TCHTA Arbor Day Initiative Sparks Joy Among Turks & Caicos Students
#TurksandCaicos, April 12, 2022 – Launched with an exciting video announcement by TCHTA Young Leader, Judith Guerrier, the TCHTA took its annual Earth Day TCI Shines initiative to another level as a part of their 30-year commemoration calendar.
Since 2009, TCI Shines has played a significant role in keeping Turks & Caicos beautiful by nature, and clean by choice. This year, the TCHTA’s Sustainable Tourism Committee joined forces with its Educational Committee and the DECR team to carry out a week-long tree planting exercise that would begin on Earth Day and carry on until Arbor Day.
With assistance and guidance from the DECR, the “Mighty Mahogany” was the clear tree choice for its resilience, size at maturity, and ease of care during the growth phase which was crucial as the country’s students would be the stewards of these majestic trees.
The mahoganies were collected by a team of TCHTA volunteers, and distribution began on April 20th, in preparation for Earth Day with the first shipment headed to North and Middle Caicos via the COMO Parrot Cay ferry. Each tree was accompanied by an information packet which would educate the students on the features of the Mighty Mahogany and provide instructions on how to plant and care for the trees. Most significantly, each tree came with a commemorative wooden plaque etched with the name of a TCHTA past President, Director, or stalwart in honour of this 30-year anniversary initiative.
Managing the first leg of the journey, Education Committee Chair, Tendra Musgrove, shared her enthusiasm, “At COMO Parrot Cay, we are always thrilled to be a part of efforts that allow us to engage with our local students. It is also a joy for me personally, which is why leading the Educational Committee is so important. It was a pleasure delivering to the schools, seeing the students’ excitement and eagerness to take responsibility for the trees. This is what our work is all about; engaging our students in ways that make it enjoyable to do their part in the sustainability of their island and our tourism product.”
Moving from one community to another throughout the islands, the team – which included Nello Lambert of TCI Distributors and Karen King of Point Grace Resort, both members of the TCHTA Sustainable Committee – delivered trees to thirty-eight schools, ensuring all islands throughout Turks & Caicos were a part of this grand exercise with the help of interCaribbean Airways. A video collage of the team and the students was shared on the association’s platform, celebrating Arbor Day 2022.
Speaking on the decision to organize this exercise, TCHTA CEO, Stacy Cox, explained, “There was no question…all schools and islands needed to be touched to the best of our abilities, and the hardworking team led by Mona Beeson, did just that. As we put our 30-year anniversary calendar together, we knew we wanted to make this year’s Earth Day TCI Shines truly impactful. As the time approached and we learned of the Ministry of Tourism’s plans to launch the Climate Change Summit, there was full alignment on all fronts. The DECR came on board in a stellar way, helping us decide on tree selection and being completely hands-on in mobilizing the project. We cannot begin to thank Amy Avenant and the team for their commitment and assistance.”
Through the collaboration, the tree-planting exercise will not only increase the population of indigenous trees and help to build the resilience of our ecosystems, but will also aid in teaching students to be stewards of their environment and responsible citizens in the fight against climate change.
Amy Avenant of the DECR shared her encouragement to the TCHTA, “We have been delighted to partner with the TCHTA on this commemorative initiative. The TCHTA is one of the DECR’s greatest allies in advocating for the natural environment, through regular clean-ups and initiatives such as these and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on 30 years of a job well done!”, said Amy Avenant, DECR’s Outreach Coordinator.
Mona Beeson of The Hartling Group has led the Sustainable Committee for years and is passionate about the accomplishments achieved through the TCI Shines program over the years.
“For more than a decade TCI Shines has been a channel through which the communities of Turks & Caicos have taken pride in keeping the islands clean. What started out as a yearly initiative grew to bi-annual frequency and our members, individuals throughout the community, church groups, and civic organizations are always eager to participate,” Beeson said.
She continued, “Now celebrating 30 years as an Association, we wanted to make TCI Shines 2022 truly unforgettable. I am always excited for our sustainable activities, but this has been especially heart-warming to me. Partnering with our Education Committee and the DECR, delivering the trees directly to our precious children and seeing the joy this has brought them energizes us to keep challenging ourselves to continue amplifying our reach and engagement as we work to maintain the natural beauty and viability of these islands.”
Since tree deliveries have been completed, the TCHTA has received hundreds of photos from the schools that designated a special day for the children to plant the trees. The association says the smiles in those images speak more loudly than words ever could.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
#Haiti, March 17, 2023 – When a CARICOM delegation visited Haiti earlier this month, conspicuously absent was the Turks and Caicos Islands despite being one of the nations most directly affected by the multi-dimensional crisis there. There is no comment, as yet from the Premier, to say why this was the case.
Still, from the expedition, CARICOM heads of Government have informed that there will be lobbying in Africa for assistance in Haiti. They say they have decided that the best course of action for the Caribbean country is to bolster the Haitian National Police and act as intermediaries with Africa and the world. The decision follows a one day visit on February 27th, and a March 5th meeting chaired by the Bahamas.
CARICOM says during the trip delegates ‘met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution’. With that in mind it has made a decision on how to proceed.
“The Heads of Government agreed to support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to address the security situation. The focus of the Community will be the provision of training for the HNP and the provision of humanitarian assistance to HNP and the wider Haitian society, taking into account the challenging humanitarian and security situation”
It’s not clear yet where and how this training will take place. Also distinctly absent from the report, no more mention of boots on the ground from other countries despite CARICOM Member States indicating they were ready and willing should it come to that.
In addition, recognizing ‘the common historical experiences and the strong African-Caribbean relationship’ CARICOM says,
“Heads of Government also agreed to seek support from African countries for Haiti. They also agreed to work with the Governments of Canada and the United States as well as the UNDP”
Magnetic Media has reached out to the Premier’s Office to get a full debrief of the February 27th visit (led by Jamaica; including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago) to learn of Turks and Caicos’ posture following the critical sessions.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
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