#TurksandCaicos, June 16, 2021 – Laser focus is on reviving the economy of Grand Turk, said Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands in a 100-Day progress report, and the attention is warranted as Grand Turk remains on dry dock as no ships have docked at the port in over 15-months.
Cruising was severely impacted as global tourism and travel plummeted. It is estimated the blow to the cruise industry was a revenue loss of $50 billion dollars and some 1.17 million jobs vanished amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. This month, cruise ships began to fan out in the Americas; some from freshly established home ports and all with extremely watchful eyes.
Grand Turk has not yet reopened to cruise ships but when it does, the Hon. Washington Misick has forecast it will be a bodacious boom.
“…for those listening in from Grand Turk, I think you will have a booming high season towards the end of 2021-2022.”
The prognosis followed several strategic announcements including that Government is in serious talks with two major cruise companies in the Americas.
“I can report that over the last four weeks, we’ve had three meetings with Carnival, said Premier Misick on June 2, “…negotiations are going well and we expect that between now and the end of the summer, certainly not later than October that Carnival will be back in Grand Turk. Carnival will be investing an additional $16 to $18 million in expanding the dock facilities out there and will be coming in with larger, newer ships. We are working closely with them to make sure the experience of their guests and the benefits to the vendors are what it should be.”
Premier and Finance Minister Washington Misick divulged there was a fourth meeting set for the same day and within the month, a tour of Grand Turk
“On the 17th of June, we will be having a walk about in Grand Turk to identify projects from the Carnival infrastructure fund; $8.5 million dollars available to see what we can do to improve the visual environment and to get ready to get Grand Turk open and ready for the high season.”
More millions will be invested into Grand Turk by the TCI Government as well.
“We have $4 million in the Budget that we intend to spend on that venture in 2020-2021; it may be early as well, but I can say to you today, that as we speak we are having negotiations with Royal Caribbean (Cruise Line) and it looks very positive that between now and the end of the summer that we will have them calling into the town area of Grand Turk.”
The news has created a buzz in the country’s capital. A town meeting is organized for 7 p.m. at Parade Grounds on Thursday June 17 as well. Grand Turk residents will have an opportunity to hear from Government and perhaps Carnival officials. These Executives, will also be able to field questions from residents who are not only beneficiaries but partners.
Grand Turk in 2019 welcomed 1,111,818 cruise visitors; current plans are positioning Grand Turk to surpass that figure.
Glass Window Bridge envisioned as a symbol of resilience and sustainability says Works and Utilities Minister
By KATHRYN CAMPBELL
Bahamas Information Services
#ELEUTHERA, The Bahamas, September 27, 2022 – A new bridge design that incorporates opportunities for Bahamian entrepreneurs was presented at a Town Hall Meeting Thursday, September 22, 2022 at St. Patrick’s Lodge Hall, Hatchet Bay.
During the livestreamed event the Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears; the Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs; island administrators, representatives of the Ministry of Works, Town Planning Board, the Bridge Authority, Local Government, Lambert Knowles and other consultants, and residents of Eleuthera discussed plans for the proposed replacement of the Glass Window Bridge (GWB) in North Eleuthera.
Minister Sears termed the meeting very “successful” consultation and attendance by local stakeholders and virtual participants.
He said Mr. Knowles has assembled a world-class team of bridge designers who have put together a design that will turn the GWB “into a symbol of resilience, sustainability and also a place of entertainment and relaxation where Bahamian businesses can come and share in the wonderful goods of Eleuthera to the international travelling public as well as the residents in Eleuthera.
“We’re speaking now with Caribbean Development Bank with respect to funding; the design is now completed, there is also interest in PPP’s. Within the next two months we should have a funding pathway and then of course we will move on the procurement. Once the funding is in place we will announce a date.”
“It is not only a look out point, we are approaching this project as an enterprise where the people who live in Eleuthera would have the same opportunities that the people in South would have as the Disney Project would have, but it would be more significant than Disney because this project would be owned by Bahamian people — entrepreneurs, performers and culinary artists.
“Eleuthera is one of the places in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where development is taking place very rapidly. It is one of the most unique communities in our country; it is the fifth largest economy within the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. We have some of the wealthiest industrialists with homes in Eleuthera; we also have booming Bahamian business resorts throughout Eleuthera.”
The GWD represents a place where we “can build opportunities for Bahamian businesses, Bahamian entrepreneurs to showcase the imagination of the Bahamian crafts persons, also to showcase the culinary skills as well as the extraordinary culinary dishes of Bahamian cuisine,” he said.
Although “spectacular” Minister Sears said the current one-lane bridge is “dangerous” and unable to facilitate the transport of freight from the north to the south of the island because its carrying capacity is only 12 tonnes — anything over 12 tonnes cannot be transported over the bridge.
He noted other challenges and informed that the bridge is not fulfilling the potential that it has for the development of Eleuthera.
Using a Power Point presentation, Mr. Knowles introduced the design team, technical aspects of the built design and various options considered for the new bridge.
He said the proposed bridge will be unique; a picture opportunity and a venue to host an event. It will have a park, security, rest rooms, parking, a location for food trucks to sell crafts and food; and topography with different elevation.
During the question and answer segment, Minister Sears said a decision has not yet been made regarding a bridge toll on the major undertaking.
“It is a project which multilateral bodies and private sector investors have expressed an interest in participating in the funding. It is a project that once we have the community by-in the government is committed to building a world class production at this location.” Construction is expected to take place on the proposed bridge from 2023-2026 at an estimated cost of $50-$60 million.
The GWB was built in 1990 and provides the only vehicular link between North and South Eleuthera.
(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)
Storm Troubles as September heats up late
By Sherrica Thompson
September 27, 2022 – Hurricane Ian moved near the Cayman Islands and was forecast to intensify rapidly and hit Cuba as a major hurricane late on Monday and then strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before striking the west central coast of Florida on Wednesday.
Now millions in Tampa Bay, Florida are bracing for impact after a hundred year absence of any major storm.
So far, authorities in Cuba have suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and planned evacuations on Monday as Ian gained strength and approach Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Cuba was also shutting down its train system ahead of the worst weather.
Senior Specialist at the United States National Hurricane Center Daniel Brown told The Associated Press early Monday that “Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane force winds, life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall.”
In the Cayman Islands, members of the government and opposition were working together to ensure that people were made as safe as possible and provided with supplies, plywood, and in some cases sandbags so that they could safely weather the storm, according to Premier Wayne Panton in a video on Sunday.
As of Monday, September 26, most of the customers on the island of Bermuda have received power with just about 200 properties still without electricity.
Last week Hurricane Fiona brought heavy rain and strong winds to the island causing about 29,000 customers, more than 80 per cent of the island’s sole power provider, Bermuda Electric Light Company to be without electricity on Friday morning.
The island has also started its restoration process and announced that it has reopened for business.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, more than a million people in the two countries are still without power and running water after the passing of Hurricane Fiona over the Islands last week.
A growing number of businesses in Puerto Rico, including grocery stores and gas stations, are temporarily closing across the territory as the outages drag on, sparking concern about the availability of fuel and basic goods.
As of Saturday, at least 16 people had died because of Hurricane Fiona, according to Puerto Rico’s Department of Health, which is tracking hurricane-related deaths on the island.
TCHTA Expresses Sympathy to Bereaved Families and Grave Concern Over Recent Gun Crimes
#TurksandCaicos, September 27, 2022 – Communities in the country have come under siege in the wake of a recent explosion of gun violence resulting in several tragic deaths. The TCHTA bemoans these events, sending sympathy and encouragement to the families of the young men whose lives have been cut short by these brazen and deplorable attacks.
“We grieve the loss of these young lives and the devastation caused to the families involved,” lamented Stay Cox, CEO of the organization. “We’ve seen this before, and each time our communities and nation are pushed into a position of fear and panic as criminals eat away at the feeling of safety in our homes and neighbourhoods,” said Cox.
Earlier this year, the Association appealed for swift action to be taken against the uptick in brazen criminal activity and pledged its continued support and eagerness to partner with the RTCIPF in the fight against crime in Turks and Caicos.
The Association notes the swift action taken by the RTCIPF, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Premier, and the NSC to stem the ongoing melee. The TCHTA joins the country in thanking the Cayman Islands for deploying one of its two police helicopters from the RCIPS Air Operations Unit to provide aerial assistance. Still, the killings continue driven by what the RTCIPF has said is perpetrated by groups involved in “gangs and serious organized crime.”.
CEO Cox said, “The recent update from the NSC sharing plans for a targeted RTCIPF Gun, Gangs, and Drugs Unit is promising and something we hope the Police will move toward aggressively. This problem is immediate and time-critical as criminals wreak havoc in these large communities, home to law-abiding citizens who cannot live as freely as they should.”
To date, the country’s murder count is staggering and utterly disproportionate to the size of the population. The Association says heinous occurrences like these are the nucleus of a cycle where communities are affected, day-to-day life is compromised, the country’s reputation is eventually damaged, and citizens are affected once again by economic loss when the country’s lifeline takes a hit.
President of the TCHTA, Trevor Musgrove, is reinforcing the organization’s commitment to assist where possible, appealing to all to get involved in the fight against crime. “Residents cannot be forced to accept this level of senseless violence in our country. We cannot stand for it, and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. We must take power away from these vagrants and do what it takes to save our young men.” said Musgrove.
The TCHTA President shared the Association’s thanks and support to the officers of the RTCIPF. “We know it is no small task, and we continue to send our appreciation to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force officers for their commitment and bravery. We know you are under attack, and we pray for your safety as you stand on the front line to protect the residents of this country.”
The TCHTA commends the members of the community who have provided information and assistance to the authorities as they work to infiltrate the groups at the core of this recent killing spree. The Association joins the RTCIPF in its appeal to the public for those in possession of unlicensed firearms to surrender them during the Gun Amnesty which begins on September 15th.
Musgrove said, “The fact is that we are losing a generation to gangs and guns, and a holistic approach is imperative. Our citizens and residents are being terrorized by those who have no value for human life and no respect for law and order. Our hearts go out to all those who are suffering from the fallout of these tragedies, and the TCHTA remains committed to our continued partnership with the authorities.”
The TCHTA sends its prayers to the families of the murder victims and hopes that justice will be served in these matters.
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