#TurksandCaicos, August 14, 2023 – Sargassum is again washing up in the Turks and Caicos islands, with residents now calling on the Government to address the heaps of seaweed.
Magnetic Media was on the beaches of Long Bay recently and witnessed the large piles firsthand.
Resident Bobby ‘Toymaker’ Morris was there too and said he was tired of seeing the seaweed on the shore.
“It is part of nature- but at least we can clean up some. The Government should invest in beach cleanups, the whole island’s beaches should be clean. We got tourists passing up and down here. We have millionaires on this beach, they shouldn’t be walking on [this].”
The local, self-proclaimed ‘inventor’ raises a significant point, as the Turks and Caicos bills itself as a luxury destination. It attracts global superstars like Drake, Serena Williams, the Kardashians and more who pay large sums to experience the TCI brand of paradise. Though it has many uses and is a naturally occurring deposit, many luxury visitors, as the
Toymaker points out, may not see the masses of dark-coloured sargassum as part of that otherwise picturesque experience.
Magnetic Media also observed efforts from one hotel to clean up their section of the beach with help; in the past, we had been told the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources provides garbage bags.
“They need to put some money in the budget for this,” Morris told us, “I don’t like it because the beach is supposed to be white, sandy. This is a high end place. The government has money to afford it, so they need to clean this beach up man.”
Sargassum could also pose hidden and unsanitary dangers; from sharp objects to dog excrement.
Magnetic Media had received a plan from Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, earlier this year outlining how the Government was planning to tackle the traveling seaweed, which can get smelly as it rots.
“While we do not want large heaps of Sargassum decaying on our beaches, we must be strategic in our approach,” she maintained. “We are exploring our options to ensure our response is sustainable economically and environmentally. Ideally, we can turn this problem into an opportunity and there have been proposed solutions including use in fertilizers, animal feeds, cosmetics, or for biofuel,” she had said, and along with a draft policy to handle the issue.
It’s unclear whether those plans are in motion, but when we visited, the weed stretched along the shoreline as far as the eye could see. It’s courtesy of a massive patch of sargassum floating in the Atlantic. The word from scientists is those patches will keep coming year after year, emphasizing the need for a plan to manage it.
The Bahamas Records a “Smashing Eight Million Plus” Tourist Arrivals
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. I. Chester Cooper announced that The Bahamas has recorded a smashing eight million plus tourist arrivals.
“In 2019, a historic year for Bahamas tourism, total visitor arrivals amounted to 7.2 million. Last year, total tourist numbers matched the 2019 record year total and today we are over eight million,” the Acting Prime Minister said during a press conference and brunch at Margaritaville Beach Resort Meeting Room Ballroom on Monday, December 4, 2023.
He pointed out that the Ministry still has not counted the months of November and December.
Acting Prime Minister Cooper said the explosive numbers places the country on the trajectory to continue the upward trend well into 2024.
“For the first 10 consecutive months, January to October, total air and sea arrivals were higher when compared to the same months in 2022 and in 2019 which was then, our banner year of tourism. We have now moved the goal post.”
He said, “In fact, foreign air and sea arrivals in October increased by 45.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2022 and surpassed 2019 levels by 32 per cent.”
The Acting Prime Minister explained that the US remains the top performing stopover market with the Latin American market gaining momentum in its steady return to pre-pandemic stopover levels, while increased visitor arrivals are coming from Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and as far as Australia.
He said foreign air arrivals for October year-to-date were up by 19.7 per cent for the same period last year and also surpassed 2019 levels.
Acting Prime Minister Cooper said cruise arrivals were up 54 per cent over 2022 levels and 43.2 per cent over 2019 levels.
“We estimate that direct visitor spending in the Bahamian economy as a result of these arrivals will far exceed $6 billion. That’s right, more than $6 billion of new money injected directly into the economy, and this is also up compared to 2019 and 2022.”
He also noted that the nation has seen increased airlift including first time routes.
“Last month, we welcomed the first ever direct non-stop flight by Jet Blue connecting passengers from Los Angeles to Nassau.
“In less than two weeks, Alaska Air will service four weekly flights from Los Angeles International Airport and three times weekly flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport.”
The Acting Prime Minister said The Bahamas Government has launched a public private partnership airport infrastructural project for 14 Family Island airports to increase both domestic and international travel.
He explained that less than a year ago, the $2 million renovation was completed at Great Harbour Cay International Airport and a new terminal was opened in Ragged Island.
“More recently, a management agreement was signed by The Bahamas and Bimini Airport Development Partners Limited to renovate South Bimini Airport to the tune of $80 million.”
Acting Prime Minister Cooper said the $300 million Nassau Cruise Port renovation was completed and the port is now fully opened.
“The port already surpassed its previous record at the end of November and will host at least a projected 4.2 million cruise passengers by the end of the year, setting a new benchmark for Nassau cruise passenger arrivals.”
He also noted that the Ministry of Tourism has intensified its strategic marketing efforts and last year launched the successful “Bringing The Bahamas to You” campaign to more than 15 cities in the USA and Canada to recapture market share and generate new leads.
Deaths due to HIV/AIDS down 50 percent as World Aids Day marked Dec 1
December 5, 2023 – Deaths due to HIV/AIDS have been cut dramatically by fifty percent in the past thirteen years and on December 1, which is the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day, the World Health Organization called on communities to stand up to reduce the risks even further. The 2023 theme is “Let Communities Lead” as a testament to the notion, shared by the WHO, that “we can end AIDS with communities leading the way.”
In the past five decades, treatment surrounding AIDS has increased exponentially and stigma is decreasing. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 69% since the peak in 2004 and by 51% since 2010. In 2022, around 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, compared to 2.0 million people in 2004 and 1.3 million people in 2010.
“Much more than a celebration of the achievements of communities, it is a call to action to enable and support communities in their leadership role,” the WHO encourages.
The WHO is now focused on spreading awareness about the status of the pandemic and encouraging progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care around the world.
Locally, among the events planned in the Turks and Caicos Islands is the annual Surf and Turf Horse Racing night on Friday 8th December at Opus Wine Bar and Grill, residents are invited for an evening of food, luck, and chances. All proceeds go towards the Turks and Caicos AIDS Awareness Foundation and Edward Gartland Youth Center.
New Report offers concrete data; Rising seas will DROWN Caribbean Islands
December 5, 2023 – Five percent or more of a few cities are predicted to fall permanently below sea level by the end of the Century due to the worsening effects of climate change and Kingston, Jamaica is included.
The data points to a future that should be feared as it said “coastal flooding this century will put over 70 million people in the path of expanding floodplains,” and it added that “Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the forefront, projected to lose significant land and critical infrastructure to permanent inundation.”
It further informs that coastal flooding has evidently increased over the past 20 years due to sea level rise, which now means that 14 million people globally live in coastal communities, faced with a 1 in 20 annual chance of flooding.
Referring to the fate of the Caribbean region, the data says that by 2100, much of the land in some Caribbean states are expected to be submerged.
“By 2100, climate change is expected to cause the submergence of a significant share of land (>5 percent) in the following Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Associate Members of United Nations Regional Commissions: Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, and Seychelles,” it said.
Regarding Kingston, Jamaica’s not so bright future in the face of climate change, like many Caribbean states if measures aren’t decided on swiftly, the report highlights a “worse-case warming scenario,” pointing to the other cities that share the same fate.
“Without shoreline defenses, under a worst-case warming scenario by the end of the century, 5 percent or more of the following cities are projected to fall permanently below sea level:”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In continuation, Climate Impact Lab in its release detailing the findings, features the words of Pedro Conceição, Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, saying that this ongoing climate crisis, specifically the rising of sea levels given the context, will cause a setback in years of human development.
“The effects of rising sea levels will put at risk decades of human development progress in densely populated coastal zones which are home to one in seven people in the world,” he maintained.
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