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Sandals Resorts Announces 40 for 40 Initiative’ Projects

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~Created with the Sandals Foundation to Celebrate Sandals’ 40th Anniversary, Selected Projects Uplift Communities, Offer Voluntourism Opportunities for Guests~

 

#Jamaica, March 22, 2022 – In partnership with its philanthropic arm, the not-for-profit Sandals Foundation, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announces the full list of projects under its 40 for 40 Initiative. Launched as part of Sandals Resorts’ 40th anniversary celebrations, 40 projects were identified across eight Caribbean destinations where SRI operates that best showcase the incredible link between tourism and its power to transform communities and improve local lives.

The 40 for 40 Initiative projects were selected across six areas: preserving natural resources through Conservation Efforts and Tours; Investing in Food Security by supporting and working with local farmers; Hospitality Training and Certification aimed at ensuring ongoing excellence; maintenance of cultural heritage through Support of Local Artisans and Music Education & Entertainment; and bolstering local economies through Small Business and Community Market Support.

Across the Caribbean, SRI team members from Sandals Resorts, Beaches® Resorts and the Sandals Foundation will be rolling up their sleeves to help bring these projects to life. Visiting guests can also support and participate in many of the activities taking place throughout the region.

“Tourism has the power to transform, not only the lives of the guests who immerse themselves in the charm and culture of the Caribbean while on vacation, but for our team members and neighbors who build their families’ roots in the region,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman, Sandals Resorts International and President and Founder of the Sandals Foundation. “This is the important work we build on and celebrate today, as part of our relentless efforts to strengthen the transformative link between tourism and the empowerment of our local Caribbean communities.”

 

Conservation Efforts and Tours

Through the Sandals Foundation, SRI has made the environment a priority, investing millions in education and advocacy programs, establishing marine sanctuaries, out-planting more than 12,000 corals, and engaging over 55,000 people in conservation efforts. Now, the team will advance its efforts to protect the region’s natural resources by expanding opportunities for marine conservation.

In honor of its late Founder, Chairman and philanthropic stalwart, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the team has partnered with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) to implement its ‘Sea the Legacy of Love’ Scholarship Program. The program will provide 40 Caribbean nationals across six islands with dive certifications from open water to master level. This, together with opportunities for guests to take part in activities such as coral out-planting in Jamaica and St. Lucia, will have a lasting impact on life below the surface.

Additional projects include supporting the Andromeda Gardens, a 6.5-acre botanical garden in Barbados created in the 1950s, and providing funding to assist in the recovery of sand dunes in Lucayan National Park in The Bahamas that were heavily impacted by invasive plants and storm surges.

 

Investing in Food Security

Together with the Sandals Foundation, SRI, which already sources over 90% of its food supply locally, is ramping up its investment in agriculture and the institutions training the next generation of producers. Various contributions will include equipment donation at the Agriculture Training College in Barbados, construction of hydroponics at Antigua’s Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Centre, and establishing community composting practices on-resort. The Foundation will also support the Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers (GRENROP), a group of 65 local women and at-risk youth charting their financial independence through agriculture.

 

Small Business and Community Market Support

The Sandals Foundation is continuing to invest in local businesses like the Oistins Fish Fry in Barbados, where locals and visitors alike can meet with vendors and enjoy freshly prepared seafood. Guests at Sandals have the opportunity to embark on paid tours that directly support these vendors and their livelihoods.

With establishments such as these accounting for on average 30 percent of its island’s global development product (GDP), the Sandals Foundation is committed to improving the welfare of operators as well as their earning potential by upgrading additional locales such as Cultural Market Place in Turks & Caicos and Pineapple Craft Market in Jamaica. The Sandals Foundation’s community projects are highlighted on resort, inviting guests to support through donations.

 

Supporting Local Artisans

For years, guests of Sandals and Beaches Resorts have had access to locally made items at its retail shops, proceeds of which are reinvested into local community groups. The Sandals Foundation will expand its hugely successful Caribbean Artisan Program by training more crafts people across more islands including Curaçao, St. Lucia, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos, providing more travelers the opportunity to take home a piece of the region. Sandals and Beaches Resorts guests can also look forward to meeting these craft men and women through pop-up shops on resort and seeing the magic unfold.

 

Music Education and Entertainment

From ska and calypso to Jamaica’s iconic reggae and dancehall, the unmistakable soundtrack of the Caribbean keeps visitors coming back and locals moving forward. Together with international partners, high school and college music educators will be trained on key techniques to further develop the region’s iconic sounds. Additionally, the 40 for 40 Initiative will culminate with a musical showcase that brings the magic of Caribbean music to Miami in order to help raise funds for continued growth of the region.

 

Hospitality Training and Certification

To ensure the continued training of future tourism industry players, the teams at SRI and the Sandals Foundation are supporting hospitality training and certification programs to strengthen vocational skills in the areas of food & beverage, health, beauty, and wellness. In Antigua, trainees can receive a health and beauty certification to gain skills for the fast growing wellness sector. In Exuma and New Providence, the Foundation will assist with year-long programs that supports commercial food preparation.

“We are very excited about these 40 projects of transformation and our role in helping realize the impact tourism makes in the Caribbean,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation. “Tourism touches almost every corner of local communities and we are fully appreciative of its ability to make a real difference. We are extremely grateful to every guest, team member, partner, travel advisor, donor and supporter who have volunteered or supported our work to improve literacy, healthcare, youth engagement and the many areas in which we focus. Together with our SRI teammates, we will continue to use the power of tourism to bring lasting change,” said Clarke.

Celebrating its 13th anniversary on March 18th, since its inception in 2009, the Sandals Foundation has implemented projects and programs valued at nearly US $79 million, touching the lives of more than 1.1 million people.

For a complete list of 40 for 40 Initiative projects, visit: https://news.sandals.com/article/1629/.

For more information about the Sandals Foundation and to donate, visit: https://sandalsfoundation.org.

 

Press Release: Sandals Resorts

Caribbean News

CIBC FirstCaribbean TODAY shuts another TCI branch, CONFIRMED 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, April, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos will be losing yet another banking branch following confirmation of reports that CIBC FirstCaribbean bank in Grace Bay will be shut down on Friday March 31st.

CIBC representatives confirmed the shutdown to MM Thursday March 30th. Employees at the Leeward Highway branch moved over to the Grace Bay branch in January to allow for necessary upgrades and expansions to infrastructure.  That shift lasted for four months and employees were scheduled to move back to Leeward Highway in early April. No mention of a closure to the Grace Bay branch was made in the January 12 press release that detailed the upgrades.

Citing those upgrades, which are now complete, Managing Director of the Bahamas Operating Company, responsible also for TCI, Dr. Jacqui Bend said, “CIBC FirstCaribbean is continuing to work on a number of initiatives aimed at improving the processes and technologies that our teams use to support our clients and employees alike.  We have committed further investments in simplification, automation, and security across our bank and, as always, our clients will be the beneficiaries of this renewed effort,

It’s a repeat of the firm’s new mantra focused on self-service and digitization that has seen the local presence of the country’s oldest bank diminish more and more.

CIBC defends the decision explaining that retail client services had already been ceased at that Grace Bay branch and the closure of it earlier this year, while expansion Leeward Highway’s location was designed to ‘reconfigure and improve’ their network for the future.

“While there may be a few teething issues being encountered while our teams and clients adjust to their new surroundings, our teams are working with an ‘all hands on deck approach’ to expedite service to our clients,”  she said in the statement shared with Magnetic Media.

The shifts to more digitized services eliminates the in person experience and residents have voiced discontent with the strategy.  Earlier this year CIBC First Caribbean indicated they would pare down services and the in branch experience at their Grand Turk location.

It left Grand Turk with no banks within which they could enter to get that ‘human touch’.  While there was outrage, Government remained silent.

Since January 3rd, customers of the bank have had to shift to the digital approach which now requires smaller cash deposits and smaller cash withdrawals to be made via ABMs, which are more state of the art and it also means applying for many of the banking features online.

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Caribbean News

Three days, two matches, two wins for Natl Men’s Football   

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 
 

#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Belief in themselves and an inspiring new coach has caused a dramatic shift in the Turks and Caicos National Men’s Football team according to captain Billy Forbes; the TCI National Men’s Football team secured two impressive back-to-back wins.  

“The guys are buying in now, having a coach that they can look up to, who has played professionally before– it’s really amazing,” he explained.  “For me, I’m really proud of the guys because three or four years ago that would have been us losing the game probably like 6-0, something like that.  For us to go down 1-0 and come back and win it- I think that was fantastic, you can’t really ask for much more.”  

He was speaking to the press after a March 28th match against Bonaire.  The team is on a winning streak following back-to-back victories over the US Virgin Islands and Bonaire in the Concacaf Nations League.  The most recent match with Bonaire almost looked like a miss just one minute in- but as Forbes said they pulled it together.  Coach Hayden Mullins, former Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, and National English Footballer detailed the nail-biting match. 

“I thought we started slow; we gave a goal away in the first minute,” he said.  “The pleasing thing for me is we went from one nil down to 2-1 up at halftime.  We had something to build on.  Full assessment?  The game had everything, we had a red card; we missed a penalty; we went goal down; but the resolve and the character from the guys was perfect. It’s exactly what we’re looking for.”  

Sebastian Turbyfield (# 1 goalkeeper), concurred with his captain and coach.  Turbeyfield performed quite a few gymnastic feats to keep TCI in the running throughout the match.  He described his teammates as having a completely different resolve and promised they would only be getting better from here.  

Mullings said the team is one that the country can be proud of and ‘could definitely get out of league C.” 

The men returned to the country on March 29th

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Bahamas News

Earth Day celebrations  

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Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  

 
 

#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2023, and the Department of Environment and Coastal resources is hosting a poetry competition for TCI youth to mark the event.

Students of all ages are encouraged to write a sonnet to celebrate the TCI’s natural beauty; the winning poem will be published in the Times of the Island Magazine. 

The deadline for poems to be submitted is April 30, 2023, and students should submit their poem via email to aavenant@gov.tv or in person to any DECR office. Entries must include the student’s name, age and school.  

The department promises that there are prizes to be won for the top poets. 

April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement 53 years ago and helps demonstrate support for environmental protection. The theme for this year is “Invest In Our Planet.” 

This year‘s theme follows years of missed climate action goals by governments globally, including poor climate financing. The Turks and Caicos and other small island developing states are particularly at risk environmentally because of the growing threat of climate change. 

Currently the country is working through the Environmental Health Department DECR, Fisheries Department, and more to create sustainable fishing, farming, and marine practices that will benefit the country economically, but also protect its natural flora and fauna.  

Projects include sargassum research, coral nurseries to rebuild the country’s coral reef, farming in schools, marine spatial planning to create an effective plan for the use of marine resources, participation in the UK Blue Belt program to protect local marine life, and much more.  

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