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Hurricane hit residents take to social media about slow payment of Insurance Claims



By Deandrea Hamilton



#TurksandCaicos, November 28, 2022 – Just over two months after Hurricane Fiona, residents are still languishing they say, waiting for reasonable insurance payouts and the frustration is giving way to public outcry on social media, where adjusters and at least one insurance company is named as being unfair and unresponsive when it comes to the claims process.

“…clients of  ——  have yet to receive their claims.  The insurance company is not communicating effectively nor responding to emails and telephone calls,” said one report.

Just a few weeks ago, Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition issued a statement calling for a national education campaign on home insurance.  In the report, the Grand Turk South, Member of Parliament uncorked a string of dilemmas facing home owners who are being told they are underinsured.

“The experience of seeking a pay-out from the insurance companies has been a stressful, disappointing, and an eye-opening experience for many homeowners. Many expressed the feeling of being grossly uninformed and lacking needed knowledge about their insurance policies, especially those who got insurance through their banking institutions.

A common mistake that some homeowners make is not to insure their property for the full replacement value, thus creating the issue of underinsurance, and as a result, if an insured peril causes damage to the home or its contents are stolen, the claim may be subject to the application of the average clause.”

The Grand Turk resident said some are having to dig into life savings and come up with tens of thousands of dollars to replace their homes which were damaged in the September 20, Category one hurricane. He was concerned that so many residents find themselves ill-equipped to bounce back, within reasonable time from a severe encounter with hurricane or other emergencies.

“Insurance data points out that many homes in the Turks and Caicos are underinsured, with there also being many homes uninsured. That should be a major concern for the Government, the homeowners, and for the insurer, especially given that risks from climatic events such as hurricanes and flooding become more adverse annually,” said Astwood.

There was some advice to avoid underinsurance from the MP; he said, “Insure your property for its replacement value rather than market value; ensure that all of your contents are included in your policy and Review insurance policies annually.”

On the latter point, the LOO sharedgiven that the replacement value of the property may change due to inflation associated with construction costs or home improvement projects implemented.  This regular audit of your insurance, at the time of your renewal or at any point during the policy year, assists to ensure that your property is fully covered in the event of loss by an insured peril.”

While the TCI Government participates in the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, (CCRIF) it is not in the practice of handing out funds or materials for reconstruction of personal dwelling homes after a storm or fire.  It may be among the reasons the Opposition Leader and others are now demanding attention for the issue; calling for concerns to be elevated and public understanding to be taken on as a national priority.

People also believe insurance companies need to be held accountable or exposed when dealing unfairly with policy holders.

“One client/customer of ——— insurance for many years told us they were shocked and embarrassed when they submitted their claim for their property after the hurricane to receive an insulting response that they have no claim to receive after losing the majority of their properties in the hurricane.”

Astwood informed the public education and awareness could be led by the Ministry of Finance or regulated through the Financial Services Commission for the banks and insurance companies servicing the marketplace.

“I cannot underscore more the importance of having complete home insurance, as I learned the lesson personally in the past.  It is a bad idea for homeowners not to have insurance or to be underinsured.

More must be done and should be done in protecting against our people being blindsided by insurance adjustments, and more must be done in educating our people about insurance claims, policies, and procedures. In this vein, after essential discussions with relevant stakeholders the necessary consumer protection legislation will be introduced, passed, gazetted and relevant information will be published on the appropriate government website to ensure greater protections and transparency for the people of the Turks and Caicos.”

Astwood, as leader of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) promised his party would make the matter paramount.

Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer



#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.

Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.

As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.

He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”

David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent.  By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera.  Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.

“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”

Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.

“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.

Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains ​that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’

There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.

On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.

In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.

“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”

David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.

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