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Progress on the proposed $1m floating dock for Grand Turk still looms in the balance 

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#TurksandCaicos, January 23, 2023 – The lack of a public dock and a proper working ramp in the vicinity of the carnival cruise ship port,  has been a source of contention for boat tours operators and local fishermen for years.

What residents thought was a breakthrough with the government announcement of a proposed $1m floating dock, appears to have loss its steam.

As our tourism industry grows, there is a greater need for more safeguards and resources to be put in place to help support tour operators and protect the tourism products that we so desperately depend on.

It’s imperative that the government address these issues in a wholesome way to include input from relevant stakeholders.

Many citizens are of the view that in order to build stronger public/private partnerships, whenever extraordinary decisions are made that can affect an entire industry, the point of view from various stakeholders of that industry should always be considered.

Unfortunately, there is more and more evidence that the local water-sports and land tour operators are being put in a less competitive position and disadvantaged in an industry that was created to support the residents of Grand Turk and Salt Cay and not just Carnival cruise lines.

That is the premise of this article and the story must be told.

The most pressing issue impacting the Watersports operators is not the fact that we do not have a floating dock, but the lack of a proper working ramp to launch and pull up our vessels. There are other pending issues, but if the boat operators can get movement on this particular item it will serve the residents well.

I believe its an important piece of infrastructure that is desperately needed on the island. It will put boat operators in a better position to support the tourism product, proper boat maintenance, in addition to cutting the absorbent cost associated with launching and removal of vessels.

During the latter part of 2021, the government proposed $1m to build a floating dock within the vicinity of Carnival cruise port. To my knowledge, as of this date, no further information or discussion was released to the public.

Below is a list of reasons for our concerns as it relates to this matter.

  1. The current condition and accessibility of the existing ramp located at south base is not fit for use.
  2. It will allow boat tour operators, local fishermen and casual boat users easier access to properly maintaining their vessels.
  3. It will ease the financial burden for so many of us as the associated cost to launch and remove vessels is well over $200.
  4. It will minimize damages caused to vessels during transit due to the build-up of uncontrollable sand dunes and a lack of the proper equipment being used.
  5. The police dock located at north creek is not practical or conducive to small business operators depending on the cruising industry to make an honest living. In addition, during inclement weather, entering and exiting north creek could be treacherous and at times boat operators cannot exit the channel. This could impact the tourism experience if vessels are unavailable for pre-booked tours in addition to causing loss revenue.

Recommendations and Solutions:

  1. At this given time a proper ramp is more practical than a floating dock.
  2. Recommended location for a permanent not a the floating dock should be at Governor’s beach. Partial infrastructure is already there as it was previously used by the US Navy. In addition, the access lane is already in place.
  3. Another alternative would be to extend and enhance the Salt Cay dock for public use.
  4. Equip dock with lights and running water for proper use and maintenance of vessels or search and rescue operations.
  5. Repair and enhance the existing public ramp located at south base.
  6. Repair the roads leading to and from all docks and ramps.

Development within a Park, by ordinance, is acceptable if it benefits the general public.  I think a proper public ramp or dock on the western shores would fit that bill and the boaters have certainly made a compelling argument.

I often marvel that it took successive Governments no time to come up with finding funds to remove the old steamer on Governor’s beach, but it’s taking years to provide a needed resource to support the tourism industry which Grand Turk boat operators and local fishermen primarily depends on.

It will take high level and bureaucratic commitment to move this forward.

Nevertheless, boat operators are optimistic that change will come someday. We look forward to a favorable outcome where we can all work together in unison for the betterment of this great country.

 

Ed Forbes

Concerned citizen of Grand Turk 

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CTO Chairman Hails Success of Business Meetings in Saint-Martin

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February 22, 2024 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) concluded its business meetings last week in Saint-Martin, marking a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts to strengthen and revitalize the Caribbean tourism sector. Under the direction of Chairman Kenneth Bryan, who also serves as Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands, the CTO has embarked on a transformative journey to reimagine its role and impact within the global tourism landscape.

“When I took over as chairman (in 2022), we decided to go through a reimagining exercise and you can start to see the changes already,” said Chairman Bryan, citing the appointment of Secretary-General and CEO Dona Regis-Prosper, the return of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Bermuda to the 25-member body, and the re-engagement of destinations such as Montserrat as examples of the progress made.

A highlight of the meetings was the presentation of a comprehensive plan for the year ahead by Regis-Prosper, the first woman appointed to the post in the organization’s history.

This year’s first series of business meetings focused on defining a strategic direction for the upcoming year and reviewing the organization’s accomplishments since Minister Bryan’s tenure began. “The discussions were fruitful and reflective of the vibrant spirit that characterizes our collective efforts,” stated Minister Bryan. “The CTO is moving towards a reimagined, revitalized and relevant future, with a clear focus on overcoming challenges through unity and shared vision,” he asserted.

A significant part of the meetings centered on the critical role of aviation in connecting the Caribbean. Chairman Bryan emphasized the commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and addressing the complexities of aviation logistics, highlighting a resolution to engage with key stakeholders, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and regional airlines, to advocate for increased seat capacity and facilitate more seamless travel within the Caribbean.

The group discussed the possibility of staging a Caribbean aviation conference: an assembly of airline and airport authority executives; hotel brands; tourism stakeholders; and government ministers with responsibility for tourism, civil aviation, regulatory and finance matters. “We need robust dialogue on the necessary changes to incentivize more connectivity within the region, so we’re going to put our foot down on the gas concerning this because it’s a serious concern for many members, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean.”

Reflecting on his tenure as chairman, Minister Bryan is encouraged by the progress made, particularly in stabilizing the organization’s fiscal position, increasing membership confidence, and positioning the CTO prominently in global tourism discussions. The CTO’s efforts have also focused on leveraging technology, artificial intelligence, and digital media to enhance the Caribbean’s appeal as the world’s leading warm-weather destination.

The CTO’s vision also encompasses a rebranding of the organization and a reinforcement of the foundational spirit of Caribbean kinship. “Our goal is to ensure that every member state feels tangible value from its involvement with the CTO, fostering a sense of belonging and collective achievement,” commented Minister Bryan.

He said CTO’s strategic direction, under the Secretary-General’s leadership, promises a dynamic and inclusive future for Caribbean tourism, one that emphasizes innovation, collaboration, and a deepened sense of regional camaraderie.

 

Photo Caption: Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of CTO’s Ministerial Council and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands (left), is pictured with CTO Secretary-General Dona Regis-Prosper; Bermuda Minister of Tourism Owen Darrell; and Rosa Harris, Chairman of CTO’s Board of Directors and Director of Tourism for the Cayman Islands.

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Caribbean News

DIGICEL BUSINESS’ HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS IS REVOLUTIONISING THE GUEST EXPERIENCE

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February 22, 2024 – Digicel Business is proud to introduce its cutting-edge Hospitality Solutions, designed to transform the guest experience in hotels, resorts, and hospitality establishments worldwide. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Digicel Business is empowering the hospitality industry to thrive in a digital age. In an era where guests expect seamless connectivity, personalized experiences, and efficient services, Digicel Business is at the forefront of delivering solutions that meet these evolving demands. Our Hospitality Solutions suite offers a range of services and technologies that will redefine the way guests interact with your establishment.

Key features of Digicel Business Hospitality Solutions include:

  1. Reliable & Secure Connectivity: Ensure lightning-fast, secure internet access throughout your property, enabling guests to stay connected effortlessly, whether for work or leisure.
  2. Enhanced Guest Experiences: Elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty with convenient and customized experiences, including Hospitality TV, Push to Talk radio, Access Control, Fixed Voice for your front desk and rooms & Video Surveillance.
  3. Efficient Operations: Increase operational performance and efficiency, reduce operational cost by reduction of manual processes. Focus on what you do best, while we take care of the rest.
  4. Security Solutions: Secure customers’ data with solutions that are easy to use but sophisticated enough to keep you secure. 5. Scalability: Our solutions are adaptable to properties of all sizes, from boutique hotels to sprawling resorts, ensuring a customized fit for your establishment. 6. Dedicated Support: Digicel Business provides support to ensure hotels and resorts can resolve any connectivity or technology-related issues promptly.

Lydia Tucker, Head of Digicel Business Turks & Caicos, commented: “The hospitality industry is undergoing a significant transformation, with digital technologies at the forefront of this evolution. At Digicel Business, we are committed to helping our partners in the hospitality sector embrace these changes and deliver unparalleled guest experiences. Our comprehensive suite of Hospitality Solutions is designed to enhance operational efficiency, increase guest satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.”

As the Caribbean and Central America‘s leading communications and technology solutions provider, Digicel Business continues to invest in cutting-edge solutions that empower businesses across various sectors

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Caribbean News

Employees Entitled Time Off to Vote

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#Kingston, February 22, 2024 – As the February 26 Local Government Elections approach, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is reminding employers that workers are entitled time off to vote.

Director of Elections, Glasspole Brown, told JIS News that under the law, every employer is required to permit employees who intend to vote, three hours to do so. This is in addition to the usual lunch hour.

“I appeal to the business owners [and] various institutions, allow persons who are desirous of casting their ballots the time off to go and do so; and they should be allowed three hours between the period of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,” he said.

Mr. Brown noted that the law does not apply to persons who commence work at 10:00 a.m. or later, or end work at or before 2:00 p.m.

Electors are encouraged to make the appropriate arrangements with their employers before Election Day.

They are also encouraged to vote throughout the day, rather than just the first two hours of polling when the lines are longest.

Voters are also reminded to bring their Voter Identification (ID) card on Election Day, as it will allow for quicker and easier processing.

“However, I must point out that even if you do not have your ID card, you will be allowed to vote as long as your name is on the voters’ list. We have several processes to be able to identify you as an elector. While it is important and would help the system in bringing your ID card, as long as your name is on the list, you will be accommodated to vote on Election Day,” Mr. Brown stated.

Persons without an ID will be required to answer questions, take an oath, and be fingerprinted to verify their identity.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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