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American Airlines and Sandals Resorts International Meet to Discuss Regional Airlift

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World’s Leading All Inclusive Company continues efforts to drive the recovery of Caribbean Tourism

A landmark meeting between top executives of American Airlines (AA) and Sandals Resorts International (SRI) took place at the American Airlines Headquarters in Dallas, Texas on June 27th, and comes at a time when the regional tourism and hospitality sector along with several CARICOM governments are working hard to restore airlift to the Caribbean after the fallout from the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Sandals team was led by Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and Chief Executive Officer Gebhard Rainier and also included Executive Vice-President of Sales and Industry Relations for Unique Vacations (UVI) Gary Sadler along with UVI Chief Executive Officer Jeff Clarke and Senior Vice President of Brand Development Tony Cortizas. Unique Vacations is the exclusive marketing partner for Sandals Resorts.

The American Airlines team meantime comprised Vice President of Global Sales Kyle Mabry, Chief Customer Officer at American Airlines Alison Taylor and Managing Director for Latin America, Caribbean and Florida Sales Christine Valls. 

This is the first time American Airlines, one of the world’s largest airline companies, has hosted a Caribbean hotel company for such a meeting, and SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart said this is part of Sandals’ ongoing efforts to help drive the recovery of the regional tourism sector.

“This meeting could not have come at a better time as we seek to restore the airlift that is so vital to the region’s hospitality and tourism sector. The incredible relationship Sandals has with American Airlines has led to enormous benefits for the many destinations where Sandals now operates, and we expect they will soon begin planning for increased flights to the destinations where we will soon be operating such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Curacao. I remember my dad, the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart used to always boast that wherever Sandals establishes a resort the airlines were sure to follow, and I am beyond proud that along with the amazing teams at Sandals and Unique Vacations we continue to carry on and build on that legacy.”

Stewart went on to thank AA for the incredible support it had already provided thus far in helping to support recovery efforts, ‘Over the last 14 months American has demonstrated a level of strength and agility in a highly complex time and we appreciate it. If there is one thing COVID 19 has shown us is the power of partnerships and relationships. Business does not come to those who wait; it’s about getting out and making it happen. We are pleased to be in a position where we can advocate on behalf of the entire Caribbean, and assist with trying to reestablish and enhance the routes that all our islands depend on to not just to bring visitors, but to connect with the rest of the world.”

The discussions revolved around growth, the expansion of air service, how American can provide more flights to the Caribbean and how they can strengthen their efforts in the region.

Gary Sadler, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations said this was great news for the region, and is a result of Sandals taking the initiative to go out and do what is needed to drive the recovery of tourism.

“Building tourism goes beyond just having a beautiful beach and nice hotels; the meeting with AA showcases Sandals’ continued commitment to being a champion of the entire Caribbean tourism sector. The company is constantly taking steps to promote the region, and their success is reflected in the fact that there is increasingly high demand for travel to their resorts and to the region. This meeting will ensure that as American Airlines moves to increase its service worldwide, the Caribbean remains at the top of the list.”

The Sandals team made quite a splash as they arrived at the American Airlines headquarters in a fleet of Sandals and Beaches branded cars. They were taken on a tour of the facility where they got a chance to get up close with some historic American Airlines equipment on display.

As they left the meeting the Sandals Executive Chairman assured that there was much to look forward to, “The future of Caribbean travel is strong and our good company is bringing a new level of product to the Caribbean that is going to change the game.”

Caribbean News

Conjecture, Collusion and Controversy Rumors swirl as PNPs Vote at NGC

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Dana Malcolm and Deandrea Hamilton 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicoisIslands,  February 27, 2024 – “Unity” is the convenient refrain from the executive of the PNP party following a weekend National General Congress (NGC) that aimed to shut down a leadership scramble, an action which further fuelled rumors that the Progressive National Party is severely fractured.

“Their body language and facial expressions are telling me that there’s still contention there. Those two fellas did not even look in each other’s direction,” that was one comment shared with our news team following the leadership scuffle featuring E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Washington Misick, TCI Premier. 

It was one of dozens of similar observations and concerns shared with the news team and across social media as residents observed the aftermath. 

Saunders had fallen short of gaining the two-thirds delegate support needed to truly challenge Misick for the top spot, however, he still counts the number of votes secured in the motion as significant.

“Forty percent of the people voted for an outcome, that means there is a noise in the market that says, we want change,” he said in a one on one interview with Magnetic Media.

The nature of the situation Saunders explained to our news team was that his bid to challenge the Premier was registered late and there was a resulting vote on whether his late bid should be accepted on the vote of two-thirds of delegates or if he could push through with less support. The response was a resounding ‘no’ with 58 voting in his favor and 88 against.

Saunders wasn’t the only one throwing his hat in the ring for control of the governing PNP party. 

Jas Walkin, now the suspended North Caicos District Commissioner and Dameko Dean, former Wheeland party hopeful had also made a grab at the mantle but were not included in the National General Congress runoff.

Walkin publicly withdrew his bid in a statement which read, in part, “I received an email on February 6, 2024 from the Secretary-General confirming that my candidacy for leadership was approved,” but he continued in explanation for his sudden withdrawal from the race that, “Unfortunately my push has been halted, and I have to officially withdraw my candidacy for leadership of the Progressive National Party.  On Thursday, February 22nd 2024 at 4:36 p.m., I received a letter from the Head of the Public Service advising me that Her Excellency the Governor had received confirmation of my candidacy for leadership from an Executive Member of the Progressive National Party, NEC and if I was to attend the Congress or proceed with my candidacy/race for leadership on Saturday, February 24th 2024; I would be disciplined.”

The series of events has left the PNP rushing to maintain its image of a unified party. 

Kyle Knowles, Party Chairman released a statement immediately after, calling for togetherness.

”We can announce that the Party Leader Hon. Charles W. Misick has been reconfirmed to continue guiding our party forward.The Congress showcased democracy in action—where everyone’s voice matters, opinions are respected, and decisions are made transparently. It was a display of unity, civility, and passionate debate, highlighting our dedication to democratic values and founding principles of the PNP.”

The nature of the vote and Congress, carried out without invitation to the press or major announcement to the people of the Turks and Caicos worked to further fuel confusion and rumor. While it may have been labeled ‘party business’ the eventual winner will be a public servant, funded by the people’s purse.

The hush-hush tone of process has left some residents disappointed in the process of the governing party.

“At the end of the day, you will never know unless the voting public gets an opportunity to decide who should be their next leader.”

While Jas Walkin has reportedly been suspended from his job as the District Commissioner for North Caicos, E. Jay Saunders is still serving in his position as the deputy party leader, deputy premier and minister for finance, investment and trade – all of which are roles he holds at the pleasure of the Premier.

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Caribbean News

Morgan Heritage Member dies

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#MorganHeritage#PeterMorgan, February 26th, 2024 – Peter Morgan, member of the Grammy Winning Jamaican Reggae Band Morgan Heritage, died on Sunday February 25th at the age of 46. His family made the announcement on Instagram, however the cause of his death was not mentioned. Morgan Heritage, an all family group, children to Jamaican reggae artist Denroy Morgan, was known for hits like “She’s Still loving me.”

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Local Govt Elections held

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Jamaica#LocalGovElections, February 26th, 2024 – Jamaica’s long awaited local government elections were held today February 26th, after being postponed on several occasions since November of 2020. Reports indicate that just over two million Jamaicans are eligible to vote and that the electoral system was well prepared with a total of 6,726 polling stations in 2,148 locations across the island, open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Voters selected from 496 nominated candidates across the island. The date for results is yet to be announced

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