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Sapodilla Bay Vendors unhappy with proposed move



Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur,
Staff Writers



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2024 – “Tourists love this beach, What is the government going to do for us, where am I going to go?”

That was the frustrated comment from one business owner at Sapodilla Bay on Tuesday, March 12 when Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent, visited the beach to speak to the longtime vendors about orders they had received to pack up and go.  Now the Tourism Ministry says the letter was in an effort to make the vendors correct arrears on their accounts.

Only five businesses complete with their chairs and stalls are set up along the area.  Some were called in to pay outstanding fees, others say they’re paid up but received notice to vacate the beach last week.  One letter we saw was dated March 4, from the DECR.

“The Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) writes to you on behalf of [redacted] operations on Sapodilla Bay.  The department notes that you are currently assigned to Sapodilla Bay Zone 1.  Please remove your items from the beach and occupy your assigned zone by March 6th 2023.  Please feel free to request further information as necessary,” the letter said.

The owners we spoke to say they are established businesses who are now paid up with their fees.  They are upset that after accepting their money, the government wants to put them across the street in a parking lot outside of the prime location for tourists where there are no amenities for them.

“If you’ve accepted my funds, then what are you going to do with me?  Who the heck is gonna walk across the road to bring our [wares] over here?  The purpose of this is to be on the beach,” a business owner said.  “Even if you say you’re putting us over there nothing is built there for us.”

“The letter was issued to the vendors to pressure them into updating their licenses.  Only one vendor has updated so far, we’re trying to work with them to make sure that everyone is in compliance,” said Luc Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR).

Vendors think it’s the villa owners nearby who want them off the beach.

“The homeowners won their case, this is the man’s property,” a vendor said referring to the houses behind the beach “and they don’t want this in front,” she explained referring to the vending stalls.

Thanks to a review of the Crown Land Ordinance it’s confirmed that the government doesn’t sell certain parts of the shoreline.  It has the power to keep back everything between the natural vegetation line to the seabed (meaning the area colloquially referred to as the ‘beach’) for the people.

Despite this, vendors are convinced that the letters have something to do with homeowners.  A business owner who spoke to our news team on Tuesday said she had been confronted by one villa owner who told her outright that they had paid $40,000 to have them removed and queried why their stalls were still up.

Some also say they’ve been given the runaround when they try to pay their fees for their stalls.

When we spoke to Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, she said she was in the middle of trying to sort out the issue stressing that she was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Connolly said she had heard the rumours and was investigating within her team.  The minister explained that some had not paid their fees, and had received a “strong letter”

”There seems to be a story about who’s sent home, we haven’t sent anybody home.  Vendors were supposed to go in and pay and bring their licenses up to date.  The problem was the license.”

For now, none of the vendors have vacated the spot and are anxiously waiting to hear their fate.


Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk



#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk





Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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