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Courageous Decorator Maria Rolle tells us why it was RACISM

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

#TurksandCaicosIslands, October 6, 2023 – Immediate unprovoked anger and fear for her safety is what one event decorator says she was met with after an altercation with a villa owner in Providenciales, now Robert Been, Opposition Deputy Leader is calling for a dedicated system to report these issues.

“We trust that authorities will swiftly address this matter, including taking punitive measures against Mr. Gulka. Regrettably, we believe that Ms. Rolle’s experience may not be an isolated incident– We call upon the government to ensure that the mechanisms in place for reporting and investigating such incidents function effectively and receive the necessary resources to do so,” said Been.

The response was prompted by a video showing an irate villa owner instructing decorator Maria Rolle to get off of his property, but not before demanding she ‘wash’ his floors with a rag. We reached out to get the full story from Maria. 

We asked Maria if she had damaged Gulka’s villa by accident.  

She told the news team decisively there was no property damage whatsoever before the villa owner arrived and began to berate her. 

Maria was confused as she said she and Cory had spoken only hours before and she had gotten his okay to carry out the decor.

“The host, that same guy in the video contacted me and he was like oh the guest said you’re going to be coming in to do balloons, how much time do you need?”

When she arrived she was let in by an unnamed woman and began her decorating process. When the owner arrived about five minutes later Maria said he immediately told her not to stick anything onto the ceiling and tugged roughly on the balloons which were floating with the help of helium. Rolle tried to explain that the balloons were not stuck to anything but even that did not diffuse the situation. 

“He asked me why I was talking back and told me his rules were his rules and said ‘If you don’t like them you can get the ‘f*** out!”

After that, with distress in her voice, Maria explains that Cory threw a rag at her and now fearful, she decided to leave the house and start recording. In that recording, the villa owner can be heard saying,

“Wash the floor,” while he holds a green terry rag in one hand and a string of pink balloons in the other.

“I’m not washing the floor,” Maria responds as the villa owner blocks the door.

“Take those balloons out.” he demands to which the decorator says “I have two hands, sir.”

“Then put your s*** down and take your balloons out because as soon as you walk out the door you’re not going to take them up. Take your balloons out and wash the floor.”

To her protests that she would not wash the floor he responded

“You’re washing the floor, you f****** walked in with your dirty shoes.” It was this part of the exchange, Maria said, that felt racially demeaning.

“Mops exist, why would you throw a rag at me and tell me to go on my hands and knees, and wash your floors? A broom exists, plus the floors were not dirty,” she explained.

After the confrontation, in which Cory in the cell phone video can be seen blocking the door, Maria makes her way out into the driveway and the balloons are removed and loaded into her vehicle but not before another abrasive move, where the villa manager appears to slam the trunk of her jeep.

Even then the shocking ordeal wasn’t over.

A few hours later, Maria says she was contacted by the guest with whom she shared the videos after Cory reportedly lied to the woman, blaming Maria for running off and not finishing the decor.

After clearing that up with the guest she tells Magnetic Media she was repeatedly contacted by Cory as well who she says was acting completely different as if nothing had happened. When she revealed she had video evidence he reportedly tried to get her to come back to the property to talk but Rolle refused, he also refused to refund the guest.

Rolle says Cory then tried to bully her again, this time into returning to finish the decor. The decorator refused, determined not to step foot on his property again; when she refused he hung up.

“He called me back like five minutes later like a totally different person saying oh Maria I spoke to the guest and I’m going to refund her you don’t have to worry… and I said I’m not worried you should worry,” Rolle told us.

Rille was right. Her experience was shared on social media and the outpouring of support reached as high up as the Minister of Immigration and Border Services who has now launched an investigation. Others are calling for Cory Gulka to be deported immediately. 

She asked him not to contact her again, but he kept trying to reach out with platitudes and offers of business and partnership, all of which Rolle said she declined, citing his repulsive behavior. It was that behavior and her determination that he should not get away with treating residents this way that pushed the decorator to share the video.

Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration was horrified by the ordeal

“The release and video issued by the brave young Rolle was disturbing and infuriating, to say the least, and it showed the actions of what I can only call a bully and of absolute hatred by Mr. Gulka,” he continued. “Let me be clear, to live and work amongst us in these Islands is indeed a privilege and one which should never be abused.”

When we tried to contact Gulka, his Atmosphere Villa’s website which cited both Lyra, the property in question, and Vela, a twin property, was closed to the public. 

 

Bahamas News

Minister Moxey says AAM2024 is significant to the country

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Making an address on the first day of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings (AAM) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2024 on Wednesday, June 12, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out the significance of the meetings in The Bahamas, and the impact on Grand Bahama.

It is the first time AAM is held in the Caribbean region.  The 31st AAM sessions run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach.  The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this AAM and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum is critical for nurturing the relationship we have intentionally progressed over the last few years, including the historic signing between Afreximbank and CARICOM, unlocking an astounding $1.5 billion in funding; the many trade missions between both regions; and tomorrow the signing of a Project Preparation Facility with Afreximbank and the Government of The Bahamas on the development of an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center on Grand Bahama Island – my island — a magnificent center for the promotion of tourism, commerce and trade between both regions.

“As we contemplate the historical ties that bind us, may we recognize the significant role of trade and the immense opportunities that lie before us.

“Trade has always been the lifeblood of economies, and as we join hands to explore new avenues, great things will happen.”

Minister Moxey continued, “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and well-established infrastructure, stands as a gateway…and it is at the crossroads of two-way trade.

“Our beautiful country has emerged as a major transshipment terminal, facilitating the seamless flow of goods and creating linkages across continents.”

The Caribbean region is focused on trade and investment opportunities with Africa, and the meeting in Nassau demonstrates the importance of the matter, she said.

In closing, she said, “The Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center will not only boost economic growth but also strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between both regions.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION

1st insert –  At the Welcome Reception for Afreximbank’s 31st Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) at Baha Mar Resort, Wednesday, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, at podium, gives an address on the importance of the meetings.

2nd insert – In photos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper chats with Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs and Eric Rose)

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Caribbean News

Caribbean Central Bank Governors agree to NEW Trade Regime for ease of doing business

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – Regional Central Bank Governors have agreed to implement a system that allows countries in the Caribbean to trade using each other’s currencies without a third-party currency.

Making the disclosure, Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Kevin Greenidge who is also the Chairman of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors, said it will be a version of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which was launched by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in January 2022 to reduce reliance on hard currencies like the US dollar for transactions between African nations.

Once it is replicated in the Caribbean, the system could allow goods and services to be paid for directly in the currencies of the respective CARICOM nations involved, rather than being settled in a third currency like the US dollar, arguing thatg the payment system would reduce transaction costs, minimise the need for holding substantial foreign currency reserves, facilitate smoother intra-regional trade and lead to lower retail prices for consumers.

Noting that the decision was unanimous, Mr. Greenidge said “we just had a meeting in May, and we agreed to push ahead with the pilot programme and we have a technical team working out some of the kinks, how to move ahead with the programme. We are approaching that as soon as possible,” he said while addressing the recent AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024), at the Baha Mar Convention Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Central banker who once served as the senior economist who supervised Barbados’ economic restructuring programme for the International Monetary Fund, before taking up the Governor’s job in March 2023, argued that “If we get with one voice and start to speak to these things, call for reforming the way the rating agencies view and assess our position, including debt, we will then make a difference,” he told his audience.

Adding further, he said the region can get where it wants on its own, as he urged both regions to speak with one voice on reforming global financial architecture, while accusing credit rating agencies of bias against small economies.

Speaking with one voice in the Caribbean, in support like the Bridgetown Initiative, Mr. Greenidge believes “we can make a difference.” The Bridgetown Initiative calls for reform of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to better support climate-vulnerable countries.

“The more we can achieve partnerships around the world, the better we are regarding financing and investment in Barbados and providing the necessary diverse products to do the financing we need. Naturally, the African continent would be a partnership,” he said

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Ripe for Business

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#Kingston, Jamaica, June 18, 2024 – Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says Jamaica is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Caribbean and is urging more diaspora members to do business in the country.

Senator Hill was addressing a panel discussion on Monday (June 17) on the topic ‘Jamaica Open for Business: Transforming Investment and Enterprise in Jamaica through Diaspora Engagement’ at the 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

He cited the stability of the local currency as a key reason to invest in the island.

“There is no foreign exchange control in Jamaica. Clean money comes in and clean money goes out,” he noted.

The fact that the Government has been able to undertake infrastructure development and deliver critical services, particularly during the pandemic, without raising taxes, speaks to the strength of the economy, he said.

“We’ve gone through a pandemic where we had to spend $100 billion of Jamaican money that we didn’t plan to spend and yet we didn’t borrow any new money and we didn’t raise taxes. In fact, for the last eight years…what we have done with taxes is cut them. We cut the payroll tax twice and cut VAT (value-added tax) once,” Senator Hill said.

He added that the infrastructure buildout, real estate potential and Jamaica’s position as the logistics hub of the Caribbean also makes the country attractive to investors.

“This is where your money should be. Come to Jamaica,” Senator Hill appealed.

For Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Financial Group, Grace Burnett, the highly productive and English-speaking talent pool is a major reason Jamaica is open for business.

“Our literacy rate is well over 92 per cent and we have a very stable democracy. When you look at some of the endorsements we have received from overseas institutions on ease of doing business and how we are performing as an economy, we have a very stable, strong regulatory framework and very supportive environment for starting a business and growing a business,” she explained.

Managing Director of JN Fund Managers at JN Group, Brando Hayden, explained that the risk management and infrastructure necessary to give investors comfort is strongly in place.

“When you come to Jamaica, not only are we open for business, your investment or your participation is backed up by solid infrastructure. We have the Jamaica Central Securities Depository and when you invest through the stock market, whether it is a bond, a stock and they also do private equity and private debt, you know there is solid record for your investment. From the depository, you know exactly how much you have and you get your dividend payments,” Mr. Hayden said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of VM Finance Limited and VM Overseas Offices at the VM Group, Leighton Smith, underscored that Jamaica’s economic stability, strategic location, strength of the financial sector, skilled workforce and diverse investment opportunities are factors that make Jamaica attractive to investors.

“What makes Jamaica the perfect landscape is when we think of the trade policies that exist… in terms of being the strategic location, which affords the opportunity to gain access to markets – CARICOM and the United States,” Mr. Smith said.

 

Contact: Judana Murphy

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