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Expanded Tree Planting Mission Further Strengthens Regional Sustainability

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#TheCarribean, April 22, 2022 — Gearing up to celebrate the fulfillment of its 10,000-tree planting commitment, the Sandals Foundation is expanding its conservation goal by adding another 10,000 trees to strengthen the Caribbean’s climate resilience and food security.

The massive conservation effort is in keeping with this year’s global Earth Day theme, ‘Invest in Our Planet’, and builds on the foundation’s larger Caribbean Tree Planting Project commitment, which is being coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with the Trees That Feed Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and other partners.

Last April, the teams together announced plans to plant one million trees across 14 Caribbean countries by June this year. Now, with over 9,600 ornamental and food bearing trees already planted by the Sandals Foundation and its partners, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International is increasing the stakes.

“The environment around us is not only our home, but everything that keeps us alive,” said Heidi Clarke, executive director of Sandals Foundation. “Investing in the long-term viability of these natural environments will help to strengthen the many ecosystems that are critical for providing food, water, and protecting our communities and livelihoods, improving the way of life in the region for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.”

  • Region specific activities

Outside of its tree planting mission, here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Sandals Foundation plans to establish community compost training in an effort to strengthen food security, increase solid waste management, and adopt climate smart agricultural practices. The island of Providenciales is known for having far less fertile soil with limited farmers or localized sources of produce. Now, through its Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, team members will lead the composting efforts, providing an opportunity for students and farmers from surrounding communities to learn, participate, and share the acquired knowledge and practices with their communities.

“Environmental education is an important part of our conservation efforts,” said Georgia Lumley, environmental coordinator at Sandals Foundation. “By collaborating with key organisations, students are learning about the importance of protecting the environment and endangered species while participating in activity execution through eco-camps and field trips.”

In Barbados, the Foundation’s conservation efforts will see to the enhancement and improving the eco-offering and experience at the historic Andromeda Botanic Gardens by adding an ethnobotanical garden with an outdoor classroom, creative signage, and the planting of 30 trees. Sandals Foundation, in collaboration with the park’s managers, Passiflora Limited, is creating a haven for native and regional plants, their cultural uses, the associated biodiversity, and a resource for the Barbadian community.

Last year, with support from the Sandals Foundation, the Grenada Fund for Conservation planted 4000 mangroves. Now, with the upcoming infrastructural improvements and training of community guides at Woburn Interpretive Centre, the initiatives will strengthen the island’s coastline and build on their efforts to encourage eco-tourism respectively.

In Jamaica, over 2000 timber trees have been planted as part of reforestation and conservation efforts at the biodiversity hotspot of the UNESCO World Heritage Site—the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The area which contains 50 percent of the island’s endemic plants, is managed by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, with whom the Foundation partners to activate its initiatives.

Team members from Sandals and Beaches Resorts have also rolled up their sleeves and, together with representatives from the Forestry Department and the Mustard Seed Community in Jamaica have planted almost 200 food-bearing trees in communities, with plans to plant 600 more by June.

The careful management of invasive species is also a key component in the philanthropic arm’s conservation effort.

In The Bahamas, Sandals Foundation ambassadors along with the Bahamas National Trust are set to remove invasive species and plant some 1000 trees in the Lucayan National Park. Through the engagement of student volunteers, the islands will continue its rich tradition of promoting environmental education among its young people, thereby fostering the next generation of environment stewards.

“We are educating students and communities throughout the region on the importance of removing invasive species as we enter spaces they occupy and plant native species,” “We have supplemented these removals with reforestation activities that include the planting of food-bearing trees, such as what we continue to support at Signal Hill in Antigua,” said Lumley.

The construction of a shade house at Wallings Nature Reserve in the twin island territory will also contribute to the charitable arm’s conservation efforts, which began in that area last year with the planting of 1,008 food-bearing trees.

The Sandals Foundation has an extensive record of environmental conservation. Over the past 13 years, the organisation has planted over 17,000 fruit and ornamental trees throughout the Caribbean by galvanizing the support of Sandals and Beaches Resorts team members, community groups, partners, travel agents, guests, students, and volunteers.

This year, the entity remains committed to increasing forest coverage, protecting wildlife, enhancing biodiversity, creating eco-tours, educating children and empowering communities to take part in conservation.

Persons wishing to support the tree planting efforts can visit the Sandals Foundation website at www.sandalsfoundation.org and donate to the ‘Caribbean Tree Planting Project’. One hundred percent of all funds donated will be directed towards purchasing seedlings and maintaining the plant sites to ensure tree survival.

 

Press Release: Sandals Foundation

Caribbean News

Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti, November 29, 2022 – The police in Haiti have launched an investigation following the assassination of the director of the National Police Academy, Commissioner Rigaud Harington.

Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.

The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”

Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.

The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.

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St Kitts and Nevis Welcomed the World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#StKittsandNevis, November 29, 2022 – The twin island of St Kitts and Nevis is about to chart its busiest cruise seasons yet as the world’s largest cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas, made its inaugural call to Port Zante in the country on Thursday, November 24.

About 6,495 guests arrived on the ship, with 2,259 crew members on board.

The oasis class ship was welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, who led a delegation on board last Thursday to host a brief plaque exchange ceremony.

“You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6,988,” the Prime Minister said.

The Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson, said the ship’s visit was a result of the country’s comprehensive negotiations with stakeholders.

“The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion,” Thompson said.

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WE GOIN’ KEW: Festival of the Year

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#TurksandCaicos, November 29, 2022 – The WE GOIN’ KEW’ festival charity event was a huge success bringing people together to enjoy Turks and Caicos Islands food and cultural performances and organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Unity Committee.

On Saturday, November 19, 2022, residents from across the Turks and Caicos Islands chain found their way to the Bellefield Landing in Kew, North Caicos, to support what is being described as the biggest festival of the year with an estimated two thousand people attending.  The event also saw fifteen vendors present, serving local Twin Island dishes, and featuring three local bands, and artists from The Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas.

Proceeds garnered from the WE GOIN’ KEW Festival will support key projects across North and Middle Caicos and assist with completing the homeroom at Ashley’s Learning Center, according to the Director of the TCI Unity Community, Mr. Alvin Hegner.

Hegner added, “This charitable event was held for the people of the Twin Islands and Ashley’s Learning Center.  We wanted to give back to the community while showcasing local food vendors and craft and farmers’ markets.  On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the people of the Twin Islands for their unwavering support and for helping us to create an extraordinary outcome.  Thanks to Sharmaine Clarke for her coordinating efforts on the Twin Islands”.

A special thanks to the event’s sponsors for making it all happen in various ways: The Wine Cellar, Turks Head Brewery, Anderson Media, Big Josh Country Club, Play Big Win Big Entertainment, Prime DJ’s, JACA TCI , Grant Thornton, LEW 1 Shipping, Rasco Sounds, Building Materials DoITCenter, Engel & Volkers, Wymara Resort and Villas, Fortis TCI, FLOW, Dragon Cay Resort, Digicel, MEP Solutions: Electrical and Plumbing, HAB Group, Waratah Construction TCI, RED Hospitality and Leisure & Lady Grace, Catamaran, Mac N Cheese Adventures, The Strand, Beaches Turks and Caicos, BCQS, Turquoise Horizons, Franks Hardware, Delta Electric, AE&S construction, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Caicos Isle Management, Island Drilling, Ports Authority, Turks and Caicos Islands, Robinsons’s Variety, Island Convenience – Grace Bay, Got You Covered, Reliable Security, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, TCI Ministry Of Health, District Commissioner Of North Caicos Madam Musgrove, and the District Commissioner of Middle Caicos Sir Delancy.

The  WE GOIN’ KEW Festival is now an annual event.  The scheduled date for WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 is Saturday, November 4, 2023.  The proceeds from WE GOIN’ KEW 2023 will assist with housing projects throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.

TCI Unity is a nonprofit organisation geared towards helping those in need in the Turk and Caicos Islands.  Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCI Unity distributed over 500 meal boxes to families in need throughout the country.

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