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Caribbean News

Missed Opportunities, Small Population and Lack of Exports ramping up Food & Living costs says TCI Shipper



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, February 9, 2023 – “Turks and Caicos customers basically pay a round trip freight,” was the reiterated revelation from shipping expert, Carl Simmons as he explained why inflation rates and food prices in the Turks and Caicos are sky high.  Simmons, who owns Cargo Express and Tropical Shipping was a guest on Tuesday on Financially Speaking, a radio show hosted by Drexwell Seymour, aired on RTC.

“Say for example you’re on American Airlines and you go to Miami you pay to go and you pay to come.  TCI customers from the shipping perspective basically pay two ways, the ship comes here with cargo and goes back empty because we don’t produce anything.”

According to the Turks and Caicos Department of Statistics, TCI exported $2.6 million in goods in 2022; a figure hugely surpassed by imports to the country which was at its highest in five year, recorded to be $681.4 million.

Carl Simmons made his statement when queried on why his own company was not opening shipping routes between the Turks and Caicos and other Caribbean countries who produce some of the goods that come from overseas; goods that tend to be higher in cost.  He explained another issue contributing  to the cost factor.

“It’s volume driven, and that’s important, our population is very small, we don’t have anything to trade back through CARICOM we have no industry” he explained further why this was so harmful.

“Freight to the other islands is a little bit cheaper– they [shippers] can pick up cargo to take back between those islands”

This makes the trips cheaper for the shippers as they recover some of the cost along the way, a benefit sorely lacking in the TCI.  Another issue was the country’s lack of proper maritime facilities to incentivize shippers.

“We are lacking a deep water harbour, if we had [one] we could have gotten ships with more capacity to bring containers from the US drop off a percentage of them to Grand Turk or Provo and continue on to another island but we cannot consider that option at all so the cost goes up again.”

Simmons, has for well over a decade been making recommendations and pointing to the many missed opportunities for port operations.  The ideas include a transshipment port, which he and others have cited as possible as far back as 2000.  The port would dramatically slash the cost of living for islanders by double digit percentages, he says.

At the time, in the year 2000 the place that I identified as a Transshipment port was Grand Turk; unfortunately it fell on deaf ears.”

Four years later, Simmons told listeners the Dominican Republic executed the idea with their Caucedo Port and now the opportunity has passed for TCI.

Seymour, a CPA by profession added that several essential companies have confirmed expenses in shipping are a driver of higher prices; he named: FortisTCI and grocery stores.

Food inflation and electricity rocketed sky high in 2022 causing extreme stress on consumers, forcing the government to provide relief through duty discounts and subsidising power bills to the tune of over $20 million dollars.

Caribbean News

CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”



Port of Spain, Trinidad. 01 December, 2023: It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.

Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative.  Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many.  Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.

She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.

PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines.  Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region. 

During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the downpayments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.

Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.

During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues.  CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.

The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader. 


Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

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Caribbean News

CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


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:


  1. Curbing emissions to limit global temperature

increase to 1.5 ̊C


  1. Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and

loss and damage


  1. 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


  1. Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience


  1. Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,

sustainable and resilient development


  1. Promoting gender equity and social inclusion

approaches to climate action


  1. Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as

core to the climate response


  1. 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.”


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Bahamas News

CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence



Rashaed Esson


Staff Writer 


“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.”

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