Minister Josephine Connolly details plans for Tourism, Agriculture and more in 2023 Budget
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, May 23, 2023 – An extensive suite of projects have been budgeted for agriculture and tourism as the government renews its commitment to breathe new life into both sectors despite their current size.
Minister of Tourism Josephine Connoly updated on these plans and those slated for other departments under her Ministry during her budget debate contribution on May 18th.
She received over $18 Million in the new budget, which includes $5 Million in capital projects which number a dozen, according to Connolly when contributing to debate last Thursday.
Under the food security agenda consultants have been brought in to assess the National Agriculture Policy and are already in the country preparing for public consultation. Underway too is an agricultural survey to help the department increase backyard farming and enlarge existing farms.
“We have to be resolute to work together to create a future for ourselves and our children.” Connolly said.
Also coming in this financial year is a new online platform for agriculture to receive review and make decisions on all applications re agriculture which Connolly said would “improve efficiency and remove delay.”
Amendments will be made to the animal and plant health ordinances and the dog and animal control ordinances and a brand new veterinary clinic will be established.
An all new Business in a Box initiative is also set for this year and will provide specific individuals with the necessary tools for their very own hydroponic backyard farms and offer continued support and guidance throughout the process. It is a pilot project that will spread throughout the country if successful.
“It is the goal of the ministry that every household will have a backyard garden and can grow their own leafy vegetables and harvest their own eggs. This will be an agriculture revolution.” she promised.
A new Private Public Partnership to take care of stray animals has been approved and with cash and technical support from Darwin Plus.
In addition the TCI has built its first marine laboratory and will commission it on May 23rd.
“This would be the first center of excellence for marine and fisheries research in the Caribbean
and it will be named the Clifford Leroy Brooks Fisheries and Marine Laboratory on May
23 rd , in memory of one of the most dedicated and committed individuals to the Fisheries
Sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” she explained.
Connolly said it is the only one of its kind in the British overseas territories.
Connolly addressed the find of a raccoon in the country confirming they had arrived as stowaways on a boat into the country. Other biohazards stopped at the ports this past year include an Ostrich egg, 8000 kg of prohibited plants, 300 duck eggs and a dozen other unknown species eggs.
Connolly vowed to work with schools and the Ministry of Education to keep the Turks and Caicos’ cultural heritage intact and passed on to the country’s youth
The Destination management Organization was a major topic during her speech and Connolly maintained that it was disingenuous of the Opposition Leader Edwin Astwood to question the DMO in the budget when he had had his questions answered in a meeting with consultants. She stressed that the hiring process would be fair and transparent and had a message for her detractors as well.
“The creation of the DMO has been a long journey, a journey that we knew we had to undertake if we are to secure the future of the tourism industry and I am not saying this, because the Premier told me to say it.” She maintained
Also coming this year is the opening of the North Caicos Promenade; $750,000 to upgrade Bambarra Beach; $500,000 for Horse Stable Beach and $1 million for a Sapodilla Bay Vendors Markets.
Finally in the realm of religion partnerships with the faith based ministries continue and new programs for church involvement for inmates and in schools are being organized.
Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit partners with the Department of Trade to deliver Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, May 19th, 2023 – On Thursday, May 11th, 2023, Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit (BSU); partnered with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition to host the Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training. In attendance were nineteen business owners; who participated in the free, interactive training held at Blue Haven Resort from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
The training was facilitated by Ms. Lisandra Colley, Director of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition. During the training, the participants learned the following:
- Essentials of accessing the international market
- Basics of exporting and the benefits of exporting for MSMEs
- Export opportunities to access the Canadian and UK markets
- Requirements and procedures for the exportation of goods to Canada and the UK
- Understand how to use Canadian and UK government interactive tools to export
Commenting on the Training, Director of Trade, Lisandra Colley expressed, “Bolstered by its trade-related technical assistance pillar, the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition (DTIFC) aims to provide capacity building training and seminars to equip businesses across the TCI to fully participate in the domestic and international trading systems. The partnership between the DTIFC and Invest TCI to host the Seminar ‘Export Opportunities for MSMEs’ epitomizes our shared commitment to empower micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Through this collaborative effort, we provided participants with the essential knowledge and tools needed to access international markets and leverage preferential trading arrangements. By understanding the benefits of exporting, identifying potential markets, and grasping the requirements and procedures for successful export, participants are better equipped to seize opportunities in the Canadian and UK markets and worldwide.”
Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, also provided her feedback on the training “To strengthen the awareness of trade opportunities for MSMEs, the BSU will continue its partnership with the Department of Trade. We invite all entrepreneurs and small business owners to participate in our next collaborative training, to be held Thursday, September 12th, 2023, titled Incorporating Product Standards for Sustainable Trade.
Additionally, we welcome all businesses to take advantage of the free services offered by the Business Support Unit, namely Business Planning, Training, Counselling, Administrative Services, and MSME Programme Recipient Support. We provide the support you need to ensure your business is resilient and sustainable. Let us help you take your business to the next level.”
For more information on Invest TCI events, visit www.investturksandcaicos.tc or follow us on social media at @investtci.
A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS: SANDALS® DUNN’S RIVER JAMAICA’S NEWEST RESORT OPENS IN OCHO RIOS
~Celebrating its Storied Past with Design Inspired by Dunn’s River Falls, A Bevy of New Culinary Concepts and the Introduction of Jamaica’s first SkyPool Suites~
OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA, May 24, 2023 – Following a momentous grand opening celebration on May 19th, the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River opens today as the 17th resort in the award-winning Sandals Resorts portfolio. Located on a stunning stretch of white sand beach – a site originally handpicked by legendary hotelier and Sandals Resorts International founder the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart when the first Sandals Dunn’s River debuted over 30 years ago, today’s Sandals Dunn’s River is a completely new and utterly transformed hotel and experience. Featuring new culinary concepts and elevated suite designs, the 260-room luxury all-inclusive resort offers a deeply personal connection to its alluring setting on Jamaica’s north coast.
“Ocho Rios has been the backdrop of some of my family’s most pivotal moments, including along this very beach where my father grew up and turned a perhaps once unimaginable dream into one of the world’s most well-known hotel brands,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI). “Today, we celebrate innovation and a commitment to excellence as we unveil the next generation of Sandals Resorts in our home country of Jamaica. I cannot think of a better way to honor his legacy and acknowledge the incredible future of our brand than to welcome our very first guests to Sandals Dunn’s River. It’s great to have you home.”
Sandals Dunn’s River infuses its Jamaican roots into every sense, designed to embrace the essence of the destination’s rivers, lush forests, and majestic banyan trees. The source of the water that flows through Sandals Dunn’s River is from the natural reserves of the Dunn’s River Falls, from the lobby waterfalls to the cascading pools of the Red Lane® Spa. Guests at Sandals Dunn’s River will also experience the debut of the brand’s first-ever signature fragrance. Designed to evoke the romance of the Caribbean and encapsulate the brilliant flora and fauna surrounding the resort, the scent is an explosion of colors – from white florals and fruits to notes of sandalwood and musk in the background – and greets guests upon arrival to the open-air lobby.
Naturally Chic Accommodations
Sandals “Firsts” on resort include Tufa Terrace SkyPool Butler Suites, a first in Jamaica with glass panel edge infinity pools spanning the length of balconies flanked by views of the Caribbean Sea. Guests checking in to Coyaba Sky Swim-up Rondoval Butler Suites with Private Pools will find Sandals’ iconic standalone circular villas have been thoughtfully reimagined with vast open-air rooftops from where to bask under the Ocho Rios sun and stars. Luxurious Mammee Bay Beachfront Butler Suites® feature expansive balconies that overlook the sea with privileged sunset views, and Travertine Beachfront Club Level Rooms are named after the well-known Dunn’s River Falls’ giant, natural limestone steps. Beautifully appointed rooms and a luxurious resort requires team members outfitted in similar style and they are, thanks to a special partnership with legendary fashion designer Stan Herman who collaborated with resort staff to develop a collection fit for the Caribbean.
Indulging in a New Era
The connection to Jamaica continues at BLŪM, one of 12 new culinary concepts. An ode to the island’s majestic Blue Mountains, the quaint coffee outpost offers a first-of-its-kind coffee drinking experience with 25-cup cold drip towers, nitro cold brew on tap and Modbar pour-over units reaping the very best out of Jamaica’s coveted bean – all best enjoyed paired with delectable pastries and treats. At Dunn’s Rum Club, guests can travel throughout the Caribbean via the region’s signature libation. Featuring the largest selection of rum on the island of Jamaica and any other Sandals Resort, Dunn’s Rum Club celebrates the quintessential spirit by merging together storytelling with curated, cleverly named rum flights. Evenings were made for lingering at the swank Lapidus Lounge, an homage to Morris Lapidus, the famed architect who designed the site’s first resort – the Arawak Hotel, and whose joyful designs epitomized 1960s Caribbean chic. This is the place to admire the bevy of architectural references and raise a toast to the visionary himself with a Morris Manhattan. Seaside, guests can sink their toes into the sand while enjoying libations at Laughing Waters Beach Bar, named after the nearby fresh water falls that bubble up and gently spill to the sea. For an authentic taste of Jamaica, the Jerk Shack is as traditional as it is delicious, offering crispy festival – fried sweet corn cakes, alongside spicy “jerked” meats and seafood infused with local allspice and scotch bonnet pepper.
In addition to the local libations and coffee creations, guests can also savor a number of new culinary feats including Hamani, an izakaya-inspired sushi restaurant that brings the elegance of traditional Japan to the Caribbean; Edessa, where the Caribbean and Aegean seas meet; an Asian-fusion menu at Banyu, which offers a blend of cultures all in a single dining experience; Central and South American flavors at Zuka; Italian at Cascata; a taste of France at L’Amande; grilled delights and island staples at Galene; or the eatery Saltaire, offering live-action breakfast and lunch selections.
Immersing Guests in the Soul of Ocho Rios
From teeing off with complimentary green fees at the nearby and newly refurbished Sandals Upton Estate Golf & Country Club and diving the depths of the ocean and exploring marine sanctuaries with world-class partners at PADI to rafting the Martha Brae River on a 30-foot, artisan-crafted bamboo raft, Sandals Dunn’s River puts Ocho Rios’ natural treasures at guests’ fingertips with its quintessential Luxury Included® offerings.
“Building extraordinary resorts that make it easy for our guests to authentically experience our home countries and the people that bring these incredible places to life, is the work of Sandals Resorts. The Caribbean is wide and diverse and brimming with flavor, and fun. There is so much to discover here and we want to bring our guests closer to it all,” said Stewart.
Tune in to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart on the Sandals Palmcast as he introduces Sandals Dunn’s River and welcomes the Caribbean’s newest dream destination to the Sandals portfolio here. For more information and to reserve your stay, visit: https://www.sandals.com/dunns-river/.
TCIG not calling Woman’s injury a ‘Shark Attack’
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, May 25, 2023 – Where and How? Those are the questions now arising from Wednesday’s marine incident which left a young woman without her foot. The police and one local business say it was a shark attack, another government agency, the DECR was much more vague.
In a press release around midday Thursday, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources said, “A 22-year-old female visitor from Connecticut was severely injured while snorkeling… The matter is still under investigation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.”
Missing from that press release any mention of or warning to be careful of sharks.
Big Blue Collective on the other hand in a statement to Magnetic Media that same day said this:
“Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity,” they continued, “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation.”
The communications team at Big Blue Collective stressed to us that this was not to be used to characterize the TCIs waters. Both DECR and Big Blue reminded the public that these incidents are very rare.
The DECR said the incident happened in an area known as the Bone Yard Dive Site, part of the Princess National Park; a protected marine environment.
Photos of the victim’s injury show that her foot, severed completely at the ankle, was thankfully recovered whole.
The Police report had inaccuracies and was retracted last night. However, not before news media locally and abroad reported the facts as laid out by them.
The TCI Hospitals’ statement said, “The patient received immediate medical attention by our Emergency Response trauma team. The patient’s injury is considered serious and, after a period of stabilization, was transferred to a tertiary care facility for further management on that evening, Wednesday, May 24th 2023…”
Sources told our news team the nature of the injury requires a multi-agency investigation to sort out what exactly occurred in the water.
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