Lifting of COVID Vaccine Mandate is ‘Game Changer’ for Tourism & Real Estate says Christie’s
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – A year after most of the rest of the world, the Turks and Caicos has dropped its mandate requiring vaccination for entry into the county. The announcement was made by Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services in a March 24th statement carried live on Facebook.
It’s a long awaited decision for many.
Robert Greenwood of Christie’s International Realty describes the move as a ‘game changer’ in a press release.
“For individuals interested in purchasing property in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the removal of the COVID testing requirement is a game-changer. Previously, potential buyers had to navigate the challenges of obtaining a negative COVID test result before traveling to the Islands, which could be a significant deterrent for some.”
The move comes as the TCI revels in unprecedented interest evidenced by record real estate sales in 2021 and comparable sales in 2022.
It also means unvaccinated homeowners will finally be able to see their properties after more than two years and it opens the door, wide, to new investors.
“With the new policy in place, individuals can now travel to the Islands more easily and view properties in person, allowing for a more streamlined and efficient purchasing process.”
Greenwood, in sharing the news, explained that health and safety are not compromised with the Government’s decision to allow the rule to expire at the end of the March.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands remains committed to providing a secure and enjoyable travel experience for all visitors and The Ministry of Tourism encourages travelers to continue to practice healthy hygiene habits and to follow any local guidelines or regulations put in place during their stay.”
It’s a perspective widely shared and a move very welcomed by the tourism industry in particular who advocated against the three month renewal of the mandate in December describing it as a move that would make the TCI seem ‘archaic’.
The combination of seeing a rapid decline in Covid-10 cases, down to only three active for the country, high vaccination penetration of at least 85 percent and the prospect of building on already record arrivals and real estate prospects, the falling away of the mandate flings the gates wide open to a much larger cross section of travelers for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It could have positive effects on the country’s largest market helping push profits to never before seen levels.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands offer some of the most luxurious real estate in the Caribbean, with beautiful beachfront villas, private islands, and luxury resorts. With the removal of these COVID requirements, potential buyers can now experience the beauty of the Islands firsthand and invest with confidence,” shared Greenwood.
The Minister did not comment on the requirements for work permit holders who were mandated to get a vaccine or forfeit their work permits but naturally there is an expectation this requirement will also be nullified.
Environmental Health Department Recognizes Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2023
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands May 12, 2023 – Mosquito Awareness Week is fast approaching, and its an important initiative which was established with the approval of CARICOM in 2014 to raise awareness about the link between mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit and to strengthen initiatives aimed at eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week will be observed this year from May 8th – 14th, 2023 under the theme “Small bite, big threat” and slogan “Beat the buzz: Prevent, Protect, Control”.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is present in the Turks and Caicos Islands, can spread diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.
During the Month of May, the Environmental Health Department will be discussing ways to control vector populations and prevent the spread of diseases. This can include using insect repellent, eliminating breeding grounds, and properly disposing of waste.
Vector Control Awareness Month in the TCI is an extension of Mosquito Awareness Week, recognizing the threat posed by mosquitoes and is a reminder that we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of vector-borne diseases. Let’s work together to keep our communities healthy and safe.
For additional information, please contact the Environmental Health Department on 1649-338-2143/44.
Social Services hosts Special Event for TCI Younger Ladies
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, May 2, 2023 – Another edition of the government’s mentorship program “The Lady in Me” was held this week. This time young ladies in Providenciales were the ones being treated. The program targets at-risk adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
Photos of the beautiful setup shared with our news team show branded gifts waiting for the girls as they spent the two-day event sponsored by UNICEF focusing on how to cultivate healthy physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being.
Students from various schools arrived in uniforms immaculately pressed for the event put on by the Department of Social Services.
Acting Governor Anya Williams was in attendance and expressed faith that the initiative would cause true change.
“It was a pleasure to share with them my insight into the importance of making the right decisions in their youth, which will help to shape their futures and why they should see and value themselves as their greatest asset and to hear from them their goals, aspirations and the challenges that are currently being experienced by our younger generations,” she said.
In introducing the program the Government had said it was aiming to help participants: “examine the adolescence values, competencies, belief systems, inner feelings, motivations, critical thinking, and communication skills,” in order to “build their self-awareness and interpersonal relationships to strengthen their self-esteem— to create a sense of pride and enhance self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem as they mature and improve personally and professionally.”
The Department said the event was expected to impact 100 girls.
What’s at LJMMA? President explains snazzy equipment
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Situated on a Cay of its own, the LJM Maritime Academy (LJMMA) is the Bahamas’ only school of its kind and with sponsorships from Campbell Shipping, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruises, and more it boasts an extremely well-equipped campus. The Turks and Caicos Community College (TCICC) is now partnering with the LJMMA to bring those amenities to TCI students through TCICC.
Brendamae Cleare, President of the institution, joined in on a maritime stakeholder meeting introducing the partnership to the Turks and Caicos’ residents on Tuesday, March 21, detailing everything that the LJMMA had to offer.
“We have– classrooms, workshops, a bridge simulator room, a crane simulator, an engine simulator and we also have a GMDSS simulator and radar simulator as well,” she explained.
The simulator building was commissioned to the tune of $30 million and is only in phase one. Also included alongside the fancy simulators, which give students hands-on experience with the boat engines and cranes that they will work with in the future, there are temporary administrative offices, libraries, nurse’s stations and more.
Other buildings on the Cay include, a firefighting simulator and the school even has lifeboat simulators, which mimic what it would be like pushing the lifeboat off the side of a huge vessel and maneuvering it in the ocean.
The Maritime Academy was birthed in 2011 when executives at Campbell Shipping including Lowell J. Mortimer (which is the only Bahamian-owned shipping company Cleare says), realized that there were no Bahamians working on their ships and were determined to change that.
“We had the college of the Bahamas, which is now the University of the Bahamas. We had a technical and vocational institution. We had banking and tourism colleges, but nothing like maritime but [we said] why not maritime?”
And the LJMMA so was born, named after its founder Mortimer. In its first year, it fielded over 180 applications and accepted just over 40 students. It is semi-regimented, which means strict rules for students, just as they would have to abide by on vessels.
The institution is accredited by the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Institute of Materials, Minerals, Mining and others.
Cleare said the vision of the school was to become a globally recognized institution of excellence, in maritime education and training.
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