Connect with us

Caribbean News

Opposition Leader:  Dismantle of Tourist Board by Uncaring PNP Government



#TurksandCaicos, February 6, 2023 – Voters of all stripes in the Turks and Caicos Islands are now in fear of recession, inflation, crime, and rising costs, and they see a PNP government not doing anywhere near enough to help, and is doing everything to worsen the condition of most of our people. I call out the fact that what those folks say they are not going to do, they almost always do.

We are now seeing the discharge of the current Tourist Board; the staff is being laid off. Staff which they, the current PNP Government, said last year, during the 2022 Government Budget Debates and on other forums, was not going to happen.

The Hon. Premier and his Team claim that this is a “restructure”, of the Tourist Board, but we all know “demolition” when we see it.

It is now very alarming that an elected government, that won all but one electoral seat, could be so uncaring, and unsympathetic to their own people who put them in office, and that they can be so disrespectful and insensitive to such a cornerstone organization as the Tourist Board, which has been in existence since the early ’70s.

This current PNP Government, led by Premier Misick and his Cabinet Ministers, has demonstrated an apathetic and uncaring attitude towards our people, the workers of the Tourist Board as it relates to their current and future employment status. Additionally, they are saying that the staff was given the chance to apply to the DMO for employment, but we know how that always plays out; we have seen this play out many times before, where persons are asked to apply only to say that Turks & Caicos Islanders were interviewed, and with no intention of hiring them. As the government did with the Airport fireman, all the existing staff should simply be reassigned to the DMO.

I must remind the Hon. Premier and his team of elected officials that this is the same tourist Board that has been instrumental in seeing our Tourism numbers grow to the high levels that we are currently experiencing.

I must remind the Premier and His Ministers that this is the same tourist board that received the honor of being awarded Island Destination’s 2019 Ultimate Partner.

I must remind this PNP Administration that this is the same Tourist Board whose director won Caribbean Tourism Director of the Year, won by Pamela Ewing – During one of the most challenging years in Caribbean tourism history. And I remind them that it was said that “Director of Tourism, Pamela Ewing, expertly led the Turks and Caicos Islands to historic levels of performance – solidifying the destination as one of the Caribbean’s most desired countries, while keeping the safety of both visitors and locals at the forefront.”

I must remind this PNP Administration that this is the same Tourist Board and its staff that was instrumental in positioning the Turks & Caicos Islands to receive an impressive eight nominations and a winner of two awards – Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination and Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination, at The World Travel Awards, Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony in Montego Bay, Jamaica on August 31, last year.

I am in full agreement with those who see this dismantling and shutdown of the Tourist Board by the current PNP Government as a wrong move for our country, our tourism industry, our local people and our employees of the Board. In particular, I align myself with the comments and commentary of the former Minister of Tourism, Hon. R. Higgs, and former management staff member Mrs. Pauline Saunders.

In my response to the Premier’s and his government’s Budget on May 4, 2022, in addressing the funding being allocated for the setting up of a Destination Management Organization, I stated that “Instead of spending these millions of dollars on developing this new body, we should have been spending it on product enhancement in all our Islands. Don’t just follow the trend. You have to figure out if something really makes sense, or if it is just what everyone else is doing. Is this the right move Mr. Speaker? I think not.

Mr. Speaker, what about the current staff of the Tourist Board, will they be guaranteed a place in the new DMO, or will they will be sent home? I have seen this movie before in person; Mr. Speaker when the Government’s secondary health care services were closed down and contracted out to InterHealth Canada- they told us the same thing that we would not lose our jobs but said that we all had to apply for the same position that we currently occupy. We were not presented with a job description, terms of reference, pay scales, or anything. Needless to say, many of us found ourselves unemployed at that time. This must not happen to the staff of the Tourist Board Mr. speaker. We have to protect our people, and ensure that they are not left out.”

I went on to say that “Mr. Speaker, we are spending millions of dollars on developing this DMO, and Closing the Tourist Board which is a proven champion, and one of the top award-winning Tourist Boards in the region, and we have seen how successful tourism has been in our country. Why not recruit additional specialized staff for Tourist Board? Why not increase their marketing and product development budget? Why not send off staff for more specialized training in the area of Tourism? Why not create specialized units within the Tourist Board such as a Destination Management Unit?”

I still believe that, what I said in the above caption from last year’s House of Assembly Budget Debates can still be done- strengthening and enhancing the current staff and the capabilities of the existing Tourist Board.

Honorable Premier, Madam Minister of Tourism, Cabinet Ministers, it is not too late to readjust your course and head in the right direction. Listen to the people who elected you 14-1. It must be heartbreaking for these employees to bear witness to the occurrence that a government overwhelmingly elected by the people is intentionally destroying their livelihoods in this manner. And it is heartbreaking for the country to see our awards winning, superstar, Tourist Board, and Staff being treated in such an uncaring and dismissive manner.

You did not listen to my voice last year during the budget debate, however, for our people’s and our country’s sake, listen to our people’s cries now, and do the right thing.

A PDM Government would not be dismantling the Tourist Board, but rather we would offer advanced and specialized training opportunities to existing staff, enhance performance, greater boost capabilities, strengthen and expand partnerships, and diversify the functioning and structure of the existing Tourist Board and its staff complement, in order for the Board to be fully capable of leading our Tourism Sector into the future.

By; Hon. Edwin A. Astwood


Caribbean News

TCI Police Detective Holden Speaks Up on Blue Hills Rapes



Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – Following the announcement that several women had been robbed and assaulted in Blue Hills in the past weeks, Magnetic Media queried why the Police would wait until they had a man in custody to release an alert. 

TCI’s newest addition to the top brass Detective Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime, Safeguarding and Public Protection, told us that it initially appeared to be an isolated offence and not part of a series of incidents. 

“The full circumstances needed to be investigated to ascertain the facts before a public alert could be considered. Misinformation in such a case would only cause unnecessary public concern and confusion and could adversely impact the investigation and the safeguarding of persons involved—” he said. “Even now there is no definitive information that these offences are linked, and investigators remain open-minded.”  

Holden claimed an early alert with limited information could have hindered the investigation and they were trying to protect the women who may not have wanted to be identified based on where they lived.  

As it turns out, the public concern was very much warranted, because there have been more violent sexual attacks, and more victims got hurt, forcing their hands.  

“When further similar offences were committed, the overriding principle of sustained public protection was considered, hence the alert/release issued,” he said. 

That alert was coupled with the news that a man had been arrested. Whether those further similar incidents could have been prevented if the public was informed earlier and taken extra precautions, is the underlying question. To date, we don’t know how many victims there are. 

Police have increased patrols in the Blue Hills area and condemned the crimes as unacceptable. They have not indicated if anyone was charged for the offences yet.  

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Louise Garland Thomas High School are TCISS Inter-High Track & Field 2023 Champions



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – After a festive three days of competition, the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 have concluded with the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School reigning as Champions. Featuring a great turnout, eleven schools from across the Turks and Caicos Islands met to compete at the National Stadium March 9-11, 2023.

The competition was stiff among athletes, who were all competing for top spots and by extension a spot-on Team TCI’s CARIFTA 2023 team. From high-spirited invitationals to entertainment by DJ Shakes, spectators enjoyed the best Nationals competition yet.

Overall results:

  •     1st Place: A. Louise Garland Thomas High School
  •     2nd Place: Clement Howell High School
  •     3rd Place: Marjorie Basden High School

Twenty athletes have been selected for Turks and Caicos Islands National CARIFTA Team, some who would have competed in the TCISS Inter-High Track & Field Championships 2023 and some living abroad.

Here are the athletes:

  1. Roniesha Johnson U-17 Girls CHHS
  2. Branary Delancy U-17 Girls LGTHS
  3. Krysann Williams U-20 Girls LGTHS
  4. Anesha Varus U-20 Girls CHHS
  5. Lynn Antoine U-20 Girls Unattached
  6. Chyna Simmons U-20 Girls BWIC
  7. Rayvon Black U-17 Boys Denbigh/Jam
  8. Renaldo Registre U-17 Boys RGHS
  9. Jarmal Missick U-17 Boys HJRHS
  10. Melique Evans U-17 Boys CHHS
  11. Love Joseph U-17 Boys LGTHS
  12. Kaeson Garland U-17 Boys MBHS
  13. Shamar Garland U-17 Boys HJRHS
  14. Alieandio Durham U-20 Boys CHHS
  15. Bernard Hyde U-20 Boys CHHS
  16. Markey Zepherin U-20 Boys CHHS
  17. Rayvon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  18. Anthon Walkin U-20 Boys KC/Jam
  19. Alidavidson Higgs U-20 Boys JC/Jam
  20. Darvioun Rigby U-20 Boys Keiser/USA

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

Soca Warriors crush  Bahamas at home



By Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.

The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).

Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.

Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.

Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches.  Next match for the Soca Warriors is against  Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day.  The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.

Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.

Continue Reading