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Hopes for Hotels in Grand Turk, resident shares why it’s not happened yet

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 22, 2022 – “Somewhere in one of the government buildings is a closet just full of groundbreaking shovels for Grand  Turk, you could make a circle around Grand Turk with shovels.”

That is how Pastor Chad Archbold best explains the pileup of hotel construction projects destined for the island that never seem to reach completion.  A native of Grand Turk, he describes himself as “Someone who is passionate about the things relating specifically to Grand Turk and I’m always looking to see my community be enhanced someday.”

This longing to see the island developed is one Archbold shares with many other Grand Turk residents. We spoke to him and several others before the government’s town hall meeting on November 17th, all expressed a feeling of neglect and a desire to see their island grow past its reputation as a Carnival Cruise destination.

“I believe the island is long past needing a quality project.  People need to stop behaving as if it boils down to politics and the land. It boils down to creating a proper development on the island.  It’s long overdue and Grand Turk has suffered for it.” He said.  “Grand Turk has all of the attributes for a hotel property and with the advent of Carnival over the last decade you have even more going for the island.”

While thankful for Carnival he expressed the need for a constant source of income for residents as ‘cruise ships can only do so much.’

“There are no [hotels] and several attempts over the years to establish and create an extraordinary property on Grand Turk that would have been a catalyst for even greater economics– for various reasons hasn’t materialized. There’s no other word to use the community has suffered. ” the pastor explained.

He describes driving from the lighthouse to White Sands Beach and seeing the potential in the community and being disappointed that there was just nothing there.  In the last two years alone a $200 million dollar hotel and casino contract which should have broken ground in February 2020 seems to have fallen through and the history of failed construction continues all the way back to the Grand Turk Harbour project.

But what has caused the constant failings?

With his over 30-years experience in consulting and working on projects for development in Grand Turk Archbold has some ideas, but he first made it clear this was no fault of Grand Turk, there is no ‘curse’ over the islands.

“In all honesty for some of the attempts there weren’t ample opportunities for some of those to materialize” he said,  “The amount of convincing you have to do when it comes to development on Grand Turk is excessive. It doesn’t matter if people see Carnival and the crowds or how glorious Governors Beach is, it doesn’t matter.”

“If you can’t have proper synergy with the developer or someone working to get this done it won’t happen and the community of Grand Turk has to reach a place in their psychology– knowing that the investment of Grand Turk is for their present and future well being.”   He explained

Even with these factors, he says investment opportunities are available and the naturally beautiful real estate is available; but anyone looking to seriously tackle being the first major hotel on the islands will have to approach the project in a very specific way.

”You have to develop in Grand Turk with the mindset that only I am the major entity here I have to make sure that I have everything that is needed to sustain my project and to make it viable for the community;  from airlift to employment; to the expansion of small businesses in the private sector and job opportunities outside of the government. ” He maintained. “Whatever goes there must compete with anything that you would put on Grace Bay because you only get one shot at it.

In order to effect the major economic revitalization of the community you have to invest significantly.”

Jobs for young people was another major issue for residents ahead of the town meeting with the Premier.  The pastor echoed this recalling an interaction with a young man while he was working on a hotel project years back.

“He told me you don’t understand how much I am desperately looking forward to this, I can tell you I am waiting for it because I think it’s going to change the life of some of us young guys,” Archbold shared.

Going forward, the pastor hopes people will see the value in following through with a significant and sensible and sensitive hotel project, which does not miss but instead captures and preserves the island charm and historic sentiment of the capital of the Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk.

Politics aside, he said, the sake of the island should be first.

Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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