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Caribbean News

American Airlines and Sandals Resorts International Meet to Discuss Regional Airlift



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.”

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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