By Wilkie Arthur
Freelance Court Correspondent
#TurksandCaicos, September 2, 2023 – FUSEINI AMADU, an African man who is married to a Haitian woman with Turks and Caicos Belonger status has been ordered to pay a fine of a fixed penalty in the amount of $5000.00 for building an illegal structure without planning approval.
The couple has a newly established business complex on the Leeward Highway of Providenciales.
Before His Honour ordered the man to pay the fixed penalty, his wife was ordered to be removed from the Court as she was being disruptive.
Orderlies immediately removed the woman.
The Physical Planning Department was represented by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Angela Brooks.
The accused had no lawyer.
One of the Planning officers told the court that before Amadu was charged, he was asked to break down the structure, which is near an area in the yard of his complex where he houses a a car wash. Despite the warning, Amadu reportedly refused and only broke down a portion of the illegal construction.
The husband then began to beg the CM for leniency, explaining that he has mortgage and is not in possession of that much money.
CM Hatmin strongly rejected the man’s request and ordered an immediate down payment and the remaining balance at $1,000 a month.
If the man fails to comply, he will serve time at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
This order was handed down on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
Carnival cruise port is open to others Cruise ships — Management
The revelation came in a recent town hall meeting held in Grand Turk, with residents, the Government and Carnival officials.
An attendee of the meeting told our news team.
“Contrary to what many residents believe, management advised that Carnival cruise port in Grand Turk is open to all cruise ships on days the berth is available. At any time, other ships can tender in their guests. On what terms, is questionable. No further details were provided on this agreement.”
The Turks and Caicos, as a cruising destination, differs from its neighbors like Jamaica and The Bahamas in that only one major cruise line services the country’s port, courtesy of an exclusivity clause in the Carnival Agreement.
Though Carnival Cruises brings in a significant number of visitors each year (forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels of over 1 million in 2024), residents have queried why other cruise lines aren’t also berthing at the recently extended port.
Not only would the introduction of more cruise lines increase the number of visitors to the Turks and Caicos, but it could also help with filling the empty stretches between ships docking in Grand Turk, giving vendors a more reliable source of income.
The Government had previously indicated a willingness to attract additional Cruise Lines to the capital and was in talks with Carnival Cruise Line about the exclusivity clause on Grand Turk. Washington Misick, TCI Premier, had indicated that negotiations had begun with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
The company now has a detailed breakdown of what to do in Grand Turk on its website from local cuisine to shopping, but the write-up ends with ‘no sailings available.’
We reached out to Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, to find out exactly how those negotiations were progressing. There has been no reply.
Fleet expansion for inter-Caribbean Airways
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – Another new aircraft has been added to the InterCaribbean Airways fleet and it’s already in the air. The Bombardier CRJ 700 series aircraft, which seats 70 passengers is one of the company’s larger aircraft and comes after the acquisition of a 68-seater ATR 72-500 in August.
The company says the twin-engine jet aircraft is outfitted with an onboard bathroom and two flight attendants and will ‘provide new opportunities for expanding air service in the region.’
The Turks and Caicos based airline company has faced harsh criticism from its various destinations for delays, cancellations and poor communication with government ministers calling for improved service.
In July, Chairman Lyndon Gardiner reported on additions to the fleet and asked for patience as he and his team enhanced the interCaribbean Airways travel experience.
“In June of this year, interCaribbean Airways added an additional seven ATR-42’s to their fleet. These new, larger aircraft are beginning to transition into service over the next weeks and months. Additionally, the company is implementing a robust backend communication system to enhance passenger notifications and proactively inform travelers when their flights are delayed or cancelled,” he had said.
This newest announcement about the Bombardier got mixed reactions, when shared on Facebook. They ranged from congratulations to cautious hope.
“So, is the running late and abandoning people resolved as well????” one commenter asked.
“With all these updates and upgrades, I hope we won’t be canceling and stranded on islands,” said another.
“Excellent interCaribbean Airways. I believe in you despite all the mishaps…YOU CAN DO THIS!” a commenter expressed.
Another commenter said “20 additional seats, great move.”
The aircraft arrived in Providenciales, on Sunday 17th, and was immediately shuffled into the roster with its first flight on Monday, September 18th.
Grand Turk drops in Rank for Cruising, Port profits down; Still Optimism High after major meeting with Carnival
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – A Tuesday night Town Hall meeting with Carnival Cruises has left Grand Turk residents feeling hopeful, even though concerning statistics were revealed according to attendees who spoke with Magnetic Media.
The Grand Turk Cruise Centre is apparently not as profitable, and the Grand Turk Port, we are told, has dropped out of the top 10 ports in terms of positive customer experience. Contributing to that rating drop are incidents involving illicit drugs and fighting.
Carnival, as the country’s major cruise partner, brings the vast majority of tourists into the Turks and Caicos Islands; they’re coming in via the Grand Turk Cruise Center. A recurring complaint from tourists for years has been the lack of activities and excursions for residents when they arrive in the country’s capital.
Aimed at discussing an increase in onshore activities for guests and bumping up the port rating, the well-attended town meeting was described by residents as “the most engaged and informative meeting involving Carnival top brass and high-level government officials.”
The Office of the Premier, on Wednesday reported, “Yesterday evening, the Premier, Honourable Charles Washington Misick, along with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), Carnival Corporation & plc, Grand Turk Cruise Centre (GTCC), and partners hosted an engaging town hall meeting with citizens and GTCC stakeholders. The crux of the town hall event was to address the impact of the Grand Turk Cruise Centre on Grand Turk.
The panellists provided thorough insights on future GTCC developments, including a partnership between the TCIG and the Carnival Corporation to implement a sustainable recycling program. They also advocated for the partnership with citizens to see further GTCC and infrastructural improvement. They highlighted business opportunities for locals to engage with Carnival to see an increase in revenue and guest satisfaction for the island of Grand Turk.
Citizens who attended were allowed to interact with the panellists by asking further questions on the presentations, expressing their concerns, and proposing valuable feedback and ideas on issues raised.”
Not only did Carnival Cruise Line executives confirm over 1.1 million visitors to Grand Turk in 2024, our news team was told the representatives appeared determined to make sure locals benefitted.
“There appears to be genuine concern for enhancing the relationship with vendors and providing additional auxiliary services. They emphasized that the goal is not to keep guests from exploring the town,” one resident explained.
The company now wants more vendors stationed at the Downtown Carnival Center. It will come at a cost to locals but that fee is described as ‘nominal’.
Managing public beach access is properly, once again, being assessed as Carnival revealed they are working with the Government to increase security solutions including sniffer dogs which can detect contraband.
A recycling initiative is also on the table to help rid the quaint oceanside town of the waste created by tourism. It was suggested that empty shipping containers on cargo ships heading back to the US could be utilized to ferry out the accumulated rubbish.
We are told several politicians and concerned citizens fielded important questions to the representatives ranging from better coordination of ship schedules to maintaining the cleanliness of beaches.
Residents told us that though some were skeptical about the promises made during the gathering, an air of optimism could be felt.
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