TURKS AND CAICOS

 

We took a holiday down to the Turks and Caicos in June and concluded that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. As with all of these smaller countries, they are not without their fair share of issues. The financial collapse due to a corrupt President who thought he was a movie star, the reversal of $5M island sale to a group of developers with a few ‘consulting fees’ paid on the side (Island valued at $176M), a tourism based society that is struggling due to the slow economic recovery and Britain’s take over of the island’s government due to the corruption. In one story of excess, a fellow told me about the company who took over the building of the bankrupt Mandarin resort; they recovered enough usable wood and quality discarded building materials in the site’s dump to build a full workers camp.

I personally like the article Failure to follow the rules at the heart of TCI’s problems for so clearly stating the obvious:

The gap between the law and practice in the main pillars of government in the Turks and Caicos Islands was what facilitated the corruption, Transparency International has revealed in a new report. The global anti-corruption watchdog’s country report revealed weaknesses in the system, which are not dissimilar to some raised in the Cayman Islands by the auditor general’s office and others recently. Transparency International said important mechanisms providing transparency in governance, such as the Register of Interests’ rules were unobserved, accountability instruments like the Public Accounts Committee did not function effectively and ministerial breaches of public service regulations and encroachment on the independence of the public service were common.s

The findings of the watchdog were probably cut and pasted from their findings on Africa, the emerging soviet bloc, large chunks of Central America, South America and of course parts of Asia.

All of the above were well outlined in the Bloomberg article Caribbean Hangover which is a fascinating look into the President, the spending, the jet set lifestyle and how the subsequent real estate and economic collapse have hurt the island.

That aside, it is beautiful and we will go back. We stayed at The Veranda and had a spectacular week after a very wet and cold Canadian spring. A few photos below; The first is we snorkelled their reef, which keeps the water smooth and calm. It is spectacular. I cannot wait till we start scuba as a family.

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Of course, snorkelling was so much more enjoyable thanks to the Lasik.

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A few photos from Iguana island, an island reserve filled with … iguanas.

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Unfortunately you cannot walk around the island as the majority of the boardwalk has been destroyed and there is no money to replace it (One less flight from the ousted President’ would have paid for it … but priorities!). It was destroyed a few years ago in a hurricane.

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Iguana tracks.

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This 3 foot long Iguana let me get very close.

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A storm on the way.

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I asked what these were. Old ropes that were used to hold large cruise ships in place. They now go to a purpose built port.

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It does not get much prettier than this.

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On our way back from the reef, Jo Jo the local dolphin joined us. I had never seen a dolphin so close ….

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One last shot, the view from the roof top restaurant.

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A beautiful island to visit. I wish that they would join Canada.

2 thoughts on “TURKS AND CAICOS

  1. did you come to visit and enjoy what’s on offer or did you come to get involved in local politics. If you are really a touris then the local politics is none of your damn business

    • Interesting comment John. Personally when I travel to a location I take the time to understand the country beyond the “tourist trap”. The history interests me (such as TCI’s deal for 4000 acres of land to developers in exchange for roads, or when I spoke to a local at length about growing up on the island before development fishing for an evening meal). That is why I always grab a local paper over an international paper .. much more interesting.

      As an aside, at some point we will probably buy a place on an island, which is why I took particular interest here (retirement on an island is definitely an option) so understanding the local political climate is important to me.

      I also enjoy understanding how countries work. For example I found the immigration problems in TCI interesting (this was anecdotal) on how there is high unemployment as migrant workers from DR and other islands were willing to work for less, or how TCI is being out advertised by other island nations like Cuba for the tourist dollars.

      But in the end, my motivation does not matter. I will write what I want. Freedom of speech is like that. And if you love TCI I would think carefully on what I post on the net. If you are a local, your comments don’t endear the tourist to the country – in fact just the opposite.

      Plus … The customer is always right.

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