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Turks and Caicos, the delicate balance between development and preservation



#TurksandCaicos, November 11, 2023 – Like myself, some citizens are often skeptical about any major developments and rapid population growth across these islands. It is seen as a danger in commoditising deeply held traditions so closely linked to individuals and our collective identity.

But there is a caveat, many still see it as the primary way to keep these tiny islands alive and to survive.

Tourism is the bread and butter of this tiny British overseas territory, with close to 800 million US dollars annually. This alone corresponds to approximately 75% of the country’s gross domestic product. Although Providenciales is the main hub for visitors via air travel, many are unaware that the sister islands are only a hop, skip and a jump away either by an interconnecting flight or the local ferry boats.

In recent years, visitors are flocking to the historical island of Grand Turk which is the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Although, in terms of development, it may not appear to be.

On this island in particular, over 80 percent of the residents depend to some extent on tourism. Grand Turk has a number of the amenities as most major cities, but still gives you that small town feel.

Like the sister island, Salt Cay, some supplies are limited. There is a fairly large selection of groceries at the supermarkets, however, healthy foods come at a high price. What residents and visitors can depend on is fresh catch of the day, which is regularly available by the local fishermen at reasonable prices.

Those in the tourism business tend to try and earn as much of their income as possible from visitors during the peak tourism season which is between November and April.

Many of the locals are still passionate with keeping the culture alive, and aren’t just motivated by cash for cash own sake, or the US dollar which is the only currency used. Nevertheless, tourism money is most definitely needed to improve infrastructure and quality of life on practically all of these islands.

Apart from the transient visitors and on cruise ship days, the population on Grand Turk is roughly around 3500 residents. Over the years, it has slowly dwindled once major development on the island of Providenciales began to take shape.

The nature of island life especially on Grand Turk and Salt Cay, has satisfactory temperamental transportation, and with a bit of pre-planning, a trip to any one of these islands is plenty rewarding for those looking for a charming, quiet atmosphere, beautiful by nature beaches, and a unique culture.

The nightlife in Grand Turk is pretty quiet and may be a bit different from what some are used too. With some exceptions, there are a few small neighborhood bars where you can mingle with the locals or enjoy a good laugh or play a few games of dominoes.

Grand Turk is the home of one of the oldest lighthouses in the Caribbean. For lighthouse enthusiast, although entrance into the building itself is off limit, one will enjoy the breathtaking scenery and will find it both charming and fascinating.

If you’re like most tourists looking for  fancy hotels, five course meals, or seeking a choice of watching a night show, these things are not the norm.

Come if you’re interested in this spectacular island laidback culture, where you are still greeted with big smiles, good morning, or good evening, waving hands, honking horns and most everyone knows you by your last name.

For many reasons, my favorite island still remains Grand Turk. It’s captures the essence of the Turks and Caicos Islands culture, with a shared sense of identity. This is where I graduated high school and made most of my early childhood memories. One of the few islands in the Caribbean where cows, horses, donkeys and friendly dogs still roam wild.

Among the many ecotourism and land activities, one can enjoy things like snorkeling, stingray encounters, fishing, ATV and horseback rides.

If your lucky, during peak season, you may get a glimpse of the humpback whales breaching right from the shoreline or pier, which is a niche market to Grand Turk and Salt Cay.

Most people come just to be in the middle of nature and have that small island feeling. An opportunity to bask in the sunshine, the tranquility, enjoy the secluded beaches and stretches of unspoiled coastlines.

What the islands are experiencing now is an influx of vacationers on their second or third time around. Many who have found lucrative business opportunities and are investing in vacation homes and Air BNB rentals.

When you’re on the island, you take it for granted that life is like that; you don’t see the value in living that hustle and bustle lifestyle elsewhere. If you’re lucky to arrive on cruise ship days to Grand Turk, you can enjoy some entertainment and food for a few hours before returning to the quiet lifestyle.

Many visitors are usually fascinated with the laidback culture, relatively low crime rate and friendly people.

In my opinion, the island itself will benefit more if greater focus is placed on developing our unique culture as one of the main attractions which tourists enjoy. This could also help to support the community’s ability to keep those traditions alive and thriving.

On the other hand, unchecked growth may have negative downstream consequences.

The rapid growth on the island of Providenciales is a good example of that. Grand Turk in particular has less than 5 commercial motels for tourists to stay, while the island of Providenciales is booming in this sector.

What we are beginning to see are more short term rentals and Air B&B-style accommodations. Albeit, I think having at least one major hotel in Grand Turk and a direct flight would be welcomed by many.

Nevertheless, more development could compromise both the community and the environment, swinging the Capital out of its current beautiful by nature precarious equilibrium.

Furthermore, with having limited real estate on this tiny island, finding that balance is crucial for the government. It could help to protect residents from predatory land grab and prevent them from being priced out of their homes.

Perhaps, it would be prudent to invest and capitalize on some of our existing natural resources and historical sites.

In short order, starting with the restoration of our eighteen century light house, the old prison, our Salt house or more vigorously promoting the “magnificant wall”. The Wall as it is referred to, is an amazing 7k feet deep ocean shelf, approximately 1000 feet off Grand Turk shore line, a dream for snorkelers and scuba diving enthusiasts.

To attract repeat visitors, so much more can be done, while limiting the proliferation of brick and mortar buildings. The million dollar question now is how much development do we want? Despite the rustic look, the inconvenience at times, the occasional mosquitoes, the lack of adequate resources in some areas, its still a hidden gem.

For those having duel citizenship and easy access to travel visas, being able to go back and forward to the United States and elsewhere as one desires, it’s priceless! This is truly having the best of both worlds.



Ed Forbes

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InvestTCI facilitates the Development Agreement Between TCIG and Molo Hotel Group 



Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 14th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Molo Hotel Group reached a pivotal juncture on Monday, May 13th, 2024, with the ceremonial signing of a development agreement at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales. The agreement, which received official Cabinet approval on March 13th, 2024, signifies a steadfast commitment to advancing the economic landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Molo Hotel Group is a family-owned business, renowned for its distinguished portfolio of high-quality hotels worldwide. The development initiative encompasses the construction of three distinct IHG branded hotels: InterContinental Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Turks and Caicos and Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos. Scheduled for completion by 2027, each resort boasts a distinctive design from luxury to laidback sophistication spanning across the shores of Grace Bay Beach.

Kimpton Turks and Caicos – an epitome of luxury lifestyle living, will feature 192 guest rooms including three outdoor pools, a luxury spa and a fitness center. Additionally, seven dining options ranging from a beachfront restaurant to a rooftop bar.

Adjacent to the Kimpton, InterContinental Turks and Caicos will offer 59 classic luxury suites with panoramic ocean views. Mirroring its counterpart, this resort will offer an array of dining options and upscale facilities.

Steps away from the Intercontinental and Kimpton resorts, Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos will embrace a sense of community and contemporary elegance, offering 56 bedrooms. The resort will feature an onsite restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor pool, and fitness room.

Beyond the realm of hospitality, this development agreement underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing employment opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Molo is partnering with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) to actively promote hospitality as a career choice and support in developing training programs, career fairs, seminars, workshops, and events to raise awareness about hospitality careers. Molo has committed to provide employment and apprentice opportunities to TCICC students and provide mentoring and practical on property training to students.

The signing event was graced by Hon. Charles Washington Missick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier, Hon. Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Łukasz and Marcin Slominski, Owners of Molo, Ross Morrow, Managing Director Molo, Arik Kono, Vice President Upscale Development for IHG, Dr. Candice Williams, President and CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Angela Musgrove, InvestTCI CEO, Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chairperson of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Dr. Delores Stapleton- Harris, Vice President of Academic, Vocational and Student Affairs for the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Mr. Kevin Baxter, Dean of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Sheryl McLaughlin, InvestTCI Investment Services Executive.

Commenting on the development agreement, Premier, Hon. Misick, stated “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing of IHG/Molo Hotels is a significant step towards a sustainable future for hospitality in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three hotels, Kimpton, Intercontinental, and Hotel Indigo, will be introduced, enhancing our tourism product and creating employment opportunities.”

He further added, “Partnerships with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission are underway, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to developing human capital and elevating tourism offerings. This project will bring economic growth, embrace local talent, and enrich our economy.”

Additionally, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, emphasized “This collaboration confirms our commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within our country. We have worked closely with Molo Hotel Group, and we are confident that this transformative project will further position the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier destination for travel and investment. Much to our delight, it will also provide opportunities for engagement with our Community College and small business community.”

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating through its primary Investment Promotion

Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, remains committed to attracting and facilitating Foreign Direct Investments to the country by providing a comprehensive suite of services. Through strategic initiatives and targeted promotion, the agency catalyzes sustainable development, driving innovation and small business opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

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Male Charged with Robbery



#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man who allegedly stole a vehicle.

The accused, DANVANTE  BRISCO, 30,  of  Kew Town, Providenciales, was charged with:

  • One Count: Robbery
  • One Count: Taking Motor Vehicle Without Authority
  • One Count: Using Offensive Weapon to cause fear

Mr. BRISCO appeared in court today (May 13 ) and was granted bail of $7500.00 with one surety.

The matter was adjourned to July 05 for a Sufficiency Hearing.

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Dock Yard Male Charged  



#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – A 20-year-old Dock Yard male appeared in court today (May 13th) charged with a series of firearm-related offences.

The accused, JAMES SIMON, was denied bail and remanded into custody pending a Sufficiency Hearing scheduled for July 05th, 2024.

Mr. SIMON faces the following charges: 

  • One Count: Robbery;
  • One Count: Gang Membership
  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm for the Benefit of a Gang
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition for the Benefit of a Gang.

The charges against Mr. Simon followed investigations by officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force into a robbery at the parking lot of a Casino where three males robbed a victim.

Additionally, Mr. Simon is charged with the following offences, having been arrested on May 02nd, 2024, along South Dock Road.

  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition
  • One Count: Unlawful Entry

Officers also charged a teenage minor who was in the company of  Mr. Simon on May 02nd with One Count of UNLAWFUL ENTRY. 

The accused, seventeen and from Kew Town, Providenciales, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on May 20th.

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