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Five years since Hurricanes & Maria, Waterloo re-opens better, stronger



By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff


#TurksandCaicos, March 24, 2022 – An enchanted evening at an historical treasure and now the Governor’s residence Grand Turk is once again habitable; Waterloo was in 2017 devastated by the harrowing hit of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Five years on and His Excellency Nigel Dakin takes to his Instagram to share highlights from a string of events designed to showcase local talent and culture and progresses among inmates from the Department of Corrections, formerly Her Majesty’s Prison.

He penned: “A gem of a house, constructed in 1815, its seen 207 years of TCI’s history.  Pounded by the 2017 hurricanes it was uninhabitable but last night saw its rebirth.

Back in 2019, in my inauguration speech, I said I hoped to both “preserve and improve” and I hope this wonderful property proves to be an analogy of that. Like TCI it’s bounced back stronger from the adversity of the last few years.

The fabric of the building has been strengthened- better to survive future disaster – but the integrity of the design remains true to the original. Those visiting will not notice a huge, if any, serious change.”

The exterior he said will continue to celebrate the past; inside Mr. and Mrs. Dakin hoped to showcase the bright future for the Turks and Caicos, he said.

“Local artists are exhibited on the walls (their paintings available to purchase) and the voluminous space created by removing false ceilings, and paying respect to the workmanship in the Timbers, helps lift your spirits.

The historic dining room table remains (it could tell some stories) but the furniture is there to be minimalist, relaxing and hopefully puts people who are visiting at ease.

The gardens, always beautiful, have been tidied and the amount of foliage slightly reduced to provide light and space but framed with verdant green and vibrant colors.”

Guests to the special dinner function were serve what we could only imagine was savory meal, helped by two inmates of the prison.

“… they’ve been brilliant in helping us prepare and we have ambitious plans going forward linked to training those leaving the prison for the hospitality sector using the fantastic industrial kitchen we have in Waterloo.”

On Instagram, where Governor Dakin has some 5,839 followers, there is also announcement about inmate made handbags travelling across the pond for a London fashion debut.

“On that Anya Willique has been collaborating with Mandy to produce a range of bags and totes to be made in the prison out of kites donated by Big Blue and H2O.  If all goes to plan Anya has a place secured at London fashion week in September.”

There is also an assertive effort to getting more inmates working with the TCI Community College and the first of many Farmers’ Markets is coming for Waterloo.  The produce and the livestock are being grown at the prison grounds.

“I was at the Prison today (Monday) looking at the significant improvement at the Farm.  I used some funds available to me from the UK to support this.

The staff and prisoners have done an amazing job at generating a model farm; rearing livestock and growing fruits and vegetables.  As well as feeding the inmates we intend to launch a farmers market in the grounds of Waterloo where theirs and others produce can be sold.

The Minister responsible for Agriculture (Hon Josephine Connolly) was there along with Dr. Brown the Chief Vet whose done so much to support the animal husbandry.”

A tour Monday included government ministers for Home Affairs, Hon Otis Morris and Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, Hon Akierra Missick.

Government is seeking to lead by example in ensuring the rate of recidivism is reduced by ensuring more inmates, once complete their sentence are making a healthier transition to society.

“We now have a proposed way forward – more to follow in future months.  And the great news is others are playing their part.  Two Hotels have recently employed previous inmates.  Thank you.

From education through agriculture to mechanics to textile production to hospitality we’ve started, and we can do that because the prison is now a disciplined place.  The present inmates are our future neighbors and stopping recidivism is in all our favor.”

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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