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The Un-Stated State of the State



By Deandrea Hamilton



A woman says she was going shopping at a front road located grocery store when an armed gunman threatened her with a pistol and grabbed her bag.  She told friends she was so shaken-up, she fled the scene and did not wait around for anything or anyone.

A rampage is on in Providenciales and no one is off limits to the overly aggressive males who have high-jacked peace of mind.  Worst of all, no one is speaking out.

Security video from Liz Bakery was appalling.  A gun shoved in the face of a little girl, her small monies snatched… women forced faced down on the floor and high powered weapons brandished in an environment which was anything but combative; come on this is our hometown, home grown, native bakery we’re talking about.

Then, the horrifying news that a little girl, only 10-years-old, was grased by a bullet in an armed invasion.  I wonder if this little girl was visited by government ministers and police; like the tourist man was when he was shot by a gun toting thug.

No advocacy from community or country leaders and it is this news organisation’s strong view, based on the variety of comments we receive, that this lack of public demonstration of concern and outrage is doing more damage than the criminals behind the crimes.

Another burning point; the hospital care in the country and its severe limitations.

Residents are dying at home and abroad and many believe it could be needlessly.  It continues to be a mystery, why TCI would return millions of dollars it is approved for by a major regional bank and the United Kingdom when we desperately need a trauma center to deliver on this kind of medical care at home.

An entire wing of the Cheshire Hall Medical Center is a ghost town, waiting to be brought to life and to serve some medical need of this little country.

Efforts at medical tourism are shelved when arguably, our nation provides an idyllic escape for those recuperating from medical procedures and while the TCI is small, it is obviously rich but cannot serve patients who need Intensive Care.

No intensive care unit in a country which welcomes 1.6 million tourists a year and has a home population of another 45,000.  Surely this can’t be right, it is certainly not good.

While nearby countries are prepared to take our US dollars, they are unprepared to adapt their laws to allow grieved loved ones who lose a relative to get them back in one piece and not dust.  Do we need stronger negotiators at the table because Magnetic Media is aware of a Turks and Caicos Islander who was returned to the country as a whole person after dying in the DR, reportedly to COVID-19.  All it took was heart and mental muscle – thank you to Evan Spencer of Spence Security.

At this point, based on the issues our news company is fielding on a daily basis, the optics on all of this are horrible and while the premier and opposition leader squabble over who has the money, islanders are increasingly afraid to visit stores for goods they need but can hardly afford and wonder, what happens to me or my loved ones if there is traumatic injury that the TCI Hospitals cannot handle.

High paying, high security, high profile jobs are not getting done, but it continues to be business as usual when results in many cases are deplorable.

How do you keep your job when you’re failing at it?  Words like accountability and transparency are tossed about, but they do not only refer to making information known; they also beg integrity when fulfilling the contract requirements.

Money is sweet but the people of the Turks and Caicos need more than money and if this journalist has to tell one what the people need, then maybe it’s time to end the contract and let’s get someone else who does know, to give the jobs a try.

Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.

Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.

As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.

He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”

David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent.  By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera.  Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.

“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”

Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.

“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.

Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains ​that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’

There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.

On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.

In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.

“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”

David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.

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