#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2021 – Four months from now Grand Turk could be welcoming the biggest names and brands and vessels in cruising, and when the passengers descend upon the island it will be overwhelming in terms of the numbers. What the Turks and Caicos Islands Government hopes and Carnival Cruise Line executives want, is for the experience to be greatly enhanced and far from under-whelming, whenever that day comes.
An $8.5 million Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Carnival Infrastructure Fund will support refurbishment and development to ensure the visitor experience is unforgettable for all of the right reasons. Enhancements in Grand Turk, despite the sizeable cash storage, have been slow, however both parties, on Thursday, re-committed to spending from the fund.
“We have toured the island, we have spoken about how the infrastructure Fund will manage, because of that conversation, I expect that you will see a more orderly and more timely draw down of the funds that will be re-invested. The focus will have to be on the physical, the cultural and the cultural heritage of these islands. This is a fragile environment; we are looking at expanding the tourism product both land-based and cruise-based. The Government will be making significant investment alone or along with Carnival to do everything that we can to preserve the culture and the architecture,” said Hon. Washington Misick, TCI Premier in addressing questions posed at a public meeting held on June 17.
Carnival Corporation’s Senior Executive team flew into Grand Turk for the two-hour meeting with key government leaders, namely: Washington Misick, Premier & Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; Otis Morris, Minister of Home Affairs and Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North; Akierra Misick, Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development and Josephine Connolly, the Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Environment, Culture, Marine Resources and Heritage.
From Carnival Corporation, there was: Gioria Israel, Sr Vice President of Global Ports for Carnival Corporation; Marie McKenzie, VP of Global Ports and Caribbean Government Relationships; Raquel Mota, Health Environment & Safety manager; David Candib, who managed construction of the port; Franklyn Diaz, is the new ports manager for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos and Desmond Hall, the local Operations Manager.
The high level meeting was held at the Grand Turk Cruise Center around 3 p.m. on June 17, 2021; it was followed by a two-hour walking tour of the capital and on Friday, a meeting was planned with Carnival staff on the island.
“One of the big things we are looking at is how we can provide incentive to encourage investment in the historic district, but also, particularly so in our traditional communities. I am here today to reinforce our relationship and our partnership with Carnival to ensure that once they return we can operate in partnership, in an orderly basis so that everyone who has an interest in the cruise sector can benefit,” said Hon Misick at the meeting.
Areas viewed were South Base; a government zone badly destroyed when hurricanes Irma and Maria battered Grand Turk within a week of each other in September 2017. The delegation, in golf carts, moved along the historic lanes of Duke and Front Streets with stops at Osprey Beach, which led them pass deserted businesses, the unoccupied Welcome Center and the dilapidated buildings, all flanking Columbus Landfall National Park. There was also a walk through Middle Street.
“We are committed to making this the best visitor experience, but also the best experience for those of us who live and work here by redeveloping and repositioning our tourism product to be the best that it could be in any small island. Carnival has demonstrated their commitment during the talks to helping us achieve that.”
The quaint, historic island is the capital of the Turks and Caicos and at less than seven square miles, with a population around 4,800 people (probably less with the loss of the cruise industry), it is predicted cruise calls will bring with them more than double the residency.
“Twenty-three per cent of guests book tours on the ship. That means all of the other guests are available to go on tours or to do whatever activity they may chose, so I believe there is enough business for everyone,” said the Premier.
Everyone, could possibly include a new cruise line and definitely includes expansion of the current gangway at the Grand Turk Cruise Center.
“The overall project of expanding the pier so that we can take the Mardi Gras; that project only is about $25 million. We are ready to commence work. We have worked with Government on some of the permitting, some have already been granted and we are working on the details, explained Giora Israel, Senior Vice President of Global Ports, Carnival Corporation who added: “…that will allow the Mardi Gras come in with two gangways which means we can have people get off the ship very, very quickly. This activity is very important to make sure we can take the ship. There are not many ports that can take this ship, we are delighted to advise you that the Mardi Gras, and its sister ship, Celebration – in about a year and a half from now – they are scheduled to come here.”
The two vessels named by Mr. Isael boast many firsts including being the only LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) powered cruise ships in the Americas and in the case of the Mardi Gras, which arrived at its home port in Port Canaveral, Florida on June 4, 2021 it features the first rollercoaster at sea.
No date was announced about when the cruise industry will reboot for Turks and Caicos and when Carnival Cruise ships will return to the Grand Turk Cruise Center, however, the new PNP Government Administration through the premier assured it is committed to reversing the economic contraction which forced a pause on cruising since March 13, 2020.
Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.
The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.
The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.
Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.
In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.
The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.
Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.
Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.
Photo Caption: Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG
Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package
#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.
The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.
The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.
“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.
She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.
‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.
The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.
“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.
Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.
You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.
The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.
Contact: Shanna K. Salmon
Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff
By Sherrica Thompson
#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.
A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.
The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.
According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.
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