  4. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.
  5. There is no script. Live your life the way you want.
  6. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  7. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
  8. Failure is the condiment that gives success flavour.
  9. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
  10. Go where your heart leads you — and do everything you desire — act as if it were impossible for you to fail.

“My advice is to be bold, to be you, to embrace failure, and to live as if everything is possible.

“It is my hope that you run out of here excited, leaning forward into the wind and ready to take the world by storm,” he said.

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Bahamas News

Summit of the Americas elevates hemispheric challenges, Bahamas PM vocal



By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer


#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – “The Americas are challenged by crisis.” This was the statement made by the Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis during his contribution to the Plenary Session of the 9th Summit of the Americas on June 10, 2022.

“Climate, COVID and conflict have undermined our safety and our security,” he said. He went further to ask some thought-provoking questions: “Have we done enough here, at this gathering, to relieve suffering? To promote peace? To fight for the economic dignity of our People? “Will the work we carried out here continue once the spotlight and the world’s attention has moved on?”

He said the work and fine words do not count unless the people are told that the leaders have laid a true foundation for their progress.

Hinting back to the Summit in 2019, he said it is evident that the good intentions and optimism of that gathering did not translate into enduring advancement.

“Indeed, some countries in our hemisphere have become more unequal and more violent… across the Americas, the scourges of racism and discrimination appear to be on the rise. Emerging moral and technological challenges to our democratic norms threaten our capacity to deliver free and fair elections, and effective governance.” He added that all the mentioned challenges are “eclipsed by the existential threat of climate change.”

He expressed thanks to President Biden and Vice-President Harris and the people of the United States, to host and facilitate the dialogue and cooperation because none of the mentioned issues can be resolved by one nation.

Davis added, however, that “multilateral engagement at the highest levels happens too infrequently – certainly when it comes to issues which are important to the Caribbean,” he added. “But if the work of this Summit continues, if the will to cooperate endures, if words turn into action –change can lead to progress, and we can move forward.”

He highlighted several key factors affecting the region’s development, like hurricanes and other natural disasters that result in injury and debt, Covid-19 and the lack of sufficient healthcare workers, disinformation, and the illegal shipment of guns and movement of people. He also hinted at a topical issue, which suited the occasion as some countries were not invited to the Summit.

“It is easy to talk with those with whom we agree, but we must also be able to talk with those with whom we disagree. In fact, sometimes those are the conversations that are most urgently needed,” he said.  Prime Minister Davis noted that all the countries in the hemisphere faced overlapping developmental, security and democratic challenges. Collaboration and collective action can only be of mutual benefit. The absence of the Republic of Cuba has made these deliberations less complete,” added the Prime Minister.

“We must also be mindful of the unintended consequences of isolation and separation,” he said as he shared that more could be done to provide support for Haitians.

He noted that for the institutions within the Inter-American system to fulfil their potential, there should be some rethinking or re-calibrating. He added that the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular, required both a structural and cultural adjustment.

As the Prime Minister ended his presentation, he called for not just more talking but also that participants “keep ‘doing — upholding our commitments and taking the action necessary for our collective survival.”

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