Times of the Islands Summer 2022

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

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


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TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



The backstory <strong>of</strong> “Cool Runnings”<br />


Human-powered circumnavigation<br />


Climate change charter signed<br />


Comfort Food Just Went A-list.<br />

If your idea <strong>of</strong> comfort feels like<br />

cashmere, you will find its culinary<br />

equivalent at Almond Tree,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Shore Club’s deliciously<br />

decadent new eatery.<br />

Golden, crusty wood-fired pizza.<br />

Savory skillets, bubbling over with flavor<br />

and just oozing with temptation.<br />

Salads and sides that give new meaning<br />

to <strong>the</strong> word “indulgence.”<br />

These days, we’re all hungry<br />

for contentment and satisfaction.<br />

Almond Tree at <strong>the</strong> Shore Club<br />

simply takes it to a whole new level.<br />

Reservations 649 339 8000<br />

<strong>the</strong>shoreclubtc.com<br />



Dinner 6 –10:30pm<br />

5pm – Midnight

contents<br />

Departments<br />

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

15 Looking Back<br />

Wear? Where?<br />

By Jody Rathgeb<br />

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

Wea<strong>the</strong>r Warning<br />

By Paul Wilkerson<br />

24 Talking Taíno<br />

Lucayan Ancestry.edu<br />

By Kendra Sirak, Bill Keegan, Betsy Carlson<br />

and Michael Pateman<br />

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

77 Subscription Form<br />

78 Classified Ads<br />

Features<br />

30 TCI Bobsledder<br />

Tal Stokes<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

40 Chalk Sound<br />

By Blossom O’Meally-Nelson Stokes<br />

Photo By Ramona Settle<br />

42 Treking into History<br />

Circumnavigating <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

Story & Photos By John Galleymore<br />

Aerial Photos By Merinda Duff<br />

Green Pages<br />

53 Making Climate History<br />

By Amy Avenant & Oshin Whyte<br />

59 Birds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sea<br />

By Sydney O’Brien<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



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

Master Photographers James Roy and Christine Morden<br />

<strong>of</strong> Paradise Photography (www.MyParadisePhoto.com)<br />

made <strong>the</strong> journey to East Caicos to capture this rare<br />

drone view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> remote island. They used <strong>the</strong>ir artistic<br />

creativity to enhance <strong>the</strong> color after <strong>the</strong> day turned<br />

overcast.<br />

59<br />

Astrolabe<br />

63 Clo<strong>the</strong>d in Mystery<br />

The Origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo, Part 1<br />

By Christopher Davis, Alex Kw<strong>of</strong>ie,<br />

Angelique McKay, and Michael P. Pateman<br />

67 Shaking It Out<br />

The Origin <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Salt Industry, Part 2<br />

Story & Images By Jeff Dodge<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

Mandalay Estate, Long Bay Beachfront<br />

Nestled along coveted Long Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, Mandalay Estate <strong>of</strong>fers a discerning buyer<br />

an idyllic private retreat with approximately 190 ft. <strong>of</strong> pristine, white sandy beach and brilliant turquoise<br />

waters. Mandalay features 7 bedrooms and an award-winning architectural design capturing <strong>the</strong> essence<br />

<strong>of</strong> open Caribbean living with a masterful layout that revolves around <strong>the</strong> spectacular multi-level pool.<br />

US$16,000,000<br />

Bernadette Hunt<br />

Cell ~ 649 231 4029 | Tel ~ 649 941 3361<br />

Bernadette@TurksAndCaicosProperty.com<br />

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

<strong>Islands</strong> for over 26 years and witnessed <strong>the</strong><br />

development and transition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands<br />

into a significant tourist destination. Based<br />

on independent figures her gross transaction<br />

numbers are unrivalled. Bernadette<br />

has listings on Providenciales, Pine Cay,<br />

Ambergris Cay, North and Middle Caicos<br />

and is delighted to work with sellers and<br />

buyers <strong>of</strong> homes, condos, commercial real<br />

estate and vacant undeveloped sites.<br />

Seascapes Townhomes, Grace Bay<br />

Seascapes Townhomes is <strong>the</strong> latest contemporary under construction project being developed in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Located a short distance from Grace Bay Beach and <strong>the</strong> Palms Turks & Caicos resort,<br />

<strong>the</strong> exclusive development is composed <strong>of</strong> 17 three bedroom custom-built townhomes. An excellent buy<br />

with a premium location and all <strong>the</strong> comforts <strong>of</strong> home.<br />

Prices Upon Request<br />

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

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

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> with <strong>of</strong>fices located at Ocean<br />

Club West Resort and Ocean Club West<br />

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

Bernadette’s reputation and success has been<br />

earned over time through her dedication,<br />

enthusiasm and passion for real estate. Her<br />

personal experience as having practiced law<br />

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

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

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

her customers and developers on what to<br />

anticipate in <strong>the</strong> purchasing and construction<br />

process.<br />

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

estate industry and her humor and energy<br />

make her a pleasure to work with.<br />

Beachfront Sunrise Villa, Emerald Point<br />

Sunrise Villa is a stunning two-storey 5-bedroom, 6 and a half bathroom beachfront residence located in<br />

Emerald Point, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most prestigious developments in <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. This magnificent<br />

property <strong>of</strong>fers nearly 9,000 sq. ft. <strong>of</strong> luxury indoor/outdoor living space and just over 100 ft. <strong>of</strong> beautiful<br />

white sandy beach frontage.<br />

Please contact Bernadette if you would like<br />

to find out more about owning real estate in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />


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


Marta Morton found this version <strong>of</strong> a TCI “compost pile” at North Beach in Salt Cay, containing shells, bits <strong>of</strong> shells and coral, and sea glass.<br />

A Compost Pile<br />

My dear fa<strong>the</strong>r died in April—six months short <strong>of</strong> 90—and thoughts <strong>of</strong> him fill my life. We were “pals,” sharing many<br />

adventures over his lifetime, including bicycle and hiking trips, canoeing and kayaking, beekeeping and sausage<br />

making. We didn’t talk much, but because we both valued nature, hard work, organization, persistance and determination,<br />

we understood each o<strong>the</strong>r. I spent much time helping him and my mo<strong>the</strong>r stay in our family home in Chicago<br />

and I marveled at his knowledge and do-it-yourself skills in maintaining house, yard, and cars.<br />

There is a small garden in <strong>the</strong>ir backyard. As I write this, blooming roses, peonies, and iris hide <strong>the</strong> compost<br />

pile my dad tended for 60 years. Garden waste, fruit and vegetable trimmings, grass clippings, leaves, and anything<br />

else he could think <strong>of</strong> were thrown on <strong>the</strong> pile and left in <strong>the</strong> sun and rain. Spring and fall, dad would use a pitchfork<br />

and “turn over” <strong>the</strong> pile. Miraculously, all that “stuff” had transformed into rich soil, full <strong>of</strong> earthworms, ready to be<br />

shoveled into a wheelbarrow and spaded into <strong>the</strong> once-clay-like soil in his garden.<br />

This magazine is my own form <strong>of</strong> compost pile. From my first day on <strong>the</strong> job, I tried to welcome and encourage<br />

everyone who wanted to submit an article or photograph or idea. I would put it all in a folder or on <strong>the</strong> computer or<br />

in <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> my mind and let it percolate. And lo and behold . . . all those suggestions, prepared by all our beloved<br />

contributors, have made each issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> a rich, fertile “garden” <strong>of</strong> material about <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. Thank you, Dad, for this and <strong>the</strong> countless good examples you’ve set for me.<br />

Kathy Borsuk, Editor<br />

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

6 www.timespub.tc

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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>


Don’t miss out on <strong>the</strong> exciting Final Phase <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong><br />

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Stubbs Road, Grace Bay • Providenciales, Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> • www.windsongresidences.com


Established in 2012, is <strong>the</strong> authorized Chevrolet Dealership for <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Butterfield Motors provides a friendly, relaxed,<br />

transparent, and ‘no-pressure’ sales experience in helping you select<br />

<strong>the</strong> best vehicle to suit your needs. We <strong>of</strong>fer a selection <strong>of</strong> vehicles for<br />

every budget, taste, or preference. We also provide fleet purchases and<br />

company service packages.<br />

Our relationship does not end at purchase. The Parts Department stocks a large<br />

selection <strong>of</strong> genuine GM OEM Parts for purchase. We are proud <strong>of</strong> our factorytrained<br />

certified technicians and state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art Service Center, equipped with<br />

<strong>the</strong> newest diagnostic equipment. You can trust us to take good care <strong>of</strong> your car<br />

irrespective <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brand, at a very competitive price. Butterfield Motors strives to<br />

exceed your expectations.<br />

Butterfield Motors is partners with TCI Civil Service Association.<br />

For more information please visit our site: www.butterfieldmotorsltd.tc or call (649) 339-CARS (2277).<br />

1045 Leeward Highway, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>

Building Your Vision, Delivering Excellence, and Exceeding Expectations -<br />

Time After Time.<br />

Projetech <strong>of</strong>fers turnkey Construction Management and General Contracting<br />

Services for Residential, Commercial and Hotel & Condominium Projects in <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. Our depth <strong>of</strong> experience is unrivaled and our commitment<br />

to quality shows in <strong>the</strong> hundreds <strong>of</strong> projects we’ve completed in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

since our beginnings in 1996.<br />

ESTABLISHED 1996<br />



T: 649.941.3508 | F: 649.941.5824 | INFO@PROJETECH.TC | WWW.PROJETECH.TC |

- --- ---<br />

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-==---<br />

-·----<br />

Experience Our Sister Lslands<br />

Each Island in our Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> chain is a destination on its own.<br />

Experience <strong>the</strong> unparalleled beauty and exciting excursions that make our<br />

'Beautiful by Nature' islands special. Retreat to one <strong>of</strong> our majestic Sister<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> for <strong>the</strong> perfect family or solo getaway!<br />


Call: (649) 946-4970<br />


TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Amy Avenant, Kathy Borsuk, Dr. Betsy Carlson,<br />

Christopher Davis, Jeff Dodge, John Galleymore,<br />

Dr. Bill Keegan, Alex Kw<strong>of</strong>ie, Angelique McKay,<br />

Sydney O’Brien, Dr. Blossom O’Meally-Nelson Stokes,<br />

Dr. Michael P. Pateman, Jody Rathgeb, Kendra Sirak,<br />

Ben Stubenberg, Lisa Turnbow-Talbot,<br />

Oshin Whyte, Paul Wilkerson.<br />

TMW<strong>2022</strong>.qxp_Layout 1 3/2/22 3:41 PM Page 1<br />



Serving international & domestic clients<br />

in real estate, property development, mortgages,<br />

corporate matters, commercial matters,<br />

immigration, and more.<br />


Kadra Been-Handfield, Titus deBoer, Jeff Dodge,<br />

Merinda Duff, John Galleymore, Georges Gobet/AFP,<br />

Major Leo Campbell, Bryan Naqqi Manco,<br />

Will and Deni McIntyre, Christine Morden/James Roy–<br />

Paradise Photography, Marta Morton, New York <strong>Times</strong>,<br />

NOAA/Worldview, Shades O’Brien, Tom Rathgeb,<br />

Dr. Michael P. Pateman, Ramona Settle, Shutterstock,<br />

Kendra Sirak, Denise Stokes, TCI Climate Change Summit,<br />

Turks & Caicos National Museum Collection,<br />

Vintage Bahamas.<br />


Theodore Morris, Wavey Line Publishing.<br />


PF Solutions, Miami, FL<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 />

Copyright © <strong>2022</strong> by <strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd. All rights reserved<br />

under Universal and Pan American Copyright Conventions.<br />

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

reproduced without written permission.<br />

Subscriptions $28/year; $32/year for<br />

non-U.S. mailing addresses<br />

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

assume no responsibility for care and return <strong>of</strong> unsolicited material.<br />

Return postage must accompany material if it is to be returned. In no<br />

event shall any writer or photographer subject this magazine to any<br />

claim for holding fees or damage charges on unsolicited material.<br />

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

information contained herein to ensure correctness, such information is<br />

subject to change without notice. The publisher accepts no<br />

responsibility for such alterations or for typographical or o<strong>the</strong>r errors.<br />



TELEPHONE 649.946.4261 | TMW@TMWLAW.TC<br />


Business Office<br />

<strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd., P.O. Box 234,<br />

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, BWI<br />

Tel 649 431 4788<br />

E-mail timespub@tciway.tc<br />

Web www.timespub.tc<br />

Advertising tfadvert@tciway.tc<br />

14 www.timespub.tc

looking back<br />

Catalog shopping was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ways to not only get clothing to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, but also to see what was in fashion. Images like this one from<br />

a 1971 Sears catalog influenced young people like Addison Forbes, who would <strong>the</strong>n lobby his mo<strong>the</strong>r to place an order.<br />


Wear? Where?<br />

Keeping Islanders clo<strong>the</strong>d in “<strong>the</strong> old days.”<br />

By Jody Rathgeb<br />

There was no Amazon. No Island Bargains. No daily flights from Miami. No family members zipping away<br />

to buy fashions abroad. So how did Turks & Caicos Islanders in “<strong>the</strong> old days” get <strong>the</strong> clothing part <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir basic food-clothing-shelter needs?<br />

Look to <strong>the</strong> women. Their homespun businesses took care <strong>of</strong> it. Long before any little island princess<br />

posed for Instagram in a fancy dress, <strong>the</strong>re were island women who figured out how to clo<strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir families.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 15

Make it sew<br />

Early on, women in <strong>the</strong> out islands were particularly<br />

resourceful, and sewing was <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> game.<br />

Doreen Been <strong>of</strong> Salt Cay recalls that <strong>the</strong>re were several<br />

seamstresses on island, including her own mo<strong>the</strong>r. The<br />

women would get cloth and o<strong>the</strong>r sewing supplies from<br />

<strong>the</strong> merchant boats that came from Jamaica. Been’s<br />

daughter, Kadra Been-Handfield, with whom she now<br />

lives on North Caicos, notes, “Their underwear was made<br />

from <strong>the</strong> bags that <strong>the</strong> flour came in at <strong>the</strong> time!”<br />

Addison Forbes <strong>of</strong> Middle Caicos also recalls <strong>the</strong><br />

women who sewed, adding that Haiti and Miami were<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r sources <strong>of</strong> fabric. “There was more trade back<br />

<strong>the</strong>n,” he says <strong>of</strong> his childhood on North Caicos.<br />

Texas Supply<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> that trade included large supply companies in<br />

<strong>the</strong> United States, particularly Texas Supply (based in<br />

Miami, despite its name) and Montgomery Ward. Forbes’<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> late Wealthy Forbes, served as an agent for<br />

Texas Supply on North Caicos. “People would come to<br />

Mom and say, ‘I need pants for my boy.’ She would place<br />

an order by mail, and in about a month big boxes came<br />

on a freighter into Grand Turk. Then things would be<br />

shipped on TCNA (Turks & Caicos National Airways) to<br />

Mom. It would come to North.” He adds that mail service<br />

was much more regular and reliable than it is <strong>the</strong>se days.<br />

Three generations <strong>of</strong> fashion: Doreen Been (left) remembers her<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r sewing for Salt Cay Islanders and wearing underwear made<br />

from flour sacks. Her daughter, Kadra Been-Handfield, and granddaughter,<br />

Nique, have an easier time staying in fashion.<br />



This archival photograph shows two Grand Turk women sewing, circa 1979.<br />

16 www.timespub.tc


The late Wealthy Forbes served as an agent for Texas Supply, making<br />

orders for Islanders and handling <strong>the</strong> payments.<br />

In describing how payment was made, Forbes remembers<br />

a man named Fred would make trips every few<br />

months and collect from all <strong>the</strong> agents in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

Local merchants<br />

Places like Texas Supply also provided goods for <strong>the</strong> small<br />

stores that began popping up in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in <strong>the</strong> 1970s.<br />

Doreen Been says that Salt Cay Islanders would visit such<br />

stores on Grand Turk until some popped up at home.<br />

“There were small store owners in Salt Cay who would<br />

take trips to Miami for special occasions like Christmas<br />

and Easter. They would get stuff as well from <strong>the</strong> Flea<br />

Market, Texas Supply, and McCrory’s and resell <strong>the</strong>m,”<br />

relates Been-Handfield.<br />

And always, everywhere, <strong>the</strong>re was help from family<br />

members abroad, mostly in The Bahamas and <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Sometimes <strong>the</strong> goods sent via mail or boat were new, and<br />

sometimes <strong>the</strong>y were hand-me-downs, which Been says<br />

were called “bang yang.” Shoes and hats especially were<br />

sent or brought down by family. “Dad and <strong>the</strong>m always<br />

had nice felt hats,” Forbes says <strong>of</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> late<br />

Aaron Forbes. “Dad lived in The Bahamas a while, and he<br />

would bring back shoes and hats for him and my uncles.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> Kangol hats, when <strong>the</strong>y became popular.”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 17


The TIMCO (Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Importers) warehouse at Cockburn Harbour, South Caicos (1965) was an outlet for dry goods.<br />

Family connections<br />

Family members abroad also brought back notions <strong>of</strong><br />

fashion, going beyond simply serviceable clo<strong>the</strong>s. Visits<br />

home were a “show and tell” <strong>of</strong> fashion in <strong>the</strong> days before<br />

homes had televisions, and <strong>the</strong> major catalogs (Texas<br />

Supply, Montgomery Ward, Sears) reinforced what was<br />

“in.” Forbes says he and his friends were particularly<br />

taken by <strong>the</strong> “Superfly” looks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1970s based on <strong>the</strong><br />

popular movie, and <strong>the</strong>y would order outfits accordingly.<br />

“We would dress up in those suits, with open collars and<br />

jewelry and <strong>the</strong> hats, and down in Bottle Creek <strong>the</strong> girls<br />

would follow us instead <strong>of</strong> us following <strong>the</strong> girls!”<br />

Forbes left North Caicos in 1981 and lived and worked<br />

in Miami until <strong>the</strong> mid-2000s. “I went to Texas Supply<br />

once,” he says. “I found out where it was located and<br />

dropped in.” His mo<strong>the</strong>r was remembered <strong>the</strong>re, and he<br />

was <strong>of</strong>fered some free clothing. He laughs. “Hey, I was<br />

in America, I could shop at <strong>the</strong> malls!” His Texas Supply<br />

days were behind him.<br />

Those days are apparently behind <strong>the</strong> company, too.<br />

Although an internet search brings up an address and<br />

phone number for Texas Supply, <strong>the</strong> phone is disconnected<br />

and <strong>the</strong>re is no Web address. As for Montgomery<br />

Ward, <strong>the</strong> original company, which was founded to serve<br />

Ruthphine Smith was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Grand Turk merchants who handled<br />

clothing requests. For her inventory, she would make trips to wholesalers<br />

in Miami and had a friend in New York to send her such items<br />

as children’s dresses.<br />


18 www.timespub.tc

Midwest farmers in<br />

rural areas, went<br />

defunct in 2001.<br />

It was relaunched<br />

online in 2004<br />

and its brand has<br />

been purchased<br />

by a series <strong>of</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r companies.<br />

Today’s Wards.com<br />

still sells clothing,<br />

although <strong>the</strong> boys’<br />

white shirts with<br />

attached ties that<br />

Addison Forbes<br />

remembers are not<br />

available. a<br />


These 1960s photos <strong>of</strong> children provide a look into <strong>the</strong> clothing that was worn at <strong>the</strong> time. Top: Children play in <strong>the</strong> street at Bottle Creek,<br />

North Caicos, November 1962.<br />

Bottom: Salt Cay children welcome a boat at <strong>the</strong> White House dock.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 19

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

Opposite page: Island residents and visitors hope that <strong>the</strong> <strong>2022</strong> Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 to November 30) remains as calm and serene<br />

as this comfortable retreat at Leeward-Going-Through in Providenciales.<br />

Above: This satellite image shows Tropical Storm Elsa on July 4, 2021, when it was over Jamaica. Fortunately, it did not affect <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> beyond a few squalls, showers, and gusty winds.<br />


Wea<strong>the</strong>r Warning<br />

Tropical season could spell trouble.<br />

By Paul Wilkerson<br />

The predictions are in, and it appears that <strong>the</strong> hurricane season for <strong>2022</strong> will likely result in above normal<br />

activity for <strong>the</strong> Tropical Atlantic. Thankfully, <strong>the</strong> overall odds <strong>of</strong> a storm impacting <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> is relatively low based on historical data. Never<strong>the</strong>less, it is appropriate to prepare and take due<br />

diligence to ensure your safety during <strong>the</strong> season.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 21

As we look towards <strong>the</strong> <strong>2022</strong> season, we investigate<br />

<strong>the</strong> typical host <strong>of</strong> resources and markers to help us<br />

determine what this season is likely to become. At <strong>the</strong><br />

present time, La Niña is <strong>the</strong> active ENSO pattern currently<br />

ongoing across <strong>the</strong> Nor<strong>the</strong>rn Hemisphere. In this scenario,<br />

<strong>the</strong> waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pacific Ocean near <strong>the</strong> equator<br />

between Indonesia and South America are cooler than<br />

average. Historically when <strong>the</strong>se conditions exist, we see<br />

calmer upper level winds across <strong>the</strong> breeding ground <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. For hurricanes<br />

to thrive and become <strong>the</strong> behemoths that sometimes<br />

develop, <strong>the</strong>y depend on <strong>the</strong>se calm winds in <strong>the</strong> upper<br />

levels. Strong winds al<strong>of</strong>t in general will shear apart <strong>the</strong><br />

top <strong>of</strong> tropical lows, which prevents <strong>the</strong>m from growing<br />

large and powerful.<br />

Beyond <strong>the</strong> wind environment, we have to turn to <strong>the</strong><br />

ocean and sea surface temperatures to determine <strong>the</strong><br />

quality <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> “fuel” available for tropical system development.<br />

At this point in <strong>2022</strong>, temperatures in <strong>the</strong> open<br />

waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Atlantic and Caribbean are above normal<br />

and will continue to remain above normal as we head into<br />

<strong>the</strong> season. Plenty <strong>of</strong> fuel unfortunately will be available<br />

to just about anything that develops in <strong>the</strong> traditionally<br />

favored areas.<br />

The final aspect <strong>of</strong> forecasting hurricane season has<br />

to do with areas <strong>of</strong> low pressure that form over Africa<br />

and emerge into <strong>the</strong> Atlantic. Over <strong>the</strong> last several years,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re has been a greater frequency <strong>of</strong> Africa-based low<br />

pressure systems/waves—many <strong>of</strong> which are strong—<br />

moving out over <strong>the</strong> Atlantic. Whe<strong>the</strong>r this is <strong>the</strong> result<br />

<strong>of</strong> climate change is still up for some debate, and likely<br />

an area <strong>of</strong> research that will be needed in <strong>the</strong> years to<br />

come. These waves, in many cases, are what develop<br />

into hurricanes well east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Windward and Leeward<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. It appears that as <strong>of</strong> late May <strong>2022</strong>, all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

forecast ingredients are signaling that <strong>the</strong> <strong>2022</strong> season<br />

will once again be an above-normal one.<br />

Colorado State University released <strong>the</strong>ir predictions<br />

in April and called for an above-normal season with a<br />

28–30% increase in named storms this year based on <strong>the</strong><br />

historical average from 1991–2020. Colorado State also<br />

anticipates about two more (nine) hurricanes than <strong>the</strong><br />

statistical average, with one more (four) major hurricane<br />

than <strong>the</strong> norm.<br />

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration<br />

(NOAA) released <strong>the</strong>ir hurriacane season outlook on May<br />

24, <strong>2022</strong>, and are also calling for a 65% chance at an<br />

above-normal season thanks to La Niña. NOAA also anticipates<br />

up to 21 named storms, and 6 to 10 hurricanes this<br />

season, with 3 to 6 <strong>of</strong> those becoming major hurricanes.<br />

NOAA noted that <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> La Niña conditions<br />

along with above-normal water temperatures likely lends<br />

to a busy season once again.<br />

For those on island, you generally know <strong>the</strong> drill. For<br />

those that may be new to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and haven’t been<br />

through a hurricane yet, <strong>the</strong>re are a few things you need<br />

to do in order to wea<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> hurricane season. It all starts<br />

at home. Take a look at your dwelling and your relation<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

to <strong>the</strong> coastline. If you live near <strong>the</strong> coast on any <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong>, you need to look at flood maps to see what kind<br />

<strong>of</strong> inundation would occur to your area should you try to<br />

stay home during a hurricane.<br />

Look at your ro<strong>of</strong>, windows, yard. Think about wind<br />

impacts—what would likely get damaged if caught by<br />

winds. Keep your yard clear <strong>of</strong> debris. If a tropical system<br />

is headed your way, bring in plants and anything that<br />

could become an airborne projectile. Consider procuring<br />

some resources well in advance that you could use to<br />

hurricane-pro<strong>of</strong> your home, such as plywood sheets for<br />

windows.<br />

Develop your hurricane evacuation plan. It should<br />

include a hurricane shelter in one <strong>of</strong> your communities.<br />

Think about food and electricity. If you are able, stock<br />

several flashlights, non-perishable foods and bottled<br />

water. A three to five-day supply <strong>of</strong> each is a good start!<br />

Once you have your plan in place, tell friends and<br />

family, as communications could be severed for days at<br />

a time. Your plan will give friends and family a starting<br />

point to look for you to know you are safe.<br />

Finally, and most importantly, follow TCI’s Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME). The<br />

staff has invested a lot <strong>of</strong> time and training to be able<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ citizens with excellent information<br />

when severe wea<strong>the</strong>r threatens. DDME is <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

source for information during impending tropical systems<br />

on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. They have a Facebook page that is a<br />

great resource for information. Utilize it.<br />

For tourists, it is advisable that you monitor wea<strong>the</strong>r<br />

a week or more before you travel. A couple <strong>of</strong> go-to sites<br />

include <strong>the</strong> National Hurricane Center and Turks and<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Wea<strong>the</strong>r Info on Facebook. If you do find<br />

yourself on island during a tropical system, take comfort<br />

in knowing that <strong>the</strong> resorts have plans and protocols in<br />

place for <strong>the</strong>ir guests to stay safe during hurricane season.<br />

Stay in contact with <strong>the</strong> front desk. They will have<br />

important information you need and will work as a team<br />

to keep all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir patrons safe. Make sure you share<br />

your flight and length <strong>of</strong> stay information with friends<br />

that you trust. That will give <strong>the</strong>m important information<br />

if <strong>the</strong>y need to look for you after a hurricane passes.<br />

Hurricane season can be scary, however, armed with<br />

<strong>the</strong> right information you will be prepared. You will be<br />

able to move about your day to day plans with confidence,<br />

knowing you are ready to wea<strong>the</strong>r whatever<br />

Mo<strong>the</strong>r Nature sends our way. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 23


talking taíno<br />

Opposite page: Advances in ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis have given scientists new tools for investigating Lucayan ancestry.<br />

Above: This original painting represents <strong>the</strong> fact that female Tanío Caciques traced <strong>the</strong>ir ancestors through <strong>the</strong> female line to a common<br />

ancestress. Artist Theodore Morris earned a BFA from <strong>the</strong> Ringling School <strong>of</strong> Art in Sarasota, Florida. After decades <strong>of</strong> studying and painting<br />

Florida’s pre-Columbian Indians, he decided to investigate <strong>the</strong> Tanío and discovered <strong>the</strong>y both had a lot in common. To see a selection <strong>of</strong> his<br />

artwork, visit taino-paintings.weebly.com.<br />


Lucayan Ancestry.edu<br />

Exploring <strong>the</strong> origins and interactions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ancient Lucayans with ancient DNA.<br />

By Kendra Sirak, Bill Keegan, Betsy Carlson, and Michael Pateman<br />

About ten years ago, Tellis Be<strong>the</strong>l, retired commodore <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas Defense Force, started a campaign<br />

to name <strong>the</strong> waters surrounding The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (TCI) <strong>the</strong> “Lucayan Sea.”<br />

Covering 180,000 square miles <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn North Atlantic Ocean, this is <strong>the</strong> largest recognized but<br />

unnamed body <strong>of</strong> water in <strong>the</strong> world. Commodore Be<strong>the</strong>l felt compelled to recognize <strong>the</strong> pivotal role <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Indigenous inhabitants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se islands — known as “Lucayans” — in <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Americas. First<br />

and foremost, <strong>the</strong>y discovered and rescued a lost Italian explorer by <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> Christopher Columbus<br />

(certainly not <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r way around). And as we know, <strong>the</strong>y were <strong>the</strong> first to suffer <strong>the</strong> severe consequences<br />

<strong>of</strong> this encounter.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 25

The name Lucayan is traced to <strong>the</strong> Arawak words<br />

lukku cairi, literally “people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands.” The Spanish<br />

called The Bahamas and TCI “Las Islas de los Lucayos”<br />

(<strong>Islands</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayos), and “Lucayan” is <strong>the</strong> English version<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir name. Referring to this archipelago as <strong>the</strong><br />

“Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>” is one important step in acknowledging<br />

<strong>the</strong> vibrant history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lukku cairi.<br />

So, who were <strong>the</strong> Lucayans? Until recently, our answer<br />

came primarily from <strong>the</strong> study <strong>of</strong> artifacts preserved at<br />

archaeological sites. Radiocarbon dating <strong>of</strong> carbon-based<br />

materials from <strong>the</strong>se sites indicates <strong>the</strong>re were no people<br />

living in <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong> until about 1,300 years ago.<br />

Based solely on geographical proximity, it was first proposed<br />

that <strong>the</strong> Lucayans came from Florida. However, no<br />

material evidence has ever been found that establishes a<br />

definitive connection, so Florida is no longer considered<br />

as a likely source for <strong>the</strong> origin <strong>of</strong> this population.<br />

In fact, all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cultural practices known for <strong>the</strong><br />

Lucayans reflect a more sou<strong>the</strong>rn origin. The nearest<br />

possible source islands are Hispaniola and Cuba, and<br />

archaeologists have debated for decades which was <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

homeland. It has even been argued that <strong>the</strong>re were separate<br />

migrations from both. However, because only one<br />

type <strong>of</strong> pottery was ever made in <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>, this<br />

unique ceramic tradition is attributed to a single migration.<br />

Until recently, it seemed <strong>the</strong> question would never<br />

be answered to everyone’s satisfaction.<br />

Fortunately, advances in ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis<br />

have given us new tools for investigating Lucayan<br />

ancestry. Most people are today familiar with direct-toconsumer<br />

genetic testing companies, such as Ancestry.<br />

com and 23&Me. They <strong>of</strong>fer a way to trace a person’s<br />

ancestry, providing millions <strong>of</strong> people worldwide with<br />

insight into where <strong>the</strong>ir ancestors once lived. These<br />

at-home test kits rely on <strong>the</strong> study <strong>of</strong> DNA that is extracted<br />

from saliva.<br />

However, saliva cannot be used for aDNA because it<br />

does not preserve in <strong>the</strong> archaeological record. Instead,<br />

DNA must be recovered from human bones and teeth.<br />

Extracting DNA from ancient bone proved especially challenging<br />

until researchers determined that a particular<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> skeleton, known as <strong>the</strong> petrous part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

temporal bone, preserves a high concentration <strong>of</strong> DNA.<br />

“Petrous” means “stone-like” in Latin, and it is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

densest bones in <strong>the</strong> human body, located behind your<br />

ear. In 2020, two separate studies <strong>of</strong> Caribbean genetic<br />

history were published by teams <strong>of</strong> geneticists and<br />

archaeologists from <strong>the</strong> Max Plank Institute (Germany)<br />

and Harvard/University <strong>of</strong> Vienna who studied <strong>the</strong> DNA<br />

The petrous part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> temporal bone is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> densest bones in<br />

<strong>the</strong> human body. It preserves a high concentration <strong>of</strong> DNA.<br />

preserved in <strong>the</strong> petrous to provide a new lens into <strong>the</strong><br />

past. We are members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Harvard team.<br />

To fully understand Lucayan ancestry, we need to<br />

know something about <strong>the</strong> genetic landscape in <strong>the</strong> wider<br />

Caribbean region millennia before <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong><br />

were settled. The study <strong>of</strong> aDNA identified two migrations<br />

<strong>of</strong> genetically distinct peoples from <strong>the</strong> American<br />

mainland into <strong>the</strong> Caribbean islands that occurred at different<br />

points in time. Not only were <strong>the</strong> people who were<br />

part <strong>of</strong> each migration genetically distinct, but <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

distinct cultures as well. The first group moved into <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean during <strong>the</strong> Archaic Age, while <strong>the</strong> movement<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> second group began <strong>the</strong> region’s Ceramic Age.<br />

The first migration — that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Archaic Age —<br />

began about 6,000 years ago and is characterized by<br />

<strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> stone tools, <strong>the</strong> relative absence <strong>of</strong> ceramics,<br />

and an economy based on fishing, ga<strong>the</strong>ring, and simple<br />

farming. Known as “Ciboney,” <strong>the</strong>se first people to<br />

enter <strong>the</strong> Caribbean settled first in Cuba and expanded<br />

eastward over <strong>the</strong> next 3,000 years to eventually inhabit<br />

Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and finally, <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn Lesser<br />

Antilles (but not Jamaica or <strong>the</strong> Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>). They<br />

came from somewhere in South or Central America,<br />

although <strong>the</strong>ir precise origins could not be determined<br />


26 www.timespub.tc


Ancient DNA is extracted from ancient bone samples (<strong>the</strong> petrous part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> temporal bone) in David Reich’s lab at Harvard.<br />

genetically. Because <strong>the</strong> Ciboney were living on <strong>the</strong><br />

Jardines del Rey islands <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> north coast <strong>of</strong> Cuba 4,000<br />

years ago, it is possible <strong>the</strong>y crossed <strong>the</strong> 10-mile-wide<br />

Old Bahama Channel to reach <strong>the</strong> most remote <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamian islands, and <strong>the</strong>n continued eastward to <strong>the</strong><br />

larger Lucayan <strong>Islands</strong>. However, <strong>the</strong>re is no archaeological<br />

or genetic evidence that <strong>the</strong>y did. In sum, this first<br />

migration provides no insight into Lucayan ancestry.<br />

The second migration — that which began <strong>the</strong><br />

Ceramic Age — started about 2,500 years ago and was<br />

accomplished by people who made abundant use <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics and had an economy based on intensive farming<br />

and fishing. The genetic evidence connects this migration<br />

to nor<strong>the</strong>astern South America, and specifically to <strong>the</strong><br />

Arawak-speaking societies who live <strong>the</strong>re at present. In<br />

deeper time, <strong>the</strong> Arawak sojourn began from Northwest<br />

Amazonia where <strong>the</strong>y developed <strong>the</strong> farming practices<br />

that allowed <strong>the</strong>m to spread rapidly along <strong>the</strong> rich floodplain<br />

soils <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. When <strong>the</strong>y<br />

reached <strong>the</strong> Orinoco Delta at <strong>the</strong> eastern terminus <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> continent in modern-day Venezuela, some groups<br />

crossed <strong>the</strong> narrow channel to Trinidad and <strong>the</strong>n traveled<br />

north into <strong>the</strong> Lesser Antilles, while o<strong>the</strong>rs turned south<br />

into <strong>the</strong> Guianas. They northward expansion continued all<br />

This diagram shows <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> extracting ancient DNA.<br />

<strong>the</strong> way to Puerto Rico, which <strong>the</strong>y settled at an early date<br />

(around 200 BC). For a reason that is still unknown, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

migration paused here for almost 1,000 years.<br />

The groups who resumed <strong>the</strong> expansion process had<br />

<strong>the</strong> same genetic ancestry as those who participated in <strong>the</strong><br />

earlier migration. In quick order <strong>the</strong>y occupied Hispaniola<br />

(AD 600), Jamaica (AD 700), Turks & Caicos (AD 700), and<br />

finally, eastern Cuba (AD 900). Although archaeologists<br />

have interpreted changes in ceramic styles through time<br />

as evidence for additional waves <strong>of</strong> migration into <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean from South America, <strong>the</strong>se are not reflected in<br />

<strong>the</strong> genetic evidence. Genetically, Arawak communities in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean are remarkably homogeneous across space<br />

and time, reflecting a high degree <strong>of</strong> mobility and interconnectedness<br />

<strong>of</strong> people across islands.<br />

Fur<strong>the</strong>rmore, <strong>the</strong>re is very little genetic evidence <strong>of</strong><br />

intermarriage with <strong>the</strong> Ciboney who were already living<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 27


This Lucayan man was buried in an Atlantic Ocean-facing sand dune on Long Island, The Bahamas. This individual has a distant cousin buried<br />

in Cueva de los Esqueletos 1, Camagüey, Cuba.<br />

in Hispaniola and Cuba. Only a very small number <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

individuals studied had both Ciboney- and Arawak-related<br />

ancestries. All traces <strong>of</strong> Ciboney culture disappeared soon<br />

after <strong>the</strong> Arawak arrived. The one exception is western<br />

Cuba where <strong>the</strong> Ciboney survived in independent communities,<br />

possibly until Spanish contact.<br />

Within <strong>the</strong> Caribbean Arawak gene pool <strong>the</strong>re are also<br />

subtle differences, called “genetic substructure.” These<br />

result from some barriers — natural, social, or culturally-imposed<br />

— that give some groups a slightly unique<br />

genetic signature relative to o<strong>the</strong>rs. The Lucayans share<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir slightly unique genetic signature with <strong>the</strong> ceramic-using<br />

people living in Cuba (but not <strong>the</strong> Ciboney), which<br />

suggests that <strong>the</strong>se communities shared common ancestors<br />

or possibly intermarried. Thus, in terms <strong>of</strong> regional<br />

relationships, DNA shows that <strong>the</strong> Lucayans were not<br />

genetically related to <strong>the</strong> Ciboney; that Lucayans share<br />

a direct ancestral link to <strong>the</strong> Arawak peoples <strong>of</strong> South<br />

America who settled <strong>the</strong> Antilles; and that <strong>the</strong> Lucayans<br />

and ceramic-using Cubans share some genetic similarities,<br />

possibly because <strong>of</strong> recent common ancestors.<br />

We’re not done yet! It also is possible to obtain very<br />

specific information about genetic relatedness (think<br />

paternity test). The degree to which particular individuals<br />

are related to o<strong>the</strong>rs can be estimated by identifying segments<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> genome that are inherited from a common<br />

ancestor, referred to as “Identity by Descent” (IBD).<br />

Comparing <strong>the</strong> IBD segments on <strong>the</strong> X chromosomes<br />

from pairs <strong>of</strong> males (who only have one X chromosome,<br />

while females have two), <strong>the</strong> Harvard team identified 19<br />

pairs <strong>of</strong> distant “cousins” who were buried on different<br />

islands. In this sense, cousin is determined by <strong>the</strong> quantity<br />

<strong>of</strong> shared genetic material, and not <strong>the</strong> particular<br />

family relationship for which we use <strong>the</strong> term. Of <strong>the</strong> 29<br />

Lucayans included in this study, <strong>the</strong>re were 14 distant<br />

cousin pairs which involved a Lucayan male and ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

individual buried on o<strong>the</strong>r islands in The Bahamas or at<br />

multiple sites in <strong>the</strong> Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and<br />

in one case Cuba. These “cousin” pairs document ancestral<br />

connections to people living throughout <strong>the</strong> Greater<br />

Antilles, and attest to <strong>the</strong> remarkable speed with which<br />

<strong>the</strong> Arawak expansion took place.<br />

A final question concerns <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lucayan population.<br />

How many Lucayans were living in <strong>the</strong>se islands<br />

when <strong>the</strong> Spanish arrived? The one available Spanish<br />

accounting says that 40,000 Lucayans were enslaved and<br />

shipped to Hispaniola in <strong>the</strong> early 1500s. But how reliable<br />

is this testimony? We know that early Spanish accounts<br />

were given to grand exaggerations, especially when<br />

potential wealth and local labor was concerned. We need<br />

an independent and objective method for estimating <strong>the</strong><br />

size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> population.<br />

Once again, genetics can help. The size <strong>of</strong> a group’s<br />

effective population (that is, <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> individuals<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

who are potential reproductive partners) is reflected in<br />

<strong>the</strong> amount and length <strong>of</strong> “Runs <strong>of</strong> Homozygosity” (ROH),<br />

which are segments <strong>of</strong> DNA where both parents passed<br />

down <strong>the</strong> exact same genetic code. Large sums <strong>of</strong> long<br />

ROH suggest parental relatedness within a few generations,<br />

while an abundance <strong>of</strong> short ROH reflects small<br />

mating pools. We can estimate effective population size<br />

based on <strong>the</strong> amount and size <strong>of</strong> shared segments <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

genome, and after estimating effective population size,<br />

we can extrapolate to estimate census population size.<br />

Confusing? Think <strong>of</strong> this in terms <strong>of</strong> a dating app.<br />

Based on your pr<strong>of</strong>ile, a number <strong>of</strong> people are recommended<br />

as potentially compatible dates — this is your<br />

effective “dating pool.” Yet <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> your personal dating<br />

pool is only a percentage <strong>of</strong> everyone registered on<br />

<strong>the</strong> app. By knowing <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> people identified for<br />

you, you can <strong>the</strong>n estimate <strong>the</strong> total number <strong>of</strong> people<br />

looking for a date.<br />

For <strong>the</strong> Lucayans, <strong>the</strong> mating pool is estimated as<br />

between 500 to 900. For humans, <strong>the</strong> effective population<br />

size is about 1/3 to 1/10 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> census population size,<br />

which gives us a total Lucayan population <strong>of</strong> between<br />

1,500 and 9,000 people. These numbers are consistent<br />

with values calculated for <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean. On<br />

<strong>the</strong> whole, <strong>the</strong> precontact Caribbean population was substantially<br />

smaller than hundreds <strong>of</strong> thousands, let alone<br />

millions, proposed from Spanish accounts. Yet, recognizing<br />

smaller population numbers for <strong>the</strong> Indigenous<br />

Caribbean does not diminish <strong>the</strong> genocidal consequences<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Spanish invasion, which forever changed <strong>the</strong> cultural<br />

and biological landscape <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

Commodore Be<strong>the</strong>l is right to recognize <strong>the</strong> significance<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lucayan ancestry for <strong>the</strong>se islands. While we<br />

may not be able to change <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea, we can<br />

use new technologies to better appreciate <strong>the</strong> ancient<br />

Lucayan people who once called <strong>the</strong>se islands home. a<br />

Dr. Kendra Sirak is a Biological Anthropologist and<br />

Research Associate in <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Genetics,<br />

Harvard Medical School and Department <strong>of</strong> Human<br />

Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University; Dr. Bill Keegan<br />

is Emeritus Curator <strong>of</strong> Caribbean Archaeology at <strong>the</strong><br />

Florida Museum <strong>of</strong> Natural History (University <strong>of</strong> Florida);<br />

Dr. Betsy Carlson is Senior Archaeologist at Sou<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

Archaeological Research (SEARCH, Inc.) in Jonesville, FL;<br />

and Dr. Michael Pateman is former Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos National Museum and currently Curator/Lab<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> AEX Maritime Museum on Grand Bahama.<br />

The longest established legal practice<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Real Estate Investments<br />

& Property Development<br />

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& Business Licensing<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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p.o.box 21, providenciales, turks & caicos is.<br />

tel.: 9464440 cell: 2314569 email: redmond@tciway.tc<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 29


feature<br />

Opposite page: Jamaican four-man bobsleigh pilot Dudley Stokes jumps in as his three teammates push <strong>of</strong>f at <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> second run<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Olympic four-man bobsleigh event on February 27, 1988 at <strong>the</strong> Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. This is <strong>the</strong> first time that Jamaica<br />

participates in <strong>the</strong> bobsleigh event.<br />

Above: Team Captain Dudley “Tal” Stokes enjoyed his early childhood on Grand Turk with <strong>the</strong> freedom to explore <strong>the</strong> beaches and salt ponds.<br />

The family moved back to Jamaica in 1966.<br />


TCI Bobsledder<br />

The real backstory <strong>of</strong> “Cool Runnings.”<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

“Life is a struggle. Anything worth doing in life is a struggle.<br />

And anytime you enter a struggle, you are going to suffer.<br />

People think suffering is something to be avoided.<br />

No! Suffering is reality.”<br />

— Tal Stokes<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 31

On a windy February morning in 1988, <strong>the</strong> captain<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first Jamaican bobsled team stood at <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Olympic course in Calgary and stared down <strong>the</strong> steep<br />

track coated with fresh, fast ice that glared back in <strong>the</strong><br />

bright sun. In <strong>the</strong> stands to ei<strong>the</strong>r side, he saw a sea<br />

<strong>of</strong> fluttering colors from national banners and heard <strong>the</strong><br />

ardent rattling <strong>of</strong> cowbells <strong>the</strong> Swiss and Austrian fans<br />

had brought to cheer <strong>the</strong>ir teams. But this time, <strong>the</strong> flags<br />

waved and <strong>the</strong> bells rang for <strong>the</strong> improbable sight <strong>of</strong><br />

four black men from a tropical Caribbean island as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

moved <strong>the</strong>ir sled to <strong>the</strong> start line.<br />

The captain went through a mental ritual to filter out<br />

<strong>the</strong> frenzy around him and shed all negative thoughts.<br />

With his mind clear and focused on <strong>the</strong> present, he pulled<br />

down his goggles—<strong>the</strong> physical signal to execute. And<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, as <strong>the</strong> world watched, <strong>the</strong> four men sprinted as one,<br />

pushing over 600 lbs. (270 kg) <strong>of</strong> steel and fiberglass<br />

down <strong>the</strong> chute and hurling <strong>the</strong>mselves into history, and<br />

our hearts.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> us have seen <strong>the</strong> lovable, hit movie “Cool<br />

Runnings.” But how did <strong>the</strong>se guys from a country with<br />

no snow or ice really make it to <strong>the</strong> Winter Olympics? And<br />

what did it take to compete in this decidedly dangerous<br />

and, quite frankly, clubby sport?<br />

As it turns out, <strong>the</strong> actual story is far more compelling<br />

than <strong>the</strong> film. Let’s start with <strong>the</strong> little known fact<br />

that <strong>the</strong> team captain, Dudley “Tal” Stokes, is from Grand<br />

Turk. Yes, <strong>the</strong> iconic underdog who nimbly steered <strong>the</strong><br />

bobsled speeding through 16 treacherous turns against<br />

<strong>the</strong> best on <strong>the</strong> planet is also one <strong>of</strong> us.<br />

The early years<br />

In 1961, newly ordained minister Dudley Stokes and his<br />

wife Blossom Nelson Stokes arrived on Grand Turk from<br />

Jamaica as Baptist missionaries. Tal was born <strong>the</strong> following<br />

year. Back <strong>the</strong>n, TCI did not have a Baptist minister,<br />

so every couple <strong>of</strong> weeks, Pastor Dudley would set <strong>of</strong>f in<br />

a canoe with a small outboard motor to visit <strong>the</strong> scattered<br />

settlements and minister to <strong>the</strong> faithful. These trips were<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten fraught with peril, as sudden squalls could quickly<br />

swamp and sink small boats, particularly when crossing<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Channel. Dozens, if not hundreds,<br />

<strong>of</strong> Turks & Caicos Islanders had lost <strong>the</strong>ir lives during<br />

voyages like this. But Pastor Stokes never wavered in his<br />

commitment to reach out to everyone despite <strong>the</strong> hazards.<br />

Both Dudley and Blossom had big, generous hearts<br />

and a gift for connecting with people.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time, <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and Jamaica<br />

were colonies <strong>of</strong> Great Britain, but with TCI by far <strong>the</strong> less<br />

developed and more neglected <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two. The paucity<br />

<strong>of</strong> medical services during <strong>the</strong> early 1960s, in particular,<br />

posed a life-threatening risk to residents if <strong>the</strong>y needed<br />

emergency treatment. Pregnant women who developed<br />

complications during childbirth were especially vulnerable.<br />

Blossom witnessed far too many young women and<br />

babies dying during childbirth. When she became pregnant<br />

with Tal’s younger bro<strong>the</strong>r, Christian, she took no<br />

chances and had <strong>the</strong> baby in Jamaica.<br />

Tal enjoyed his early childhood on Grand Turk with<br />

<strong>the</strong> freedom to explore <strong>the</strong> beaches and salt ponds. But<br />

blissful as life was, he could also see and internalize <strong>the</strong><br />

anguish on his mo<strong>the</strong>r’s face when ano<strong>the</strong>r member <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> community was taken away too early.<br />

The family moved back to Jamaica in 1966 where<br />

Pastor Dudley became a circuit preacher in St. Mary<br />

Parrish near Ocho Rios. Tal attended prep school and<br />

proved to be a bright student and good at sports, particularly<br />

football (soccer). At age 9, however, his younger<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r Chris beat him in a running race on <strong>the</strong> beach,<br />

making painfully plain who was <strong>the</strong> better athlete.<br />

When Tal was 15, <strong>the</strong> coach cut him from <strong>the</strong> school<br />

football team and he came home distraught. Blossom,<br />

already known for her irrepressible personality, promptly<br />

marched over to <strong>the</strong> school with pen and paper and<br />

demanded to speak with <strong>the</strong> coach. But she didn’t ask<br />

him to reconsider his decision. Instead, she returned<br />

home with a list <strong>of</strong> 16 weaknesses which <strong>the</strong> coach had<br />

given her and said, “This is why you are not on <strong>the</strong> team.”<br />

That was ano<strong>the</strong>r life lesson that Tal took to heart—break<br />

down your flaws and work on <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

At 18, Tal joined <strong>the</strong> Jamaican Army straight out <strong>of</strong><br />

school and went through <strong>of</strong>ficer training—first in Jamaica<br />

and <strong>the</strong>n at <strong>the</strong> Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in <strong>the</strong><br />

UK. Later, he was selected for training as a helicopter<br />

pilot and sent to flight school in Manitoba, Canada.<br />

Military life appealed to Tal, as it gave him opportunities<br />

to build technical skills and work with people from<br />

different countries. Both would serve him well when he<br />

became a bobsledder. While in <strong>the</strong> military, he met and<br />

dated Denise Muir, also a Jamaican Army <strong>of</strong>ficer. She was<br />

a crack shot with both rifle and pistol and, like Tal, fit and<br />

bright. On a lark, she decided to become a competitive<br />

body-builder. They would marry in 1985, and she would<br />

become his biggest supporter.<br />

Creating <strong>the</strong> bobsled team<br />

In July 1987, two American friends, George Fitch and<br />

William Maloney, stopped in one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir favorite bars in<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

Kingston for rum and cokes. They both loved Jamaica and<br />

felt part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community. George had recently worked<br />

as <strong>the</strong> commercial attaché at <strong>the</strong> US Embassy in Jamaica,<br />

but he dreamed <strong>of</strong> doing something different, like maybe<br />

make a movie someday. William, a successful businessman<br />

and married to a prominent Jamaican, also yearned<br />

for something unique, like perhaps march in <strong>the</strong> opening<br />

ceremonies <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Olympics.<br />

The story varies, but after a couple more drinks, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

saw on <strong>the</strong> TV screen a push cart derby competition. This<br />

was a popular event in Jamaica, and one <strong>the</strong>y were quite<br />

familiar with. And that’s when <strong>the</strong> preposterous idea hit:<br />

Why not form a Jamaican bobsled team using Jamaica’s<br />

world-class sprinters to compete in <strong>the</strong> upcoming Winter<br />

Olympics next year? George and William pitched <strong>the</strong> idea<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Jamaica Olympic Association and got general support.<br />

They <strong>the</strong>n tried to recruit sprinters preparing for<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1988 <strong>Summer</strong> Olympics in Seoul. But none were interested<br />

in bobsledding. The two Americans also reached<br />

out to sports clubs and even posted ads in newspapers<br />

but got little interest.<br />

Finally in August, George approached his friend<br />

Colonel Ken Barnes, who was in charge <strong>of</strong> sports in <strong>the</strong><br />

Jamaican Army, and asked him if <strong>the</strong> military could provide<br />

athletes for a team. He got a yes without hesitation.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> Olympics just five months away, Col. Barnes<br />

asked/ordered 30 top athletes to try out for <strong>the</strong> team,<br />

including Tal. Though Tal was fit and an excellent player<br />

on <strong>the</strong> Army football team, he was not as athletically<br />

gifted as <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs. However, he had something else—<br />

outstanding hand-eye coordination that he had developed<br />

as a helicopter pilot. Indeed, <strong>the</strong> precision skills to fly a<br />

helicopter were quite similar to <strong>the</strong> split-second timing <strong>of</strong><br />

piloting a high-tech piece <strong>of</strong> bobsled machinery sliding<br />

over ice at breakneck speed.<br />

George and William found a couple <strong>of</strong> American<br />

Olympic bobsledders whom <strong>the</strong>y talked into flying to<br />

Jamaica to evaluate <strong>the</strong> skills <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> men Col. Barnes had<br />

brought toge<strong>the</strong>r. Their task was made easier when most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> prospective bobsledders dropped out after seeing<br />

videos <strong>of</strong> bobsleds crashing. Of <strong>the</strong> remaining 12 military<br />

men, <strong>the</strong> Americans chose Tal, Michael White, and<br />

Devon Harris with <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> forming 2 two-man bobsled<br />

teams. Later civilians Sammy Clayton, Freddie Powell, and<br />

Caswell Allen would be added.<br />

Of course, Jamaica had nei<strong>the</strong>r bobsleds nor a bobsled<br />

track, making <strong>the</strong> whole notion <strong>of</strong> even qualifying for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Olympics problematic. But <strong>the</strong>y got creative and persuaded<br />

a local company to build an iron sled on wheels.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 33


Tal Stokes trains in Jamaica with his son.<br />

The idea was to practice pushing <strong>the</strong> sled fast and get <strong>the</strong><br />

timing down for hopping in. In bobsledding, <strong>the</strong> start is<br />

crucial for a fast run.<br />

“We created quite a stir on <strong>the</strong> military helicopter<br />

tarmac right in <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> Kingston, with cars stopping<br />

to see what was going on. But we worked every<br />

day to perfect <strong>the</strong> start. What we never did, however,<br />

is drive a cart down a hill, as portrayed in ‘Cool<br />

Runnings.’ Steering a cart is nothing like steering a<br />

bobsled, so that exercise would have been pointless.<br />

For that, we needed to go down a real bobsled run.”<br />

Seeing <strong>the</strong> potential for publicity, <strong>the</strong> Jamaican<br />

Tourist Board provided some funding for <strong>the</strong> team to prepare,<br />

but George and William put up <strong>the</strong> bulk <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cash<br />

from <strong>the</strong>ir own accounts. They also talked Howard Siler,<br />

an American bobsledder in <strong>the</strong> 1980 Olympics, into taking<br />

on <strong>the</strong> coaching job for free. In September, <strong>the</strong> team<br />

flew to Lake Placid, New York, where <strong>the</strong>y saw <strong>the</strong>ir first<br />

bobsled course. However, <strong>the</strong> course was not iced, so<br />

<strong>the</strong>y couldn’t even make <strong>the</strong>ir first practice run. Instead,<br />

Howard taught <strong>the</strong> team how to run on ice in an indoor<br />

ice rink and refine <strong>the</strong>ir start skills.<br />

Prepping for <strong>the</strong> Olympics<br />

On October 19, <strong>the</strong> team and Coach Howard traveled<br />

to Calgary where <strong>the</strong>y were finally able to go down an<br />

iced track. George also decided to fly to Calgary on <strong>the</strong><br />

same day, which happened to be Black Monday when <strong>the</strong><br />

US stock market took one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> worst nosedives ever.<br />

George was heavily invested in <strong>the</strong> stock market so by<br />

<strong>the</strong> time he landed in Calgary, he was essentially broke.<br />

William, too, was forced to rein in his spending. All <strong>of</strong><br />

this meant <strong>the</strong> Jamaican bobsled team was running out<br />

<strong>of</strong> money fast. None<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong> team forged ahead and<br />

managed to borrow a two-man bobsled to begin training<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Olympics just four months away.<br />

A new team doesn’t start at <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> course.<br />

That’s too dangerous. Ra<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>y begin at <strong>the</strong> bottom<br />

quarter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> track to get a feel for how <strong>the</strong> bobsled<br />

moves up and down <strong>the</strong> banks. Once comfortable, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

practice from <strong>the</strong> halfway mark, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> 3/4, and <strong>the</strong>n—<br />

when ready to hit speeds <strong>of</strong> 80–90 miles (130–145 km)<br />

per hour—from <strong>the</strong> top.<br />

To steer a bobsled, a driver uses two cables attached<br />

to <strong>the</strong> front runners, pulling to <strong>the</strong> right or left. As <strong>the</strong><br />

sled descends, <strong>the</strong> driver must find <strong>the</strong> “pressure points”<br />

created by gravity and G-forces and adjust ever so slightly.<br />

34 www.timespub.tc

Piloting a bobsled has much in common with driving<br />

a Formula 1 race car. The team also had to master<br />

<strong>the</strong> intricacies <strong>of</strong> bobsled maintenance and preparation,<br />

such as ensuring that <strong>the</strong> runners are properly aligned<br />

and sanded and polished smooth to produce maximum<br />

speed.<br />

“It wasn’t much fun and <strong>the</strong>re wasn’t much laughing.<br />

I personally was very driven because I recognized<br />

<strong>the</strong> kind <strong>of</strong> mountain that was in front <strong>of</strong> me. So, I<br />

was not particularly nice to <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> team. As<br />

far as I was concerned, I was <strong>the</strong> ranking <strong>of</strong>ficer, and<br />

I needed to get things done.”<br />

The team still had to qualify for <strong>the</strong> Olympics and<br />

entered a qualifying event in Igls, Austria. They had just<br />

enough money for air tickets and hotel rooms. To pay for<br />

meals, <strong>the</strong>y sold T-shirts emblazoned with <strong>the</strong> Jamaican<br />

Bobsled Team. The number <strong>of</strong> shirts <strong>the</strong>y sold during <strong>the</strong><br />

day determined <strong>the</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> food <strong>the</strong>y would have<br />

that evening. Both <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two-man teams posted good<br />

enough times in Austria to compete in Calgary.<br />

In January 1988, <strong>the</strong> team resumed training in Lake<br />

Placid, this time going down <strong>the</strong> track. After two weeks,<br />

Sammy, <strong>the</strong> driver for <strong>the</strong> second bobsled, quit for personal<br />

reasons and Freddie had moved on as well. That<br />

left only Tal’s two-man team to compete. Michael, Devon,<br />

and Caswell came to Tal with a proposal: Why not try to<br />

enter as a four-man bobsled team so that everyone could<br />

complete <strong>the</strong>ir Olympic journey? Tal agreed even though<br />

he had not yet driven a four-man bobsled.<br />

George approached <strong>the</strong> Olympic and Bobsleigh<br />

Federation <strong>of</strong>ficials about <strong>the</strong> Jamaicans competing in a<br />

four-man bobsled. At first, <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficials rebuffed <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

but after several prominent bobsledders supported <strong>the</strong><br />

proposal, <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficials agreed. The team managed to<br />

borrow a four-man sled at Lake Placid, and got in four<br />

practice runs.<br />

Calgary<br />

The TV and print media knew a good story when <strong>the</strong>y saw<br />

one and hyped <strong>the</strong> Jamaican bobsled team well before<br />

<strong>the</strong> Olympics. So when <strong>the</strong> team got to Calgary, fans and<br />

reporters mobbed <strong>the</strong>m—so much so that <strong>the</strong>y couldn’t<br />

leave <strong>the</strong> Olympic Village. In <strong>the</strong> village, star Olympic athletes<br />

were asking to take pictures with <strong>the</strong>m and getting<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir autographs. Tal struggled to come to terms with <strong>the</strong><br />

publicity because <strong>the</strong>y didn’t have a single accomplishment<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r than qualifying to get <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

The Americans in Lake Placid lent <strong>the</strong> team a two-man<br />

bobsled and shipped it to Calgary. But <strong>the</strong>y still needed<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 35


This is <strong>the</strong> Jamaican Bobsled team in Jamaica in January 1988 (from<br />

left): Michael White, Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris, and Frederick<br />

Powell.<br />

a four-man sled. George talked to <strong>the</strong> Canadians, who<br />

found one <strong>the</strong>y could use. It was not in good condition,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> team went to work fixing it up.<br />

“Keeping <strong>the</strong> bobsled in top shape and moving it<br />

around required 24/7 focus for us. It was hard and<br />

gritty work, really a brutal existence because we<br />

had so little time to get ready. Basically, we had to<br />

change our way <strong>of</strong> doing things—so we adopted <strong>the</strong><br />

sledding culture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Germans, who always fielded<br />

top teams. That’s how we got it done.”<br />

Tal and Michael raced in <strong>the</strong> two-man bobsled for<br />

Jamaica’s Olympic debut, and came in a respectable<br />

30th out <strong>of</strong> 41 teams after four runs. Tal <strong>the</strong>n turned<br />

his attention to getting in a couple <strong>of</strong> practice runs in<br />

<strong>the</strong> four-man bobsled, as <strong>the</strong> race was one a week away.<br />

While rehearsing <strong>the</strong> push and <strong>the</strong> loading, Caswell fell<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> sled and injured his hand bad enough to drop out.<br />

Once more, <strong>the</strong> team had a problem <strong>of</strong> what to do with<br />

one man short.<br />

Tal’s bro<strong>the</strong>r Chris happened to be studying for an<br />

MBA at Washington State University in Pullman, a ninehour<br />

drive from Calgary. After getting a call from Tal, he<br />

headed up to cheer on <strong>the</strong> team. Chris had been a star<br />

sprinter at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Idaho and was training for a<br />

spot on <strong>the</strong> Jamaican Olympic track team in Seoul that<br />

summer. Aware <strong>of</strong> Chris’s sprinting talent, Coach Howard<br />

proposed that Chris replace Caswell on <strong>the</strong> team. Even<br />

though Chris had never sat in a bobsled before, he suddenly<br />

became <strong>the</strong> only chance <strong>the</strong> team had to compete.<br />

George again met with Olympic and <strong>the</strong> Bobsleigh<br />

Federation <strong>of</strong>ficials, who by now knew him quite well.<br />

After a few hours <strong>of</strong> back and forth, <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficials accredited<br />

Chris to <strong>the</strong> Jamaican team and made room for him<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Olympic Village with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs. Chris, who initially<br />

had no intention <strong>of</strong> competing, stepped up to <strong>the</strong> challenge.<br />

In 72 hours and only four practice runs, he learned<br />

how to push a bobsled with force and precision and jump<br />

in last as <strong>the</strong> brakeman.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

Walkin May2017_Layout 1 5/28/17 5:45 PM Page 1<br />

On February 27, <strong>the</strong> Jamaicans made <strong>the</strong>ir first run<br />

in <strong>the</strong> four-man sled, and it went badly, partly due to a<br />

technical malfunction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sled. The second run didn’t<br />

go much better, and <strong>the</strong>y landed dead last on <strong>the</strong> first day<br />

<strong>of</strong> competition. But <strong>the</strong> team still had two more runs to go<br />

<strong>the</strong> following day and a chance to improve.<br />

Fate was not about to relent. The next morning,<br />

Tal woke up with a temperature <strong>of</strong> 102ºF (39ºC), having<br />

caught <strong>the</strong> Olympic flu. Aching all over, he walked over to<br />

inspect <strong>the</strong> condition <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> track, slipped on <strong>the</strong> ice, and<br />

fractured his collarbone. He shook it <strong>of</strong>f and made his<br />

way to <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> course where he and his teammates<br />

got <strong>the</strong> sled ready. First aiders iced Tal’s broken bone<br />

and numbed <strong>the</strong> pain with a spray. Noticeably absent was<br />

Coach Howard. With literally minutes to go before <strong>the</strong><br />

start, George came over with bad news: Coach Howard<br />

had called from <strong>the</strong> airport to say he was heading back<br />

to New York for work. That hit Tal hard, but he pulled it<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Once again, Tal looked down <strong>the</strong> steep, glistening<br />

track before him and briefly meditated to block out <strong>the</strong><br />

sickness, <strong>the</strong> pain, <strong>the</strong> rattling <strong>of</strong> bells, and <strong>the</strong> coach<br />

gone. He pulled down his goggles, wrapped his fingers<br />

around <strong>the</strong> handlebar extending from <strong>the</strong> sled, and<br />

focused as Devon counted “One, two, three, GO!” The<br />

team got <strong>of</strong>f to an excellent start that would turn out to<br />

be <strong>the</strong> seventh fastest at <strong>the</strong> 1988 Olympics.<br />

The sled sped down <strong>the</strong> course faster than <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

ever gone before, so fast that it put Tal’s steering fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

and fur<strong>the</strong>r behind. By <strong>the</strong> time <strong>the</strong> sled reached <strong>the</strong><br />

midway point at <strong>the</strong> eighth so-called “Kreisel” turn that<br />

wound around nearly 360 degrees, Tal began missing <strong>the</strong><br />

pressure points. The sled went too far up <strong>the</strong> bank <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ninth curve and began “porpoising,” or bouncing up and<br />

down. He lost control and <strong>the</strong> sled flipped over, crashing<br />

into <strong>the</strong> wall at 85 miles (136 km) an hour.<br />

Tal’s head hit hard against <strong>the</strong> ice and kept hitting.<br />

His life flashed before his eyes where he vividly saw his<br />

wife, mo<strong>the</strong>r, fa<strong>the</strong>r, and his bro<strong>the</strong>r sitting in <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> sled. He despaired at <strong>the</strong> grief his mo<strong>the</strong>r would feel<br />

if <strong>the</strong> crash killed both her sons. After 10 seconds, Tal’s<br />

brain snapped into survival mode, and he went through<br />

<strong>the</strong> crash drill <strong>of</strong> trying to protect his head by tucking<br />

under <strong>the</strong> lip <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cowl in front. But <strong>the</strong> protruding helmet<br />

“snout’ prevented him, which also made it harder for<br />

<strong>the</strong> guys behind him to get <strong>the</strong>ir heads out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> way.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> effort to cut expenses, <strong>the</strong> team made due with<br />

motorbike racing helmets instead <strong>of</strong> proper bobsled helmets,<br />

and suffered for it.<br />




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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 37

The team would continue careening down <strong>the</strong> course<br />

with <strong>the</strong> sled on its side and <strong>the</strong>ir heads banging against<br />

<strong>the</strong> wall for ano<strong>the</strong>r 18 seconds. In what seemed like a<br />

crash that would never end, a calm came over Tal.<br />

“There was nothing I could do except watch <strong>the</strong><br />

ice go by as <strong>the</strong> sled slid toward <strong>the</strong> finish line. In<br />

those moments <strong>of</strong> relaxation, it occurred to me that<br />

what we were doing was not correct. That <strong>the</strong>re’s<br />

a right way to do it, and this could not end here. I<br />

went through in my mind what was needed to become<br />

top class in bobsledding. We would need to raise <strong>the</strong><br />

money, market <strong>the</strong> product, get decent equipment,<br />

get more on <strong>the</strong> ice, travel, coaching.”<br />

When <strong>the</strong> sled finally stopped, <strong>the</strong> battered team got<br />

out from under, still able to walk. They righted <strong>the</strong> sled<br />

and pushed it <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> way to <strong>the</strong> end. They did not<br />

carry <strong>the</strong> sled as portrayed in “Cool Runnings,” as that<br />

would have made no sense. Spectators still applauded<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, but <strong>the</strong>ir debut in <strong>the</strong> four-man bobsled was over<br />

and recorded as a DNF (Did Not Finish). Tal blamed himself<br />

for not having enough experience driving <strong>the</strong> four<br />

man bobsled. He would never again race a bobsled unprepared.<br />

Making “Cool Runnings”<br />

After <strong>the</strong> Calgary Olympics, George contacted wellknown<br />

Hollywood director Michael Ritchie, who had<br />

made “Downhill Racer,” about doing a film featuring<br />

<strong>the</strong> Jamaican bobsled team. Intrigued, Ritchie bought<br />

<strong>the</strong> rights from George, William, and <strong>the</strong> four members<br />

on <strong>the</strong> team and wrote a script about <strong>the</strong> fanciful quest<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Jamaican bobsled team. He sold it to Disney for<br />

$200,000, but nothing came <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

In early 1991, <strong>the</strong> president <strong>of</strong> Columbia Pictures,<br />

Dawn Steel, was unceremoniously forced out <strong>of</strong> her job<br />

when Sony bought <strong>the</strong> company. Over <strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong> her<br />

career at Columbia and Paramount Studios, she had been<br />

a key player in several hit movies. Among <strong>the</strong>m, were<br />

“When Sally Met Harry,” “Flashdance,” “Fatal Attraction,”<br />

and “Top Gun.” Getting dumped from Columbia was a<br />

hard blow for Dawn, but she got it toge<strong>the</strong>r and formed<br />

her own production company. Thanks to good contacts,<br />

she landed a contract with Disney to see what movies<br />

could be made. While reviewing a stack <strong>of</strong> trash scripts<br />

Disney had put aside, she came across Ritchie’s script<br />

near <strong>the</strong> bottom. The story likely resonated because it<br />

reflected her own improbable rise from a struggling lower<br />

middle class family in New York to <strong>the</strong> first woman to<br />

head a major Hollywood studio. It had that kind <strong>of</strong> Rocky<br />

and Flashdance feel to it—outsiders with outlandish<br />

ambitions who overcome obstacles and make it to <strong>the</strong><br />

big times.<br />

Dawn pitched <strong>the</strong> renamed script “Cool Runnings”<br />

to <strong>the</strong> senior Disney managers who gave her <strong>the</strong> nod to<br />

produce <strong>the</strong> movie, but on a tight budget. To learn more,<br />

Dawn met with Tal in Calgary where <strong>the</strong> Olympic dream<br />

had begun, asked what happened, and soaked up <strong>the</strong><br />

story.<br />

Actor John Candy was <strong>of</strong>fered <strong>the</strong> lead role as <strong>the</strong><br />

coach and also saw <strong>the</strong> script’s potential. But <strong>the</strong> budget<br />

was not enough to cover his usual fee, given his star<br />

power. So John took a pay cut to get <strong>the</strong> part. This would<br />

be <strong>the</strong> last movie he would finish before he died in 1994.<br />

When Disney released “Cool Runnings” in 1993, Tal<br />

watched <strong>the</strong> premiere in Jamaica and didn’t like it. The<br />

film had portrayed <strong>the</strong> Jamaican bobsledders as hapless,<br />

comical figures. It completely missed how seriously Tal<br />

and his teammates took bobsledding and how hard <strong>the</strong>y<br />

worked to get to <strong>the</strong> Olympics, as well as those who had<br />

helped <strong>the</strong>m along <strong>the</strong> way. Indeed, <strong>the</strong> movie got almost<br />

everything wrong.<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> many wrongs was <strong>the</strong> scene where an East<br />

German bobsledder derides <strong>the</strong> Jamaicans at a bar and<br />

tells <strong>the</strong>m to go back to <strong>the</strong>ir tourist island. That never<br />

happened. In fact, all <strong>the</strong> Olympic bobsledders welcomed<br />

<strong>the</strong> Jamaican team and applauded <strong>the</strong>ir commitment and<br />

efforts. But <strong>the</strong> movie needed a bad guy, and an East<br />

German from a country that had since disappeared made<br />

an easy target. The movie ended up grossing more than<br />

$154 million at <strong>the</strong> box <strong>of</strong>fice, <strong>the</strong> highest ever for a<br />

sports comedy.<br />

Tal and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs would get only a tiny share <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

net pr<strong>of</strong>its, which did not come close to paying <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong><br />

debts he had incurred in pursuit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Olympics, a common<br />

plight among Olympians.<br />

“‘Cool Runnings’ cast a massive shadow over my<br />

life. There’s a very uncomfortable position <strong>of</strong> actually<br />

being alive to watch your legacy unfold. Most<br />

people die before <strong>the</strong>ir legacy is revealed, but I’ve<br />

had to live it.”<br />

The legacy<br />

The popularity <strong>of</strong> “Cool Runnings” thrust <strong>the</strong> Jamaican<br />

bobsled team to even more worldwide prominence.<br />

Ironically, given that much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> movie was fiction, it<br />

attracted more sponsors with deep pockets. With money<br />

came better coaching, more training time, and improved<br />

equipment to compete at <strong>the</strong> highest level.<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

Tal’s Olympic career would span ten years and<br />

four Winter Olympics, including Albertville in 1992,<br />

Lillehammer in 1994, and Nagano in 1998. At each<br />

Olympics, <strong>the</strong> Jamaicans showed <strong>the</strong>y could compete<br />

among <strong>the</strong> best. At Lillehammer, <strong>the</strong> team came in 14th<br />

place overall out <strong>of</strong> 30 teams, ahead <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States,<br />

Russia, and France. On <strong>the</strong>ir fourth run, <strong>the</strong>y clocked <strong>the</strong><br />

10th best time overall. Some teams even stopped being<br />

friendly, seeing <strong>the</strong>m instead as serious rivals.<br />

After retiring from bobsled racing, Tal went into<br />

entrepreneurial ventures with George and William and<br />

worked to advance bobsledding in Jamaica. He and<br />

Denise had three children, who eventually discovered<br />

“Cool Runnings.” (They loved <strong>the</strong> movie.) Soon after<br />

COVID-19 hit and locked down <strong>the</strong> world for part <strong>of</strong> 2020,<br />

<strong>the</strong> children, now in <strong>the</strong>ir early 20s and isolating in <strong>the</strong><br />

UK, came up with a creative idea. Why not live-stream<br />

SEE<br />

THE<br />



Ophthalmologist Dr. Sebastian Guzman is now available<br />

for consultation in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Dr. Guzman and his team are a group <strong>of</strong> doctors<br />

representing three generations <strong>of</strong> ophthalmologists.<br />

They specialize in <strong>the</strong> diagnosis and treatment <strong>of</strong> eye<br />

diseases and those linked to <strong>the</strong> throat, nose, and<br />

ears. At MD OJOS, we have our own equipment,<br />

with all <strong>the</strong> advantages <strong>of</strong> a private clinic. We <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

a fast, complete, and comprehensive response to our<br />

patients. We are trained in <strong>the</strong> application <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

latest technological advances for <strong>the</strong> correction <strong>of</strong><br />

different visual dysfunctions.<br />


CALL 809 880 2020<br />


Food for Thought provides free daily<br />

breakfast to government school students.<br />

A donation <strong>of</strong> $300 will provide breakfast<br />

to one child for a whole school year.<br />


Tal’s Olympic career would span TEN years and four Winter Olympics,<br />

including Lillehammer in 1994 (shown here). The team came in 14th<br />

place overall out <strong>of</strong> 30 teams.<br />

To donate or learn more please<br />

email info@foodforthoughttci.com<br />

or visit foodforthoughttci.com<br />

Food for Thought Foundation Inc. (NP #102)<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 39

“Cool Runnings” and have <strong>the</strong>ir dad provide running commentary<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> film from his home on Providenciales? It<br />

worked, and a lot <strong>of</strong> people watched. For Tal, <strong>the</strong> initiative<br />

allowed him to see <strong>the</strong> film from a different point <strong>of</strong><br />

view. Though for <strong>the</strong> most part inaccurate, he saw what<br />

<strong>the</strong> Hollywood version was trying to accomplish and came<br />

around to accepting it. In so doing, he let go <strong>of</strong> his misgivings.<br />

Tal’s good friend George, whose persuasive skills<br />

saved <strong>the</strong> team time and again, died <strong>of</strong> cancer in 2016<br />

at age 66. Like Tal, he was also born into a missionary<br />

family, one that had served in China. Tal continues to<br />

stay in touch with William, who did get his wish to march<br />

in <strong>the</strong> 1988 Olympics opening ceremony. The two close<br />

friends sometimes reminisce about <strong>the</strong> “old days,” but<br />

talk more about future ventures. Dawn, whom Tal came<br />

to admire and respect for her own tenacity in reaching<br />

<strong>the</strong> top against <strong>the</strong> odds, died <strong>of</strong> a brain tumor in 1997<br />

at age 51. Her signature creation, “Cool Runnings,” has<br />

stood <strong>the</strong> test <strong>of</strong> time and continues to entertain as much<br />

as it did almost 30 years ago.<br />

Today, Tal travels from his TCI home to Europe,<br />

North America, and <strong>the</strong> Caribbean as a sought-after motivational<br />

speaker and business management consultant.<br />

He is <strong>the</strong> author <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> inspirational book Advice I Should<br />

Have Taken, and has written several articles about nutrition<br />

and <strong>the</strong> long-term impact <strong>of</strong> head injuries.<br />

When meeting Tal, one senses <strong>the</strong> honest grit, gentle<br />

fortitude, and piercing presence <strong>of</strong> a man who has<br />

truly lived and has much to share. He never wanted to<br />

be a bobsledder or even thought <strong>of</strong> being an Olympian.<br />

A sharp turn in destiny’s road, however, created a legacy<br />

that all humanity can relate to.<br />

But make no mistake, that achievement wasn’t mere<br />

chance. It was character and perseverance and talent. It<br />

was crossing hurdles and enduring hardships. In making<br />

that unlikely journey from a barefoot kid running on <strong>the</strong><br />

beaches <strong>of</strong> tropical islands to competitive bobsledder in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Winter Olympics, Tal stirs within an audacious sense<br />

<strong>of</strong> possibilities for anyone with a dream.<br />

For more about Tal’s story, go to dudleystokes.com. a<br />

Ben Stubenberg (bluewaterben@gmail.com) is a regular<br />

contributing writer to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and<br />

a storyteller about TCI’s compelling history. He is <strong>the</strong><br />

co-founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tour and swim instruction company<br />

Caicu Naniki Vacation Adventures and <strong>the</strong> annual “Race<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Conch” Eco-SeaSwim.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc


It’s <strong>the</strong> silence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> morning that makes you still, before <strong>the</strong> wind picks up and whips itself to a frenzy, devoid <strong>of</strong><br />

all sense and purpose. Before <strong>the</strong> wind <strong>the</strong>re is <strong>the</strong> silence, loud and strong, firm to <strong>the</strong> touch.<br />

The silence waits, as if it expects some vulgar interruption, something that will shatter it to pieces,<br />

something that will expose it, helpless, and broken.<br />

Chains <strong>of</strong> islets, like some prehistoric herd <strong>of</strong> rocky mammoths, large festooned mo<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

strong fa<strong>the</strong>rs bare and exposed, infants, toddlers, those almost grown stand in lines as if time has stopped<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y await <strong>the</strong> next catastrophic event <strong>of</strong> nature to startle <strong>the</strong>m into motion.<br />

The Sound protected by <strong>the</strong> resistant barricade <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island outline shelters restful waters,<br />

azure blue, green, grey moved by some invisible current in a gentle dance<br />

with seaweed and moss on <strong>the</strong>ir bed <strong>of</strong> white rippled sand to nurture <strong>the</strong> life it holds.<br />

But yet <strong>the</strong>re is an interruption, it is <strong>the</strong> intimate sucking and gurgling <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cradled waves<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y gnaw at <strong>the</strong> shoreline etching away at <strong>the</strong> vulnerability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rock<br />

creating disfiguring potholes and edges sharp to <strong>the</strong> touch.<br />

Waves burrowing under reaching inland through intricate passages beneath.<br />

Here <strong>the</strong> spirit is at once quietened and revived charged with some new energy<br />

drawn from <strong>the</strong> pristine stillness, from <strong>the</strong> pause in time!<br />

This poem was written by Tal Stokes’s mo<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Dr. Blossom O’Meally-Nelson Stokes.<br />

Photo by Ramona Settle.

feature<br />

Above: John Galleymore, Mandy Dakin, and her son Fraser, circumnavigated <strong>the</strong> entire Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> chain using a variety <strong>of</strong> modes<br />

<strong>of</strong> transportation. Shown on opposite page and above are <strong>the</strong> voyagers with <strong>the</strong> small inflatable float <strong>the</strong>y used to store <strong>the</strong>ir packs and tow<br />

behind <strong>the</strong>m when swimming from island to island.<br />

Treking into History<br />

The first-ever, human-powered circumnavigation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI chain.<br />

Story & Photos By John Galleymore ~ Aerial Photos By Merinda Duff<br />

It’s weird how an <strong>of</strong>f-<strong>the</strong>-cuff comment can plant a seed in your brain that can alter your life dramatically.<br />

Back in 2015, I had just finished a solo walk through <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> from South Caicos to<br />

Providenciales, a four-day journey that I thought was <strong>the</strong> pinnacle <strong>of</strong> my adventure trips—until a close<br />

friend said, “Why didn’t you go to West Caicos?”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 43

That thought would stay with me right up until 2020.<br />

I was having c<strong>of</strong>fee with Mandy Dakin, <strong>the</strong> TCI Governor’s<br />

wife, when she mentioned that she was relaunching <strong>the</strong><br />

FOOTSTEPS 4 GOOD charity event. This was started by <strong>the</strong><br />

former governor’s wife Jill Beckingham in 2014 and consisted<br />

<strong>of</strong> multiple charity walks on various Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. What better idea than to link all <strong>the</strong>se walks by<br />

undertaking <strong>the</strong> first-ever circumnavigation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entire<br />

TCI chain?<br />

So a plan that would eventually go down in history was<br />

born. We spent <strong>the</strong> next few months not only training for<br />

what would be an arduous physical challenge, but reaching<br />

out to various vendors, suppliers, supporters, and<br />

local charities to see not only who could assist, but who<br />

could benefit from this event.<br />

Our first major decision was how to cross <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

Island Passage, a 25-mile-wide stretch <strong>of</strong> rough, open<br />

ocean that separates <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> from Grand Turk<br />

& Salt Cay. It is frequented by cruise ships and migrating<br />

whales. Kayaking was <strong>the</strong> obvious choice but we felt<br />

something more original was called for. We contacted a<br />

UK company that makes boats for Atlantic crossings and<br />

we managed to secure a two-man ocean row boat, delivered<br />

from <strong>the</strong> UK.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 2021, we spent time jumping<br />

between fund-raising, registering applicants, training<br />

(walking and rowing), planning, kit purchases etc. and<br />

it seemed our start date <strong>of</strong> December 2021 was looming<br />

ever closer. And it soon arrived . . .<br />

Day one<br />

We had agreed that in order to complete an entire island<br />

circuit, we should start and finish in <strong>the</strong> same place. As<br />

this was to be a community event, we chose <strong>the</strong> Bight<br />

Park. And so it was, at 5:30 AM on December 4, 2021,<br />

Mandy Dakin, her son Fraser, I, and dozens <strong>of</strong> volunteers,<br />

walkers, runners, and cyclists, set <strong>of</strong>f on <strong>the</strong> first stage to<br />

Leeward, some six miles in total.<br />

It was a party atmosphere as we arrived at Leeward<br />

Beach, where My Time Tours had arranged for <strong>the</strong> few<br />

<strong>of</strong> us who would kayak over to Little Water Cay. Once<br />

landfall was made, we bid farewell to those hardy souls<br />

who had accompanied us and <strong>the</strong> three <strong>of</strong> us set <strong>of</strong>f once<br />

more.<br />

It was tough going along <strong>the</strong> beaches and cliff tops <strong>of</strong><br />

Water Cay and onto Pine Cay, and after a short break, we<br />

set <strong>of</strong>f on our first “swim” over to Fort George Cay. For<br />

this we used a small inflatable in which we stored our<br />

packs, while we swam alongside.<br />

It was a repeat <strong>of</strong> land and water crossings as we made<br />

our way to Dellis Cay and onto our first night stop at<br />

Parrot Cay.<br />

Day two<br />

After enjoying <strong>the</strong> luxury <strong>of</strong> Parrot Cay, it was a sunrise<br />

paddle over to Bellefield Landing where we are joined by<br />

North Caicos walkers, members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI Cycling Club<br />

and numerous Provo Road Runners, who would be joining<br />

us for <strong>the</strong> first FOOTSTEPS 4 GOOD Community walk. Our<br />

Mandy and John prepare to launch <strong>the</strong> UK-made, two-man ocean row boat that was used for longer crossings.<br />

44 www.timespub.tc

stop would be Mudjin Harbor in Middle Caicos and that<br />

was 24 miles away!<br />

It was a tough trek to say <strong>the</strong> least! The roads—<br />

although paved and smooth—were hot and relentlessly<br />

long. We were all motivated by District Commissioner<br />

Cynclair Musgrove and various volunteers, who kept us<br />

supplied with water, snacks, and good humor! It was late<br />

afternoon as we were welcomed in a lovely cottage overlooking<br />

Mudjin Harbor, and we could finally rest our feet<br />

and dry our sweat-soaked clo<strong>the</strong>s.<br />

Day three<br />

Today’s community walk drew ano<strong>the</strong>r great turnout <strong>of</strong><br />

walkers and volunteers. It would take us through <strong>the</strong><br />

entire length <strong>of</strong> Middle Caicos and would only end once<br />

we reached tiny, uninhabited Dickish Cay.<br />

Although this stage was “only” 18 miles, after <strong>the</strong> long<br />

day yesterday feet were getting sore and shoulders aching<br />

from our packs, but motivation and community spirit<br />

were high. We had previously decided to carry <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

National Flag along with us and have someone from every<br />

island sign it. This was duly done by <strong>the</strong> district commissioners<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r prominent members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community<br />

as we travelled through.<br />

Midway through Middle we were joined by our drone<br />

operator, Merinda Duff, whose skill would be essential in<br />

recording our adventures for <strong>the</strong> trip. She also brought<br />

with her snacks and gifts to help us on our way.<br />

That night, after a short water crossing from Wild<br />

Cow Run Beach, we camped down on Dickish Cay. Sitting<br />

around a fire, cooking our food, we reminisced about a<br />

fun few days, but we were aware that tomorrow we’d be<br />

entering <strong>the</strong> “badlands” <strong>of</strong> East Caicos.<br />

Day four<br />

I’ve been to East Caicos dozens <strong>of</strong> times, and I always<br />

marvel in its beauty and ruggedness. However, it can be<br />

unforgiving to <strong>the</strong> unprepared. I wanted to ensure both<br />

Mandy and Fraser were prepared both mentally and physically<br />

for <strong>the</strong> huge undertaking ahead, as any slip, fall,<br />

injury, or accident would mean <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> adventure<br />

and a US Coast Guard helicopter lift, for <strong>the</strong>re is no o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

way <strong>of</strong>f in an emergency. Luckily, months <strong>of</strong> training,<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten involving beach hikes from North West Point to<br />

Grace Bay, paid <strong>of</strong>f. We made <strong>the</strong> water crossings to East<br />

Caicos via historic Joe Grant Cay without incident. Now we<br />

faced “only” ano<strong>the</strong>r 15 miles <strong>of</strong> beach walking to reach<br />

camp before sunset.<br />

A week prior to our start, we had flown to South Caicos<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 45

The intrepid voyagers prepare to face <strong>the</strong> “badlands” <strong>of</strong> East Caicos.

and <strong>the</strong> wonderful East Bay Resort staff had taken us to our planned campsite<br />

where we had cached food and provisions for our arrival. This proved to be<br />

a Godsend, as we could carry light packs during <strong>the</strong> day yet still have a feast<br />

once we arrived.<br />

The beaches <strong>of</strong> East Caicos seemed never-ending and with daylight falling<br />

and five miles to go, we kitted up with head torches and pushed on. Deep<br />

sand, rocky outcrops, wading through waist-deep surf in <strong>the</strong> dark, brought us<br />

closer to camp and we finally made it a few hours after sunset. The beach fire,<br />

warm food, and a comfortable tent made it feel more luxurious than Parrot<br />

Cay—at least our aching feet and bodies certainly thought so!<br />

From top: Someone from every island community signed <strong>the</strong> TCI National Flag—shown here<br />

is Salt Cay District Commissioner Almaida Wilson.<br />

When tired enough, a beach fire, warm food, and a comfortable tent can feel more luxurious<br />

than an upscale room at Parrot Cay!<br />

Day five<br />

Awakening to hot c<strong>of</strong>fee and <strong>the</strong> best<br />

sunrise ever, we were aware that we<br />

were only halfway along <strong>the</strong> coast<br />

<strong>of</strong> East Caicos, our next stop would<br />

be South Caicos, and getting <strong>the</strong>re<br />

would involve 20 miles <strong>of</strong> hiking and<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r four water crossings.<br />

Most folks believe East Caicos is<br />

next to South Caicos.However, in<br />

between are three cays (McCartney,<br />

Plandon and Middle Creek) and each<br />

one needed to be traversed. They are<br />

predominantly thick bush, trees, and<br />

deep sand beaches. Again, time and<br />

sunset would be our nemesis today.<br />

Going was slow, as walking <strong>the</strong><br />

ironshore <strong>of</strong> East Caicos was time-consuming<br />

as we constantly zig-zagged<br />

around large rocks and boulders. We<br />

had limited water supply with no refill<br />

until South Caicos. The hours ticked<br />

by but <strong>the</strong> miles kept falling and we<br />

eventually crossed all <strong>the</strong> cays despite<br />

nearly getting swept out to sea at one<br />

point.<br />

Wading across <strong>the</strong> last water<br />

crossing at sunset was magical (albeit<br />

unplanned) and again Merinda captured<br />

<strong>the</strong> moment by drone. Once<br />

again East Bay Resort came through<br />

with transport back to <strong>the</strong> hotel where<br />

local dignitaries were waiting to discuss<br />

<strong>the</strong> next day’s community walk.<br />

Still on an adrenaline high, I packed<br />

my kit into <strong>the</strong> vehicle and made <strong>the</strong><br />

eight-mile run to <strong>the</strong> resort alone.<br />

That night we reveled in <strong>the</strong> hospitality<br />

<strong>of</strong> East Bay Resort and readied<br />

ourselves for <strong>the</strong> next day when we<br />

would hang up our boots and start<br />

our ocean adventure!<br />

Day six<br />

The 4:30 AM alarm never sounded<br />

so loud! But just 30 minutes later<br />

we were up and looking to prep our<br />

trusty rowboat for its maiden voyage.<br />

Joining us for this stage was<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

The trekkers were met with support from <strong>the</strong> district commissioner and residents <strong>of</strong> Salt Cay, shown here in front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> iconic White House.<br />

<strong>the</strong> Morgan Luker, a watersports fanatic and founder<br />

<strong>of</strong> SURFside Academy, whose advice and past training<br />

expertise were instrumental in our planning.<br />

While Morgan and I were prepping, Mandy and Fraser<br />

were finishing <strong>the</strong> community walk and we all met at <strong>the</strong><br />

dock for a send-<strong>of</strong>f. East Bay Resort would supply a support<br />

boat for our 25-mile crossing to Grand Turk. The<br />

wea<strong>the</strong>r was fine and <strong>the</strong> ocean calm, however our good<br />

fortune was not to last very long.<br />

Pulling out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dock, Mandy and I soon got into our<br />

stroke and were making good progress. Our months <strong>of</strong><br />

training seemed to be paying <strong>of</strong>f and <strong>the</strong> support boat<br />

kept a close watch as we headed out into <strong>the</strong> wide-open<br />

passage. The swells were about three to four feet but<br />

nothing we hadn’t dealt with in training! Something we<br />

noticed early on was that <strong>the</strong> tide was very strong, but a<br />

crosswind also added to <strong>the</strong> effort we were putting in.<br />

Suddenly, without warning, a rogue waved crashed<br />

over us and in our eagerness to recover we overstretched<br />

—and <strong>the</strong> next moment we were underwater! We managed<br />

to release our feet from <strong>the</strong> stirrups and <strong>the</strong> rescue boat<br />

was soon on hand. Despite some wet egos and a little<br />

embarrassment, no harm done and we quickly recovered<br />

aboard <strong>the</strong> support boat, much to <strong>the</strong> amusement <strong>of</strong> all<br />

on board.<br />

The rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day was uneventful and by late afternoon,<br />

we were sipping cold beers having made landfall<br />

(much to <strong>the</strong> enjoyment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guests) on Pillory Beach at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bohio Dive Resort on Grand Turk.<br />

Day seven<br />

Today started with ano<strong>the</strong>r huge turn-out for <strong>the</strong> community<br />

walk, ending at <strong>the</strong> cruise port. It’s great that each<br />

community, regardless <strong>of</strong> size, has come through each<br />

day with such motivation and energy! We all meet at <strong>the</strong><br />

port for refreshments and snacks before making our way<br />

to <strong>the</strong> beach, where our trusty boat is waiting. Blue Water<br />

Divers is supplying <strong>the</strong> support boat for <strong>the</strong> 11-mile row<br />

to Salt Cay. Despite some weird currents and tides and a<br />

close call with <strong>the</strong> reef, we make <strong>the</strong> uneventful crossing<br />

in just a few hours. Once again, we are met with applause<br />

and support from <strong>the</strong> district commissioner and residents<br />

<strong>of</strong> Salt Cay.<br />

We meet at <strong>the</strong> dock and discuss <strong>the</strong> walk for <strong>the</strong> next<br />

day, <strong>the</strong>n it’s time for a superb dinner at Oceanaire Bistro.<br />

Rarely has food tasted so good!<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 49

Day eight/nine<br />

We awake at sunrise with <strong>the</strong> tranquility only disturbed<br />

by <strong>the</strong> occasional donkey saying hello. There is a large<br />

crowd at <strong>the</strong> dock and we liase with Richard from Salt<br />

Cay Divers who will be acting as support boat across to<br />

stunning Great Sand Cay. The crossing is about 11 miles<br />

and <strong>the</strong> water can be rough. We are hit with a rainstorm<br />

and have to bail out <strong>the</strong> boat continuously, but no capsize<br />

today.<br />

We see <strong>the</strong> island getting ever-closer and although we<br />

are tired and aching, we push on, <strong>of</strong>ten swapping out<br />

<strong>of</strong> rowing so one <strong>of</strong> us can rest. The swells are low as<br />

we make landfall and explore <strong>the</strong> most stunning beach.<br />

We’ve made excellent time and have <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day<br />

free, so we confer and decide to not camp on Sand Cay<br />

but head directly across to Ambergris Cay. Richard has<br />

to leave (as planned) so we call our trusty friends at East<br />

Bay Resort who send a boat to accompany us across <strong>the</strong><br />

passage.<br />

Twenty-five miles to go. The swells are low and we<br />

make good time, marvelling at a swim-past by some dolphins<br />

who seem to be having an easier time than us! As<br />

we close-in to Ambergris, <strong>the</strong> resort sends out a boat to<br />

“handover” and we bid our East Bay Resort Captain Mateo<br />

farewell. Due to super-low tides and <strong>the</strong> narrow channel<br />

into <strong>the</strong> dock, we get towed in and find butlers waiting<br />

with cold towels and champagne. What a welcome! We<br />

are fortunate to be housed in a private home where we<br />

can relax, wash our clo<strong>the</strong>s and enjoy our “extra” night<br />

here.<br />

Day ten<br />

We have been thinking about this day for a long time.<br />

We are 40 miles away from our next stop (French Cay).<br />

Before <strong>the</strong> support boats were confirmed we had planned<br />

to do this alone and had purchased marine rescue equipment<br />

such as flares, satellite phone, and EPIRB in case <strong>of</strong><br />

incident, but we are comforted by <strong>the</strong> support boat from<br />

Ambergris seeing us on our way.<br />

We set <strong>of</strong>f from <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> airstrip and once we<br />

clear <strong>the</strong> shallows we are rowing past Little Ambergris<br />

Cay. Pretty soon, this too shrinks into <strong>the</strong> distance and we<br />

are surrounded, once again, by nothing but open water.<br />

The support boat stays ahead, leading <strong>the</strong> way, as <strong>the</strong><br />

swells pick up and <strong>the</strong> sun beats down. We get into our<br />

rhythm once again and swap out from rowing every few<br />

hours. Hands are blistered and legs and backs are feeling<br />

<strong>the</strong> strain. Each mile feels like five, but we resist <strong>the</strong> urge<br />

to ask <strong>the</strong> support boat how much far<strong>the</strong>r we have to go.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> day wears on, we have some near-miss capsizes<br />

but avoid getting wet again. Eventually we spot a shipwreck<br />

that we know is in <strong>the</strong> shallows close to French<br />

Cay. We work our way around to <strong>the</strong> beach side <strong>of</strong> this<br />

tiny island and pull ashore.<br />

The end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road: Mandy, Fraser and John are joined by<br />

HE Governor Nigel Dakin and a handful <strong>of</strong> supporters at<br />

The Bight Park where it all began!<br />

50 www.timespub.tc

We are surprised to see we are not alone; two local<br />

fishermen are collecting conch from <strong>the</strong> shallows. The<br />

Ambergris boat leaves us and we exchange hellos with<br />

<strong>the</strong> fishermen. We set up camp for <strong>the</strong> night. There are<br />

few bugs here so we dine under <strong>the</strong> stars without issue.<br />

Sleep comes far too easy!<br />

Day eleven<br />

Breakfast on an uninhabited island is magical, and we<br />

are just finishing packing up when our next support<br />

boat arrives. Compared to yesterday, we have a relatively<br />

“short” day over to West Caicos. We will skirt <strong>the</strong> edge <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos Banks, <strong>the</strong>n cut in across <strong>the</strong> “shallows.”<br />

The journey is quite uneventful with low swells and<br />

only flying fish for company. We can see <strong>the</strong> sand bottom<br />

some 30 feet down, so this is much more comfortable<br />

<strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> 7,000-foot deep Turks Passage.<br />

We confer where to land. I recall <strong>the</strong>re is an old boat<br />

slip on <strong>the</strong> eastern side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island and as we get closer,<br />

we send <strong>the</strong> support boat ahead to check. Unfortunately,<br />

it’s no longer usable so we have to make our way around<br />

and in late afternoon we are met by Alex at <strong>the</strong> dock in<br />

West Caicos. Alex packs our kit and we camp for <strong>the</strong> night<br />

on <strong>the</strong> beach. He produces a bottle <strong>of</strong> red wine and we<br />

cook dinner and sleep to <strong>the</strong> sounds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> surf.<br />

Day twelve<br />

Alex will be boat support captain today on our last leg<br />

back to Providenciales. It’s a few miles from <strong>the</strong> dock to<br />

<strong>the</strong> tip <strong>of</strong> West Caicos, so he tows our rowboat a little<br />

way—no point in rowing <strong>the</strong> same section twice!<br />

The currents are against us for <strong>the</strong> 11-mile crossing<br />

but <strong>the</strong> swells are low. As we near Sapodilla Bay, we are<br />

met by Morgan Luker again, this time on a kayak. She<br />

tells us a crowd is awaiting our arrival.<br />

Mandy and I dig in deep with <strong>the</strong> last <strong>of</strong> our energy,<br />

“Never again!,” we mutter to each o<strong>the</strong>r. But <strong>the</strong> pain is<br />

soo<strong>the</strong>d away as we hear crowds cheering just before <strong>the</strong><br />

bow digs into <strong>the</strong> s<strong>of</strong>t sandy beach. We have done it!<br />

The press, supporters, volunteers, and HE Governor<br />

Nigel Dakin greet us and are all in good spirits, as are we<br />

as Mandy, Fraser and I recount <strong>the</strong> stories <strong>of</strong> our adventure<br />

to everyone. After, Morgan loads our trusty rowboat<br />

onto her truck and <strong>the</strong> three <strong>of</strong> us, along with <strong>the</strong> governor<br />

and a handful <strong>of</strong> supporters, make <strong>the</strong> final walk back<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Bight Park where it all began. We are welcomed<br />

with a feast supplied by Adam Twigg <strong>of</strong> The Source, and<br />

it’s quite surreal having world-class food after ten days <strong>of</strong><br />

camping fare.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> party winds down and we say our farewells, I<br />

chat briefly to Mandy as we both hobble and limp over to<br />

our waiting cars. We look at each o<strong>the</strong>r, both sunburnt,<br />

exhausted, and near-broken. “Same time next year?” I say.<br />

“Of course!” she replies. a<br />

If you would like to take part in <strong>the</strong> event this year,<br />

please email info<strong>2022</strong>fsfg@gmail.com. Special thanks<br />

goes out to: TCI Red Cross, Provo Road Runners, The<br />

Hartling Group, The Agency, Sherlock Walkin, HAB Group,<br />

Amanyara, and all <strong>the</strong> supporters and volunteers. See<br />

you in October <strong>2022</strong>!<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 51

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 />

The sea wall in Salt Cay is an example <strong>of</strong> TCI’s material culture and has withstood multiple hurricanes. How will it be affected by climate<br />

change in <strong>the</strong> future?<br />


Making Climate History<br />

TCI hosts inaugural Climate Change Summit.<br />

By Amy Avenant, Environmental Outreach Coordinator, DECR and<br />

Oshin Whyte, Executive Officer and Environment Policy Lead, Governor’s Office<br />

Climate Change. These two words have gained traction in popular consciousness since <strong>the</strong> release <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report released in 1988. The IPCC is currently<br />

in its Sixth Assessment cycle where it will prepare three Special Reports, a Methodology Report, and <strong>the</strong><br />

Sixth Assessment Report. What does this have to do with <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> culture?<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 53

The first <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se Special Reports, “Global Warming<br />

<strong>of</strong> 1.5ºC (SR15, 2018),” was requested by world governments<br />

under <strong>the</strong> Paris Agreement. It discussed <strong>the</strong><br />

impacts <strong>of</strong> global warming <strong>of</strong> 1.5ºC above pre-industrial<br />

levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways,<br />

in <strong>the</strong> context <strong>of</strong> streng<strong>the</strong>ning <strong>the</strong> global response<br />

to <strong>the</strong> threat <strong>of</strong> climate change, sustainable development,<br />

and efforts to eradicate poverty.<br />

The findings were alarming, especially to small island<br />

states such as <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, who were still<br />

reeling from <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> Hurricanes Irma and Maria<br />

in 2017. That unprecedented hurricane season had seen<br />

super-storms annihilate whole islands in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> however, did not suffer <strong>the</strong><br />

same consequences. This was not merely by chance. In<br />

fact, it was <strong>the</strong> environmental integrity <strong>of</strong> our little islands<br />

that allowed “David” to battle <strong>the</strong> extreme “Goliath” that<br />

barreled down on us on September 7, 2017.<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> boast a total <strong>of</strong> 34 protected<br />

areas, covering 300 square miles <strong>of</strong> land and sea,<br />

protected since <strong>the</strong> early 1970s. Marine Protected Areas<br />

such as Columbus Landfall National Park, with limited recgreen<br />

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

reational activities, and <strong>the</strong> protected mangrove forests<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ramsar site, have ensured ecosystem conservation,<br />

biodiversity preservation, and ultimately, a natural environment<br />

that has loyally served us against <strong>the</strong> (literal)<br />

rising tide that is Climate Change.<br />

Recognising <strong>the</strong> significance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se ecological services<br />

in maintaining environmental, social, and economic<br />

sustainability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> Ministry for Tourism and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Environment signed <strong>the</strong> Climate Change Charter at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Climate Change Summit on Earth Day,<br />

April 22, <strong>2022</strong>. Under <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me “Only One Earth: Invest<br />

in Our Planet,” <strong>the</strong> Ministry, through <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) engaged with<br />

public and private sector stakeholders to draft a comprehensive<br />

commitment, <strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong> its kind in <strong>the</strong> region.<br />

The event’s keynote speaker, Honourable Walter Roban,<br />

Bermuda’s Deputy Premier, was so impressed by <strong>the</strong> document<br />

that he requested a copy to inform Bermuda’s own<br />

Climate Change policy.<br />

Climate Change is without a doubt <strong>the</strong> defining challenge<br />

<strong>of</strong> our time, and no country is immune to its effects.<br />

We are currently in a critical time period in which global<br />


The mangrove wetlands in North Caicos are not only an important carbon sink, but possess both material and non-material cultural values<br />

for <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

54 www.timespub.tc

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

The iconic White House in Salt Cay is ano<strong>the</strong>r example <strong>of</strong> material culture. Built in <strong>the</strong> 1800s, it has kept its structural integrity and is a<br />

testimony <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fortitude <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> that time. Going forward, we can examine <strong>the</strong>se structures <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past and build homes that are<br />

equally resilient.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 55

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


The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Climate Change Charter was signed on Earth Day, April 22, <strong>2022</strong>. Shown here are (from left): Hon. Minister Vincent<br />

Wheatley, British Virgin <strong>Islands</strong>; Hon. Walter Roban, Bermuda’s Deputy Premier; Hon. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, Attorney General Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>; Hon. Minister Josephine Connolly, Ministry for Tourism and <strong>the</strong> Environment; and Cherylann Jones, Permanent Secretary,<br />

Ministry for Tourism and <strong>the</strong> Environment.<br />

collective action can change <strong>the</strong> catastrophic trajectory<br />

that we are currently on. We hear about and speak on<br />

<strong>the</strong> devastating effects that climate change poses to <strong>the</strong><br />

social and economic fabric <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>,<br />

however, <strong>the</strong> ill effects on our material and non-material<br />

culture is not at <strong>the</strong> forefront <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> discussion. This is<br />

<strong>the</strong> general trend globally, as culture is largely absent<br />

from most climate resilience and adaptation movements.<br />

The consequences for TCI are severe as our entire<br />

existence, knowledge systems, identity, heritage values,<br />

and amenity services (i.e. recreation, spiritual fulfillment,<br />

aes<strong>the</strong>tic enjoyment, etc.) are strongly influenced by our<br />

marine ecosystems and coastal landscapes, and ecosystem<br />

change can have significant impact on cultural<br />

identity and social stability. These ecosystems are currently<br />

threatened by rising sea levels, ocean acidification,<br />

loss <strong>of</strong> biodiversity and intense wea<strong>the</strong>r events—all <strong>of</strong><br />

which are driven by climate change. What if culture could<br />

be used as a resource for addressing both climate mitigation<br />

and adaptation?<br />

Culture is intertwined with lifestyles and <strong>the</strong> social<br />

organisations that give rise to emissions <strong>of</strong> greenhouse<br />

gases. The climate change impacts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se gases are<br />

ascribed meaning through cultural interpretations <strong>of</strong><br />

science and risk. From this standpoint, culture and its<br />

analysis is crucial in understanding <strong>the</strong> causes <strong>of</strong>, and<br />

human responses to, climate change. Moreover, cultural<br />

heritage, traditional knowledge, and natural heritage support<br />

a community’s ability to respond to climate change<br />

impacts. Intangible cultural heritage practices can also be<br />

beneficial in assisting communities adapt to a changing<br />

climate. This is seen in Bangladesh where rural communities<br />

use inherited local knowledge <strong>of</strong> water management<br />

to cope with increasing flooding incidents.<br />

In spite <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> complex relationship between culture<br />

and climate change resilience, nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> Assessment<br />

Reports <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> IPPC nor <strong>the</strong> Paris Agreement systematically<br />

include culture or cultural practices. Fortunately,<br />

UNESCO is currently calling on countries to integrate culture<br />

into <strong>the</strong>ir climate change policies and strategies.<br />

56 www.timespub.tc

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

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 57

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


This is <strong>the</strong> visiting delegation at <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> Climate Change Summit on Earth Day April, 22, <strong>2022</strong> (from left): Hon. Christopher<br />

Famous (Bermuda); Hon. Vincent Wheatley (BVI), Deputy Premier Hon. Walter Roban; HE <strong>the</strong> Governor Nigel Dakin; Premier Hon. Washington<br />

Misick; Hon. Josephine Connolly; Hon. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles.<br />

Natural heritage is inextricably linked to, and informs<br />

our cultural heritage. If we do not safeguard one we will<br />

lose meaning (and thus reason to conserve) <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

As such, <strong>the</strong> impacts <strong>of</strong> climate change threaten our very<br />

identities. All <strong>the</strong> more reason why <strong>the</strong> call to action is for<br />

one and all!<br />

The DECR includes <strong>the</strong> Protected Areas Division which<br />

manages and regulates Protected Areas, pertinent to conserving<br />

our natural heritage. The Turks & Caicos National<br />

Trust in a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is<br />

responsible for <strong>the</strong> management <strong>of</strong> environmental and<br />

historical significance <strong>of</strong> some Protected Areas and has<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to hold land inalienably for future generations.<br />

The DECR works alongside o<strong>the</strong>r departments, government<br />

agencies, and NGOs to ensure that our Protected<br />

Areas are safeguarded from uncontrolled development<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r threats.<br />

The Turks & Caicos Climate Change Summit recording,<br />

which showcases presentations from leaders in<br />

marine and terrestrial conservation, as well as energy and<br />

tourism, is available on <strong>the</strong> TCI Climate Change Summit<br />

Facebook page (@TCIClimateChangeSummit) as well as<br />

on YouTube. a<br />

The event’s keynote speaker, Hon. Walter Roban, Bermuda’s Deputy<br />

Premier, was so impressed by <strong>the</strong> TCI Climate Change Charter that<br />

he requested a copy to inform Bermuda’s own Climate Change policy.<br />


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

Eagle rays have a unique patterning that can be used for identification.<br />


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

Endangered rays are a piece <strong>of</strong> TCI’s living history.<br />

By Sydney O’Brien, Waterfront Assistant,<br />

The School for Field Studies Center for Marine Resource Studies, South Caicos<br />

The waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (TCI) are picturesquely colored in different shades <strong>of</strong> blue, green,<br />

and turquoise. and abundantly filled with life. The whitespotted eagle ray, known by <strong>the</strong> scientific name<br />

Aetobatus narinari, is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most beloved residents <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI, as well as <strong>the</strong> entire tropical Atlantic.<br />

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

Eagle rays are related to sharks and o<strong>the</strong>r ray species<br />

within <strong>the</strong> class Chondrichthyes, <strong>the</strong> cartilaginous<br />

fish. Living in <strong>the</strong> open water over <strong>the</strong> continental shelf,<br />

<strong>the</strong>se rays can be found from <strong>the</strong> surface to depths <strong>of</strong> 60<br />

meters. Much <strong>of</strong> this area is popular for activities such as<br />

boating, snorkeling, or diving, so a lucky observer may<br />

view an eagle ray passing by <strong>the</strong> reef, or perhaps even<br />

breaching <strong>the</strong> surface. When boating, keep an eye out<br />

for moving dark patches. While snorkeling or diving, you<br />

might be able to see groups <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se rays up close as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

glide across your path.<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea creatures calling <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

region home are facing a number <strong>of</strong> anthropogenic<br />

threats. The habitats in which <strong>the</strong>y reside are <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

degraded by pollution, habitat loss, and high levels <strong>of</strong><br />

human disturbance. These activities can have dire consequences<br />

for marine species, especially rays who have<br />

only a few <strong>of</strong>fspring at a time. The whitespotted eagle<br />

ray has experienced vast reductions in population size<br />

over <strong>the</strong> last 30 years (three generation lengths), estimated<br />

at around 50–79%. Because <strong>of</strong> this, A. narinari has<br />

been reclassified from Near Threatened to Endangered<br />

by <strong>the</strong> International Union for <strong>the</strong> Conservation <strong>of</strong> Nature<br />

(IUCN), with a population trend <strong>of</strong> “decreasing” as <strong>of</strong> July<br />

28, 2020.<br />

Whitespotted eagle rays are <strong>of</strong>ten caught in fisheries<br />

both intentionally and as bycatch. Rays are also susceptible<br />

to being entangled in active fishing nets, as well as<br />

Eagle rays are <strong>of</strong>ten found in pairs or groups.<br />


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

ghost nets (nets in <strong>the</strong> ocean that are no longer in use).<br />

In <strong>the</strong> TCI, <strong>the</strong>re is not a large market for eagle ray meat<br />

or products. Yet, <strong>the</strong>y are still impacted by <strong>the</strong> seafood<br />

industry, and protecting <strong>the</strong>se creatures now can provide<br />

financial gains from ecotourism for years to come.<br />

Between 2009 and 2015, researchers Aaron<br />

Henderson, Jan Lupton, Kathryn Flowers, and Demian<br />

Chapman from The School for Field Studies on South<br />

Caicos and Stony Brook University in New York, assessed<br />

<strong>the</strong> movement and behavior <strong>of</strong> this species using photographic<br />

identification. They were able to identify 165<br />

individuals, many <strong>of</strong> which were sighted multiple times<br />

over <strong>the</strong> six years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> study, <strong>of</strong>ten near or at <strong>the</strong> original<br />

site in which <strong>the</strong>y were photographed. From <strong>the</strong>se<br />

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data, <strong>the</strong>y concluded that <strong>the</strong> eagle rays found around<br />

South Caicos can ei<strong>the</strong>r be permanent residents <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

area or transient visitors, using <strong>the</strong> area for part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

year <strong>the</strong>n migrating elsewhere before returning.<br />

Thus, it appears that within this species <strong>the</strong>re are<br />

both nomadic and sedentary individuals. Ano<strong>the</strong>r study<br />

based out <strong>of</strong> Florida came to a similar conclusion using a<br />

method known as passive acoustic telemetry to view <strong>the</strong><br />

movement patterns <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> eagle rays in <strong>the</strong>ir waters. They<br />

attached transmitters to 54 rays in <strong>the</strong> Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Atlantic coast and found that <strong>the</strong> majority <strong>of</strong> rays<br />

tagged in <strong>the</strong> Gulf displayed migratory behaviors, while<br />

most Atlantic coast rays were residents.<br />

Whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> rays <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI are migratory or Belongers<br />

(<strong>the</strong> term for a resident <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI), it seems much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

time is spent in local waters. Therefore, local conservation<br />

efforts could be highly effective in increasing <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

populations. In order to aid eagle ray recovery, bycatch<br />

<strong>of</strong> eagle rays needs to be reduced on a global scale, while<br />

harvest and trade <strong>of</strong> eagle ray products must be monitored<br />

both domestically and internationally to track how<br />

many are consumed each year.<br />

Unfortunately, many global fisheries are unmanaged<br />

and difficult to regulate. This is not likely to change without<br />

a widespread shift in human behavior, but starting<br />

with your own habits can help. Cutting back on seafood<br />

consumption is not necessarily feasible for all people, but<br />

if possible, try to purchase seafood locally from small<br />

and sustainable businesses that make an effort to prevent<br />

bycatch, or catch your own fish with approved gear.<br />

Fishers can help by not fishing in Marine Protected<br />

Areas and by releasing any sharks or rays caught. Release<br />

<strong>the</strong>se animals as soon as you believe you have hooked<br />

one, even if that means cutting <strong>the</strong> line (<strong>the</strong> hook will<br />

eventually rust away). Often even <strong>the</strong> act <strong>of</strong> reeling in<br />

a shark or ray can be fatal for <strong>the</strong> individual, and death<br />

does not always occur immediately but sometimes hours<br />

later. If you do catch one, make an effort to keep it in<br />

<strong>the</strong> water while releasing it to not add <strong>the</strong> stress <strong>of</strong> being<br />

lifted onto <strong>the</strong> boat for prolonged periods. Anyway, a true<br />

fisher gets into <strong>the</strong> water to take a photo <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir catch!<br />

Fishers can also use inline circle hooks which can help<br />

improve survival rates <strong>of</strong> released fish without significantly<br />

diminishing catch rates. Finally, using hook and<br />

line or spear guns ra<strong>the</strong>r than nets can also massively<br />

reduce <strong>the</strong> likelihood <strong>of</strong> bycatch.<br />

Tourists in <strong>the</strong> TCI can help eagle rays too. Supporting<br />

ecotourism such as snorkeling or diving excursions with<br />

<strong>the</strong> intention <strong>of</strong> spotting eagle rays can provide local<br />

financial incentives for protecting <strong>the</strong>se magnificent creatures.<br />

There are numerous dive and snorkel operations<br />

spread throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, so grab your gear and<br />

explore. Wherever you dive or snorkel, always remember<br />

to respect <strong>the</strong> local wildlife and encourage o<strong>the</strong>rs around<br />

you to do <strong>the</strong> same, keep a generous distance between<br />

you and <strong>the</strong> rays, and never corner or touch a wild animal.<br />

Valuing <strong>the</strong> eagle rays and o<strong>the</strong>r cartilaginous fish<br />

in <strong>the</strong> TCI is not a new concept, as many indigenous cultures<br />

have long treasured <strong>the</strong>se species for both <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

intrinsic value and <strong>the</strong>ir cultural significance. In <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean, <strong>the</strong> Lucayan Taínos lived a life in and around<br />

<strong>the</strong> ocean, catching what was needed to sustain <strong>the</strong>mselves,<br />

and using most, if not all parts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> animal. The<br />

Taínos <strong>of</strong>ten encountered sharks and rays while fishing,<br />

and had at least four words for sharks, as well as naming<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Stingray (Libuza) and <strong>the</strong> whitespotted eagle<br />

ray (Chucho).<br />

Shark and ray artifacts have been found in <strong>the</strong> archaeological<br />

remains <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir communities. As cartilaginous<br />

fish, most body parts do not preserve well in fossil<br />

records, but shark teeth, eagle ray grinding plates, and<br />

ray tail spines are commonly unear<strong>the</strong>d. Often <strong>the</strong> barbed<br />

spines <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rays were used for hunting, fishing, and<br />

as weaponry for battle. Shark and ray skin was used as<br />

sandpaper or for grinding cassava into a fine grain. Shark<br />

and ray meat was consumed, and o<strong>the</strong>r parts were used<br />

for tools or even decoration.<br />

Today, <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI occasionally harvest<br />

<strong>the</strong>se species, but with a large market available for economic<br />

growth through tourism, <strong>the</strong>re is an incentive to<br />

shift away from consumption to conservation: There is<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten more money to be made catering to tourists that<br />

come to <strong>the</strong> TCI to see <strong>the</strong>se magnificent creatures than<br />

in <strong>the</strong>ir harvest.<br />

Eagle rays are a piece <strong>of</strong> living history that tie <strong>the</strong><br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI to <strong>the</strong> original inhabitants <strong>of</strong> this land,<br />

and with greater protection and responsible fishing this<br />

heritage can be shared for generations to come. a<br />

To learn more about <strong>the</strong> The School for Field Studies’<br />

projects on South Caicos, go to http://www.fieldstudies.<br />

org/tci.<br />

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astrolabe<br />

newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Front Street, PO Box 188, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, BWI TKCA 1ZZ<br />

tel 649 247 2160/US incoming 786 220 1159 •<br />

email info@tcmuseum.org • web www.tcmuseum.org<br />

In this image <strong>of</strong> Junkanoos on Grand Turk, <strong>the</strong> costumes bear similarities to those in <strong>the</strong> 1965 Junkanoo Parade in Nassau on <strong>the</strong> following<br />

page.<br />


Clo<strong>the</strong>d in Mystery<br />

The origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo – Part 1<br />

By Christopher Davis, Alex Kw<strong>of</strong>ie, Angelique McKay, and Michael P. Pateman<br />

Junkanoo is <strong>the</strong> premier national cultural celebration in The Bahamas. It is primarily celebrated on<br />

Christmas/Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, with smaller celebrations on Labour Day, Independence Day,<br />

and Emancipation Day. Junkanoo is also used for <strong>the</strong> opening <strong>of</strong> major events and as a funeral procession<br />

for prominent Junkanoos (term used to describe a person who partakes in Junkanoo). Versions <strong>of</strong><br />

Junkanoo are also celebrated in Jamaica (Jonkonnu), Belize (Jankunu), and North Carolina (John Kooner)<br />

among o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

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However, <strong>the</strong> true origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo have been<br />

shrouded in mystery with multiple prevailing <strong>the</strong>ories<br />

and stories. According to oral tradition, Junkanoo was<br />

supposedly named after west-African chief John Canoe<br />

and began as a masquerade in The Bahamas around <strong>the</strong><br />

17th century. Enslaved Africans would cover <strong>the</strong>ir faces<br />

under a flour paste and celebrate on Boxing Day (<strong>the</strong> day<br />

after Christmas). Over time, <strong>the</strong> flour paste was replaced<br />

by masks and eventually face paint.<br />

The most popular legend about <strong>the</strong> origin <strong>of</strong><br />

Junkanoo states that John Canoe, a former African tribal<br />

chief, requested permission from colonial powers for <strong>the</strong><br />

enslaved to have a day <strong>of</strong>f to celebrate. Ano<strong>the</strong>r popular<br />

<strong>the</strong>ory is that John Canoe was a powerful slave trader<br />

and Junkanoo originated as a celebration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> enslaved<br />

mimicking <strong>the</strong>ir slave masters.<br />

The story <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

(TCI) is also shrouded in mystery and controversy. The<br />

TCI celebration <strong>of</strong> Masses or Massin’ is also a masquerade<br />

tradition <strong>of</strong> African roots, celebrated in islands around<br />

Christmas and New Year’s. David Bowen (“A Celebration<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Masses,” <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Island Spring 2008) states<br />

that Massin’ draws on a combination <strong>of</strong> West African<br />

ancestry roots and mimicry <strong>of</strong> former slave masters costume<br />

balls. The celebration <strong>of</strong> Massin’ is very similar to<br />

<strong>the</strong> historic accounts <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo in The Bahamas.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> earliest written accounts <strong>of</strong> this celebration<br />

was recorded in <strong>the</strong> journal <strong>of</strong> Methodist Reverend<br />

W. Dowson, who landed on Grand Turk on December 25,<br />

1811. He wrote: “I have never before witnessed such a<br />

Christmas Day; <strong>the</strong> Negroes have been beating <strong>the</strong>ir tambourines<br />

and dancing <strong>the</strong> whole day and now between<br />

eight and nine o’clock <strong>the</strong>y are pursuing <strong>the</strong>ir sport as<br />

hotly as ever.” He <strong>the</strong>n goes on to say, “I mentioned <strong>the</strong><br />

dissipation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Negroes (to a Presbyterian clergyman)<br />

as a thing which greatly pained my mind; but he made<br />

light <strong>of</strong> it and apologized for <strong>the</strong>m saying, ‘The week <strong>of</strong><br />

Christmas is <strong>the</strong> only time in <strong>the</strong> whole year in which<br />

to be merry and I am pleased to see <strong>the</strong>m enjoy <strong>the</strong>mselves.’”<br />

Despite <strong>the</strong> celebration <strong>of</strong> Massin’ in <strong>the</strong> TCI,<br />

Kitchener Penn was hired to organise <strong>the</strong> first Junkanoo<br />

festival in <strong>the</strong> TCI in <strong>the</strong> 1980s. However, <strong>the</strong> celebration<br />

that was organized was a Bahamian-styled festival. This<br />

is probably based on Penn’s time spent in The Bahamas<br />

and his membership in <strong>the</strong> Junkanoo group The Saxons.<br />

This vintage photo shows a Junkanoo Parade in Nassau circa 1965.<br />

For more fascinating images, go to vintagebahamas.com.<br />

The origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo in The Bahamas, as well as all<br />

<strong>the</strong> commemorations throughout <strong>the</strong> Americas, have been<br />

a long-debated mystery and by <strong>the</strong> mid-19th century <strong>the</strong><br />

namesake was lost in translation. Bahamian Researcher<br />

and founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sank<strong>of</strong>a Flamingo Organization,<br />

Christopher Davis, says that most Bahamians never truly<br />

bought into <strong>the</strong> proverbial paternalistic and bigoted<br />

accounts <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo. Accounts on <strong>the</strong> origins <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

inextricably connected commemorations around <strong>the</strong><br />

African Diaspora are typically tainted by <strong>the</strong> overtly racist<br />

way <strong>of</strong> life and opinions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> authors. This ranges<br />

from recorded accounts in personal diaries like plantation<br />

owner Charles Farquharson’s account in 1832 on<br />

Watlings Island (today’s San Salvador), Bahamas, to genuine<br />

attempts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> documentation <strong>of</strong> African traditions<br />

as seen with 19th century accounts by Dr. James Sprunt<br />

in North Carolina.<br />

Prevailing <strong>the</strong>ories on <strong>the</strong> origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo in<br />

The Bahamas are <strong>of</strong>ten credited to a European influence;<br />

Junk Enough as said in an 19th century Scottish dialect<br />

or I’cconnu, a French term for unknown people. O<strong>the</strong>r<br />

accounts differ, like Ira B. Reid’s description <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crown-<br />


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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

ing <strong>of</strong> a John Canoe, or Edward Long who stated in <strong>the</strong><br />

1740s that Jonkonnu in Jamaica was in commemoration<br />

<strong>of</strong> a great African king. Contemporary researchers have<br />

also opined <strong>the</strong> origin, or at least <strong>the</strong> namesake <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

commemoration to have firm origins in Africa. Davis<br />

knew, that with <strong>the</strong> virtually endless pan<strong>the</strong>on <strong>of</strong> leaders<br />

in West Africa’s historiography, that if <strong>the</strong> parade was in<br />

fact named after an African figure, it would have had to<br />

have been one who was very pr<strong>of</strong>ound and influential.<br />

As we searched deeper for <strong>the</strong> origins <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo<br />

or John Canoe, we discover <strong>the</strong> name Jan Conny<br />

(Dutch), a former Chief <strong>of</strong> Pokesu—today’s Princess<br />

Town in Ahantaland, Ghana and <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> Fort Gross<br />

Fredericksburg. The Ahanta are an Akan people residing<br />

today in southwestern Ghana in a province known as<br />

Ahanta West. Princess Town sits near <strong>the</strong> southwestern<br />

extremity <strong>of</strong> Ghana, where empirical data and oral history<br />

places <strong>the</strong> man known to <strong>the</strong> British as John Canoe.<br />

In Princess Town, Sank<strong>of</strong>a Flamingo were graciously<br />

received by <strong>the</strong> resident chief, Abusuapanin Augustine<br />

Yaw, and <strong>the</strong> Traditional Council, where <strong>the</strong>y were given<br />

preliminary information on <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> Pokesu. On<br />

Davis’ first research visit, <strong>the</strong>y were amazed by a detailed<br />

presentation and tour by oral historian Alex Kw<strong>of</strong>ie.<br />

Kw<strong>of</strong>ie not only showed <strong>the</strong>m John Canoe’s mansion,<br />

palace, and fort, but also revealed his real name in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir language, Jan Kwaw. According to <strong>the</strong> oral history<br />

in Princess Town, Jan Kwaw was never a slave and was<br />

certainly not a slave trader and in fact, he and his warriors<br />

fought vigorously against <strong>the</strong> Trans-Atlantic Slave<br />

Trade, particularly <strong>the</strong> Dutch, <strong>the</strong> Danish and <strong>the</strong> British.<br />

Jan Kwaw was <strong>the</strong> catalyst <strong>of</strong> several military actions in<br />

defiance <strong>of</strong> slave trading since at least 1712, when he<br />

invaded <strong>the</strong> British stronghold <strong>of</strong> Fort Metal Cross on<br />

Christmas Day. Is <strong>the</strong> tradition <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo on and around<br />

Christmas Day an unconscious celebration <strong>of</strong> this victory<br />

by <strong>the</strong> descendants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ahanta in <strong>the</strong> New World?<br />

Additionally, in 1717 when <strong>the</strong> Prussians attempted<br />

to sell Fort Gross Fredericksburg to <strong>the</strong> Dutch, Jan Kwaw<br />

occupied <strong>the</strong> fort in defiance and used his political and<br />

military acumen to beat back European slave traders until<br />

1725. John Atkins, a surgeon in <strong>the</strong> British Royal Navy,<br />

whose ship was anchored <strong>of</strong>f Princess Town in 1721,<br />

notes that a dispute between <strong>the</strong> Dutch who claimed<br />

<strong>the</strong> fort as <strong>the</strong>ir own resulted in Jan Kwaw paving <strong>the</strong><br />

entrance to his palace with <strong>the</strong>ir skulls. Also, sailors from<br />

Atkins’s ship who landed in search <strong>of</strong> fresh water received<br />

“cracked skulls” for refusing <strong>the</strong> tribute demands by Jan<br />

Fort Gross Fredericksburg, Poksesu (Princess Town) was built between 1681 and 1683. In 1717, when <strong>the</strong> Prussians attempted to sell Fort<br />

Gross Fredericksburg to <strong>the</strong> Dutch, Jan Kwaw occupied <strong>the</strong> fort in defiance and used his political and military acumen to beat back European<br />

slave traders until 1725.<br />


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Kwaw. When <strong>the</strong>y made payment, he provided <strong>the</strong>m with<br />

water and hospitality. Empirical data not only shows that<br />

no slave ships left <strong>the</strong> fort while under his occupation,<br />

but also shows that <strong>the</strong> Ahanta people in general dedicated<br />

much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> resources and resolve to maintaining<br />

African autonomy in <strong>the</strong> region. From <strong>the</strong> late 1680s to<br />

1725, <strong>the</strong>re are consistent complaints and reports about<br />

Ahanta warriors invading European-held slave trading<br />

posts as far east as Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.<br />

Many sources have relegated <strong>the</strong> Ahanta General to<br />

a Prussian ally and <strong>the</strong> lynchpin <strong>of</strong> Prussian business in<br />

what was <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> western Gold Coast. He is <strong>of</strong>ten erroneously<br />

referred to as a so-called “Prussian Prince.” Many<br />

sources also claim him to be a slave trader, typically without<br />

tangible evidence like trading records or <strong>the</strong> names <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> vessels he supplied with captive Africans.<br />

What is interesting however, is <strong>the</strong> failure <strong>of</strong><br />

Brandenburg Prussia to establish <strong>the</strong>mselves in <strong>the</strong> Gold<br />

Coast as seen by some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir European counterparts.<br />

With so much military might and influence in <strong>the</strong> region,<br />

why did <strong>the</strong> Prussian’s slave trading operations fail? What<br />

<strong>the</strong> oral history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ahanta as well as <strong>the</strong>ir historical<br />

records shows is that <strong>the</strong>y had a consistent run <strong>of</strong><br />

anti-slavery leaders, with Jan Kwaw representing a quintessential<br />

example <strong>of</strong> an African hero, still ambiguously<br />

commemorated throughout <strong>the</strong> African Diaspora in <strong>the</strong><br />

Western Hemisphere. If Jan Kwaw was indeed a Prussian<br />

ally, his efforts and unprecedented influence in <strong>the</strong> area<br />

would have established Prussia as a major slave trading<br />

force in <strong>the</strong> area. It is no coincidence that approximately<br />

60 Prussian slave trading voyages took place on <strong>the</strong><br />

opposite side on <strong>the</strong> eastern Gold Coast at <strong>the</strong> behest<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir allies <strong>the</strong> Danish. The Ahanta Traditional Council<br />

identifies Jan Kwaw not only as a great and wealthy warrior,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> Minister <strong>of</strong> Defence for all Ahanta people and<br />

even later <strong>the</strong> early Ashanti Empire, settling at Kwadaso in<br />

<strong>the</strong> late 1720s after <strong>the</strong> Dutch were able to reclaim Fort<br />

Gross Fredericksburg.<br />

Part 2 will continue with how commemorations <strong>of</strong><br />

Jan Kwaw came to <strong>the</strong> New World. To learn more about<br />

<strong>the</strong> research on Junkanoo and Jan Kwaw, follow Sank<strong>of</strong>a<br />

Flamingo on Facebook. a<br />

Christopher Davis is a historian and researcher at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation<br />

(Bahamas) and founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sank<strong>of</strong>a Flamingo<br />

This “modern day” celebration <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo in Grand Turk bears elements<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new and old.<br />

Foundation; Alex Kw<strong>of</strong>ie is an Oral Historian and Tour<br />

Guide from Pokesu (Princess Town), Ghana; Angelique<br />

McKay, also known as <strong>the</strong> Junkanoo Goddess, is <strong>the</strong><br />

founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Junkanoo Commandos, a group who is<br />

dedicated to bringing <strong>the</strong> celebration <strong>of</strong> Junkanoo to <strong>the</strong><br />

world by way <strong>of</strong> presentations, workshops, and performances;<br />

and Dr. Michael Pateman is former Director<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum and currently<br />

Curator/Lab Director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> AEX Maritime Museum on<br />

Grand Bahama.<br />


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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This 1964 photo shows <strong>the</strong> “salt raker” on <strong>the</strong> left using a too<strong>the</strong>d rake to break up salt crystals, while <strong>the</strong> man on <strong>the</strong> right is raking salt<br />

into piles using a solid rake.<br />

Shaking It Out<br />

The history <strong>of</strong> salt production in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (Part II).<br />

Story & Postcard Images Courtesy Jeff Dodge<br />

Salt was <strong>the</strong> most important industry on <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> for almost 300 years. Salt was <strong>of</strong><br />

critical importance, not only for culinary purposes, but to preserve meat and fish. Since salt production<br />

involved so many people and occupied so much land, it would be a photographer’s obvious subject.<br />

Consequently, picture postcards made from early photographs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se islands included pictures <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

salt production process. All <strong>the</strong> postcards included in this article were printed from photographs taken<br />

between 1905 and 1933.<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Synopsis (part I)<br />

Bermudians began systematically<br />

collecting salt<br />

by solar evaporation on<br />

Salt Cay in 1673 and on<br />

Grand Turk in 1678. There<br />

were naturally occurring,<br />

low-level depressions on<br />

<strong>the</strong>se islands—especially<br />

on Salt Cay—that flooded<br />

at high tide. Sun and wind<br />

evaporated <strong>the</strong> water in<br />

<strong>the</strong>se depressions, leaving<br />

salt behind. Bermudians<br />

improved and expanded<br />

<strong>the</strong>se “ponds” in <strong>the</strong> late<br />

1670s and salt collection<br />

by solar evaporation<br />

became an organized<br />

enterprise.<br />

Initially, Bermudians<br />

occupied <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> on a part time<br />

basis—working <strong>the</strong> salt<br />

ponds during <strong>the</strong> hot summer<br />

months from March<br />

to November. By 1764<br />

<strong>the</strong>y occupied <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

on a full-time basis.<br />

Salt collection began on<br />

South Caicos (Cockburn<br />

Harbour) about 1848. By<br />

1908, Cockburn Harbour<br />

(a.k.a. East Harbour) had<br />

400 acres devoted to salt<br />

ponds, Grand Turk had<br />

230 acres and Salt Cay<br />

120.<br />

The solar evaporation<br />

process to produce salt<br />

typically entailed moving<br />

seawater through four shallow ponds until <strong>the</strong> water was<br />

evaporated by <strong>the</strong> sun, leaving salt crystals behind. The<br />

process ended in a salt “pan”— so named due to its small<br />

size and shallow depth. This entire operation took 70 to<br />

90 days. Salt was <strong>the</strong>n ready to be raked.<br />

Top: This postcard, circa 1905, shows workers raking salt at a salt pan and loading it onto donkey carts.<br />

Bottom: This postcard depicts <strong>the</strong> salt shed owned by Frith Bro<strong>the</strong>rs & Co. on Grand Turk. The notation<br />

“Burnt Down” was written on <strong>the</strong> card by George S. Frith. He mailed it to his bro<strong>the</strong>r Arthur G. Frith who<br />

lived in Vancouver in 1906.<br />

Salt production (part II)<br />

From <strong>the</strong> salt pans, salt was transported by donkey carts<br />

or wheelbarrows to outdoor storage piles near <strong>the</strong> shore<br />

called “deposits” or to salt sheds.<br />

Normal rainfall on <strong>the</strong>se islands was 24.5 to 26<br />

68 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This postcard pictures a steam-powered salt grinding facility on Grand Turk. There would eventually be three such grinding operations on<br />

Grand Turk Island and two at Cockburn Harbour.<br />

inches a year, but when rainfall was significantly above<br />

normal, as it was from time to time, vast quantities <strong>of</strong> salt<br />

stored at outdoor deposits wasted away and salt forming<br />

in <strong>the</strong> ponds was ruined. For example, in 1904 and 1905<br />

annual rainfall exceeded 40 inches.<br />

The best way to prevent salt loss from rain and hurricanes<br />

was to store it in a salt house or shed. Though<br />

expensive to build, by 1897 <strong>the</strong>re were 8 such sheds on<br />

Grand Turk, 2 at Cockburn Harbour and 15 on Salt Cay.<br />

In total, <strong>the</strong>se 25 salt sheds could store 542,000 bushels<br />

<strong>of</strong> salt.<br />

Josiah Frith and Jeremiah Murphy imported <strong>the</strong> first<br />

steam engine for grinding salt to South Caicos in 1874.<br />

The following year Grand Turk was also grinding salt<br />

using steam power. A single steam-powered salt grinding<br />

operation could process 10,000 bushels <strong>of</strong> salt a<br />

week. Ground salt, called fish or fishery salt, commanded<br />

a higher price than coarse salt because it was in great<br />

demand by <strong>the</strong> fishing industry in <strong>the</strong> New England<br />

States and Nova Scotia. For example, in 1906 coarse<br />

salt brought 6 cents a bushel while fishery salt sold for<br />

7.5 cents a bushel. The Harriott bro<strong>the</strong>rs introduced an<br />

Aermotor (windmill) powered grinding machine to Salt<br />

Cay in 1894.<br />

Coarse and fishery salt was shipped in bulk to <strong>the</strong><br />

New England States and Nova Scotia. A few thousand<br />

barrels <strong>of</strong> salt were sent to Jamaica and <strong>the</strong> Dominican<br />

Republic each year. A barrel held about 3 bushels <strong>of</strong><br />

ground salt and weighed 280 pounds. (A bushel <strong>of</strong> salt<br />

was equal to 1.13 American bushels.) A few barrels <strong>of</strong><br />

ground salt for domestic use may have been shipped to<br />

<strong>the</strong> United States as well.<br />

Salt was bagged next to <strong>the</strong> salt storage deposits<br />

or storage sheds just before it was carried to lighters<br />

(small sailing craft) waiting at <strong>the</strong> beach for delivery to a<br />

freighter anchored <strong>of</strong>f-shore.<br />

A 1/2 bushel bag <strong>of</strong> salt weighed about 40 pounds.<br />

(A 1/2 bushel bag <strong>of</strong> ground or fishery salt weighed 45<br />

pounds.) Men typically carried 5 bags <strong>of</strong> salt at a time,<br />

weighing 200 pounds or more, from <strong>the</strong> salt deposit to<br />

lighters at <strong>the</strong> beach.<br />

The operation <strong>of</strong> bagging salt, carrying <strong>the</strong> bags to a<br />

lighter and operating <strong>the</strong> lighter required about 22 people—10<br />

men including <strong>the</strong> captain aboard <strong>the</strong> lighter, 6<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 69

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Above: This color postcard pictures men barreling salt. A barrel holds three bushels <strong>of</strong> salt.<br />

Below: The postcard shows workers (women!) filling bags with salt next to an outdoor salt deposit. A bushel <strong>of</strong> salt was equal to 1.13<br />

American bushels.<br />

women holding <strong>the</strong> bags for <strong>the</strong> 3 men who shoveled salt<br />

into <strong>the</strong> bags, 2 men to carry <strong>the</strong> bags to <strong>the</strong> lighter and<br />

a shore captain.<br />

A lighter could carry 400 to 500 bags <strong>of</strong> salt. Loading<br />

a 200-ton freighter usually required 4 lighters and took<br />

one day. Staging was set up on<br />

one side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> freighter being<br />

loaded with salt. Crew from <strong>the</strong><br />

lighter passed bags <strong>of</strong> salt from<br />

man to man until it reached<br />

<strong>the</strong> deck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vessel. The<br />

bags were <strong>the</strong>n emptied into<br />

<strong>the</strong> freighter’s hold. An assistant<br />

Revenue Officer, posted<br />

onboard during <strong>the</strong> loading<br />

process, counted <strong>the</strong> number<br />

<strong>of</strong> empty bags to tally <strong>the</strong> royalties<br />

owed <strong>the</strong> government—<strong>the</strong><br />

empty bags were <strong>the</strong>n taken<br />

back to <strong>the</strong> salt deposit to be<br />

refilled. In 1909 <strong>the</strong> royalty was<br />

70 cents per 100 bushels.<br />

The number <strong>of</strong> bushels <strong>of</strong> salt exported varied from<br />

year to year depending on <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> political situation,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> price salt commanded. For example:<br />

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astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Year Tons Exported Year Tons Exported<br />

1872 65,393 1955 13,817<br />

1894 77,203 1960 31,717<br />

1935 28,950 1964 8,271<br />

1939 50,256 1970 2,650 (Salt Cay only)<br />

1950 9,553<br />

NOTE: There are approximately 28 bushels <strong>of</strong> course<br />

salt in a ton. A ton weighed 2,240 pounds.<br />

Competition from lower cost producers having larger<br />

solar salt operations, mechanized processing techniques,<br />

and salt extracted from underground mines all contributed<br />

to <strong>the</strong> demise <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salt industry on <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

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

At <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 1964 it was decided to end salt production<br />

on Grand Turk and Cockburn Harbour. The<br />

government subsidized salt production on Salt Cay for<br />

<strong>the</strong> next 10 years because <strong>the</strong>re was no o<strong>the</strong>r form <strong>of</strong><br />

employment on <strong>the</strong> island. Salt operations ceased on Salt<br />

Cay in 1975.<br />

For 300 years, salt was <strong>the</strong> primary industry on <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. When salt production ended in<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1960s, <strong>the</strong>re was nothing to replace it. Hoping that<br />

tourism might replaced some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> jobs lost, <strong>the</strong> government<br />

opened <strong>the</strong> Turks Head Inn on Grand Turk in 1965.<br />

Prior to 1967, Providenciales was a quiet island<br />

made up <strong>of</strong> three small settlements with a total population<br />

<strong>of</strong> around 600 to 700 people. Tourism on “Provo”<br />

got its start in 1967 when a<br />

development company called<br />

Provident Ltd. leased 4,000<br />

acres from <strong>the</strong> government<br />

for <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> an airstrip<br />

and terminal building<br />

as well as roads and a hotel<br />

(Third Turtle Inn). However,<br />

tourism really took <strong>of</strong>f on<br />

Providenciales in 1984 with<br />

<strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> Club Med<br />

Turkoise. Tourism continues<br />

to be <strong>the</strong> economic driver on<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

today. a<br />

Top right: A postcard showing men<br />

loading a lighter with bags <strong>of</strong> salt.<br />

Bottom right: This postcard depicts<br />

workers <strong>of</strong>f-loading bags <strong>of</strong> salt<br />

from a lighter to a freighter anchored <strong>of</strong>f shore. Staging is set-up to allow <strong>the</strong> crew to hoist 40 pound bags from man to man up to <strong>the</strong> vessel’s<br />

deck.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 71

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Building fire in Grand Turk<br />

In January <strong>2022</strong>, <strong>the</strong> Museum was a victim <strong>of</strong> an arson<br />

attack. We were extremely lucky that <strong>the</strong> fire did not<br />

spread and was limited to damage on <strong>the</strong> north end<br />

balcony and wall. The fire was spotted by a police <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

in <strong>the</strong> early morning hours <strong>of</strong> January 31. It had been<br />

smoldering for several hours but had not spread any<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>the</strong> original site <strong>of</strong> ignition.<br />

Thanks to <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> many local businesses<br />

and supporters (see below), we were able to quickly<br />

make repairs and improve security with <strong>the</strong> installation<br />

<strong>of</strong> better cameras and alarm systems. The building was<br />

protected internally with a fire extinguishing system<br />

that was not activated or needed. We do not feel <strong>the</strong> fire<br />

was a personal attack, but a continuation <strong>of</strong> an ongoing<br />

issue on Grand Turk. If <strong>the</strong>re is anything positive<br />

to come <strong>of</strong> this, it was <strong>the</strong> show <strong>of</strong> support and concern<br />

received from <strong>the</strong> community. The 200+ year-old<br />

Guinep House continues to stand as a symbol <strong>of</strong> our<br />

history and culture.<br />

Thank you to local businesses and supporters who<br />

provide special pricing or assistance to <strong>the</strong> Museum:<br />

• Turks & Caicos Island Government—Special grants<br />

and donations to help in various aspects <strong>of</strong> Museum<br />

operation, security, exhibits and events.<br />

• Turks & Caicos Banking Company—Assisted with<br />

increased security at <strong>the</strong> Grand Turk location.<br />

• Olympic Construction—Timely repairs and donated<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir pr<strong>of</strong>it back to <strong>the</strong> Museum.<br />

• Construction Advisory Services—Valuations recently<br />

completed.<br />

• LIME Turks & Caicos—Additional bandwidth provided.<br />

• WC Security Services Ltd.—Installation <strong>of</strong> new security<br />

system on Grand Turk and donated a new alarm<br />

system for <strong>the</strong> Providenciales location.<br />

• NW Hamilton Insurance—Quick resolution <strong>of</strong> claim. a<br />

Grand Turk community projects<br />

Botanical Garden<br />

The Museum, in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Prison<br />

on Grand Turk, created a work crew to clean up and<br />

maintain <strong>the</strong> Botanical Garden. It was overgrown and<br />

in need <strong>of</strong> major clean-up and attention. After several<br />

weeks <strong>of</strong> hard work, <strong>the</strong> garden is ready for visitors and<br />

locals alike to enjoy.<br />

The plan is to have <strong>the</strong> work crew come as needed<br />

to keep <strong>the</strong> garden maintained. Research has shown<br />

that work projects can significantly reduce <strong>the</strong> risk <strong>of</strong><br />

re-<strong>of</strong>fending, develop good work habits, and expand<br />

skills. We thank <strong>the</strong> members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> work crew and HMP<br />

administration for <strong>the</strong>ir assistance. It provides a service<br />

to <strong>the</strong> community resulting in a win-win partnership for<br />

everyone involved. a<br />

Spay & Neuter Clinic<br />

The Museum hosted <strong>the</strong> nonpr<strong>of</strong>it group 4 Leaf Rover<br />

who performed a five-day spay/neuter and medical<br />

clinic, made possible with <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCSPCA, local<br />

volunteers, and 4 Leaf Rover volunteers. The group<br />

worked all day and into <strong>the</strong> night to take care <strong>of</strong> as many<br />

animals as possible. The final count exceeded 300, and<br />

included cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, and a turtle.<br />

We were delighted to see several children who were<br />

on spring break come to <strong>the</strong> clinic to observe. They were<br />

educated on <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> animal care and spaying/<br />

neutering <strong>the</strong>ir pets. There may even be a few future<br />

vets or volunteers in <strong>the</strong> group.<br />

4 Leaf Rover was created with <strong>the</strong> goal <strong>of</strong> improving<br />

<strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> dogs and cats that are lacking necessities.<br />

For more information and photos from <strong>the</strong> clinic, visit<br />

www.4leafrover.net. a<br />

Current Days & Hours <strong>of</strong> Operation:<br />

Grand Turk (Front Street): Hours vary daily, but in general<br />

open on all cruise ship days 9 AM to 1 PM. When a<br />

ship arrives on or after 11 AM, we will open one hour<br />

after arrival for three hours.<br />

Providenciales (The Village <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay): Open<br />

Tuesday and Thursday, 10 AM to 2 PM.<br />

Both locations include exhibits and artifacts related<br />

to <strong>the</strong> history and culture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Visit our gift<br />

shops for souvenirs, history books, and locally made<br />

products such as baskets, jewelry, salt products and<br />

more. Days and times <strong>of</strong> operation are subject to change<br />

so please check our website or email us for updated<br />

information:<br />

www.tcmuseum.org• info@tcmuseum.org<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 43,000.<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 />

As <strong>of</strong> May 1, <strong>2022</strong>, all visitors ages 18 and above<br />

must be fully vaccinated but are no longer required to<br />

apply for travel authorization nor provide evidence <strong>of</strong> a<br />

negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival nor present evidence<br />

<strong>of</strong> travel insurance nor wear masks/face coverings.<br />

Pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> vaccination in ei<strong>the</strong>r a digital or paper record<br />

must be presented on arrival. Visitors are fully responsible<br />

for <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong> quarantine/isolation, hospitalization,<br />

or medical repatriation in <strong>the</strong> event <strong>the</strong>y test positive<br />

during <strong>the</strong>ir stay. For more information and details, visit<br />

www.turksandcaicostourism.com.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 73

The TCI has expanded COVID-19 testing capacity in<br />

response to testing requirements implemented for travellers<br />

entering <strong>the</strong> United States and Canada. Many resorts<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer on-site testing, along with numerous local health<br />

practitioners.<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 />

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 />

connections. 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 your airline ticket cost.<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 are<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 colorful stamp issues.<br />

74 www.timespub.tc

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 />

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 />

Hon. Charles Washington Misick is <strong>the</strong> country’s premier,<br />

leading a majority Progressive National Party (PNP) House<br />

<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 />

<strong>of</strong> Appeal visit <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> twice a year and <strong>the</strong>re is a final<br />

Right <strong>of</strong> Appeal to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in London.<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 />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 75

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 fishing<br />

generate <strong>the</strong> most private sector income. The <strong>Islands</strong>’<br />

main exports are lobster and conch. Practically all consumer<br />

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 submitted at port <strong>of</strong> entry to obtain clearance<br />

from <strong>the</strong> TCI Department <strong>of</strong> Agriculture.<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 />

bahamensis). 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 />

sashes and hat bands. The National Song is “This Land<br />

<strong>of</strong> Ours” by <strong>the</strong> late Rev. E.C. Howell. Peas and Hominy<br />

(Grits) 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. There is also a<br />

ban on importation <strong>of</strong> plastic straws and some polystyrene<br />

products, including cups and plates.<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, snuba, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding,<br />

mermaid encounters and beachcombing. Pristine reefs,<br />

abundant marine life and excellent visibility make TCI<br />

a world-class diving destination. Whale and dolphin<br />

encounters are possible, especially during <strong>the</strong> winter/<br />

spring months.<br />

Tennis and golf—<strong>the</strong>re is an 18 hole championship<br />

course on Providenciales—are also popular.<br />

76 www.timespub.tc

The <strong>Islands</strong> are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can<br />

enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in<br />

33 national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and areas<br />

<strong>of</strong> historical interest. The National Trust provides trail<br />

guides to several hiking trails, as well as guided tours <strong>of</strong><br />

major historical sites. Birdwatching is superb, and <strong>the</strong>re<br />

is a guided trail on Grand Turk.<br />

There is an excellent national museum on Grand<br />

Turk, with an auxillary branch on Providenciales that<br />

includes <strong>the</strong> Caicos Heritage House. A scheduled ferry<br />

and a selection <strong>of</strong> tour operators make it easy to take day<br />

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 are<br />

two casinos on Providenciales, along with many electronic<br />

gaming parlours. Stargazing is extraordinary!<br />

Shoppers will find paintings, T-shirts, sports and<br />

beachwear and locally made handicrafts, including straw<br />

work, conch crafts and beach jewellery. Duty free outlets<br />

sell liquor, jewellery, watches, perfume, lea<strong>the</strong>r goods,<br />

subscription form<br />

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<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 77

classified ads<br />

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 />

D&Bswift_Layout 1 5/8/18 7:24 AM Page 1<br />





649-941-8438 and 649-241-4968<br />

SCOOTER BOBS_Layout 1 8/8/18 10:57 AM Page GBC2017_Layout autorental@dnbautoparts.com<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 />

941-8500<br />

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78 www.timespub.tc



Our executive team: (L-r) Senior Vice President <strong>of</strong> Operations Devon Cox; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Corporate<br />

Services and CFO Aisha Laporte; President and CEO Ruth Forbes; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk and<br />

Sister Island Operations Allan Robinson; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning<br />

Rachell Roullet and Vice President <strong>of</strong> Engineering and Energy Production and Delivery Don Forsyth<br />

The energy landscape is changing.<br />

And at FortisTCI, we are leading <strong>the</strong> transition to cleaner energy with<br />

innovative solutions, and <strong>the</strong> highest level <strong>of</strong> service to customers.<br />

With sustainability as a guiding principle, we are strategically investing<br />

in new technologies, people and processes to deliver least-cost, reliable,<br />

resilient and sustainable energy to keep <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

economy moving forward.<br />

At FortisTCI, we are powered by a team <strong>of</strong> energy experts, who are proud<br />

to serve as your energy partners.<br />

www.fortistci.com | 649-946-4313 |

We’ll guide you to your<br />

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Tranquility Lane, Leeward<br />


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649.946.4474 | info@tcso<strong>the</strong>bysrealty.com | turksandcaicossir.com<br />

Venture House, Grace Bay | Resort Locations: Grace Bay Club and The Palms<br />

Each franchise is Independently Owned and Operated.

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