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ADDRESS BY GOVERNOR NIGEL JOHN DAKIN, REGARDING THE DAY OF MOURNING IN TCI, TO MARK THE STATE FUNERAL OF HER LATE MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II

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Good day Turks and Caicos,

A few words regarding the coming day’s events to note the passing of our late Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Following a minute’s silence at 3 pm on Sunday, the Government have announced a day of mourning on Monday 19th September.  On that day, the Premier and I will be seated in Westminster Abbey representing the peoples of these Islands, alongside the Heads of State from 170, or so, Countries and Territories. It is a remarkable moment, marking the end of the second Elizabethan age.

Things that bring us closer, nationally or globally, that remove barriers and engender empathy, are increasingly special moments and this is one such example. You may have seen a Union Flag projected onto the Matterhorn in Switzerland and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Her late Majesty’s image was projected on the Sydney Opera House while piles of floral tributes were laid outside our Consulate in Hong Kong. Symbolic of Her reach outside of Her Realm.

At the time of a major Ukrainian counter-offensive President Zelensky took time to visit our Embassy to sign the Condolence Book. In the United States the Speaker of the House of Representatives, held a minute’s silence and adjourned the House, while the famous route along Pennsylvania Avenue was lined with Union Flags at half-mast.

Anyone watching the miles of good natured and patient people queuing for hours to offer their last respects at her late Majesty’s lying in State, or on Her journey through Scotland, or from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall will, I suspect, have taken a moment to either be reassured, or pleasantly surprised, by this remarkable demonstration of quite what a unifying force the late Queen has been.  Pageantry and participation helps us move from one era to another – it allows us to be steady and sure-footed when change normally brings uncertainty and unease.

Here in TCI, some will want to use Monday to reflect on the life of the Queen and also the lives of the remarkable people, in their own families, some who are still alive, but many who will have passed who were from our late Queen’s generation.  It is, for example, impossible for me to think of Her late Majesty without thinking about the stoicism and sacrifice of my own parents, and the role she played, both as a childhood role model during the war, and then providing the backdrop to their lives – a living example of never complaining, always hardworking and life-long service to others.

For some it will be a chance to mourn in a wider sense. Many have lost close relatives, not at the grand old age the Queen reached, but in circumstances where a close relative or friend have been taken from them, suddenly, with no time to prepare. I hope this is a day that provides a quiet time to reflect on those they and we have lost, at the same time the rest of the Territory is in a similar frame of mind.

It might be a day where some choose to invest time in their family or go to Church. Her late Majesty, I think, would very much approve of that approach.  She was a committed Christian and a committed mother.  As parents, we all lead feverishly busy lives where the conflicting priorities of: work; those who we need to care for from the generation before us and those who we need to give love and attention to from the generation behind us, compete for attention along with many other pressures.

Often the last people we have proper time for, are the people most dear to us, yet the basis of a strong society, is a strong family.  Perhaps some quiet time in each other’s company, enjoying the simplicity of close family life, will – for some – be the most respectful, but also the most appropriate and rejuvenating way, to spend Monday.

On Monday, for those who wish to watch the Funeral in the company of others, and in a place of worship, there will a live screening, at 6am, at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Church in Grand Turk, and at St Monica’s Anglican Church in Providenciales. RTC will screen the State Funeral at 6am on Monday for those who may wish to join the estimated global audience of 4 billion people. Individual Churches will make, and make known, their own arrangements, should they wish to, to hold a memorial service – but this is firmly their choice.

For those that wish to – a two minute silence echoing the silence in the Abbey at the conclusion of the Funeral – may also be observed at 7am on Monday or given the early hour, at any other time during the day, as you deem appropriate.

There will be a time to rejoice – the Future Coronation of a King – on a date not yet announced – will offer us that opportunity. But perhaps Monday can be used as a day of reflection about those who are with us, those who we love, and those who we remember built around our respectful memory of our late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  May Her late Majesty Rest in Peace and may she Rise again in Glory. ‘God Save the King’.

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Grace Bay Beach Crowned Caribbean’s Best  

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (February 29th, 2024) – Experience Turks and Caicos is pleased to announce that the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach has been recognised by Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards No. 1 Beach in the Caribbean and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking No. 5 among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach has consistently ranked among the top beaches in the world on the Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards since 2019.  The highest level of Tripadvisor’s awards, the Best of the Best winners are among the top one percent of listings around the world on Tripadvisor.

As the world’s largest travel guidance platform, Tripadvisor has unparalleled authority with travelers and diners. This award is based on genuine feedback from anyone in the community who has visited and left an authentic, first-hand review on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period, making it a valuable and trustworthy designation of travelers’ favourites.

Responding to this latest accolade for the Turks and Caicos Islands’ most famous beach, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said as a luxury destination, the Turks and Caicos Islands has a natural allure with its breathtaking beaches that allows affluent leisure travelers to unwind and relax in comfort.

“Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award is one of the most recognised and coveted awards in the travel space, so it is very valuable to us to have our very own Grace Bay Beach included yet again among the best beaches in the world. I want to thank all of our visitors who continue to make the Turks and Caicos Islands their vacation spot of choice and who enjoy the white sand and clear, turquoise waters of Grace Bay Beach. For those who are yet to experience the beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I urge you to visit and spend some time with us. We look forward to welcoming you,” said the Minister.

“Congratulations to the Turks and Caicos Islands and Grace Bay Beach on its recognition in

Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards Best of the Best for 2024,” said John Boris, Chief Growth Officer at Tripadvisor. “Ranking among the top percentage of businesses globally means you have made such a memorable impact on your visitors that many of them took time to go online and leave a glowing review about their experience. Travelers rely on Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best lists to help them navigate the myriad things to see, eat and do across the globe. We hope this recognition continues to drive business to you in 2024 and beyond.”

Tripadvisor said Grace Bay Beach is a scenic spot with powdery-white sand and bright blue waters where you can relax on the shore, swim in the calm sea, try some water sports and at the end of the day, go for a walk along the beach and catch the breathtaking sunset.

Check out all the reviews and discover more about Grace Bay Beach HERE.

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Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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She Pivoted then She Soared: Meet Sandra Lightbourne, Telephone Operator Turned Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos

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February 29, 2024                                                                                           

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: In 1983, Sandra Lightbourne embarked on her professional journey at a popular telecommunications company, as a telephone operator. Little did she know that her career would evolve into a remarkable story of resilience, adaptability and continuous growth.

She quickly proved her mettle and climbed the corporate ladder. From the sales department to customer service, and later as the billing and credit control manager, she demonstrated not only a keen understanding of the industry but also an ability to excel in diverse roles.

However, every success story has its challenges. After facing redundancy, Sandra embraced change and transitioned into the dynamic world of hospitality. In August 2013, she started anew as an administrative assistant at Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC). She described her transition to the hospitality industry as a smooth one owing to the fact that she had received extensive customer service training and brought with her experience, and a fresh perspective to her new environment.

“I will never forget the wise counsel of one of my customer service lecturers, Mary Duprose who said, ‘to be successful in anything you do, do it right the first time.’ Because of this teaching, I have always had a keen eye for detail. It has been embedded in me to always carry out a task to the best of my ability. There is no compromise for me when it comes to that.”

Additionally, she is appreciative of the continuous training and development she has had through the Sandals Corporate University. She has completed several courses, some of which are:  Leadership Excellence Level 2, Professional Communication, Professional Leadership and Art of Selling. She has also successfully fulfilled the requirements for the Autism and Sensory Awareness Training Programme with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

When asked what she loves most about her job, Sandra shared, “helping people is who I am. I enjoy solving guest and team member issues. Of course I do not like to know that situations arise to make a guest disgruntled but when it is brought to my attention and my intervention appeases them, it brings me great satisfaction.”

Sandra is so passionate about guest satisfaction that in a lighthearted moment she quipped, “if I were to have a superpower it would be to create smooth, perfect vacations thus eliminating guest concerns.”

Her dedication and contributions have not gone unnoticed. She recalls her most memorable experience at BTC being the time she was selected to participate in a familiarization tour of other resorts within the Sandals chain. She was chosen to be among a small group that flew to Grenada, Barbados and Antigua on the company’s private jet. “I was both humbled and honoured to have such an opportunity to see what the other resorts had to offer. This experience helped us to evaluate ways in which we could improve our resort.”

With such a mindset, it is no wonder that just two years into her role, Sandra earned a well-deserved promotion to executive administrative assistant, showcasing her commitment to excellence.

The pinnacle of her career came in 2021 when she was bestowed with the distinct honour of serving as the executive office manager. This recognition not only reflects her exceptional skills but also speaks volumes about her leadership qualities and the impact she has made at BTC. She continued to receive accolades and was one of the recipients of the Pace Setter Award in 2023. The Pace Setter Award, formerly known as the General Manager’s Award, is awarded to a team member who leads from the front and is always working alongside members of their team. He/she is punctual, hardworking, and reliable and is always willing to go the extra mile. The awardee is one who inspires the team and accepts nothing less than excellence. Sandra embodies these qualities.

She has been inspired by Managing Director, James McAnally. “Jamie has had the most profound impact on me, not only because I work directly with him but I recognize the passion that he has for the success of the resort. He knows the property and though there is so much to manage, his personable nature always inspires that personal touch which makes me feel valued. Other team members have attested to this.”

The respect between the two is mutual. The Managing Director, in highlighting what he admires most about Sandra shared, “I respect Sandra for her innate qualities of care, steadiness and confidentiality. As our world becomes increasingly busy and with so many team members and guests, Sandra is a pillar of stability in our Executive Office. She not only represents the resort on a global scale but also me personally, and having someone I can trust is something I am grateful for.”

Outside of work, Sandra enjoys spending time with her four children and grandson as she seeks to instill in them positive values that will help them recognize their full potential. “I want them to be the best, not just in terms of rank or winning but more so in terms of character and the positive influence I would like them to have on their peers.”

Sandra has turned setbacks into opportunities. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals, highlighting the importance of adaptability, continuous learning and unwavering determination in the ever – evolving professional world. As Sandra continues to thrive in her current role, her story remains a testament to the potential for growth and success that lies within every career, regardless of the obstacles faced along the way.

 

Caption: Sandra Lightbourne, Executive Office Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos shares a smile as she sits at her desk at the World’s Number One All-Inclusive Family resort

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