By Dana Malcolm
#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.
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Sea Patrol Vessels Approved by Cabinet, October 11 Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 26th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 at the Governor’s Office, Providenciales.
All Members were present except the Hon. Josephine Connolly.
- Approved the Consultation Report on the Proposed Amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Ordinance with amendments and agreed for the amended document to be brought back to Cabinet for final approval for onward submission to the House of Assembly.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Geta Crew Holding Ltd. for a mixed use development project on the island of Grand Turk, with the view of entering into a Development Agreement as per the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and the National Investment Policy.
- Approved the renewal of rental lease agreement, for various Government offices, between TCIG and Waterloo Property Management, Grand Turk.
- Approved the awarding of the following contracts:
- PN 005694, TR 23/13, Furniture and Equipment for NJS Francis Building; and
- PN 005696, TR 22/10, Purchase of Patrol Vessels.
- It noted the update from Her Excellency the Governor regarding the upcoming visit of UK Ministers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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