Times of the Islands Spring 2020

Presents the "soul of the Turks & Caicos Islands" with in-depth features about local people, culture, history, environment, businesses, resorts, restaurants and activities.

Presents the "soul of the Turks & Caicos Islands" with in-depth features about local people, culture, history, environment, businesses, resorts, restaurants and activities.


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TIMES<br />


OF THE<br />


CAVE ART<br />

Lucayan Petroglyphs<br />


Slavery in Grand Caicos<br />


Fighting Deadly Coral Disease

T U R K S & C A I C O S ’ U LT I M AT E<br />

FA N TA S Y F O O D FA C E - O F F<br />

Two<br />

spectacular<br />

chefs.<br />

Executive Chef Lauren Callighen<br />

Parallel23 at The Palms<br />

Executive Chef Martin Davies<br />

SUI-REN at The Shore Club<br />

S U I - R E N<br />

Award-winning Executive<br />

Chef Martin Davies fuses<br />

Japanese cuisine with<br />

Peruvian flair into a<br />

brilliant blend <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

PA R A L L E L 2 3<br />

Award-winning Executive<br />

freshest seafood and<br />

organic produce.<br />

Chef Lauren Callighen<br />

works her magic with<br />

Caribbean fusion<br />

cuisine featuring <strong>the</strong><br />

freshest local ingredients<br />

And<br />

you're <strong>the</strong><br />

judge.<br />

seasoned with an abundant<br />

dash <strong>of</strong> creativity.<br />

A T T H E P A L M S O N G R A C E B A Y<br />

at The Shore Club on Long Bay Beach<br />

Open nightly 6:00 –10:30pm<br />

649.946.8666 | <strong>the</strong>palmstc.com<br />

Open nightly 6:00 –10:30pm<br />

649.339.8000 | <strong>the</strong>shoreclubtc.com


2 0 1 9<br />

Caribbean's VOTED Leading<br />

All-Inclusive Family<br />

Resort<br />

22 YEARS in a Row at<br />

<strong>the</strong> World Travel Awards<br />

At Beaches ® Resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, everyone<br />

in <strong>the</strong> family can create <strong>the</strong>ir own perfect day. For some, it’s<br />

<strong>the</strong> white-sand beaches and calm waters featuring land and<br />

water sports including top equipment and expert instruction.<br />

For o<strong>the</strong>rs, it’s <strong>the</strong> awesome waterparks, multiple rounds <strong>of</strong><br />

golf* with complimentary green fees, fabulous restaurants<br />

and bars, and non-stop entertainment. It’s endless fun<br />

and memories for Generation Everyone—and that’s why<br />

Beaches has been voted #1 family resorts in <strong>the</strong> World.<br />

TM/© <strong>2020</strong> Sesame Workshop<br />

The Largest Waterparks<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean<br />

At our Pirates Island Waterparks, kids <strong>of</strong> all<br />

ages will be laughing, splashing, and<br />

having <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lives with up to 11<br />

gigantic waterslides, Surf Simulator,* lazy<br />

rivers, and water fun for <strong>the</strong> tiniest tots.<br />


Up to 21 Restaurants &<br />

Nighttime Entertainment<br />

Included<br />

Since Beaches was created for everyone,<br />

our Master Chefs create extraordinary<br />

cuisine for every taste. From casual to<br />

upscale, it’s all gourmet. We also include<br />

Sesame Street ® stage shows, street<br />

parades, beach parties, live bands, and<br />

upscale cocktail lounges for <strong>the</strong> adults.<br />

While teens can meet up at Club Liquid<br />

or <strong>the</strong> Beach Shack.<br />


Water Sports Including Daily Scuba Diving* • Caribbean’s Largest Waterparks with<br />

Huge Waterslides, Surf Simulator* and Lazy River • 5-Star Global Gourmet dining at up to 21<br />

Restaurants per Resort • Exclusive Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street ® • Xbox Play Lounges<br />

• Kids Camp & Teen Programs • Unlimited Premium Liquors • Free* Tropical Wedding • Family-Size<br />

Suites • English Trained Butlers • Caribbean’s Best Beaches • Tips, Taxes & Beaches Transfers*<br />

Included • Free Resort-Wide Wi-Fi • All-Inclusive. All <strong>the</strong> Time. Anytime.<br />

R e s o r t s<br />

Jamaica • Turks & Caicos<br />

by Sandals<br />

BEACHES.COM • 1-800-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor<br />

*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/totispr<strong>2020</strong> or call 1-800-BEACHES for important terms and conditions.<br />

Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate <strong>of</strong> Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.<br />


contents<br />

Departments<br />

6 From <strong>the</strong> Editor<br />

15 Getting to Know<br />

Gustarvus O’Neil Lightbourne<br />

By Carlton Mills, Willette Swann & Tanya Parnell<br />

22 Eye on <strong>the</strong> Sky<br />

Nature’s Ephemeral Vortex<br />

By Paul Wilkerson ~ Photos By Marta Morton<br />

28 Creature Feature<br />

Armadillos <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sea<br />

By Brian Heagney ~ Photo By Marta Morton<br />

71 Around <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Not Your Average Golf Course<br />

By Jody Rathgeb ~ Photos By Tom Rathgeb<br />

73 About <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>/TCI Map<br />

77 Subscription Form<br />

78 Where to Stay<br />

80 Dining<br />

82 Classified Ads<br />

Features<br />

44 Hidden Legacy<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

54 Inclusion Matters<br />

By Norah Machia ~ Photos By Anthony Machia<br />

Green Pages<br />

30 The Battle Begins<br />

By <strong>the</strong> Staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Reef Fund<br />

34 The Elusive Octopus<br />

By Dr. Caitlin E. O’Brien<br />

38 Phoenix from <strong>the</strong> Ashes?<br />

Story & Photos By B Naqqi Manco<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



On <strong>the</strong> Cover<br />

Turks & Caicos Islander Dominique Rolle made a special<br />

trip to <strong>the</strong> Caicos pineyards (under <strong>the</strong> guidance<br />

<strong>of</strong> B Naqqi Manco) to shoot this thriving “parent tree”<br />

that is producing cones and seeds that are <strong>the</strong> hope <strong>of</strong><br />

reforesting <strong>the</strong> area. See <strong>the</strong> inspiring story on page 38.<br />

Dominique is one-half <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> industry-changing media<br />

firm Caya Hico Media (www.cayahicomedia.com).<br />

Astrolabe<br />

64 Cave Art<br />

By Dr. Michael P. Pateman<br />

67 The Layers <strong>of</strong> History<br />

Story & Photos By John Galleymore<br />

Correction:<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Winter 2019/20 issue, <strong>the</strong> article “Ice Cream in<br />

Parrotice” commented, “A previous restaurant that sold<br />

ice cream had gone dormant . . .” Longtime North Caicos<br />

entrepreneur Karen Preikschat quickly dispelled this<br />

notion! She says, “We started making homemade ice cream<br />

at Silver Palm Restaurant in 2012/2013 with a borrowed<br />

ice cream maker. We tested and created our signature<br />

all-natural flavours: Toasted Coconut, Butter Pecan, Rum<br />

& Raisin, Vanilla and Chocolate, all best-sellers. We also<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer Strawberry, Red Raspberry and Blackberry sorbet. In<br />

2014 we opened Silver Palm Bistro at Horse Stable Corner<br />

in Whitby. My husband Poach has made some changes to<br />

<strong>the</strong> bistro and is now <strong>of</strong>fering local cuisine at <strong>the</strong> Two Fat<br />

Bro<strong>the</strong>rs Restaurant. We are a seasonal business, never<br />

dormant. Our clients are still enjoying our ice cream at<br />

<strong>the</strong> restaurant where we serve scoops, cups and pints. We<br />

have customers bringing coolers from Provo to fill with<br />

our ice cream! See our Trip Advisor site for <strong>the</strong> restaurant<br />

and bistro for comments about our ice cream.”<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

Bernadette Hunt<br />

+1 649 231 4029 | +1 649 941 3361<br />

Bernadette@TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

Bernadette has lived in <strong>the</strong> Turks and<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> for over 21 years and<br />

witnessed <strong>the</strong> development and transition<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands into a significant tourist<br />

destination. Based on independent<br />

figures her gross transaction numbers<br />

are unrivalled. Bernadette has listings on<br />

Providenciales, Pine Cay, Ambergris Cay,<br />

North and Middle Caicos and is delighted<br />

to work with sellers and buyers <strong>of</strong><br />

homes, condos, commercial real estate<br />

and vacant undeveloped sites.<br />

Turks and Caicos Property is <strong>the</strong> leading<br />

independent real estate firm in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> with <strong>of</strong>fices located<br />

at Ocean Club West Resort and Ocean<br />

Club West Plaza on <strong>the</strong> Grace Bay Road.<br />

Crystal Sands - Luxury Beachfront Villa - Sapodilla Bay<br />

Crystal Sands Villa is a luxury beachfront villa just just steps away from <strong>the</strong> incredible white<br />

sand and calm clear waters <strong>of</strong> Sapodilla Bay, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> most coveted<br />

locations to reside. The 2 storey, 4,200 sq. ft. property is perfect for large families and<br />

is currently operated as a successful rental income property with two separate, 2 bedroom<br />

2 bathroom suites with breathtaking views <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tranquil beach and turquoise waters.<br />

The property provides an owner with <strong>the</strong> option to rent <strong>the</strong> entire property, or live in <strong>the</strong><br />

upper or lower level while continuing to operate <strong>the</strong> vacant level as a vacation rental.<br />

US$4,500,000<br />

Bernadette’s reputation and success<br />

has been earned over time through her<br />

dedication, enthusiasm and passion for<br />

real estate. Her personal experience<br />

as having practiced law in <strong>the</strong> islands<br />

for more than 10 years toge<strong>the</strong>r with<br />

owning and renovating a number <strong>of</strong><br />

properties means she is well-placed to<br />

advise her customers and developers on<br />

what to anticipate in <strong>the</strong> purchasing and<br />

construction process.<br />

Bernadette delights in working in <strong>the</strong><br />

real estate industry and her humor and<br />

energy make her a pleasure to work with.

from <strong>the</strong> editor<br />


This pine cone, and <strong>the</strong> seedlings that are sprouting from its seeds, represent <strong>the</strong> hope <strong>of</strong> reforestation for <strong>the</strong> imperiled Caicos pine yards.<br />

A Seed <strong>of</strong> Hope<br />

Folks around my age, give or take a decade or two, reminisce about <strong>the</strong> sprawling, majestic “pine yards” that<br />

flanked <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn rock flats <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos. They had a mysterious and awe-inspiring aura, representing<br />

a wild, unexplored part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean. The Caicos pines <strong>the</strong>mselves —TCI’s National Tree — are a unique<br />

species found nowhere else in <strong>the</strong> world. I was sad when I first heard 20 years ago that an invasive scale insect —<br />

likely introduced via imported Christmas trees — was devastating <strong>the</strong> pine yard, followed by <strong>the</strong> “perfect storm” <strong>of</strong><br />

fire, flood and hurricane. I recall weeping on a trip to Middle Caicos when <strong>the</strong> tall, lush forest that used to hover in<br />

<strong>the</strong> distance like a mirage was gone. To me, it was a symbol <strong>of</strong> an old way <strong>of</strong> life that was rapidly disappearing as<br />

development, immigration and social change swept through <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos.<br />

With great joy I read B Naqqi Manco’s article in this issue’s Green Pages. Thanks to his devotion with o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

through <strong>the</strong> Caicos Pine Recovery Project, many leaps <strong>of</strong> faith and a great deal <strong>of</strong> hard work, <strong>the</strong> first once-damaged<br />

tree is finally thriving and producing cones with <strong>the</strong>ir seeds spouting anew. I pray a similar resurrection is possible<br />

for corals coming under attack from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, finally under treatment thanks to <strong>the</strong> persistent<br />

efforts <strong>of</strong> Don Stark and <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Reef Fund, requiring much help from volunteers.<br />

Thanks to Naqqi, Don and all those whose tireless labor and love, enhanced by a touch <strong>of</strong> God’s grace, are helping<br />

to keep <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> “Beautiful by Nature,” inside and out. You are my heroes.<br />

Kathy Borsuk, Editor<br />

timespub@tciway.tc • (649) 431-4788<br />

6 www.timespub.tc

Introducing <strong>the</strong> Boathouses<br />

The Boathouses at South Bank will be conveniently<br />

located on <strong>the</strong> marina waterfront with elevated<br />

water views, most with a private dock keeping<br />

your boat close at hand for when <strong>the</strong> ocean calls.<br />

Cleverly designed to maximize space and light,<br />

each is imbued with a warm, contemporary<br />

aes<strong>the</strong>tic as a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom layout. Managed<br />

by Grace Bay Resorts, <strong>the</strong> Boathouses will <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

<strong>the</strong> perfect balance <strong>of</strong> community, service, views<br />

and space.<br />

Prices starting from $795,000<br />

Register interest today at livesouthbank.com<br />

Developed by <strong>the</strong><br />

Windward Development Company<br />

www.windward.tc<br />

Brand partners:<br />

Managed by:<br />

For more information contact<br />

Nina Siegenthaler at 649.231.0707<br />

Joe Zahm at 649.231.6188<br />

or email: nina@tcso<strong>the</strong>bysrealty.com

TM/© <strong>2020</strong> Sesame Workshop

The Last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> True Exotics<br />

IsFIRST<br />

For<br />




Beaches ® Turks & Caicos has held <strong>the</strong> top spot at <strong>the</strong><br />

World Travel Awards for two decades by <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

families more <strong>of</strong> everything on <strong>the</strong> world’s best beach.<br />

Stay at one village and play at all five villages—Key<br />

West, Italian, Caribbean, French and Seaside —<br />

featuring every land and water sport, an awe-inspiring<br />

waterpark with surf simulator, 5-Star Global Gourmet<br />

dining at 21 incredible restaurants, and non-stop bars<br />

and entertainment—all for <strong>the</strong> price <strong>of</strong> one vacation.<br />

Also included are tips, taxes, and Beaches transfers.*<br />

Now we’ve added trend-setting food trucks, new<br />

live entertainment, and restyled accommodations,<br />

making <strong>the</strong> world’s best resort even better!<br />

Best For Families<br />

Readers’ Choice winner<br />

Best Hotel in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean<br />

Beaches Turks & Caicos<br />

is on <strong>the</strong> world’s<br />


by tripadvisor ®<br />

For more information visit BEACHES.COM<br />

1-800-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor<br />

Kimonos<br />


22<br />


*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/totispring<strong>2020</strong>btc or call 1-800-BEACHES for<br />

important terms and conditions. Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is<br />

an affiliate <strong>of</strong> Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.

For <strong>the</strong> fun <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

More Choices with up to<br />

Unique Restaurants Per Resort<br />

Trendy Food<br />

Trucks at<br />

Beaches ®<br />

Turks & Caicos<br />

For <strong>the</strong> great selection.<br />

ROBERT<br />


OAKS ® WINES<br />

Only Beaches<br />

Resorts includes<br />

Robert Mondavi<br />

Twin Oaks ® wines.<br />

With six varietals<br />

to choose from,<br />

selected exclusively<br />

for Beaches, guests<br />

can savour an endless<br />

pour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best<br />

wines at every meal<br />

and at every bar.<br />

THE<br />

WORLD’S<br />

BEST<br />

SERVES<br />

THE<br />

WORLD’S<br />

BEST!<br />




The world’s finest and<br />

most sought-after<br />

c<strong>of</strong>fee beans are grown<br />

on <strong>the</strong> misty slopes<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jamaica’s soaring<br />

Blue Mountain range.<br />

A blend <strong>of</strong> Jamaica<br />

Blue Mountain c<strong>of</strong>fee is<br />

brewed fresh and served<br />

complimentary at all<br />

Beaches Resorts. Only<br />

<strong>the</strong> best for our guests.

World-Class<br />

Master Chefs<br />

5-Star Global Gourmet dining at<br />

Beaches Resorts brings new sights,<br />

sounds and tastes to each meal with<br />

au<strong>the</strong>ntic dishes from around <strong>the</strong><br />

globe. Internationally trained chefs<br />

create innovative dishes that are a<br />

fusion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> freshest ingredients.<br />

Recipes from around <strong>the</strong> world are<br />

as delicious as dining in <strong>the</strong> country<br />

<strong>of</strong> origin. We accommodate all<br />

dietary requirements and restrictions<br />

to ensure a worry-free vacation<br />

for you and your loved ones.<br />

For <strong>the</strong><br />

taste <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

Everyone has different tastes, and that’s why Beaches includes<br />

anytime 5-Star Global Gourmet dining at up to 21 outstanding<br />

restaurants per resort. That means you can dine when you want,<br />

where you want, and enjoy as much as you want, choosing<br />

from an unprecedented variety <strong>of</strong> cuisines from around <strong>the</strong><br />

world. From <strong>the</strong> Southwest to Asia, Italy to France, and from<br />

Great Britain to <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, every delicious morsel at every<br />

incredible restaurant <strong>of</strong>fers a new chef-inspired taste—all<br />

perfectly paired with unlimited pours <strong>of</strong> Robert Mondavi Twin<br />

Oaks ® wines. Plus special menus and restaurants for <strong>the</strong> kids!<br />


1-800-BEACHES or call your Travel Advisor<br />

@ beachesresorts<br />

More Quality Inclusions Than Any O<strong>the</strong>r Resorts In The World<br />

Beaches ® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate <strong>of</strong><br />

Unique Travel Corp., <strong>the</strong> worldwide representative <strong>of</strong> Beaches Resorts.<br />

2 0 1 9<br />

Jamaica's Leading<br />

Resort<br />


22<br />


The Leading Private Bank in <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Where values are growing<br />

Wealth Management • Bonds/Fixed Income<br />

Investment Strategies • Foreign Exchange<br />

Stocks/Equities • Precious Metals<br />

Fixed deposits/CD’s • International Transfers<br />

Turks & Caicos Banking Company Ltd.<br />

The Regent Village, Unit H102, Grace Bay Road, Providenciales<br />

Tel: +649 941 4994<br />

Email: services@tcbc.tc • www.tcbc.tc<br />

Regulated by <strong>the</strong> Financial Services Commission, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>

TurksandCaicosRealEstate.com<br />

w/Direct MLS Access<br />

No Nonsense, Just Results!<br />



Lyle Schmidek<br />

Cell/WhatsApp:<br />

649.231.2330<br />

Email:<br />

Lyle@GraceBayRealty.com<br />

Beth Charles<br />

Cell/WhatsApp:<br />

649.232.5277<br />

Email:<br />

Beth@GraceBayRealty.com<br />


TIMES<br />


Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Kathy Borsuk, John Galleymore, Brian Heagney,<br />

Norah Machia, B Naqqi Manco, Carlton Mills,<br />

Dr. Caitlin E. O’Brien, Tanya Parnell, Dr. Michael P. Pateman,<br />

Jody Rathgeb, Ben Stubenberg, Willette Swann,<br />

Turks & Caicos Reef Fund Staff, Paul Wilkerson.<br />


Almay Ltd., V. Di Miccoli, John Galleymore, Heidi Hertler,<br />

International Slavery Museum Liverpool, Anthony Machia,<br />

B Naqqi Manco, Mat Matlock, Marta Morton, NOAA,<br />

Dr. Caitlin E. O’Brien, Tanya Parnell, Dr. Michael P. Pateman,<br />

Karen Preikschat, Tom Rathgeb, Dominique Rolle—<br />

Caya Hico Media, Barbara Shively, Bengt Soderqvist, Turks<br />

& Caicos Reef Fund, Wikicommons, Amano Williams,<br />

Yale University Press.<br />


Claire Parrish, Wavey Line Publishing<br />


PF Solutions, Miami, FL<br />

OF THE<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> ISSN 1017-6853 is<br />

published quarterly by <strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd.<br />

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No part <strong>of</strong> this publication may be<br />

reproduced without written permission.<br />

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Submissions We welcome submission <strong>of</strong> articles or photography, but<br />

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While every care has been taken in <strong>the</strong> compilation and reproduction <strong>of</strong><br />

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14 www.timespub.tc

getting to know<br />

From top: Gus walks with HM Queen<br />

Elizabeth II prior to receiving <strong>the</strong> Queen’s<br />

Commendation <strong>of</strong> Member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British<br />

Empire (MBE) on January 1, 1966. (Also see<br />

bottom right photo.)<br />

Gus stands with Deacon James Dean. Gus was<br />

an active leader <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI Baptist Union’s<br />

Deacon’s Board for 30 years.<br />

Clockwise from top: Kathleen (“Katie”) Howell Lightbourne was Gus’s wife for 50 years.<br />

Livingstone Swann was Gus’s “regarded bro<strong>the</strong>r,” longtime business partner and friend. Gus<br />

was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country’s first taxi drivers. Gus stands with his grandsons Gregory and Elry<br />

and son Tom. This is <strong>the</strong> front road in Blue Hills in 1967, with one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> three bicycles that<br />

was on Providenciales. A sloop is under construction in Blue Hills, probably around 1970.<br />

A Remarkable Journey<br />

The life and times <strong>of</strong> Gustarvus O’Neil Lightbourne.<br />

By Carlton Mills, Willette Swann & Tanya Parnell ~ Photos Courtesy Tanya Parnell & Bengt Soderqvist<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 15

Early life<br />

Gustarvus Lightbourne (affectionately called Gus) was<br />

born on January 27, 1921 to Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel<br />

Lightbourne <strong>of</strong> Blue Hills, Providenciales. He attended<br />

<strong>the</strong> Blue Hills School in High Rock and was taught by Mr.<br />

Aaron Gardiner. Boys usually attended school until <strong>the</strong>y<br />

reached <strong>the</strong> age <strong>of</strong> 14, when <strong>the</strong>y would learn a trade or<br />

go fishing for a living. Gus was brought up by his grandparents,<br />

who made sure that he attended school.<br />

Gus’s life was filled with challenges and hardships. On<br />

November 30, 1934, <strong>the</strong> General Express, a boat carrying<br />

his fa<strong>the</strong>r, his mo<strong>the</strong>r and two sisters, disappeared from<br />

his sight in rough wea<strong>the</strong>r, never to be seen or heard from<br />

again. This must have been a horrifying experience for<br />

this young boy who had just become a teenager, yet he<br />

still managed to move on. Those who knew Gus say, “He<br />

always prepared for <strong>the</strong> worse.” Perhaps this early experience<br />

influenced that attitude.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r attitude apparent in Gus and his sons was<br />

confident self-reliance. In <strong>the</strong> 1980s, when <strong>the</strong> flight<br />

instructor consistently failed to show, Gus’s younger son<br />

taught himself to fly an airplane. Gus’s elder son taught<br />

himself plumbing with <strong>the</strong> new materials marketed in <strong>the</strong><br />

1970s.<br />

Young men look forward to owning a boat and in <strong>the</strong><br />

1930s, Gus took on <strong>the</strong> job <strong>of</strong> building one. Gus and<br />

his “regarded” bro<strong>the</strong>r Livingstone Swann had gone into<br />

<strong>the</strong> interior <strong>of</strong> Providenciales and found <strong>the</strong> branches<br />

<strong>the</strong>y considered suitable timbers for framing <strong>the</strong> size he<br />

wanted. They had all <strong>the</strong> timber in <strong>the</strong> backyard when Gus<br />

engaged a boat builder who was too busy to get to his<br />

job. While waiting, Gus set <strong>the</strong> stern and transom into <strong>the</strong><br />

keel. When Gus’s grandfa<strong>the</strong>r Thomas Lightbourne (“Ole<br />

Olemer”) saw what <strong>the</strong> boys had done he heaped encouragement<br />

on <strong>the</strong>m. Gus finished <strong>the</strong> boat and, at age 18,<br />

was <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> G.L. Progress.<br />

This boat made several trips to Haiti which was one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI’s main trading partners. Gus would take conch<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r marine products from <strong>the</strong> local fishermen to<br />

Haiti to trade. In return, he brought back essential equipment,<br />

food items, clothing, etc. His bold initiative opened<br />

<strong>the</strong> gateway for a variety <strong>of</strong> goods and services to reach<br />

<strong>the</strong> previously neglected Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. During World War<br />

II, when Turks & Caicos would o<strong>the</strong>rwise be shut <strong>of</strong>f from<br />

<strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world, boats like <strong>the</strong> G.L. Progress made<br />

several trips to Haiti to keep supplies coming in.<br />

As it stood <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong> bulk <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ international<br />

trading activities took place at <strong>the</strong> ports <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk<br />

and South Caicos. For people in <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

to purchase items for <strong>the</strong>ir survival <strong>the</strong>y had to travel to<br />

South Caicos or Grand Turk by small sloops. With Gus’s<br />

initiative, <strong>the</strong>y now had direct contact with international<br />

trading partners — The Bahamas, Dominican Republic and<br />

Haiti.<br />

Gus loved building boats. He built several and bestowed<br />

on <strong>the</strong>m fancy names such as <strong>the</strong> Glancing Shadow, <strong>the</strong><br />

Smack, K.C.M. Orlando (Livingstone Swann, Gus and<br />

Livingstone’s bro<strong>the</strong>r Barrymore went on to marry three<br />

<strong>of</strong> Edgar Howell’s daughters—Kathleen, Christiana and<br />

Myrtle, and Barry spent time picking oranges in Orlando,<br />

hence <strong>the</strong> boat’s name) and <strong>the</strong> Cassius (from <strong>the</strong> boxing<br />

champion Cassius Clay). The Cassius was not a sailboat,<br />

but was built for an outboard motor. Her faster speed<br />

(from <strong>the</strong> same horsepower) and easier manoeuvrability<br />

made her competitive for all-around efficiency with <strong>the</strong><br />

larger longboats built by Daniel Delancy. Gus not only<br />

loved to build boats he also loved to race boats. He piloted<br />

from <strong>the</strong> lee side and his competitors thought, “What nonsense”<br />

until after <strong>the</strong> race.<br />

Gus Lightbourne had a character larger than life. He is<br />

described by many as a man who would tell you a piece<br />

<strong>of</strong> his mind in a heartbeat. He was a no-nonsense fellow,<br />

straightforward and plain-speaking, who did not stand for<br />

foolishness. You knew where you stood with him because<br />

he cut no corners. He was also described as being a sharp<br />

fellow for his intellectual/engineering ability. This earned<br />

him <strong>the</strong> nickname “Sharper.” He fell in love with Kathleen<br />

“Katie” Howell and on September 28, 1944 <strong>the</strong>y were married.<br />

This union produced four children. Only two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

survived past infancy.<br />

Life’s challenges<br />

Gus’s life was filled with challenges. He got shipwrecked<br />

aboard <strong>the</strong> Lady Austin in 1941 while on a trip to<br />

Mayaguana, Bahamas. In September 1945, while fishing<br />

<strong>of</strong>f Blue Hills on <strong>the</strong> G.L. Progress with a crew <strong>of</strong> five men,<br />

a dangerous hurricane impacted <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. They were<br />

totally unaware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hurricane’s approach because, at<br />

<strong>the</strong> time, <strong>the</strong>y did not have modern warning systems.<br />

Their mast broke and <strong>the</strong>y drifted at sea for 12 days without<br />

food and water. Through it all, God was with <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Gus named <strong>the</strong> first land <strong>the</strong>y sighted Atwood Cay<br />

(Samana Cay is <strong>the</strong> more popular name today). With this<br />

inspiration <strong>the</strong>y struggled with wind and current, without<br />

success, to get to Acklins. They finally ended up on<br />

Crooked Island, Bahamas. They may have sold whatever<br />

equity was left in <strong>the</strong> G.L. Progress to get <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

16 www.timespub.tc


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treated and back home. This was a test <strong>of</strong> his faith which<br />

did not stop him.<br />

In 1946 Gus, still undeterred by his previous losses,<br />

launched <strong>the</strong> 10 ton General Progress. This boat was used<br />

to take passengers to Pine Ridge, Grand Bahama (Freeport)<br />

and bring back lumber and remittances from family members<br />

living and working <strong>the</strong>re. Because <strong>of</strong> hardships at<br />

home, many men from <strong>the</strong> TCI sought economic opportunities<br />

in The Bahamas to be able to provide for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

families. This link provided an opportunity for people to<br />

travel to and from The Bahamas and fostered <strong>the</strong> opportunity<br />

for trade. This was ano<strong>the</strong>r vital service that Gus was<br />

instrumental in providing.<br />

It is through this initiative that Gus was able to establish<br />

a long-lasting relationship not only between The<br />

Bahamas and <strong>the</strong> TCI, but specifically with Pine Ridge and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. There was a labour agreement between<br />

<strong>the</strong> two country’s governments; <strong>the</strong>se trips serviced that<br />

agreement. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> men from <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> found<br />

employment opportunities in <strong>the</strong> Pine Yard in Freeport.<br />

As Freeport developed, <strong>the</strong>y found work in <strong>the</strong> hotels and<br />

taxi business.<br />

Unfortunately, after more than 40 trips, <strong>the</strong> General<br />

Progress was wrecked in July 1954. Ano<strong>the</strong>r misfortune<br />

for Gus, but despite this major setback <strong>the</strong> trade continued<br />

using a leased boat called <strong>the</strong> Cherry Top. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

lumber was consigned to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Government—<br />

still repairing 1945 hurricane damage. Perhaps <strong>the</strong> most<br />

important cargo was not lumber though, but remittances<br />

to family members <strong>of</strong> those employed in Pine Ridge.<br />

In mid-1958 <strong>the</strong> famous 20 ton K. C. M. Orlando<br />

was launched. The Orlando served Turks & Caicos well:<br />

Customs <strong>of</strong>ficials say she was 21 tons—she always came<br />

home overloaded. During Hurricane Donna in September<br />

1960, Gus watched as two year-old K. C. M. Orlando parted<br />

moorings at Wheeland. Recognising her importance to <strong>the</strong><br />

life and livelihood <strong>of</strong> his people he gave chase on foot. She<br />

smashed one side and ended up on Piece-O-Bay (a small<br />

piece <strong>of</strong> sandy beach between what is now Thompson<br />

Cove and Turtle Cove Marina). Because she was badly<br />

needed, a praiseworthy repair effort was exerted and by<br />

December she was back at sea. In February 1967, after<br />

35 trips to The Bahamas and 3 to Puerta Plata, she was<br />

wrecked in a storm with 26 adults and 16 children aboard.<br />

Not one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> passengers or crew was lost.<br />

Church life<br />

Gus was a devoted Christian who spent much <strong>of</strong> his time<br />

18 www.timespub.tc

while not at sea participating in his church—Bethany<br />

Baptist in Blue Hills. Every time you met him, he would<br />

speak <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> goodness <strong>of</strong> his God. He was baptized in<br />

March 1939 and served as a Sunday School teacher and<br />

secretary from 1939 to 1955.<br />

In July 1954, his faith was tested. While he was in his<br />

field, he got <strong>the</strong> news that his first-born son had suffered<br />

a serious wound. Ironically, <strong>the</strong>re was no boat to<br />

take him to South Caicos to see a doctor. The following<br />

night, <strong>the</strong> house caught fire. Despite <strong>the</strong>se unfortunate<br />

circumstances, which would have provided good reason<br />

for o<strong>the</strong>rs to remain at home, Gus was present in church<br />

on Sunday morning.<br />

After teaching Sunday School that day, <strong>the</strong>re was no<br />

preacher present and <strong>the</strong> congregants encouraged Gus<br />

to take <strong>the</strong> pulpit. One member argued with him when he<br />

said he felt “unfit for <strong>the</strong> position,” telling Gus, “If you’re<br />

not fit for one thing, you’re not fit for any o<strong>the</strong>r.” He took<br />

<strong>the</strong> pulpit and from that day, never looked back. When <strong>the</strong><br />

new church building was dedicated on March 25, 1955,<br />

Gus was ordained as a deacon by itinerant minister Rev.<br />

R.E. Rhynie.<br />

In 1964, Gus was seconded to lead <strong>the</strong> congregation<br />

at Jericho Baptist Church in The Bight. Having met that<br />

need and returned to Bethany, Gus was instrumental in<br />

getting electricity to <strong>the</strong> church in 1971 with its own generator.<br />

He was <strong>the</strong> first without formal <strong>the</strong>ological training<br />

to become president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Baptist<br />

Union from 1966–1973 and vice president from 1973–<br />

1981.<br />

In 1969 Gus, along with Rev. E.N.S. Hall, represented<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Baptist Union at a regional<br />

conference in Jamaica. During this time, <strong>the</strong> TCI Baptist<br />

churches were supported by <strong>the</strong> Jamaica Baptist Union.<br />

At this meeting, he made an appeal for help with training<br />

local ministers, and by <strong>the</strong> following year training would<br />

be provided for <strong>the</strong> first five ministers from TCI to take<br />

over <strong>the</strong> running <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> churches. This is what he was agitating<br />

for in his speech and daily actions for many years.<br />

His dream had come true and he credited his God for all<br />

<strong>of</strong> his successes.<br />

Politics<br />

The island <strong>of</strong> Blue Hills (Providenciales) that Gus lived on<br />

in <strong>the</strong> early 1950s was undeveloped. Residents traversed<br />

via footpaths. There was no electricity, no banking, no<br />

running water and no indoor plumbing. Commercial and<br />

economic life was centred around Grand Turk, Salt Cay<br />

and South Caicos—<strong>the</strong> Salt <strong>Islands</strong> as <strong>the</strong>y were called.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 19

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Hugh final_Layout 1 5/29/17 1:15 PM Page 1<br />

P<br />

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&<br />


AT<br />

L AW<br />

P.O. Box 267<br />

Hibernian House<br />

1136 Leeward Highway<br />

Providenciales<br />

Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

B.W.I.<br />

Tel 649-946-4514<br />

Fax 649-946-4955<br />

Email hugh.oneill@hgoneillco.tc<br />

C<br />

CO. O<br />

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The Salt <strong>Islands</strong> had some form <strong>of</strong> political representation<br />

in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> nominated members. The o<strong>the</strong>r Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> were not really considered part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> family <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. The country, being governed from Jamaica, was<br />

far removed from direct political involvement. No political<br />

figure considered visiting <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir remoteness. Gus was one who set about<br />

agitating for social and economic changes.<br />

When Governor <strong>of</strong> Jamaica HE Sir Hugh Foot visited <strong>the</strong><br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> in 1953, he held a town meeting where all<br />

Caicos Islanders should attend. Paul Higgs and Gustarvus<br />

Lightbourne stood out as potential leaders. When invited<br />

to Grand Turk to meet with Governor Foot, both men<br />

challenged him for provision <strong>of</strong> political representation to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. After much persuasion, <strong>the</strong> governor<br />

agreed and by 1956 held a trial general election.<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> were involved in <strong>the</strong> local<br />

government. This was regarded as TCI’s first Legislative<br />

Assembly. Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1956 government<br />

(unsupported by a Constitution Order) <strong>the</strong> new members<br />

could not receive any form <strong>of</strong> compensation. They got<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves to and from meetings in Grand Turk. This did<br />

not matter to <strong>the</strong>se men, who were about country, not<br />

self. They worked for three years putting toge<strong>the</strong>r a new<br />

constitution which came into force in 1959.<br />

This was a significant political milestone for <strong>the</strong> TCI as<br />

things were happening rapidly in <strong>the</strong> British West Indies.<br />

The constitution that <strong>the</strong>se men designed accommodated<br />

authority for <strong>the</strong> Administrator (local government),<br />

Jamaica (<strong>the</strong> administrator <strong>of</strong> record), <strong>the</strong> West Indian<br />

Federation and <strong>the</strong> UK. Soon <strong>the</strong>y were back to <strong>the</strong> drawing<br />

board as Jamaica was withdrawing from <strong>the</strong> Federation,<br />

opting for independence. Then <strong>the</strong> Federation itself collapsed.<br />

This provided <strong>the</strong> opportunity for TCI to break<br />

away from Jamaica. Five elected representatives from <strong>the</strong><br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> voted for improved status with <strong>the</strong> UK; four<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Salt <strong>Islands</strong> voted to be part <strong>of</strong> Jamaica. Gus was<br />

a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> team that went to Jamaica and to <strong>the</strong> UK to<br />

discuss <strong>the</strong> logistics <strong>of</strong> implementing this change. The<br />

new constitution came into force on August 6, 1962, a<br />

clear indication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> team’s vision.<br />

The new constitution included:<br />

• A Legislative Body consisting <strong>of</strong> some ex-<strong>of</strong>ficio<br />

members, some nominated members and a number <strong>of</strong><br />

members elected by universal adult suffrage.<br />

• An Executive Council consisting <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficials and<br />

elected members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Legislature with whom <strong>the</strong><br />

Commissioner would be required to consult.<br />

This was <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> a new political direction for<br />

20 www.timespub.tc

<strong>the</strong> TCI. Local members were now involved in discussions<br />

about <strong>the</strong> direction in which <strong>the</strong> country should go.<br />

During Gus’s 1962 term in <strong>of</strong>fice, times in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

were tough. The salt industry was on <strong>the</strong> decline and<br />

<strong>the</strong>re were talks <strong>of</strong> a merger with The Bahamas. This<br />

failed in 1964. Our leaders felt that The Bahamas needed<br />

to better develop <strong>the</strong>ir own sou<strong>the</strong>astern islands before<br />

<strong>the</strong> TCI could consider becoming a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. They<br />

also remembered <strong>the</strong>ir past experience with The Bahamas<br />

which led to <strong>the</strong> Separation Act <strong>of</strong> 1848. However, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

agreed to meet with <strong>of</strong>ficials <strong>of</strong> The Bahamas and continue<br />

talks after two years. While <strong>the</strong>y waited, an opportunity<br />

arose.<br />

A group under <strong>the</strong> leadership <strong>of</strong> Fritz Ludington was<br />

attracted to Providenciales while flying over, amazed at its<br />

natural beauty. They saw <strong>the</strong> potential for development<br />

and immediately submitted a proposal to <strong>the</strong> government.<br />

Of course, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first persons <strong>the</strong>y met with<br />

was Gus. He believed that if Providenciales were to move<br />

forward, government would have to sacrifice land. Almost<br />

single-handedly, Gus brought this opportunity to fruition.<br />

Despite his conviction and eagerness, Gus had a major<br />

obstacle. Mr. Wood, who chaired <strong>the</strong> council <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day,<br />

adamantly opposed <strong>the</strong> development—but Gus did not<br />

give up. Members <strong>of</strong> Bethany Baptist Church remembered<br />

Gus preaching that God’s Word accomplishes that<br />

for which it is sent, even though that fact might not be<br />

immediately apparent. He spoke that Word in <strong>the</strong> House<br />

<strong>of</strong> Assembly, <strong>the</strong>n went to his abode to rest. He later<br />

described how he received a vision from God to go and<br />

see Mr. Wood. He obeyed. As Gus walked towards <strong>the</strong><br />

north, Chairman Wood was walking south to see him to<br />

indicate his approval.<br />

The Assembly voted in favour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> development—<strong>the</strong><br />

initiative that jump-started <strong>the</strong> economy <strong>of</strong> Providenciales.<br />

Gus fought for this because he believed that once<br />

Providenciales developed, it would positively impact <strong>the</strong><br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and eventually <strong>the</strong> entire Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Gus Lightbourne had a passion for his country. He<br />

was a true patriot. He served for three consecutive terms<br />

(1956, 1959 and 1962) giving him nearly a dozen years<br />

<strong>of</strong> providing representation for his people.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r achievements<br />

Gus’s life was blessed with several major achievements,<br />

including being Providenciales’ first trucker, first frozen<br />

grocer and first taxi driver. He was <strong>the</strong> recipient <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Queen’s Commendation <strong>of</strong> Member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British Empire<br />

(MBE) on January 1, 1966 and <strong>the</strong> Order <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British<br />

Empire (OBE) on June 13, 1998. He was also appointed as<br />

Justice <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Peace.<br />

Gustarvus Lightbourne was an outstanding Turks &<br />

Caicos Islander. He was certainly a man committed and<br />

dedicated to country. He was relentless in his efforts to<br />

make <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> a place where his people could<br />

live comfortably. His actions clearly demonstrated that he<br />

believed that Turks & Caicos Islanders should play <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

rightful roles in <strong>the</strong>ir country.<br />

Gus enjoyed sharing his experiences with anyone<br />

who found <strong>the</strong> time to listen. He held a treasure trove<br />

<strong>of</strong> historical knowledge and I am honoured to have had<br />

<strong>the</strong> opportunity to sit at his feet. He passed away on<br />

September 24, 2005. It was great loss for <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 21

eye on <strong>the</strong> sky<br />

Opposite page: Waterspouts form ra<strong>the</strong>r infrequently under general thunderstorms over <strong>the</strong> open ocean.<br />

Above: In <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, spotting waterspouts has been a bit more common over <strong>the</strong> last several years.<br />

Nature’s Ephemeral Vortex<br />

The spin on waterspouts.<br />

By Paul Wilkerson ~ Photos By Marta Morton, www.harbourclubvillas.com<br />

Waterspouts have been occurring for as long as memories have been recorded. On August 19, 1896 a<br />

waterspout developed over Vineyard Sound near Cottage City, Massachusetts. While at <strong>the</strong> time, it was<br />

rare for <strong>the</strong>se to be seen from land, especially in <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>ast, mariners <strong>of</strong>ten saw <strong>the</strong>se twisting clouds<br />

over <strong>the</strong> open waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Atlantic. These sailors would return with <strong>the</strong>ir stories, and <strong>of</strong>ten regaled locals<br />

about <strong>the</strong>ir close encounters with this strange phenomenon.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 23

Here we are, some 124 years later, and we remain<br />

just as fascinated with <strong>the</strong>se meteorological wonders.<br />

Waterspouts happen across <strong>the</strong> globe, with most occurring<br />

in tropical and sub-tropical locations. It is however,<br />

not out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> question to see waterspouts form over<br />

large lakes as well as in nor<strong>the</strong>rn latitudes, such as <strong>of</strong>f<br />

<strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Maine and Massachusetts.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, spotting waterspouts<br />

has been a bit more common over <strong>the</strong> last several years. It<br />

isn’t necessarily that <strong>the</strong>y are occurring more frequently,<br />

but that with advances in technology, people can more<br />

readily can capture <strong>the</strong>se events with <strong>the</strong>ir cell phones<br />

and transmit photos around <strong>the</strong> world in seconds.<br />

Are waterspouts <strong>the</strong> same as tornadoes?<br />

We need to first take a look at how waterspouts form and<br />

how <strong>the</strong>y relate to <strong>the</strong>ir more sinister cousins, tornadoes.<br />

Waterspouts form ra<strong>the</strong>r infrequently under general thunderstorms<br />

over <strong>the</strong> open ocean. They also occur under<br />

towering cumulus clouds and even form at times under<br />

fair wea<strong>the</strong>r cumulus. Waterspouts that form at <strong>the</strong> base<br />

<strong>of</strong> a thunderstorm tend to be stronger than those that<br />

develop under o<strong>the</strong>r forms <strong>of</strong> cumulus clouds.<br />

In order to get waterspouts to form, <strong>the</strong>re needs to<br />

be a clockwise turning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> winds in <strong>the</strong> atmosphere<br />

starting at <strong>the</strong> water surface. It is common to have winds<br />

out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>ast at <strong>the</strong> surface in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Two<br />

hundred feet above <strong>the</strong> water, winds may be from <strong>the</strong><br />

south. Four hundred feet above <strong>the</strong> water, winds could<br />

be from <strong>the</strong> southwest. It is this turning in <strong>the</strong> winds as<br />

you ascend into <strong>the</strong> atmosphere that causes a column <strong>of</strong><br />

air to rotate. As this column <strong>of</strong> air rotates and contracts,<br />

speeds increase in response.<br />

The first indication <strong>of</strong> a waterspout may be <strong>the</strong> formation<br />

<strong>of</strong> a clockwise swirl on <strong>the</strong> water’s surface. Once<br />

<strong>the</strong> column <strong>of</strong> air begins to rotate faster, a spiraling spray<br />

ring may become noticeable as water is lifted <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> surface<br />

and becomes airborne around <strong>the</strong> whirling vortex<br />

itself. As <strong>the</strong> vortex matures, moisture may condensate,<br />

causing cloud formation within <strong>the</strong> vortex and giving<br />


On August 19, 1896 a waterspout developed over Vineyard Sound near Cottage City, Massachusetts. This is believed to be one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first<br />

photographs <strong>of</strong> a waterspout.<br />

24 www.timespub.tc

TWATIMES_Layout 1 2/16/17 7:49 AM Page 1<br />

viewers a complete view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rotating column <strong>of</strong> air<br />

from <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cloud all <strong>the</strong> way to <strong>the</strong> water. In<br />

some cases, <strong>the</strong> funnel may not fully condensate, leaving<br />

those watching only a view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> funnel at <strong>the</strong> water’s<br />

surface and directly at cloud level.<br />

Waterspouts usually are not a long lasting event.<br />

They generally will dissipate after warm air is no longer<br />

being pulled into <strong>the</strong> vortex. This can be caused by rainfall<br />

cooling <strong>the</strong> air directly around <strong>the</strong> funnel or <strong>the</strong> inflow<br />

<strong>of</strong> cooler air in <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

On occasion, if waterspouts form close enough to<br />

land, <strong>the</strong>y can come ashore and are <strong>the</strong>n called tornadoes.<br />

Conversely, tornadoes that move over water<br />

become waterspouts. Thankfully, waterspouts are not<br />

nearly as strong as <strong>the</strong>ir more formidable cousins that<br />

form frequently each year in <strong>the</strong> United States. The life<br />

cycle <strong>of</strong> a tornado almost always starts with a very strong<br />

thunderstorm and generally occurs over <strong>the</strong> central and<br />

sou<strong>the</strong>rn plains <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States. For tornadoes to<br />

occur, very strong upper level winds are necessary, along<br />

with a sharp drop in temperatures as you ascend in <strong>the</strong><br />

atmosphere. When <strong>the</strong>se ingredients come toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

can produce strong thunderstorms that sometimes produce<br />

tornadoes. Tornadoes are classified on <strong>the</strong> Enhanced<br />

Fujita scale with winds ranging from 65 MPH on <strong>the</strong> low<br />

end to more than 200 MPH on <strong>the</strong> high end.<br />

Thankfully, tornadoes are extremely rare in <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. In general, <strong>the</strong> only time tornadoes occur in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos is during hurricanes. Several tornadoes<br />

reportedly occurred during <strong>the</strong> thrashing Hurricane Irma<br />

inflicted on <strong>the</strong> country in 2017. Also, a rare tornado was<br />

observed at <strong>the</strong> Providenciales International Airport on<br />

April 8, 2011 that lasted ten minutes. It caused no damage<br />

but raised dust on <strong>the</strong> runway.<br />

Serving international & domestic clients in real estate, property development,<br />

mortgages, corporate & commercial matters, immigration, & more.<br />


Are waterspouts dangerous?<br />

Yes, waterspouts can be dangerous. While <strong>the</strong>y are not<br />

as strong as tornadoes, wind speeds in waterspouts<br />

generally can reach as high as 67 MPH. (However, photogrammetry<br />

has <strong>the</strong>oretically determined wind speeds<br />

<strong>of</strong> 180 to 190 MPH occurring 10 meters [32.8 feet] from<br />

<strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> waterspouts.) Imagine you are on a fishing<br />

vessel on <strong>the</strong> ocean and you encounter one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

waterspouts. It would not be uncommon to be encountering<br />

winds <strong>of</strong> less than 10 MPH on <strong>the</strong> open ocean and<br />

suddenly find yourself encountering 40 to 50 MPH winds<br />

with a waterspout!<br />

Marine vessels are at significant danger when<br />

encountering waterspouts. If you are a marine operator,<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 25

Ferry Fall 17_Layout 1 8/22/17 12:52 PM Page 1<br />

* *<br />

Temporary suspension PROVO NORTH 12.30pm & 1.30pm Sept 1st to Oct 31st<br />

*<br />

Resumes Nov 1st<br />

it is always advisable to check <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r forecast for<br />

<strong>the</strong> day and be mindful <strong>of</strong> any clouds developing in <strong>the</strong><br />

area. By keeping an eye on <strong>the</strong> skies, you can keep your<br />

vessel safely away from developing danger. As a sailor,<br />

if you find yourself staring at a waterspout in close proximity,<br />

you would do well to seek safe harbor. If that is<br />

not available, give <strong>the</strong> waterspout as wide <strong>of</strong> a bearth as<br />

possible, as <strong>the</strong>ir movement can be unpredictable.<br />

A common myth is that waterspouts will dissipate<br />

when encountering land. This is 100% NOT TRUE.<br />

Waterspouts do routinely come ashore, sometimes with<br />

disastrous results. Beachgoers marvel at <strong>the</strong> appearance<br />

<strong>of</strong> a waterspout and falsely assume that it won’t come<br />

near <strong>the</strong> shore and affect <strong>the</strong>m. There are plenty <strong>of</strong> documented<br />

stories where people have been caught on <strong>the</strong><br />

beach as <strong>the</strong>se watery beasts start causing damage to<br />

waterfront homes, condominium complexes and <strong>the</strong> surrounding<br />

grounds.<br />

If you find yourself on <strong>the</strong> beach and taking in <strong>the</strong><br />

wonder <strong>of</strong> a waterspout, you need to be aware that you<br />

are likely at risk <strong>of</strong> injury should <strong>the</strong> waterspout transition<br />

to land. It is always best to exercise caution and<br />

take cover inside a building or o<strong>the</strong>r sturdy structure.<br />

Waterspouts that transition to land can pick up beach<br />

umbrellas, turning <strong>the</strong>m into spears. They can pick up<br />

lounge chairs and turn <strong>the</strong>m into blunt force objects that<br />

can severely injure people. They can also pick up sand<br />

and cause sandblast injuries to <strong>the</strong> eyes <strong>of</strong> folks caught<br />

too close by. When in doubt, seek a safe way out. It is<br />

important!<br />

My family and I have not been privy to seeing a waterspout<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos during our visits, but we have<br />

seen images <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m from those who have photographed<br />

<strong>the</strong>m. Waterspouts are one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most spectacular visual<br />

displays Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature <strong>of</strong>fers. Respect this show <strong>of</strong> power<br />

and view <strong>the</strong>m from a safe location to ensure your ability<br />

to enjoy all that <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> have to <strong>of</strong>fer,<br />

including <strong>the</strong> lovely wea<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

(By <strong>the</strong> way, one thing you will NOT see in <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

is a winter waterspout, also known as a snow devil or a<br />

snowspout. This is an extremely rare instance <strong>of</strong> a waterspout<br />

forming under <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong> a snow squall. Very little<br />

is known about this phenomenon.) a<br />

Paul Wilkerson is an American meteorologist and tourist<br />

who frequents <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Along with<br />

his wife and two daughters, <strong>the</strong> Wilkersons stay actively<br />

engaged with Islanders throughout <strong>the</strong> year with his<br />

Facebook page Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Wea<strong>the</strong>r Info.<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

If you find yourself on <strong>the</strong> beach and<br />

watching a waterspout, be aware that you<br />

are at risk <strong>of</strong> injury should <strong>the</strong><br />

waterspout transition to land.

creature feature<br />


Chitons are recognized by eight overlapping armor plates surrounded<br />

and held toge<strong>the</strong>r by a lea<strong>the</strong>ry girdle.<br />

Armadillos <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sea<br />

Chitons possess a range <strong>of</strong> amazing qualities.<br />

By Brian Heagney, B.Sc Marine Biology<br />

Tucked away in intertidal rock pools on <strong>the</strong> southwest point <strong>of</strong> Gibbs Cay in <strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

clusters <strong>of</strong> tiny dinosaurs called chitons. These ancient mariners are easily overlooked by <strong>the</strong> untrained<br />

eye, but <strong>the</strong>y do deserve a second glance if you have <strong>the</strong> chance to visit “Stingray Island.” With a fossil<br />

record stretching back to <strong>the</strong> Devonion period 400 million years ago, <strong>the</strong>se surprising little critters have<br />

a design that has successfully stood <strong>the</strong> test <strong>of</strong> time.<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

Chitons, commonly referred to as Coat <strong>of</strong> Mail shells<br />

or Sea Cradles, are a relatively small marine mollusc easily<br />

recognized by eight overlapping armor plates (valves)<br />

surrounded and held toge<strong>the</strong>r by a lea<strong>the</strong>ry girdle or<br />

mantle. Small nodules <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mineral aragonite embedded<br />

in <strong>the</strong> shell provide a lens through which <strong>the</strong> aes<strong>the</strong>tes<br />

(unique light sensitive cells) lying below can detect light,<br />

movement and possibly even discern shapes. The chiton<br />

essentially “sees” through <strong>the</strong>se opaque rocks in its shell,<br />

visual equipment unlike that <strong>of</strong> almost any o<strong>the</strong>r creature.<br />

The girdle is <strong>of</strong>ten ornamented with hairy tufts, bristles,<br />

spikes or scales that provide camouflage and may<br />

also aid in defence. In some species including <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

(<strong>the</strong> Gumboot Chiton or Wandering Meatloaf), <strong>the</strong> mantle<br />

actually covers <strong>the</strong> entire shell.<br />

The armor plates <strong>the</strong>mselves are articulated and can<br />

flex and move over each o<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>of</strong>fering both protection<br />

and freedom <strong>of</strong> movement over <strong>the</strong> jagged intertidal<br />

rocks on which <strong>the</strong>y choose to make <strong>the</strong>ir home. When<br />

a chiton dies, <strong>the</strong> girdle decomposes and <strong>the</strong> individual<br />

plates fall apart. These may be discovered by keen-eyed<br />

beachcombers and are referred to as Butterfly Shells.<br />

Most chitons are herbivorous grazers, roaming <strong>the</strong><br />

rocks under cover <strong>of</strong> darkness, feeding on encrusting<br />

algae by scraping it into <strong>the</strong>ir mouth with a tooth-covered<br />

tongue called a radula (from <strong>the</strong> Latin radere “to scrape”).<br />

There are, however, some carniverous chitons, competing<br />

with all <strong>the</strong> suspense and horror <strong>of</strong> a good Ridley Scott<br />

movie. The predatory species Placiphorella velata waits<br />

patiently in ambush, its body held al<strong>of</strong>t. Smaller animals<br />

seeking shelter and shade under this murderous cave<br />

are crushed to death and consumed should <strong>the</strong>y inadvertently<br />

touch <strong>the</strong> sensitive tentacles below and spring <strong>the</strong><br />

deadly trap above.<br />

The chiton’s teeth are <strong>of</strong> significant interest to science<br />

as <strong>the</strong>ir microscopic structure and composition—a<br />

matrix <strong>of</strong> organic tissue and inorganic minerals—makes<br />

<strong>the</strong> teeth incredibly wear-resistant, allowing <strong>the</strong> chiton to<br />

nonchalantly chew through rock. A chiton literally makes<br />

its home (scar) in <strong>the</strong> rock by eating <strong>the</strong> rock away. The<br />

teeth contain magnetite or iron (II, III) oxide, a crystal<br />

compound that is also found in <strong>the</strong> beaks <strong>of</strong> homing<br />

pigeons and is <strong>the</strong> most magnetic <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> natural minerals.<br />

These highly magnetic inorganic teeth are found<br />

nowhere else in <strong>the</strong> animal kingdom and may explain <strong>the</strong><br />

chiton’s remarkable homing ability, after a night <strong>of</strong> foraging,<br />

to use <strong>the</strong> Earth’s magnetic field to navigate back<br />

to precisely <strong>the</strong> same home scar in <strong>the</strong> rock.<br />

Their taxonomic class name is Polyplachophora<br />

(many plated). Unlike most molluscs, conch for example,<br />

chitons cannot withdraw back into <strong>the</strong>ir shell. Instead<br />

<strong>the</strong>y use <strong>the</strong>ir very powerful, muscular foot to cling to<br />

<strong>the</strong> rocks like a limpet and are almost impossible to prise<br />

<strong>of</strong>f. When dislodged from <strong>the</strong> substrate, <strong>the</strong> chiton can<br />

roll up into a protective ball, like a tiny marine armadillo.<br />

The chitons’ main predators are man (naturally),<br />

seagulls, starfish, crabs, lobsters and fish. Chitons<br />

are eaten in several parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world including <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean islands <strong>of</strong> Trinidad, Tobago, The Bahamas,<br />

Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, St. Maarten and Barbados. The<br />

foot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> chiton is prepared in a manner similar to abalone.<br />

They don’t seem to be on <strong>the</strong> menu in <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos though, conch being <strong>the</strong> much-preferred option.<br />

Next time you look into a rock pool you may see a<br />

little armored snail, present from <strong>the</strong> dawn <strong>of</strong> time with<br />

magnetic teeth that can pulverize rock with its tongue<br />

and see through eyes <strong>of</strong> made <strong>of</strong> stone—an amazing little<br />

animal that you probably didn’t even know was <strong>the</strong>re. a<br />

A native <strong>of</strong> Ireland, Brian moved to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

with his wife Sabine in 2016 where <strong>the</strong>y opened The<br />

Humpback Dive Shack on Grand Turk.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 29

green pages<br />

newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

head <strong>of</strong>fice: church folly, grand turk, tel 649 946 2801 • fax 649 946 1895<br />

• astwood street, south caicos, tel 649 946 3306 • fax 946 3710<br />

• national environmental centre, lower bight road, providenciales<br />

parks division, tel 649 941 5122 • fax 649 946 4793<br />

fisheries division, tel 649 946 4017 • fax 649 946 4793<br />

email environment@gov.tc or dema.tci@gmail.com • web https://www.gov.tc/decr/<br />


A healthy, thriving star coral formation is a beautiful sight to behold. We must fight Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease NOW.<br />

The Battle Begins<br />

Treatment program to fight Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease underway.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> Staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF)<br />

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is a new coral disease that was first discovered <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong><br />

Florida in 2014. Over <strong>the</strong> past five years it has spread rapidly up and down <strong>the</strong> Atlantic coast <strong>of</strong> Florida<br />

and well into <strong>the</strong> Florida Keys. It is a devasting disease affecting 20 species <strong>of</strong> very slow-growing corals<br />

that are <strong>the</strong> foundation <strong>of</strong> many coral reef systems. In some coral species monitored in Florida, <strong>the</strong> disease<br />

reportedly had an 80% mortality rate.<br />

30 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />


The cause <strong>of</strong> this disease is suspected to be bacterial.<br />

The troublesome thing about bacterial diseases is that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y can be easily transferred from one area to ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

via currents, marine life and even by divers picking up <strong>the</strong><br />

disease’s causative agent on <strong>the</strong>ir dive gear and spreading<br />

it by using that same gear on o<strong>the</strong>r sites where <strong>the</strong><br />

disease has possibly not yet been observed.<br />

SCTLD first appeared in TCI waters in January 2019<br />

on <strong>the</strong> reefs <strong>of</strong> South Caicos. Then in May 2019 it was<br />

found on <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn reefs <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> West Caicos<br />

and within six weeks it had spread to <strong>the</strong> reefs covering<br />

<strong>the</strong> entire length <strong>of</strong> West Caicos. The disease has moved<br />

eastward and has been observed on <strong>the</strong> Northwest Point<br />

reefs and even in Grace Bay. In November 2019, SCTLD<br />

was confirmed on <strong>the</strong> reefs <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk.<br />

The “sort <strong>of</strong>” good news is that <strong>the</strong> extremely high<br />

water temperatures observed on TCI’s reefs this past<br />

summer appears to have slowed <strong>the</strong> progression <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

disease. This is only “sort <strong>of</strong>” good news as <strong>the</strong> high water<br />

temperatures caused a major bleaching event, putting a<br />

new stress on <strong>the</strong> same corals that are susceptible to<br />

SCTLD. Many corals will recover from bleaching and many<br />

appear to be doing so as cooler water temperatures have<br />

returned. But <strong>the</strong> cooling water is bringing SCTLD back to<br />

life.<br />

Since August 2019, Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF)<br />

staff and <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal<br />

Resources (DECR) have been monitoring <strong>the</strong> spread and<br />

progression <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease on West Caicos, Northwest<br />

Point, Grace Bay and all <strong>the</strong> way to Pine Cay. Although <strong>the</strong><br />

disease outbreak on South Caicos and West Caicos has<br />

been severe, o<strong>the</strong>r reefs around Providenciales and Pine<br />

Cay appear to have only minor infections at <strong>the</strong> present<br />

time. So NOW is <strong>the</strong> time to act to do something about<br />

SCTLD and prevent severe damage to our valuable and<br />

important coral reefs.<br />

At right: These are <strong>the</strong> symptoms <strong>of</strong> Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.<br />

It affects 20 species <strong>of</strong> corals that create much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> structure <strong>of</strong><br />

TCI’s coral reefs, including brain corals, pillar corals and boulder corals.<br />

Once a stony coral dies, <strong>the</strong> structure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> reef begins to decline.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 31

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />


These volunteers will be <strong>the</strong> underwater army in <strong>the</strong> fight against<br />

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. They will be applying a special antibiotic-based<br />

paste to prevent <strong>the</strong> spread <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease across TCI’s<br />

beautiful reefs. Prior to entering <strong>the</strong> “battleground,” <strong>the</strong>y were trained<br />

(from top) in roving diver survey techniques and <strong>the</strong> proper way to<br />

apply <strong>the</strong> treatment. Training included an extensive workshop held at<br />

<strong>the</strong> DECR’s headquarters in The Bight.<br />

In late January <strong>2020</strong>, <strong>the</strong> TCI Government’s<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Environment and Coastal Resources<br />

approved a treatment plan for SCTLD proposed by <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos Reef Fund. This treatment protocol is<br />

based on research conducted by scientists in Florida who<br />

have been dealing with <strong>the</strong> consequences <strong>of</strong> this disease<br />

since 2014. We happily will benefit from all this research<br />

and not have to reinvent <strong>the</strong> wheel.<br />

Our proposed treatment protocol involves making a<br />

paste <strong>of</strong> a base (ei<strong>the</strong>r shea butter or a special base created<br />

by a pharmaceutical supplier in Florida) incorporated<br />

with amoxicillin, a penicillin antibiotic. That antibiotic<br />

paste is <strong>the</strong>n spread on a coral head around <strong>the</strong> margin <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> infected area. If <strong>the</strong> base is shea butter, it is <strong>the</strong>n covered<br />

with modeling clay to hold it in place. In Florida, this<br />

treatment has been shown to be between 67% and 80%<br />

effective in stopping <strong>the</strong> disease progression. The coral<br />

head will have a dead spot where <strong>the</strong> infection started,<br />

and that area will not likely grow back any coral polyps<br />

as algae quickly takes over, but <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coral head<br />

can be saved in many cases.<br />

TCRF and DECR are now training volunteers and team<br />

leaders on how to identify <strong>the</strong> susceptible coral species,<br />

how to identify SCTLD and differentiate it from o<strong>the</strong>r coral<br />

diseases, how to prepare <strong>the</strong> antibiotic treatment and<br />

how to administer <strong>the</strong> treatment. The first team <strong>of</strong> eight<br />

volunteers was trained on February 6, <strong>2020</strong>. Treated coral<br />

heads will be tagged with a yellow or green numbered<br />

tag so that <strong>the</strong> effect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> treatment can be monitored.<br />

Each treated coral head will be monitored approximately<br />

monthly. In many cases one treatment does <strong>the</strong> trick, but<br />

in some cases, retreatment will be needed.<br />

“Because this is a treatment done on a coral head by<br />

coral head basis, it is very time consuming,” said Alizee<br />

Zimmermann, Project Manager for <strong>the</strong> TCRF’s treatment<br />

effort. “We are going to need more volunteers who are<br />

experienced divers, who have flexible schedules and who<br />

do not have a penicillin allergy to tackle this potentially<br />

devastating problem. We also need a lot <strong>of</strong> eyes on <strong>the</strong><br />

reef, so we will be conducting special training sessions<br />

for volunteers who may not fit <strong>the</strong> requirements to be one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> treaters, but who can help us ga<strong>the</strong>r data on <strong>the</strong><br />

extent and progression <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> disease by doing what we<br />

call roving diver surveys.”<br />

Roving diver surveys are a simple technique which<br />

involves swimming in a line at a fixed depth for a min-<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

imum <strong>of</strong> 10 minutes and counting all <strong>the</strong> corals in an<br />

area approximately six feet wide. The susceptible species<br />

are tallied as undiseased, potentially diseased, diseased<br />

or dead. A large number <strong>of</strong> volunteers are needed to<br />

conduct <strong>the</strong>se surveys all around <strong>the</strong> TCI. Any diver interested<br />

in becoming a roving diver surveyor should contact<br />

<strong>the</strong> TCRF at info@tcreef.org.<br />

SCTLD affects 20 species <strong>of</strong> corals that create much<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> structure <strong>of</strong> our coral reefs. These include brain<br />

corals, pillar corals and boulder corals. It is not thought<br />

to affect sponges or s<strong>of</strong>t corals such as sea whips and sea<br />

fans, but <strong>the</strong>se species do little to provide coastal protection<br />

or habitat for fish and o<strong>the</strong>r animals that live on <strong>the</strong><br />

reefs. When a stony coral dies from SCTLD, it begins to<br />

erode and <strong>the</strong> structure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> reef begins to decline.<br />

Obviously, this treatment approach is very laborintensive,<br />

time-consuming and costly, but it has to be<br />

done to save <strong>the</strong> TCI reefs. TCRF’s goal is to be out on<br />

<strong>the</strong> water at least two days a week treating and monitoring.<br />

This means we will need a fairly large group <strong>of</strong><br />

volunteer divers who have flexible schedules and can go<br />

out to work with TCRF on this project. Any experienced<br />

diver (over 100 dives) who is not allergic to penicillin and<br />

who is willing to learn <strong>the</strong> challenging art <strong>of</strong> coral identification<br />

is encouraged to contact TCRF about becoming a<br />

volunteer for this effort by emailing donstark@tcreef.org<br />

or calling TCRF directly at 649 347 8455 or filling out <strong>the</strong><br />

volunteer form on <strong>the</strong> TCRF website (www.tcreef.org).<br />

TCRF has reached out to local businesses and individuals<br />

in an attempt to raise money to support this effort,<br />

but more funding is needed if we are to be successful in<br />

saving <strong>the</strong> TCI reefs. Funding is needed to pay for a project<br />

manager to oversee <strong>the</strong> work, boat use and fuel and<br />

supplies (amoxicillin, shea butter, syringes, gloves, etc.).<br />

If you want to help, please go to www.tcreef.org/donate<br />

or contact TCRF Chairman Don Stark directly at 649 347<br />

8455 to contribute to <strong>the</strong> cause! a<br />

Special thanks to those businesses and individuals who<br />

have already generously donated to support this effort,<br />

including Dive Provo who has allowed our project manager<br />

for this effort to go out on <strong>the</strong>ir boats when space is<br />

available at no charge to do regular monitoring.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 33

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Octopuses are among <strong>the</strong> most intelligent <strong>of</strong> animals without a backbone, as <strong>the</strong>y have one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest <strong>of</strong> invertebrate brains.<br />

The Elusive Octopus<br />

Octopus spotting in <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

By Dr. Caitlin E. O’Brien,<br />

The School for Field Studies Center for Marine Resource Studies<br />

Caribbean waters are home to several species <strong>of</strong> octopus, which are some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most extraordinary creatures<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ocean. Octopuses (not octopi) can be more difficult to spot than many o<strong>the</strong>r marine creatures,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> experience <strong>of</strong> seeing one is well worth <strong>the</strong> effort.<br />

34 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

What are <strong>the</strong>y?<br />

Octopuses are Molluscs in <strong>the</strong> Class Cephalopoda, along<br />

with squid, cuttlefish and nautilus. The word “cephalopod”<br />

originates from <strong>the</strong> Greek words for “head” and<br />

“foot,” referring to <strong>the</strong> fact that <strong>the</strong>ir heads are attached<br />

directly to <strong>the</strong>ir “feet.” Cephalopods first appeared around<br />

500 million years ago as shelled creatures known as<br />

ammonites, nautiluses and belemnites. Ammonites later<br />

went extinct, existing today only as spiral fossils popular<br />

with collectors. Most nautilus died out too, although six<br />

species still exist in <strong>the</strong> Indo-Pacific Ocean. Belemnites<br />

eventually evolved into <strong>the</strong> 800 or so species <strong>of</strong> squid,<br />

cuttlefish and octopus known today. Among <strong>the</strong>se, most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> approximately 300 species <strong>of</strong> octopus live in shallow,<br />

coastal areas, although a few deep-sea and pelagic<br />

species are also known.<br />

Octopus biology is quite bizarre. In addition to a s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

body with eight arms (not tentacles), <strong>the</strong>y possess three<br />

hearts and have blue blood due to <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> copper<br />

(hemocyanin) ra<strong>the</strong>r than iron (hemoglobin). The arms<br />

are also quite extraordinary. Covered with hundreds <strong>of</strong><br />

flexible suckers, <strong>the</strong>y are capable <strong>of</strong> adhering to almost<br />

any surface with considerable force. Not only do <strong>the</strong>y<br />

assist octopus in locomotion, but <strong>the</strong> suckers also have<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to “taste” in order to help locate tasty critters<br />

under rocks and corals. Equally extraordinary is <strong>the</strong> fact<br />

that an arm severed from <strong>the</strong> body will eventually grow<br />

back, and sometimes an octopus will even intentionally<br />

sacrifice one to a predator in order to escape.<br />

Octopus have a wide range <strong>of</strong> near-supernatural<br />

tricks to protect <strong>the</strong>mselves. They can avoid being seen<br />

in <strong>the</strong> first place due to <strong>the</strong>ir ability to change <strong>the</strong> color,<br />

iridescence and texture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir skin. Small sacs <strong>of</strong> ink<br />

expand and contract to instantly create different colors<br />

and patterns, and to modify <strong>the</strong> skin’s reflectiveness. The<br />

effect is accentuated by muscles that can raise or smooth<br />

out patches <strong>of</strong> skin (papillae) to create a rough texture<br />

resembling algae. When threatened, octopuses can<br />

escape by squeezing <strong>the</strong>mselves through any hole larger<br />

than <strong>the</strong>ir parrot-like beak. Alternatively, <strong>the</strong>y can propel<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves rapidly away by quickly sucking in water and<br />

shooting it out <strong>the</strong>ir siphon. They may also eject ink at<br />

<strong>the</strong> same time, ei<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> a gelatinous blob to<br />

act as a diversion or as a “smokescreen” to hide behind.<br />

Predators <strong>of</strong> octopus include sharks, dolphins, eels, large<br />

fish and humans.<br />

Octopuses are largely asocial creatures, only seeking<br />

out o<strong>the</strong>r octopus towards <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lifespans<br />

in order to mate. Before <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong>y try to steer clear <strong>of</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs in order to avoid being eaten by one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own.<br />

Octopuses have only one reproductive event in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

A common octopus swims across <strong>the</strong> sea floor. It prefers to hunt crustaceans and bivalves in rocky areas and coral reefs at dawn and dusk.<br />


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Caribbean octopus are typically found sheltering in natural rock or<br />

coral crevices.<br />

lives, although both females and males can mate multiple<br />

times. After reaching <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir natural lifespan<br />

(usually one to two years), males will go through a period<br />

called senescence, in which <strong>the</strong>ir bodies rapidly deteriorate<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y behave recklessly, <strong>of</strong>ten swimming in <strong>the</strong><br />

open without regard to predators before dying or being<br />

eaten. Females on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r hand will select a well-protected<br />

crevice in which to lay <strong>the</strong>ir eggs. Thereafter, she<br />

will carefully tend to <strong>the</strong>m, fending <strong>of</strong>f predators and gently<br />

cleaning <strong>the</strong>ir surfaces <strong>of</strong> debris. During this time, she<br />

forgoes food and rarely leaves <strong>the</strong> den. When <strong>the</strong> eggs<br />

hatch several weeks later, she dies and <strong>the</strong> planktonic<br />

young go on to drift in <strong>the</strong> current until <strong>the</strong>y are large<br />

enough to settle on <strong>the</strong> seafloor.<br />

Octopuses are among <strong>the</strong> most intelligent <strong>of</strong> animals<br />

without a backbone (invertebrate). They can solve<br />

puzzles and mazes, and are notorious for <strong>the</strong>ir Houdiniesque<br />

feats <strong>of</strong> escape from aquarium enclosures. This<br />

cognition is made possible by one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest <strong>of</strong><br />

invertebrate brains, consisting <strong>of</strong> more than 200 million<br />

neurons, and which is donut-shaped and wrapped around<br />

<strong>the</strong> esophagus. In addition, each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> eight arms has<br />

its own “mini-brain” which allows it to perform actions<br />

semi-autonomously. In fact, an arm that is severed from<br />

an octopus will still move, seemingly unaware that it has<br />

been disconnected.<br />

How can I find <strong>the</strong>m?<br />

Octopus <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean are typically found in relatively<br />

shallow (

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

or attempt to escape. If this happens, <strong>the</strong> best thing to<br />

do is be as still as possible in order to allow <strong>the</strong> octopus<br />

to habituate to your presence. However, some octopus<br />

are extremely curious and may reach out to touch you.<br />

If this happens, <strong>the</strong>re is nothing to fear: as soon as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

realize you’re not a crab <strong>the</strong>y will likely let go. Less <strong>of</strong>ten,<br />

octopus can be found out hunting. In this case, it is best<br />

to sit back and watch . . . no one likes being interrupted<br />

during dinner!<br />

Octopus vulgaris, <strong>the</strong> common octopus<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, this species can be found in<br />

tropical and temperate waters across <strong>the</strong> globe. It ranges<br />

in color from solid white to brown, along with a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> mottled patterns. The common octopus can grow up<br />

to three feet long from mantle to arm tips, and hunts<br />

crustaceans and bivalves in rocky areas and coral reefs.<br />

It is a crepuscular species, meaning it prefers to hunt at<br />

dawn and dusk, although it may be found out and about<br />

at o<strong>the</strong>r times as well. However, <strong>the</strong> best way to find<br />

one is to look for holes and crevices with a shell “midden”—<br />

piles <strong>of</strong> shells and rocks around <strong>the</strong> den entrance<br />

representing prior meals as well as providing octopus<br />

with a sort <strong>of</strong> “shield” if a predator attacks.<br />

Octopus briareus,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean reef octopus<br />

The Caribbean reef octopus is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most beautiful<br />

octopus species due to its typically rainbow appearance.<br />

While <strong>the</strong>y are predominantly blue, <strong>the</strong>y can take on a<br />

range <strong>of</strong> colors and mottles, including dark red. Fully<br />

grown members <strong>of</strong> this species can weigh up to three<br />

pounds, eating crustaceans hidden in crevices <strong>of</strong> coral<br />

reefs. This species is nocturnal, spending daytime in difficult-to-locate<br />

dens. For this reason, <strong>the</strong> best way to see<br />

one is to go night diving or snorkelling on a shallow coral<br />

reef.<br />

Macrotritopus defilippi,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Atlantic longarm octopus<br />

The Atlantic longarm octopus is <strong>the</strong> smallest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> three<br />

species, with <strong>the</strong> body growing up to three and a half<br />

inches. However, as its name implies, its arms are very<br />

long and it can sometimes be seen using <strong>the</strong>se arms<br />

to masquerade as a flounder. Its color can be anything<br />

between solid white to mottled yellow and brown. It<br />

A Caribbean reef octopus envelops a coral head with its arms in<br />

search <strong>of</strong> prey.<br />

hunts small crustaceans on <strong>the</strong> sandy sea bottom and in<br />

seagrass beds, and unlike <strong>the</strong> previous two species, can<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten be seen doing so during <strong>the</strong> day. Dens are more<br />

difficult to locate, as this species has <strong>the</strong> ability to bury<br />

itself completely in sand.<br />

Now that you know a little more about <strong>the</strong>se amazing<br />

creatures, you’re ready to get out in <strong>the</strong> sea and go octopus<br />

spotting. Good luck! a<br />

Fur<strong>the</strong>r reading<br />

Hanlon, R.T. and Messenger, J.B., 2018. Cephalopod<br />

behaviour. Cambridge University Press.<br />

Jereb, P., Roper, C., Norman, M., Finn, J., et al., 2016.<br />

Cephalopods <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> World. An Annotated and Illustrated<br />

Catalogue <strong>of</strong> Species Known to Date. Vol. 3. Octopods and<br />

Vampire Squids.<br />

Humann, P., Deloach, N. and Wilk, L., 2002. Reef creature<br />

identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas.<br />


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This Caicos pine seedling, with needles yet to shrug <strong>of</strong>f chunks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> algal mat in which pine seeds <strong>of</strong>ten germinate, grew from seeds dropped<br />

in October. It is among <strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong> its kind grown in <strong>the</strong> wild in over ten years.<br />

Phoenix from <strong>the</strong> Ashes?<br />

Good news for <strong>the</strong> TCI’s National Tree.<br />

Story & Photos By B Naqqi Manco, TCI Naturalist<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ National Tree, <strong>the</strong> stately Caicos pine Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis, has<br />

had a rough few decades recently. Following <strong>the</strong> introduction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> invasive pine tortoise scale insect,<br />

which infests trees through <strong>the</strong>ir fatality, as well as a sea surge and catastrophic wildfire in 2008–2009,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>n several more significant hurricanes, over 97% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> population <strong>of</strong> this vital species was lost.<br />

Caicos pine is <strong>the</strong> foundation species <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pine yard, part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> globally imperiled pine rockland<br />

ecosystem, a habitat unique to <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and nor<strong>the</strong>rn Bahamas, with fragments in sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Florida (but hosting a different species <strong>of</strong> pine).<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

Since 2008 <strong>the</strong> Caicos Pine Recovery Project has<br />

been striving to save <strong>the</strong> species and help restore its<br />

ecosystem. The team members — researchers, conservationists,<br />

technicians and volunteers from numerous<br />

government agencies, NGOs and institutions — all understood<br />

that <strong>the</strong>ir efforts may not yield appreciable or even<br />

visible results during <strong>the</strong>ir lifetimes.<br />

Trees work on a different time scale than humans<br />

— <strong>the</strong>y don’t care that we only live a handful <strong>of</strong> decades<br />

when <strong>the</strong>ir lifetimes span centuries. It takes a certain<br />

naïve and somewhat dismal optimism to dedicate one’s<br />

life to saving trees and <strong>the</strong> ecosystems <strong>the</strong>y support,<br />

along with an acceptance that one really doesn’t have<br />

enough time to carry one’s work to completion because<br />

human mortality will eventually interfere.<br />

A few <strong>of</strong> those committing <strong>the</strong>ir time to Caicos pine<br />

recovery remember <strong>the</strong> tall, shady forests <strong>of</strong> pine strewn<br />

across <strong>the</strong> rocky plains on <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn rock flats <strong>of</strong><br />

Middle and North Caicos, a broad band <strong>of</strong> fragrant forest<br />

sandwiched between <strong>the</strong> broadleaf thicket and <strong>the</strong><br />

mangrove swamps. None <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m imagined <strong>the</strong>y would<br />

be <strong>the</strong>re to see <strong>the</strong> forest return to that sort <strong>of</strong> glory.<br />

And yet <strong>the</strong>y drudged on: Collecting and sowing seeds,<br />

tending a nursery, cultivating <strong>the</strong> unique symbiotic fungi<br />

that live on <strong>the</strong> pines’ roots, cleaning pine needles <strong>of</strong><br />

pests, researching <strong>the</strong> genetics and chemistry and stress<br />

and symbioses <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pines and maintaining <strong>the</strong> essential<br />

element <strong>of</strong> fire in <strong>the</strong>ir habitat.<br />

Pine yard, surprisingly, is a forest that needs to burn<br />

— it is fire-dependent, and exclusion <strong>of</strong> fire for too long<br />

Top right: In May 2012, <strong>the</strong>re were very few pine trees in Burn Plot 2, and none were strong enough to reproduce.<br />

Above: In December 2019, <strong>the</strong> same Burn Plot 2 hosts several dozen healthy, robust Caicos pine trees that have reached reproductive age and<br />

strength. Hundreds more grow in surrounding burn plots.<br />

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leads to invasion by broadleaf trees and an eventual total<br />

and permanent takeover. Pine seedlings can’t grow in<br />

broadleaf trees’ dense shade — but broadleaf trees can’t<br />

take repeated ground fires like pine can. Lightning strikes<br />

used to ignite pine yards, but <strong>the</strong> habitat’s fragmentation<br />

from <strong>the</strong> scale insect now prevents fires from functioning<br />

in <strong>the</strong> proper way. Controlled burns are <strong>the</strong> answer,<br />

wherein teams <strong>of</strong> specialists prepare <strong>the</strong> ground, cut firebreaks<br />

and expertly apply fire to <strong>the</strong> habitat in a way that<br />

it is safe for humans and trees. The first controlled burn<br />

in May 2012 was successful (in that <strong>the</strong>re were no accidents,<br />

escaped fires or pine trees permanently harmed)<br />

but none <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> burn team knew just how successful it<br />

would be.<br />

Within months <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> burn, <strong>the</strong>re were obvious benefits:<br />

Saplings that had been festooned with scale insects<br />

and stunted for years by <strong>the</strong>ir parasitism suddenly<br />

flushed with new growth and quadrupled <strong>the</strong>ir height in<br />

a year. The release <strong>of</strong> nutritious ash into <strong>the</strong> soil and <strong>the</strong><br />

reduction <strong>of</strong> broadleaf competition, coupled with scale<br />

insects’ dislike <strong>of</strong> heat and smoke, encouraged growth.<br />

But with mature pines all but gone <strong>the</strong>re was no significant<br />

seed production (those that remained bore cones<br />

that remained scantily fertilized due to low pollen count<br />

in <strong>the</strong> air) and so no recruitment. The young saplings<br />

grew to two metres, <strong>the</strong>n five, <strong>the</strong>n eight and <strong>the</strong>y finally<br />

began producing cones, but seeds were still few. Caicos<br />

pinecones can hold over 80 seeds and trees can produce<br />

dozens <strong>of</strong> cones, but production was down to single<br />

digits <strong>of</strong> seed per tree annually and not all were viable.<br />

More clusters <strong>of</strong> pines grew, but <strong>the</strong>re was no indication<br />

that <strong>the</strong> habitat would be self-sustaining within <strong>the</strong> near<br />

future.<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n, serendipitously in mid-December, which<br />

happens to be Caicos Pine Awareness Month, a remarkable<br />

manifestation was observed in <strong>the</strong> pine yard. During<br />

a field trip to one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> burn plots by participants in<br />

<strong>the</strong> collaborative DECR/Bahamas Forestry Unit’s Plant<br />

Identification Training, something familiar caught Junel<br />

“Flash” Blaise’s eye. Having grown hundreds <strong>of</strong> Caicos<br />

pine seedlings in <strong>the</strong> project nursery and having rescued<br />

dozens from unsuitable wild spots over <strong>the</strong> years, Flash’s<br />

sense for finding tiny, newly germinated pine seedlings is<br />

nothing short <strong>of</strong> supersensory. Under a pine tree on <strong>the</strong><br />

far side <strong>of</strong> Burn Plot #2, he noticed a lime-green, brushlike<br />

seedling. With just a cursory glance around, Flash<br />

The parent tree <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos Pine seedlings, with many o<strong>the</strong>r young<br />

and vigorous <strong>of</strong> its kind in <strong>the</strong> background, benefited from <strong>the</strong> 2012<br />

controlled burn.<br />

counted six more, including a seedling so young it only<br />

had its first four needles. The parent tree above had been<br />

a crippled sapling barely a foot high before <strong>the</strong> 2012<br />

burn, but had grown into a sturdy, four metre tree with<br />

<strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nutritious ash. Near its crown, a cluster <strong>of</strong><br />

fat, chestnut-coloured cones yawned, <strong>the</strong>ir scales open<br />

having dropped <strong>the</strong>ir seeds in October.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

The 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed <strong>the</strong><br />

Caicos Pine Recovery Project Nursery and seed collections<br />

for 2019 were put on hold until <strong>the</strong> nursery could be<br />

rebuilt. But here <strong>the</strong> Caicos pines had taken up <strong>the</strong> task<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves for <strong>the</strong> first time in over a decade.<br />

The seedlings are an unexpected sign <strong>of</strong> hope: They<br />

signify that trees are healthy enough to produce viable<br />

seed and numerous enough to shed sufficient pollen to<br />

fertilize young cones. While pine tortoise scale insect is<br />

still present in <strong>the</strong> pine yard, <strong>the</strong>ir infestation is greatly<br />

reduced and trees are healthier and more robust than<br />

<strong>the</strong>y have been since <strong>the</strong> insect arrived in TCI.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> seedlings grow, <strong>the</strong>ir new roots will knit into<br />

<strong>the</strong> diverse array <strong>of</strong> soil fungi that help <strong>the</strong> pine grow and<br />

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draw up <strong>the</strong> nutritious ash still present in <strong>the</strong> thin soil<br />

released by <strong>the</strong> 2012 burn. In time, <strong>the</strong>y will grow taller<br />

and shed <strong>the</strong>ir old needles, contributing to <strong>the</strong> blanket<br />

<strong>of</strong> fuel for <strong>the</strong> next burn. If conditions continue to be<br />

favourable, seeds will be produced annually and will help<br />

restore this small patch <strong>of</strong> pine yard to a density like <strong>the</strong><br />

pre-scale insect habitat.<br />

DECR’s own pine seedling expert Junel “Flash” Blaise gleefully points<br />

out one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> newly grown seedlings he noticed in <strong>the</strong> needle duff.<br />

And while <strong>the</strong> project team may not be able to see<br />

restored, intact habitat with large mature trees within<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir lifetimes, <strong>the</strong>y will continue to watch over <strong>the</strong> new<br />

seedlings and document <strong>the</strong>ir growth—and be excited to<br />

see <strong>the</strong> first glimpse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos pine’s unique ecosystem<br />

rising from <strong>the</strong> ashes. a<br />

To see <strong>the</strong> National Tree in its natural habitat and witness<br />

<strong>the</strong> habitat recovery, visit <strong>the</strong> Caicos Pine Yard<br />

Trail: National Tree Ramble on Middle Caicos (on King<br />

Road, one mile past Conch Bar Caves National Park gate).<br />

The fully-interpreted trail is under half a mile over level<br />

ground and is free to visit sunrise to sunset. It is part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 660-acre Caicos Pine Core Conservation Area for<br />

Middle Caicos and protected within <strong>the</strong> North, Middle and<br />

East Caicos Wetlands Nature Reserve (a Ramsar Wetlands<br />

Convention Site).<br />

Naming Names:<br />

Collaborative Plant Identification Training<br />

Story & Photos By B Naqqi Manco,<br />

DECR Terrestrial Ecologist<br />

The Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources<br />

conducted <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Bahamas Plant Identification Training 2019, a<br />

techniques and tools-based approach to learning<br />

methodology for identification <strong>of</strong> native plants. The<br />

workshop, held from December 16–20, 2019, was <strong>the</strong><br />

second in a series <strong>of</strong> internationally collaborative trainings<br />

between DECR and The Bahamas Forestry Unit.<br />

The first was conducted in New Providence in April<br />

2017 by DECR Terrestrial Ecologist B Naqqi Manco, who<br />

also taught <strong>the</strong> 2019 event. It focused on species <strong>of</strong><br />

interest to The Bahamas Forestry Unit, mainly woody<br />

species associated with <strong>the</strong>ir pine forests. As The<br />

Bahamas Forestry Unit’s Seed Collection Project began<br />

bringing <strong>the</strong>m deeper into <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn Bahamas and<br />

into habitats with which <strong>the</strong>y had less familiarity, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

saw a need to utilize DECR’s botanical expertise in <strong>the</strong><br />

dry sou<strong>the</strong>rn islands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayan Archipelago.<br />

Two participants from The Bahamas Forestry Unit,<br />

Amano Williams and Andrew Curry, learned alongside<br />

participants from DECR and <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

National Trust. B Naqqi Manco explains, “The training<br />

isn’t meant to be a rote memorization <strong>of</strong> species in<br />

<strong>the</strong> field, but ra<strong>the</strong>r was approached through recognizing<br />

anatomical features, understanding <strong>the</strong> related<br />

terminology and using those characteristics to find<br />

<strong>the</strong> identifications in <strong>the</strong> texts. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> terminology<br />

can be intimidating — for example what does it<br />

mean when a leaf has ‘a retuse apex, crenulate margin,<br />

and oblique base with a subchartaceous texture and<br />

is highly discolored?’ All <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se terms relate to features<br />

important in <strong>the</strong> identification <strong>of</strong> plants to family,<br />

genus and species.”<br />

Along with teaching plant anatomy, terminology<br />

and descriptions <strong>of</strong> features, <strong>the</strong> training also focused<br />

on taxonomic classification, botanical names and <strong>the</strong><br />

use <strong>of</strong> keys in flora texts for identification <strong>of</strong> plant<br />

species. The course featured a strong field element,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> first day being a trip to Little Water Cay with<br />

42 www.timespub.tc

green pages newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> department <strong>of</strong> environment & coastal resources<br />

Clockwise from top left: Participants learn <strong>the</strong> sense <strong>of</strong> smell can<br />

be an important identification tool as <strong>the</strong>y inhale <strong>the</strong> strongly fragrant<br />

scent <strong>of</strong> nakedwood Myrcian<strong>the</strong>s fragrans leaves at Wade’s<br />

Green Plantation on North Caicos.<br />

Correll & Correll’s Flora <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahama Archipelago is <strong>the</strong> essential<br />

text for plant identification in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

In Wild Cow Run, Middle Caicos, participants observe <strong>the</strong> features<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI endemic Britton’s buttonbush Spermacoce brittonii that<br />

identify it as a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> c<strong>of</strong>fee family.<br />

a practical outcome: annual post-Hurricane Irma plant<br />

monitoring. Several species new to Little Water Cay were<br />

documented during <strong>the</strong> field training, including eyebright<br />

sedge Scleria lithosperma and tall Encyclia orchid<br />

Encyclia altissima. The second day <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> course was<br />

a classroom day with explanations <strong>of</strong> anatomy, terminology<br />

and texts, and targeted activities including a<br />

dichotomous key exercise. All participants received a<br />

workbook that included compendia <strong>of</strong> anatomical terminology<br />

and common characteristics.<br />

The third and fourth day took place in Middle and<br />

North Caicos, practicing plant identification in-situ with<br />

use <strong>of</strong> tools learned on <strong>the</strong> second day. Participants<br />

visited habitats unique to <strong>the</strong> archipelago including<br />

dune chapparal and coastal coppice, salina, limestone<br />

thicket, dry tropical forest, ephemeral freshwater wetlands,<br />

rocky ridges and wild-oak bottom.<br />

The final day included a classroom review, examination<br />

and presentation <strong>of</strong> certificates. Everyone who<br />

sat <strong>the</strong> exam received a 100% score. Bahamas Forestry<br />

Unit participant Amano Williams shared, “It was a blast,<br />

I learned a lot and it was a great refresher. The instructor<br />

took his time and broke down <strong>the</strong> terminology. It<br />

was interesting because we’ve been exposed to new<br />

and different species <strong>of</strong> plants. We hope to continue<br />

building a stronger relation with more training and<br />

projects in <strong>the</strong> future.” DECR hopes to expand this<br />

training programme by making it more frequent and<br />

adding more advanced subject matter. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 43


feature<br />

Opposite page: Slavery on <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> was all about cotton, this beautiful and pr<strong>of</strong>itable plant that still grows wild across <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Above: Although this image depicts an amphibious assault by Colonial forces against <strong>the</strong> British port <strong>of</strong> Nassau, Bahamas<br />

during <strong>the</strong> American Revolutionary War, it could easily mirror <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first British Loyalists on <strong>the</strong> shores <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos<br />

and Providenciales following <strong>the</strong> American Revolution in <strong>the</strong> late 1700s.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> first British Loyalists arrived on <strong>the</strong> shores <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos and Providenciales following<br />

<strong>the</strong> American Revolution in <strong>the</strong> late 1700s, <strong>the</strong>y took with <strong>the</strong>m enslaved people and a mindset<br />

<strong>of</strong> entitlement and power that mirrored <strong>the</strong> mores and hierarchy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American South. The confiscation<br />

<strong>of</strong> home and plantations by <strong>the</strong> victorious American Patriots followed by forced exile apparently kindled<br />

no reflection or reconsideration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> practice <strong>of</strong> slavery as <strong>the</strong> Loyalists tried to recreate a lifestyle <strong>of</strong><br />

privilege in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Largely left out is <strong>the</strong> perspective <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people who made possible that lifestyle, as if <strong>the</strong>y were muted<br />

shadows on <strong>the</strong> wall instead <strong>of</strong> vibrant actors in <strong>the</strong>ir own right. What <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pain and exploitation <strong>the</strong>y<br />

endured? What cracks in <strong>the</strong> system did <strong>the</strong>y manipulate? And what <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir courage under fire that, for<br />

a brief afternoon, put <strong>the</strong> enslaver and enslaved shoulder to shoulder as equals? Though slavery’s paradox<br />

was plain to see, Loyalists never mustered <strong>the</strong>ir own courage to change, even in a defining moment,<br />

holding on to <strong>the</strong>ir ways to <strong>the</strong> end.<br />

Hidden Legacy<br />

Slavery and <strong>the</strong> Loyalists in “Grand Caicos.”<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 45

Exile and second chances<br />

The story <strong>of</strong> Loyalist settlers to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

is well documented. At <strong>the</strong> conclusion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Revolution, <strong>the</strong> Patriots bitterly resented those who had<br />

fought for King George III and <strong>of</strong>ten tarred and fea<strong>the</strong>red<br />

<strong>the</strong>m (a common mob form <strong>of</strong> punishment at <strong>the</strong> time).<br />

Forced <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong>ir property (which enriched <strong>the</strong> victors who<br />

took over), many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Loyalists in Georgia fled to nearby<br />

St. Augustine in East Florida which had been returned to<br />

Spanish rule.<br />

The Spanish <strong>of</strong>fered to let <strong>the</strong> Loyalists stay if <strong>the</strong>y<br />

swore allegiance to Spain and converted to Catholicism.<br />

But <strong>the</strong> Protestant Loyalists (also referred to as Tories, <strong>the</strong><br />

political party reflecting <strong>the</strong>ir views) refused to convert<br />

and opted to take a chance on a new life in <strong>the</strong> Bahamas,<br />

which at that time included Turks & Caicos. (See <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> Fall 2010, “All <strong>the</strong> King’s Men” by Dr. Charlene<br />

Kozy.) O<strong>the</strong>r Loyalists fled to <strong>the</strong> port city <strong>of</strong> Savannah<br />

and waited in squalid conditions for British ships that<br />

could take <strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong> Bahamas as well, or o<strong>the</strong>r parts <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> British Empire for resettlement.<br />

During this time in limbo, <strong>the</strong> British government<br />

compensated Loyalists for some or all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> losses suffered<br />

in <strong>the</strong> now former British colonies with cash and<br />

land grants that enabled <strong>the</strong>m to begin anew. The compensation,<br />

as well as things <strong>of</strong> value to bring out, allowed<br />

Loyalists to purchase machinery, agricultural implements,<br />

and more slaves, giving <strong>the</strong>m a big advantage in starting<br />

over with new plantations and a second life.<br />

The first stop for many Loyalists was Nassau or<br />

nearby Cat Island, Eleu<strong>the</strong>ra and Abaco. Their presence<br />

immediately caused friction with <strong>the</strong> long-term white residents<br />

who were mostly poor, illiterate and resentful <strong>of</strong><br />

well-to-do refugees who looked down on <strong>the</strong>m. Loyalists<br />

with <strong>the</strong> means set out for <strong>the</strong> more fertile and uninhabited<br />

islands <strong>of</strong> “Grand Caicos,” what we know today as<br />

North and Middle Caicos and Parrot Cay. They were really<br />

<strong>the</strong> third wave <strong>of</strong> slaveholders in TCI, <strong>the</strong> first being <strong>the</strong><br />

Spanish enslavers who removed <strong>the</strong> original Taino and<br />

Lucayan Indians in <strong>the</strong> late 1400s and early 1500s that,<br />

along with disease and killings, completely depopulated<br />

all <strong>of</strong> TCI. The Bermudians followed in <strong>the</strong> late 1600s,<br />

bringing hundreds <strong>of</strong> slaves to Grand Turk, Salt Cay and<br />

South Caicos to work <strong>the</strong> salt ponds.<br />

Before setting foot in TCI, <strong>the</strong> Loyalists knew <strong>the</strong><br />

location and acreage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir new plantations in Grand<br />

Caicos. And <strong>the</strong>y knew how much forced labor and tools<br />

<strong>the</strong>y would need to cut and clear <strong>the</strong> thick brush for planting<br />

<strong>of</strong> sea cotton, which had already proven to be a viable<br />

crop on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Bahamian islands. The Loyalist planters<br />

that arrived in Grand Caicos knew one ano<strong>the</strong>r and kept<br />

in contact with o<strong>the</strong>r Loyalist families that had settled<br />

elsewhere in <strong>the</strong> Bahamas and o<strong>the</strong>r British Caribbean<br />

islands. That connection based on common values and<br />

shared experience in exile gave <strong>the</strong>m a measure <strong>of</strong> social<br />

and political power.<br />

Records tell <strong>of</strong> Loyalist marriages and <strong>of</strong>fspring, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

business dealings and <strong>the</strong>ir political ambitions to enhance<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir status in <strong>the</strong>ir new island home. We even know <strong>the</strong><br />

inventory <strong>of</strong> luxury goods <strong>the</strong>y loaded onto ships, such<br />

as fine mahogany furniture, china, silverware and linen<br />

sheets. Libraries, musical instruments, spy glasses and<br />

silver dueling pistols rounded out <strong>the</strong> households <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

stone and wood houses <strong>the</strong> slaves would build for <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

In fact, some Loyalists modeled <strong>the</strong>ir new abodes after<br />

houses where <strong>the</strong>y had lived in Georgia.<br />

There are no records <strong>of</strong> what <strong>the</strong>y thought when <strong>the</strong>y<br />

squinted out at <strong>the</strong> hot, low-lying islands <strong>of</strong> Grand Caicos<br />

covered with thick brush and rocks with few sources <strong>of</strong><br />

fresh water. But surely <strong>the</strong>ir hearts must have sunk at <strong>the</strong><br />

realization that even with slaves, machinery and a few<br />

luxuries, life would probably never reach <strong>the</strong> level <strong>the</strong>y<br />

enjoyed in <strong>the</strong> American South.<br />

No let-up for <strong>the</strong> enslaved<br />

The enslaved, <strong>of</strong> course, arrived here with nothing except<br />

a strong culture <strong>of</strong> resilience and adaptation. From <strong>the</strong><br />

Loyalist perspective, <strong>the</strong>y existed solely to be exploited<br />

for commercial gain. From <strong>the</strong> enslaved perspective, life<br />

centered on how to work <strong>the</strong> system, resist and retain a<br />

measure <strong>of</strong> dignity in <strong>the</strong> face <strong>of</strong> daily oppression. While<br />

Loyalists were able to bring some slaves from Georgia,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Carolinas and East Florida, <strong>the</strong>y bought new ones at<br />

slave markets in Nassau and Cuba before <strong>the</strong> final leg<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> journey to Grand Caicos. Thus, new arrivals from<br />

Africa mixed in with an existing culture <strong>of</strong> people who had<br />

known nothing but slavery.<br />

We can only imagine <strong>the</strong> great despair and bewilderment<br />

slaves must have felt when <strong>the</strong>y emerged from <strong>the</strong><br />

holds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same sailing ships as <strong>the</strong> Loyalists. They, too,<br />

shielded <strong>the</strong>ir eyes while peering into <strong>the</strong> bright sunlight<br />

and saw before <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> desolate, faraway island, searingly<br />

conscious <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir status and grim prospects. The<br />

new home held no promise <strong>of</strong> a better life, only forced<br />

backbreaking work until death.<br />

As in <strong>the</strong> American South and throughout <strong>the</strong> West<br />

Indies, <strong>the</strong> Loyalists recorded slaves as numbers. How<br />

46 www.timespub.tc

Before setting foot in TCI, <strong>the</strong> Loyalists knew <strong>the</strong> location and acreage<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir new plantations in Grand Caicos. And <strong>the</strong>y knew how<br />

much forced labor and tools <strong>the</strong>y would need to cut and clear <strong>the</strong><br />

thick brush for planting <strong>of</strong> sea cotton, which had already proven to<br />

be a viable crop on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Bahamian islands.<br />

ALMAY LTD.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 47

many belonged to whom and <strong>the</strong> purchases, sales and<br />

transfers, along with first names. While a slave’s position<br />

or health condition might be listed, this was <strong>the</strong> exception.<br />

A sales document dated 20th August 1792 marking<br />

<strong>the</strong> transfer <strong>of</strong> slaves between plantation owners Wade<br />

Stubbs and Annis Stubbs provides an example. The document<br />

shows that Annis Stubbs paid “five hundred pounds<br />

sterling” to own 12 people. The document records <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

names as George, Phabe, Jeny, Venus, Rachel, Charlott,<br />

Lucy, Jim, York, Nancy, Cathy and Darky and stipulates<br />

“with all <strong>the</strong>ir future and increase <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir bodies.” The<br />

quoted words make starkly clear <strong>the</strong> expected continuity<br />

<strong>of</strong> property through propagation and leaves no doubt<br />

about <strong>the</strong>ir belief in <strong>the</strong> perpetuation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> institution<br />

<strong>of</strong> slavery. It also lays bare <strong>the</strong> pure commercial transactional<br />

nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> practice.<br />

The Bermudian slave holders on Grand Turk, Salt Cay<br />

and South Caicos similarly tracked slaves <strong>the</strong>y used to<br />

produce salt. And both groups counted <strong>the</strong> slaves who<br />

escaped, as <strong>the</strong>se were serious monetary losses to be<br />

accounted for. In short, <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> those held bondage<br />

were reduced to bookkeeping.<br />

For slavery to succeed, though, slaveholders had to<br />

maintain constant control through absolute power using<br />

violence or <strong>the</strong> threat <strong>of</strong> violence. We are well aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

brutality Bermudian slaveholders meted out to slaves who<br />

worked <strong>the</strong> salt ponds on Grand Turk through <strong>the</strong> raw<br />

and riveting firsthand account <strong>of</strong> slavery by Mary Prince.<br />

As recorded and published by abolitionists in London in<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1830s, Mary tells <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> grueling labor and torture<br />

she experienced and witnessed as a slave working <strong>the</strong> salt<br />

ponds:<br />

Then we had no sleep—no rest—but were forced to<br />

work as fast as we could, and go on again all next<br />

day <strong>the</strong> same as usual. Work—work—work—Oh<br />

that Turks Island was a horrible place! The people<br />

<strong>of</strong> England, I am sure, have never found out what is<br />

carried out <strong>the</strong>re. Cruel, horrible place!<br />

If we could not keep up with <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gang <strong>of</strong><br />

slaves, we were put in <strong>the</strong> stocks, and severely flogged<br />

<strong>the</strong> next morning.<br />

Mr. D—has <strong>of</strong>ten stripped me naked, hung me up by<br />

<strong>the</strong> wrists, and beat me with <strong>the</strong> cow-skin, with his<br />

own hand, till my body was raw with gashes.<br />

No such detailed account exists for <strong>the</strong> enslaved on<br />

<strong>the</strong> cotton plantations <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos, Parrot<br />

Cay and Providenciales, though life was likely as harsh.<br />

Indeed, <strong>the</strong> Loyalist slaveholders would have every reason<br />

to omit accounts <strong>of</strong> violence inflicted on <strong>the</strong> enslaved in<br />

Grand Caicos. Great Britain had banned <strong>the</strong> slave trade<br />

in 1807 (not slavery itself) and put in place various laws<br />

to regulate slavery in <strong>the</strong> West Indies and elsewhere. So,<br />

at least on paper, <strong>the</strong> laws forbade some egregious practices<br />

and required some care for sick and elderly slaves.<br />

However, in <strong>the</strong> isolation <strong>of</strong> Grand Caicos, or even in <strong>the</strong><br />

more trafficked Grand Turk, <strong>the</strong>se laws could be safely<br />

ignored as long as everyone kept quiet.<br />

Despite <strong>the</strong> paucity <strong>of</strong> written accounts <strong>of</strong> slave<br />

treatment in Grand Caicos, we can still glean a picture <strong>of</strong><br />

slavery on <strong>the</strong>se islands through <strong>the</strong> records kept, oral<br />

history passed down and witness accounts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brutality<br />

<strong>of</strong> slavery in <strong>the</strong> region. These are largely in sync<br />

with what Mary Prince had revealed through her abolitionist<br />

supporters. For <strong>the</strong> Loyalist enslavers, <strong>the</strong> culture<br />

<strong>of</strong> exploitation in <strong>the</strong> American South closely paralleled<br />

<strong>the</strong> one here and, thus, can serve as a historical portal<br />

into <strong>the</strong> conditions and relationships that likely existed<br />

between slaves and Loyalists.<br />

Exerting control<br />

Presbyterian minister and abolitionist John Rankin’s 1826<br />

Letters on Slavery compellingly describes common slave<br />

treatment at <strong>the</strong> time that parallel accounts throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> West Indies. Control meant keeping slaves hungry and<br />

desperate for food, which could easily be cut <strong>of</strong>f. From<br />

<strong>the</strong>re, as Rankin’s Letters makes clear, slaves faced painful<br />

floggings for not working hard enough, for stealing<br />

food or for no reason at all. Ratcheting up, slaveholders at<br />

times applied more severe forms <strong>of</strong> torment, including dismemberment,<br />

mutilation and burning to punish and send<br />

a message to o<strong>the</strong>rs. Notably, Rankin’s Letters recount<br />

<strong>the</strong> pouring <strong>of</strong> red pepper or turpentine into wounds and<br />

gashes, not unlike what Mary Prince saw when Bermudian<br />

slaveholders poured salt into <strong>the</strong> wounds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> enslaved<br />

on Grand Turk. While administering <strong>the</strong>se tortures, slaveholders<br />

would actually read Biblical scripture that in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

interpretation justified and rationalized <strong>the</strong>ir actions.<br />

Perhaps <strong>the</strong> most vivid account <strong>of</strong> this harsh reality<br />

<strong>of</strong> slavery is <strong>the</strong> book 12 Years a Slave by Solomon<br />

Northrup, published in 1853. Made into a major motion<br />

picture in 2013, it won Oscars for Best Picture, Best<br />

Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. The<br />

book and <strong>the</strong> movie detail Mr. Northrup’s experience <strong>of</strong><br />

going from a free man in New York to being kidnapped<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

The painting “Am Not I A Man and a Bro<strong>the</strong>r” dates to around 1800 and features a dominant motif detailing <strong>the</strong><br />

agonizing and insufferable treatment <strong>of</strong> slaves on a Caribbean sugar plantation during <strong>the</strong> Transatlantic Slave<br />

Trade. Based on a design commissioned by <strong>the</strong> Committee for <strong>the</strong> Abolition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Slave Trade on July 5, 1787,<br />

<strong>the</strong> painting is considered to be one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first instances <strong>of</strong> a logo designed for a political cause. It was famously<br />

used by <strong>the</strong> potter Josiah Wedgwood for his persuasive anti-slavery ceramic medallions and went on to become<br />

<strong>the</strong> dominant image <strong>of</strong> abolition campaigning in <strong>the</strong> 18th and 19th centuries.<br />


and forced to work as a slave on a cotton plantation in<br />

Louisiana. After friends secured his release that enabled<br />

him to return to New York, he worked with abolitionist<br />

groups to highlight <strong>the</strong> conditions he and o<strong>the</strong>r slaves<br />

were subjected to. The book and <strong>the</strong> movie graphically<br />

describe <strong>the</strong> horrific treatment at <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> a slave<br />

owner, including sexual exploitation.<br />

It is fair to assume that Loyalist slaveholders, as a<br />

matter <strong>of</strong> course, continued to carry out such violence on<br />

Grand Caicos slaves, even if application varied. It could be<br />

argued that treatment <strong>of</strong> slaves on Grand Caicos may not<br />

have been as severe as on Grand Turk because slaveholders<br />

on Grand Caicos would have more incentive to manage<br />

<strong>the</strong>m better in view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> difficulty <strong>of</strong> acquiring new slaves<br />

due to isolation. But beating slaves was such a regular part<br />

<strong>of</strong> slave life that it’s hard to believe <strong>the</strong> Loyalists would<br />

somehow become more amenable with changed circumstances,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>re is little to suggest o<strong>the</strong>rwise.<br />

While violence was <strong>the</strong> main tool for controlling<br />

enslaved people and extracting as much work as possible,<br />

slaveholders also had to deal with <strong>the</strong> prospect <strong>of</strong> a slave<br />

revolt. Indeed, slave rebellions had taken place in <strong>the</strong><br />

American South and West Indies throughout <strong>the</strong> 1700s<br />

and early 1800s, culminating in <strong>the</strong> successful rebellion<br />

in Haiti in November 1803 that led to <strong>the</strong> establishment<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first black republic <strong>of</strong> former slaves. Loyalists were<br />

keenly well aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se uprisings, especially <strong>the</strong> revolt<br />

in Haiti in view <strong>of</strong> its proximity to TCI—just 100 miles/160<br />

km away. Ships sailing between nor<strong>the</strong>rn Haiti and TCI<br />

greatly facilitated a flow <strong>of</strong> information to slaveholders<br />

and slaves alike about <strong>the</strong> struggle taking place in Haiti<br />

over <strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong> more than a decade.<br />

In order to mitigate <strong>the</strong> chances <strong>of</strong> an uprising and<br />

<strong>the</strong> risk <strong>of</strong> revenge, slaveholders <strong>of</strong>ten took measures to<br />

create divisions among slaves. One way was to acquire<br />

slaves from different parts <strong>of</strong> Africa who could not understand<br />

each o<strong>the</strong>r or mix <strong>the</strong>m in with slaves who had been<br />

in bondage for many generations. The Loyalist purchase<br />

<strong>of</strong> slaves at markets in Nassau and Cuba to augment <strong>the</strong><br />

slaves <strong>the</strong>y had brought from <strong>the</strong> American South may<br />

well have had <strong>the</strong> effect <strong>of</strong> creating such divisions, though<br />

we don’t know if it was a deliberate strategy.<br />

A second way to split slave groups was to create hierarchies<br />

<strong>of</strong> slaves with special privileges. We know that<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> slaves brought by Loyalists had specialized<br />

skills such as carpentry and blacksmithing, thus indicating<br />

<strong>the</strong> strong possibility <strong>of</strong> “favored” slaves with more<br />

status that could cause resentment and sow disharmony<br />

to discourage unified action.<br />

In fact, no outright slave revolts took place in TCI.<br />

However, many slaves successfully escaped, mainly by<br />

taking boats from <strong>the</strong> beaches at night and sailing south<br />

to Haiti, a country that welcomed <strong>the</strong>m as free people.<br />

(See <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> Fall 2018, “Sailing to Freedom”<br />

by this author.) Between 1822 and 1825, 128 slaves in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos escaped, many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m from <strong>the</strong> Wade<br />

Stubbs plantation on North Caicos. We have no testimony<br />

on why <strong>the</strong>y or any slaves from TCI escaped, though abusive<br />

treatment would seem to be <strong>the</strong> likely motivation to<br />

get away—bad enough to cause <strong>the</strong>m forsake family and<br />

friends.<br />

Exploitation and sentiment<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most debasing aspects <strong>of</strong> slavery was sexual<br />

exploitation <strong>of</strong> slave women by slaveholders that also<br />

involved violence or <strong>the</strong> threat <strong>of</strong> violence. While some<br />

slaves may have been accommodating to avoid repercussions,<br />

all were in some way coerced or forced.<br />

Stories <strong>of</strong> such abuse abounded. Mary Prince herself<br />

was almost certainly subjected to sexual exploitation by<br />

<strong>the</strong> slaveholder she refers to as “Mr. D” on Grand Turk.<br />

Some abolitionists, including those who supported Mary<br />

Prince, may have purposefully glossed over <strong>the</strong> more heinous<br />

and salacious accounts, as <strong>the</strong>y felt it would distract<br />

from <strong>the</strong> larger objective <strong>of</strong> banning slavery. Of course, <strong>the</strong><br />

awareness could not be hidden for long since <strong>the</strong> exploitation<br />

resulted in numerous births <strong>of</strong> mulatto children.<br />

A British-mandated census in 1834 in TCI classified<br />

180 individuals (13.08% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> slave population)<br />

as “Mulattos,” which was defined as persons with both<br />

African and European bloodlines. Of <strong>the</strong>se, according to<br />

TCI historian Nigel Sadler in his book Slave History <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, 112 persons were under 20 years<br />

<strong>of</strong> age. It is not known if all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mulattos were <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong>fspring <strong>of</strong> slaveholders and slaves—some could have<br />

been <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> liaisons between white indentured servants<br />

or o<strong>the</strong>r white non-slaveholders and ei<strong>the</strong>r slaves<br />

or ex-slaves. However, <strong>the</strong> high number <strong>of</strong> children and<br />

teens <strong>of</strong> mixed race, <strong>the</strong> close proximity <strong>of</strong> slaves to slaveholders<br />

in all <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong> long history <strong>of</strong> forced<br />

or coercive sexual relations by slaveholders strongly indicates<br />

that most, though maybe not all, mulatto <strong>of</strong>fspring<br />

at that time were <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> slaveholder exploitation <strong>of</strong><br />

female slaves.<br />

These abhorrent violations could take strange turns.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1760s and 1770s, a Jamaican slaveholder named<br />

Thomas Thistlewood kept a detailed diary <strong>of</strong> his relations<br />

with slaves. He even documented his own brutality<br />

50 www.timespub.tc


against slaves, which historian Trevor Burnard called<br />

“sociopathic,” a term which could perhaps be applied to<br />

most slaveholders, including many on Grand Caicos.<br />

In a twisted but not uncommon way, Thistlewood<br />

also developed an affection for a few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> slave women.<br />

One woman in particular named Phibbah, with whom he<br />

had a son, apparently used his emotional connection to<br />

her (perhaps dependency mixed with jealousy) to turn<br />

<strong>the</strong> tables and gain favors to survive in an o<strong>the</strong>rwise<br />

oppressive society. Phibbah even felt free to quarrel with<br />

Thistlewood and refuse to sleep with him without fear <strong>of</strong><br />

repercussion.<br />

This brings us to <strong>the</strong> intriguing relationship between<br />

Dr. John Lorimer and his slave Rose on his Haulover<br />

Estate in Middle Caicos. Lorimer’s will, written in 1807,<br />

has been recorded as stating that on his death he would<br />

free all <strong>of</strong> his slaves. In fact, according to Mr. Sadler,<br />

<strong>the</strong> will was mistakenly recorded because Lorimer freed<br />

only one slave, referred to as his “faithful Negro woman<br />

slave Rose.” Rose first appears as “Rosana, property <strong>of</strong><br />

John Lorimer Esq. born April 16th, 1795” and baptized in<br />

March 1800 in Grand Turk when Lorimer was <strong>the</strong>re acting<br />

as <strong>the</strong> King’s Agent. Apparently, Rose is <strong>the</strong> only one <strong>of</strong><br />

his slaves to be baptized, which raises <strong>the</strong> question <strong>of</strong>,<br />

“Why her?”<br />

The details <strong>of</strong> Lorimer’s will provide some context:<br />

“I wish my body to be carried to <strong>the</strong> grave by six <strong>of</strong> my<br />

Negroes (if I have any) dressed in white. For long service<br />

rendered me by <strong>the</strong> Negro woman Rose, I leave her free<br />

. . . [and] leave Rose any two <strong>of</strong> my young Negroes born<br />

and raised in <strong>the</strong> Caicos and Turks <strong>Islands</strong>, which she may<br />

choose.” Rose is later mentioned in an 1822 slave register<br />

as, “Rose Lorimer, free black woman” who owns two<br />

slaves, “Joe, male 30, Black. Turks <strong>Islands</strong> and Hannah,<br />

female, 30, Black. Turks <strong>Islands</strong>.”<br />

So it appears that Rose is free and has two slaves <strong>of</strong><br />

her own, a rare gift for a former slave, which suggests a<br />

special relationship with Lorimer <strong>of</strong> some kind. It is telling<br />

that Rose is already referred to in Lorimer’s 1807 will as<br />

“faithful Negro woman,” and on track to be freed even<br />

though at <strong>the</strong> time she was only 12 years old (if she was in<br />

fact born in 1795 per <strong>the</strong> Grand Turk records). While not<br />

definitive, <strong>the</strong> shards <strong>of</strong> evidence seem to indicate that<br />

Rose is his daughter, prompting, <strong>of</strong> course, <strong>the</strong> second<br />

question about his relationship with Rose’s mo<strong>the</strong>r, most<br />

likely a slave under his control.<br />

By singling out Rose in granting her freedom and<br />

slaves, Lorimer ensured she would have far greater independence<br />

and a higher level <strong>of</strong> comfort in life. One can try<br />

to portray this act <strong>of</strong> kindness as a slaveholder’s “s<strong>of</strong>ter”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 51

side. However, Lorimer still felt compelled to use and perpetuate<br />

<strong>the</strong> institution <strong>of</strong> slavery to express his apparent<br />

affection for Rose (or guilt) and to ensure she had a better<br />

life. Though it is possible Rose’s two slaves were enslaved<br />

in name only, and maybe even relatives <strong>of</strong> Rose, Lorimer<br />

failed to take that additional step <strong>of</strong> freeing all slaves. In<br />

that sense, Lorimer was not much different from o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

slaveholders in <strong>the</strong> American South or Caribbean who<br />

gifted slaves to <strong>the</strong>ir wives and daughters for <strong>the</strong> same<br />

reasons.<br />

Indeed, <strong>the</strong> ownership <strong>of</strong> slaves by women was not<br />

unusual in <strong>the</strong> late 1700s and early 1800s. As many as<br />

40% <strong>of</strong> enslavers may have been women in <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States, as slaves represented one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few ways in which<br />

women could be independently well-<strong>of</strong>f, if not wealthy.<br />

Ironically, by possessing slaves, <strong>the</strong>se women gained a<br />

measure <strong>of</strong> personal freedom o<strong>the</strong>rwise denied to <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in an era when society accorded <strong>the</strong>m few rights, as was<br />

even more so in <strong>the</strong> case with Rose.<br />

While maltreatment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> enslaved is usually associated<br />

with men, historical records show that women<br />

were just as cruel whe<strong>the</strong>r or not <strong>the</strong>y actually owned <strong>the</strong><br />

slaves. In fact women, like men, in slaveholding families<br />

were socialized from an early age to treat slaves badly.<br />

The brutality was at its most pernicious when wives <strong>of</strong><br />

slaveholders physically lashed out at slave women whom<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir husbands had impregnated. The wives <strong>of</strong>ten blamed<br />

<strong>the</strong> slave women ra<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong>ir husbands responsible<br />

for <strong>the</strong> transgression. 12 Years a Slave highlighted this.<br />

Astoundingly, <strong>the</strong>se atrocities were confirmed through<br />

eye-witness accounts compiled as late as <strong>the</strong> 1930s from<br />

men and women still alive who had been slaves before<br />

American emancipation in 1865.<br />

In less common cases, women took advantage <strong>of</strong><br />

male slaves under <strong>the</strong>ir control in <strong>the</strong> American South<br />

and <strong>the</strong> West Indies, perhaps out <strong>of</strong> loneliness, perhaps<br />

out <strong>of</strong> defiance, or perhaps because <strong>the</strong>y could. Local historian<br />

and naturalist B Naqqi Manco recalls a story about<br />

a slave-owning widow on North Caicos who had relations<br />

with a slave named Fred. Little else is known about <strong>the</strong><br />

story, and it is hard to confirm, but <strong>the</strong> incident would not<br />

have been completely out <strong>of</strong> character for a slave-owning<br />

woman at <strong>the</strong> time in North Caicos or anywhere else.<br />

Confrontation and loyalty<br />

As slaveholders in <strong>the</strong> American South and <strong>the</strong> West<br />

Indies came under increasing scrutiny and exposure by<br />

abolitionist groups, slaveholders attempted to counter<br />

<strong>the</strong> narrative that slavery was evil. They mounted what<br />

was in effect a public relations campaign by portraying<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves as benevolent masters who treated “<strong>the</strong>ir”<br />

slaves well. They argued that slaves were, in fact, better<br />

<strong>of</strong>f with <strong>the</strong> food and shelter <strong>the</strong>y provided and cited incidents<br />

<strong>of</strong> slave “loyalty” as evidence <strong>of</strong> acceptance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

condition. Many people bought into <strong>the</strong> notion that slavery<br />

“wasn’t that bad,” a story line that could be considered<br />

<strong>the</strong> “fake news” <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

Just how did this notion <strong>of</strong> slave loyalty play out with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Loyalists <strong>of</strong> Grand Caicos? As it happens, a pirate<br />

attack <strong>of</strong>f West Caicos brought enslaved and enslavers<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r in a fight for survival that tested assumptions<br />

about slavery for at least one prominent Loyalist planter,<br />

Colonel Thomas Brown. Originally from Yorkshire,<br />

England, Thomas made his way to <strong>the</strong> American colonies<br />

where he started plantations in <strong>the</strong> American South and<br />

acquired slaves just as <strong>the</strong> Revolutionary War broke out.<br />

After pr<strong>of</strong>essing loyalty to King George III and refusing<br />

to sign a letter swearing allegiance to <strong>the</strong> Revolution at<br />

a “Sons <strong>of</strong> Liberty” meeting, <strong>the</strong> Patriots brutally attacked<br />

and tarred and fea<strong>the</strong>red him.<br />

Angry and spoiling for revenge, Brown joined <strong>the</strong><br />

Loyalist unit “The King’s Rangers” and fought against <strong>the</strong><br />

Patriots, rising to <strong>the</strong> rank <strong>of</strong> colonel. Legend has it that<br />

his bitterness was so great that he hanged 13 Patriots just<br />

so he could gloat over <strong>the</strong>ir suffering.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> Patriots wrested control <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

colonies from Great Britain, he along with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Loyalists made <strong>the</strong>ir way to North Caicos to start over. In<br />

<strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong> developing a plantation, he, like Lorimer,<br />

earned a reputation for treating slaves well. If a slave<br />

from one plantation wanted to marry a slave from ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

plantation, he would buy <strong>the</strong> slave in order to keep <strong>the</strong><br />

family toge<strong>the</strong>r. Supposedly, he had also freed favorites<br />

among <strong>the</strong> enslaved even before coming to North Caicos.<br />

Therefore, if any slaveholder could have empathy and<br />

understanding and see <strong>the</strong> enslaved as human, not chattel,<br />

it would seem to be Brown.<br />

When a ship from Rhode Island laden with badly<br />

needed supplies and provisions for Loyalist planters<br />

wrecked on <strong>the</strong> reef <strong>of</strong>f West Caicos, Brown, o<strong>the</strong>r planters<br />

and several slaves set <strong>of</strong>f for <strong>the</strong> stricken ship. Sailing<br />

in five sloops, <strong>the</strong>y found <strong>the</strong> ship intact and successfully<br />

salvaged <strong>the</strong> valuable cargo. As <strong>the</strong>y were about to return,<br />

French pirates/privateers attacked <strong>the</strong>m. A pitched battle<br />

ensued as <strong>the</strong> French attempted to drive <strong>the</strong> slaves and<br />

Loyalists against <strong>the</strong> reef and take <strong>the</strong>ir sloops and cargo.<br />

Brown sailed <strong>the</strong> largest boat that was mounted with<br />

two small cannons. Also on board was a crew <strong>of</strong> slaves<br />

52 www.timespub.tc

armed with muskets. Toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>y managed to drive<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> French three different times. After three hours <strong>of</strong><br />

fighting, a cannon from a more heavily armed French ship<br />

sank Brown’s sloop, forcing him and <strong>the</strong> crew to swim to<br />

shore on West Caicos where <strong>the</strong>y awaited rescue. Two<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> slaves had been wounded in <strong>the</strong> fight, though not<br />

mortally. The French captured <strong>the</strong> remaining boats with<br />

<strong>the</strong> cargo and sailed away.<br />

The Bahama Gazette carried a story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fight in <strong>the</strong><br />

August 21, 1798 edition, including Brown’s praise for his<br />

men. In a letter to his fa<strong>the</strong>r in England, Brown wrote, “I<br />

was so proud <strong>of</strong> my men, did not mind <strong>the</strong> loss <strong>of</strong> goods.”<br />

This was not <strong>the</strong> first action Brown took that involved<br />

arming slaves to protect Loyalist planter interests. Brown,<br />

using his own money and probably with assistance from<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r planters, had already built two forts to protect Saint<br />

George Harbour (now known as Fort George Cay between<br />

Pine Cay and Dellis Cay).<br />

According to Edward J. Cashin in The King’s Ranger,<br />

“He (Brown) armed and drilled his black labor force” to<br />

man <strong>the</strong> fort. Clearly, Brown developed a great deal <strong>of</strong><br />

confidence in people he had enslaved to actually arm<br />

<strong>the</strong>m at a time when <strong>the</strong> Haitian slave rebellion was in<br />

full swing, and slaveholders were fearful <strong>the</strong> revolt might<br />

spread. Indeed, Brown’s initiatives were exceptional in a<br />

time when most slaveholders believed that slaves could<br />

not be trusted, much less with weapons.<br />

While Brown praised his men, implying loyalty to him<br />

in <strong>the</strong> fight against <strong>the</strong> French pirates, <strong>the</strong> slaves could<br />

just as well have been fighting for <strong>the</strong>ir own survival, not<br />

fealty to <strong>the</strong>ir slaveholder. And while <strong>the</strong> arming <strong>of</strong> slaves<br />

for island defense against raiders may well have been<br />

forward leaning and progressive for <strong>the</strong> era, could that<br />

loyalty have lasted long on such an isolated post if <strong>the</strong><br />

slave soldiers remained slaves? I can think <strong>of</strong> no instance<br />

where slaves fought willingly for slave masters without<br />

at least <strong>the</strong> promise <strong>of</strong> freedom, which Brown apparently<br />

never gave.<br />

When Brown departed North Caicos in 1802 and<br />

resettled in St. Vincent a few years later to start ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

plantation, he reportedly took with him 643 slaves and<br />

15 white overseers who had been working his plantations<br />

<strong>the</strong>re. In fact, Brown had so many slaves that it<br />

took almost two years to transfer all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. It should<br />

be noted that <strong>the</strong>re is no record <strong>of</strong> slaves escaping from<br />

Brown’s plantation. That might suggest that <strong>the</strong>y didn’t<br />

want to because <strong>the</strong>y were content. But, such a perspective<br />

would require an assumption that Brown (and all <strong>of</strong><br />

his 15 overseers) treated his slaves so vastly differently<br />

from o<strong>the</strong>r plantations that all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m preferred bondage<br />

to freedom, or at least questioned taking <strong>the</strong> risk <strong>of</strong> sailing<br />

to freedom.<br />

Notwithstanding Brown’s experience and his admiration<br />

for <strong>the</strong> enslaved under his control, he apparently felt<br />

no compunction or inclination to let <strong>the</strong>m go. Perhaps in<br />

arrogance he believed that bondage was better (except<br />

for one or two favored ones). Or perhaps he calculated<br />

that without hundreds <strong>of</strong> slaves working for him, he could<br />

not maintain his lifestyle and status, and thus could not<br />

do without <strong>the</strong>m. In any case, Brown, like o<strong>the</strong>r ostensibly<br />

enlightened enslavers who were well aware <strong>of</strong> slavery’s<br />

bitter controversy, rationalized <strong>the</strong> status quo, unable to<br />

rise to <strong>the</strong> occasion.<br />

Legacy and today<br />

In <strong>the</strong> end, <strong>the</strong> Loyalist plantations lasted less than<br />

thirty years before hurricanes, soil depletion and disease<br />

destroyed much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea cotton crop. While some<br />

Loyalists turned to planting sisal <strong>the</strong>n used for making<br />

rope, <strong>the</strong> brief heyday <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> plantation life on Grand<br />

Caicos declined sharply. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Loyalists lost <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

second fortune here and left for England, or in some<br />

cases went back to <strong>the</strong> American South where resentment<br />

against Loyalists had dissipated.<br />

The Loyalists sold <strong>of</strong>f some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> enslaved to recoup<br />

losses before departing, but left behind o<strong>the</strong>rs. As <strong>the</strong><br />

rigid, oppressive life <strong>of</strong> slavery began to unravel, <strong>the</strong> now<br />

former enslaved took control. Already hardy survivors,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were quite prepared to adapt, fend for <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

and make <strong>the</strong> land and sea serve <strong>the</strong>m. They formed<br />

communities and depended on each o<strong>the</strong>r, a culture and<br />

spirit <strong>of</strong> reliance that continues to this day. This is quite a<br />

tribute for people whose ancestors came to <strong>the</strong>se islands<br />

under <strong>the</strong> most excruciating circumstances and prevailed.<br />

a<br />

Ben Stubenberg (ben@caicunaniki.com) is a contributing<br />

writer to <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> with a passion for TCI history.<br />

He is also co-founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI adventure company<br />

Caicu Naniki and <strong>the</strong> annual Turks & Caicos “Race for <strong>the</strong><br />

Conch” Eco-SeaSwim.<br />

Special thanks to Nigel Sadler, Historian and founder <strong>of</strong><br />

Sands <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> Consultancy, Dr. Charlene Kozy, Historian,<br />

and B Naqqi Manco, Naturalist and Historian, for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

valuable contributions. The personal perspectives are<br />

entirely <strong>the</strong> author’s.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 53

feature<br />

Opposite page and above: The SNAP Centre is <strong>the</strong> only government-funded special needs facility in Providenciales. It provides intellectual<br />

and life skills training for children and young adults ages 4 to 24 years old who have challenges such as autism, learning disabilities and<br />

developmental delays. A second facility is expected to open on Grand Turk this year.<br />

Inclusion Matters<br />

Advances in <strong>the</strong> education <strong>of</strong> children with special needs in <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

Many positive things are happening for children with special needs in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> as <strong>the</strong><br />

result <strong>of</strong> a partnership between <strong>the</strong> TCI Government, a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization <strong>of</strong> American and Canadian<br />

volunteers and a private business foundation in Providenciales. Children with challenges such as autism,<br />

learning disabilities and developmental delays “need special care and attention at a very young age” in<br />

order to reach <strong>the</strong>ir full potential, said <strong>the</strong> Honourable Edwin Astwood, Minister <strong>of</strong> Health, Agriculture,<br />

Sport and Human Services.<br />

By Norah Machia ~ Photos by Anthony Machia<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 55

The TCI Government currently funds <strong>the</strong> Special<br />

Needs Association <strong>of</strong> Providenciales (SNAP) Centre, a special<br />

education facility with 13 students operated under<br />

<strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Health. The centre provides both intellectual<br />

and life skills training for children and young adults<br />

ages 4 to 24 years old, and typically has a waiting list<br />

for new students. “We have just <strong>the</strong> one centre now, but<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are many o<strong>the</strong>r children in need <strong>of</strong> assistance,” said<br />

Minister Astwood. More families are coming forward for<br />

help as <strong>the</strong> government has been working on educating<br />

people about tolerance, acceptance and inclusion <strong>of</strong> people<br />

with disabilities.<br />

This year, <strong>the</strong> TCI Government is planning to open a<br />

second special education facility on Grand Turk, according<br />

to Minister Astwood. Officials have been looking at<br />

several options to determine if it would be more cost<br />

effective to renovate existing space or build a new structure.<br />

A total <strong>of</strong> six children would be enrolled in <strong>the</strong> new<br />

centre during its first phase, with <strong>the</strong> possibility <strong>of</strong> future<br />

expansion.<br />

Opening <strong>the</strong> second centre in Grand Turk will help<br />

families on both <strong>the</strong> western and eastern portions <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. In <strong>the</strong> past, some families<br />

with special needs children have faced tough decisions<br />

about changing jobs and moving closer to <strong>the</strong> centre in<br />

Providenciales.<br />

There are plans to expand classroom space and hire<br />

additional special needs teachers for <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre<br />

as well, with a combination <strong>of</strong> government and private<br />

funding. The TCI Government has been working diligently<br />

to recruit additional special needs teachers. Competitive<br />

salaries and benefits are being <strong>of</strong>fered, but <strong>the</strong> recruitment<br />

process has still been a challenge, Minister Astwood<br />

stated.<br />

Depending on <strong>the</strong>ir condition, children with special<br />

needs require different types <strong>of</strong> services, and things that<br />

come easily to o<strong>the</strong>r children are <strong>of</strong>ten greater challenges<br />

to <strong>the</strong>m. But teachers at <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre marvel at <strong>the</strong><br />

tenacity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir students, and recognize <strong>the</strong>y possess a<br />

remarkable resilience and strong determination to learn.<br />

The special education teachers at <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre<br />

have created a positive learning environment, <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

both small group and individualized attention. They present<br />

educational material in a variety <strong>of</strong> ways to meet <strong>the</strong><br />

learning styles <strong>of</strong> each student, while working with all<br />

<strong>the</strong> children and young adults to reach <strong>the</strong>ir highest level<br />

possible <strong>of</strong> independence.<br />

“The attitudes regarding people with disabilities have<br />

been changing,” Minister Astwood noted. “In <strong>the</strong> past,<br />

you may have never known about a child with a special<br />

need unless it was someone in your own family. Now<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is more public awareness, and more acceptance.”<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Government has been<br />

working with <strong>the</strong> 1 World Foundation for several years to<br />

help conduct assessments and develop treatment plans<br />

for special needs children. The nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization<br />

sends volunteer health care pr<strong>of</strong>essionals from <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States and Canada to meet with children and <strong>the</strong>ir parents<br />

at <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre, and at clinics and hospitals throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Since 1994, <strong>the</strong> 1 World Foundation has coordinated<br />

occupational <strong>the</strong>rapy, speech pathology, audiology and<br />

clinical psychology assessments for children in TCI, said<br />

Howard Ganter, foundation president, New York State.<br />

These volunteers have worked with both <strong>the</strong> Ministry<br />

<strong>of</strong> Health and <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Education in sharing <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

experience and <strong>of</strong>fering additional training.<br />

The 1 World Foundation volunteers worked with <strong>the</strong><br />

Ministry <strong>of</strong> Health’s Special Needs Unit to develop a registry<br />

<strong>of</strong> children needing services, which totals nearly<br />

200 children to date. The nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization has<br />

also shipped adaptive equipment and program supplies<br />

to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong>ir work has been supported by<br />

SNAP Centre student Steve gives a thumbs-up after completing a writing<br />

assignment in his small group classroom. His twin bro<strong>the</strong>r Steven<br />

is <strong>the</strong> fellow peeking over <strong>the</strong> composition book on <strong>the</strong> previous page.<br />

56 www.timespub.tc

Above: Hon. Edwin Astwood, TCI Minister <strong>of</strong> Health, meets with<br />

Joseph Rich <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1 World Foundation. The nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization<br />

sends volunteer health pr<strong>of</strong>essionals from North America to meet<br />

with special needs children and <strong>the</strong>ir parents in TCI.<br />

Bottom right: Neuropsychologist Dr. Jeanne Ryan has traveled to TCI<br />

from New York State for six years to provide assessments and create<br />

individualized treatment plans for many special needs children.<br />

Rotary Clubs in New York State, Ontario, Canada, and<br />

Providenciales.<br />

For six years, Dr. Jeanne Ryan, a neuropsychologist,<br />

and her husband, G. Terrence Ryan, a licensed mental<br />

health counselor from New York State, have traveled to<br />

TCI to provide assessments and create individualized<br />

treatment plans for many special needs children, including<br />

those with autism.<br />

Autism is <strong>of</strong>ten referred to as a “spectrum disorder”<br />

because it covers a broad range <strong>of</strong> conditions and<br />

is typically characterized by challenges with social skills,<br />

repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication,<br />

according to <strong>the</strong> Autism Speaks organization. Each<br />

child with autism has a distinct set <strong>of</strong> strengths and challenges<br />

in <strong>the</strong> way <strong>the</strong>y think, learn and solve problems,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>ir conditions range from severely-challenged to<br />

highly-skilled.<br />

The Ryans said <strong>the</strong>y’ve seen more acceptance among<br />

families <strong>of</strong> children with special needs in TCI, although<br />

some stigma still exists. “The acceptance by parents is<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 57

From top: Special Needs Teacher Paulette Simmons encourages young SNAP Centre student<br />

Bensky.<br />

It’s a “high five” for a job well done by SNAP Centre student Sabrina from Special Needs<br />

Teacher Keishe-ann Shaw.<br />

becoming much better, and we are<br />

getting more referrals,” Dr. Ryan said.<br />

“Although <strong>the</strong>re are still parents who<br />

prefer to keep <strong>the</strong>ir children at home,<br />

because <strong>the</strong>y have concerns about<br />

what o<strong>the</strong>rs might think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m,”<br />

she added. “But we certainly have<br />

seen improvement firsthand. I recall<br />

one parent who just a few years ago<br />

did not want to take her special needs<br />

child out in public, but that slowly<br />

started to change, and she began by<br />

taking her child on trips to <strong>the</strong> grocery<br />

store.”<br />

In recent years, <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong><br />

Health, along with volunteers from<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1 World Foundation, has sought<br />

input from parents with special<br />

needs children through a series <strong>of</strong><br />

public meetings for residents <strong>of</strong><br />

Providenciales, Grand Turk, Middle,<br />

South and North Caicos.<br />

In 2018, <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Education<br />

adopted a Special Education Policy<br />

that has resulted in additional services<br />

for special needs children,<br />

along with an enhanced referral and<br />

intervention system, and pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

development opportunities for<br />

staff and administrators. “The Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Government has<br />

appreciated <strong>the</strong> long-term commitment<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1 World Foundation in<br />

helping us to ‘fill <strong>the</strong> gaps’ in creating<br />

services for people with disabilities,”<br />

said Minister Astwood. “They know<br />

what <strong>the</strong> system should look like and<br />

have helped guide us in developing<br />

our own system. We’re looking forward<br />

to future collaborations on all<br />

projects assisting families with special<br />

needs children.”<br />

One project being proposed by<br />

<strong>the</strong> nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization is a new<br />

public awareness campaign, said<br />

Joseph Rich, a founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1 World<br />

Foundation from New York State.<br />

Mr. Rich recently met with Minister<br />

Astwood in TCI to propose a media<br />

58 www.timespub.tc

campaign that would continue spreading <strong>the</strong> message<br />

<strong>of</strong> acceptance and inclusion <strong>of</strong> people with disabilities<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. “People with disabilities have<br />

many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same dreams as o<strong>the</strong>rs, including being part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir communities, receiving special services, being<br />

respected and even having a job,” said Mr. Rich. The proposed<br />

campaign would emphasize <strong>the</strong> message that “all<br />

people are important, all people are valued, all people<br />

contribute to <strong>the</strong> community and this includes people<br />

with disabilities,” he added.<br />

The staff at <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre has been working to<br />

spread that message by taking <strong>the</strong>ir students on field<br />

trips throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Participation in <strong>the</strong> community<br />

has helped <strong>the</strong> special needs children build<br />

self-confidence and independence, and <strong>the</strong>y have <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

surprised people with <strong>the</strong>ir accomplishments, said Betty-<br />

Ann Been, Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Special Needs Unit, Ministry<br />

<strong>of</strong> Health. “Our motto is inclusion matters. We focus on<br />

independence, early intervention, development <strong>of</strong> life<br />

skills and potential employment opportunities.”<br />

The staff encourage parents to accompany <strong>the</strong>m on<br />

field trips, because it gives <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> opportunity to see<br />

how well <strong>the</strong>ir children can handle <strong>the</strong>mselves in public,<br />

Ms. Been said. Bringing children to different locations<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> also helps people to start thinking<br />

differently about those with disabilities and what <strong>the</strong>y can<br />

accomplish with <strong>the</strong>ir lives.<br />

The centre has been successful in having some children<br />

transition into <strong>the</strong> regular school system a couple<br />

<strong>of</strong> days a week with additional teacher support. Officials<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Health and <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Education<br />

have a strong working relationship and share information<br />

that is critical to identify, diagnose and help children with<br />

special needs, said Ms. Been.<br />

Some young adults who have completed <strong>the</strong>ir education<br />

and life skills training at <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre program<br />

have found employment, including in <strong>the</strong> child care and<br />

landscaping fields. That effort was helped by <strong>the</strong> centre’s<br />

on-site gardening program, where children have been<br />

learning how to grow and market produce.<br />

The success <strong>of</strong> that program can be attributed in large<br />

part to <strong>the</strong> Seven Stars Community Foundation, which<br />

“adopted” <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre as its main cause, providing<br />

continual support for <strong>the</strong> teachers and students “that has<br />

been critical to our operation,” said Ms. Been.<br />

The Community Foundation was started six years ago<br />

and considers <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre as its main area <strong>of</strong> focus<br />

on Providenciales, said Paul Jobling, Seven Stars Resort,<br />

Grace Bay. “The foundation has raised over $150,000 to<br />

The longest established legal practice<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

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Leeward Highway, Providenciales<br />

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Ph: 649 946 4344 • Fax: 649 946 4564<br />

E-Mail: dempsey@tciway.tc<br />

Cockburn House, P.O. Box 70<br />

Market Street, Grand Turk<br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, BWI<br />

Ph: 649 946 2245 • Fax: 649 946 2758<br />

E-Mail: ffdlawco@tciway.tc<br />

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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 59

help <strong>the</strong> centre.”<br />

Their support has included transportation for <strong>the</strong><br />

children and <strong>the</strong> provision <strong>of</strong> 10 personal computers and<br />

additional iPads to assist children with classroom learning.<br />

The Seven Stars Community Foundation also donated<br />

a large screen television connected to <strong>the</strong> internet to<br />

enable remote specialized teaching from North America.<br />

Additional support has included monthly landscaping<br />

services by Seven Stars personnel, <strong>the</strong> coordination <strong>of</strong><br />

regular termite control provided at no cost by Parkway<br />

Solutions, and <strong>the</strong> updating <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> air conditioning systems<br />

by <strong>the</strong> resort’s maintenance department. The<br />

Community Foundation has also provided <strong>the</strong> centre with<br />

hurricane-pro<strong>of</strong> doors and completed an interior remodeling<br />

project with updated bathrooms and repainting <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> entire building.<br />

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“Every summer before <strong>the</strong> re-opening <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school,<br />

our team <strong>of</strong> engineers ensure that any renovations<br />

needed are completed before <strong>the</strong> students return,” Mr.<br />

Jobling said. “The Seven Stars Team continues to host<br />

an annual Christmas party for <strong>the</strong> students, which allows<br />

members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> committee to interact with <strong>the</strong>m through<br />

activities such as decorating cookie and cupcakes.”<br />

When <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre suffered considerable damage<br />

after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in<br />

2017, <strong>the</strong> employees <strong>of</strong> Seven Stars completely restored<br />

<strong>the</strong> building within 30 days so <strong>the</strong> students could return<br />

to <strong>the</strong> centre, Mr. Jobling said. “This was a major achievement<br />

given that many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> staff had significant damage<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir own properties and <strong>the</strong> fact that power was not<br />

fully restored to Providenciales for many months following<br />

<strong>the</strong> hurricanes,” he noted. “At Seven Stars, we are very<br />

proud <strong>of</strong> our association with <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre and intend<br />

to remain involved for many years to come.” a<br />

For parents with special needs children, <strong>the</strong>re are two<br />

phone numbers to call for more information. The number<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Ministry <strong>of</strong> Health’s Special Needs Unit is (649)<br />

338-2171 and <strong>the</strong> SNAP Centre is (649) 941-3187.<br />

p.o.box 21, providenciales, turks & caicos is.<br />

tel.: 9464440 cell: 2314569 email: redmond@tciway.tc<br />

60 www.timespub.tc

The SNAP Centre garden is sponsored by <strong>the</strong> Seven Stars Resort Foundation.<br />

Here, students are learning to grow and market produce.

62 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe<br />

newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

front street, p.o. box 188, grand turk, turks & caicos islands, bwi<br />

tel 649 946 2160 • fax 649 946 2160 • email info@tcmuseum.org • web www.tcmuseum.org<br />

Archaeologists and volunteers excavate in a grid system at <strong>the</strong> South Bank site on Providenciales.<br />

Giving a Voice to <strong>the</strong> Past<br />

As an archaeologist, <strong>the</strong> one question I am continuously asked is, “How do we learn about <strong>the</strong> people<br />

who lived in <strong>the</strong> past, especially for people who didn’t have any form <strong>of</strong> writing?” It is important for<br />

archaeologists to properly record everything <strong>the</strong>y do. When archaeologists begin a project, <strong>the</strong>y don’t just<br />

start digging into <strong>the</strong> ground. They create a grid system to help record where objects are found. Great<br />

care is taken to record <strong>the</strong> location and surrounds <strong>of</strong> each artifact found, while carefully preserving and<br />

recording all finds for future study. It is through this care and study <strong>of</strong> artifacts found in <strong>the</strong>ir context<br />

that allow archaeologists to unravel <strong>the</strong> past.<br />

In this edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Astrolabe, we present two articles that help give a voice to <strong>the</strong> past. First, we take<br />

a look at <strong>the</strong> Lucayan Petroglyphs (rock art) on East Caicos. This is followed by an article from resident<br />

Turks & Caicos explorer John Galleymore, who takes us on a journey through East Caicos and his process<br />

for uncovering <strong>the</strong> past. a<br />

Dr. Michael P. Pateman, Ph.D., Director, Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 63

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />



Clockwise from top left: Petroglyph from Jacksonville Cave. Row <strong>of</strong> faces. Leif Erickson drawing one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Petroglyphs. Petroglyphs in cave<br />

at Jacksonville from De Booy 1912.<br />

Cave Art<br />

The Lucayan petroglyphs <strong>of</strong> East Caicos.<br />

By Dr. Michael P. Pateman<br />

Archaeological studies <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong> (which includes The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>)<br />

have mainly focused on settlement surveys and large scale village excavations. However, early archaeologists<br />

(late 19th and early 20th century) focused most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir efforts on <strong>the</strong> cave systems <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se islands.<br />

This interest in <strong>the</strong> caves started to fade towards <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 20th century.<br />

64 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

However, caves played an important role in Taíno<br />

lifestyle and spiritual beliefs, and as such it is assumed<br />

played an important role in that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayans.<br />

Therefore, it should be no surprise that caves represent<br />

a significant aspect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> archaeological record <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>. These caves exist in two forms, wet<br />

(including blue holes and caves with a direct connection<br />

to <strong>the</strong> water table) and dry. The caves contain a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> artifacts which have not been preserved at open sites<br />

such as human burials, petroglyphs and pictographs,<br />

faunal and botanical remains, and a variety <strong>of</strong> wooden<br />

artifacts.<br />

Lucayan rock art is found throughout <strong>the</strong> Lucayan<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>, specifically Crooked Island, Eleu<strong>the</strong>ra, Inagua,<br />

Long Island, New Providence, Mayaguana, Rum Cay and<br />

San Salvador (in The Bahamas) and East Caicos (in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos).<br />

In 1912, Theodore De Booy visited a cave at<br />

Jacksonville and described six petroglyphs, two carved<br />

heads and a possible stone altar. However, after this visit,<br />

this site was lost to science and eventually, <strong>the</strong> location<br />

was lost to all.<br />

In 2006, on an expedition by a team <strong>of</strong> scientists<br />

working in collaboration with <strong>the</strong> TCI National Trust,<br />

<strong>the</strong> cave was found again but <strong>the</strong>y did not observe <strong>the</strong><br />

petroglyphs. It wasn’t until 2008 that explorer Kim<br />

Mortimer saw <strong>the</strong>m. (Details <strong>of</strong> this were published in<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> 2012 edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Astrolabe in an article by<br />

Mark Parrish.) More recent research published by Lace<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>rs in <strong>the</strong> 2018 Journal <strong>of</strong> Caribbean Archaeology<br />

describe 13 petroglyphs and included a map <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir locations.<br />

As a child growing up I loved to explore, especially <strong>the</strong><br />

caves throughout <strong>the</strong> islands. After arriving in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos, <strong>the</strong> caves at Jacksonville were high on my list <strong>of</strong><br />

places to visit and document. However, as East Caicos is<br />

uninhabited today except for donkeys and o<strong>the</strong>r wildlife, I<br />

had to find a way to get <strong>the</strong>re and someone who knew <strong>the</strong><br />

location <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cave. Finally, in October 2019, a team led<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Museum and consisting <strong>of</strong> local TCI explorers John<br />

Galleymore, Agile and Daniel LeVin, Leif Erickson, Mat<br />

Matlock (photographer) and Dr. Shaun Sullivan (archaeologist)<br />

visited East Caicos with <strong>the</strong> primary mission <strong>of</strong><br />

exploring <strong>the</strong> petroglyph cave at Jacksonville.<br />

Armed with <strong>the</strong> map created by Lace and o<strong>the</strong>rs we<br />

set <strong>of</strong>f to find and document <strong>the</strong> petroglyphs. Privately,<br />

Survey <strong>of</strong> rock art distribution found in Jacksonville Cave from Lace<br />

et al. 2018.<br />

we were also hoping to find more as <strong>the</strong> petroglyphs can<br />

sometimes only be seen when light conditions change.<br />

At first, <strong>the</strong>y were very difficult to see, but as our eyes<br />

adjusted to <strong>the</strong> cave light <strong>the</strong> faint carvings emerged from<br />

<strong>the</strong> walls. We started to tick <strong>of</strong>f all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> previous ones<br />

listed by De Booy and Lace. Soon, we had counted over<br />

20 carvings, including a row <strong>of</strong> 5 faces, a pipe, individuals<br />

with rays and numerous anthropomorphic figures.<br />

All petroglyphs were drawn and photographed. Both<br />

methods were used because due to <strong>the</strong> nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> light<br />

in caves, sometimes photographs do not reveal <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

The main question I am asked is “What do <strong>the</strong> petroglyphs<br />

mean?” This is difficult to answer, as we do not<br />

always know. Some are easy to interpret, as <strong>the</strong>y include<br />

objects <strong>of</strong> everyday life (canoe paddle or pipe). O<strong>the</strong>rs are<br />

more difficult to interpret, including anthropomorphic<br />

figures (animals with human features). Were <strong>the</strong>y created<br />

over a short term by a single individual or over a long term<br />

by multiple individuals? John Winter in 2009 wrote a summary<br />

<strong>of</strong> petroglyphs from throughout The Bahamas and<br />

noted <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Timehri type, an anthropomorphic<br />

design first classified by Williams (1985) and named after<br />

figures found on <strong>the</strong> Corartijn River in Suriname, part <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 65

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>the</strong> Guianas region in nor<strong>the</strong>ast South America. Williams<br />

believes <strong>the</strong>se figures functioned to maintain subsistence<br />

horticulture and have <strong>the</strong>ir origin in Amazonia.<br />

The drawing <strong>of</strong> human-like faces has been suggested<br />

elsewhere in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean as a part <strong>of</strong> ancestor worship,<br />

a central part <strong>of</strong> Taíno religion. Additionally, a number <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> petroglyphs are figures with rays. These may be representations<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lucayan deities <strong>of</strong> sun or rain or masked<br />

fertility figures. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> petroglyphs depicts an anthropomorphic<br />

individual squatting. This can be interpreted<br />

as Atabey <strong>the</strong> Taíno supreme goddess <strong>of</strong> fresh water and<br />

fertility.<br />

Join <strong>the</strong> Museum<br />

Become a Member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos National<br />

Museum and receive a<br />

year’s subscription to <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> (which<br />

includes Astrolabe), free admission to <strong>the</strong> Museum<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r benefits.<br />

Senior (62+) $35 • Individual $50<br />

Family/Friend $100 • Sponsor $250<br />

Contributor $500 • Partner $750<br />

We have several options for joining:<br />

• Visit <strong>the</strong> Museum at our Providenciales location at<br />

The Village at Grace Bay or our Grand Turk location<br />

in Guinep House on Front Street.<br />

• Visit our website at<br />

www.tcmuseum.org/membership-support/.<br />

• Send US checks to: Dr. Toni L. Carrell, Friends <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum, 39 Condesa<br />

Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508<br />

*For U.S. residents, support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Museum may be tax-deductible<br />

if you join via Friends <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National<br />

Museum, our affiliated institution and registered 501 (c) (3).<br />

At left: Potential drawing <strong>of</strong> Atabey (giving birth?) from East Caicos<br />

compared (at right) with drawing <strong>of</strong> Atabey petroglyph from Puerto<br />

Rico.<br />

Whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> rock art <strong>of</strong> East Caicos was part <strong>of</strong> fertility<br />

rituals, ancestor worship, marking <strong>of</strong> territories or <strong>the</strong><br />

telling <strong>of</strong> events is uncertain. However, it is clear that cultural<br />

traditions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> larger islands <strong>of</strong> Cuba, Hispaniola<br />

and Puerto Rico also took place in <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Yet more research is needed. Very little archaeological<br />

research has been conducted on East Caicos. Is <strong>the</strong>re a<br />

large-scale habitation nearby? Can a link be determined<br />

between this cave and any o<strong>the</strong>r site?<br />

In De Booy’s 1912 article, he notes that locals<br />

describe o<strong>the</strong>r caves on East Caicos with “Indian” carvings.<br />

A side mission <strong>of</strong> our trip was to try and find <strong>the</strong>se<br />

sites but we didn’t have <strong>the</strong> time. It gives us ano<strong>the</strong>r reason<br />

to go back! a<br />

A short documentary about <strong>the</strong> project is being created<br />

and will be launched during <strong>2020</strong>.<br />


66 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

The Layers <strong>of</strong> History<br />

East Caicos is a treasure trove <strong>of</strong> relics.<br />

Story & Photos By John Galleymore<br />

When I was very young, I was shown at school a very basic picture depicting “How History Works.” It<br />

showed layers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Earth with <strong>the</strong> oldest relics <strong>the</strong> deepest and those more recent near <strong>the</strong> surface.<br />

I soon came to discover this is not quite <strong>the</strong> case! As I progressed through my career in exploration,<br />

it became apparent that you have to keep an open mind, and —even more— open eyes, in order to<br />

discover and hopefully unravel <strong>the</strong> secrets <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past. Very <strong>of</strong>ten, <strong>the</strong> artifacts from one time in history<br />

will be laying in plain sight alongside those <strong>of</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> recent TCI National Museum visit to East<br />

Caicos, <strong>the</strong> primary objective was to rediscover <strong>the</strong> lost<br />

petroglyphs left by <strong>the</strong> Lucayan Indians some 500 years<br />

ago. However, East Caicos is a treasure trove <strong>of</strong> history,<br />

and much <strong>of</strong> it is more recent than <strong>the</strong> Lucayans. With<br />

this in mind, while <strong>the</strong> team was exploring caves and<br />

Lucayan homesites, I ventured into <strong>the</strong> bush on <strong>the</strong> east<br />

coast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island to look around <strong>the</strong> long-abandoned<br />

ruins <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> township known as Jacksonville.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> late 1880s, sisal growing was attempted and<br />

became <strong>the</strong> largest export East Caicos ever saw. Sisal (in<br />

<strong>the</strong> past also called pita) is an agave plant that is grown<br />

for its very strong fibers that are used to produce rope<br />

and twine. At <strong>the</strong> height <strong>of</strong> production, much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

suitable ground was planted but not for long. Due to<br />

poor global demand, <strong>the</strong> industry was abandoned on<br />

East Caicos by <strong>the</strong> early 1900s.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> late 1800s, cattle ranching was also carried<br />

On East Caicos, remnants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original Jacksonville settlers—pottery and glass bottles—litter <strong>the</strong> ground. They have lain <strong>the</strong>re since<br />

<strong>the</strong> late 1800s.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 67

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

out by J. N. Reynolds and for years was moderately<br />

successful. The beef was considered to be quite good<br />

and was especially appreciated in Grand Turk considering<br />

that <strong>the</strong> alternative usually consisted <strong>of</strong> canned<br />

and salted meats. After <strong>the</strong> abandonment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island,<br />

remnants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se herds existed for decades, but were<br />

eventually hunted to extinction. Today, only donkeys<br />

can still be found in <strong>the</strong> wild <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

Located on <strong>the</strong> island’s west end, Jacksonville was<br />

<strong>the</strong> social center <strong>of</strong> East Caicos. Sisal processing stations,<br />

houses, a company store and barracks capable<br />

<strong>of</strong> holding up to 400 people were all part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> “town.”<br />

Only a few ruins remain <strong>of</strong> this small settlement in <strong>the</strong><br />

thick,unrelenting bush that is evermore reclaiming <strong>the</strong>m<br />

back to nature. Yet, it’s interesting to note that <strong>the</strong>se<br />

ruins lay alongside layers <strong>of</strong> history from <strong>the</strong> Lucayans,<br />

to slave traders, explorers and modern-day developers.<br />

As I climb <strong>the</strong> small incline from <strong>the</strong> beach (homesteads<br />

were always constructed on ridges due to <strong>the</strong><br />

breeze), I first note that some “new” construction has<br />

taken place in <strong>the</strong> last 10 years — maybe someone’s<br />

idea <strong>of</strong> rekindling this old ghost town? It’s obvious <strong>the</strong><br />

work was abandoned before completion.<br />

I soon reach <strong>the</strong> summit and <strong>the</strong> ruins <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

houses appear through <strong>the</strong><br />

thick undergrowth. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

walls still stand, a testament to<br />

<strong>the</strong> craftsmen that toiled here,<br />

with some still showing plastered<br />

walls which were made<br />

from burning conch shells.<br />

It’s interesting to see that<br />

although <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>s have long<br />

gone, some original timbers<br />

still line <strong>the</strong> doorways. More<br />

interesting still is <strong>the</strong> original<br />

“graffiti” etched into <strong>the</strong> walls<br />

which show dates (1892) and<br />

<strong>the</strong> outlines <strong>of</strong> what appears<br />

to be a schooner, perhaps produced<br />

by idle hands or minds<br />

dreaming <strong>of</strong> home?<br />

To fur<strong>the</strong>r confirm that history<br />

is <strong>of</strong>ten linear, I stumble<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> “new” construction that has taken place in <strong>the</strong> last 10<br />

years at Jacksonville, although it’s obvious <strong>the</strong> work was abandoned<br />

before completion.<br />

across some reddish clay substance on <strong>the</strong> surface. This<br />

turns out to be Lucayan pottery made <strong>of</strong> red clay from<br />

dust blown from <strong>the</strong> African continent. It’s a wonder to<br />

think what else <strong>the</strong>se early settlers <strong>of</strong> Jacksonville stumbled<br />

across when <strong>the</strong>y set up home here in <strong>the</strong> 1800s.<br />

One thing is for sure, whatever era we investigate, o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

parts <strong>of</strong> history are closely intertwined. a<br />

This is <strong>the</strong> “graffiti” carved into <strong>the</strong> walls <strong>of</strong> some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> abandoned Jacksonville homes which<br />

show dates (1892) and <strong>the</strong> outlines <strong>of</strong> what appears to be a schooner.<br />

68 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

¿Donde esta Simon, Sandy?<br />

Where is Simon, Sandy? The<br />

Story <strong>of</strong> a Little Donkey That<br />

Wouldn’t Quit is a classic<br />

folk tale set in Grand Turk.<br />

The first edition, written by<br />

Donna Marie Seim and illustrated<br />

by Susan Spellman,<br />

was first published in 2008.<br />

It is now in its fourth printing<br />

in English. The fifth printing<br />

will be ¿Donde esta Simon, Sandy?, a Spanish edition<br />

with all-Spanish text.<br />

Sales from <strong>the</strong> book have supported <strong>the</strong> TCNM’s<br />

Children’s Club since 2008. Summer camp for <strong>the</strong><br />

National Museum, giving children a fun and cultural<br />

experience each summer, has been funded for eleven<br />

years by local donors and Where is Simon, Sandy? as <strong>the</strong><br />

primary sponsor.<br />

Some years ago <strong>the</strong> text was translated into Spanish<br />

as a donation to <strong>the</strong> Museum by Maria Fernandez<br />

Miquel, an engineer who designed and directed construction<br />

and operation <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk’s water supply<br />

system and Fernando Perez Monteagudo, who was in<br />

charge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> coastal environmental resources in <strong>the</strong><br />

DECR. They are currently residents <strong>of</strong> Cuba but enjoyed<br />

living in Grand Turk for eight years. They had <strong>the</strong> wish<br />

to see Where is Simon, Sandy? printed in Spanish so<br />

Spanish-speaking children could read and enjoy this<br />

endearing story about loyalty, friendship and community.<br />

The Spanish text was edited by Nilda Monteagudo<br />

Nunex, Doctor <strong>of</strong> Philosophy and Literature, specializing<br />

in teaching Spanish to foreign students.<br />

We are now midway in <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> fundraising<br />

for <strong>the</strong> money necessary to make this a reality. If you<br />

would like to donate to this project please contact <strong>the</strong><br />

TC National Museum. All sales from <strong>the</strong> Spanish edition<br />

will be donated to <strong>the</strong> Museum’s Children’s Program. a<br />

“Islanders” to tell <strong>the</strong>ir story. Features have focused on<br />

family ancestry, boat building, childhood games, music,<br />

bush medicine, politics, crafts (such as basket weaving)<br />

and life “back in <strong>the</strong> day.” Most recently, <strong>the</strong> Museum<br />

spent a few days in North and Middle Caicos to hear <strong>the</strong><br />

stories <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> residents.<br />

We are now in <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> editing <strong>the</strong>se interviews<br />

for publication on our various social media channels<br />

and will soon launch <strong>the</strong> trailer for <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

In <strong>the</strong> Summer 2019 edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Astrolabe, we<br />

launched <strong>the</strong> Museum’s oral history program, “People<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.” The goal <strong>of</strong> this project was to allow<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 69

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Caicos Sloop. Additionally, we are working on a “People<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>” exhibition to be launched in Grand Turk<br />

in <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

If you have a recommendation for an interviewee,<br />

please email <strong>the</strong> museum at info@tcmuseum.org. a<br />

Evening with <strong>the</strong> Expert — Bill Keegan<br />

Both museum locations (Grand Turk and Providenciales)<br />

occasionally <strong>of</strong>fer “Evening with <strong>the</strong> Expert” events. Our<br />

most recent guest speaker was Dr. William Keegan<br />

(Caribbean archaeologist) from <strong>the</strong> Florida Museum <strong>of</strong><br />

Natural History. The topic <strong>of</strong> his talk was “The Case for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribs in <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>” and is available on<br />

our Facebook page and Youtube channel.<br />

Dr. Keegan and Dr. Lindsay Bloch (ceramic specialist),<br />

also from <strong>the</strong> Florida Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History<br />

were in town as part <strong>of</strong> a joint research project with <strong>the</strong><br />

Museum. Details <strong>of</strong> this project will be published in a<br />

future edition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Astrolabe. a<br />

These three sets <strong>of</strong> images <strong>of</strong> Islanders represent some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

folks whose story will be part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Museum’s new “People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong>” exhibition.<br />

a game <strong>of</strong> Pin-<strong>the</strong>-Tail-on-<strong>the</strong> Donkey after creating <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

own tails. a<br />

Author Donna Marie Seim participated in <strong>the</strong> January <strong>2020</strong> meeting<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Museum’s Children’s Club on Grand Turk.<br />

Caribbean archaeologist Dr. William Keegan was a guest speaker at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Museum’s “Evening with <strong>the</strong> Expert” in February <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Children’s Club (Grand Turk)<br />

At our January <strong>2020</strong> Children’s Club, participants were<br />

able to take part in reading <strong>of</strong> Where is Simon, Sandy?<br />

with author Donna Marie Seim, along with her new<br />

book, Bella and Jingles. Later, everyone participated in<br />

Upcoming events<br />

Casino Event (Grand Turk) — April 24, <strong>2020</strong><br />

(New date!)<br />

Back in <strong>the</strong> Day (Provo) — May 16, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Gala <strong>2020</strong> (Provo) — June 6, <strong>2020</strong><br />

Cooking Competition and Raffle (Grand Turk) —<br />

July 25, <strong>2020</strong> a<br />

70 www.timespub.tc

around <strong>the</strong> islands<br />

Lovey Forbes and Elicia Richardson, a visitor to North Caicos from Boston, play a round at <strong>the</strong> Combina Golf Course.<br />

Not Your Average Golf Course<br />

Combina golf is rich in North Caicos charm.<br />

Forget all your usual notions about golf courses or miniature golf. Fairways <strong>of</strong> grass? Forget it. Manicured<br />

putting greens? Forget it. Windmills or tiny castles or colourful concrete animals? Nope. The Combina<br />

Golf Course at Horse Stable Beach on North Caicos is something entirely different with its own North<br />

Caicos style.<br />

By Jody Rathgeb ~ Photos by Tom Rathgeb<br />

That’s because it was created by Lovey Forbes, a true son <strong>of</strong> North Caicos. In 2013 <strong>the</strong> musician and<br />

community booster dreamed up a game similar to miniature golf (some call it putt-putt), but with a much<br />

more compact form and using <strong>the</strong> island’s natural sandy soil instead <strong>of</strong> artificial greens. He drew up a<br />

plan in <strong>the</strong> shape <strong>of</strong> a spoked wheel, with one hole in <strong>the</strong> middle and twelve more evenly spaced around<br />

<strong>the</strong> circumference <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> circle. Players would start in <strong>the</strong> middle and, following his numbered holes,<br />

travel in six wedges for a total <strong>of</strong> 18 holes. Lovey <strong>the</strong>n created what he called Circle Putt Golf (CPG) in<br />

his beachfront yard in Whitby, raking <strong>the</strong> sand, lining holes with PVC pipe and making a “rough” from<br />

casuarina needles. Conch shells painted with <strong>the</strong> hole numbers help players through <strong>the</strong> course.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 71

An overall shot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Combina Golf Course reveals how close it is to <strong>the</strong> beach.<br />

His front yard game (at one time he had three circles)<br />

was an underground hit. People who knew Lovey or tourists<br />

who stumbled upon <strong>the</strong> place could use <strong>the</strong> putters<br />

and balls he provided and enjoy <strong>the</strong> game. He would even<br />

provide a score sheet and <strong>of</strong>fer to play along. The game<br />

is fun and different and <strong>of</strong>fers a challenge for even experienced<br />

golfers, who quickly learn that playing on sand in<br />

a natural terrain can be tricky.<br />

Garden trail<br />

Meanwhile, Lovey was bringing ano<strong>the</strong>r idea to fruition at<br />

Horse Stable Beach in 2016, where he created a walking<br />

trail through <strong>the</strong> trees which he named Casuarina Garden<br />

Trails. The area was at first an informal adjunct to <strong>the</strong><br />

government facilities <strong>the</strong>re, <strong>the</strong>n received an <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

stamp <strong>of</strong> approval that included assistance in building a<br />

music stage at <strong>the</strong> site in 2018.<br />

That’s when a lightning bolt <strong>of</strong> an idea struck again.<br />

Lovey decided not only to add his Circle Putt Golf to<br />

<strong>the</strong> area, but also to turn <strong>the</strong> trails into ano<strong>the</strong>r 18-hole<br />

course. He set to work with his rake and added 18 holes<br />

meandering through <strong>the</strong> trees, with lengths ranging from<br />

8 to 75 feet. Players start from <strong>the</strong> center hole <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

CPG wheel and end <strong>the</strong>re, allowing <strong>the</strong>m to finish <strong>of</strong>f<br />

with a round <strong>of</strong> CPG for a total <strong>of</strong> 36 holes. Lovey named<br />

this <strong>the</strong> Combina Golf Course. (He also calls his music,<br />

which blends rock, country, calypso and reggae, combina<br />

music.)<br />

Like CPG, <strong>the</strong> longer course is on natural terrain with<br />

a casuarina “rough,” with holes marked by conch shells.<br />

There are also some gentle obstacles (a thin tree was left<br />

in <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> holes), island-style decorations,<br />

and inspirational signs along <strong>the</strong> way, reminding<br />

players to Give God Thanks, Pursue Life, Honor Your<br />

Mo<strong>the</strong>r, etc.<br />

The person to contact<br />

Lovey says that <strong>the</strong> Combina Golf Course was “designed<br />

by <strong>the</strong> spirit,” but he’s <strong>the</strong> one who does all its maintenance<br />

and is <strong>the</strong> contact person for those who want to<br />

play <strong>the</strong> game. He can be found on Facebook as Lorett<br />

Forbes, on Instagram as Lorett Lovey, or with a phone<br />

call to (649) 242-8802. He will meet players at <strong>the</strong> site<br />

with clubs and balls and explain <strong>the</strong> game. Lovey does<br />

not charge people to play <strong>the</strong> course, but happily accepts<br />

donations for its upkeep. Currently, he brings a paper<br />

sign explaining Combina Golf when he is at <strong>the</strong> site, but<br />

says he would like to get a more permanent sign so that<br />

people will know what this odd little course actually is.<br />

Yes, it’s odd, but that’s much <strong>of</strong> its island charm.<br />

Lovey’s creation is “North Caicos” through and through.<br />

Certainly not your average golf course. a<br />

72 www.timespub.tc

about <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Map provided courtesy Wavey Line Publishing. Their navigation charts and decorative and historic maps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, The<br />

Bahamas, and Hispaniola are available in shops throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Visit www.amnautical.com.<br />

Where we are<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> lie some 575 miles sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

<strong>of</strong> Miami — approximately 1 1/2 hours flying time —<br />

with The Bahamas about 30 miles to <strong>the</strong> northwest and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic some 100 miles to <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>ast.<br />

The country consists <strong>of</strong> two island groups separated<br />

by <strong>the</strong> 22-mile wide Columbus Passage. To <strong>the</strong> west are<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>: West Caicos, Providenciales, North<br />

Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, and South Caicos. To<br />

<strong>the</strong> east are <strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>: Grand Turk and Salt Cay.<br />

The Turks & Caicos total 166 square miles <strong>of</strong> land<br />

area on eight islands and 40 small cays. The country’s<br />

population is approximately 36,500.<br />

Getting here<br />

There are international airports on Grand Turk,<br />

Providenciales, and South Caicos, with domestic airports<br />

on all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands except East Caicos.<br />

At this time, all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> major international carriers<br />

arrive and depart from Providenciales International<br />

Airport. American Airlines flies from Miami, Charlotte,<br />

Chicago, Dallas, New York/JFK and Philadelphia. JetBlue<br />

Airways <strong>of</strong>fers service from Fort Lauderdale, Boston<br />

and New York/JFK. Southwest Airlines travels to Fort<br />

Lauderdale. Delta Airlines flies from Atlanta, Boston and<br />

New York/JFK. United Airlines travels from Chicago and<br />

Newark. WestJet travels from Toronto and Montreal. Air<br />

Canada <strong>of</strong>fers flights from Toronto and Montreal. British<br />

Airways travels from London/Gatwick via Antigua.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 73

Bahamasair and InterCaribbean Airways fly to Nassau,<br />

Bahamas. Flights to: Antigua; Dominica; Cap Haitien<br />

and Port Au Prince, Haiti; Kingston and Montego Bay,<br />

Jamaica; Miami, Florida; Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo,<br />

Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Lucia; St.<br />

Maarten; Santiago, Cuba; and Tortola are available on<br />

InterCaribbean Airways, while Caicos Express travels to<br />

Cap Haitien daily. (Schedules are current as <strong>of</strong> February<br />

<strong>2020</strong> and subject to change.)<br />

Inter-island service is provided by InterCaribbean<br />

Airways, Caicos Express Airways and Global Airways. Sea<br />

and air freight services operate from Florida.<br />

Language<br />

English.<br />

Time zone<br />

Eastern Standard Time (EST)/Daylight Savings Time<br />

observed.<br />

Currency<br />

The United States dollar. The Treasury also issues a Turks<br />

& Caicos crown and quarter. Travellers cheques in U.S.<br />

dollars are widely accepted and o<strong>the</strong>r currency can be<br />

changed at local banks. American Express, VISA, and<br />

MasterCard are welcomed at many locations.<br />

Climate<br />

The average year-round temperature is 83ºF (28ºC). The<br />

hottest months are September and October, when <strong>the</strong><br />

temperature can reach 90 to 95ºF (33 to 35ºC). However,<br />

<strong>the</strong> consistent easterly trade winds temper <strong>the</strong> heat and<br />

keep life comfortable.<br />

Casual resort and leisure wear is accepted attire for<br />

daytime; light sweaters or jackets may be necessary on<br />

some breezy evenings. It’s wise to wear protective clothing<br />

and a sunhat and use waterpro<strong>of</strong> sunscreen when out<br />

in <strong>the</strong> tropical sun.<br />

Entry requirements<br />

Passport. A valid onward or return ticket is also required.<br />

Customs formalities<br />

Visitors may bring in duty free for <strong>the</strong>ir own use one carton<br />

<strong>of</strong> cigarettes or cigars, one bottle <strong>of</strong> liquor or wine,<br />

and some perfume. The importation <strong>of</strong> all firearms including<br />

those charged with compressed air without prior<br />

approval in writing from <strong>the</strong> Commissioner <strong>of</strong> Police is<br />

strictly forbidden. Spear guns, Hawaiian slings, controlled<br />

drugs, and pornography are also illegal.<br />

Returning residents may bring in $400 worth <strong>of</strong><br />

merchandise per person duty free. A duty <strong>of</strong> 10% to<br />

60% is charged on most imported goods along with a<br />

7% customs processing fee and forms a major source <strong>of</strong><br />

government revenue.<br />

Transportation<br />

A valid driver’s license from home is suitable when renting<br />

vehicles. A government tax <strong>of</strong> 12% is levied on all<br />

rental contracts. (Insurance is extra.) Driving is on <strong>the</strong><br />

left-hand side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road, with traffic flow controlled by<br />

round-abouts at major junctions. Please don’t drink and<br />

drive! Taxis and community cabs are abundant throughout<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and many resorts <strong>of</strong>fer shuttle service<br />

between popular visitor areas. Scooter, motorcycle, and<br />

bicycle rentals are also available.<br />

74 www.timespub.tc

Telecommunications<br />

FLOW Ltd. provides land lines and superfast broadband<br />

Internet service. Mobile service is on a LTE 4G network,<br />

including pre- and post-paid cellular phones. Most resorts<br />

and some stores and restaurants <strong>of</strong>fer wireless Internet<br />

connection. Digicel operates mobile networks, with<br />

a full suite <strong>of</strong> LTE 4G service. FLOW is <strong>the</strong> local carrier<br />

for CDMA roaming on US networks such as Verizon and<br />

Sprint. North American visitors with GSM cellular handsets<br />

and wireless accounts with AT&T or Cingular can<br />

arrange international roaming.<br />

Electricity<br />

FortisTCI supplies electricity at a frequency <strong>of</strong> 60HZ,<br />

and ei<strong>the</strong>r single phase or three phase at one <strong>of</strong> three<br />

standard voltages for residential or commercial service.<br />

FortisTCI continues to invest in a robust and resilient grid<br />

to ensure <strong>the</strong> highest level <strong>of</strong> reliability to customers. The<br />

company is integrating renewable energy into its grid and<br />

provides options for customers to participate in two solar<br />

energy programs.<br />

Departure tax<br />

US $60. It is typically included in <strong>the</strong> price <strong>of</strong> your airline<br />

ticket.<br />

Courier service<br />

Delivery service is provided by FedEx, with <strong>of</strong>fices on<br />

Providenciales and Grand Turk, and DHL. UPS service is<br />

limited to incoming delivery.<br />

Postal service<br />

The Post Office and Philatelic Bureau in Providenciales is<br />

located downtown on Airport Road. In Grand Turk, <strong>the</strong><br />

Post Office and Philatelic Bureau are on Church Folly. The<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> are known for <strong>the</strong>ir varied and colorful stamp<br />

issues.<br />

Media<br />

Multi-channel satellite television is received from <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

and Canada and transmitted via cable or over <strong>the</strong> air.<br />

Local station WIV-TV broadcasts on Channel 4 and Island<br />

EyeTV on Channel 5. People’s Television <strong>of</strong>fers 75 digitally<br />

transmitted television stations, along with local news<br />

and talk shows on Channel 8. There are also a number <strong>of</strong><br />

local radio stations, magazines, and newspapers.<br />

Medical services<br />

There are no endemic tropical diseases in TCI. There are<br />

Brew ad May 2017_Layout 1 5/11/17 10:51 AM Page 1<br />

Turk’s Head Brewery<br />

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$15/pp<br />

Enjoy a complimentary selection <strong>of</strong> local craft beer<br />

after your tour!<br />

Email tours@turksheadbeer.com<br />

Call 649.941.3637 x 1005 to book<br />

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Providenciales, TCI<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 75

large, modern hospitals on Grand Turk and Providenciales.<br />

Both hospitals <strong>of</strong>fer a full range <strong>of</strong> services including:<br />

24/7 emergency room, operating <strong>the</strong>aters, diagnostic<br />

imaging, maternity suites, dialysis suites, blood bank,<br />

physio<strong>the</strong>rapy, and dentistry.<br />

In addition, several general practitioners operate in<br />

<strong>the</strong> country, and <strong>the</strong>re is a recompression chamber, along<br />

with a number <strong>of</strong> private pharmacies.<br />

Immigration<br />

A resident’s permit is required to live in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. A<br />

work permit and business license are also required to<br />

work and/or establish a business. These are generally<br />

granted to those <strong>of</strong>fering skills, experience, and qualifications<br />

not widely available on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Priority is given<br />

to enterprises that will provide employment and training<br />

for T&C Islanders.<br />

Government/Legal system<br />

TCI is a British Crown colony. There is a Queen-appointed<br />

Governor, HE Nigel John Dakin. He presides over an executive<br />

council formed by <strong>the</strong> elected local government.<br />

Lady Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson is <strong>the</strong> country’s first<br />

woman premier, leading a majority People’s Democratic<br />

Movement (PDM) House <strong>of</strong> Assembly.<br />

The legal system is based upon English Common<br />

Law and administered by a resident Chief Justice, Chief<br />

Magistrate, and Deputy Magistrates. Judges <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Court<br />

Harbour<strong>of</strong> Club:Layout Appeal visit 1<strong>the</strong> 8/17/16 <strong>Islands</strong> twice 10:16a year AM and Page<strong>the</strong>re 1 is a final<br />

Right <strong>of</strong> Appeal to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in London.<br />

Harbour Club Villas<br />

Turtle Tail Drive, Providenciales<br />

Six one-bedroom villas.<br />

Dive operators at our dock.<br />

Bonefishing in <strong>the</strong> lake.<br />

Fabulous beaches nearby.<br />

Ideal for couples or groups.<br />

Trip Advisor<br />

Travellers’ Choice<br />

Awards Winner<br />

E: harbourclub@tciway.tc<br />

T: 1 649 941 5748<br />

See our website<br />

for details.<br />


Taxes<br />

There are currently no direct taxes on ei<strong>the</strong>r income<br />

or capital for individuals or companies. There are no<br />

exchange controls. Indirect taxation comprises customs<br />

duties and fees, stamp duty, taxes on accommodations,<br />

restaurants, vehicle rentals, o<strong>the</strong>r services and gasoline,<br />

as well as business license fees and departure taxes.<br />

Economy<br />

Historically, TCI’s economy relied on <strong>the</strong> export <strong>of</strong> salt.<br />

Currently, tourism, <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore finance industry, and<br />

fishing generate <strong>the</strong> most private sector income. The<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>’ main exports are lobster and conch. Practically<br />

all consumer goods and foodstuffs are imported.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are recognised as an<br />

important <strong>of</strong>fshore financial centre, <strong>of</strong>fering services<br />

such as company formation, <strong>of</strong>fshore insurance, banking,<br />

trusts, limited partnerships, and limited life companies.<br />

The Financial Services Commission regulates <strong>the</strong> industry<br />

and spearheads <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fshore legislation.<br />

People<br />

Citizens <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are termed<br />

“Belongers” and are primarily descendants <strong>of</strong> African<br />

slaves who were brought to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to work in <strong>the</strong><br />

salt ponds and cotton plantations. The country’s large<br />

expatriate population includes Canadians, Americans,<br />

Brits and Europeans, along with Haitians, Jamaicans,<br />

Dominicans, Bahamians, Indians, and Filipinos.<br />

Churches<br />

Churches are <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> community life and <strong>the</strong>re<br />

are many faiths represented in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> including:<br />

Adventist, Anglican, Assembly <strong>of</strong> God, Baha’i, Baptist,<br />

Catholic, Church <strong>of</strong> God, Episcopal, Jehovah’s Witnesses,<br />

Methodist and Pentecostal. Visitors are always welcome.<br />

Pets<br />

Incoming pets must have an import permit, veterinary<br />

health certificate, vaccination certificate, and lab test<br />

results to be submitted at <strong>the</strong> port <strong>of</strong> entry to obtain<br />

clearance from <strong>the</strong> TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture, Animal<br />

Health Services.<br />

National symbols<br />

The National Bird is <strong>the</strong> Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis).<br />

The National Plant is Island hea<strong>the</strong>r (Limonium<br />

bahamense) found nowhere else in <strong>the</strong> world. The<br />

National Tree is <strong>the</strong> Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea var.<br />

76 www.timespub.tc

ahamensis). The National Costume consists <strong>of</strong> white cotton<br />

dresses tied at <strong>the</strong> waist for women and simple shirts<br />

and loose pants for men, with straw hats. Colors representing<br />

<strong>the</strong> various islands are displayed on <strong>the</strong> sleeves<br />

and bases. The National Song is “This Land <strong>of</strong> Ours” by<br />

<strong>the</strong> late Rev. E.C. Howell, PhD. Peas and Hominy (Grits)<br />

with Dry Conch is revered as symbolic island fare.<br />

Going green<br />

TCI Waste Disposal Services currently <strong>of</strong>fers recycling<br />

services through weekly collection <strong>of</strong> recyclable aluminum,<br />

glass, and plastic. Single-use plastic bags have been<br />

banned country-wide as <strong>of</strong> May 1, 2019.<br />

Recreation<br />

Sporting activities are centered around <strong>the</strong> water. Visitors<br />

can choose from deep-sea, reef, or bonefishing, sailing,<br />

glass-bottom boat and semi-sub excursions, windsurfing,<br />

waterskiing, parasailing, sea kayaking, snorkelling, scuba<br />

diving, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding, and<br />

beachcombing. Pristine reefs, abundant marine life, and<br />

excellent visibility make TCI a world-class diving destination.<br />

Tennis and golf—<strong>the</strong>re is an 18 hole championship<br />

course on Providenciales—are also popular.<br />

The <strong>Islands</strong> are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can<br />

enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in 33<br />

national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries, and areas <strong>of</strong><br />

historical interest. The National Trust provides trail guides<br />

to several hiking trails, as well as guided tours <strong>of</strong> major<br />

historical sites. There is an excellent national museum on<br />

Grand Turk, with an auxillary branch on Providenciales. A<br />

scheduled ferry and a selection <strong>of</strong> tour operators make it<br />

easy to take day trips to <strong>the</strong> outer islands.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r land-based activities include bicycling, horseback<br />

riding and football (soccer). Personal trainers are<br />

available to motivate you, working out <strong>of</strong> several fitness<br />

centres. You will also find a variety <strong>of</strong> spa and body treatment<br />

services.<br />

Nightlife includes local bands playing island music<br />

at bars and restaurants and some nightclubs. There is<br />

a casino on Providenciales, along with many electronic<br />

gaming parlours. Stargazing is extraordinary!<br />

Shoppers will find Caribbean paintings, T-shirts,<br />

sports and beachwear, and locally made handicrafts,<br />

including straw work and conch crafts. Duty free outlets<br />

sell liquor, jewellery, watches, perfume, lea<strong>the</strong>r goods,<br />

crystal, china, cameras, electronics, brand-name clothing<br />

and accessories, along with Cuban cigars. a<br />

subscription form<br />


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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 77

where to stay<br />

78 www.timespub.tc

where to stay<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 79

dining<br />

80 www.timespub.tc

dining<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 81

Calls Spa Services<br />

Out<br />

Hair Reduction<br />

Permanent<br />

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Face<br />

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classified ads<br />

Caicu Naniki_Caicu Naniki classified 8/9/18 12:05 PM Page 1<br />

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Touch <strong>of</strong> Bliss_Layout 1 8/9/18 11:59 AM Page 1<br />

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Community Fellowship Centre<br />

A Life-Changing Experience<br />

Sunday Divine Worship 9 AM<br />

Visitors Welcome!<br />

Tel: 649.941.3484 • Web: cfctci.com<br />

Phone: 649-242-3439 or 649-346-7344<br />

Email: touch<strong>of</strong>bliss@rocketmail.com<br />

Newly located at Caribbean Place<br />








Stop by Swim & Surf Store at<br />

Caicos Cafe Plaza, Grace Bay.<br />

(649) 432-5000<br />

www.caicunaniki.com<br />

D&Bswift_Layout 1 5/8/18 7:24 AM Page 1<br />

R & K<br />

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We’re here to<br />

make your holiday<br />

<strong>the</strong> island way...<br />



Provo & North-Middle Caicos<br />

Office: 946-4684<br />

Amos: 441-2667 (after hours)<br />

Yan: 247-6755 (after hours)<br />

Bob: 231-0262 (after hours)<br />

scooterbobs@gmail.com<br />

www.scooterbobstci.com<br />

Grace Bay Road across from Regent Street<br />

Fun Friendly People<br />

Appreciating Your Business!<br />

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82 www.timespub.tc


ENERGY<br />

You Can<br />

Count On<br />

R-NETS: A roadmap for<br />

TCI’s energy future<br />

Solar integration<br />

to <strong>the</strong> FortisTCI grid<br />

We’re building partnerships to deliver a more sustainable<br />

energy future for <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> Resilient National Energy Transition<br />

Strategy (R-NETS) serving as a roadmap, and with<br />

new and ongoing investments in solar energy<br />

generation, solar plus battery pilot project, and<br />

an electric vehicle and charging station project,<br />

FortisTCI is working every day to deliver resilient,<br />

cost-effective and environmentally sustainable<br />

energy, to fuel growth and development.<br />

Solar + battery storage<br />

pilot project<br />

Electric vehicle<br />

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www.fortistci.com | 649-946-4313 |

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Venture House, Grace Bay | Resort Locations: Grace Bay Club and The Palms<br />

Each franchise is Independently Owned and Operated.

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