By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, April 15, 2022 – The Gun Amnesty is now extended beyond its March 31st deadline, arrests have been made in the Five Cays shooting and a new Police-led operation is activated after Five Cays lit up with at least three episodes or three days of rapid gun fire in a move by criminals which was so bold, so dangerous people are comparing the sounds in Five Cays to shelling heard when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Given by the Royal TCI Police Force Commissioner, Trevor Botting, an update where he started by saying Five Cays was terrorized by reckless criminals.
“In the last three days the community of Five Cays has been terrorized by dangerous criminals discharging firearms indiscriminately recklessly within the community. The actions of these young men have led to one shooting, the victim of which remains in hospital in a serious condition. Whilst only one person, to our knowledge, has been shot, there has been a constant discharging of firearms within the tight residential community, a community that is in fear and a community that is paralyzed and unable to live their normal lives whilst this reckless and criminal behaviour continues,”
Ending days of silence on the shocking situation which first erupted on April 6 with a string of shots around 1 pm; the Commissioner commented on his outrage at how residents are in fear; paralyzed by it and unable to live their normal lives.
“The reasons for the rise in activity is no doubt due to a number of issues, drugs, disputes and reprisals between groups of men and the commission of crimes such as robbery,” said the Commissioner, addressing the potential motive for the shelling.
There has been no statement from the elected Government. Heavily criticised for her silence is Rachel Taylor, Member of Parliament for Five Cays.
“Now we’re in a neighbourhood where, you’re hearing gun shots right outside of your house. You’ve got to duck on the ground an’ t’ings hoping nothing don’t fly through your window, said Paula Arthur, vocal advocate and media personality.
“For the last three days, it clearly was a voted in representor for Five Cays, Mrs. Rachel Taylor. I’m not saying come in Five Cays and get in the middle of nothing, at least let’s hear your voice of comfort to the people who don’t having nothing to do with all this crap that going on in Five Cays.”
The Commissioner said his team was coming into the area.
“The current situation is simply not tolerable. Armed policing operations have been deployed in Five cays in response to this situation, both to push back against the criminals carrying and discharging firearms but also to proactively target those who we know are responsible. In the early hours of today, 8 th April an armed operation was carried out by our Tactical Team against a targeted individual. He is in custody and a firearm, ammunition and evidence linking him to murder and other serious crime have been recovered,” advised Botting.
He said officers will use whatever force is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to protect themselves.
Officers have a clear mandate and a legal right to defend themselves, the public and their colleagues, if threatened. In policing we never want to use force, we want compliance with the law and common decent behavior. However, Officers will use whatever force is necessary to protect themselves and my message to those carrying firearms or terrorizing our communities is clear, if you pose a threat to the public or Police Officers we will respond with force including firearms. The choices you make, may have a consequence for you. Our utmost priority is to protect our public and we will do that uncompromisingly.”
Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring
By Sherrica Thompson
#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.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#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.
The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars
By Dana Malcolm
#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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