By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, February 24, 2023 – Barbados is set to benefit from a $9 million (about 4.5 million USD) annual boost to its economy soon as the country secured a deal with French airline Air Antilles to increase inter-regional travel.
Starting April 1, the Guadeloupe-based airline will begin new daily scheduled flights between Barbados and Dominica, Saint Lucia, Martinique, and Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe.
“Inter-regional travel is very important to us at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), and as part of our post-COVID recovery strategy, it was time to look at the best way to increase activity between Barbados and the Caribbean,” the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BTMI, Shelly Williams said.
She continued: “Currently, Air Antilles offers a service to Barbados of three to four flights weekly, and with a 133 per cent increase in seats, we anticipate incremental economic earnings of BDS $9 million annually.”
Tourism officials in Barbados forecast that Air Antilles airline seats will see a sharp rise from 15,000 to 35,000 annually, with the estimated economic impact deriving from increased visitors, daily spending and travel fees. They said the partnership will also allow for extended airlift directly to the French Caribbean through Corsair Airline, making connections to Barbados.
Williams said: “This growth in capacity will be supplemented by a high-profile marketing campaign by Air Antilles as well as in-market marketing and promotional activities from the BTMI, to keep Barbados top-of-mind and ensure that we fill these additional seats.”
The BTMI Chairman also noted that in addition to increased capacity, the expansion of Air Antilles service will boost Barbados’ connections into non-traditional visitor source markets, as far as Europe.
“We are especially pleased to deepen relations with the French Caribbean, and this revamped service fits into our overall airlift strategy of increasing connectivity to position GAIA as a true hub of the Caribbean.
“The Pointe-à-Pitre and Fort de France routes connect us directly with France through Corsair. France is a key market for us as we expand and diversify the places where we do business. We thank Air Antilles for their continued confidence in the destination and look forward to working closely with them,” Williams stated.
The French airline has been flying to Barbados since February 2017.
Conjecture, Collusion and Controversy Rumors swirl as PNPs Vote at NGC
Dana Malcolm and Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicoisIslands, February 27, 2024 – “Unity” is the convenient refrain from the executive of the PNP party following a weekend National General Congress (NGC) that aimed to shut down a leadership scramble, an action which further fuelled rumors that the Progressive National Party is severely fractured.
“Their body language and facial expressions are telling me that there’s still contention there. Those two fellas did not even look in each other’s direction,” that was one comment shared with our news team following the leadership scuffle featuring E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Washington Misick, TCI Premier.
It was one of dozens of similar observations and concerns shared with the news team and across social media as residents observed the aftermath.
Saunders had fallen short of gaining the two-thirds delegate support needed to truly challenge Misick for the top spot, however, he still counts the number of votes secured in the motion as significant.
“Forty percent of the people voted for an outcome, that means there is a noise in the market that says, we want change,” he said in a one on one interview with Magnetic Media.
The nature of the situation Saunders explained to our news team was that his bid to challenge the Premier was registered late and there was a resulting vote on whether his late bid should be accepted on the vote of two-thirds of delegates or if he could push through with less support. The response was a resounding ‘no’ with 58 voting in his favor and 88 against.
Saunders wasn’t the only one throwing his hat in the ring for control of the governing PNP party.
Jas Walkin, now the suspended North Caicos District Commissioner and Dameko Dean, former Wheeland party hopeful had also made a grab at the mantle but were not included in the National General Congress runoff.
Walkin publicly withdrew his bid in a statement which read, in part, “I received an email on February 6, 2024 from the Secretary-General confirming that my candidacy for leadership was approved,” but he continued in explanation for his sudden withdrawal from the race that, “Unfortunately my push has been halted, and I have to officially withdraw my candidacy for leadership of the Progressive National Party. On Thursday, February 22nd 2024 at 4:36 p.m., I received a letter from the Head of the Public Service advising me that Her Excellency the Governor had received confirmation of my candidacy for leadership from an Executive Member of the Progressive National Party, NEC and if I was to attend the Congress or proceed with my candidacy/race for leadership on Saturday, February 24th 2024; I would be disciplined.”
The series of events has left the PNP rushing to maintain its image of a unified party.
Kyle Knowles, Party Chairman released a statement immediately after, calling for togetherness.
”We can announce that the Party Leader Hon. Charles W. Misick has been reconfirmed to continue guiding our party forward.The Congress showcased democracy in action—where everyone’s voice matters, opinions are respected, and decisions are made transparently. It was a display of unity, civility, and passionate debate, highlighting our dedication to democratic values and founding principles of the PNP.”
The nature of the vote and Congress, carried out without invitation to the press or major announcement to the people of the Turks and Caicos worked to further fuel confusion and rumor. While it may have been labeled ‘party business’ the eventual winner will be a public servant, funded by the people’s purse.
The hush-hush tone of process has left some residents disappointed in the process of the governing party.
“At the end of the day, you will never know unless the voting public gets an opportunity to decide who should be their next leader.”
While Jas Walkin has reportedly been suspended from his job as the District Commissioner for North Caicos, E. Jay Saunders is still serving in his position as the deputy party leader, deputy premier and minister for finance, investment and trade – all of which are roles he holds at the pleasure of the Premier.
Morgan Heritage Member dies
#MorganHeritage#PeterMorgan, February 26th, 2024 – Peter Morgan, member of the Grammy Winning Jamaican Reggae Band Morgan Heritage, died on Sunday February 25th at the age of 46. His family made the announcement on Instagram, however the cause of his death was not mentioned. Morgan Heritage, an all family group, children to Jamaican reggae artist Denroy Morgan, was known for hits like “She’s Still loving me.”
Jamaica Local Govt Elections held
#Jamaica#LocalGovElections, February 26th, 2024 – Jamaica’s long awaited local government elections were held today February 26th, after being postponed on several occasions since November of 2020. Reports indicate that just over two million Jamaicans are eligible to vote and that the electoral system was well prepared with a total of 6,726 polling stations in 2,148 locations across the island, open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Voters selected from 496 nominated candidates across the island. The date for results is yet to be announced
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