Times of the Islands Winter 2023/24

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.


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />

SAMPLING THE SOUL OF THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS WINTER <strong>2023</strong> /<strong>24</strong> NO. 145<br />



Managing tourism<br />


Experience adventure<br />


TCI Arts Foundation

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

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: 649.941.58<strong>24</strong> | INFO@PROJETECH.TC | WWW.PROJETECH.TC |

contents<br />

Departments<br />

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

21 Island Spotlight<br />

Blue Hills<br />

By Davidson Edens Louis<br />

<strong>24</strong> Around <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

Saving Lives, One Child at a Time<br />

Infant Self-Rescue lessons<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

62 New Development<br />

The Loren at Turtle Cove<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

68 History in Art<br />

Indian Cave, Middle Caicos<br />

Artwork By Richard McGhie<br />

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

89 Subscription Form<br />

90 Classified Ads<br />

Features<br />

42 Who Gets a Piece <strong>of</strong> Paradise?<br />

Investigating <strong>the</strong> perils <strong>of</strong> expanding tourism<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

54 Beyond <strong>the</strong> Beach<br />

By Rachel Craft<br />

70 A Sensational Sequel<br />

TCI Arts Foundation<br />

By Kathy Borsuk<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />


SAMPLING THE SOUL OF THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS WINTER <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> NO. 145<br />

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

Gary James at Provo Pictures (www.provopictures.<br />

com) used a drone to photograph this bird’s-eye view <strong>of</strong><br />

Dragon Cay <strong>of</strong>f Middle Caicos. It perfectly captures <strong>the</strong><br />

myriad <strong>of</strong> colors and textures that make God’s works<br />

<strong>of</strong> art in nature so captivating. Gary has spent much <strong>of</strong><br />

his 30 years in <strong>the</strong> industry doing high-end commercial<br />

work. These days, he prefers to focus on <strong>the</strong> stunning<br />

natural beauty around us in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Green Pages<br />

27 Orphaned Oceans<br />

By Dr. Eric Cole<br />

32 Do <strong>the</strong> (Bipedal) Locomotion<br />

Two-legged walking in octopods<br />

By Sidney L. O’Brien and C.E. O’Brien<br />

37 Diving into Diversity<br />

Empowering island youth<br />

By Alizee Zimmermann,<br />

Turks & Caicos Reef Fund<br />

54<br />

Astrolabe<br />

77 A Property Puzzle<br />

The controversial ownership <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point<br />

By Jeff Dodge<br />


4 www.timespub.tc

Crafted for<br />

<strong>the</strong> fl ow <strong>of</strong> life.<br />

Formed within<br />

<strong>the</strong> fl ow <strong>of</strong> nature.<br />

A bold architectural statement, discover an intimate villa collection at <strong>the</strong> secluded tip<br />

<strong>of</strong> Turtle Tail. Focused on <strong>the</strong> horizon and soaring above <strong>the</strong> Caicos Bank, famed Turks<br />

& Caicos ocean views are captured through refi ned architectural framing. Design, drawn<br />

from nature, and crafted with clear intent for its place.<br />

Nivå will be home to only six private estates. Designed by Ström Architects, this private<br />

yet connected community comprises fi ve 4,014 sqft villas, and a singular, larger 6,579<br />

sqft showpiece.<br />

Six 4-7 bedroom Villas in<br />

Turtle Tail from $5.5m<br />

Register your interest today<br />

at: www.niva6.com<br />

For more information contact<br />

Windward at 649.<strong>24</strong>1.9212<br />

or email: contact@windward.tc<br />

Designed by: Developed by: Real Estate Sales by:

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


The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> are known to host sunsets that take your breath away. Marta Morton photographed this natural artistry over<br />

South Side Marina in early January <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

A Slipping Down Season<br />

“A slipping down season” is my made-up phrase for <strong>the</strong> time when winter finally comes to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. It <strong>of</strong>ten feels<br />

like someone has turned down <strong>the</strong> temperature dial and miraculously lifted <strong>the</strong> humidity that was especially oppressive<br />

this year. The air clears and seems to turn golden as <strong>the</strong> skies shimmer robin’s-egg blue and <strong>the</strong> sea deepens<br />

into tones <strong>of</strong> azure. As <strong>the</strong> days shorten —“slip down” towards <strong>the</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> Solstice—early sunrises paint <strong>the</strong> sky in<br />

pink and <strong>the</strong> moon hovers high over <strong>the</strong> horizon in <strong>the</strong> mornings. Evenings come early, and <strong>the</strong> splendid orange,<br />

violet, and red tones in <strong>the</strong> photo above are an everyday occurance. On most days, it is glorious simply to be alive<br />

and living in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

As a result, we all have more energy, too. Many a project is launched and carried out during <strong>the</strong> comfortable<br />

days <strong>of</strong> a tropical winter. I hope you enjoy reading this issue’s collection <strong>of</strong> articles, a reflection <strong>of</strong> all that is going<br />

on in this small country nestled in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean. If you are a visitor, consider subscribing or visiting our website,<br />

www.timespub.tc, where you can always read <strong>the</strong> current issue on-line.<br />

I so look forward to <strong>the</strong> months ahead in 20<strong>24</strong>, <strong>the</strong> chance to brush <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> challenges <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> and turn <strong>the</strong> page<br />

to a “rising high” season ahead.<br />

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

6 www.timespub.tc

Arc<br />

By Piero Lissoni<br />

Elevated<br />

Beachfront Living<br />

Arc Sky Villas, designed by world-renowned architect Piero Lissoni, <strong>of</strong>fer a new way <strong>of</strong><br />

life at South Bank, a groundbreaking managed residential resort and marina destination.<br />

Inspired by place, indoor and outdoor spaces are seamless with immense Air Gardens<br />

creating an organic, living structure where sky, sea, nature and space are <strong>the</strong>ir signature.<br />

Developed by Windward: www.windward.tc<br />

Managed by:<br />

2-5 bedroom Sky Villas<br />

from $3m<br />

Register your interest today<br />

at: www.livesouthbank.com<br />

For more information contact<br />

Nina Siegenthaler at 649.231.0707<br />

Joe Zahm at 649.231.6188<br />

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

@livesouthbank<br />

@livesouthbank<br />

The Lissoni® trademark is owned by Piero Lissoni and any<br />

use <strong>of</strong> such mark by South Bank and Arc is under license.

The sky is <strong>the</strong> limit.<br />

The world’s premier destination for kiteboarding and<br />

active watersports in a luxury setting.<br />

H2O provides luxury beachfront accommodations<br />

in a tranquil, intimate, and sustainability-minded<br />

setting for guests that want to engage in active<br />

watersports including a world-class destination<br />

to learn how to kite surf, kite foil, and wing foil.<br />

Our friendly staff goes above and beyond to give<br />

you a memorable and mindful experience that<br />

your whole family will cherish on one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most<br />

uniquely beautiful islands in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

11 Long Bay Beach Drive, Long Bay Hills, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

1 (649) 232-4262 | reservations@h2oresorttci.com | h2oresorttci.com

Everything’s Included<br />

For Everyone<br />


Beaches ® Turks & Caicos has held <strong>the</strong> top spot at <strong>the</strong> World Travel Awards for over two decades by<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering families more <strong>of</strong> everything on <strong>the</strong> world’s best beach, featuring 5 villages, every land and<br />

water sport*, 5-Star Global Gourmet dining at 22 incredible restaurants, and 14 bars. Tips, taxes and<br />

Beaches transfers* are included too. And with trend-setting food trucks, live entertainment, and family<br />

sized accommodations…<strong>the</strong> World’s Best Family Resorts include everything families want and deserve.<br />


1-800-BEACHES<br />

Or Call Your Travel Advisor<br />

*Visit www.beaches.com/disclaimers/time<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>islandfall22 or call 1-800-BEACHES for important terms and conditions.<br />

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





Andaz Turks & Caicos at Grace Bay is a new, boutique hotel and residential <strong>of</strong>fering situated along <strong>the</strong> world-renowned Grace<br />

Bay Beach. Oceanfront residences and accommodations are located steps from <strong>the</strong> sandy shores and turquoise waters that have<br />

earned Grace Bay Beach <strong>the</strong> distinction <strong>of</strong> world’s best beach. Enjoy an extraordinary combination <strong>of</strong> stunning location, locally<br />

inspired design and world-class resort amenities.<br />

The resort is comprised <strong>of</strong> 59 pure hotel rooms, and a collection <strong>of</strong> 74 exceptional for-sale residences ranging from <strong>the</strong> popular<br />

studio suites to our one, two, three-bedroom suites and our collection <strong>of</strong> exclusive Penthouses. All providing a unique opportunity<br />

to enjoy <strong>the</strong> superb amenities and services <strong>of</strong> a luxury lifestyle, boutique hotel in <strong>the</strong> comfort <strong>of</strong> home.<br />


A102 First Floor - Studio 758 $500,000 2300677<br />

A301 Third Floor - Two Bedroom / Two Bath / Half Bath 2,586 $2,600,000 2300685<br />

A414 Fourth Floor - Two Bedroom / Two Bath / Half Bath 2,229 $2,300,000 2300680<br />

A501 Fifth Floor - Three Bedroom / Three Bath / Half Bath 2,586 $2,900,000 2300684<br />

A604 Sixth Floor - Three Bedroom / Three Bath / Half Bath 2,801 $3,400,000 2300683<br />


Robert Greenwood | +1 649 432 7653<br />

Walter Gardiner | +1 649 231 6461<br />

EMAIL: andaz@tcibrokers.com<br />

Member <strong>of</strong><br />

Prices Subject to Change

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

Where values are growing<br />

Wealth Management • Bonds/Fixed Income<br />

Investment Strategies • Foreign Exchange<br />

Stocks/Equities • Precious Metals<br />

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

Turks & Caicos Banking Company Ltd.<br />

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

Tel: +649 941 4994<br />

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

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

Where <strong>the</strong> welcome is always warm.<br />

www.villas.tc • +1 (649) 432-4673 • stay@villas.tc

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Kathy Borsuk, Dr. Eric Cole, Rachel Craft, Jeff Dodge,<br />

Davidson Edens Louis, C.E. O’Brien, Sidney L. O’Brien,<br />

Ben Stubenberg, Lisa Turnbow-Talbot, Alizee Zimmermann.<br />


Reginald Beckford Jr., Rayvon S. Bobb, CNN,<br />

Driftwood Studio, Sabine Frank, Kennon Higgs,<br />

Island Adventure, Gary James—Provo Pictures, Agile LeVin,<br />

The Loren at Turtle Cove, Jill Meyer-Swann, Marta Morton,<br />

C.E. O’Brien, Dodley Prosper, Laetitia Rossignol,<br />

James Roy—Paradise Photography, Ramona Settle,<br />

Shutterstock, TCI Arts Foundation, Turk’s Head Brewery,<br />

Lisa Turnbow-Talbot, Twin E-Bike Tours.<br />


Richard McGhie, T.C. Plein, 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 © 20<strong>24</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 />

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 />

20 www.timespub.tc

island spotlight<br />


Lined with humble homes and churches on one side and dotted coconut trees on <strong>the</strong> coast side, Blue<br />

Hills remains <strong>the</strong> most au<strong>the</strong>ntic and truest “Caribbean” part <strong>of</strong> Providenciales.<br />

Blue Hills<br />

An au<strong>the</strong>ntic seaside settlement.<br />

By Davidson Edens Louis<br />

Casting its shadow behind <strong>the</strong> illustrious neighborhoods <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay, Leeward, Long Bay, Turtle Tail,<br />

and Cooper Jack is Blue Hills. While <strong>of</strong>ten relegated to <strong>the</strong> sidelines, this timeless settlement has quietly<br />

nurtured and molded <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> many Turks & Caicos Islanders.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 21

The Cuban crows outside Diane Taylor’s win<br />

Kenneth Williams was a PRIDE technician who fabricated an “experimental”<br />

fence for <strong>the</strong> fledgling conch farm out <strong>of</strong> Slinkies.<br />


This aerial view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shoreline along Front Road in Blue Hills at sunset perfectly captures <strong>the</strong> settlement’s au<strong>the</strong>ntic beauty.<br />

Stretching along <strong>the</strong> northwestern end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island,<br />

this settlement stands as <strong>the</strong> oldest neighborhood on<br />

Providenciales, and at one point, <strong>the</strong> entire island bore<br />

its name, as noted on old French maps referring to<br />

Providenciales as “Blue Caicos.” Blue Hills, as we now<br />

know it, originated when returning fishermen at sea<br />

would witness <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>ound azure color <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> water,<br />

saturating <strong>the</strong> entire coastline with deep shades <strong>of</strong> blue.<br />

The spectacle resembled an island painted in a palette <strong>of</strong><br />

blues, and is <strong>the</strong> same natural wonder that draws exclamations<br />

from so many arriving tourists today.<br />

The historically rich settlement holds a special place<br />

for various reasons. After <strong>the</strong> salt industry took <strong>of</strong>f on<br />

Grand Turk and Salt Cay in <strong>the</strong> late 1600s, a few individuals<br />

moved to Providenciales and commenced a livelihood<br />

through subsistence farming and fishing.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> late 1700s, Loyalists from <strong>the</strong> States came to <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong> to grow cotton and Thomas Stubbs built Cheshire<br />

Hall Plantation on Providenciales, <strong>the</strong> island’s most extensive.<br />

During this period, <strong>the</strong> settlements <strong>of</strong> Five Cays and<br />

The Bight gradually took shape. Blue Hills, being on <strong>the</strong><br />

coast, became <strong>the</strong> hub <strong>of</strong> wreck salvaging in <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos. The numerous recorded wrecks serve as evidence<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> perilous barrier reef <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> north and west coast <strong>of</strong><br />

Providenciales, well before <strong>the</strong> widespread use <strong>of</strong> GPS!<br />

Ironically, shipbuilding later played a significant role<br />

in Blue Hills. Before international trade became prevalent,<br />

hand-built boats were crucial in <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> locals. Sloops<br />

for fishing and inter-island transport were mostly built<br />

in Blue Hills and <strong>the</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se early boat-builders<br />

and <strong>the</strong> brave journeys <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fishermen and traders still<br />

linger on <strong>the</strong> shores.<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

dow were typically raucous garblers.<br />

The coast is adorned with retired fishing boats, sections<br />

<strong>of</strong> sloops, and mature Casuarina equisetifolia<br />

(Australian pine). Cemeteries with white, chalky head<br />

tombs along <strong>the</strong> beach remain <strong>the</strong> final resting place<br />

for many locals, but between <strong>the</strong>m, wild sea grapes, sea<br />

oats, and beach vines live triumphantly. The Blue Hills<br />

pier comes alive on weekends and summers with fisher-folk,<br />

children, and those reporting news from <strong>the</strong><br />

coconut grapevine. A basketball court in Wheeland provides<br />

youngsters with a place to dream <strong>of</strong> fame. It’s a<br />

nostalgic spot, as I was one <strong>of</strong> those boys.<br />

On full moon nights, <strong>the</strong> sea sparkles like diamonds.<br />

As a child, I never knew sargassum was invasive; I simply<br />

enjoyed popping its green berries. The beach, filled<br />

with treasures deposited by <strong>the</strong> ocean, held a mysterious<br />

allure. Collecting crab carcasses, washed-out sea fans,<br />

broken shells, and old boat ropes formed cherished childhood<br />

memories, creating a sense <strong>of</strong> closeness to <strong>the</strong> sea.<br />

This is for everyone who shares a similar upbringing.<br />

It’s okay to have had a humble beginning in Blue Hills and<br />

Wheeland, for it is truly a piece <strong>of</strong> paradise that deserves<br />

more celebration. a<br />

Rachel Wolchin once said, “If we were meant to stay in<br />

one place, we would have had roots instead <strong>of</strong> feet.”<br />

On this quest to self-discovery, Turks & Caicos Islander<br />

Davidson Louis vowed to travel, write, paint, laugh, and<br />

forgive. Subsequently, he hopes to find himself and or,<br />

leave behind a few pieces <strong>of</strong> himself. Follow his weekly<br />

columns in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos Weekly News and his art<br />

on Instagram @daviid.l2.<br />

The approximately 4.5 mile-long rugged coastline<br />

and beautiful rustic beach make for a unique beachfront<br />

with a deep history. Blue Hills, with its extended neighborhood<br />

<strong>of</strong> Wheeland, remains <strong>the</strong> most au<strong>the</strong>ntic and<br />

truest “Caribbean” part <strong>of</strong> Providenciales. A diamond in<br />

<strong>the</strong> rough, a hidden treasure, Blue Hills and Wheeland are<br />

one <strong>of</strong> my favorite places to be.<br />

Lined with humble homes and churches on one side<br />

and dotted with coconut trees on <strong>the</strong> coast side, <strong>the</strong> drive<br />

from Front Road to <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> Wheeland always brings<br />

back memories. Old shacks and huts <strong>of</strong> small businesses<br />

fill <strong>the</strong> area with a sense <strong>of</strong> commerce and hope after <strong>the</strong><br />

onslaught <strong>of</strong> major hurricanes. Pockets <strong>of</strong> shaded areas<br />

on <strong>the</strong> beach serve as a refuge for potcake dogs and <strong>the</strong><br />

occasional local who can’t resist <strong>the</strong> cool ocean breeze<br />

for a nap.<br />

Forgive <strong>the</strong> cliché, but a picture can truly be worth a<br />

thousand words. Kennon Higgs, a Turks & Caicos Islander<br />

and a self-taught drone pilot, photographer, and videographer,<br />

began his photography journey in late 2021.<br />

That’s when he, without any prior photography experience,<br />

bought his first drone and embarked on a mission<br />

<strong>of</strong> mastery. With <strong>the</strong> goal <strong>of</strong> showcasing <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ beauty and culture through <strong>the</strong> most<br />

organic lens, Kennon aims to hone in on his craft and<br />

continue to capture and share moments that even a thousand<br />

words could not do justice. You can see more <strong>of</strong> his<br />

work on Instagram @tcidronestudios.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 23

around <strong>the</strong> islands<br />


Infant Self-Rescue (ISR) is a course in survival swimming lessons for infants and young children to prevent drowning. Top right: Swimming<br />

teacher Jill Meyer-Swann works on self-rescue techniques with Marta Morton’s granddaughter Ava. Marta says that Jill has taught her five<br />

grandkids to self rescue and has done lessons with <strong>the</strong>m every time <strong>the</strong>y come to Provo for a visit. Ava was floating after just one or two<br />

lessons.<br />

Saving Lives, One Child at a Time<br />

Infant Self-Rescue swimming lessons keep drowning at bay.<br />

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Jill Meyer-Swann<br />

When a friend suggested an article about <strong>the</strong> availability <strong>of</strong> Infant Self-Rescue swimming lessons on-island,<br />

my imagination quickly conjured up visions <strong>of</strong> screaming babies thrashing about in <strong>the</strong> water, turning<br />

blue in <strong>the</strong> face. In fact, that’s exactly <strong>the</strong> scenario that instructor Jill Meyer-Swann is trying to prevent.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 25

Jill is owner <strong>of</strong> Provo Swim School, and among <strong>the</strong><br />

lessons she <strong>of</strong>fers is <strong>the</strong> Infant Swimming Resource’s Self-<br />

Rescue® program. I’ve known Jill for a long time, she and<br />

I both moved to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> from <strong>the</strong> United States several<br />

decades ago, pursuing our dreams (and love). Jill’s passion<br />

is <strong>the</strong> water, and she says that from her first job as<br />

a Club Med watersports guide, <strong>the</strong>re’s barely been a day<br />

that she hasn’t partaken <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> country’s aqua elixir.<br />

Jill’s always struck me as a no-nonsense, “tough love”<br />

sort <strong>of</strong> woman, but as we talked about her swimming<br />

programs and life in general, I immediately sensed her<br />

big heart and love for children and <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong>. She explained, “As a mo<strong>the</strong>r and person who<br />

spends a lot <strong>of</strong> time in <strong>the</strong> water, I realized that a lot<br />

<strong>of</strong> children were at risk <strong>of</strong> drowning. Many adults never<br />

learned to swim, nor even thought about teaching <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

children. You can’t keep your child away from water; <strong>the</strong>y<br />

will find it or be around it for life. So I always say, <strong>the</strong><br />

sooner <strong>the</strong> safer. Swim skills are life skills.”<br />

Jill felt so strongly about protecting young children<br />

from drowning that she enrolled in an extensive course<br />

in Infant Self-Rescue (ISR), to round out her American<br />

Red Cross and PADI training in swimming instruction and<br />

scuba diving, respectively. The course is <strong>of</strong>fered by Infant<br />

Swimming Resource, <strong>the</strong> global leader in <strong>the</strong> industry it<br />

pioneered in 1966: survival swimming lessons for infants<br />

and young children. It took Jill two months to complete<br />

<strong>the</strong> course, including spending six weeks in Arizona<br />

practicing <strong>the</strong> techniques on twelve babies each day. She<br />

explains, “The basic concept behind Infant Self-Rescue<br />

is teaching children to become aquatic problem-solvers.<br />

I work with only one baby at a time, and what <strong>the</strong>y learn<br />

depends on <strong>the</strong>ir age and stage <strong>of</strong> development.” While<br />

many parents feel <strong>the</strong>y are protecting <strong>the</strong>ir child by strapping<br />

on a flotation device, Jill cautions this is a false sense<br />

<strong>of</strong> security because <strong>the</strong>y won’t always be wearing it.<br />

The most basic skills are for an infant to learn to roll<br />

onto his or her back to float, rest, brea<strong>the</strong>, and maintain<br />

this position until help arrives. Jill has worked with<br />

babies as young as six months old, gently placing <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in <strong>the</strong> water and helping <strong>the</strong>m learn to turn over, creating<br />

<strong>the</strong> muscle memory that will allow <strong>the</strong>m to eventually do<br />

it automatically. For children from one to six years old,<br />

Jill teaches <strong>the</strong> full Self-Rescue sequence <strong>of</strong> swimming<br />

until <strong>the</strong>y need air, turning onto <strong>the</strong>ir back to float, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

rolling over to continue swimming. Students repeat this<br />

until <strong>the</strong>y reach <strong>the</strong> safety <strong>of</strong> steps, <strong>the</strong> side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pool,<br />

or <strong>the</strong> shoreline. Jill explains, “While I always put safety<br />

first, my emphasis is teaching competence, which builds<br />

confidence, and leads to a lifetime <strong>of</strong> enjoyment in and<br />

around water. What more could you want in a country<br />

surrounded by <strong>the</strong> world’s most beautiful ocean?”<br />

Provo Swim School’s six-week ISR course includes ten<br />

minutes in <strong>the</strong> pool, five days a week. “So how do infants<br />

react?” I asked Jill. “And what about <strong>the</strong> parents?” This<br />

is where Jill’s abundant patience, positive energy—and<br />

tough love—come into play. “Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m scream and<br />

cry because it is a new experience,” she bluntly states,<br />

“and sometimes <strong>the</strong> parents can’t take it and stop <strong>the</strong><br />

lessons. But my motto is ‘Tears to triumph fears’ and<br />

when we stick to it, reinforcing <strong>the</strong> turning-over behavior<br />

over and over, <strong>the</strong>se babies absorb <strong>the</strong> capacity to save<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir own lives. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m will swim before <strong>the</strong>y can<br />

walk.” She has taught autistic and Down syndrome children<br />

using <strong>the</strong> same techniques.<br />

Jill also <strong>of</strong>fers American Red Cross swimming lessons,<br />

both private, group, and maintenance, for older children<br />

and adults, including visitors, at select locations across<br />

TCI. Her goal? To save lives and make a difference in <strong>the</strong><br />

community by teaching people to respect <strong>the</strong> water and<br />

learn <strong>the</strong> skills to prevent drowning for <strong>the</strong>mselves and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs. As a result, she spends much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, 10 to 20<br />

lessons, in <strong>the</strong> swimming pool at her home in Grace Bay.<br />

When she’s not in <strong>the</strong> pool, Jill takes to <strong>the</strong> seas via<br />

Total Adventures Company, her watersports excursions<br />

gig. (Which I think is as much fun for Jill as her clients!)<br />

Utilizing over three decades <strong>of</strong> life spent in TCI waters,<br />

Jill creates personalized boat excursions to deserted<br />

beaches and snorkeling spots and stand-up paddleboard<br />

trips through <strong>the</strong> mangroves. She also <strong>of</strong>fers lessons in<br />

sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.<br />

Even when children learn to swim, or float, or save<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves, Jill reiterates <strong>the</strong> need to ALWAYS keep an<br />

eye on children when <strong>the</strong>y are near <strong>the</strong> water. In fact,<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> check-out procedures for lessons is to have<br />

<strong>the</strong> child fall in <strong>the</strong> pool fully dressed in winter clo<strong>the</strong>s, as<br />

most accidents don’t happen when you are prepared. It’s<br />

also important that you dress your child in bright colors<br />

so <strong>the</strong>y stand out in <strong>the</strong> water.<br />

Jill puts out <strong>the</strong> call for corporate sponsors to fund<br />

lessons for children who might o<strong>the</strong>rwise not be able to<br />

take advantage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. You never know when you might<br />

help save a life! a<br />

For more information, visit www.provoswimschool.com,<br />

call (649)231-3122 or email j.swann@infantswim.com or<br />

jilltci@gmail.com. #notonemorechilddrownstci<br />

#drowningprevention, #isr_provoswimschool<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

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 />

Top left: This island in <strong>the</strong> Lucayan Archipelago is gradually being<br />

invaded by <strong>the</strong> sea.<br />

Top right: Cottage Pond in North Caicos is a classic Lucayan blue hole<br />

where a massive cavern collapse has created a layered pond <strong>of</strong> fresh<br />

water riding over salt water.<br />

Bottom right: This fossilized sand dune is exposed in a road cut on<br />

Middle Caicos. Vertical dissolution channels are visible as dark stains<br />

around penetrating root masses.<br />

Orphaned Oceans<br />

Miniature inland seas <strong>of</strong>fer refuge to a rich gallery <strong>of</strong> marine life.<br />

Story & Images By Dr. Eric Cole, Biology Pr<strong>of</strong>essor, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN<br />

Ten thousand years ago <strong>the</strong> last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> great glaciers receded from <strong>the</strong> continents in <strong>the</strong> North, and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

meltwaters drained into <strong>the</strong> ocean basins. Far to <strong>the</strong> South, <strong>the</strong> rising seas crept upwards gradually submerging<br />

<strong>the</strong> Lucayan high-plateau. Their brilliant white dunes, fossilized by rain and sun, slowly sank<br />

beneath <strong>the</strong> rising sea.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 27

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

Today, only <strong>the</strong> highest sweeps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> remain above water. The carbonate islands have<br />

seen this languorous drama unfold many times before.<br />

Glaciers grew, and sea levels dropped far below today’s<br />

low-tide line. The steep-walled, flat-topped islands rose<br />

proudly 400 feet above <strong>the</strong>ir historic shores. Rainstorms<br />

raked <strong>the</strong> forested heights, leaching <strong>the</strong> carbonate soils<br />

as <strong>the</strong>ir waters percolated down, dissolving channels that<br />

would become vertical caves. As <strong>the</strong> rainwaters filtered<br />

through ages <strong>of</strong> former dune sediments, <strong>the</strong>y pooled and<br />

floated on <strong>the</strong> denser marine stuff that forms <strong>the</strong> islands’<br />

water table. Here <strong>the</strong> interface between fresh and salt<br />

waters digested lateral caves, creating an underground<br />

labyrinth. As glaciers continued to hoard <strong>the</strong>ir snowfalls,<br />

sea levels dropped fur<strong>the</strong>r and <strong>the</strong> abandoned, dripping<br />

chambers grew draperies <strong>of</strong> flowstone, stalagmites, and<br />

stalactites. Occasionally, a cavern grew so vast that it collapsed<br />

inward, creating a sinkhole.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> glaciers melted once again, lifting <strong>the</strong><br />

oceans, <strong>the</strong>y flooded <strong>the</strong>se caverns and gradually filled<br />

<strong>the</strong> sinkholes and deeper depressions across <strong>the</strong> landscape—creating<br />

ponds and blue holes.<br />

The ponds that populate <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

exist along a spectrum <strong>of</strong> connectivity with <strong>the</strong> sea. Some<br />

ponds have no direct connection to <strong>the</strong> sea. In such<br />

ponds, evaporation exceeds rainfall and <strong>the</strong>y become<br />

“hypersaline.” Though impoverished in <strong>the</strong> more familiar<br />

marine life, hypersaline ponds provided refuge for<br />

strange, pre-cambrian microbial reefs called stromatolites<br />

and occasional blooms <strong>of</strong> “sea monkeys,” or brine<br />

shrimp. The <strong>Islands</strong>’ flamingos and spoonbills value<br />

<strong>the</strong>se occasional buffets, acquiring a richer pink pigment<br />

as a result.<br />

Left: This pinkish salt flat forms <strong>the</strong> shores <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> Middle Caicos’ hypersaline ponds, Farm Creek Salina.<br />

Right: A pristine, cavern-fed shallow pond lies deep in <strong>the</strong> interior <strong>of</strong> Middle Caicos.<br />

The <strong>Islands</strong> also boast ponds that are richly connected<br />

to <strong>the</strong> distant ocean through submarine caves. These<br />

caves can be so substantial that <strong>the</strong>ir so-called “anchialine<br />

ponds” rise and fall with <strong>the</strong> ocean’s tides, even though<br />

<strong>the</strong> coast may be a mile away. This can create substantial,<br />

even alarming, currents at <strong>the</strong> cave’s entrance. Tidal<br />

ponds also have enough turnover that <strong>the</strong>ir waters remain<br />

clean and fully marine. Rainfall may s<strong>of</strong>ten <strong>the</strong> salinity a<br />

bit, favoring <strong>the</strong> growth <strong>of</strong> marine life even more.<br />

Left and center: Erosion <strong>of</strong> karst along <strong>the</strong> shores <strong>of</strong> St. Thomas Hill Pond in North Caicos led to its attendant anchialine cavern.<br />

Right: Terrestrial Indian Cave in Middle Caicos displays its dissolution holes and ro<strong>of</strong> collapse.<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

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

This diagram depicts four scenarios involving anchialine (cave-fed, near <strong>the</strong> sea) marine ponds.<br />

Top left: A layer <strong>of</strong> fresh water (turquoise) overlayers a deep, <strong>of</strong>ten anaerobic sea water bed (dark blue). The cavern causes this “blue hole”<br />

to be tidal, rising and falling with <strong>the</strong> ocean. There can be little marine life as <strong>the</strong> upper layers are fresh and <strong>the</strong> deeper marine waters have<br />

little or no oxygen.<br />

Top right: The cavern has been choked <strong>of</strong>f (or never established), causing <strong>the</strong> pond to become hypersaline (saltier than <strong>the</strong> sea). Again, little<br />

marine life is found.<br />

Bottom left: With modest connectivity, a pond may be colonized by fortuitous inhabitants (cave shrimp, jellyfish, sponges), <strong>of</strong>ten without larger<br />

predators. These can be some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> richest habitats.<br />

Bottom right: Larger caverns can allow in predators and grazers that suppress <strong>the</strong> population explosions seen in some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> less-connected<br />

ponds.<br />

Anchialine (“near <strong>the</strong> sea”) caverns help <strong>the</strong>ir connected<br />

ponds maintain a constant marine environment,<br />

serving as an umbilicus to <strong>the</strong> Mo<strong>the</strong>r ocean. Twice-daily<br />

seawater exchanges through <strong>the</strong> unseen caverns prevent<br />

over-salination by evaporation during dry spells, and<br />

counter <strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong> storm and hurricane-delivered rainwaters.<br />

One can almost imagine <strong>the</strong>m “breathing.” Such<br />

ponds represent perfectly maintained miniature seas.<br />

The same subterranean caverns that balance and<br />

protect <strong>the</strong>ir ponds from change, also serve as wildlife<br />

corridors for colonization. Ponds with substantial cave<br />

connections can support incredibly rich marine communities<br />

with living sponges, jellyfish, macro-algae, annelids<br />

and mollusks. Some even provide harbor for pupfish,<br />

needlefish, mojarra, and <strong>the</strong> occasional barracuda, sea<br />

turtles, or juvenile Atlantic tarpon that somehow found<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 29

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

These are scenes from cavern-fed ponds at Northwest Point, Providenciales.<br />

Clockwise from top: One <strong>of</strong> a small school <strong>of</strong> tarpon circles a cavern entrance. In this rich algal bed, red mangroves give way to <strong>the</strong> vertical<br />

walls <strong>of</strong> a sinkhole. This field <strong>of</strong> Cassiopea, (<strong>the</strong> “upside down jellyfish”) rests on lake sediments. This vertical sinkhole is lined with Caulerpa<br />

(a macro algae). A rich population <strong>of</strong> brilliant red Barbouria cave shrimp graze on green sediments <strong>of</strong> a tiny, cavern-fed pond. No predators!<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir way through <strong>the</strong> dark, anchialine caves, establishing<br />

a colony within <strong>the</strong> ponds as far as a mile from <strong>the</strong> sea.<br />

Orphaned oceans indeed.<br />

During our studies, we have learned that each pond<br />

represents a unique, precious “natural experiment” in<br />

marine colonization and community structuring. Some<br />

ponds are incredibly simple. A single species <strong>of</strong> cave<br />

shrimp, having negotiated passage through <strong>the</strong> network<br />

<strong>of</strong> submarine fissures and caves, finds a tiny surface<br />

pond with an unlimited supply <strong>of</strong> rich, green sediment.<br />

Left: A calcareous freshwater algae (Chara) dominates <strong>the</strong> shallows <strong>of</strong> Cottage Pond, North Caicos.<br />

Right: An incredible swarm <strong>of</strong> water bugs (Notonecta) hover in <strong>the</strong> reeds near shore.<br />

30 www.timespub.tc

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

Their population explodes. In <strong>the</strong> absence <strong>of</strong> competitors,<br />

and with no marine predators, <strong>the</strong>y abandon <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

troglodytic (cave-dwelling) ways and forage <strong>the</strong> sunlit<br />

fields <strong>of</strong> phytoplankton in broad daylight. Ano<strong>the</strong>r pond<br />

has become refuge to a single species <strong>of</strong> jellyfish. The<br />

enigmatic, “upside down jellyfish” has adopted <strong>the</strong> lifestyle<br />

<strong>of</strong> a plant, tentacles up, harvesting sunlight just as<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir distant coral relatives do with <strong>the</strong> same symbiotic<br />

algae living within <strong>the</strong>ir tissues.<br />

In North Caicos’ Cottage Pond, a favorite with visitors<br />

to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> pond is deep, cavern fed, and supports<br />

a substantial body <strong>of</strong> fresh water riding over <strong>the</strong> deeper,<br />

anaerobic layer <strong>of</strong> salt water. Snorkeling Cottage Pond, we<br />

discovered an incredibly simple world with one species <strong>of</strong><br />

freshwater algae (Chara) and in <strong>the</strong> complete absence <strong>of</strong><br />

fish, a population explosion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> endearing water bug,<br />

(Notonecta), a “back-swimmer.” This insect’s only concern<br />

seems to be a single pair <strong>of</strong> diving grebes. Cottage Pond<br />

is ano<strong>the</strong>r example <strong>of</strong> a “species jackpot,” an anchialine<br />

Garden <strong>of</strong> Eden in which some lucky creature escapes <strong>the</strong><br />

pressures <strong>of</strong> a more complex environment.<br />

It should be noted (and perhaps come as no surprise)<br />

that <strong>the</strong> greatest threats <strong>the</strong>se endearing “orphaned<br />

oceans” face, each with <strong>the</strong>ir one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind experiment<br />

in marine colonization, are man-made. Development<br />

without thoughtful planning can compromise not only<br />

<strong>the</strong> pond communities, but <strong>the</strong> subterranean network<br />

<strong>of</strong> caverns that serve as <strong>the</strong>ir circulatory system—<strong>the</strong>ir<br />

gills. Heavy equipment and incautious excavation near<br />

such fragile wonders can (and has) accidentally collapsed<br />

<strong>the</strong> caverns, severing <strong>the</strong>ir circulation with <strong>the</strong> sea. Even<br />

visiting <strong>the</strong>m, one hopes to observe without impact. My<br />

team covers our skin with fabric, not sun lotion or insect<br />

repellent, recognizing that in close quarters, our very<br />

presence constitutes a bio-hazard. With respect, we hope<br />

to continue exploring and documenting this enchanting<br />

anchialine archipelago. a<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essor Cole teaches and conducts research with undergraduates<br />

at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.<br />

During business hours, he conducts research into cellular<br />

and developmental Biology, but moonlights as an<br />

explorer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> natural history <strong>of</strong> marine habitats. One<br />

can visit his website (always woefully under-constructed)<br />

at: https://pages.stolaf.edu/colee/.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 31

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


Octopods have <strong>the</strong> ability to “walk” or “run” on two arms across <strong>the</strong> ocean floor.<br />

Do <strong>the</strong> (Bipedal)<br />

Locomotion<br />

Two-“legged” walking in octopods.<br />

By Sydney L. O’Brien and C. E. O’Brien, The School for Field Studies<br />

Center for Marine Resource Studies, South Caicos<br />

Have you ever seen a walking coconut? If you have, chances are it was actually an octopod, running on two<br />

arms across <strong>the</strong> sand. This may sound like an odd piece <strong>of</strong> science fiction or a Saturday morning cartoon,<br />

but keep reading and you will see just how versatile octopod locomotion can be.<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

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

What is bipedal locomotion?<br />

Walking and running on two feet, known as “bipedal locomotion,”<br />

is <strong>of</strong>ten thought <strong>of</strong> as a characteristically human<br />

or great ape behavior, since most amphibians, reptiles,<br />

and mammals walk quadrupedally (using four limbs), and<br />

many invertebrates use multiple limbs or none at all to<br />

locomote. However, bipedalism is occasionally observed<br />

in <strong>the</strong>se o<strong>the</strong>r groups. For instance, bears will sometimes<br />

rear up on <strong>the</strong>ir hind limbs for a variety <strong>of</strong> reasons,<br />

including during fights or attacks, in order to prepare to<br />

climb a tree or to get a better view <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> landscape.<br />

Bipedalism also occurs in animals you might not<br />

expect. The lowly cockroach, which normally scuttles<br />

around on six legs, switches to running bipedally when it<br />

needs to move at maximum speed, since <strong>the</strong> extra four<br />

limbs tend to get in <strong>the</strong> way and slow it down. Similar<br />

to <strong>the</strong> cockroach, many lizards can run at much higher<br />

speeds on two legs than four. The Common Basilisk<br />

Lizard (also known as <strong>the</strong> Jesus Christ Lizard) can even<br />

run across <strong>the</strong> surface <strong>of</strong> water on its two hind legs with<br />

<strong>the</strong> aid <strong>of</strong> air bubbles trapped under flaps between its<br />

toes.<br />

Bipedal locomotion has also been documented in<br />

octopods, those wacky, eight-armed molluscs known<br />

for <strong>the</strong>ir color-changing abilities, regenerating limbs,<br />

and surprising smarts. Bipedal “walking” or “running”<br />

has been recorded in four species <strong>of</strong> octopods so far:<br />

Abdopus aculeatus, <strong>the</strong> algae octopus <strong>of</strong> Australia;<br />

Amphioctopus marginatus, <strong>the</strong> coconut octopus <strong>of</strong><br />

Indonesia; Callistoctopus furvus, <strong>the</strong> sand octopus <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Tropical Western Atlantic; and Octopus vulgaris, <strong>the</strong> common<br />

octopus <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.<br />

These original art diagrams show octopod anatomy with side (left) and top (right) views.<br />

This cuttlefish tentacle ends in a paddle-shaped tip.<br />

A tour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> armory: Octopus anatomy 101<br />

Although <strong>of</strong>ten referred to as “tentacles” in conversation<br />

and popular media, octopods do not have tentacles at all!<br />

The eight limbs <strong>of</strong> an octopus are actually referred to as<br />

“arms,” which is a more multi-purpose appendage than<br />

a “tentacle,” which specializes in food capture. Octopus<br />

relatives—squids and cuttlefish—also have eight arms,<br />

as well as two tentacles that can usually be ejected forward<br />

rapidly to capture prey. In addition to a difference<br />

in function, <strong>the</strong> anatomy <strong>of</strong> arms and tentacles vary: arms<br />

usually have two or occasionally one row <strong>of</strong> suckers along<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir entire length, while tentacles are smooth along most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir length, but terminate in a paddle shape with several<br />

suckers or hooks to capture prey.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 33

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

The eight arms <strong>of</strong> an octopus are used in a wide variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> tasks, including for locomotion, investigating <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

surroundings, and to aid in camouflage or mimicry, as<br />

well as for catching prey and passing it to <strong>the</strong> mouth.<br />

Intriguingly, <strong>the</strong> arms do not just have <strong>the</strong> ability to feel<br />

an octopod’s surroundings—<strong>the</strong>y can also taste and<br />

smell, thanks to dozens to thousands <strong>of</strong> flexible suckers<br />

lined with receptors like taste buds. These sensory<br />

abilities help octopods navigate in <strong>the</strong>ir environment,<br />

identify mates, and flush out hidden prey. Individual octopods<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten favor particular arms for certain tasks, much<br />

<strong>the</strong> same way humans are usually right- or left-handed<br />

for writing and throwing. To help differentiate between<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, researchers refer to <strong>the</strong> four arms on <strong>the</strong> left side<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> octopus as LI, LII, LIII, and LIV from front to back<br />

and RI, RII, RIII, and RIV on <strong>the</strong> right.<br />

. . . And I would walk 500 (nautical) miles:<br />

Why an octopus walks bipedally<br />

When <strong>the</strong>y move around, many species <strong>of</strong> octopods<br />

change <strong>the</strong>ir color and texture in order to blend into<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir surroundings or to disrupt <strong>the</strong>ir telltale outline as<br />

<strong>the</strong>y pass over different types <strong>of</strong> sea floor, such as sand,<br />

coral, or rock. To prevent <strong>the</strong>ir motion from giving <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

presence away, <strong>the</strong>y will also <strong>of</strong>ten move at a measured<br />

pace, taking <strong>the</strong>ir time and avoiding sudden movements<br />

that might attract a predator’s attention. Octopus cyanea,<br />

<strong>the</strong> day octopus, for example, spreads its webbed arms,<br />

creeps slowly, and changes its body pattern in order<br />

to appear to be a moving rock in order to traverse an<br />

C.E. O’Brien photographed this Octopus insularis <strong>of</strong>f South Caicos at<br />

<strong>the</strong> moment when it inks and begins to jet away from danger.<br />

open stretch <strong>of</strong> territory. But sometimes octopods need<br />

something quicker. For instance, to escape an attack, an<br />

octopus may “jet” away by forcefully blowing water out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> siphon, propelling its body rapidly in <strong>the</strong> opposite<br />

direction, <strong>of</strong>ten expelling ink as it flees.<br />

There are also times when <strong>the</strong>y need to move quickly<br />

but still want to remain disguised. This is where mimicry<br />

and masquerade, in which octopods pretend to be<br />

something <strong>the</strong>y are not in order to avoid being noticed or<br />

recognized by a predator, can come into play. The aptly<br />

named Mimic Octopus is <strong>the</strong> octopod poster child <strong>of</strong> this<br />

ability, as it can impersonate several o<strong>the</strong>r species, ranging<br />

from deadly sea snakes to <strong>the</strong> prickly and venomous<br />

lionfish. This tactic, known as Batesian mimicry, allows<br />

<strong>the</strong> mimic octopus to appear dangerous or inedible to<br />

C.E. O’BRIEN<br />


This Image <strong>of</strong> an octopod (left) and image <strong>of</strong> floating algae (right) show how <strong>the</strong> octopod can masquerade as an organism that is relatively<br />

uninteresting to predators.<br />

34 www.timespub.tc<br />


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

potential predators, while not having to go to <strong>the</strong> trouble<br />

<strong>of</strong> manufacturing sea snake or lionfish venom itself.<br />

But octopods don’t always impersonate something<br />

dangerous. Instead, <strong>the</strong>y sometimes opt to masquerade<br />

as an organism that is relatively uninteresting to predators,<br />

such as a plant or a rock. By changing <strong>the</strong>ir shape,<br />

posture, and color pattern, octopods can take on forms<br />

that to an untrained eye appear to be a rock, seaweed<br />

(algae), or even a coconut. This is <strong>of</strong>ten when bipedal<br />

locomotion occurs: using only two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir arms as “legs”<br />

to “walk” or “run” allows <strong>the</strong>m to use <strong>the</strong>ir remaining arms<br />

to craft <strong>the</strong> perfect disguise, contorting into what appears<br />

to be a tumbleweed <strong>of</strong> algae, or tucking <strong>the</strong>m away to<br />

imitate <strong>the</strong> round shape <strong>of</strong> a coconut. These postures<br />

are <strong>of</strong>ten accompanied by color changes that enhance<br />

<strong>the</strong> effect, usually by turning a darker color to match <strong>the</strong><br />

color <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> object that <strong>the</strong>y are imitating.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> effect appears comical to our eyes, all<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se contortions and color changes enhance octopod<br />

crypsis, which is a fancy word for being sneaky<br />

and avoiding detection—an octopod’s primary form <strong>of</strong><br />

defense. Walking bipedally helps octopods fool many<br />

fish predators into thinking that <strong>the</strong>y are inedible algae,<br />

allowing <strong>the</strong>m to move stealthily across <strong>the</strong> seafloor without<br />

becoming dinner. Pretty clever for a sea creature!<br />

While <strong>the</strong> coconut octopus attempts to resemble a<br />

round coconut when moving bipedally, <strong>the</strong> sand octopus,<br />

<strong>the</strong> algae octopus, and <strong>the</strong> common octopus utilize <strong>the</strong><br />

“flamboyant display” during <strong>the</strong>ir bipedal locomotion.<br />

In this display, <strong>the</strong> octopus raises its front arm pair and<br />

twists <strong>the</strong>m into a corkscrew shape, extends its mantle<br />

bumps, and holds its o<strong>the</strong>r arms close to or under its<br />

body. These contortions and texture changes, along with<br />

color changes, cause <strong>the</strong> octopod to resemble a piece <strong>of</strong><br />

floating Sargassum or ano<strong>the</strong>r seaweed. The flamboyant<br />

display is also seen in many o<strong>the</strong>r cephalopods, including<br />

cuttlefish and squid, where it can play a role in crypsis or<br />

in communication. Although it does not function exactly<br />

<strong>the</strong> same way in every species, <strong>the</strong> existence <strong>of</strong> this display<br />

in such distantly-related groups suggests that it is<br />

evolutionarily-conserved, meaning that it plays an important<br />

role in cephalopod survival.<br />

C.E. O’BRIEN<br />

Walk this way:<br />

How do octopuses walk bipedally?<br />

Octopods are molluscs, a group characterized by a s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

The “flamboyant display” is ano<strong>the</strong>r form <strong>of</strong> avoiding detection while<br />

moving bipedally, shown here in a squid (top) and octopod (bottom).<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 35

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

body and a hard outer shell. However, over <strong>the</strong> course <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir evolution, cephalopods lost this protective covering<br />

in favor <strong>of</strong> more sophisticated “squishy” defenses, such as<br />

crypsis, enhanced predator detection abilities (sight and<br />

“smell”), and a complex nervous system. Cephalopods<br />

do not have <strong>the</strong> rigid system <strong>of</strong> ei<strong>the</strong>r internal or external<br />

hard structures (bones or exoskeletons) that we and<br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r animals use to get around. In human bodies,<br />

our bones work toge<strong>the</strong>r with our cartilage, muscles,<br />

ligaments, and tendons to produce movement. The muscles<br />

are attached to <strong>the</strong> rigid skeleton which provides<br />

anchor points and support against which muscles can<br />

push and pull. Octopods, by contrast, lack this support,<br />

and instead utilize <strong>the</strong> pressure created by <strong>the</strong> fluid-filled<br />

tissues inside <strong>the</strong>ir bodies to provide support for limb<br />

movement.<br />

Instead <strong>of</strong> bones or an exoskeleton, octopods are<br />

composed almost entirely <strong>of</strong> s<strong>of</strong>t muscle and tissue. The<br />

muscles <strong>of</strong> octopod arms are organized into two groups<br />

which perform opposing but complementary actions to<br />

produce movement: While one group <strong>of</strong> muscles contracts<br />

to provide force, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r group relaxes, causing it<br />

to elongate and stretch, thus causing limb extension. The<br />

general lack <strong>of</strong> hard parts in <strong>the</strong>ir bodies allows octopods<br />

a wider range <strong>of</strong> motion than o<strong>the</strong>r species, since <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are not limited by <strong>the</strong> range <strong>of</strong> motion <strong>of</strong> a joint, but can<br />

bend a limb almost anywhere along its length. Moreover,<br />

<strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> hard parts in <strong>the</strong> octopod body (except <strong>the</strong><br />

beak) gives <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> ability to squeeze through any gap<br />

or hole in <strong>the</strong> substrate that is wider than that beak.<br />

So, if <strong>the</strong>y don’t have any rigid structures, how do<br />

octopods use <strong>the</strong>ir limbs to walk or run? Ra<strong>the</strong>r than utilizing<br />

bendable limbs with a joint like vertebrates and<br />

arthropods do, octopods use ei<strong>the</strong>r a smooth continuous<br />

rolling motion along <strong>the</strong> length <strong>of</strong> two arms, or alternate<br />

between a stiffened LIV and RIV. In <strong>the</strong> algae octopus,<br />

coconut octopus, and sand octopus, bipedal locomotion<br />

is achieved by <strong>the</strong> octopod rolling backwards along <strong>the</strong><br />

rearmost pair <strong>of</strong> arms (IV), while <strong>the</strong> common octopus<br />

“hops” backwards on two arms <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same side, such as<br />

RIII and RIV or LII and LIII.<br />

Stepping into <strong>the</strong> light:<br />

Discovering bipedalism in o<strong>the</strong>r octopods<br />

Bipedal locomotion has now been documented in four<br />

genera <strong>of</strong> octopods living in three ecologically-distinct<br />

regions: <strong>the</strong> Indo Pacific, <strong>the</strong> Mediterranean, and <strong>the</strong><br />

tropical western Atlantic. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se was discovered<br />

recently by students and scientists at <strong>the</strong> School for Field<br />

Studies Center for Marine Resource Studies (CMRS) on<br />

South Caicos in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> in <strong>the</strong> Fall <strong>of</strong><br />

2021.<br />

The research team (nicknamed “NoctoSquad”)<br />

“stumbled” upon this fascinating behavior while filming<br />

Callistoctopus furvus for a directed research project on<br />

octopus foraging and skin patterning. In <strong>the</strong>se video<br />

sequences, three C. furvus can be seen “walking” bipedally<br />

using mainly arms LIV and RIV on fifteen separate<br />

occasions from anywhere between one and a dozen steps.<br />

While doing so, <strong>the</strong> octopuses turn brown and engage in<br />

<strong>the</strong> flamboyant display, causing <strong>the</strong>m to resemble strands<br />

<strong>of</strong> brown algae floating nearby. Recognizing <strong>the</strong> importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first sightings <strong>of</strong> this behavior in this genus<br />

and species <strong>of</strong> octopus, faculty and staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> CMRS<br />

published <strong>the</strong>ir observations in <strong>the</strong> Journal <strong>of</strong> Molluscan<br />

Studies. Their observations were also notable in that <strong>the</strong><br />

individuals that engaged in this behavior were distinctly<br />

larger than was thought possible for bipedalism to occur<br />

in octopuses.<br />

Bipedalism is likely even more widespread among<br />

octopods than currently recognized. More observations<br />

<strong>of</strong> octopod behavior in <strong>the</strong> wild are needed, especially as<br />

new species <strong>of</strong> octopods are discovered or reclassified<br />

every year. (Currently <strong>the</strong>re are around 300 species.)<br />

Formal research is critical to this effort, but so too is<br />

“community-” or “citizen-” science. Anyone living in proximity<br />

to an ocean can grab <strong>the</strong>ir mask, fins, and camera<br />

and non-invasively (no touching!) document cephalopods<br />

or o<strong>the</strong>r marine animals in <strong>the</strong>ir native habitats, no credentials<br />

needed. So, get out <strong>the</strong>re and explore! a<br />

This article was originally published on OctoNation.<br />

com, https://octonation.com/bipedal-locomo-<br />

tion-two-legged-walking-in-octopods/?fbclid=IwAR2L-<br />

Hjf5Sf9tsHy5p_9HI04-zZlTFvvcsbN-2-XZbzgtGKfTFY-<br />

9JrEGHwFc.<br />

For detailed article references or more information<br />

about The School for Field Studies, contact Director Heidi<br />

Hertler on South Caicos at hhertler@fieldstudies.org or<br />

visit www.fieldstudies.org.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

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

Sterling Henry practices his newly acquired diving skills in <strong>the</strong> pool. Equipping local youth with scuba diving skills opens doors to diverse<br />

career opportunities, not only within <strong>the</strong> marine sciences but in tourism as well.<br />

Diving into Diversity<br />

Empowering island youth: Scuba diving as a pathway to marine sciences.<br />

By Alizee Zimmermann, Turks & Caicos Reef Fund ~ Photos By Reginald Beckford Jr.<br />

Close your eyes. Brea<strong>the</strong> in. Brea<strong>the</strong> out. Descend. The light shimmers above, penetrating through crystal-clear<br />

water and creating patterns along <strong>the</strong> sand, rainbows that dance in and out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> schools <strong>of</strong> fish<br />

darting around <strong>the</strong> coral reef. If you’ve been diving or snorkeling, you know what I mean. There’s something<br />

magical about being suspended, harnessing anti-gravitational powers, observing and interacting<br />

with a whole new world—one full <strong>of</strong> colour and wonder.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 37

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

Scuba diving has a transformative ability and is a<br />

powerful means <strong>of</strong> unlocking potential and creating<br />

pathways to marine sciences. Above all though, seeing is<br />

believing. Diving creates a connection between divers and<br />

<strong>the</strong> environment that sustains us that can and will lead to<br />

a community <strong>of</strong> persons who care deeply for <strong>the</strong> ocean.<br />

Here in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (TCI), <strong>the</strong> ocean is<br />

a part <strong>of</strong> our history and culture, not to mention <strong>the</strong> very<br />

key to our survival as a small island nation. The people <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se <strong>Islands</strong> possess invaluable insights into <strong>the</strong> ocean’s<br />

resources, ecosystems, and sustainable practices that<br />

have been passed down through generations. However,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are a disproportionately small number <strong>of</strong> local dive<br />

instructors and an even smaller number <strong>of</strong> homegrown<br />

marine and environmental scientists. The Turks & Caicos<br />

Reef Fund (TCRF) wants to change that.<br />

Recognizing <strong>the</strong> significance <strong>of</strong> diversity within <strong>the</strong><br />

marine and scientific community is crucial to a sustainable<br />

and equitable future for people and planet. This is<br />

known, but not emphasized enough globally and when it<br />

comes to islands like ours, empowering communities is<br />

even more crucial for fostering a deeper understanding<br />

and appreciation <strong>of</strong> marine sciences and current environmental<br />

issues.<br />

Back in March <strong>of</strong> 2022, at a small fundraiser, <strong>the</strong><br />

concept <strong>of</strong> “22 in 2022” was born. TCRF committed to<br />

teaching 22 youngsters to dive before <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year.<br />

By December, we had, through a variety <strong>of</strong> small grants<br />

and private donations, funded and taught 28 students! So<br />

far in <strong>2023</strong>, we have run 3 courses and have certified 15<br />

more. With opportunities for fur<strong>the</strong>r dive training and by<br />

encouraging our students to get involved with our conservation<br />

work through volunteering and learning new<br />

skills, it has been inspiring to see a positive volunteer<br />

retention rate from our students. The next step is to create<br />

a club that goes shore-diving at least once a month,<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r helping with <strong>the</strong> continuation <strong>of</strong> individuals’ diving<br />

education.<br />

Students are learning to assemble and disassemble <strong>the</strong>ir gear at <strong>the</strong> Dive Provo pool.<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

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

Benefits <strong>of</strong> teaching<br />

scuba diving<br />

1. Cultural pride and preservation:<br />

Scuba diving education instils a sense<br />

<strong>of</strong> cultural pride among young people<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y connect with <strong>the</strong>ir heritage<br />

and <strong>the</strong> marine resources that have<br />

sustained our communities for generations.<br />

It allows people to see <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

cultural practices and knowledge as<br />

valuable assets in marine sciences,<br />

fostering a sense <strong>of</strong> identity and<br />

empowerment.<br />

2. Environmental stewardship:<br />

Diving nurtures a deep sense <strong>of</strong><br />

responsibility and stewardship<br />

towards <strong>the</strong> marine environment.<br />

By experiencing <strong>the</strong> wonders <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

underwater world firsthand, it is<br />

almost impossible not to develop<br />

a personal connection and a vested<br />

interest in preserving <strong>the</strong> fragile ecosystems<br />

that surround <strong>the</strong>se <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

3. Career opportunities: Equipping<br />

our youth with scuba diving skills<br />

opens doors to diverse career opportunities,<br />

not only within <strong>the</strong> marine<br />

sciences but in tourism as well. As<br />

a country we import most <strong>of</strong> our<br />

dive instructors—early access to diving<br />

is how we start to change that.<br />

By nurturing talent and passion, we<br />

can create a pathway for people to<br />

contribute to <strong>the</strong> sustainable development<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own communities<br />

and economies.<br />

We can enable people to become<br />

active participants in scientific<br />

research. Sharks4Kids (www.sharks4kids.com)<br />

is a perfect example <strong>of</strong><br />

this, as well as active involvement<br />

in conservation efforts. Several <strong>of</strong><br />

our volunteers have been employed<br />

to work on projects with TCRF as<br />

well as with <strong>the</strong> TC National Trust<br />

(@tcnationaltrust_ on Instagram).<br />

The possibilities with dive tourism,<br />

marine resource management, and<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r related fields are endless.<br />

Above: Local artist Wellington Williams helps tend to <strong>the</strong> Reef Fund’s coral nursery.<br />

Top right: Mitch Agenor has just completed his first open water dive!<br />

Bottom right: Janisa Outten is getting ready to take <strong>the</strong> plunge with Dive Provo.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 39

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

Protecting, Preserving, and<br />

Restoring <strong>the</strong> Coral Reefs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

Come visit our Coral Growing Facility<br />

and get your TCRF merchandise!<br />

Located at South Bank Marina.<br />

We are open 1-5pm<br />

Monday - Friday<br />

4. Community engagement and empowerment:<br />

Teaching scuba diving fosters a sense <strong>of</strong> community.<br />

People become ambassadors, sharing <strong>the</strong>ir knowledge<br />

and experiences with fellow community members,<br />

inspiring o<strong>the</strong>rs to appreciate and protect <strong>the</strong> marine<br />

environment. This engagement streng<strong>the</strong>ns community<br />

bonds and collective efforts towards sustainable practices<br />

and conservation.<br />

By encouraging inclusivity and breaking down barriers,<br />

we can unlock <strong>the</strong> untapped potential and unique<br />

perspectives that diversity <strong>of</strong>fers, leading to innovative<br />

solutions and a more sustainable future for our oceans.<br />

Through scuba diving education, we <strong>of</strong>fer pathways to<br />

career opportunities, environmental stewardship, cultural<br />

preservation, and community empowerment.<br />

Join <strong>the</strong> movement and invest in <strong>the</strong> next generation<br />

<strong>of</strong> local scuba divers. Our program has grown exponentially,<br />

in no small part thanks to a partnership with Dive<br />

Provo (www.diveprovo.com), a dive operation committed<br />

to environmental protection and community development.<br />

Join us today and toge<strong>the</strong>r we can inspire people<br />

to become stewards and advocates for <strong>the</strong> marine environment,<br />

fostering sustainable practices and a brighter future<br />

for our communities and <strong>the</strong> oceans we all depend on. a<br />

Visit www.tcreef.org for more information or to donate.<br />

Rashguards, Stickers, BCD tags and more!<br />

All proceeds go to our environmental<br />

projects in TCI.<br />

DECR Environmental Officer/Terrestrial Ecologist Dodley Prosper is<br />

learning to conduct reef surveys. While he didn’t learn to dive with<br />

<strong>the</strong> TCRF program, he is a shining example <strong>of</strong> where dive training<br />

can take you.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc


feature<br />

Who Gets a Piece <strong>of</strong> Paradise?<br />

Investigating <strong>the</strong> perils <strong>of</strong> expanding tourism.<br />

By Ben Stubenberg<br />

Legend has it that <strong>the</strong> notorious female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read hid out in <strong>the</strong> sheltered coves<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos Cays after raiding passing ships. The protective barrier reef provided a tranquil refuge after<br />

a stressful day <strong>of</strong> sword fights and cannons blazing. The turquoise waters gently lapping <strong>the</strong> long sandy<br />

beaches surely helped <strong>the</strong>m unwind before dividing up <strong>the</strong> loot. For a while, this tropical paradise was<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir secret sanctuary at <strong>the</strong> tail end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Golden Age <strong>of</strong> Piracy.

An aerial view <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay shows <strong>the</strong> extensive development that has taken place over <strong>the</strong> past two decades.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 43

Today, 300 years later, <strong>the</strong> challenge <strong>of</strong> finding a<br />

paradise hideaway remains as alluring as ever. Just like<br />

Anne and Mary, modern visitors walk <strong>the</strong> same beautiful<br />

beaches and plunge into <strong>the</strong> same dazzling sea. They too<br />

have discovered a tropical nirvana where <strong>the</strong>y can relax<br />

and recharge while leaving <strong>the</strong> pressures <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world<br />

behind.<br />

Unlike <strong>the</strong> pirates who kept this paradise to <strong>the</strong>mselves,<br />

TCI has been phenomenally successful at selling<br />

<strong>the</strong>se <strong>Islands</strong>—notably Providenciales—as a high-end<br />

tourism destination with plenty <strong>of</strong> luxury condos, big villas,<br />

and a couple <strong>of</strong> private jet terminals. Treasures that<br />

any pirate would envy! But success spawns its own woes<br />

and comes at a steep cost that should give pause to <strong>the</strong><br />

quest for relentless development and ever-more tourists.<br />

Rapid evolution<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1980s, well before tourists arrived, Providenciales<br />

(Provo) was a sparsely populated island with around<br />

1,000 people, far less than Grand Turk, North Caicos,<br />

and South Caicos. Residents living in <strong>the</strong> small settlements<br />

<strong>of</strong> Five Cays, Kew Town, and Blue Hills depended<br />

largely on fishing and boat building for <strong>the</strong>ir livelihood.<br />

Now, 40 years later, Provo’s population has exploded to<br />

an estimated 40,000, and just about everyone depends<br />

on tourism, directly or indirectly.<br />

In fact, Provo sees around ten times as many tourists<br />

as <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> residents every year, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

tourist-to-resident ratios in <strong>the</strong> world. The island’s<br />

journey from <strong>the</strong> tranquility <strong>of</strong> near-subsistence living<br />

to one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most sought-after vacation and property<br />

investment spots on <strong>the</strong> planet has at once been highly<br />

lucrative for some and decidedly disruptive for o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Tourism’s boom also brought a sharp influx <strong>of</strong> people<br />

from abroad to live here—expatriates mainly from North<br />

America and <strong>the</strong> UK, as well as migrants from nearby<br />

island nations, especially Haiti. Immigration is a natural<br />

consequence <strong>of</strong> prosperity and can enhance society by<br />

bringing needed labor and through cultural exchange.<br />

But a flood <strong>of</strong> newcomers to a small island can also overwhelm,<br />

widen <strong>the</strong> gulf between rich and poor, and fray<br />

<strong>the</strong> social fabric, as has also happened.<br />

As property prices soar and wages fail to keep pace<br />

with <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong> living, <strong>the</strong> sense among Turks & Caicos<br />

Islanders <strong>of</strong> being squeezed out has become ever<br />

more acute and vexing. At <strong>the</strong> same time, TCI’s natural<br />

treasures, particularly <strong>the</strong> coral reefs, have become<br />

increasingly vulnerable, partly due to climate change,<br />

partly because <strong>of</strong> too many people.<br />

Overshadowing <strong>the</strong>se simmering concerns is an apprehension<br />

that ceaseless tourism and building expansion<br />

is diminishing Provo’s relaxed vibe and uncluttered<br />

beaches—attributes that made it a luxury destination <strong>of</strong><br />

choice.<br />

Indeed, <strong>the</strong> cyclical trajectory <strong>of</strong> tourist development<br />

and <strong>the</strong> impact on native populations worldwide has been<br />

well documented. What is happening in Provo is, in fact,<br />

a global phenomena in places where tourism dominates<br />

<strong>the</strong> economy—with similar ominous patterns.<br />

Life cycle <strong>of</strong> a tourist destination<br />

In 1980, a geography pr<strong>of</strong>essor at <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

Western Ontario, Richard Butler, PhD, developed a model<br />

to study <strong>the</strong> life cycle <strong>of</strong> tourism. Referred to as <strong>the</strong><br />

Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC), <strong>the</strong> model has become<br />

The pristine East Caicos shoreline represents what <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong> looked like before tourism development. An initiative<br />

is underway to designate East Caicos as a World<br />

Heritage Site by <strong>the</strong> United Nations.<br />

44 www.timespub.tc

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most widely used conceptual frameworks in<br />

tourism research. TALC identifies six or seven predictable<br />

stages that a resort destination goes through regardless<br />

<strong>of</strong> location. It is worth examining <strong>the</strong> elements <strong>of</strong> TALC,<br />

which have held up remarkably well over <strong>the</strong> decades, to<br />

see where TCI currently fits into <strong>the</strong> cycle and what to<br />

anticipate.<br />

The first stage is “Exploration.” That is when a place<br />

might see a only few adventurous travelers pass through.<br />

They are not really tourists, but explorers looking for an<br />

unspoiled, untouched paradise.<br />

The second stage is “Involvement.” This transpires<br />

when a destination starts to receive more visitors and<br />

accommodates <strong>the</strong>m with small inns and cafés and may<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer a few local activities.<br />

The third stage is “Development.” More tourist facilities<br />

are built to accommodate <strong>the</strong> additional tourists<br />

arriving. The place becomes recognized as a tourist destination.<br />

The fourth stage is “Consolidation.” Large multinational<br />

companies move in to build bigger hotels to<br />

support growing numbers <strong>of</strong> tourists. This is also <strong>the</strong><br />

phase when tensions begin to emerge in <strong>the</strong> host population.<br />

The fifth stage is “Stagnation.” Tourist numbers peak<br />

and environmental damage sets in. The resort destination<br />

becomes less fashionable and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hotels become<br />

old and run down.<br />

The sixth stage is “Decline.” That takes place when<br />

<strong>the</strong> destination loses its luster. Fewer tourists arrive as<br />

<strong>the</strong>y seek new places that are perceived to be more exciting<br />

and still “unspoiled.”<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 45

The seventh stage, if it happens, is “Rejuvenation.”<br />

Investment in new facilities and expansion <strong>of</strong> attractions<br />

potentially revives interest in <strong>the</strong> destination and reverses<br />

<strong>the</strong> decline.<br />

Provo appears to be in <strong>the</strong> “Consolidation” stage near<br />

<strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cycle, especially in view <strong>of</strong> several new<br />

high-end developments under construction and scheduled<br />

to open in 20<strong>24</strong>/2025. That is both a testament<br />

to <strong>the</strong> attraction <strong>of</strong> Provo as an inviting destination but<br />

also a warning that development might be reaching a<br />

peak that could lead to <strong>the</strong> stagnation phase. If <strong>the</strong> TALC<br />

model holds true, an urgent question arises: How does<br />

Provo prevent succumbing to <strong>the</strong> fate <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r resort destinations<br />

whose cycles started much earlier?<br />

Troubling scenario<br />

Successive TCI governments have rightly put in place policies<br />

from <strong>the</strong> beginning that promoted Provo as a low<br />

density, exclusive destination that maximized tourism<br />

revenue. That strategy set TCI apart from mass markets<br />

where lower revenue margins are recouped through much<br />

higher numbers <strong>of</strong> visitors. TCI’s focus on luxury clientele<br />

also set a higher bar for expectations that, so far, Provo<br />

and all <strong>of</strong> TCI have been able to deliver on.<br />

However, if Provo is no longer seen as special or<br />

unique or worth <strong>the</strong> luxury price due to any number <strong>of</strong><br />

factors—road and airport congestion, crowded beaches,<br />

crime, dying reefs, and competition from o<strong>the</strong>r islands in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Caribbean region—stagnation becomes more likely.<br />

That’s when <strong>the</strong> carrying capacity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island reaches a<br />

tipping point and <strong>the</strong> magic wanes.<br />

The direction <strong>of</strong> TCI tourism was <strong>the</strong> subject <strong>of</strong> study<br />

as far back as 2009 by Lehigh University pr<strong>of</strong>essors John<br />

B. Gatewood Ph.D. and Ca<strong>the</strong>rine M. Cameron Ph.D.<br />

Entitled Belonger Perceptions <strong>of</strong> Tourism and its Impacts<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> study found that while<br />

Belongers (native Turks & Caicos Islanders) were generally<br />

positive about tourism, <strong>the</strong>y also perceived some<br />

downsides. These included increased crime, rising costs,<br />

an influx <strong>of</strong> immigrant workers, and unevenness with<br />

respect to <strong>the</strong> distribution <strong>of</strong> financial benefits from<br />

tourism. In <strong>the</strong> past 14 years, it is safe to say <strong>the</strong>se perceptions<br />

have only intensified.<br />

David Bowen, former TCI Director <strong>of</strong> Culture and a<br />

fierce advocate for promoting local culture, compared<br />

accelerated development to <strong>the</strong> concept <strong>of</strong> fast food<br />

versus “Slow Food.” The Slow-Food alternative strives<br />

to preserve traditional cuisine, takes longer to prepare,<br />

and costs more. But it tastes much better and promotes<br />

small businesses ra<strong>the</strong>r than corporate giants. This kind<br />

<strong>of</strong> food is intended to be savored, not gulped. In <strong>the</strong> same<br />

way, Mr. Bowen believes, TCI should not allow itself to be<br />

overrun with high-rises and o<strong>the</strong>r developments that take<br />

away <strong>the</strong> special flavor that is TCI.<br />

Extravagant development proposals that promise<br />

more tax revenue and more jobs look attractive, at least<br />

for <strong>the</strong> short term. But if development continues apace,<br />

one can envision a distressing scenario where too many<br />

resorts dissuade <strong>the</strong> higher spending and more discriminating<br />

tourists from vacationing here. That in turn could<br />

result in reduced revenue to address <strong>the</strong> very social and<br />

environmental concerns TCI is grappling with now.<br />


It is important for <strong>the</strong> future that Providenciales retain its<br />

reputation as a special and unique luxury destination.<br />

46 www.timespub.tc

Some may disagree with this cloudy outlook and point<br />

to high tourist satisfaction and return rates, which are<br />

indeed impressive. They might also note <strong>the</strong> brisk sales<br />

<strong>of</strong> luxury condos and townhouses yet-to-be-built based<br />

on little more than fanciful design renderings and vivid<br />

videos <strong>of</strong> fabulous views. As bright as new development<br />

appears today, it is imperative to anticipate <strong>the</strong> prospect,<br />

however unsettling, that Provo could slide into <strong>the</strong> ordinary,<br />

a beach resort town that resembles so many o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

that have opted for more big buildings over more open<br />

space.<br />

Disrupting <strong>the</strong> cycle<br />

In her compelling book, The Last Resort, author Sarah<br />

Stodola examines <strong>the</strong> rise and fall <strong>of</strong> tourist destinations<br />

around <strong>the</strong> world while delving into <strong>the</strong> darker aspects<br />

<strong>of</strong> beach resort culture. Drawing on Pr<strong>of</strong>essor Butler’s<br />

tourism life cycle model, she exposes strangleholds <strong>of</strong><br />

local economies, reckless construction, and erosion <strong>of</strong><br />

beaches, among o<strong>the</strong>rs painful realities <strong>of</strong> unfettered<br />

development.<br />

Notably, Ms. Stodola calls attention to locals feeling<br />

squeezed out and tourists reminiscing about how much<br />

better <strong>the</strong> place used to be—a refrain heard here as well.<br />

But she also suggests that life cycles can be disrupted and<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers a basket <strong>of</strong> remedies for rejuvenation, <strong>the</strong> most<br />

urgent and necessary being <strong>the</strong> imposition <strong>of</strong> limits on<br />

tourists and zoning restrictions. Ms. Stodola concludes,<br />

“Without deliberately imposed limitations, <strong>the</strong> overdevelopment<br />

always follows, and overdevelopment leads to<br />

decline.”<br />

It is not too late for Provo to break <strong>the</strong> cycle by weaning<br />

itself away from ceaseless expansion, starting with<br />

new regulations that halt or at least drastically slow resort<br />

construction. A window remains open to re-imagine a<br />

more inclusive model for tourism—one that prioritizes<br />

natural treasures over high-rises, one that ensures that<br />

<strong>the</strong> country’s well-being and way <strong>of</strong> life stays at <strong>the</strong> center<br />

<strong>of</strong> every decision.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Caribbean Tourism Organization “State<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Industry” conference held at Beaches Resort, TCI’s<br />

Minister <strong>of</strong> Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly noted in her<br />

opening remarks that TCI is conducting <strong>the</strong> Caribbean’s<br />

first in-depth study <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entire tourism industry. In<br />

keeping with TCI’s commitment to sustainability, she<br />

affirmed TCI’s dedication to safeguard pristine beaches,<br />

lush landscapes, and vibrant culture for future generations.<br />

TMW2022.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 />



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


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 47

At <strong>the</strong> same conference, keynote speaker Doug<br />

Lansky, a global tourism and travel expert, challenged<br />

stakeholders to find creative ways to incorporate sustainability<br />

into tourism operations. In an earlier interview, he<br />

colorfully summed up <strong>the</strong> problem <strong>of</strong> overdevelopment<br />

with ano<strong>the</strong>r food analogy:<br />

“What we need to do is to redefine what success is<br />

in tourism. If I ask people what is success, <strong>the</strong>y just<br />

think more visitors than we had last year. That’s a<br />

failed metric. It’s like one scoop <strong>of</strong> ice cream is good,<br />

and two scoops, maybe three, you could say is better,<br />

but 34 scoops isn’t better. It just ends up on <strong>the</strong><br />

sidewalk and gives you a stomachache. There’s a<br />

finite amount <strong>of</strong> space to get into <strong>the</strong> key attractions,<br />

to walk on <strong>the</strong> street without feeling like you are in<br />

<strong>Times</strong> Square, to lay on <strong>the</strong> beach in a reasonable<br />

way.”<br />

TCI’s catchy slogan “Beautiful by Nature” certainly<br />

reflects <strong>the</strong> scenic charm <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. What if those<br />

words could also invoke a deeper beauty that embraces<br />

<strong>the</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> this exceptional archipelago? What if <strong>the</strong><br />

blessings <strong>of</strong> luxury tourism could also be directly linked<br />

to protecting <strong>the</strong> environment and lifting up <strong>the</strong> most<br />

vulnerable in society—an approach that itself becomes<br />

<strong>the</strong> basis for enticing <strong>the</strong> cream <strong>of</strong> affluent visitors.<br />

Multiple studies indicate that luxury travelers are prioritizing<br />

environmental and social sustainability when<br />

booking trips—a more fitting target market for TCI. A<br />

2022 American Express Global Travel Trends Report<br />

notes that 81% <strong>of</strong> travelers want <strong>the</strong> money <strong>the</strong>y spend<br />

while traveling to go back to <strong>the</strong> local community.<br />

According to a <strong>2023</strong> report by <strong>the</strong> International Luxury<br />

Hotel Association, “One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most significant trends is a<br />

renewed interest in sustainable travel, as people become<br />

more aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> tourism on <strong>the</strong> environment<br />

and local communities.”<br />

For TCI that means embracing a “Green Economy”<br />

that complements <strong>the</strong> spectacular beaches and turquoise<br />

water. This course <strong>of</strong> action requires a pivot away from<br />

unbridled development, but <strong>the</strong> reboot need not be<br />

expensive or even require a major transformation. Most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> infrastructure for expanded environmental programs<br />

and social responsibility is already in place.<br />

Below are various possibilities for keeping and elevating<br />

TCI’s enchantment through minimal impact, ranging<br />

from <strong>the</strong> quick and easy to <strong>the</strong> bold and daring. While far<br />

from complete, <strong>the</strong>se ideas can broaden TCI’s appeal to<br />

<strong>the</strong> discerning traveler—tourists who support and appreciate<br />

eco-friendly/environmental sustainability* initiatives<br />

and social responsibility programs and are willing to pay<br />

a premium.<br />

Small changes/big impact<br />

Ban <strong>the</strong> sale <strong>of</strong> non-reef-safe sunscreens, specifically sunscreens<br />

containing harmful chemicals like oxybenzone<br />

and octinoxate, among <strong>the</strong> ingredients. Several tropical<br />

locations have already ei<strong>the</strong>r prohibited <strong>the</strong>ir sale and<br />

distribution or banned <strong>the</strong>m outright because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> damage<br />

to marine life, particularly coral reefs. These include<br />

Hawaii, Key West, Florida, Palau, US Virgin <strong>Islands</strong>, Aruba,<br />

Bonaire, and Mexico.<br />

In TCI, several charter boat operators, such as Big<br />

Blue and Caicos Catalyst, already forbid non-reef-safe<br />

sunscreens on <strong>the</strong>ir boats and provide alternatives for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir guests. In fact, TCI even has its own locally created<br />

reef-safe sunscreen, Wildflower, that is available for purchase,<br />

along with o<strong>the</strong>r mineral-based sunscreens such<br />

as Stream2Sea. Such a measure would immediately signal<br />

to every visitor that TCI takes protection <strong>of</strong> its marine life<br />

seriously and invite <strong>the</strong>m to share in that goal.<br />

Expand <strong>the</strong> parks next to <strong>the</strong> beaches, as well as add<br />

new ones in all <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Improvements could include<br />

native plants and shady trees landscaped to form lovely<br />

gardens for locals and tourists to enjoy. Sculptures by<br />

local artists could be included to fur<strong>the</strong>r enhance ambiance.<br />

Parks catch <strong>the</strong> eye and <strong>of</strong>fer a place for convivial<br />

ga<strong>the</strong>rings and reflection that enhance TCI’s tranquility.<br />

Set up a daily open-air farmer’s market in Grace Bay<br />

modeled after <strong>the</strong> one in Kew Town. Both locals and tourists<br />

could take advantage <strong>of</strong> purchasing directly from<br />

local farmers that in turn could spur more farming in<br />

TCI. Tourists tend to delight in this kind <strong>of</strong> activity that<br />

facilitates greater interaction with locals, and 100% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

money spent remains in TCI.<br />

Bolster eco-friendly activities<br />

TCI already <strong>of</strong>fers excellent scuba diving, snorkeling,<br />

bonefishing, and various tours around <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Now,<br />

*Eco-tourism and sustainable tourism are sometimes confused, though <strong>the</strong>y both stand for environmental protection. Industry consensus<br />

agrees ecotourism is more focused on ecological conservation and educating travelers on local environments and natural<br />

surroundings, whereas sustainable tourism focuses on travel that has minimal impact on <strong>the</strong> environment and local communities.<br />

48 www.timespub.tc

o<strong>the</strong>r exhilarating and eco-friendly excursions are springing<br />

up, notably birdwatching. TCI’s vibrant birdlife has<br />

long been known, but only to a few enthusiasts outside<br />

<strong>the</strong> country.<br />

The TCI National Trust and Department <strong>of</strong> Environment<br />

and Coastal Resources (DECR), in collaboration with UK,<br />

US, and Caribbean birdwatching organizations, have<br />

recently laid <strong>the</strong> foundation for expanding birdwatching<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and begun training local guides.<br />

With scores <strong>of</strong> migratory birds stopping over on TCI’s<br />

wetlands, as well as year-around birds like flamingos,<br />

egrets, blue herons, and ospreys, TCI has plenty <strong>of</strong> potential<br />

for exciting experiences.<br />

Guided tours <strong>of</strong> this kind enhance local employment<br />

opportunities, especially for <strong>the</strong> outer islands that<br />

have not benefited nearly enough from tourism, and<br />

can mature into a dependable revenue stream. Indeed,<br />

birdwatching, also known as “avitourism,” generates<br />

$17 billion just in trip-related expenses in <strong>the</strong> US alone.<br />

This kind <strong>of</strong> eco-tourism fur<strong>the</strong>r diversifies TCI’s tourism<br />

services and markets <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> as environmentally<br />

sensitive—precisely what many high-end tourists want in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir destination.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> TCI’s biggest proponents for a Green Economy<br />

based on diversified tourism is Levardo Talbot. Originally<br />

from Salt Cay, Mr. Talbot comes from a long line <strong>of</strong> local<br />

fishermen and boat builders who have passed down<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir knowledge and a love for TCI’s gifts <strong>of</strong> nature. In<br />

2007, after working as a DECR conservation <strong>of</strong>ficer, he<br />

started his own sportsfishing charter company, Talbot<br />

Adventures, on Provo. More recently Mr. Talbot has<br />

stepped up his advocacy for improving <strong>the</strong> education <strong>of</strong><br />

young people about TCI’s natural resources. In particular,<br />

he has emphasized TCI’s eco-tourism potential through<br />

<strong>the</strong> certification <strong>of</strong> nature guides, especially for birdwatching.<br />

He has even become a certified birdwatcher<br />

himself and is preparing a series <strong>of</strong> nature programs with<br />

opportunities for TCI youth.<br />

Sports tourism<br />

TCI is widely known for being one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best places<br />

on earth for <strong>the</strong> demanding and exciting sport <strong>of</strong> kiteboarding.<br />

Long Bay <strong>of</strong>fers perfect conditions with steady<br />

onshore winds, a long sandy beach, and shallow waters.<br />

Beginners who learn <strong>the</strong> sport here, as well as seasoned<br />

kiteboarders, <strong>of</strong>ten plan <strong>the</strong>ir vacations around kiting and<br />

return year after year—and pay highly for <strong>the</strong> privilege.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island, <strong>the</strong> very different ocean<br />

conditions <strong>of</strong> Grace Bay <strong>of</strong>fer an equally lucrative opportunity<br />

to entice serious triathletes and master swimmers.<br />

Currently, very few serious swimmers travel to Provo or<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r islands specifically to work out or train for competition.<br />

The one exception is <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos “Race<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Conch” Eco-SeaSwim held on <strong>the</strong> last Saturday<br />

The Department <strong>of</strong> Coastal Resources held a week-long Sandals Foundation-sponsored workshop with Birds Caribbean in late October <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Twenty-four bird and nature guides were trained and certified in bird identification and guiding techniques.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 49

<strong>of</strong> June. (Disclosure: The author is <strong>the</strong> co-founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

“Race for <strong>the</strong> Conch” and an advocate for <strong>the</strong> sport, as<br />

well as a swim instructor.) This international event draws<br />

more than 120 swimmers from <strong>the</strong> US and Canada who<br />

arrive with friends and family to savor <strong>the</strong> experience<br />

<strong>of</strong> swimming through <strong>the</strong> exquisite turquoise sea. With<br />

70,000 masters swimmers and some 400,000 triathletes<br />

in <strong>the</strong> US and Canada, <strong>the</strong>re is a huge market to tap into<br />

for year-round swim training. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m are in high<br />

income brackets who <strong>of</strong>ten plan <strong>the</strong>ir vacations around<br />

where <strong>the</strong>y can swim.<br />

It would not take much to encourage <strong>the</strong>se athletes<br />

to vacation here. TCI would only need to specifically<br />

designate and mark-<strong>of</strong>f a safe and boat-free swim zone<br />

running along <strong>the</strong> shore for a half kilometer. (The typical<br />

roped-<strong>of</strong>f 200 yard swim areas in front <strong>of</strong> hotels are too<br />

short.) Just as important, a cordoned-<strong>of</strong>f swim zone can<br />

benefit a fast- growing number <strong>of</strong> local competitive swimmers<br />

training for open water races.<br />

Indeed, only a handful <strong>of</strong> places in <strong>the</strong> world have<br />

open water swim zones. Designating one here would give<br />

TCI swimmers a competitive advantage and add to its<br />

one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind natural tourism environment with minimal<br />

impact. In time, TCI’s young swimmers could apply <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

skills to become swim instructors and coaches, thus fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

diversifying employment opportunities.<br />

Go bold with global clout<br />

TCI has long demonstrated a commitment to environmental<br />

guardianship with 11 national parks, 11 nature<br />

reserves, and 4 sanctuaries. These protected areas cover<br />

174 square miles (451 square km) <strong>of</strong> land and ocean.<br />

In addition to multiple bird species, <strong>the</strong> parks also protect<br />

endangered iguanas and threatened marine species,<br />

most prominently <strong>the</strong> humpback whale.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> winter months <strong>of</strong> January through March,<br />

hundreds <strong>of</strong> humpback whales arrive in <strong>the</strong> warm waters<br />

<strong>of</strong> TCI to calve and mate before making <strong>the</strong> long journey<br />

back north to <strong>the</strong> east coasts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> US, Canada, and<br />

Greenland. During <strong>the</strong>ir tropical sojourn, tourists have<br />

<strong>the</strong> privilege to view <strong>the</strong>se giant cetaceans in <strong>the</strong> wild and<br />

even experience in-water encounters if guides determine<br />

that conditions are safe and appropriate.<br />

As with birdwatching guides, <strong>the</strong> DECR is working to<br />

implement a Wildlife Tourism Accreditation program that<br />

would include marine mammal interaction protocol. Welltrained<br />

guides could heighten <strong>the</strong> visitor experience for<br />

whale-watching (as well as o<strong>the</strong>r wildlife activities) and<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r raise TCI’s pr<strong>of</strong>ile as an international environmental<br />

protection leader.<br />

TCI could consider taking ano<strong>the</strong>r step by limiting<br />

<strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> visitors who can watch <strong>the</strong> whales and<br />

charging for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, somewhat<br />


The clear, clean waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos are <strong>the</strong> ideal place<br />

for serious swimmers to workout or train for competition.<br />

50 www.timespub.tc

like a safari tour in game parks that is thrilling as well<br />

as educational. The revenue brought in could be applied<br />

to additional protection measures for all <strong>of</strong> TCI’s natural<br />

resources. At <strong>the</strong> same time, restricting <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong><br />

whale-watching tourists would augment <strong>the</strong> uniqueness<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> attraction while leaving <strong>the</strong> whales more to <strong>the</strong>mselves.<br />

One ambitious TCI initiative already underway is to<br />

designate East Caicos as a World Heritage Site by <strong>the</strong><br />

United Nations. An act <strong>of</strong> this magnitude would make<br />

<strong>the</strong> largest and least disturbed <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country’s islands a<br />

crown jewel <strong>of</strong> TCI environmental stewardship. Presently,<br />

only a handful <strong>of</strong> explorers visit East Caicos, and <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

conscious <strong>of</strong> never leaving a footprint <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir presence<br />

behind.<br />

In preparation for <strong>the</strong> establishment <strong>of</strong> a World<br />

Heritage Site, <strong>the</strong> TCI National Trust is engaging <strong>the</strong> local<br />

communities in neighboring islands Middle Caicos and<br />


Witnessing humpback whales in <strong>the</strong> winter waters <strong>of</strong> TCI is a privilege<br />

tourists can enjoy with <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> well-trained guides.<br />

South Caicos to learn about and take into account <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

views. In particular, <strong>the</strong> traditions <strong>of</strong> local fishermen who<br />

have fished <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> banks <strong>of</strong> East Caicos for two centuries<br />

need to be protected. As a World Heritage Site, all resort<br />

development plans would be taken <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> table to ensure<br />

East Caicos remains pristine. Should that happen, access<br />

to <strong>the</strong> island’s dry tropical wilderness would likely be limited<br />

to small groups with trained and certified guides.<br />

Such restricted access could become a distinctive<br />

experience for eco-tourists who value protecting<br />

unspoiled places. Brazil, among o<strong>the</strong>r countries, has put<br />

in place strict regulations to protect certain <strong>of</strong>fshore<br />

islands from any development but still enable <strong>the</strong> local<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 51

population to benefit. A case in point is Fernando de<br />

Noronha <strong>of</strong>f Brazil’s Atlantic coast, where a limited number<br />

<strong>of</strong> tourists are allowed to visit for a fee.<br />

Similarly, East Caicos could be promoted as an exclusive<br />

nature zone with empty beaches open to a few<br />

tourists and local groups for short stays with guides<br />

informing visitors about its rich history and fascinating<br />

flora and fauna. By closing East Caicos to any development<br />

forever, TCI can fur<strong>the</strong>r ensure that Islanders are at<br />

<strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> tourism and retain control. Dr. Della Higgs,<br />

social scientist with <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Trust<br />

and one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> leaders in <strong>the</strong> effort stated, “Making East<br />

Caicos a World Heritage Site would keep <strong>the</strong> island in <strong>the</strong><br />

hands <strong>of</strong> Turks (and Caicos) Islanders for generations and<br />

generations to come.”<br />

These and o<strong>the</strong>r specialized activities already in play or<br />

about to launch will not in and <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>mselves create revenue<br />

streams on par with fine villa and condo bookings.<br />

But what <strong>the</strong>y can do is set <strong>the</strong> tone and image for what<br />

TCI should be to avoid <strong>the</strong> scourge <strong>of</strong> overdevelopment,<br />

loss <strong>of</strong> heritage, and danger <strong>of</strong> stagnation and decline. If<br />

tourism is going to continue to be <strong>the</strong> wellspring <strong>of</strong> TCI<br />

prosperity, it must connect with <strong>the</strong> changing interests<br />

<strong>of</strong> luxury tourists who align with TCI values and want to<br />

spend <strong>the</strong>ir dollars here.<br />

Promoting a more environmentally conscious TCI to<br />

high-end clients that focuses on luxury travel trends will<br />

require a shift in marketing emphasis that broadens <strong>the</strong><br />

range <strong>of</strong> experiences beyond <strong>the</strong> beach. One local company<br />

ahead <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> curve is Luxury Experiences, a top<br />

Destination Management Company (DMC) that caters to<br />

well-to-do clients. The founders/owners, Val and Susan<br />

Kalliecharan, have been planning highly customized itineraries,<br />

in addition to bookings, since 2008.<br />

Recently, <strong>the</strong>y have taken that service to a new level<br />

by interacting with <strong>the</strong> clients well before <strong>the</strong>y arrive<br />

to determine what <strong>the</strong>y might be interested in. Luxury<br />

Experiences starts by surveying clients to determine <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

“travel personality”—what <strong>the</strong>y enjoyed doing on o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

vacations and what <strong>the</strong>y might want to see and do in<br />

TCI. At <strong>the</strong> same time, Luxury Experiences introduces <strong>the</strong><br />

clients to uncommon, <strong>of</strong>f-<strong>the</strong>-beaten-path, island attractions.<br />

The Kalliecharans <strong>the</strong>n match clients with <strong>the</strong> appropriate<br />

operators/guides/instructors to give <strong>the</strong>m a feel<br />

for what to expect. Sometimes <strong>the</strong>se high-end clients just<br />

want to book a nice condo, resort/suite, or villa for quiet<br />

beach time, but more <strong>of</strong>ten <strong>the</strong>y also want to explore,<br />

indulge in a special experience, or plan for a special<br />

moment. These could range from snorkeling over a field<br />

<strong>of</strong> starfish in South Caicos to a birthday party for kids<br />

that includes a visit by a mermaid. In this sense, Luxury<br />

Experiences promotes TCI as a destination with exciting<br />

and environmentally sustainable possibilities—ever mindful<br />

that <strong>the</strong>se visitors choose to come here because it<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers a special ambiance that also connects <strong>the</strong>m with<br />

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

Cap <strong>of</strong>f with social responsibility<br />

Tourism has, <strong>of</strong> course, created jobs and raised money<br />

through room and activity taxes, as well as import duties,<br />

to fund government programs favorable to TCI residents.<br />

But more can be done to alleviate <strong>the</strong> struggles <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

most vulnerable residents by engaging <strong>the</strong> enterprises<br />

that benefit most from TCI’s high-end tourism to contribute<br />

directly to social responsibility projects.<br />

Specifically, resorts, villas, real estate agencies,<br />

and law firms grossing over a certain amount could<br />

be required to earmark 1% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir gross revenue for<br />

selected non-pr<strong>of</strong>it charities serving <strong>the</strong> TCI community.<br />

As an alternative, <strong>the</strong> stamp duty on property sales over<br />

$1 million, for example, could be increased from 10% to<br />

11% with that extra 1% going to charities. These would<br />

include Provo Children’s Home, Ashley Learning Centre,<br />

Food for Thought, Footsteps4Good, Red Cross, Project<br />

Inclusion Turks & Caicos, <strong>the</strong> Edward C. Gartland Youth<br />

Centre, and <strong>the</strong> Reef Fund, among o<strong>the</strong>rs. These and<br />

similar non-pr<strong>of</strong>its are serving urgent needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community<br />

and have an outstanding record <strong>of</strong> achievement.<br />

Notwithstanding <strong>the</strong> increase in development and tourist<br />

arrivals, however, most still struggle to pay <strong>the</strong>ir bills,<br />

thus limiting <strong>the</strong>ir effectiveness and reach.<br />

A proposal <strong>of</strong> this nature need not be a tough sell.<br />

Almost all large (and small) TCI companies already give to<br />

local charities, many quite generously. However, charities<br />

with <strong>the</strong> most intensive missions to <strong>of</strong>fer a safe haven<br />

for children or care for <strong>the</strong> mentally and physically challenged<br />

require consistent funding <strong>the</strong>y can depend on. A<br />

similar case can be made for more resources to support<br />

public education, particularly tech classes. Tying revenue<br />

from luxury tourism or high-end property sales directly<br />

to social responsibility initiatives also has <strong>the</strong> notable<br />

advantage <strong>of</strong> influencing vacation decision making.<br />

More tourists want to feel <strong>the</strong>y have made a positive<br />

and visible impact on <strong>the</strong> place <strong>the</strong>y are visiting.<br />

Promoting TCI as socially responsible through tourism is<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r compelling way to set it apart as a destination for<br />

tourists who share in <strong>the</strong> mission to lift up <strong>the</strong> community.<br />

52 www.timespub.tc

One thing is clear: TCI should not remain on <strong>the</strong> same<br />

endless path <strong>of</strong> development. TCI cannot take <strong>the</strong> risk <strong>of</strong><br />

losing its soul to over-tourism should a reckoning come<br />

due. It’s time to question <strong>the</strong> current direction and reflect<br />

on how best to reorient tourism to preserve <strong>the</strong> natural<br />

beauty and revolve around <strong>the</strong> people and culture <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se <strong>Islands</strong>. A number <strong>of</strong> promising initiatives and possibilities<br />

give rise to hope, but disquieting signs <strong>of</strong> excess<br />

should stir a foreboding in us all. a<br />

Ben Stubenberg is a story teller who writes regularly<br />

for <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. He also teaches swimming and<br />

co-founded <strong>the</strong> vacation adventure company Caicu Naniki<br />

and <strong>the</strong> annual international swim competition, “Race for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Conch” Eco-SeaSwim. His articles on TCI and Caribbean<br />

history and current events, as well as comments on tourism,<br />

development, wealth, poverty, hope, and resilience<br />

can be found on his website BenStubenberg.com.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 53


feature<br />

Clear-bottom kayaks <strong>of</strong>fer both relaxing and adventurous options when you choose to spend some time away from <strong>the</strong> beach.<br />


Beyond <strong>the</strong> Beach<br />

There’s more to be explored when you dig deeper.<br />

By Rachel Craft<br />

It’s no surprise that most visitors come to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> for <strong>the</strong> beaches. TCI’s powdery s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

sand, crystal-clear waters, and abundant snorkeling sites have landed it on “world’s best beaches” lists for<br />

years. But visitors who venture outside <strong>the</strong>ir resort will find a plethora <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r activities, from outdoor<br />

adventures and art classes to local history and cuisine. Here are some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> amazing experiences TCI<br />

has to <strong>of</strong>fer “beyond <strong>the</strong> beach.”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 55

Kayak through nature’s nursery<br />

The mangrove swamps on Providenciales’ nor<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

corner are sometimes called “nature’s nursery,” because<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir clear, shallow waters provide a safe haven for juvenile<br />

sharks and sea turtles before <strong>the</strong>y’re ready to brave<br />

<strong>the</strong> open ocean. A clear kayak or paddleboard tour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

mangroves is a great way to see and learn about TCI’s<br />

wildlife—and squeeze a light workout into your vacation.<br />

This was a highlight <strong>of</strong> my trip to Provo. Floating<br />

on foot-deep water in a mangrove forest is a peaceful,<br />

relaxing experience, but it’s also a fascinating window<br />

into TCI’s ecology. Our guide taught us about mangrove<br />

trees and <strong>the</strong> important role <strong>the</strong>y play in protecting <strong>the</strong><br />

coastline, as well as how <strong>the</strong>ir roots filter salt out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

seawater. (Did you know you can harvest salt from mangrove<br />

leaves?) We got up close and personal with Queen<br />

conch, kayaked alongside baby lemon and nurse sharks,<br />

and watched in awe as juvenile sea turtles swam beneath<br />

our transparent boats.<br />

Popular destinations for clear kayak and paddleboarding<br />

tours include Leeward Channel, Water Cay, and Half<br />

Moon Bay. My tour took us to Little Water Cay, (a.k.a.<br />

Iguana Island), home to <strong>the</strong> endangered Turks & Caicos<br />

rock iguana. There are many reputable tour operators to<br />

choose from, including Looking Glass Watersports and<br />

Rising Tide Tours.<br />

Above: Driftwood Studio regularly <strong>of</strong>fers “Cork and Canvas” painting<br />

classes. This session focused on Breast Cancer awareness.<br />

Below: With Twin E-bike Tours and Rentals you can explore <strong>the</strong> quiet,<br />

lush islands <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos on E-bikes.<br />



56 www.timespub.tc

Take a class<br />

Adding an art or cooking class to your vacation itinerary<br />

can be a fun change <strong>of</strong> pace—and a great way to connect<br />

with locals. Making Waves Art Studio on Provo hosts a<br />

variety <strong>of</strong> creative classes for adults and children, complete<br />

with instruction from pr<strong>of</strong>essional local artists. Past<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings have included making beaded bracelets, painting<br />

Christmas ornaments with gouache, and coloring<br />

sweatshirts with <strong>the</strong> ice-dyeing technique. They also have<br />

“drop in and make” sessions (or “toddle in and make” for<br />

<strong>the</strong> younger crowd), where you get full access to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

creative stations and art supplies and can let your imagination<br />

run wild. Check out makingwavesartstudio.com<br />

for <strong>the</strong>ir upcoming classes.<br />

There’s also Island Mystique, a brand-new travel company<br />

based on Provo that’s preparing to launch in late<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. Described as a “cultural immersive tour experience<br />

company,” Island Mystique plans to <strong>of</strong>fer paint-and-sip<br />

classes, birdwatching treks, and cooking classes where<br />

you can whip up traditional dishes like pear bush buds<br />

and rice. Follow Island Mystique’s Facebook page to stay<br />

updated on <strong>the</strong>ir launch date and new <strong>of</strong>ferings.<br />

Go <strong>of</strong>f-roading<br />

TCI may not have <strong>the</strong> lush rainforests or volcanic soils <strong>of</strong><br />

some Caribbean nations, but its rugged interior is just as<br />

beautiful. A great way to explore <strong>the</strong> sandy scrubland <strong>of</strong><br />

Provo or Grand Turk is on an ATV or dune buggy tour.<br />

Operators like Xhale Excursions and Island Adventure TCI<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer tours <strong>of</strong> Provo’s western side, including Chalk Sound<br />

National Park, Northwest Point National Park, and West<br />

Harbour Bluff. You’ll find similar tours on Grand Turk,<br />

but instead <strong>of</strong> scrubland and mangrove swamps, you’ll<br />

explore abandoned salt ponds and o<strong>the</strong>r historic sites.<br />

If, like me, you’d ra<strong>the</strong>r ride something a little slower<br />

and cuddlier, try a horseback ride instead. Provo Ponies,<br />

a stable in Long Bay, takes you on a gentle trek down <strong>the</strong><br />

street to nearby Long Bay Beach and into <strong>the</strong> shallows.<br />

There’s nothing quite like soaking up <strong>the</strong> sun while a<br />

horse carries you waist-deep in <strong>the</strong> ocean—and if your<br />

horse is feeling adventurous, you might even go for a<br />

short swim toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Heritage Tours and Horseback Riding is dedicated to<br />

sharing aspects <strong>of</strong> Island culture. Tours are based on historic<br />

industries such as fishing, sponging, and farming.<br />

You can follow a unique donkey trail ride to Sail Rock—a<br />

historical landmark for navigators. Based in Five Cays,<br />

you can experience an “<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> beaten path” area <strong>of</strong><br />

Provo, and top it <strong>of</strong>f with a drink or meal at Boogaloo’s<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 57

Restaurant or Omar’s Beach Hut. Experienced riders can<br />

sign up on a tour that allows <strong>the</strong>m to canter or gallop!<br />

Adopt a potcake puppy for a day<br />

TCI’s street dogs are affectionately known as “potcakes”<br />

because people used to feed <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> burned crust (“potcake”)<br />

from <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir cooking pots. (Fun fact:<br />

The potcake is <strong>of</strong>ficially recognized as a breed by <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas Kennel Club.) The charity Potcake Place has<br />

made it <strong>the</strong>ir mission to reduce <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> homeless<br />

dogs on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> by getting <strong>the</strong> potcake population<br />

under control and adopting as many potcakes as possible<br />

to loving homes.<br />

When visiting TCI, you can help <strong>the</strong> cause by visiting<br />

Potcake Place in Saltmills Plaza to play with <strong>the</strong> puppies<br />

or adopt one for <strong>the</strong> day. This benefits <strong>the</strong> dogs by helping<br />

<strong>the</strong>m build crucial social skills—and it gives tourists<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir cuteness fix while on vacation. If you get attached to<br />

your new friend and decide to adopt <strong>the</strong>m, Potcake Place<br />

will help arrange transportation back home with you.<br />

Sample local libations<br />

Turk’s Head Brewery, named after <strong>the</strong> iconic Turk’s Head<br />

cactus, <strong>of</strong>fers TCI’s only home-brewed beer. Their brews<br />

have playful names based on local colloquialisms: I-AIN-<br />

GA-LIE lager, GON-TA-NORT amber ale, DOWN-DA-ROAD<br />

IPA, and I-SOON-REACH light lager, as well as <strong>the</strong> seasonal<br />

specials GONE-TA-SOUT stout and TA-RECT-LEY wheat.<br />

You can sample all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m—and learn <strong>the</strong> meanings<br />

behind <strong>the</strong> names—on a visit to Turk’s Head Brewery in<br />

Cooper Jack Bay Settlement (on “short cut” road between<br />

Leeward Highway and Five Cays) on Provo. Monday<br />

through Saturday, <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>fer tastings and tours where<br />

you can meet <strong>the</strong> people behind <strong>the</strong> brews and learn how<br />

<strong>the</strong>y make <strong>the</strong> best beer in TCI. You’ll also get to sample<br />

some experimental new flavors (including, recently, a<br />

cider) that aren’t sold in <strong>the</strong> IGA grocery stores.<br />

Go spelunking<br />

Middle Caicos may be less visited than Provo and Grand<br />

Turk, but that just means it’s refreshingly uncrowded and<br />

filled with untouched natural beauty. It’s also home to one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest limestone cave systems in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean:<br />

<strong>the</strong> Conch Bar Caves. These caves were once mined for<br />

bat guano (an ingredient in fertilizer and gunpowder), but<br />

<strong>the</strong>y’re now unused and open to visitors. You’ll see a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> stalactites, stalagmites, sinkholes, and graffiti left<br />

by guano miners. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> caves’ many bats.<br />

58 www.timespub.tc

The Conch Bar Cave system is<br />

mostly flat, with no major ascents<br />

or descents, so you need only basic<br />

physical fitness to enjoy this natural<br />

wonder. However, because <strong>the</strong><br />

caves are largely undeveloped, a<br />

guide is required. This is a strict rule<br />

designed to keep visitors safe and<br />

prevent damage to <strong>the</strong> cave and its<br />

occupants. Tour operators <strong>of</strong>fer a<br />

variety <strong>of</strong> options—from a half-hour<br />

cave tour with a National Trust guide<br />

to a stop at <strong>the</strong> caves on a full-day<br />

tour <strong>of</strong> North and Middle Caicos.<br />

While you’re on Middle Caicos,<br />

don’t miss Indian Cave, a single-gallery<br />

cave that’s easy and free to visit<br />

(no guide required). Holes in <strong>the</strong> cave<br />

ceiling provide natural skylights,<br />

and ficus roots stretching down to<br />

<strong>the</strong> cave floor create an eerie, o<strong>the</strong>rworldly<br />

backdrop. Indian Cave is<br />

home to a variety <strong>of</strong> flora and fauna,<br />

including birds, bats, and <strong>the</strong> giant<br />

blue land crab. It has also served as<br />

a shelter for humans over <strong>the</strong> centuries;<br />

recent archaeological digs have<br />

uncovered ancient pottery shards, as<br />

well as fossils <strong>of</strong> now-extinct animal<br />

species.<br />

Middle Caicos’ ruggedness is part<br />

<strong>of</strong> what makes this hidden gem so<br />

special—but it also makes it a little<br />

more challenging to get here. You’ll<br />

have to take a flight or ferry to North<br />

Caicos, <strong>the</strong>n rent a car or hire a taxi<br />

and take <strong>the</strong> causeway to Middle<br />

Caicos.<br />

CNN<br />

Dig into history<br />

Like o<strong>the</strong>r islands in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean,<br />

TCI has a rich history spanning <strong>the</strong><br />

native Taíno and Lucayan peoples,<br />

European colonization, and African<br />

slaves. There are many opportunities<br />

across <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to learn about<br />

<strong>the</strong> various time periods and cultural<br />

influences in TCI’s history.<br />

If you’re staying on Provo, it’s<br />

“Off <strong>the</strong> beach” options in Turks & Caicos include (from top): Taking a “potcake” for a walk and<br />

potentially adopting your new friend. Exploring <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> on <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> a horse. Touring<br />

Cheshire Hall plantation on Providenciales.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 59


Top: You can see how <strong>the</strong> various Turk’s Head beers are brewed<br />

during a tour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brewery, with samples available afterwards.<br />

Above: Visiting <strong>the</strong> iconic Grand Turk Lighthouse is a must when traveling<br />

to <strong>the</strong> nation’s capital.<br />

easy to get to Cheshire Hall Plantation, which served as<br />

a cotton plantation in <strong>the</strong> late 1700s and is now a prime<br />

spot for history buffs. For <strong>the</strong> $15 admission fee, you can<br />

explore <strong>the</strong> plantation’s stone paths to see <strong>the</strong> remains <strong>of</strong><br />

buildings such as slave quarters and cotton press bases.<br />

Cheshire Hall is near downtown Provo, a short drive down<br />

Leeward Highway from Grace Bay.<br />

The smaller, less touristed island <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

several more historical sites. Cockburn Town, <strong>the</strong> capital<br />

<strong>of</strong> TCI, is <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ oldest, still-existing settlement and<br />

a showcase <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British Colonial/Bermudian architectural<br />

style. The Turks & Caicos National Museum houses<br />

artifacts <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> native Taínos, European shipwrecks, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ salt and sisal industries. There’s also <strong>the</strong><br />

Colonial-era Her Majesty’s Prison, which operated from<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1830s until 1994 and now serves as a small museum.<br />

The Grand Turk Lighthouse <strong>of</strong>fers a dose <strong>of</strong> history as<br />

well as a gorgeous backdrop for photos—and a herd <strong>of</strong><br />

wild (but friendly) donkeys who live in <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

As you can see, <strong>the</strong>re’s plenty more to do in TCI than<br />

just swimming and sunbathing. So finish your daiquiri,<br />

peel <strong>of</strong>f that snorkel mask, and spend some time getting<br />

to know <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos; you won’t be disappointed.<br />

a<br />

60 www.timespub.tc


new development<br />

Opposite page: The peaceful beach and pastel sunsets at The Loren<br />

at Turtle Cove are legendary.<br />

Top: The Loren occupies a prime location on <strong>the</strong> beach. Shown here<br />

is <strong>the</strong> hotel/condominium building, fronted by <strong>the</strong> private Beach Club.<br />

Above left: Culinary expertise will be on display at <strong>the</strong> signature<br />

restaurant. At right: The original Third Turtle Inn was <strong>the</strong> hub <strong>of</strong><br />

Providenciales social life “back in <strong>the</strong> days.”<br />

The Energy <strong>of</strong> Au<strong>the</strong>nticity<br />

The Loren at Turtle Cove reflects its deep roots.<br />

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Renderings Courtesy The Loren at Turtle Cove<br />

I don’t think <strong>the</strong>re’s anyone more suited than Robert Greenwood to introduce potential investors to The<br />

Loren at Turtle Cove. As he talks about this most-anticipated addition to <strong>the</strong> luxury resort scene, his<br />

face lights up with memories <strong>of</strong> his early days on Providenciales when life was simple, sun-kissed, and<br />

carefree. As you drive north on iconic Suzie Turn Road towards Turtle Cove, The Loren is tucked away in<br />

a private “elbow” <strong>of</strong> land, encircled with lush hillsides <strong>of</strong> native greenery, a long span <strong>of</strong> pristine beach,<br />

and an endless view <strong>of</strong> turquoise sea. In this protected cove is an intimate collection <strong>of</strong> 6 beachfront villas,<br />

25 condominium units (including 2 spectacular penthouses), and a 33-room resort hotel, along with an<br />

exclusive marina, restaurant, and beach club.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 63

Robert Greenwood, partner/broker at Christie’s<br />

International Real Estate Turks & Caicos, has come a long<br />

way from <strong>the</strong> late 1970s when he moved to Providenciales<br />

with his parents as a teenager. He recalls that Turtle Cove<br />

was <strong>the</strong> “original heart <strong>of</strong> Provo,” and it holds a special<br />

place in his heart as well.<br />

Many know <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> legendary Seven Dwarfs,<br />

a group <strong>of</strong> wealthy investors led by Fritz Ludington who<br />

“discovered” Providenciales in <strong>the</strong> 1960s on flights in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir small planes around <strong>the</strong> Caribbean. They made a<br />

development agreement with government to excavate<br />

Sellar’s Pond and create Turtle Cove Marina, lay an airstrip,<br />

scrape roads to <strong>the</strong> small settlements, and build<br />

<strong>the</strong> Third Turtle Inn as an island getaway. Robert fondly<br />

remembers <strong>the</strong> inn as THE hub where expatriates and<br />

natives ga<strong>the</strong>red to party and socialize. Its location at <strong>the</strong><br />

marina made it privy to <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> newcomers, news,<br />

and all <strong>the</strong> latest gossip. There were no telephones at<br />

<strong>the</strong> time and information was communicated via coconut<br />

telegraph (mouth-to-mouth} and VHS radio.<br />

Robert is gratified to know that <strong>the</strong> developers <strong>of</strong> The<br />

Loren at Turtle Cove are striving to retain <strong>the</strong> au<strong>the</strong>ntic<br />

spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> area, reflecting <strong>the</strong> joyful energy <strong>of</strong> its roots.<br />

This requires a depth <strong>of</strong> thought, a care and attention that<br />

is well matched to <strong>the</strong> ethos <strong>of</strong> The Loren Group and its<br />

sister properties, The Loren at Pink Beach in Bermuda and<br />

The Loren at Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Robert Greenwood<br />

has spent time with its leader Stephen King, so he knows<br />

The Loren is in good hands. “I appreciate his au<strong>the</strong>nticity<br />

and detail in design and execution, and I expect nothing<br />

short <strong>of</strong> exceptional.”<br />

The Loren’s design—inside and out—reflects <strong>the</strong> use<br />

<strong>of</strong> natural wood, native stonework, and light-filled space,<br />

inspired by <strong>the</strong> chic (for its time) flair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle<br />

Inn and taking it to a new level. This is only possible<br />

because The Loren is a low-density project, allowing<br />

plenty <strong>of</strong> room to blend sea, sand, sky, and greenery for<br />

an uncomplicated atmosphere much like <strong>the</strong> days when<br />

Provo was young.<br />

While Providenciales’ original adventurers were content—if<br />

not eager—to “make do” with a bare-bones hotel,<br />

modern owners will enjoy understated opulence. Because<br />

“privacy is <strong>the</strong> new luxury,” <strong>the</strong> six beachfront villas are<br />

accessed through gates <strong>of</strong>f The Loren’s private road.<br />

Ranging in size from five to seven bedrooms, each invites<br />

<strong>the</strong> seascape indoors with stunning views <strong>of</strong> tranquil<br />

waters through floor to ceiling windows. Oceanfront are<br />

private pool decks, terraces, and balconies surrounded by<br />

secluded garden acreage. Robert notes that <strong>the</strong> two-story<br />

layouts not only maximize views, but are very operational<br />

for <strong>the</strong> clientele. “Each bedroom has its own bathroom,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is a dedicated <strong>of</strong>fice space, private garage, and a<br />

second kitchen and laundry area for staff.”<br />

The 25 luxury condominiums <strong>of</strong>fer a variety <strong>of</strong> layouts<br />

with dramatic views from every direction from private balconies.<br />

They rise above <strong>the</strong> hotel, restaurant, and lobby<br />

on four levels, ranging in size from one to five bedrooms.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> top are two magnificent penthouses.<br />

This rendering <strong>of</strong> a condominium at The Loren displays both <strong>the</strong> magnificent view and its simple and soothing interior decor.<br />

64 www.timespub.tc






The Loren at Turtle Cove invites discerning residents and <strong>the</strong>ir guests to enjoy <strong>the</strong> ultimate in-island luxury living, poised at <strong>the</strong><br />

water’s edge. And all in a place where <strong>the</strong> lines between water and land, indoor and outdoor, blend seamlessly, elegantly, and<br />

naturally. The clean lines <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> modern architecture, highlighted by wood, natural stone, and lush native greenery, reflect, and<br />

accentuate <strong>the</strong> natural beauty surrounding it—from <strong>the</strong> foliage encompassing <strong>the</strong> property to <strong>the</strong> white sand shore to <strong>the</strong> very<br />

contours <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> land.<br />

The resort seamlessly blends a luxurious, intimate complex <strong>of</strong> six exclusive beachfront villas, 25 condominium units (including 2<br />

penthouses), and a 33-room hotel, pool decks, <strong>the</strong> beach, and <strong>the</strong> ocean <strong>of</strong>fering breathtaking panoramic views <strong>of</strong> violet-pink<br />

sunsets. The private marina, afforded to resident owners, <strong>of</strong>fers boat slips ranging from 30 to 70 feet. Light-filled modern spaces,<br />

stunning panoramic ocean views, exclusive amenities, and impeccable service <strong>of</strong>fer life in perfect harmony with <strong>the</strong> sublime<br />

surroundings—uncomplicated, simple, yet remarkable.<br />


Grand Villa 7 Bedroom / 11 Bath 10,127 $15,141,600<br />

Bougainvillea 5 Bedroom / 9 Bath 6,631 $9,831,900 2300422<br />


2C 2 nd Floor – 1 Bedroom/1 Bath/ Half Bath 1,600 $1,280,000 2300531<br />

2A 2 nd Floor – 1 Bedroom/1 Bath/ Half Bath 1,800 $1,440,000 2300584<br />

2D 2 nd Floor – 2 Bedroom/2 Bath/ Half Bath 2,382 $2,620,200 2300585<br />

3F 3 rd Floor – 2 Bedroom/2 Bath/ Half Bath 2,353 $2,648,300 2300532<br />

4C 4 th Floor – 3 Bedroom/3 Bath/Half Bath 4,155 $4,690,500 2300534<br />


Robert Greenwood | +1 649 432 7653<br />

Walter Gardiner | +1 649 231 6461<br />

EMAIL: sales@<strong>the</strong>lorentci.com<br />

Member <strong>of</strong><br />

Prices Subject to Change

The Loren’s six luxury villas are surrounded by secluded gardens, front <strong>the</strong> beautiful beach, and include private pools and beachfront terraces.<br />

Interiors <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> residences feature rich textures and<br />

calming colors, accented with limited edition artwork.<br />

Gourmet kitchens feature energy-conscious designer<br />

appliances, while elegant bathrooms and in-unit laundries<br />

include environmentally responsible fittings. Generous<br />

closet and storage space, including an owner’s lock-out,<br />

make it easy for owners to store <strong>the</strong>ir belongings should<br />

<strong>the</strong>y choose to rent out <strong>the</strong>ir units.<br />

The Loren blurs <strong>the</strong> line between “boutique” property<br />

and franchise with an array <strong>of</strong> amenities available to owners<br />

and guests. All have access to hotel facilities such as<br />

<strong>the</strong> pool, fitness center, spa, meeting space, bar, wine<br />

room, and restaurant. Upon arrival <strong>the</strong>y can partake in<br />

valet parking and airport transfers, <strong>24</strong>-hour concierge,<br />

and on-site security. Owners enjoy access to a temperature-controlled<br />

wine storage unit and <strong>of</strong>f-site covered<br />

parking when <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> island. Property management by<br />

The Loren Hotel Group ensures that life at The Loren at<br />

Turtle Cove remains turn-key and hassle-free.<br />

The gorgeous, white sand beach fronting The Loren is<br />

known as Babalua Beach. Robert (and I) agree that it was<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> best places to ga<strong>the</strong>r “back in <strong>the</strong> days.” The<br />

waters are calm, sunsets spectacular, and <strong>the</strong> reef colorful<br />

and rich in marine life. Its location allows for limited<br />

foot traffic. These days, socializing will likely take place<br />

at <strong>the</strong> private Beach Club. Its two infinity pools seem to<br />

melt into <strong>the</strong> sea, <strong>the</strong>re are luxury cabanas with private<br />

bar service, a pool bar and grill, and fire pits to add flair.<br />

Residents and guests will also enjoy access to water<br />

activities such snorkeling and paddleboarding. Pickleball<br />

and tennis facilities are on-site, along e-bikes to easily<br />

explore and move from place to place. The onsite concierge<br />

can plan hiking and nature walks and tours to<br />

discover local culture.<br />

Turtle Cove Marina was a Providenciales original,<br />

always bustling with scuba diving and fishing boats,<br />

attracting international yachts for <strong>the</strong> annual Billfish<br />

Tournament. In <strong>the</strong> same spirit, The Loren at Turtle<br />

Cove’s Marina <strong>of</strong>fers 32 fully serviced slips ranging from<br />

30 to 60 feet. Villa and condo owners will be <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

<strong>the</strong> first opportunity to secure long-term leases. Robert<br />

explains, “This gives owners and visitors <strong>the</strong> ability to<br />

travel beyond Grace Bay Beach and explore <strong>the</strong> many<br />

remote and pristine beaches on our out islands and cays.<br />

This was one <strong>of</strong> my favorite pastimes growing up.” Local<br />

charter boats and tour operators can also use <strong>the</strong> marina<br />

to pick up passengers for excursions and watersports.<br />

The signature Third Turtle waterfront restaurant stays<br />

true to its legacy with an open-air, inviting atmosphere<br />

and prime ocean and sunset views. It serves local seafood<br />

in <strong>the</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ancestors but steps it up with a worldclass<br />

menu displaying culinary expertise. There is an<br />

expansive bar and lounge and glassed-in wine room with<br />

choices from <strong>the</strong> curated selection in its cellar. Guests<br />

can savor special occasions in a private dining area or<br />

plan a celebration at one <strong>of</strong> two event spaces.<br />

66 www.timespub.tc

Of special significance is The Loren Group’s 2% < 2º<br />

Initiative, where luxury meets sustainability. The Loren<br />

asks guests to contribute 2% <strong>of</strong> amounts billed towards<br />

acquiring and regenerating over 50,000 biodiverse acres<br />

<strong>of</strong> land and planting 10 million hardwood trees to <strong>of</strong>fset<br />

<strong>the</strong> company’s carbon footprint. They agree with Roots<br />

Imperative experts that preventing a 2ºC increase in<br />

global temperature can preserve much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> character <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> world as we know it. At The Loren at Turtle Cove, care<br />

is taken with <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> recycled and responsibly sourced<br />

construction materials, water-conscious appliances, and<br />

energy-efficient systems.<br />

Robert Greenwood is clearly a perfectionist when it<br />

comes to his trade and member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Christie’s Master’s<br />

Circle. Every year, he travels around <strong>the</strong> Caribbean to get<br />

a sense <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> real estate market in similar upscale markets.<br />

He says, “We’ve got it good here in <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos. Not only are prices more reasonable than elsewhere,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> overall environment is less crowded and<br />

more relaxing.” He has visited <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Loren properties<br />

and raves about <strong>the</strong>ir understated luxury, attention to<br />

detail, and au<strong>the</strong>nticity as to place.<br />

The seasoned broker notes that TCI is in a phase <strong>of</strong><br />

new development that has investors paying close attention.<br />

“Post COVID-19, Turks & Caicos was ‘rediscovered’<br />

as an oasis <strong>of</strong> privacy and security for <strong>the</strong> wealthy, but<br />

we had very limited inventory to <strong>of</strong>fer. Now you can see<br />

construction spiking on resorts, rental villas, and luxury<br />

properties. Having this new development in Turtle Cove<br />

will finally allow this special area to come into its own.”<br />

One <strong>of</strong> The Loren’s signature villas is currently under<br />

construction and can be seen listed for nearly $10 million<br />

in Christies’ current magazine. The Loren at Turtle<br />

Cove’s combination <strong>of</strong> privacy, location, and luxury suggests<br />

that few <strong>of</strong>ferings will be left on <strong>the</strong> market after<br />

<strong>the</strong> traditionally busy winter season.<br />

The Loren’s grand opening is scheduled for January<br />

2026. Robert says <strong>the</strong> plan is to invite many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island<br />

folk who were <strong>the</strong>re when Turtle Cove was just an outrageous<br />

idea, likely conceived after one too many rum<br />

punches. He calls out bartender Watson Jolly, chef “Fast<br />

Eddie” LaPorte, builder David Ward, and surveyor (now<br />

realtor) Bengt Soderqvist.<br />

He adds “Every character who has passed through<br />

<strong>the</strong> Third Turtle has left a bit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir energy behind—an<br />

eclectic, eccentric “Caribbean cool” unmatched elsewhere.<br />

I feel that The Loren has captured this energy and<br />

expanded on it to make this a very special place, creating<br />

an au<strong>the</strong>nticity all its own.” a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 67

history in art<br />

68 www.timespub.tc

Indian Cave, Middle Caicos<br />

Original Artwork By Richard McGhie ~ Text By Kathy Borsuk<br />

Looking at this painting by local artist Richard McGhie,<br />

I can transport myself back in time, when Indian Cave<br />

in Middle Caicos was a place <strong>of</strong> majesty and mystery.<br />

Imagine, over 1,000 years ago, <strong>the</strong> Lucayan people<br />

spent time in <strong>the</strong> same cave that residents and tourists<br />

visit today. They, too, may have stood under sunbeams<br />

coming from <strong>the</strong> natural skylights and marveled at <strong>the</strong><br />

hanging ficus roots coming through ceiling. They enjoyed<br />

<strong>the</strong> dank, cool air as a relief from <strong>the</strong> uncomfortable heat.<br />

The tang <strong>of</strong> woodsmoke could have filled <strong>the</strong> cave, and<br />

may have helped keep mosquitoes at bay. The cave floor<br />

was a s<strong>of</strong>t, elastic mat <strong>of</strong> “cave earth,” an accumulation <strong>of</strong><br />

bat guano. If meals were eaten, <strong>the</strong>y could have included<br />

tortoise, bird, and iguana meat, as bones <strong>of</strong> all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

creatures, as well as pottery artifacts, have been found in<br />

<strong>the</strong> cave.<br />

Belief is that <strong>the</strong> Taíno and Lucayan people who inhabited<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> from AD 700 to 1500 had<br />

deep spiritual association with caves and used <strong>the</strong>m as<br />

sanctuaries for religious rituals. They recognized three<br />

main divisions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cosmos: a sky world, <strong>the</strong> land world<br />

<strong>of</strong> living people, and <strong>the</strong> world <strong>of</strong> subterranean waters.<br />

Caves were <strong>the</strong> portals to <strong>the</strong> subterranean world. Their<br />

mythology was that <strong>the</strong> Taínos are <strong>the</strong> one true people<br />

who emerged from <strong>the</strong> “sacred cave,” while everyone else<br />

came from a “cave <strong>of</strong> no importance”!<br />

Indian Cave is a “flank margin” cave formed when<br />

porous limestone becomes saturated with salt water. On<br />

top sits a layer <strong>of</strong> slightly acidic rainwater. At this mixing<br />

zone, caves are formed. They typically do not form with<br />

entrances; instead, years later, erosion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hillside or<br />

collapse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong> may create an entrance.<br />

Today, visitors to Middle Caicos can stop by <strong>the</strong> cave<br />

(located on <strong>the</strong> road after Mudjin Harbour) and tour it<br />

at <strong>the</strong>ir leisure. There is no entry fee or guide required.<br />

Indian Cave is a protected area, so please don’t deface<br />

<strong>the</strong> cave with inscriptions or graffiti or take any natural<br />

or historical objects. a<br />

Richard McGhie is a local artist who is currently painting<br />

a collection <strong>of</strong> works for an exhibition portraying <strong>the</strong> history<br />

<strong>of</strong> life and events in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 69


feature<br />

Opposite page: The TCI Arts Foundation encourages residents to explore and expand <strong>the</strong>ir performance skills with pr<strong>of</strong>essionals in live<br />

music, dance, and drama.<br />

Above: Following a series <strong>of</strong> puppet workshops in local schools, puppeteer/poet Patrick Osteen performed an intense, one-man, 90-minute<br />

performance <strong>of</strong> The Iliad at Tribe restaurant in mid-November <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

A Sensational Sequel<br />

TCI Arts Foundation invigorates entertainment options in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Images Courtesy TCI Arts Foundation<br />

It’s quite uncommon that I schedule an interview around <strong>the</strong> plans <strong>of</strong> a puppeteer. But Clare Jaget, executive<br />

director <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI Arts Foundation, was busy making sure Patrick Osteen got to schools on time. The<br />

renowned puppeteer was visiting from RhinoLeap Productions in North Carolina to conduct workshops<br />

for Providenciales schoolchildren. When Clare and I finally met up, she was bright-faced and ecstatic.<br />

“The children were so excited about making <strong>the</strong>ir own puppets and using <strong>the</strong>ir imagination in <strong>the</strong> Puppet<br />

Olympics. Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shyest children had <strong>the</strong>ir puppet ‘talking up’ a storm. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> kids, even <strong>the</strong><br />

older boys, carefully carried <strong>the</strong>ir puppets home, treating <strong>the</strong>m as if <strong>the</strong>y were alive.”<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 71

Although Clare trained as an actress at <strong>the</strong> Guilford<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Acting in London, performed on stage in<br />

England and America, and practiced her craft in Las Vegas<br />

for many years, it would be hard to “fake” her enthusiasm<br />

for bringing arts back to <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Passion exudes from her soul as she pours out her plans<br />

and describes <strong>the</strong> projects already accomplished over <strong>the</strong><br />

last year.<br />

Many island residents remember <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

Friends <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Art Foundation (TCFAF) led by Mark and<br />

Barbara Pankhurst. From 2002 to 2019, TCFAF produced<br />

over 60 original performances using local and international<br />

talent. In <strong>the</strong> process, <strong>the</strong>y raised over half a<br />

million dollars, used to build and outfit facilities (such as<br />

Brayton Hall) and provide scholarships, instruments, and<br />

training in performance and visual arts for local children.<br />

It seemed providential that in 2019, Clare and her<br />

family moved to Providenciales after vacationing in <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong> for years. Clare’s background made her <strong>the</strong> ideal<br />

person to lead <strong>the</strong> new TCI Arts Foundation. With <strong>the</strong> help<br />

<strong>of</strong> Michelle L’Heureux from L’Heureux & Co., Law Firm<br />

and <strong>the</strong> added enthusiasm <strong>of</strong> a group <strong>of</strong> similarly dedicated<br />

board members things started happening!<br />

Clare explains how it all got started. “After we lived<br />

here for a while, I realized <strong>the</strong>re wasn’t a lot for residents<br />

or tourists to do beyond <strong>the</strong> beach. I missed going to <strong>the</strong><br />

cinema, concerts, <strong>the</strong>ater, art fairs and <strong>the</strong> like.” After<br />

talking to <strong>the</strong> Pankhursts, she learned that <strong>the</strong>re was a<br />

wealth <strong>of</strong> artistic talent in <strong>the</strong> country just waiting to be<br />

reinvigorated.<br />

The foundation was launched in November 2022 and<br />

<strong>the</strong> first events took place around Christmastime: <strong>the</strong><br />

annual Arts and Crafts Expo in Saltmills Plaza, a fair at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Edward Gartland Youth Centre, and a movie night.<br />

But Clare’s true love surfaced quickly: Shakespeare<br />

and drama. As co-founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Shakespeare Institute<br />

in Nevada, she reached out to her contacts, and Matt and<br />

Heidi Morgan were eager to help. Thus, <strong>the</strong> inaugural<br />

“Shakespeare in Schools” week-long event launched in<br />

March <strong>2023</strong>. With assistance from Minister <strong>of</strong> Education<br />

Hon. Rachel Taylor, Director <strong>of</strong> Education Edgar Howell,<br />

and a handful <strong>of</strong> sponsors, <strong>the</strong> team worked with local<br />

schools to bring <strong>the</strong> classic plays alive.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> process, Clare Jaget discovered a truth. While<br />

her original intent had been to enliven entertainment<br />

options in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, an unexpected side effect was<br />

<strong>the</strong> joy and enthusiasm <strong>the</strong> program brought out in <strong>the</strong><br />

schools. She says, “Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> children had never seen<br />

live <strong>the</strong>ater before and <strong>the</strong>y were entranced. Each class-<br />

From top: Local children enjoyed making puppets during <strong>the</strong> recent<br />

puppet workshop held by RhinoLeap Productions.<br />

The annual Arts and Crafts Expo in Saltmills Plaza is a popular showcase<br />

<strong>of</strong> items created by local artists, held just before Christmas.<br />

In 2022, children and teens at <strong>the</strong> Edward Gartland Youth Centre<br />

enjoyed a Christmas fair complete with music and dancing.<br />

72 www.timespub.tc

oom was packed, and <strong>the</strong> kids couldn’t take <strong>the</strong>ir eyes<br />

<strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> actors. They begged for <strong>the</strong>m to return soon!”<br />

They didn’t have to wait long. In June <strong>2023</strong>, Aesop’s<br />

Touring Theatre Company came to <strong>the</strong> primary schools<br />

for a workshop based on Aesop’s Fables. The youngsters<br />

were similarly drawn to such timeless tales as The Hare<br />

and <strong>the</strong> Tortoise and The North Wind and <strong>the</strong> Sun.<br />

The TCI Arts Foundation has also turned its sights<br />

on fundraising, selecting <strong>the</strong> Ashley Learning Centre<br />

as its focus. In April <strong>2023</strong>, musicians from <strong>the</strong> New<br />

World Symphony held a concert <strong>the</strong>med, “We’re in this<br />

Toge<strong>the</strong>r,” that raised money for <strong>the</strong> struggling school<br />

for autistic children. In October <strong>2023</strong>, <strong>the</strong> foundation’s<br />

main fundraiser, “Halloween Spooktacular,” took place at<br />

The Palms resort. A spooky night <strong>of</strong> fun with food, drink,<br />

music, dancing, and costumes was a first-time treat for<br />

<strong>the</strong> island and will become an annual event.<br />

The longest established legal practice<br />

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

Real Estate Investments<br />

& Property Development<br />

Immigration, Residency<br />

& Business Licensing<br />

Company & Commercial Law<br />

Trusts & Estate Planning<br />

Banking & Insurance<br />

1 Caribbean Place, P.O. Box 97<br />

Leeward Highway, Providenciales<br />

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

Ph: 649 946 4344 • Fax: 649 946 4564<br />

E-Mail: dempsey@tciway.tc<br />

Musicians from <strong>the</strong> New World Symphony performed in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to<br />

raise money for Ashley Learning Centre.<br />

As I wrote this, puppeteer Patrick Osteen (who also<br />

happens to be a poet) was concluding his visit to TCI<br />

with an intense one-man, 90-minute performance <strong>of</strong> The<br />

Iliad at Tribe restaurant in Ports <strong>of</strong> Call. “Life changing,”<br />

“Intense,” and “Inspirational” were some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> comments<br />

received from <strong>the</strong> audience. The excitement <strong>of</strong> live <strong>the</strong>ater<br />

on-island was unprecedented.<br />

The Christmas Pantomime had for many years been<br />

a highlight <strong>of</strong> island holiday festivities but fell by <strong>the</strong><br />

wayside with <strong>the</strong> disbandment <strong>of</strong> TCFAF and ensuing<br />

COVID-19 restrictions. Clare had plans to revive it in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, but <strong>the</strong> illness <strong>of</strong> a lead player and lack <strong>of</strong> a venue<br />

has it postponed to 20<strong>24</strong>. The pantomime is a cornucopia<br />

<strong>of</strong> local players, many <strong>of</strong> whom have participated for<br />

years. With <strong>the</strong> script, soundtrack, scenes, and costumes<br />

already in place, Clare says rehearsals for <strong>the</strong> 20<strong>24</strong> event<br />

will start well ahead <strong>of</strong> time.<br />

Cockburn House, P.O. Box 70<br />

Market Street, Grand Turk<br />

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

Ph: 649 946 2<strong>24</strong>5 • Fax: 649 946 2758<br />

E-Mail: ffdlawco@tciway.tc<br />

john redmond associates ltd.<br />

architects & designers<br />

construction consultants<br />

project management<br />

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>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 73

All <strong>of</strong> this underscores <strong>the</strong> need for a proper auditorium<br />

in which to hold future events. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> older<br />

venues need repair and updating, for which <strong>the</strong> foundation<br />

doesn’t have <strong>the</strong> money. Clare looks with hope to<br />

<strong>the</strong> state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art auditorium nearing completion at <strong>the</strong><br />

Louise Garland Primary School in Long Bay as <strong>the</strong> ideal<br />

place to stage future events.<br />

At press time, <strong>the</strong> TCI Arts Foundation was finalizing<br />

<strong>the</strong> annual Arts & Crafts festival, a showcase <strong>of</strong> items<br />

created by local artists, highlighted with music and food.<br />

They were eagerly anticipating <strong>the</strong> Murder Mystery <strong>the</strong>ater<br />

event on January 20, 20<strong>24</strong>. Clare had lured pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

players from Las Vegas to work with local artistes including<br />

Tess Charles, Cora Malcolm, Christine McCann, and<br />

Ancy Dorsica. The group are rehearsing toge<strong>the</strong>r via<br />

ZOOM. The performance will include a three-course dinner<br />

and drama with active audience participation. Tickets<br />

were expected to sell out quickly, with a possible second<br />

night in <strong>the</strong> making.<br />

Looking into 20<strong>24</strong>, Clare and her team are excited<br />

about <strong>the</strong> Valentine’s Fair on February 10, 20<strong>24</strong>. Children<br />

and teens at <strong>the</strong> Edward Gartland Youth Centre will enjoy<br />

a day <strong>of</strong> cookie decorating, crafts led by local artist (and<br />

Aesop’s Touring Theatre Company’s workshop based on Aesop’s<br />

Fables was a big hit with primary schoolchildren.<br />



74 www.timespub.tc

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 />

These scenes are from <strong>the</strong> beloved Island Review, a compilation <strong>of</strong><br />

local talent that will return in <strong>the</strong> spring <strong>of</strong> 20<strong>24</strong>.<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>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 75

foundation board member) Lucie Stubbs, face painting,<br />

and entertainment.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> spring, board member David Bowen will again<br />

spearhead <strong>the</strong> beloved Island Review, a rousing compilation<br />

<strong>of</strong> local talent ranging from ripsaw bands to<br />

poetry readings and dance performances. The popular<br />

after-school Dance Workshop is expected to return in<br />

May, led by Louis Kavouras, a dance pr<strong>of</strong>essor from <strong>the</strong><br />

University <strong>of</strong> Las Vegas, and nine <strong>of</strong> his students. The TCI<br />

Art Foundation is currently in negotiations with <strong>the</strong>m and<br />

seeking sponsors to make this happen.<br />

Back by popular demand will be Shakespeare Week<br />

in March with performances from Macbeth and Romeo<br />

and Juliet, and <strong>the</strong> Aesop’s Touring Theatre Company<br />

with Robin Hood Rescues <strong>the</strong> Forest. Targeted at primary<br />

school students, <strong>the</strong> interactive play is about ecology and<br />

<strong>the</strong> environment, and full <strong>of</strong> comedy and music. Clare<br />

says she’d also love to attract a pr<strong>of</strong>essional magician<br />

from Las Vegas for a show and workshops.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> foundation is grateful for <strong>the</strong> many sponsors<br />

(see sidebar) who have already stepped up to <strong>the</strong> plate—<br />

donating rooms, meals, event space, and gift certificates<br />

for fund raising—<strong>the</strong>re is always <strong>the</strong> need for more consistent<br />

funding and creative donations. For instance,<br />

property owners could allow visiting performers to stay<br />

in <strong>the</strong>ir villas and, perhaps, provide meals. Resort concierges<br />

could make sure visitors know about upcoming<br />

events.<br />

In this issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, writer Ben<br />

Stubenberg posits that one key to sustainable tourism is<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering activities that help visitors interact with Islanders<br />

and residents. Clare notes <strong>the</strong> comments by a pair <strong>of</strong><br />

tourists who attended <strong>the</strong> Island Review earlier this year.<br />

“We stumbled upon <strong>the</strong> event. It was so much fun and<br />

made us feel like we were a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> island.” As well,<br />

<strong>the</strong> foundation is encouraging residents to explore and<br />

expand <strong>the</strong>ir performance skills with pr<strong>of</strong>essionals in live<br />

music, dance, and drama.<br />

So if you have a hidden Denzel Washington or Whitney<br />

Houston in your soul, would like to volunteer to help with<br />

events, or are able to donate money or assistance, visit<br />

www.tciartsfoundation.com for more information. a<br />

76 www.timespub.tc

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 <strong>24</strong>7 2160/US incoming 786 220 1159 • email info@tcmuseum.org • web www.tcmuseum.org<br />

This close-up <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Breezy Point area on East Caicos today hides <strong>the</strong> controversy surrounding its ownership in <strong>the</strong> 1800s.<br />


A Property Puzzle<br />

The controversial ownership <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point on East Caicos–Part 1.<br />

By Jeff Dodge<br />

From J. Henry Pusey’s The Handbook <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (1897 edition): “<strong>the</strong> large tract <strong>of</strong><br />

land called Breezy Point was o<strong>the</strong>rwise designated Cape Comet is also included in Grand Caicos. . .”<br />

Who were <strong>the</strong> legitimate owners <strong>of</strong> East Caicos Island, or more specifically, a tract <strong>of</strong> land at Breezy<br />

Point? The answer to this question turns out to be a convoluted story that is proving difficult to unwind.<br />

This is part one <strong>of</strong> a two-part story that begins in 1807 with <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>of</strong> Bermuda.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 77

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This French map shows <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> as <strong>the</strong>y were represented circa 1780. Middle Caicos was previously known as Grand Caicos and<br />

included what was later called East Caicos.<br />

First to own land at Breezy Point<br />

John Ingham and his bro<strong>the</strong>r Thomas Jr. each received<br />

land grants for tracts <strong>of</strong> land at Breezy Point on East<br />

Caicos Island from <strong>the</strong> Governor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas Charles<br />

Cameron Esquire. These land grants were certified on<br />

April <strong>24</strong>, 1807.<br />

John’s land grant described his land as:<br />

“a tract containing four hundred eighty acres <strong>of</strong><br />

vacant land situated at <strong>the</strong> Eastern Point <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Caicos Island called Greasy Point bounded northwardly<br />

by white or sandy sand beaches, eastwardly<br />

and westwardly by vacant land and has such shape<br />

and marks as are represented in <strong>the</strong> above plat.”<br />

Thomas Ingham Jr.’s land grant described his property<br />

as:<br />

“a tract containing eight hundred and eighty eight<br />

acres <strong>of</strong> land situated on <strong>the</strong> East or Grand Caicos<br />

bordering northwardly by <strong>the</strong> land <strong>of</strong> John Ingham<br />

and on all o<strong>the</strong>r sides by vacant land and hath such<br />

shape and marks as <strong>the</strong> above plat represents.”<br />

The two Ingham land plats are shown on page 79.<br />

Note that in <strong>the</strong> early 19th century, East Caicos was considered<br />

part <strong>of</strong> Middle Caicos, which was <strong>the</strong>n known<br />

as Grand Caicos. Why <strong>the</strong> Bahamian Government <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

who prepared <strong>the</strong> Ingham land grant documents<br />

referred to Breezy Point as “Greasy Point” is bewildering.<br />

None<strong>the</strong>less, it’s obvious what was intended.<br />

John and Thomas raised cattle on <strong>the</strong>ir Breezy Point<br />

holdings as well as o<strong>the</strong>r livestock. It is doubtful that<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m lived on East Caicos, however slaves owned<br />

by <strong>the</strong>m must have done so. For example, <strong>the</strong> Slave<br />

Return <strong>of</strong> 1822 lists 13 slaves by name that belonged to<br />

Thomas Ingham Jr.<br />

John Ingham’s descendants and will<br />

John was never <strong>of</strong>ficially married. Never<strong>the</strong>less, he had<br />

two children by a slave woman named Eve. According to<br />

baptismal records, <strong>the</strong>ir son Robert was born in 1806 and<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir daughter Rose in 1808. John Ingham’s will states<br />

that Eve belonged to John McIntosh Esquire.<br />

John Ingham’s will, dated August 13, 1818, begins:<br />

“now residing in Grand Key [Grand Turk] one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks <strong>Islands</strong> Bahamas, being sick and weak in body,<br />

but <strong>of</strong> sound mind and memory do make this my last<br />

Will and Testament in manner following . . .”<br />

His will goes on to list George Gibbs, Capt. Thomas<br />

Lea Smith, and John McIntosh as his executors. His will<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r states that:<br />

“I will and bequeath all my property real and personal<br />

<strong>of</strong> whatever description consisting <strong>of</strong> lands, negroes,<br />

live stock and o<strong>the</strong>r articles that my Executors George<br />

Gibbs, Captain Thomas L. Smith and John McIntosh<br />

78 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This aerial view shows <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point and <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs’ land grants.<br />

as aforesaid and at present<br />

residing in Grand Key<br />

Turks <strong>Islands</strong> aforesaid <strong>the</strong><br />

said property <strong>of</strong> whatever<br />

kind to be in trust and for<br />

<strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> my natural born<br />

children Robert and Rose<br />

Ingham both Mulattoes,<br />

subject however to <strong>the</strong><br />

unlimited management,<br />

direction and control <strong>of</strong><br />

my said Executors until<br />

<strong>the</strong> youngest child Rose<br />

Ingham arrives at <strong>the</strong> age<br />

<strong>of</strong> eighteen years when <strong>the</strong><br />

property is to be divided as<br />

following.”<br />

John’s will goes on to say:<br />

“that my real estate or tract<br />

<strong>of</strong> land at Greasy Point on<br />

<strong>the</strong> E. Grand Caicos with all<br />

<strong>the</strong> improvements <strong>the</strong>reon<br />

and all <strong>the</strong> live stock consisting<br />

<strong>of</strong> cattle, horses,<br />

This image shows <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs’ land grants as drawn and approved by <strong>the</strong> Bahamian<br />

Government in 1807. The two adjacent land grants toge<strong>the</strong>r formed a 1,368 acre tract <strong>of</strong> land at Breezy<br />

Point. (The original “boundry landmarks” have been typed by <strong>the</strong> author for readability.)<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 79

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

hogs etc. are to be <strong>the</strong> joint property <strong>of</strong> Robert and<br />

Rose aforesaid and to be ei<strong>the</strong>r occupied, and managed,<br />

divided or sold by my aforesaid Executors as<br />

<strong>the</strong>y may judge proper.”<br />

John’s children, Robert and Rose<br />

Robert and Rose were baptized at St. Thomas Church on<br />

Grand Turk on April 27, 1818 by a visiting pastor from<br />

Nassau. The baptism took place just a few months before<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r wrote his last will and testament.<br />

Since Eve, <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> Robert and Rose, was a slave<br />

owned by John McIntosh, her children were also slaves<br />

belonging to McIntosh. In <strong>the</strong> early 19th century, it was<br />

unlikely that a slave could own or inherit real property.<br />

To remedy this situation, John manumitted (freed) his<br />

son Robert in 1816—his daughter Rose was manumitted<br />

a year later. The manumission documents freeing <strong>the</strong>m<br />

were actually receipts showing <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> money John<br />

Ingham paid McIntosh to free each <strong>of</strong> his two children.<br />

Rose Ingham’s manumission document was signed by John McIntosh<br />

and dated May 27, 1817.<br />

Rose Ingham was freed (manumitted) in 1817. Note<br />

that in <strong>the</strong> document above, John McIntosh refers to Rose<br />

as “Rose Johnson” and fur<strong>the</strong>r on as “Rose Ingham” suggesting<br />

that <strong>the</strong> last name <strong>of</strong> Rose’s mo<strong>the</strong>r, Eve, may<br />

have been Johnson. Being free persons, Robert and Rose<br />

would be entitled to inherit <strong>the</strong> property at Breezy Point<br />

that <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r bequea<strong>the</strong>d to <strong>the</strong>m. John’s will stipulated<br />

that his Breezy Point property was to be put in trust<br />

for his children. His executors were to manage <strong>the</strong> property<br />

until Rose’s 18th birthday in 1826. John McIntosh’s<br />

will dated March 22, 1817 directed that Eve was to be<br />

freed upon his death—McIntosh died in 1819.<br />

On June 4, 1829, Rose married Benjamin Wood, “a<br />

carpenter and a free person <strong>of</strong> color.” It is not known if<br />

Robert Ingham ever married.<br />

Thomas Ingham Jr. and his descendants<br />

Thomas Ingham Jr. married Deborah Place Stamers—it<br />

was her second marriage. They had no children <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

own, but <strong>the</strong>re were three children from Deborah’s first<br />

marriage to Benjamin Stamers. Her children (Thomas Jr.’s<br />

stepchildren) were Elizabeth M. Stamers, Jane S. Stamers,<br />

and Copeland John Stamers.<br />

Thomas Jr. died on April 1, 1823. His wife Deborah<br />

died eight weeks later. To complicate matters, Thomas<br />

Jr. died intestate (without a will). The administration <strong>of</strong><br />

his estate was granted to his stepson, Copeland John<br />

Stamers, by <strong>the</strong> acting governor <strong>of</strong> Bermuda on May 26,<br />

1823.<br />

Thomas Jr.’s fa<strong>the</strong>r, Thomas Ingham Sr., survived<br />

his son by eight years—he died on January 6, 1831. His<br />

will bequea<strong>the</strong>d his property, both real and personal, to<br />

his third wife Frances (red circle in <strong>the</strong> family diagram<br />

at right), and to his granddaughters: Mary Jane Ingham<br />

Frith and Eliza Deborah Frith (blue circles). Nowhere does<br />

his will specifically mention his son’s property at Breezy<br />

Point, suggesting that his son’s land on East Caicos never<br />

conveyed or belonged to him. If <strong>the</strong>re was an inventory <strong>of</strong><br />

his estate, it hasn’t been found.<br />

Since Thomas Jr.’s wife Deborah died before his<br />

estate could be probated, his fa<strong>the</strong>r would probably have<br />

been next in line to inherit it. Instead, however, Thomas<br />

Jr.’s land at Breezy Point went to his stepson, Copeland<br />

John Stamers. Exactly why is unknown. Was <strong>the</strong> fact<br />

that Stamers had been appointed <strong>the</strong> administrator <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> estate have anything to do with it? Did Thomas Sr.<br />

indicate he didn’t want <strong>the</strong> property? We can only guess.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, Thomas Ingham’s 888-acre parcel at Breezy<br />

Point ended up in <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> Copeland John Stamers.<br />

Rose and Robert and <strong>the</strong>ir inheritance<br />

No records have yet surfaced to indicate that John<br />

Ingham’s two children, Rose and Robert, ever took possession<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r’s 480-acre parcel at Breezy Point.<br />

No documents have been found showing that <strong>the</strong>y or<br />

John’s executors sold <strong>the</strong> property.<br />

Copeland John Stamers and his will<br />

Copeland John Stamers was born in Bermuda in 1802 and<br />

by 1825 was living on Salt Cay where he owned salt properties.<br />

He married Caroline S. Smith <strong>of</strong> Bermuda in 1830.<br />

They had three children: Benjamin H. Stamers, Copeland<br />

80 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Place Stamers, and Susanna D. Stamers. His wife Caroline<br />

died in 1840.<br />

Copeland J. Stamers died in August 1866. He left his<br />

property, both real and personal, to his three children<br />

to be divided among <strong>the</strong>m equally. In his will, his Breezy<br />

Point holdings were described as (underlining by author):<br />

“all <strong>of</strong> my lands Situated at <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, one<br />

portion by original Grant containing one thousand<br />

three hundred and sixty acres, situated at Breezy<br />

Point, East Caicos, and all o<strong>the</strong>r portions situated<br />

<strong>the</strong>reon known as Breezy Point East Caicos my right<br />

by continued occupancy, toge<strong>the</strong>r with all Horned<br />

Cattle & o<strong>the</strong>r Stock <strong>the</strong>reon, and all houses and<br />

buildings on <strong>the</strong> said land . . .”<br />

This description is puzzling. “One portion by original<br />

grant containing 1,360 acres” clearly refers to both<br />

parcels <strong>of</strong> land originally granted to <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

in 1807. The o<strong>the</strong>r land at Breezy Point “by right <strong>of</strong><br />

continued occupancy” could refer to <strong>the</strong> vacant land surrounding<br />

those 1,360 acres, or was Stamers trying to<br />

justify his claim to <strong>the</strong> 480 acres that had been granted<br />

to John Ingham and was to have gone to his two children?<br />

Inventory <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Copeland J. Stamers estate<br />

In January 1867, <strong>the</strong> Court <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ordinary on Grand Turk<br />

empowered George Jones and Benjamin Wood <strong>of</strong> Salt Cay<br />

to inventory and appraise <strong>the</strong> properties in <strong>the</strong> estate <strong>of</strong><br />

Copeland J. Stamers excluding those located on Bermuda.<br />

(Jones had witnessed Stamers sign his will. Benjamin<br />

Wood was probably Rose Ingham’s husband). See <strong>the</strong><br />

inventory on page 82.<br />

Notice that <strong>the</strong> inventory includes <strong>the</strong> 888 acres at<br />

Breezy Point that Stamers inherited from his stepfa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Thomas Ingham Jr., but doesn’t include <strong>the</strong> adjacent 480-<br />

acre parcel that was to have been left in trust to Rose and<br />

Robert. Why Jones and Wood didn’t include John Ingham’s<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 81

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Value<br />

Total <strong>of</strong> value <strong>of</strong> Personal Property (not itemized) £484.1<br />

Blue Hills (Caicos) (Providenciales) 3,490 acres <strong>of</strong> Land £150.0<br />

Breezy Point Caicos 888 Acres <strong>of</strong> Land with about 80 Head Cattle 380.0<br />

1 Lot at Grand Cay (Grand Turk) 10.0<br />

6 lots at this Cay (Small) (Salt Cay) 12.0<br />

3 Plantation lots at this Cay (Salt Cay) 12.0<br />

8 Acres Salt Pond at this Cay (Salt Cay) @ £100 ea. 800.0<br />

Amount Book Debts (money owed estate) 25.0<br />

Dwelling house Lot, Salt house & Improvements this Cay (Salt Cay) 200.0<br />

Total appraised value <strong>of</strong> real estate and debts owed to <strong>the</strong> estate £1,589.0<br />

Grand Total <strong>of</strong> real and personal property (on <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>) £2,073.1<br />

480-acre parcel in <strong>the</strong> inventory is curious. Did <strong>the</strong>y<br />

believe <strong>the</strong> property didn’t belong to Stamers or did <strong>the</strong>y<br />

know it had been left to Rose and her bro<strong>the</strong>r Robert? We<br />

don’t know.<br />

Was deception involved?<br />

Copeland J. Stamers was a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Legislative<br />

Council <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong> fact that he<br />

knew that <strong>the</strong> 1,360 acres (1,368 acres) <strong>of</strong> land at Breezy<br />

Point were originally land grants from <strong>the</strong> Crown suggests<br />

that Stamers had seen or knew <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs’<br />

land grant documents clearly showing that Thomas Jr.<br />

received 888 acres and John 480 acres.<br />

As a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Legislative Council, Stamers<br />

would have been acquainted with <strong>the</strong> law <strong>of</strong> adverse possession<br />

or “squatter’s rights” as some call it. It is <strong>the</strong> legal<br />

principle by which a person who doesn’t own a property<br />

can obtain legal ownership <strong>of</strong> it based on his continuous<br />

possession or occupancy <strong>of</strong> it for a certain length <strong>of</strong> time<br />

without <strong>the</strong> permission or knowledge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> owner.<br />

Adverse possession appears to be one explanation<br />

that would justify how Stamers could legally claim ownership<br />

<strong>of</strong> John Ingham’s land. Since Stamers was raising<br />

cattle on <strong>the</strong> 888 acres he inherited from his stepfa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

it seems logical he would graze his cattle on <strong>the</strong> vacant<br />

property adjacent to it as well. He could have done this<br />

without <strong>the</strong> knowledge <strong>of</strong> its owner. Or, did he purchase<br />

John’s land from John’s executors unbeknownst to Rose<br />

and Robert? Did his children sell <strong>the</strong>ir inheritance? We<br />

don’t know as no documentation has been found to support<br />

or refute <strong>the</strong>se possibilities.<br />

Stamers’ children lease land at Breezy Point<br />

In March 1871, almost five years after <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong><br />

Copeland J. Stamers, his three children leased property<br />

surrounding <strong>the</strong> original Ingham land for 99 years from<br />

<strong>the</strong> government <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. The lease<br />

agreement described <strong>the</strong> Ingham land as being 1,288<br />

acres in size. Keep in mind that <strong>the</strong> Inghams’ two land<br />

grants totaled 1,368 acres. This 80 acre discrepancy was<br />

never explained nor was <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> land <strong>the</strong>y leased<br />

from <strong>the</strong> government specified. Perhaps <strong>the</strong> 80 acre discrepancy<br />

was <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> a survey. The leased property<br />

was described as:<br />

Tract <strong>of</strong> vacant land hereby leased is bounded as follows<br />

on <strong>the</strong> North and East by <strong>the</strong> sea, on <strong>the</strong> South<br />

by Swampy lands and <strong>the</strong> sea and on <strong>the</strong> West by a<br />

Creek known as Lorimer’s Creek . . .<br />

In December 1871, Copeland Place Stamers and his<br />

two siblings sold <strong>the</strong> 1,288 acre parcel at Breezy Point<br />

plus <strong>the</strong> 99-year lease for additional land on East Caicos<br />

to John N. Reynolds, <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> salt properties on South<br />

Caicos. This indenture described <strong>the</strong> 1,288 acre parcel as<br />

(underlining by author):<br />

“certain valuable lands <strong>of</strong> which he [Copeland J.<br />

Stamers] was <strong>the</strong>n possessed and held by him in fee<br />

simple and which said lands are situated at Breezy<br />

Point in <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> and contain twelve hundred<br />

and eighty eight acres and whereas <strong>the</strong> said<br />

Copeland John Stamers after having so made his<br />

aforesaid Will departed this life . . .”<br />

82 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

A little fur<strong>the</strong>r on, <strong>the</strong> indenture describes <strong>the</strong> 1,288<br />

acre parcel as:<br />

“all those certain tracts <strong>of</strong> land situated at Breezy<br />

Point East Caicos originally granted unto Thomas<br />

Ingham and John Ingham and containing twelve hundred<br />

and eighty eight acres bounded on all sides by<br />

Vacant lands . . .”<br />

Those nasty unanswered questions<br />

Shouldn’t Copeland Place Stamers, acting as attorney for<br />

his two siblings, have wondered at <strong>the</strong> time he sold <strong>the</strong><br />

property at Breezy Point to John Reynolds whe<strong>the</strong>r his<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r had legal ownership <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 480-acre parcel since it<br />

was not recorded in <strong>the</strong> inventory <strong>of</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r’s estate?<br />

No documentation has yet been found proving that<br />

Rose and her bro<strong>the</strong>r ever became <strong>the</strong> owners <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r’s property. Did <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r’s executors fail to form<br />

<strong>the</strong> trust or did <strong>the</strong>y sell <strong>the</strong> land before establishing one?<br />

Was <strong>the</strong> fact that Rose and Robert were mulatto explain<br />

why <strong>the</strong>y might not have been informed about <strong>the</strong>ir inheritance?<br />

Adverse possession laws could have justified<br />

Copeland J. Stamers’ claim that he owned John Ingham’s<br />

480 acre Breezy Point property.<br />

Whatever <strong>the</strong> answer to <strong>the</strong>se unanswered questions<br />

might be, one could draw <strong>the</strong> conclusion that somewhere<br />

along <strong>the</strong> line Rose and Robert were wronged.<br />

Part II <strong>of</strong> this story will bring <strong>the</strong> chain <strong>of</strong> ownership<br />

<strong>of</strong> Breezy Point up to <strong>the</strong> present. It so happens that it is<br />

presently for sale for $25,000,000. a<br />

The author thanks <strong>the</strong> following for <strong>the</strong>ir invaluable contributions<br />

to this story: Linda Abend <strong>of</strong> Bermuda for her<br />

extensive research digging up original source material<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Bermuda Archives; John Adams <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United<br />

Kingdom and former Bermuda Government Archivist for<br />

his many contributions and insights; and Deborah Dodge<br />

for her valuable editorial suggestions.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 83

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Providenciales campus<br />

• New plant identification cards have been installed for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Heritage House Garden.<br />

• We are always looking for more volunteers to be able<br />

to expand opening hours at this location. Please contact<br />

us if you are interested in donating a day or two <strong>of</strong> your<br />

time each month. a<br />

Grand Turk campus<br />

• Progress continues on <strong>the</strong> People <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Island<br />

exhibit. New photos have been added, information<br />

about <strong>the</strong> banners and photos has been added and<br />

additional enhancements are planned.<br />

• The Donkey Exhibit as part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Salt Industry<br />

Exhibit has been completed. It includes information<br />

about <strong>the</strong> role <strong>the</strong>se “beasts <strong>of</strong> burden” played in <strong>the</strong><br />

salt industry and <strong>the</strong>ir current presence on various<br />

islands.<br />

• The Queen’s Exhibit has been updated with new<br />

informational posters and better recognition for those<br />

that contributed to restoring <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

• Do you have an upcoming celebration? The Museum’s<br />

deck is a great place to hold your birthday party,<br />

shower, or o<strong>the</strong>r event. We have made many improvements<br />

to <strong>the</strong> deck and it is available for rent for your<br />

special occasion.<br />

• The Museum continues to be <strong>the</strong> premier stop on<br />

Grand Turk land tours. Our gift shop is <strong>of</strong>ten complimented<br />

as <strong>the</strong> best on <strong>the</strong> island. Be sure to stop in and<br />

see our various new products, T-shirts, and locally made<br />

items. On-island guests continue to visit <strong>the</strong> Museum<br />

and shop and we appreciate <strong>the</strong> support from hotels<br />

and vacation rentals. 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<br />

a ship arrives on or after 9 AM, we will open one hour<br />

after arrival for three hours.<br />

Providenciales (The Village at Grace Bay): Open<br />

Tuesday and Thursday, 10 AM to 2 PM.<br />

Both locations include interesting exhibits and artifacts<br />

related to <strong>the</strong> history and culture <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

Visit our gift shops for souvenirs, history books, and<br />

locally made products such as baskets, jewelry, salt<br />

products, and more.<br />

Days and times <strong>of</strong> operation are subject to change so<br />

please check our website or email us for updated information:<br />

www.tcmuseum.org<br />

info@tcmuseum.org<br />

Story & Photos By Museum Manager Lisa Talbot<br />

84 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> April 1, <strong>2023</strong>, all COVID-19 related travel<br />

restrictions have been removed for travel to <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. There is no vaccine, testing, or insurance<br />

requirement. On August 12, 2022, <strong>the</strong> last day <strong>of</strong> statistics,<br />

32,338 people were vaccinated in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos<br />

against COVID-19 (at least one dose). This was approximately<br />

73% <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> total population. For more information<br />

and details, visit www.visittci.com.<br />

Language<br />

English.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 85

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 rental<br />

contracts. (Insurance is extra.) Driving is on <strong>the</strong> left-hand<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road, with traffic flow controlled by roundabouts<br />

at major junctions. Taxis and community cabs are<br />

abundant throughout <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> and many resorts <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

shuttle service between popular visitor areas. Scooter,<br />

motorcycle and 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 />

86 www.timespub.tc

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 />

Media<br />

Multi-channel satellite television is received from <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

and Canada and transmitted via cable or Internet. Local<br />

station WIV-TV broadcasts on Channel 4 and Island EyeTV<br />

on Channel 5. There are a number <strong>of</strong> local radio stations,<br />

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 />

<strong>24</strong>/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 Turks & Caicos Islanders.<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 />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 87

Government/Legal system<br />

TCI is a British Crown colony. There is a Queen-appointed<br />

Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam. She presides over<br />

an executive council formed by <strong>the</strong> elected local government.<br />

Hon. Charles Washington Misick is <strong>the</strong> country’s<br />

premier, leading a majority Progressive National Party<br />

(PNP) House <strong>of</strong> Assembly.<br />

The legal system is based on English Common Law<br />

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 />

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 />

88 www.timespub.tc

(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 />

The <strong>Islands</strong> are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can<br />

enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in<br />

subscription form<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



One year subscription<br />

$28 U.S. addresses/$32 non-U.S. addresses<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 />

crystal, china, cameras, electronics, brand-name clothing<br />

and accessories, along with Cuban cigars. a<br />


Name____________________________________________________________________<br />

Date ____________________<br />

Address__________________________________________________________________<br />

City _____________________________________________________________________<br />

State/Province____________________________________________________________<br />

Country/Postal Code_____________________________________________________<br />

E-mail address (not required)_____________________________________________<br />

r New Subscription r Renewal<br />

r U.S. Cheque/M.O. enclosed<br />

Mail with payment to:<br />

<strong>Times</strong> Publications Ltd., c/o Kathy Borsuk,<br />

<strong>24</strong>7 Holmes Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514<br />

Please allow 30 to 60 days for delivery <strong>of</strong> first issue.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2023</strong>/<strong>24</strong> 89

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:<strong>24</strong> AM Page 1<br />





649-941-8438 and 649-<strong>24</strong>1-4968<br />

SCOOTER BOBS_Layout 1 8/8/18 10:57 AM Page GBC2017_Layout autorental@dnbautoparts.com<br />

1 2/16/17 9:10 AM Page 1<br />

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: <strong>24</strong>7-6755 (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 />

www.gracebaycarrentals.com<br />

90 www.timespub.tc



Our executive team: (L-R) Vice President <strong>of</strong> Corporate Services and CFO Aisha Laporte; Vice President<br />

<strong>of</strong> Grand Turk and Sister Island Operations Allan Robinson; President and CEO Ruth Forbes; Senior Vice<br />

President <strong>of</strong> Operations Devon Cox; Vice President <strong>of</strong> Engineering and Energy Production and Delivery<br />

Don Forsyth (seated); and Vice President <strong>of</strong> Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning Rachell Roullet.<br />

In a rapidly evolving electricity sector, energy leaders <strong>of</strong> today are<br />

focused on driving <strong>the</strong> transformation to cleaner, more sustainable<br />

energy sources.<br />

At FortisTCI, our purpose and passion are unwavering – to serve our<br />

customers, community, and <strong>the</strong> Turks and Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> with <strong>the</strong><br />

safe, reliable, and least-cost electricity <strong>the</strong>y need – whenever and<br />

wherever.<br />

Every day, we are working towards an energy future that is cleaner,<br />

more resilient, reliable, and sustainable.<br />

www.fortistci.com | 649-946-4313 |

Nothing compares to what’s next.<br />


Condominium | Home & Villa | Land | New Development<br />

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.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!