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Development Agreement with Carnival Cruise Line Signed

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#TurksandCaicos, October 22, 2021 – After twenty-one months, the Grand Turk Cruise Center will receive cruise ships at its facility starting in early December 2021, which is welcomed news to the inhabitants of the island of Grand Turk who have experienced prolonged economic inactivity in the cruise sector, which employs some 30% of the resident population and supports small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the Government of the Turks and Caicos, under the leadership of the Honourable Premier C. Washington Misick, on Wednesday, 13th October 2021 signed an agreement with Carnival Corporation, highlighted by a $25 million new investment in the Grand Turk Cruise Center. This investment will include the extension of the dock facility to accommodate larger ships and improvements to the reception facilities.

The Government – being acutely aware of the plight of taxi and ground transportation operators, shore excursions,  restaurants and bars, local craft and souvenir shops, jewelers and many more businesses, all of whom benefit from the cruise sector either directly or indirectly – expressed its commitment to prepare the sector for an imminent reopening. This agreement, including the investment in the cruise center, follows the Government’s efforts to accelerate negotiations that began when Hon. Premier Misick came into office in February 2021, at a time that marked approximately one year since the pause of cruise tourism arrivals to Grand Turk.

Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, many economies of the world have been thrown into a state of flux as forced lockdowns saw economies dwindle.  Among the many sectors, the travel industry worldwide and the cruise tourism industry more specifically were disproportionately affected.  However, with wider acceptance of a vaccine, the cruise industry foresees a rebound of the sector.

The cruise sector is the private sector’s lifeblood of Grand Turk. It is estimated that in March 2020 when the cruise port closed, over 1,450 persons were employed in cruise tourism with employee wage income totaling over $26.8 million per annum. The sector was on a growth trajectory with direct cruise tourism expenditure expected to surpass $86.5 million and estimated passenger and crew arrivals to Grand Turk expecting to exceed 1.2 million annually.

The halt of the sector was a major negative economic impact for Turks and Caicos, and news of the reopening is a significant positive development to aid the recovery of tourism and the larger economy.  As the cruise industry resumes operations in Grand Turk, the Government of Turks and Caicos is focused on working with the community to deliver an exceptional overall experience for cruise guests, and ensure the safety and security of both visitors and residents in Grand Turk.

“As part of our overall restart efforts, we are very excited to be returning to Turks and Caicos later this year, and to once again be able to treat our guests to the beauty and wonder surrounding our home in Grand Turk,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We continue to be grateful for our long-standing partnership with Turks and Caicos, and look forward to working together on the expansion of the Grand Turk Cruise Center, which will bring more guests to one of our most popular destinations while providing ongoing positive economic impact to the people of Turks and Caicos and the communities in which they live.”

Hon. Premier Misick added: “As a community, we welcome the long-awaited resumption of cruising in Turks and Caicos, and we are delighted to be working closely with Carnival Corporation to continue to invest in the future of the Grand Turk Cruise Center. We look forward to long-lasting strategic alliances and joint initiatives with partners that will foster the economic growth of the Turks and Caicos Islands, creating opportunities for households across the country, making it possible for individual workers and entrepreneurs to earn more, and to achieve a higher standard of living and where businesses thrive and grow.”

 

Release: Office of the Premier

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Germany Enter Agreement to Facilitate Direct Airlift

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#TheBahamas, December 4, 2021 – The governments of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and of the Federal Republic of Germany entered into a technical bilateral Heads of Agreement aimed at fostering closer ties between both countries.  A central feature is an Air Traffic Agreement to facilitate direct flights from Germany to The Bahamas, which would in turn facilitate movement of goods and services, ease of direct shipment as opposed to going through a third country, among other things.

The HOA was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.  The Hon Alfred Sears, who served as Acting Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and His Excellency Dr. Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to The Bahamas signed the agreement.  Also present were: Permanent Secretary Reginald Saunders, Ministry of Tourism Investment & Aviation; Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works & Utilities; Bacchus Rolle, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works & Utilities; Melanie Roach, Director of Public Works; and Carl Christian Illing, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bahamas.

Mr. Sears said it was a pleasure both countries entered into such an agreement, which he deemed would bring together, two peoples.

The Bahamas and Germany formed diplomatic ties in 1974 and have enjoyed successes in commercial enterprise, tourism and family ties as many Bahamians live in Germany.

“This relationship has been growing and this (agreement) represents the ease of travel, business and social interaction between our two countries,” Mr. Sears said, adding that Bahamians consume and use German products namely vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other items.

In other areas, Mr. Sears noted that The Bahamas is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world susceptible to effects of global warming. He thanked Germany for its role in the recent COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, during which that country pledged some twenty million Euros for disaster risk reduction initiatives.

He recalled Hurricane Dorian, which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama from September 1-3, 2019 and, as a result, residents in the path experienced storm surges 20 feet high, many lives were lost, clinics, other public buildings and infrastructure were damaged and/or destroyed, and The Bahamas lost a large portion of its GDP.

“The commitment of Germany resonates with us,” Mr. Sears said, “as we rebuild and build the infrastructure stronger.”

The minister shared the possibility of acquiring more vehicles from Germany, targeting more stopover visitors from there with projection of higher spend and enjoyment of more cultural activities.  Permanent Secretary Saunders supported this, by confirming that direct air travel is being facilitated through the agreement.

Ambassador Keil too acknowledged the close relationship between both countries, and that the technical agreement will further strengthen those ties.

 

By Lindsay Thompson

BIS

Photo Caption: Photos show Minister Sears and Ambassador Keil during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities, November 30, 2021.

(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)

 

 

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Caribbean News

DIGICEL+ GIVES CUSTOMERS THE GIFT OF MORE SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS

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The fastest internet just got even faster…for the same great price

 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – 1st, December 2021 –  Digicel+ is gifting The Turks and Caicos Islands faster home fibre speeds for Christmas, and beyond. Fulfilling the brand promise of Simply More (more power, more speed and more reliability), customers will now benefit from up to 2x faster download speeds on broadband and bundle plans.

This is all about a better experience for customers, and not about the cost. This free upgrade gives Digicel+ customers an even better home fibre internet experience, for anyone, on any device. And as part and parcel of the digital lifestyle, Digicel+ is the gateway to a Smart Life, which means that state-of-the-art Smart Solutions like Smart Homes and Smart Security are no longer just concepts, but a powerful reality.

Addison Stoddard CEO of Digicel TCI said, “This Christmas, we’re excited to reward customers with a super slick, superfast, super reliable home fibre experience, underpinned by service delivery that is, of course, second to none. Our entry-level plans are the fastest on the island and this puts us head and shoulders above any other internet offering in the country.”

The upgraded packages now start with download speeds of 50Mbps, and go up to 300Mbps for the speed demons and heavy gamers out there. This allows the Turks and Caicos Islands to connect to the global knowledge economy, have amazing entertainment options, and power their personal and professional experiences, thanks to these new superfast internet speeds.

Addison Stoddard continued, “It’s more of what our customers expect; more of what they want and it’s another way that we can be a part of our customers’ digital lives – at home, on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Simply put, Digicel+ is simply more.”

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the importance of having a steady, powerful and reliable home internet connection, mainly due to many schools going online and parents working remotely. Now, with even faster internet speeds, customers get the best home fibre experience every time. This provides opportunities for MORE working, MORE schooling, MORE gaming, and MORE streaming with Digicel+.

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Bahamas News

Guys, Have 2 Minutes? Here’s How to Check Yourself for Testicular Cancer

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Testicular cancer is a rare form of cancer for men in The Bahamas.  It is highly curable — if you know it’s there!

 

November 30, 2021 – Men…how often do you perform a self-exam to check yourselves for testicular cancer?

While it’s a relatively rare form of cancer, young men aren’t exempt – in fact, testicular cancer occurs most often in young and middle-aged men. The good news is, it can usually be treated successfully.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on your testicle. But that’s not the only sign of this disease.

Men who have testicular cancer may experience several different kinds of symptoms, says oncologist Timothy Gilligan, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic who specializes in treating testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer most frequently strikes men younger than age 44, and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men ages 15 to 34. It is almost always curable if found early, Dr. Gilligan says, and it is usually curable even when at a later stage. So it’s important to know signs and symptoms.

Here, Dr. Gilligan says, are five possible signs of testicular cancer you might not know about:

5 Testicular Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t a Lump  – Know what to look for and catch it early

  1. A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
  2. Change in testicle size or firmness.Certain types of testicular tumors can reduce testosterone or increase estrogen in the body, which can result in a change in testicle size or firmness.
  3. Swollen legs.When a tumor spreads to the lymph node, it can constrict blood flow in the veins and result in a blood clot. The clots often occur in the legs, which causes them to swell. You might even experience blood clot symptoms such as pain and difficulty breathing.
  4. Lower back pain and shortness of breath.These are symptoms of advanced testicular cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind your stomach. Shortness of breath also may signal that the cancer has spread to your lungs, which may make it harder for air to move in and out.
  5. Breast growth or tenderness.In rare cases, hormone changes also can cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue. Some tumors can secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away, Dr. Gilligan says. If your physician diagnoses you with epididymitis or orchitis and the symptoms do not resolve quickly with antibiotics, request an ultrasound to evaluate for a testicular tumor.

“While up to 95 percent of men with testicular cancer are cured, it’s important to get care quickly if you’re experiencing symptoms because testicular cancers usually grow fast,” Dr. Gilligan says. “If there is disease, the earlier it is treated, the greater than chance for success.”

 

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