By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, May 11, 2022 – Yesterday, I was seated in a room of thirty travel agents, one of the companies is among the top five in the world for vacation bookings, and it was a rousing reminder that these are the individuals who are making direct contact with the 1.5 million (plus) travellers who are choosing Turks and Caicos for their Caribbean holidays.
The men and women who sensibly lapped up the loving attention from Team Beaches Resort, were being personally thanked by Gary Sadler, 37-year executive and Vice President of Unique Vacations, a subsidiary of Sandals Resorts International. It was Global Travel Advisor Day and it meant much to be in the room during a season when travel and tourism have roared back to life following a life-sucking pandemic period.
The individuals, I learned are directly responsible for keeping Beaches Resort Villages & Spa, which accounts for over 70 per cent of long stay visitors to the British overseas territory at well over 90 per cent full for at least the past ten weeks.
It again hit me in the gut; essentially the undeniable popularity of the Turks and Caicos Islands has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the people that want to come, the people who book their holidays and the people who work at the properties where these guests stay and play.
It’s a people thing.
In my 14 years here as a working journalist, I have not yet met a Travel Agent who told me that when a guest sought them out for a Turks and Caicos Islands vacation, they enquired on whether the Progressive National Party or the People’s Democratic Movement were in governing power.
Instead, it’s what they’ve seen on social or traditional media, you know those jaw dropping vistas fabulously framed by luxury resorts; hues of blues and turquoise in our dynamic slice of the Atlantic Ocean and the pristine wonders endemic to the Turks and Caicos which have lured them here. For most islanders, that remarkable beauty is attributed to no political party, it is a credit laid solely at the feet of a very good, masterfully creative heavenly God.
Bottom line, no matter who was the vote leader in the February 2021 General Election, this tourism revival would have belonged to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Underpinning my observation as a point of fact and not of fiction is the ongoing National Budget Debate. The general public is subject to a concerning and revealing peacock parade in the House of Assembly.
On the one side, there is the elected government administration – the PNP – which is happily patting itself on the back for the economic buoyancy in the Turks and Caicos. Sharing a lot of strides it counts as its own, but which are largely linked to foreign owned companies, professionals or interests in tourism and real estate – who do their own marketing and managing.
On the other side, there is the elected opposition which is happily unimpressed by the fiscal plan laid in parliament; a plan it says remains out of synch with the souls of the people because the average person is still hard pressed to ‘feel’ the financial boom.
If I reviewed this Budget and noticed that savings were swelling while people were hurting and public sector pay increases and tax breaks were a mirage, I would also blast it to pieces.
So the country, at least the electorate is saddled with the reality that we could be simply flipping a burger. So what happens when both sides are well done?
Do we eat and then… well you know. Or do we keep flipping until the meat patty is so badly burned, that it is unfit for consumption?
Last year, when the former Sharlene-Robinson led administration was shown or at the very least appeared to be prepared to allow over $12M in stimulus money to go back to the piggy bank, the new Government cried shame and did swift work to more easily and equitably distribute the resources. This year, the same PNP Government who cried foul had the audacity to announce that $20M would be returned to the piggy bank when life on the planet has never been so expensive and people are struggling.
Now, another banner year for tourism and real estate is predicted. The country’s economic rating is poised for an upgrade and cash reserves will be healthy. All refreshing, heartening news.
But can a political party take the credit for the robust economy? And is there a political party truly prepared to ensure that there is no blockage when it comes to the overflow of prosperity?
Only time will tell. But God knows, we’re on the third flip (since the end of UK Direct Rule) and I am tired of eating surpluses… ah, I mean; hamburgers.
USA Caribbean Investment Forum: Partnering for Sustained Development in the Caribbean 2023 Event Recap
The USA Caribbean Investment Forum took place over two days last week at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square. The event, hosted by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in partnership with representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps (namely, the Consulates General of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua & Barbuda), brought together government officials, investment promotion agencies, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from the Caribbean diaspora to connect, engage in thoughtful discussions, and explore investment opportunities throughout the Caribbean.
Fostering International Collaboration
The event featured distinguished speakers and representatives from both the US and Caribbean governments. Consuls General Mr. Mackie Holder (Barbados), Mr. Jerome Andre Laveau (Trinidad & Tobago), and Mr. Rondy McIntosh (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) along with Jeanette Moy, Commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services, Edward Mermelstein, NYC Commissioner of International Affairs, and Molly Bauer, Industry Development Associate from the NY Governor’s Office, shed light on the initiatives that New York City, which is home to so many Caribbean Diaspora, is implementing to support economic collaboration between the regions.
Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism & Ports, Cayman Islands, and Chair of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Trade and Investment, Turks and Caicos Islands delivered insights via keynote speeches and held candid discussions during panel and Q&A sessions. The event served as a unique opportunity to communicate in an open and honest forum with two esteemed leaders from the Caribbean about investing in the region.
Promoting Investment Opportunities
CAIPA welcomed representatives from Invest Barbados, Invest Dominica, Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC), InvesTT (Trinidad and Tobago), Invest Turks and Caicos, St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), Invest St. Lucia, Invest St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Bahamas Investment Authority, the Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), and the Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, Economy, Transport and Telecommunications, to discuss various opportunities for investment in their respective countries and how their agencies support and facilitate potential investors.
Private sector companies including the St. James School of Medicine, Century21 Guyana, Ethniv, and Homestrings joined the forum to discuss their current active projects in the Caribbean. They detailed how they’ve worked with local governments and institutions to successfully launch and operate their businesses in the Caribbean, along with the potential opportunities for continued growth.
Understanding How Caribbean Financial Institutions Facilitate Investment
The Forum brought together key representatives from Caribbean financial and economic development institutions: IDB Lab (Ms. Magdalena Coronel, Chief Investment Officer), the National Commercial Bank Jamaica LTD (Mr. Jeffrey Brown, Head, Loans Structuring and Syndications), USAID (Mr. Mervyn Farroe, USAID representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean), and the Caribbean Development Bank (Ms. Lisa Harding, Private Sector Development Specialist) to detail how these organizations facilitate and support private investment in the Caribbean.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet directly with CAIPA member countries during business meetings. These one-on-one conversations were valuable opportunities to speak directly with key stakeholders in order to advance projects and forge direct relationships.
The inaugural USA Caribbean Investment Forum was a great success due to the collaboration and engagement from individuals representing a wide range of sectors, organizations, and countries – all united under the goal of driving economic growth in the Caribbean and taking advantage of the enormous opportunities available in the region. https://www.investincaribbean.org/news-center/sign-up-for-our-newsletter to sign up for our newsletter.CAIPA and the representatives of the CARICOM Consular Corps are proud to have facilitated these conversations and supported deepening of relationships with key stakeholders throughout the US and the Caribbean. We look forward to our next event, which will be held on 6-8 March in Miami (Caribbean Logistics Investment Conference 2024) – focused on attracting investments into logistics and transportation by sea and air as well as e-commerce logistics and industrial logistics parks throughout the Caribbean. Stay tuned for more details! If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the CAIPA mailing list, please visit:
Babies exposed to Fentanyl at daycare, one dead and Mayor expresses outrage
#USA, September 26, 2023 – A New York woman was arrested for murder following the death of a 1-year-old boy at her daycare centre which authorities say was also being used to store illicit drugs. Grei Mendez was charged with one of her tenants, a male, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, over the shocking incident.
One-year-old Nicholas Dominici died of a suspected fentanyl overdose after being exposed to the drug in the daycare. In an update from the NYPD via Facebook live, we learned a kilo of fentanyl had been sitting in the same place where the children napped; three other babies reportedly had to be revived with a fentanyl antidote Narcan.
They were all two years old or younger.
Eric Adams, New York City Mayor, was enraged by the incident. He described it as ‘total madness.’
“Less than the size of a fingernail can kill an adult, so imagine what it would do to a child, you are irresponsible as an adult if you have this inside your home,” he said, “this is probably one of the worst days I’ve had walking into the Bronx– sitting down with those parents– what do you even say?”
Joe Kenny, Chief Detective on the case, revealed that around 2:41 on September 15, they responded to calls of three unconscious children at the licensed daycare centre. Emergency Medical personnel quickly recognized the symptoms and administered the antidote, saving two lives. Only two hours earlier, a mother had picked up the fourth child, who began to exhibit symptoms at home. He was administered Narcan as well.
All the children had fentanyl in their systems.
The accused are facing charges of murder, attempted murder and depraved indifference.
TWO SEXUAL Assault Cases begin in Providenciales Supreme Court
Freelance Court Reporter
#TurksandCaicos, September 26, 2023 – On Monday 25th September 2023 in the Providenciales Supreme Court before her Ladyship Ms. Tanya Lobban Jackson and a seven member Jury to be empaneled, there are TWO sexual assault/rape cases are listed to commence.
TRIAL 1: NICHOLL PRUDHOMME allegation date is on January 17th, 2022. The defendant is represented by Ms. Sheena Mair, who is also on bail.
The reported virtual complainant in this case is an adult in her 20’s.
TRIAL 2: DARROL FORBES allegations totaling six counts linked to alleged sexual abuse of one of his underage daughters.
The incidents, for which Forbes is being tried, range in dates from June 1st to August 31st in 2020.
Forbes is represented by Keith James and is on bail.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
News4 days ago
Police say DNA confirmed identity of headless body
News4 days ago
Carnival cruise port is open to others Cruise ships — Management
Bahamas News1 week ago
Eleuthera Medical Center Marks 5 Years, Private community clinic ‘grows with the demand’, adds Dental and Dermatology to slate of services
Bahamas News1 week ago
Royal Caribbean to open adults only private island destination
Bahamas News1 week ago
OFFICERS ATTEND NATIONAL DAY OF BRAZIL CELEBRATION
Caribbean News4 days ago
Smart City Project a Testament to Innovation, Progressive – Dr. Morris Dixon
Finance4 days ago
UK holds steady on interest rates
News4 days ago
Grand Turk drops in Rank for Cruising, Port profits down; Still Optimism High after major meeting with Carnival