Times of the Islands Spring 2024

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

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


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TIMES<br />



The “Big South”<br />

OF THE<br />



New company, old roots

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: 649.941.5824 | INFO@PROJETECH.TC | WWW.PROJETECH.TC |

contents<br />

Departments<br />

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

21 Getting to Know<br />

HE Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam<br />

By Davidson Edens Louis<br />

24 Looking Back<br />

The Early Years:<br />

Sapodilla Bay/Taylor Bay/Chalk Sound<br />

Development<br />

By James Brown<br />

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

73 Subscription Form<br />

74 Classified Ads<br />

Features<br />

44 On <strong>the</strong> Way Back<br />

South Caicos, Past and Present<br />

By Dr. Carlton & Verona Mills<br />

52 New Company, Old Roots<br />

Island Mystique<br />

By Rachel Craft<br />

Green Pages<br />

31 From Surf to Turf<br />

Story & Photos By Bill Bigelow<br />

36 Conservation and Resilience<br />

The Darwin PLUS 129 Project<br />

By Christopher May, Samuel Pike, Katie Medcalf,<br />

B Naqqi Manco, Dodly Prosper, and Junel Blaise<br />

40 Investment and Nature Working Toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Natural Capital Investment Plan<br />

By Andy Tetlow<br />

Astrolabe<br />

59 A Property Puzzle — Part Two<br />

The Controversial Ownership <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point<br />

By Jeff Dodge<br />

66 Run Aground<br />

An Introduction to <strong>the</strong> Shipwrecks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

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

By James Jenney<br />

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



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

South Caicos was once a major exporter <strong>of</strong> salt harvested<br />

from its extensive salinas. Remnants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> walls, sluices,<br />

and windmills pay homage to <strong>the</strong> island’s rich history.<br />

The rainbow in <strong>the</strong> background fortells a bright future<br />

ahead for <strong>the</strong> “Big South.” (See article on page 44.)<br />

Award-winning Master and Craftsman Photographer<br />

James Roy <strong>of</strong> Paradise Photography (myparadisephoto.<br />

com) created this vertical composition by assembling a<br />

series <strong>of</strong> six images captured by a high-definition drone<br />

which was a half a mile away from his position. This<br />

image was possible because a drone is really a flying<br />

camera, tripod, and gimbal which has opened up completely<br />

new possibilities in fine art image making.<br />

44<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 649.241.9212<br />

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

Designed by: Developed by: Real Estate Sales by:

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


A Mourning Dove perches on a rocky Turks & Caicos shoreline. Symbolizing peace or love, some believe that doves provide comfort because<br />

<strong>the</strong>y help people remember <strong>the</strong>ir loved ones are watching over <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

What’s Next?<br />

As I was looking for a photo to illustrate this page, I came across Marta Morton’s poignant picture <strong>of</strong> a Mourning<br />

Dove. It symbolizes how I feel <strong>the</strong>se days as I grieve <strong>the</strong> loss <strong>of</strong> my late fa<strong>the</strong>r and uncle. I had poured much time,<br />

energy, and love into trying to make <strong>the</strong> last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir nine decades on earth comfortable. Now that <strong>the</strong>y are gone, I<br />

feel bereft and alone, wondering how I will move forward in a future without my dear “mighty oaks.”<br />

Born <strong>of</strong> immigrant parents during <strong>the</strong> Great Depression, <strong>the</strong>y were frugal and careful and cautious. They lived<br />

lightly, in small houses which <strong>the</strong>y maintained <strong>the</strong>mselves—inside and out. Their possessions lasted a lifetime. They<br />

reused, recycled, repaired, rarely threw anything out. They savored time, exercised patience, let life unfold slowly.<br />

Problems and situations weren’t expected to be “solved” in minutes or hours. They looked you in <strong>the</strong> eye when <strong>the</strong>y<br />

conversed—not texted. They considered subjects deeply, not in terse phrases or easily digestible bites. What <strong>the</strong>y<br />

had was “enough;” <strong>the</strong>y were not always looking for “more.” We say that life has “progressed” due to technology,<br />

ease, more wealth . . . but I wonder?<br />

A small solace is <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> me that has learned and absorbed <strong>the</strong>ir values. Can I remind o<strong>the</strong>rs that in this scary,<br />

rushed, anxiety-driven world, we might do well to spend more time looking back?<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.

Exclusively available within<br />

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


a modern<br />

private bank<br />

Key Benefits <strong>of</strong> Banking<br />

with Turks & Caicos<br />

Banking Company<br />

Our institution is a private bank<br />

handled in <strong>the</strong> traditional Swiss way,<br />

focused on efficient and convenient<br />

customer service.<br />

The Bank manages portfolios with a wide<br />

spectrum <strong>of</strong> products including but not<br />

limited to <strong>the</strong> following services:<br />

• Investment Strategies<br />

• Wealth Management<br />

• Fixed Deposits / CD’s<br />

• Stocks / Equities<br />

• Bonds / Fixed Income<br />

• Foreign exchange<br />

• Precious Metals<br />

• International Transfers<br />

• Mortgages / Construction loans<br />

• Local transactions incl. bill payments<br />



+1 (649) 941.4994 • services@tcbc.tc<br />

Mon – Thurs: 8:30am – 4:30pm • Fri: 8:30am – 4pm<br />







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 />

PENTHOUSE 2 Five Bedroom / Five Bathroom / Half Bath 10,425 $13,522,500 2400219<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





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 />


A408 Fourth Floor – One Bedroom / One Bath / Half Bath 1,782 $1,650,000<br />

A414 Fourth Floor - Two Bedroom / Two Bath / Half Bath 2,229 $2,500,000<br />

A506 Fifth Floor – Two Bedroom / Two Bath / Half Bath 1,959 $2,500,000<br />

A512 Fifth Floor – One Bedroom / One Bath/ Half Bath 1,615 $1,700,000<br />

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

TIMES<br />

OF THE<br />



Kathy Borsuk<br />


Claire Parrish<br />


Bill Bigelow, Junel Blaise, Kathy Borsuk, James Brown,<br />

Rachel Craft, Jeff Dodge, James Jenney,<br />

Davidson Edens Louis, B Naqqi Manco, Christopher May,<br />

Katie Medcalf, Dr. Carlton Mills, Verona Mills,<br />

Samuel Pike, Dodly Prosper, Andy Tetlow.<br />


Bill Bigelow, Chuck Bliley, James Brown,<br />

Elemento Photography, Eve Englefield, Island Mystique,<br />

Gary James—Provo Pictures, Kaieri Photography,<br />

Agile LeVin, Marinas.com, Christopher May, Marta Morton,<br />

Dodly Prosper, James Roy—Paradise Photography,<br />

Sailrock Turks & Caicos, Shutterstock,<br />

Turks & Caicos National Museum Collection,<br />

Matt Smith, Matt Weedon.<br />


Wavey Line Publishing.<br />


PF Solutions, Miami, FL<br />

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

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

Copyright © <strong>2024</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 timespublicationsads@gmail.com<br />

20 www.timespub.tc

getting to know<br />

HE Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam is <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ first female governor.<br />

A Journey <strong>of</strong> Purpose<br />

and Responsibility<br />

Her Excellency Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam,<br />

Governor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

By Davidson Edens Louis ~ Photos By Elemento Photography<br />

I was eager to meet <strong>the</strong> country’s first female governor, not only because <strong>of</strong> her impressive track record<br />

and swift achievements but also because I wanted to encounter <strong>the</strong> true, au<strong>the</strong>ntic self beyond her title.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 21

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 />

Writer Davidson Louis (at right) encapsulated his interview with TCI Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam in one word—“humility.”<br />

Ms. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam took up <strong>the</strong> role <strong>of</strong> governor<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> in June 2023. Born in<br />

Shropshire, UK and descendant <strong>of</strong> a line <strong>of</strong> lioness women<br />

with strong family ties, Governor Daniel-Selvaratnam<br />

stands as <strong>the</strong> first female to take on <strong>the</strong> role in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos. With roots in Sri Lanka, she exudes a stern yet<br />

charismatic demeanor. As she sat next to me, relaxed<br />

and composed, our open conversation was inspiring<br />

and enlightening. She shared anecdotes and reflections,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering insights into her personal background and pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

ethos, from childhood memories by <strong>the</strong> sea to<br />

addressing complex issues like youth crime. Our discussion<br />

delved into <strong>the</strong> essence <strong>of</strong> identity, purpose, and<br />

resilience, revealing a life shaped by diverse experiences<br />

and unwavering dedication.<br />

Growing up in <strong>the</strong> West Midlands countryside, far from<br />

<strong>the</strong> sea, Her Excellency fondly recalls childhood holidays<br />

in Sri Lanka, where <strong>the</strong> beach and island lifestyle instilled<br />

a sense <strong>of</strong> safety, joy, and calmness. No wonder she feels<br />

at home here in <strong>the</strong> TCI. Repeated vacations in <strong>the</strong> tropics<br />

as a child, surrounded by lots <strong>of</strong> cousins, have helped<br />

refine her character. She grew up in a colorful family,<br />

filled with debaters, steeped in love, care, and <strong>of</strong> course,<br />

<strong>the</strong> occasional bragging rights. She found <strong>the</strong> perfect<br />

balance between tradition and self-purpose, which lays<br />

<strong>the</strong> groundwork for her affinity towards island living and<br />

career. She is a simple soul, a cook, and a passionate<br />

enthusiast for spicy food. She swims laps in <strong>the</strong> morning,<br />

I assume only after she makes sure nothing has emerged<br />

overnight across our <strong>Islands</strong>. She oozes self-control and<br />

poise, and I do wonder how she does this so effortlessly.<br />

When we dove into it, I couldn’t help but notice a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>ound sense <strong>of</strong> self-fulfillment and genuine joy in<br />

serving <strong>the</strong> public. Perhaps this is what motivates her to<br />

persist and affect lasting changes. She spearheaded <strong>the</strong><br />

set-up <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Grenfell Tower Inquiry, a significant undertaking<br />

following <strong>the</strong> tragic fire in London that claimed<br />

<strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> 72 individuals. This initiative provided compelling<br />

reasons to persevere. It entailed driving purpose<br />

by addressing bereavement and distress, facilitating a<br />

22 www.timespub.tc

legal process, and fostering public trust. From her tenure<br />

as governor in Anguilla to her current responsibilities,<br />

she stresses <strong>the</strong> critical importance <strong>of</strong> safeguarding and<br />

supporting communities, particularly during times <strong>of</strong> vulnerability.<br />

Navigating challenges and complexities <strong>of</strong> leadership,<br />

Her Excellency shares her approach to decision-making<br />

amidst uncertainty and anxiety. Grounded in humility<br />

and strategic thinking, she emphasizes <strong>the</strong> importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> staying focused on preventing harm and earning trust<br />

through responsible actions. “How do you bring yourself<br />

to <strong>the</strong> core when you’re dealing with complex issues?”<br />

I asked. “Always keep sight <strong>of</strong> your responsibility,” she<br />

answered. “It’s not about plaudits. At its core, I think that<br />

staying humble in that moment and staying calm is so<br />

important. Avoid shooting from <strong>the</strong> hip and really allow<br />

yourself to react not when on a whim but on a focused<br />

analysis <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> issue at hand.”<br />

Having <strong>the</strong> responsibility to protect <strong>the</strong> country, Her<br />

Excellency encourages young individuals to embrace<br />

diverse opportunities and find <strong>the</strong>ir path au<strong>the</strong>ntically.<br />

Rejecting <strong>the</strong> pressure to have life’s trajectory figured out<br />

early, she advocates for exploring experiences that foster<br />

resilience, adaptability, and self-awareness.<br />

In addressing youth crime, Governor Daniel-<br />

Selvaratnam highlights <strong>the</strong> allure <strong>of</strong> gang life for<br />

vulnerable individuals seeking identity and status. She<br />

emphasizes <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> preventive measures,<br />

community engagement, and providing support to<br />

at-risk youth to steer <strong>the</strong>m away from criminal pathways.<br />

Starting with education, Her Excellency emphasizes <strong>the</strong><br />

need for curricula that prioritize self-awareness and critical<br />

thinking. She underscores <strong>the</strong> role <strong>of</strong> mentorship,<br />

community support, and holistic approaches in nurturing<br />

confident and empowered youth. A heartfelt thanks goes<br />

out to all <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local establishments and persons who are<br />

dedicated to tackling <strong>the</strong> root cause <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> issues, including<br />

<strong>the</strong> Edward Gartland Youth Centre, <strong>the</strong> Felix Morley<br />

Community Centre, and <strong>the</strong> ongoing initiatives from TCI<br />

Minister <strong>of</strong> Education Rachel Taylor<br />

I pondered how to encapsulate <strong>the</strong> interaction in<br />

a single word. Without hesitation, “humility” came to<br />

mind. Her Excellency’s insights serve as a testament to<br />

<strong>the</strong> power <strong>of</strong> purpose-driven leadership, compassionate<br />

decision-making, and embracing one’s unique journey.<br />

Through her words, she inspires a deeper reflection on<br />

identity and <strong>the</strong> pursuit <strong>of</strong> self-purpose. To all girls who<br />

need inspiration, Her Excellency Dileeni serves as a testimony<br />

that hard work and commitment go a long way. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 23

looking back<br />


Opposite page: Chalk Sound was, and remains, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most scenic places on Providenciales. It is a protected national park and includes<br />

a connection to <strong>the</strong> open ocean. Today, it is home to some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most picturesque estates on <strong>the</strong> island.<br />

Above: Taylor Bay and its shallow, calm waters and beautiful beach is among <strong>the</strong> quieter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> beaches in <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

The Early Years<br />

Sapodilla Bay/Taylor Bay/Chalk Sound development.<br />

Story & Historical Photos By James (Jim) Brown<br />

I am from Canada where it is COLD during <strong>the</strong> winters, so in 1974 <strong>the</strong>re was a very popular movement to<br />

align with or even have <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> join Canada. It was an idea that appealed to everyone<br />

in Canada and was a nightly news story on TV and in newspapers!<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 25

I was curious and visited South Caicos, where <strong>the</strong><br />

flight from Miami landed at <strong>the</strong> time, and <strong>the</strong>n went on<br />

to <strong>the</strong> capital Grand Turk to see what it was all about.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time I was a developer/builder so a project in<br />

warmer climes could be <strong>of</strong> interest. During that visit I<br />

met up with government <strong>of</strong>ficials, planners, and a local<br />

landowner from Middle Caicos. I purchased my first property<br />

in Belle Sound on South Caicos and came away with<br />

an idea to build a dive resort on Middle Caicos. On my<br />

next visit I had my architect along. We presented and<br />

had approved by <strong>the</strong> United Nations planner responsible<br />

for <strong>the</strong> TCI, a plan for 800 acres on Middle Caicos to be<br />

named “King Conch’s Place.” Over <strong>the</strong> next two years our<br />

lawyer Finbar Dempsey in Grand Turk tried his best but<br />

because <strong>of</strong> legal titles and family land, <strong>the</strong> title could not<br />

be transferred so <strong>the</strong> project didn’t happen.<br />

The newly constituted TCI Government <strong>of</strong> 1976<br />

was on a mission to attract developer/investors. I was<br />

invited to return because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> serious intentions and<br />

proper planning I had demonstrated in Middle Caicos to<br />

participate. Liam McGuire as <strong>the</strong> development minister<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered my group five acres on Grace Bay if we would<br />

build a 25-room hotel. In 1978 I returned with some<br />

potential investors and had a closer look. Providenciales<br />

was empty —<strong>the</strong>re were only a few tourist homes and a<br />

marina. There were 17 cars and 950 people <strong>the</strong>re at this<br />

time. Two small inns around Turtle Cove, <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle<br />

and Erebus, were <strong>the</strong> only accommodation. A small dirt<br />

strip served as <strong>the</strong> airport and a dock out <strong>the</strong> southwest<br />

side at Gussy Cove was all <strong>the</strong> infrastructure. There was a<br />

group <strong>of</strong> homeowners clustered around Turtle Cove and<br />

Thompson Cove that supported an electric generator for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir power—PPC (Provo Power Co-op). Islanders lived in<br />

three villages—Blue Hills, Five Cays, and The Bight. Water<br />

was collected from ro<strong>of</strong>s draining into concrete tanks<br />

called cisterns. Food was collected from <strong>the</strong> sea and by<br />

trading with o<strong>the</strong>r islands like North Caicos and Haiti.<br />

Grace Bay was amazing in such a pristine state but<br />

I was not a hotel builder/operator so <strong>the</strong> idea was not<br />

something I felt confident about. After all, <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

not really any tourists about and no proper airport.<br />

Fortunately, a local taxi driver, Hearts Capron, took us<br />

on an island tour. One stop was at Sapodilla Beach where<br />

local fishermen landed <strong>the</strong>ir boats. Looking around this<br />

area I felt much more confident that this is where I could<br />

do a development in scale with my experience. At this<br />

time in history <strong>the</strong>re was a simple dirt track to Sapodilla<br />

Bay and <strong>the</strong> adjacent Gussy Cove Harbour. There were no<br />

power or phone lines and just empty vacant land as far as<br />

you could see.<br />

This was <strong>the</strong> road from South Dock into town on Providenciales in <strong>the</strong> early 1970s.<br />

26 www.timespub.tc

However, Sapodilla Bay was attractive to passing<br />

boaters as it was a calm anchorage. In fact <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

signs <strong>of</strong> such visits over some 200+ years! The rock carvings<br />

on top <strong>of</strong> Sapodilla Hill were probably from sailors<br />

stranded due to shipwreck or passing time as <strong>the</strong> sailing<br />

ships were keeled over for bottom cleaning and repairs.<br />

There were some plantations on Providenciales from <strong>the</strong><br />

late 1700s which required provisions. Sapodilla Bay was<br />

where <strong>the</strong> boats came in and long boats were used to<br />

row around <strong>the</strong> coast to <strong>the</strong> island’s backside, as did <strong>the</strong><br />

marauding pirates who visited on occasion. For example,<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Cheshire Hall Plantation in central Providenciales<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are cannon placements facing <strong>the</strong> shallow waters<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos Banks. Boats could not get in on <strong>the</strong> north<br />

shore along Grace Bay because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> reef protection<br />

along <strong>the</strong> north side.<br />

The local people were anxious to see investment and<br />

hoped <strong>the</strong>y could be part <strong>of</strong> future development. The fact<br />

is, to do development on this scale requires some serious<br />

money and contacts to make it happen. This is a problem<br />

anywhere when things are starting up. At <strong>the</strong> time,<br />

Islanders just didn’t have <strong>the</strong> contacts or <strong>the</strong> funds to<br />

develop <strong>the</strong> country on <strong>the</strong>ir own.<br />

My group formed a company called Condor Real<br />

Estate Ltd. and as president, I was now set to negotiate<br />

with government <strong>the</strong> purchase <strong>of</strong> 100 acres from “Gussy<br />

Cove” (now called South Dock) to halfway down Taylor<br />

Bay along <strong>the</strong> peninsula, with waterfront on both sides. If<br />

I could reach a workable agreement with <strong>the</strong> government<br />

ministers, <strong>the</strong>n I could pursue investment partners.<br />

It took several months <strong>of</strong> meetings and working with<br />

my planners to create a master plan that was acceptable<br />

to all parties. In <strong>the</strong> end <strong>the</strong> TCI Government wanted to<br />

encourage tourism, so required us to build a 25-room<br />

hotel at Sapodilla Point plus bring electricity from town,<br />

lay a road through to Taylor Bay, and survey <strong>the</strong> proposed<br />

subdivision. For doing this in a timely manner Condor<br />

was granted <strong>the</strong> right to lease/purchase 100 acres.<br />

It was a struggle right to <strong>the</strong> last minute! After weeks<br />

<strong>of</strong> fruitless meetings, several ministers finally met with<br />

me in Chief Minister Jags McCartney’s <strong>of</strong>fice to review<br />

all <strong>the</strong> conditions. I told <strong>the</strong>m I was leaving on <strong>the</strong> afternoon<br />

flight and I had to have an agreement or <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

no point in my coming back. Finally, we all signed “The<br />

Heads Of Agreement” document. Ahh! But wait— <strong>the</strong><br />

governor had to sign too! Off to his home and <strong>of</strong>fice at<br />

Waterloo House to see Governor Strong with documents<br />

in hand. He called me into his <strong>of</strong>fice and explained he<br />

needed to read <strong>the</strong>se before signing, although I pointed<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 />

Cockburn House, P.O. Box 70<br />

Market Street, Grand Turk<br />

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

Ph: 649 946 2245 • Fax: 649 946 2758<br />

E-Mail: ffdlawco@tciway.tc<br />

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>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 27


Much has changed over <strong>the</strong> last 60 years. Top: This is <strong>the</strong> Sapodilla Beach Jim Brown encountered in <strong>the</strong> 1970s.<br />

Bottom: This aerial view shows Sapodilla Beach as <strong>the</strong> area looks today.<br />

28 www.timespub.tc

out that <strong>the</strong> afternoon flight was at <strong>the</strong> airport preparing<br />

to leave. So I left his <strong>of</strong>fice with nothing. I was sitting on<br />

<strong>the</strong> plane and <strong>the</strong> stair was pulled back when a car drove<br />

up beside <strong>the</strong> plane. They put <strong>the</strong> stairs back. The governor<br />

walked down <strong>the</strong> aisle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> plane and handed me<br />

<strong>the</strong> signed documents. We were in business finally!<br />

One investor we brought in was Armin Theil who<br />

was interested in <strong>the</strong> hotel operation. Over a three year<br />

period, he built <strong>the</strong> 25-room Mariner Hotel. After several<br />

hurricanes, <strong>the</strong> ruins can still be found on Sapodilla Point<br />

above South Dock. Armin was also a baker and started <strong>the</strong><br />

first commercial bakery at <strong>the</strong> hotel—Sunshine Bakery.<br />

It was very difficult to build in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> in those<br />

days. There was no ready-mix concrete so Armin had an<br />

older lady in Five Cays prepare gravel rock by breaking<br />

larger rocks with her hammer. Whenever she had two or<br />

three barrels full, Armin would pick <strong>the</strong>m up and bring<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong> site. Water came from an old deserted home<br />

cistern behind <strong>the</strong> dock area where it was dipped by<br />

throwing a pail tied to a rope down into <strong>the</strong> cistern a certain<br />

way and filling barrels on his truck. Sand came from<br />

local beaches after it had been “rain washed” to clean<br />

out <strong>the</strong> salt. Once enough material was collected—maybe<br />

every two weeks—<strong>the</strong>re would be a concrete pour. Mixing<br />

<strong>the</strong> cement, rock, sand, and water in a gas powered mixer<br />

on a good day might produce five yards. Nowadays a<br />

concrete truck delivers twice that every hour! Fur<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re were no concrete pumps so all concrete was moved<br />

around with a wheelbarrow; second floors required buckets<br />

carried up ladders. It was a long, tedious job but that<br />

was <strong>the</strong> only way it could be done here <strong>the</strong>n. There were<br />

several local men like Bill Parker who were exceptional<br />

carpenters and masons who helped make this happen.<br />

During construction Armin lived in an old house out<br />

by <strong>the</strong> dock that had no power or water. On occasion I<br />

stayed with him. We had two forks and shared one knife.<br />

He cooked on a small gas burner his famous “chicken in a<br />

pail.” In <strong>the</strong> morning this was a frozen chicken, a handful<br />

<strong>of</strong> carrots and potatoes, and water boiled for a few hours<br />

in a pail! It worked well as long as Armin didn’t forget to<br />

remove <strong>the</strong> plastic wrap on <strong>the</strong> chicken first! The fridge<br />

was electric run by a generator we shut <strong>of</strong>f at nights to<br />

sleep, and started up again in <strong>the</strong> morning. The generator<br />

shut <strong>of</strong>f midday when it ran out <strong>of</strong> gas but kept us in cold<br />

beer.<br />

During a visit back to Canada Armin had his first<br />

guests. The hotel was a shell with a ro<strong>of</strong> but no windows<br />

or doors. Somehow a planned invasion <strong>of</strong> Cuba went<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 29

wrong and 40 armed Cubans crashed onto <strong>the</strong> shores<br />

<strong>of</strong> Providenciales. The government, not having facilities,<br />

decided to house <strong>the</strong>m at <strong>the</strong> Mariner Hotel. They<br />

couldn’t do much damage—a few cooking fires in <strong>the</strong><br />

rooms was about it. They left many used life jackets as<br />

payment.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> early years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 1980s, sales <strong>of</strong> building<br />

lots happened. This was helped along by <strong>the</strong> announcement<br />

that <strong>the</strong> British Government and Club Med had<br />

reached an agreement whereby <strong>the</strong> Brits would build an<br />

international airport and Club Med a hotel. At <strong>the</strong> time<br />

Club Med was <strong>the</strong> 11th largest hotel operator in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

British construction firm Johnson International started on<br />

<strong>the</strong> airport and a year later <strong>the</strong> hotel. It was amazing <strong>the</strong>y<br />

pulled this all <strong>of</strong>f considering that everything had to be<br />

brought in by boats, even crushed rock from Scotland,<br />

concrete plants, heavy equipment, and skilled workers<br />

needing housing.<br />

Provident Ltd. was <strong>the</strong> big developer on Providenciales<br />

with a land grant <strong>of</strong> 4,000 acres back in 1966. During my<br />

time <strong>the</strong> head man was Dick DuPont and he was key along<br />

with o<strong>the</strong>rs in getting Club Med interested. Provident sold<br />

<strong>the</strong>m some 35 acres <strong>of</strong> prime oceanfront on Grace Bay<br />

for probably a good price. It was <strong>the</strong> catalyst that got this<br />

island moving. With an airport, <strong>the</strong> future was looking<br />

very positive.<br />

Provident had a vision that Providenciales would be<br />

a hideaway for <strong>the</strong> rich and famous where whatever happened<br />

here stayed here! The Third Turtle Hotel was just<br />

a dozen rooms, but some wild times took place. Dick<br />

DuPont and several <strong>of</strong> his employees and partners had<br />

myself and my planners in for a meeting one day. Their<br />

vision was stressed and we were expected to get on-board<br />

with it. High-end tourism, no gambling or casinos, simple<br />

low-rise developments, and slowly this place took <strong>of</strong>f in<br />

that direction. The bar area at <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle was decorated<br />

with neck ties cut from <strong>the</strong> throats <strong>of</strong> overdressed<br />

visitors!<br />

It wasn’t hard to keep what happened here private. It<br />

was decades before Internet and to make a simple phone<br />

call was quite time consuming. For example, I would go<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle and <strong>the</strong>y had a phone—one <strong>of</strong> three<br />

on island. One would phone <strong>the</strong> Cable and Wireless <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Grand Turk to book a call out. Then go to <strong>the</strong> bar<br />

and after several drinks, you might get a call back and<br />

connect to your party. I think after <strong>the</strong> drinks everyone<br />

assumed we were all a bunch <strong>of</strong> island misfits. However,<br />

good times were had by all in <strong>the</strong> “good old days.”<br />

Out at Sapodilla Bay we were selling large building<br />

The beach at Sapodilla Bay was pristine and untouched in <strong>the</strong> 1980s.<br />

lots about one acre in size. Several homes were built along<br />

<strong>the</strong> coast towards Taylor Bay. An island enthusiast by <strong>the</strong><br />

name <strong>of</strong> Henry Moog from Atlanta became our biggest<br />

fan. He bought many parcels and started building what<br />

he called “Georgia Swamp homes” along Chalk Sound,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n Ocean Point. These were large wooden homes all<br />

coloured grey with large post-and-beam treatments. Two<br />

local contractors, Princy Harris and Willard Williams, were<br />

kept busy for many years. The homes, in both location<br />

and style, were a big hit and over <strong>the</strong> next 10 years Henry<br />

sold out all he could build.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> mid-1990s, styles changed and concrete<br />

homes were required under <strong>the</strong> new hurricane building<br />

code. You can see <strong>the</strong> difference in <strong>the</strong> Sunset Bay subdivision<br />

compared to <strong>the</strong> older homes along Ocean Point<br />

Drive. By 2000, Condor had sold out and ceased operations.<br />

Now, re-development is happening and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

older homes are finding new life or are being replaced as<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sapodilla Bay area is without doubt among <strong>the</strong> very<br />

best locations for a home on Providenciales.<br />

It was an amazing experience to be—along with many<br />

local and international believers—part <strong>of</strong> nurturing this<br />

country and Providenciales in particular, from a small and<br />

quiet pristine group <strong>of</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> to what you see today! At<br />

<strong>the</strong> beginning: No roads, no airport, no dock, no electricity,<br />

so no TV or refrigerators, but <strong>the</strong> ever-present<br />

beautiful sun, sea, and sand. This “Beautiful by Nature”<br />

attraction and <strong>the</strong> foresight and effort <strong>of</strong> many created<br />

this paradise that is enjoyed by so many today. a<br />

30 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 />

A blue land crab (Cardisoma guanhumi) rests in a pool <strong>of</strong> water along <strong>the</strong> rocky shore.<br />

From Surf to Turf<br />

Connections between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.<br />

Story & Photos By Bill Bigelow, The School for Field Studies,<br />

Center for Marine Resource Studies, South Caicos, Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong><br />

At The School for Field Studies’ (SFS) Center for Marine Resource Studies, I start my research course by<br />

posing a seemingly simple question to students: “What is a land crab?” Typically, a confident hand will<br />

shoot up from <strong>the</strong> front row and proclaim, “A crab that lives on land!” While this is a perfectly accurate<br />

response, it turns out that a more precise answer is infinitely more complicated.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 31

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

Land crabs are decapod crustaceans and “true crabs,”<br />

having <strong>the</strong> characteristic we generally consider to be, well,<br />

crab-like: Two intimidating pincers, four pairs <strong>of</strong> jointed<br />

walking legs, and a fused cephalothorax encased in a<br />

hard calcified exoskeleton. Land crabs differ from o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

terrestrial crustaceans like hermit crabs, which carry <strong>the</strong><br />

shells <strong>of</strong> marine snails for protection, and have adapted<br />

to live <strong>the</strong>ir adult lives almost entirely independent from<br />

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

Land crabs evolved from ocean dwelling crabs some<br />

125 million years ago during <strong>the</strong> Cretaceous period,<br />

when dinosaurs roamed <strong>the</strong> earth. They retain much <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> same anatomy as <strong>the</strong>ir marine ancestors (gills, lunglike<br />

spaces, and hard exoskeletons) and require moisture<br />

and a particular mixture <strong>of</strong> ions for basic life functions<br />

such as respiration and metabolism. Whereas marine species<br />

<strong>of</strong> crab can meet <strong>the</strong>se requirements by simply living<br />

in seawater, life on land poses a significant and constant<br />

challenge <strong>of</strong> maintaining hydration and ion balance.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> blue land crab<br />

(Cardisoma guanhumi) is <strong>the</strong> most prevalent land crab<br />

species, due largely to <strong>the</strong> low elevations and abundant<br />

mangrove and coastal scrubland habitats <strong>of</strong> our islands,<br />

which this species prizes. Blue land crabs require regular<br />

immersion in water to maintain <strong>the</strong>ir water balance, be it<br />

fresh or brackish. Within <strong>the</strong>se coastal habitats <strong>the</strong> crabs<br />

are prolific burrowers, excavating subterranean tunnels<br />

which can reach a depth <strong>of</strong> four meters.<br />

For much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year, <strong>the</strong> crabs remain in a state<br />

<strong>of</strong> reduced activity, sheltering within <strong>the</strong> confines <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir burrows which provide protection from temperature<br />

extremes and predation. Typically, <strong>the</strong> burrows <strong>of</strong><br />

blue land crabs reach <strong>the</strong> water table and terminate in a<br />

water filled chamber which allows <strong>the</strong>m to maintain <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

body moisture, even during <strong>the</strong> peak <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dry season.<br />

These crabs will go one step fur<strong>the</strong>r and seal <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

burrows during drought periods to lock in <strong>the</strong> moisture<br />

and humidity <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> burrow. Their proclivity to burrow<br />

Active blue land crab burrows were excavated in mucky substrates along <strong>the</strong> border <strong>of</strong> saline ponds. The crabs typically burrow beneath <strong>the</strong><br />

protective cover <strong>of</strong> dense vegetation to better shelter from temperature extremes and predation.<br />

32 www.timespub.tc

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

has earned <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> title <strong>of</strong> “ecosystem engineers” since<br />

<strong>the</strong>y actively shape <strong>the</strong>ir environments, <strong>the</strong>reby providing<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r habitat for o<strong>the</strong>r organisms.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> rainy season when moisture is abundant,<br />

land crabs emerge from <strong>the</strong>ir burrows and engage in an<br />

annual spawning migration to <strong>the</strong>ir ancestral home, <strong>the</strong><br />

sea. Egg-bearing females release <strong>the</strong>ir clutch into <strong>the</strong> salt<br />

water, where <strong>the</strong>y hatch and are set adrift in <strong>the</strong> open<br />

ocean, progressing through several larval stages for<br />

nearly a month before returning to land. Coastal habitats<br />

such as mangroves <strong>the</strong>n play a critical role in <strong>the</strong> successful<br />

recruitment <strong>of</strong> larvae back to land as <strong>the</strong>ir s<strong>of</strong>t,<br />

damp substrates and vegetative cover provide protection<br />

for <strong>the</strong> returning baby crabs. As <strong>the</strong> crabs develop from<br />

juvenile to adult, <strong>the</strong>y migrate fur<strong>the</strong>r inland to higher<br />

elevations where <strong>the</strong>y construct <strong>the</strong>ir burrows and can<br />

live up to 13 years old.<br />

Understanding this nuanced interplay between<br />

terrestrial and marine life phases is important when considering<br />

future policy decisions. In an era <strong>of</strong> heightened<br />

urbanization and coastline development, <strong>the</strong> importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> coastal ecosystems can be easily overlooked compared<br />

to <strong>the</strong> more immediate economic returns from development.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, one must consider<br />

terrestrial and marine ecosystems as parts <strong>of</strong> an interconnected<br />

web <strong>of</strong> biotic and abiotic factors ra<strong>the</strong>r than two<br />

separate entities. Land crabs are a prime example <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

connection <strong>of</strong> land and sea ecosystems working in concert<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> necessary conditions for organisms<br />

with complex life histories.<br />

I’d be willing to wager that some <strong>of</strong> you reading this<br />

article thought about classic TCI dishes such as crab ’n’<br />

dough, stuffed crab, or crab ’n’ rice. In <strong>the</strong> Caribbean,<br />

<strong>the</strong> harvest <strong>of</strong> land crabs is a practice which dates as far<br />

back as <strong>the</strong> indigenous Taíno and Lucayan peoples <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> archipelago. The harvest continues today where <strong>the</strong><br />

crabs serve as an important source <strong>of</strong> protein, and act as<br />

a large economic resource within small island communities.<br />

Donning a bucket and flashlight, crab hunters scour<br />

<strong>the</strong> bush and adjacent roadways listening for rustling<br />

leaves as <strong>the</strong> crabs move about <strong>the</strong>ir nighttime world.<br />

A blue crab evades capture by retreating into a burrow. Once inside,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y’ll ei<strong>the</strong>r descend beyond one’s ability to reach <strong>the</strong>m or extend<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir legs against <strong>the</strong> burrow walls to wedge <strong>the</strong>mselves in place.<br />

When you hear <strong>the</strong>m scuttling, <strong>the</strong>re’s no time for hesitation<br />

because <strong>the</strong>se critters are fast! In <strong>the</strong> blink <strong>of</strong> an eye,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y can race back to <strong>the</strong>ir burrows where only <strong>the</strong> most<br />

seasoned (and brave) hunter would venture to try and<br />

get <strong>the</strong>m out by reaching <strong>the</strong>ir hand into <strong>the</strong> burrow. On<br />

a good night, harvesters report catching multiple dozens<br />

<strong>of</strong> crabs which are ei<strong>the</strong>r kept for personal consumption<br />

or sold live to hungry crab connoisseurs.<br />

Despite <strong>the</strong>ir cultural, economic, and ecological<br />

importance, <strong>the</strong>re is a critical lack <strong>of</strong> data surrounding<br />

<strong>the</strong> crabs and <strong>the</strong>ir harvest in <strong>the</strong> TCI. To combat this,<br />

students at SFS are leading an initial effort to document<br />

<strong>the</strong> population size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crabs on South Caicos. Unlike<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r islands in <strong>the</strong> archipelago such as Middle and North<br />

Caicos, South Caicos is markedly drier with vastly different<br />

vegetation and is thus more limited in its capacity for<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 33

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

Seasonal brackish ponds on South Caicos serve as oases for <strong>the</strong> land crabs, birds, and amphibians on an o<strong>the</strong>rwise arid island.<br />

SFS students and staff work under <strong>the</strong> light <strong>of</strong> head torches to record<br />

body measurements <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crabs. Pictured center, a smaller crab<br />

displays <strong>the</strong> blue color pattern which has earned this species its<br />

common name.<br />

harboring <strong>the</strong> crabs.<br />

Despite this, <strong>the</strong> land crabs persist, and in certain<br />

areas, at remarkable densities. Along South Caicos’ eastern<br />

shoreline runs a pronounced limestone ridge, at <strong>the</strong><br />

base <strong>of</strong> which lies some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most pronounced vegetation<br />

on-island. Along this ridge, seasonal rains produce<br />

brackish ponds and it’s here that <strong>the</strong> land crabs thrive.<br />

During nighttime surveys, students race to catch <strong>the</strong><br />

crabs. When successful, <strong>the</strong>y record <strong>the</strong> physical characteristics<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> animals (size, weight, and sex) before<br />

returning <strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong> bush.<br />

These data represent a preliminary effort to understand<br />

<strong>the</strong> habitats required to sustain populations <strong>of</strong><br />

blue land crabs on South Caicos and to frame future<br />

studies investigating <strong>the</strong> interconnected nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

crabs’ terrestrial and marine ecosystems. For example,<br />

given what we know <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> crab’s life cycle, <strong>the</strong> release<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir eggs undoubtably contributes large amounts <strong>of</strong><br />

land-derived nutrients into <strong>the</strong> waters surrounding South<br />

Caicos. This transfer <strong>of</strong> energy from terrestrial to marine<br />

environments likely plays an important role in <strong>the</strong> marine<br />

food web, nourishing everything from corals to bonefish.<br />

However, <strong>the</strong> exact impact <strong>the</strong> crabs have is currently<br />

unknown, as this ecological relationship has yet to be<br />

explored on South Caicos.<br />

34 www.timespub.tc

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

On a changing planet, small island states like <strong>the</strong> TCI<br />

are disproportionately affected by <strong>the</strong> issues <strong>of</strong> climate<br />

change and food security. As we strive towards a more<br />

sustainable food future, <strong>the</strong> answers to our problems<br />

may lie in localized small-scale fisheries like that <strong>of</strong> land<br />

crabs. Just as <strong>the</strong> crabs were harvested by <strong>the</strong> indigenous<br />

peoples <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, so too may <strong>the</strong> sustainable<br />

harvest <strong>of</strong> crabs continue to provide a reliable source <strong>of</strong><br />

protein throughout <strong>the</strong> region today.<br />

For this to happen however, we must fully understand<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir life cycles and how <strong>the</strong>ir survival is dependent<br />

on <strong>the</strong> preservation <strong>of</strong> coastal ecosystems. These crabs<br />

will continue to crawl on land as <strong>the</strong>y have for millions <strong>of</strong><br />

years as long as we preserve <strong>the</strong> habitats critical for <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to survive and thrive. a<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 />

This large, blue land crab is in <strong>the</strong> queue for measurement. Captured<br />

crabs have morphometric data recorded <strong>the</strong>n are promptly released<br />

at <strong>the</strong>ir site <strong>of</strong> capture.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 35

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


The West Indian Whistling Duck is one <strong>of</strong> many migratory species that travel great distances to <strong>the</strong> isolated shelter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI’s RAMSAR<br />

site’s wetlands.<br />

Conservation and Resilience<br />

The Darwin PLUS 129 Project focuses on TCI wetlands.<br />

By Christopher May, Samuel Pike, Katie Medcalf, B Naqqi Manco, Dodly Prosper, and Junel Blaise<br />

As development steadily progresses throughout <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>, it remains crucial to conserve<br />

and protect <strong>the</strong> areas that make <strong>the</strong> country “Beautiful by Nature.” The North, Middle and East Caicos<br />

wetlands are <strong>of</strong> international importance, containing a variety <strong>of</strong> marine and coastal habitat types and<br />

complex natural transitions. Noteworthy are mangrove swamps, diverse bird life, numerous Arawak<br />

sites, and several inlet cays. The whole area is a particularly good example <strong>of</strong> coastal wetland habitat<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, providing shelter and nursery locations for various species <strong>of</strong> waterfowl, turtles, and<br />

commercial fish species.<br />

36 www.timespub.tc

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

This drone shot illustrates ano<strong>the</strong>r iconic species that utilizes <strong>the</strong> RAMSAR site—<strong>the</strong> West Indian Flamingo.<br />


The Darwin Plus Project 129, entitled “Understanding<br />

Ramsar Wetland Dynamics for Marine Conservation<br />

and Environmental Resilience,” is funded by <strong>the</strong> UK<br />

Government under <strong>the</strong> Darwin Initiative, and aims to furnish<br />

evidence showcasing <strong>the</strong> value <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’<br />

wetlands. It considers how <strong>the</strong>se ecosystems contribute to<br />

biodiversity, coastal protection, and natural capital, while<br />

also evaluating <strong>the</strong> potential impact <strong>of</strong> future climates<br />

on <strong>the</strong> wetlands. Led by Environment Systems Limited<br />

(ESL) in <strong>the</strong> UK, this project uses satellite imagery indices<br />

which are being developed to help establish a monitoring<br />

framework and build capacity amongst technical and<br />

scientific staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Environment and<br />

Coastal Resources (DECR).<br />

The Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>’ wetlands in <strong>the</strong> Ramsar<br />

Site constitute a rich tapestry <strong>of</strong> habitats, including coral<br />

reefs, seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, salinas, blue<br />

holes, and pine forests, spanning over 58,000 hectares.<br />

The ecosystems form a series <strong>of</strong> interconnected and interdependent<br />

networks which support biodiversity, carbon<br />

storage, and hydrodynamics within <strong>the</strong> North, Middle,<br />

and East Caicos Nature Reserve. The environments <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

border one ano<strong>the</strong>r and form intricate connections, especially<br />

with regards to water movement and retention.<br />

Many migratory species such as <strong>the</strong> Green Sea<br />

Turtle (Chelonia mydas), <strong>the</strong> West Indian Whistling Duck<br />

(Dendrocygna arborea), and <strong>the</strong> West Indian Flamingo<br />

(Phoenicopterus ruber) traverse great distances to <strong>the</strong> isolated<br />

and sheltered wetlands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> RAMSAR site, which<br />

<strong>the</strong>y heavily depend on for nesting and shelter. Five <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> eight endemic species <strong>of</strong> plants within <strong>the</strong> Turks &<br />

Caicos, such as Caroline’s Rock Pink (Stenandrium carolinae),<br />

Bahama Broombush (Evolvulus bahamensis),<br />

and Bahama Hatpin Sedge (Eleocharis bahamensis) are<br />

confirmed to have been found within <strong>the</strong> RAMSAR site’s<br />

borders.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong>ir biological and ecological significances,<br />

<strong>the</strong>se wetlands and o<strong>the</strong>r ecosystems are culturally<br />

important, with local communities benefiting from both<br />

an aes<strong>the</strong>tic standpoint as well as a gain <strong>of</strong> resources.<br />

One such cultural event is <strong>the</strong> annual “Crabbin’” season,<br />

which sees locals and visitors take part in <strong>the</strong> excited<br />

ga<strong>the</strong>ring <strong>of</strong> Blue Land Crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) as<br />

<strong>the</strong> crabs emerge from <strong>the</strong>ir burrows at <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

rainy season. Iconographic flora such as <strong>the</strong> Turk’s Head<br />

Cactus (Melocactus intortus), Caicos Pine (Pinus caribaea<br />

var. bahamensis) give <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ hillsides and low-land<br />

forests <strong>the</strong>ir respective significant identities. The national<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 37

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

bird, <strong>the</strong> Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) can <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

be seen flying, fishing, and nesting along Middle Caicos.<br />

The beautiful and natural landscapes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI RAMSAR<br />

site provide a plethora <strong>of</strong> functions and benefits to <strong>the</strong><br />

country and its residents, through means <strong>of</strong> storm mitigation,<br />

agriculture, recreation, and research.<br />

ESL and <strong>the</strong> DECR have partnered toge<strong>the</strong>r over<br />

<strong>the</strong> last two years to conduct steady research into <strong>the</strong><br />

RAMSAR site and evaluate threats to <strong>the</strong> ecological functioning<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nature reserve, both via anthropogenic and<br />

climatic influences. Due to low elevation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> islands,<br />

sea level rise and saltwater intrusion pose imminent dangers,<br />

particularly for coastal areas, allowing more saline<br />

water to permeate <strong>the</strong> internal sections <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> land and<br />

affect ground water. The vulnerability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se wetlands<br />

to changes in rainfall patterns and increased drought<br />

durations amplifies <strong>the</strong> risk, leading to dry conditions in<br />

salinas that impact migratory birds’ breeding and feeding<br />

grounds. Increases in average annual temperature<br />

and UV indices (a consequence <strong>of</strong> climate change), present<br />

an additional threat, influencing <strong>the</strong> growth cycles<br />

and amounts <strong>of</strong> crucial wetland species. Migration and<br />

spawning cycles, as well as seed and fruit production and<br />

dispersal are increasingly vulnerable to <strong>the</strong>se changing<br />

environmental conditions.<br />

Unfettered and ill-planned construction can lead to<br />

deforestation, forests and waterways being fragmented,<br />

and compacting <strong>of</strong> soils. It is in <strong>the</strong>se vulnerable and<br />

exposed areas that invasive species such as Cow Bush<br />

(Leucaena leucocephala) and Australian Pine Trees<br />

(Casuarina equisetifolia) can quickly spread and outcompete<br />

native species and ultimately change soil chemistry.<br />

Increasing development, including residential and commercial<br />

construction, brings about localised pollution,<br />

threatens ground-nesting birds, sea turtles, and iguanas,<br />

and intensifies unregulated activities such as fishing,<br />

poaching, and charcoal burning—all <strong>of</strong> which contribute<br />

to <strong>the</strong> degradation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se vital wetland habitats.<br />

To map an area <strong>of</strong> over 580 km 2 which is largely<br />

inaccessible, technology is a huge enabler. Satellite imagery<br />

was used to identify key features and functions by<br />

designing several indicators which will help monitor <strong>the</strong><br />

wetlands in <strong>the</strong> future, highlighting potential issues in<br />

near real time.<br />

A habitat map for <strong>the</strong> TCI was previously created<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) as<br />

part <strong>of</strong> an earlier project, utilizing AI generated random<br />

forest models using Sentinel 2 and optical imagery. The<br />

accuracy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> map is good but understandably not perfect.<br />

However, it forms an excellent baseline which can<br />


Here, <strong>the</strong> DECR’s North Caicos staff members examine <strong>the</strong> mangroves, ano<strong>the</strong>r important wetland species. They provide natural infrastructure<br />

to help reduce erosion and absorb storm surge impacts, while <strong>the</strong>ir dense roots help bind and build soils.<br />

38 www.timespub.tc

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

This is a natural flood plain on East Caicos, ano<strong>the</strong>r important part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ecological system. It serves to filter and store water, secure natural<br />

flood protection and help sustain biological diversity.<br />

be updated with field work. This project has allowed for<br />

ground truthing and a more accurate description <strong>of</strong> some<br />

areas, particularly around <strong>the</strong> coast <strong>of</strong> East Caicos. To<br />

understand more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> surrounding areas, <strong>the</strong> field team<br />

used an aerial drone to visualise areas in <strong>the</strong> vicinity <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> survey points.<br />

The project actively contributes to capacity building<br />

by enhancing <strong>the</strong> technical capabilities <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> DECR<br />

staff and engaging local students in <strong>the</strong> fascinating complexity<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wetlands and <strong>the</strong> species <strong>the</strong>y support.<br />

Through strategic outreach efforts, <strong>the</strong> project has built<br />

up <strong>the</strong> knowledge <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wetlands to<br />

both Islanders and visitors. This engagement instils a<br />

deeper understanding <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> wetlands’ ecological<br />

significance, fostering a<br />

sense <strong>of</strong> shared responsibility<br />

for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

preservation. By helping<br />

residents<br />

understand<br />

<strong>the</strong> broader significance<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> RAMSAR site, we<br />

cultivate a sense <strong>of</strong> stewardship<br />

and collaboration,<br />

reinforcing <strong>the</strong> importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> collective efforts<br />

in <strong>the</strong> preservation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se ecologically vital wetlands. a<br />

Above: This image shows <strong>the</strong> TCI RAMSAR site border. These are <strong>the</strong><br />

attendees at a recent workshop for <strong>the</strong> Darwin PLUS 129 Project.<br />



<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 39

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

The precious pine forests <strong>of</strong> North Caicos are not only a testament to environmental resilience, but an example <strong>of</strong> how natural capital value<br />

includes <strong>the</strong> mental health that eco-systems provide to humans.<br />

Investment and Nature<br />

Working Toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

New Natural Capital Investment Plan to launch this summer.<br />

By Andy Tetlow, International Biodiversity Officer, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)<br />

The environmental landscape <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> plays a vital role in <strong>the</strong> country’s tourism-focused<br />

economy, providing “ecosystem services” that have a significant impact on communities across TCI.<br />

40 www.timespub.tc

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

What are ecosystem services, you may ask? This term<br />

describes all <strong>the</strong> direct and indirect benefits that nature<br />

provides for humans. For example, healthy mangrove<br />

forests provide flood protection to coastal communities.<br />

This is a particularly important ecosystem service in a<br />

time <strong>of</strong> increasingly challenging wea<strong>the</strong>r patterns.<br />

These ecosystem services are provided by what is<br />

called “natural capital.” Natural capital includes all <strong>the</strong><br />

elements <strong>of</strong> nature, both living (plants, animals, etc.) and<br />

non-living (bodies <strong>of</strong> water, minerals, etc.). Each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

elements has a value—whe<strong>the</strong>r it is <strong>the</strong> market value<br />

marine ecosystems provide by supporting <strong>the</strong> tourism<br />

and fishing industries, or a non-market value such as <strong>the</strong><br />

improved mental and physical health in a community that<br />

has access to outdoor recreation spaces.<br />

However, natural capital and <strong>the</strong> services it provides<br />

face many threats, including overfishing, pollution <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

land and sea, unsustainable development, and climate<br />

change. We need to find a balance between environmental<br />

resilience and human activities to ensure long term<br />

stability for both <strong>the</strong> community and <strong>the</strong> environment.<br />

To tackle <strong>the</strong>se challenges, Finance Earth and eftec<br />

have been commissioned to develop a Natural Capital<br />

Investment Plan (NCIP) aimed at identifying new natural<br />

capital income opportunities. The NCIP aims to identify<br />

opportunities to generate investment that protects and<br />

restores ecosystems while creating value for local communities.<br />

This work is part <strong>of</strong> a project being delivered<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC),<br />

<strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Environment & Coastal Resources<br />

(DECR), TCI Fishing Cooperative, TCI National Trust, and<br />

Invest TCI. The project is supported by <strong>the</strong> Resilience,<br />

Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity (RESEMBID)<br />

Programme.<br />

The NCIP is being developed based on an extensive<br />

stakeholder engagement programme as well as data from<br />

various local businesses, community leaders, government,<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r stakeholders across <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. The NCIP<br />

presents an important opportunity for TCI’s conservation<br />

efforts while taking a pragmatic approach, emphasising<br />

real world results. It will provide a framework to support<br />

<strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> new jobs, boost <strong>the</strong> local economy, and<br />

An example <strong>of</strong> ecosystem services is <strong>the</strong> flood protection mangrove forests provide to coastal communities.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 41

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 />

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

All proceeds go to our environmental<br />

projects in TCI.<br />

bolster <strong>the</strong> resilience <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ ecosystems. This<br />

approach ensures that local communities and businesses<br />

are fully involved in <strong>the</strong> plan’s implementation, with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

unique needs and priorities considered.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> key benefits <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> NCIP is its potential<br />

to enhance both <strong>the</strong> local economy and <strong>the</strong> natural<br />

environment. The NCIP will identify new natural capital<br />

income opportunities that could lead to job creation<br />

across various sectors, such as ecotourism, conservation,<br />

sustainable fishing, and agriculture. These new opportunities<br />

will seek to streng<strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> local economy through<br />

diversification as well as making it more resilient to disruption<br />

from future crises, such as pandemics, natural<br />

disasters, and changing wea<strong>the</strong>r patterns.<br />

The NCIP will also provide a framework for <strong>the</strong> sustainable<br />

financing <strong>of</strong> projects to protect and restore <strong>the</strong><br />

country’s natural capital. This could potentially include<br />

grant funding to encourage <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> early-stage<br />

projects, as well as access to commercial or<br />

concessionary financing for larger, more mature projects.<br />

The NCIP aims to provide an aligned approach to<br />

aggregation and management <strong>of</strong> funding to support <strong>the</strong><br />

spectrum <strong>of</strong> natural capital investment and governance<br />

needs in TCI.<br />

The opportunities for investment in <strong>the</strong> protection<br />

and enhancement <strong>of</strong> TCI’s natural capital assets are<br />

broad-based and far reaching. One example is within <strong>the</strong><br />

restoration and protection <strong>of</strong> coral reefs, which are vital<br />

for TCI’s tourism industry, supporting world-class snorkelling<br />

and diving opportunities, while also supporting<br />

essential species that significantly contribute to marine<br />

biodiversity and local fishing activity. By protecting and<br />

restoring <strong>the</strong> coral reefs, <strong>the</strong> NCIP aims to ensure that<br />

<strong>the</strong>se ecosystems continue to support <strong>the</strong> tourism industry,<br />

which contributes to around 70% <strong>of</strong> TCI’s annual<br />

Gross Domestic Product (GDP).<br />

When will this all happen? Stay tuned to our social<br />

media channels for details <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> launch event, which<br />

will take place in TCI in May <strong>2024</strong>. We will share fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

details on <strong>the</strong> event and look forward to working with<br />

you to help ensure a bright and prosperous future for <strong>the</strong><br />

communities, plants, animals, and landscapes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

treasured islands. a<br />

Stay in touch: jncc.gov.uk/community-resilience-tc • facebook.com/CommunityResilienceHubTCI<br />

Instagram.com/CommunityResilienceHub • https://www.facebook.com/press<strong>of</strong>ficetcig • @TCIG_Press<br />

Email with any questions: TCIcommunity@jncc.gov.uk<br />

42 www.timespub.tc


feature<br />

These “scenes from South” display <strong>the</strong> pristine seas surrounding <strong>the</strong> island and <strong>the</strong> fishermen and boaters who daily ply <strong>the</strong> waters.<br />


On <strong>the</strong> Way Back<br />

South Caicos, past and present.<br />

By Dr. Carlton & Verona Mills<br />

Anyone who has lived in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> for any length <strong>of</strong> time knows that patience, perseverance, and<br />

resilience are required characteristics to survive, along with a daily dollop <strong>of</strong> hope. South Caicos is no<br />

different. With a long history <strong>of</strong> success and achievement—many reasons to sing praises—anyone who<br />

places <strong>the</strong>ir bets on South Caicos’ future won’t be disappointed.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 45

Salt, sponges, and sisal<br />

South Caicos has a phenomenal salt history. The salt<br />

that was produced in South Caicos helped to form <strong>the</strong><br />

backbone <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local economy for three centuries. The<br />

island was included in <strong>the</strong> tripartite—three salt operations<br />

started by Bermudians in <strong>the</strong> mid-17th century.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> time, South Caicos was included in <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> group along with Grand Turk and Salt Cay. It was<br />

not until 1848 (during <strong>the</strong> term <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first president,<br />

Alexander Forth, 1848–1852) that <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficially<br />

became part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> group, changing <strong>the</strong> name to <strong>the</strong><br />

Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> (TCI).<br />

With <strong>the</strong> commercialization <strong>of</strong> salt by <strong>the</strong> Bermudians,<br />

South Caicos became a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> global commercial<br />

sphere. It opened <strong>the</strong> door for <strong>the</strong> island to develop economic<br />

and trading links with Europe, <strong>the</strong> United States<br />

and Canada, and <strong>the</strong> English-speaking Caribbean. Turks<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> salt at <strong>the</strong> time was in such demand that it became<br />

popularly known as “White Gold” (<strong>the</strong> equivalent to “King<br />

Sugar” in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean).<br />

However, salt also placed <strong>the</strong> island in a precarious<br />

position. The income generated from salt resulted in <strong>the</strong><br />

creation <strong>of</strong> fur<strong>the</strong>r European rivalry as was evident in<br />

1764 when <strong>the</strong> French imposed <strong>the</strong>ir political will over<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. It took diplomatic intervention <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> British<br />

to bring about a resolution to this crisis. This invasion <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong> by France caused Britain to realize <strong>the</strong><br />

lucrativeness and vital importance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salt industry.<br />

In response to France’s actions, in 1766 Britain placed<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir stamp <strong>of</strong> ownership on <strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>. They<br />

established a physical presence in <strong>the</strong> person <strong>of</strong> Andrew<br />

Symmer who was appointed by <strong>the</strong> Bahamas Governor<br />

Shirley as <strong>the</strong> first King’s Agent to <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

South Caicos’ salt enriched many Bermudians as<br />

well as Europeans. The entirety <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> center <strong>of</strong> South<br />

Caicos consisted <strong>of</strong> shallow salinas which were once<br />

used as salt ponds. The Boiling Hole, a unique and natural<br />

subterranean tidal passage, played a pivotal part in<br />

salt production. South Caicos had over 800 acres <strong>of</strong> land<br />

under salt cultivation, <strong>the</strong> largest acreage in <strong>the</strong> three<br />

salt-producing islands.<br />

Salt production was readily facilitated by <strong>the</strong> unique<br />

enclosed shelter harbour that lies to <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn end<br />

<strong>of</strong> South Caicos. In 1840, following a visit by Sir Frances<br />

Cockburn, governor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas with jurisdiction over<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> town was <strong>of</strong>ficially named in honour<br />

<strong>of</strong> him. Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salt activity, it also became <strong>the</strong><br />

main settlement in <strong>the</strong> island.<br />

Cockburn Harbour boasts delightful Bermudian style<br />

architecture with picturesque stone-walled streets along<br />

Sloops came into Cockburn Harbour to carry salt, sponges, and sisal for trade to destinations across <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

46 www.timespub.tc

with well-built drainage systems. This Bermudian heritage<br />

is still represented in <strong>the</strong> architectural designs, streets<br />

and street names, and also family names. Unfortunately,<br />

Hurricanes Ike (2007) and Irma (2017) wreaked havoc on<br />

many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se historical landmarks <strong>of</strong> South Caicos which<br />

once stood tall for centuries. However, structures such as<br />

<strong>the</strong> lighthouse which served as a beacon to guide sloops<br />

safely into Cockburn Harbour still remain despite battering<br />

over <strong>the</strong> years by natural forces.<br />

South Caicos was also home <strong>of</strong> a thriving sponge<br />

industry in <strong>the</strong> early 1900s. Unfortunately, this industry<br />

eventually suffered from overfishing, low financial<br />

returns, <strong>the</strong> blight disease, year-round harvesting, and<br />

global competition resulting in its closure by 1938.<br />

Sisal was also processed and shipped from South<br />

Caicos, mainly to markets in Jamaica. This product was<br />

important for shipping companies as it was used to make<br />

rope for anchoring <strong>of</strong> ships and securing <strong>the</strong>m to <strong>the</strong><br />

docks. Belts to be worn with clothing were also made with<br />

sisal.<br />

Shift in <strong>the</strong> economy<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1940s, <strong>the</strong>re was a dramatic shift in <strong>the</strong> South<br />

Caicos economy. In 1944, <strong>the</strong> US Government established<br />

an anti-submarine base on <strong>the</strong> island. They also constructed<br />

an airstrip, making South Caicos <strong>the</strong> first island<br />

in <strong>the</strong> TCI to have an international airport. The airport<br />

was handed over to <strong>the</strong> TCI Government in 1947.<br />

By 1959, <strong>the</strong> US Coast Guard LORAN Station was<br />

completed. This base was a low frequency radio signal<br />

navigation system (GPS). Unfortunately, it was decommissioned<br />

in 1982 along with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r facilities that <strong>the</strong><br />

US Government operated in Grand Turk as more modern<br />

technology replaced <strong>the</strong> antiquated equipment.<br />

In its early years <strong>of</strong> operation, <strong>the</strong> South Caicos<br />

International Airport saw <strong>the</strong> likes <strong>of</strong> airlines such as Air<br />

Florida, which was <strong>the</strong> first commercial airline to <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

Bahamas Air also flew in from Nassau, opening up <strong>the</strong><br />

gateway for international travel and commerce.<br />

The US Government also constructed three stations<br />

on South Caicos. First Station was used as a beacon<br />

guiding aircraft flying from North America to <strong>the</strong> eastern<br />

Caribbean. Second Station was used as a storage facility,<br />

while Third Station was used as a guest house.<br />

The island received a major economic injection in <strong>the</strong><br />

early 1960s when <strong>the</strong> Caicos Holdings Company Ltd.,<br />

a North American real estate company, established <strong>the</strong><br />

first hotel on <strong>the</strong> island—<strong>the</strong> Admiral’s Arms Hotel. This<br />

twelve-bedroom boutique hotel was constructed on an<br />

From top: JAGS McCartney, founder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> People’s Democratic<br />

Movement (PDM) and TCI’s first Chief Minister in 1976, exits an Air<br />

Florida plane at <strong>the</strong> South Caicos International Airport.<br />

The 12-bedroom Admiral’s Arms was South Caicos’ first hotel—and<br />

obviously a hit!<br />

The US Coast Guard maintained a LORAN Station on South Caicos<br />

from 1959 to 1982.<br />


<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 47


From top: This aerial view <strong>of</strong> South Caicos shows <strong>the</strong> seaside town <strong>of</strong><br />

Cockburn Harbour and <strong>the</strong> spread <strong>of</strong> salinas behind it.<br />

Lobster fishing has always been a major source <strong>of</strong> income for South<br />

Caicos fishermen. Lobster are processed and shipped to <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

elevated site which was <strong>the</strong>n known as Kersteiner Hill<br />

after its owner Emily Ann Stubbs-Kersteiner.<br />

As a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir agreement, <strong>the</strong> company constructed<br />

a terminal building at <strong>the</strong> airport in 1967 built under <strong>the</strong><br />

supervision <strong>of</strong> South Caicos’ very own Mr. Walter Malcolm,<br />

Sr.. Additionally, <strong>the</strong> runway was resurfaced, with fencing<br />

and lights to facilitate night landings also added.<br />

In order to fur<strong>the</strong>r facilitate <strong>the</strong>ir tourism product, <strong>the</strong><br />

company established a refueling station at <strong>the</strong> airport and<br />

at <strong>the</strong>ir dock facility by <strong>the</strong> hotel. These activities opened<br />

South Caicos up to fur<strong>the</strong>r tourism development by air<br />

and sea. Brazilian pilots also stopped over in South Caicos<br />

enroute to South America. This generated an upsurge in<br />

tourist arrivals, making <strong>the</strong> Admiral’s Arms “<strong>the</strong> place to<br />

be.” In-house generators were added to provide electricity.<br />

This action resulted in many local residents clamoring<br />

for electric services. This public demand resulted in <strong>the</strong><br />

Caicos Company Holdings Ltd. starting <strong>the</strong> first private<br />

electric company in <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

During this era, <strong>the</strong> first major fishing plant operated<br />

by Mike Derby was established in South Caicos where lobsters<br />

were processed and shipped to <strong>the</strong> United States.<br />

South Caicos is also known as home to <strong>the</strong> bonefish, popular<br />

for fly fishing tourists and hungry locals alike.<br />

The lucrative fishing business gave South Caicos <strong>the</strong><br />

48 www.timespub.tc

TMW2022.qxp_Layout 1 3/2/22 3:41 PM Page 1<br />


The late HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited South Caicos<br />

in 1966 to much excitement and pagentry.<br />

reputation <strong>of</strong> being <strong>the</strong> “Fishing Capital <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI.” It<br />

also attracted more investment. One such investor,<br />

Harold Crown, established a market for lobster, conch,<br />

and conch shells in Florida. This resulted in him taking<br />

conch shells via his boat <strong>the</strong> Shell Factory to Florida and<br />

in return, bringing back merchandise for his hardware<br />

and grocery store. South Caicos residents could now shop<br />

for United States merchandise right at home. The Shell<br />

Factory was also captained by local South Caicos man<br />

Captain Bruce Lightbourne.<br />

In 1966, during her visit to <strong>the</strong> British colonies, <strong>the</strong><br />

late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband,<br />

Prince Phillip, Duke <strong>of</strong> Edinburgh, visited South Caicos.<br />

During her visit <strong>the</strong>re was a parade <strong>of</strong> Caicos sloops in<br />

<strong>the</strong> harbor to celebrate her visit. These sloops, an integral<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> salt culture, made a picture-perfect display for<br />

<strong>the</strong> Royals to enjoy.<br />



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South Caicos Regatta<br />

To commemorate <strong>the</strong> auspicious occasion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen’s<br />

visit, a Regatta Committee was formed in 1967 birthing<br />

<strong>the</strong> oldest festival in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, <strong>the</strong> South Caicos Regatta.<br />

The highlights <strong>of</strong> this event were <strong>the</strong> sloops, sailboat, and<br />


Formed in 1967, <strong>the</strong> South Caicos Regatta is <strong>the</strong> country’s oldest festival.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 49


The pristine beach at Sailrock Resort on South Caicos is one reason why it has won numerous travellers’ awards.<br />

speed boat races, followed in <strong>the</strong> evenings by pageants<br />

along with music and dancing. Regatta took place <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

every year with <strong>the</strong> exception <strong>of</strong> one year due to<br />

<strong>the</strong> COVID-19 pandemic (2020). The South Caicos Regatta<br />

holds <strong>the</strong> trophy for being <strong>the</strong> oldest cultural festival in<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, celebrating its 57th anniversary this year.<br />

Outstanding citizens<br />

South Caicos has produced some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most outstanding<br />

citizens in <strong>the</strong> TCI. Notably in this lot are <strong>the</strong> Astwoods,<br />

with Dr. Donald Astwood being <strong>the</strong> country’s first local<br />

dentist, along with his three sons, two <strong>of</strong> whom were<br />

dentists and one a medical doctor. South Caicos has<br />

also produced <strong>the</strong> first local chief medical <strong>of</strong>ficer and<br />

chief nursing <strong>of</strong>ficer in <strong>the</strong> persons <strong>of</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>r and sister<br />

Dr. Hugh Malcolm and Nurse Beatrice Burton. The<br />

island is known for producing prominent businesspeople<br />

such as Mr. Clarence Fulford and his wife Louise. Most<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir children followed in <strong>the</strong>ir footsteps, especially<br />

<strong>the</strong> Fulford sisters who also owned businesses and now<br />

his son George, who has <strong>the</strong> main hardware store on<br />

South Caicos. There were also Edmond Ewing and his<br />

son George, in whose store one would find almost any<br />

merchandise at <strong>the</strong> time. Also prominent was Mr. William<br />

Mills, who was not only an outstanding businessman but<br />

a politician and lay preacher as well. Additionally, <strong>the</strong>re<br />

were Mr. Lloyd Stubbs and Hugh Wilson. Carrying on <strong>the</strong><br />

fishing industry were <strong>the</strong> Jennings bro<strong>the</strong>rs, Thomas<br />

(Tooks) Stubbs and George Lockhart.<br />

As it currently stands, Mr. Lewis Cox is <strong>the</strong> glue that<br />

holds business toge<strong>the</strong>r in South Caicos. Toge<strong>the</strong>r with<br />

his children, <strong>the</strong>y own <strong>the</strong> primary grocery store, <strong>the</strong> main<br />

refueling station for local fishermen, passing yachts, and<br />

vehicles and <strong>the</strong> major fishing plant. The Cox family also<br />

operates one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI’s few locally owned hotels in<br />

Ocean Beach Resort.<br />

South Caicos is famous for producing many local<br />

pilots who have developed some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most outstanding<br />

reputations in <strong>the</strong> aviation industry. In <strong>the</strong> area <strong>of</strong> politics,<br />

Hon. Norman Saunders <strong>of</strong> South Caicos holds <strong>the</strong><br />

belt for being <strong>the</strong> longest serving member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> House<br />

<strong>of</strong> Assembly (accumulatively). The island can also boast<br />

<strong>of</strong> having <strong>the</strong> first speaker <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Legislative Council in<br />

1976, Hon. George Ewing. The current Speaker <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

House <strong>of</strong> Assembly Gordon Burton also hails from South<br />

Caicos as well as <strong>the</strong> former Deputy Premier Hon. Erwin<br />

Jay Saunders and Minister <strong>of</strong> Education, Youth, Culture<br />

and Library Services Hon. Rachel Taylor.<br />

50 www.timespub.tc

A bright future<br />

South Caicos is gearing up for a number <strong>of</strong> local projects<br />

intended to enhance its pristine beauty and rich heritage.<br />

These include <strong>the</strong> enhancement and restoration <strong>of</strong> Conch<br />

Ground Bay; redevelopment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Regatta Village; Cedar<br />

Park Development; community road development; and<br />

airport terminal development. This follows on <strong>the</strong> heels<br />

<strong>of</strong> ongoing works to complete <strong>the</strong> terminal building for<br />

reopening; completion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fire station at <strong>the</strong> airport;<br />

and <strong>the</strong> presence <strong>of</strong> a fire truck and fur<strong>the</strong>r upgrading <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> airstrip. Fur<strong>the</strong>rmore, a recent press release revealed<br />

that top government <strong>of</strong>ficials, along with <strong>the</strong> Member <strong>of</strong><br />

Parliament for South Caicos Hon. John Jamael Malcolm,<br />

recently met with a couple who own a home at Sail Rock<br />

in regards to providing <strong>the</strong> finances for city water to every<br />

household on <strong>the</strong> island. While some may be skeptical<br />

about this initiative, it does provide hope for a people<br />

who have all <strong>the</strong>ir lives depended on rain water to fill <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

tanks and drums. In essence, this could be a dream come<br />

true for many.<br />

It is also my dream that South Caicos will also witness<br />

a fur<strong>the</strong>r development to Conch Ground Bay to accommodate<br />

yachts from all over <strong>the</strong> world. This can lead to<br />

several spin-<strong>of</strong>fs and an added feature to <strong>the</strong> South Caicos<br />

Regatta festivities where several categories <strong>of</strong> staged racing<br />

events for yachts can be included.<br />

Sailrock is a premier luxury resort and residential<br />

community nestled on South Caicos’ ridges and pristine<br />

beaches. In <strong>2024</strong>, it was named “Resort Hotel <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year”<br />

by Small Luxury Hotels <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> World (SLH). Sailrock South<br />

Caicos is known for its stunning natural beauty, impeccable<br />

service, luxurious accommodations, and its barefoot<br />

luxury getaway appeal. The resort recently received <strong>the</strong><br />

Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence <strong>2024</strong> for Best<br />

Service (USA, Mexico, Canada, and <strong>the</strong> Caribbean) for<br />

<strong>the</strong> fourth successive year, and was named <strong>the</strong> World’s<br />

Leading Luxury Villa Resort 2023 at <strong>the</strong> World Travel<br />

Awards for <strong>the</strong> second year in a row.<br />

The 100-room East Bay Hotel is now being revamped<br />

and transformed into <strong>the</strong> Salterra Resort and Spa. The<br />

property is currently undergoing significant renovations.<br />

It is expected to open its doors in early 2025, making it<br />

<strong>the</strong> first Luxury Collection property in <strong>the</strong> TCI.<br />

This is wonderful news for South Caicos, this little<br />

gem with tranquil beaches where guests can reconnect<br />

with nature and soo<strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir minds, away from <strong>the</strong> hustle<br />

and bustle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> developed world. South Caicos is<br />

certainly on <strong>the</strong> comeback trail. The “Big” is once again<br />

returning to <strong>the</strong> Big South. a<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 51

feature<br />

Opposite page: Entrepreneur Mary Forbes showcases her new tour company Island Mystique at TCI’s popular Thursday night Fish Fry held<br />

at Stubbs Diamond Plaza in Providenciales.<br />

Above: Guests showcase <strong>the</strong>ir bookmarks made from straw at Island Mystique’s HandCraft Experience at Grace Bay Market. It is <strong>the</strong> perfect<br />

way to immerse into TCI local culture and ideal for any group visiting Turks & Caicos.<br />

New Company, Old Roots<br />

Island Mystique showcases <strong>the</strong> soul <strong>of</strong> TCI.<br />

By Rachel Craft ~ Images Courtesy Island Mystique<br />

“You’ve never experienced us like this before.”<br />

That’s <strong>the</strong> slogan <strong>of</strong> TCI’s newest tour company, Island Mystique, which launched in late 2023. Island<br />

Mystique aims to be <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’ first culturally immersive tour company by inviting visitors to step out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir resorts and into <strong>the</strong> art, music, and history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 53

“The keyword for us is immersive,” said Mary Fulford,<br />

CEO and founder <strong>of</strong> Island Mystique. Her goal is for visitors<br />

to not only learn about local culture, but actively<br />

participate in it. That’s why Island Mystique <strong>of</strong>fers a menu<br />

<strong>of</strong> interactive experiences led by local chefs, artists,<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r experts. For example, “Turks Link Up” allows<br />

guests to paint something meaningful to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong><br />

while exploring its cultural significance—like <strong>the</strong> conch<br />

shell, which was historically used for communication.<br />

“Cook What You Catch” takes guests on a boat excursion<br />

to catch fish and learn about TCI’s fishing industry, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

to a secluded beach to cook and eat lunch picnic-style.<br />

“Back in de Day” features historians sharing local folklore<br />

around a fire pit and incorporating traditional song and<br />

dance. For more in-depth experiences, Island Mystique<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers customizable packages that incorporate several<br />

activities—like “Flavors <strong>of</strong> TCI,” which includes a foodie<br />

tour, cooking class, and four-course meal crafted by a<br />

private chef.<br />

Fulford’s vision for Island Mystique grew out <strong>of</strong> a gap<br />

she noticed in TCI’s tourism industry. In 2021, while<br />

working at <strong>the</strong> Ritz-Carlton on Providenciales, she found<br />

guests frequently asking for local experiences—but<br />

<strong>the</strong>re wasn’t much to give <strong>the</strong>m. The closest thing is <strong>the</strong><br />

Thursday night Fish Fry in The Bight, but this is only held<br />

once a week. Fulford saw a niche waiting to be filled.<br />

“We’re predominantly a country that only promotes sun,<br />

sea, and sand,” she said. “We’re not <strong>the</strong> only country with<br />

an amazing beach. What’s gonna give us a competitive<br />

edge?”<br />

She hopes her company will help give TCI this edge<br />

by providing activities that shine a light on its unique<br />

culture, not just <strong>the</strong> beaches. She emphasized <strong>the</strong> importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> finding local experts—like a chef who practices<br />

traditional cooking methods, or an artist who learned to<br />

weave straw from her mo<strong>the</strong>r and grandmo<strong>the</strong>r. Fulford<br />

used conch ceviche as an example: It’s a popular local<br />

dish that you’ll find in any restaurant, even in <strong>the</strong> Ritz-<br />

Carlton, but “it’s not <strong>the</strong> same as when made by a local<br />

person.”<br />

Filling this void in <strong>the</strong> tourism industry could help<br />

visitors get more out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir vacations, and even boost<br />

TCI’s economy in <strong>the</strong> long run—but Island Mystique’s<br />

mission goes deeper than that. As someone who was<br />

born and raised on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>, Fulford recognizes <strong>the</strong><br />

challenge <strong>of</strong> preserving TCI’s precious culture. This cul-<br />

Island Mystique guests are introduced to au<strong>the</strong>ntic native dishes during a cooking class where items are purchased from <strong>the</strong> local Kewtown<br />

Farmers Market to be used in preparing <strong>the</strong> meal. Chef Melissa (at right) is explaining how to prepare <strong>the</strong> fish.<br />

54 www.timespub.tc

ture is <strong>of</strong>ten hard to identify, even<br />

by locals, because <strong>the</strong> country’s long<br />

and tumultuous history has led to a<br />

fractured sense <strong>of</strong> identity. “Because<br />

we’re a melting pot <strong>of</strong> so many different<br />

nationalities,” Fulford says, “it<br />

kind <strong>of</strong> masks who we are.”<br />

This melting pot has been brewing<br />

since at least <strong>the</strong> 700s, when<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> were inhabited by <strong>the</strong><br />

Arawakan-speaking Lucayan Taíno<br />

people. The Taíno grew to a population<br />

<strong>of</strong> some 40,000 across what<br />

are now <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos and <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas, where <strong>the</strong>y developed a<br />

sophisticated government system,<br />

cultivated dozens <strong>of</strong> crops, and built<br />

an extensive trade route network. All<br />

<strong>of</strong> this was lost around <strong>the</strong> turn <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

16th century, when European explorers<br />

arrived—along with new diseases<br />

and <strong>the</strong> slave trade—which toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

wiped out <strong>the</strong> Taino within <strong>the</strong> first<br />

generation <strong>of</strong> colonization.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> indigenous people<br />

gone, outside forces began to<br />

shape a new and eclectic culture. In<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1600s, settlers from Bermuda<br />

arrived to establish a salt industry<br />

in TCI’s natural high-salinity ponds.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1700s, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> passed<br />

into <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> France, Spain,<br />

and later, Britain. Pirates from various<br />

countries frequented <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos, and Loyalist sympathizers<br />

moved here from <strong>the</strong> US after<br />

<strong>the</strong> American Revolution, bringing<br />

African-descended slaves with <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

The <strong>Islands</strong> were annexed to The<br />

Bahamas, <strong>the</strong>n Jamaica, and finally, in<br />

1962, TCI became <strong>the</strong> British territory<br />

it is today.<br />

Because <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> influences that<br />

have shaped TCI over <strong>the</strong> centuries,<br />

<strong>the</strong> country’s culture is a slippery<br />

concept. “When you come from slave<br />

states like ours, everything is demoralized,<br />

everything is less . . . <strong>the</strong>re’s<br />

nothing to be proud <strong>of</strong>,” says Dr.<br />

From top: Bugaloos in Five Cays is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> stops on Island Mystique’s Foodie Tour where<br />

guests see a conch harvest and live conch preparation. This same conch can be used in many<br />

ways; here, <strong>the</strong> “beat” conch will be added to a Peas and Grits pot.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 55

From top: Handcraft Instructor Daphny Forbes teaches a guest how to plait straw to make a<br />

bookmark. Sugar &, a local sweet treat store located in Grace Bay Market, <strong>of</strong>fers Foodie Tour<br />

guests a small package <strong>of</strong> local treats (Salt Cay candies, cream cakes, and milk duce), along<br />

with an explanation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir cultural significance.<br />

Della Higgs, a social scientist who<br />

works for <strong>the</strong> TCI National Trust and<br />

serves as a cultural advisor for Island<br />

Mystique. “We’re still in <strong>the</strong> process<br />

<strong>of</strong> creating an identity that is valued.”<br />

It doesn’t help that many <strong>of</strong> TCI’s<br />

current residents moved here from<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r countries, or that much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

economy depends on tourism. “There<br />

are so many people wanting to live<br />

here and wanting a piece <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Islands</strong>,” Higgs said. When your livelihood<br />

depends on tourists, it’s easy to<br />

prioritize <strong>the</strong>ir needs over preserving<br />

and protecting your own culture. And<br />

this is issue isn’t unique to TCI—it’s<br />

common across <strong>the</strong> Caribbean.<br />

“So much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> au<strong>the</strong>nticity <strong>of</strong><br />

Caribbean cultural heritage is missing<br />

and whitewashed in tourism,” Higgs<br />

says. That’s why she was excited<br />

when Fulford approached her with<br />

her vision for Island Mystique. She<br />

hopes companies like Island Mystique<br />

will be <strong>the</strong> first step in bridging <strong>the</strong><br />

gap between locals and tourists,<br />

teaching outsiders about <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>’<br />

true identity, and tackling <strong>the</strong> challenge<br />

<strong>of</strong> cultural preservation.<br />

Through her work at <strong>the</strong> National<br />

Trust, Higgs is dedicated to conserving<br />

and promoting TCI’s rich cultural,<br />

historic, and natural heritage. The<br />

National Trust conducts public<br />

awareness and education outreach<br />

programs to this effect and manages<br />

heritage sites like Cheshire Hall and<br />

Wade’s Green Plantation. Higgs says<br />

<strong>the</strong>re are tour companies that stop<br />

at some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se heritage sites, but<br />

that’s as far as most visitors get to<br />

know TCI’s culture. Island Mystique<br />

aims to go a step fur<strong>the</strong>r, creating<br />

opportunities for guests to experience<br />

<strong>the</strong> soul <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> firsthand.<br />

One key to sustainable tourism<br />

is <strong>of</strong>fering activities that help visitors<br />

interact with residents. This lets<br />

tourists glimpse <strong>the</strong> true nature <strong>of</strong> a<br />

56 www.timespub.tc

place, ra<strong>the</strong>r than just its resorts, and give <strong>the</strong>ir dollars to<br />

local businesses ra<strong>the</strong>r than international conglomerates.<br />

A common problem in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean, Higgs says, is that<br />

“We don’t own tourism in our countries.” Many residents<br />

work at someone else’s resort, for example, but few benefit<br />

directly from <strong>the</strong> tourism industry. Companies like<br />

Island Mystique help bring ownership to local people.<br />

“We need to get behind and stand behind businesses like<br />

<strong>the</strong>se,” Higgs emphasizes.<br />

From top: Freshly caught fish are a backbone <strong>of</strong> TCI fare. Among <strong>the</strong><br />

most au<strong>the</strong>ntic preparation techniques is deep-frying over a coal fire.<br />

Later this year, Island Mystique hopes to add a one-night, two-day,<br />

farm-to-table experience in North Caicos.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 57

So far, people seem to be getting behind Island<br />

Mystique. The company has been sponsored by Invest<br />

TCI, an agency that works to build <strong>the</strong> local economy by<br />

supporting entrepreneurs, and Fulford recently secured a<br />

partnership with global luxury travel group Luxe Tribes.<br />

Since launching late last year, Fulford has received<br />

promising feedback from her first clients—like how <strong>the</strong>rapeutic<br />

<strong>the</strong> straw handcraft activity is and how <strong>the</strong> cooking<br />

classes build a sense <strong>of</strong> toge<strong>the</strong>rness. “What you want is<br />

those fulfilling moments, those shared experiences that<br />

interlink us with each o<strong>the</strong>r and create a sense <strong>of</strong> belonging,”<br />

she adds.<br />

While Island Mystique’s <strong>of</strong>ferings are currently limited<br />

to Provo, Fulford hopes to expand to TCI’s lesser-visited<br />

islands—like North Caicos, which is a perfect candidate.<br />

“[North Caicos] is so pristine and untouched with its culture,”<br />

she explains, “It’s so au<strong>the</strong>ntically Turks & Caicos.”<br />

She hopes to add a one-night, two-day farm-to-table<br />

experience in North Caicos to Island Mystique’s <strong>of</strong>ferings<br />

later this year, and to eventually <strong>of</strong>fer immersive experiences<br />

on every island. “We want to promote each island,”<br />

she said, “to help <strong>the</strong>ir local economies and <strong>the</strong> persons<br />

who live <strong>the</strong>re.”<br />

For visitors, Island Mystique promises a slew <strong>of</strong> new<br />

things to do in TCI and a way to connect with <strong>the</strong> country<br />

on a deeper level. For locals, it’s one small way to<br />

put ownership <strong>of</strong> tourism back where it belongs: into <strong>the</strong><br />

hands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people who live here. It’s also <strong>the</strong> first tour<br />

company—<strong>of</strong> many, we can hope—focused on celebrating<br />

TCI’s culture in all its forms.<br />

“We are more than sun, sea, and sand,” Fulford extols.<br />

“I want [visitors] to see who we are, indulge in who we<br />

are, and know that we are still here.” a<br />

CEO and founder <strong>of</strong> Island Mystique Mary Fulford is part <strong>of</strong> ongoing<br />

efforts by Invest TCI to encourage ownership by local entrepreneurs.<br />

58 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 649 247 2160/US incoming 786 220 1159 • email info@tcmuseum.org • web www.tcmuseum.org<br />

Small stations and residences were built at various points across East Caicos to facilitate <strong>the</strong> workings <strong>of</strong> sisal, guano mining, and <strong>the</strong> cattle<br />

industry. This Great House ruin is on an elevation at Breezy Point.<br />


A Property Puzzle<br />

The controversial ownership <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point on East Caicos – Part Two.<br />

By Jeff Dodge<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 Two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> story that began in 1807 with <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>of</strong> Bermuda. Part One was<br />

published in <strong>the</strong> Winter 2023/24 edition <strong>of</strong> Astrolabe.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 59

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This overhead photo <strong>of</strong> Breezy Point on East Caicos depicts <strong>the</strong> land granted to John and Thomas Ingham Jr. in 1807 by <strong>the</strong> governor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas.<br />

Part One synopsis<br />

In 1807 John and Thomas Ingham Jr. were issued land<br />

grants from <strong>the</strong> governor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bahamas for 1,368 acres<br />

<strong>of</strong> land at Breezy Point on East Caicos. John received 480<br />

acres and his bro<strong>the</strong>r 888 acres.<br />

John had two children, Rose and Robert, with Eve,<br />

a slave owned by John McIntosh. Rose and Robert were<br />

manumitted (freed) before John’s death in 1818. His will<br />

bequea<strong>the</strong>d his property, in trust, to his children. The<br />

trust, to be managed by his executors, would terminate<br />

in 1826 and <strong>the</strong> property would <strong>the</strong>n belong to John’s<br />

children.<br />

Thomas Jr. died in 1823 intestate (without leaving<br />

a will); his wife died a few weeks later. Copeland John<br />

Stamers, his stepson and <strong>the</strong> estate administrator, ended<br />

up inheriting Thomas Jr.’s 888 acre Breezy Point parcel.<br />

Copeland John Stamers died in 1866 leaving his<br />

personal and real property to his three children. His will<br />

bequea<strong>the</strong>d 1,360 acres <strong>of</strong> land at Breezy Point to his chil-<br />

dren. His will stated that this included both Thomas Jr.’s<br />

land as well as John Ingham’s 480 acre parcel. Stamers<br />

claimed John’s land by right <strong>of</strong> “continued occupancy.”<br />

No documentation has surfaced to indicate Rose and<br />

Robert ever became owners <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r’s 480 acre parcel<br />

at Breezy Point. Rose and Robert were only 10 and 12<br />

years old at <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r’s death and being <strong>the</strong><br />

children <strong>of</strong> a slave could explain why <strong>the</strong>y might not have<br />

been made aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir inheritance.<br />

In 1871, <strong>the</strong> three children <strong>of</strong> Copeland J. Stamers<br />

acquired a 99-year lease from <strong>the</strong> government for additional<br />

land on East Caicos. The size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> leased property<br />

was not stated, but it probably included most <strong>of</strong> East<br />

Caicos excluding Breezy Point. Nine months later, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

sold <strong>the</strong> 1,288 [sic] acres at Breezy Point and <strong>the</strong> 99-year<br />

lease for <strong>the</strong> additional land to John N. Reynolds, a salt<br />

merchant on South Caicos.The difference between <strong>the</strong><br />

1,368 acres granted to <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs and <strong>the</strong><br />

1,288 acres sold to Reynolds was never explained.<br />

60 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Note: Various documents have described <strong>the</strong> land<br />

originally granted to <strong>the</strong> Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs as being somewhere<br />

between 1,288 acres and 1,400 acres in size. Some<br />

differences could be attributed to various surveys.<br />

The story continues . . .<br />

John N. Reynolds purchased <strong>the</strong> 1,288 acre parcel at<br />

Breezy Point and <strong>the</strong> 99 year lease from <strong>the</strong> children <strong>of</strong><br />

Copeland J. Stamers in 1871 for $1,000. Reynolds raised<br />

cattle on this property in accordance with <strong>the</strong> terms <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> 99 year lease agreement. Bat guano was discovered<br />

in caves on <strong>the</strong> northwest side <strong>of</strong> East Caicos in <strong>the</strong> early<br />

1880s. Reynolds exported this valuable fertilizer to<br />

Jamaica and o<strong>the</strong>r islands until it played out a few years<br />

later.<br />

John Reynolds and his will<br />

John Reynolds married Elizabeth Adams around 1876—a<br />

few years after <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> Bridget, his first wife. John<br />

Reynolds died in March 1890. Eight children and his wife<br />

Elizabeth survived him. Reynolds left <strong>the</strong> 1,288 acre parcel<br />

at Breezy Point to Elizabeth and his daughters Grace<br />

and Alice. He left <strong>the</strong> remaining years <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 99 year lease<br />

to his wife and all eight <strong>of</strong> his children.<br />

A month after <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> John Reynolds, his wife<br />

and eight children leased <strong>the</strong> property <strong>the</strong>y inherited<br />

on East Caicos to Jeremiah D. Murphy <strong>of</strong> Grand Turk for<br />

20 years—<strong>the</strong> lease was renewable for an additional 10<br />

years. Murphy and his partner used <strong>the</strong> land to grow sisal,<br />

forming <strong>the</strong> East Caicos Sisal Company in 1891. It is not<br />

known what, if anything, <strong>the</strong> Reynolds family did with<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir land following <strong>the</strong> failure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sisal operation in<br />

1919 and <strong>the</strong> expiration <strong>of</strong> Murphy’s lease.<br />

Grace Reynolds becomes sole owner<br />

The oldest Reynolds children began moving to Boston<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> in 1884. Shortly after<br />

<strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> John Reynolds in 1890, his entire family was<br />

living in <strong>the</strong> US—most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m in <strong>the</strong> Boston area.<br />

In 1928, Grace became <strong>the</strong> sole owner <strong>of</strong> her fa<strong>the</strong>r’s<br />

1,288 acre parcel at Breezy Point following <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong><br />

her mo<strong>the</strong>r Elizabeth in 1928—her sister Alice had died<br />

in 1909.<br />

In 1888, John N. Reynolds advertised in <strong>the</strong> Royal Gazette (Bermuda) that he wanted to sell or lease his holdings at Breezy Point on East<br />

Caicos. Reynolds built <strong>the</strong> tramway to transport bat guano from <strong>the</strong> caves on East Caicos to Jacksonville on <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rnmost point <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

island. From <strong>the</strong>re, it would have been shipped to Jamaica and o<strong>the</strong>r islands where sugar cane was grown. This advertisement supports <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ory that Reynolds’ decision to sell his portable tramway separately, as well as his land on East Caicos, was because <strong>the</strong> guano had played<br />

out. (Note: The advertisement incorrectly states that Breezy Point [Cape Comet] was located on North Caicos!)<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 61

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Grace conveys land to her daughter<br />

Alice Jobling, Grace’s daughter by her first marriage, married<br />

James Christensen, a Bermudian, in 1935. Sometime<br />

following Grace’s return to Boston in 1942 and before<br />

1949, Grace transferred her land at Breezy Point to Alice,<br />

probably by quit claim deed. Apparently at <strong>the</strong> time it<br />

could only be sold or transferred to a British subject<br />

and Alice qualified by her marriage to Christensen, a<br />

Bermudian.<br />

Grace Reynolds married Ernest Jobling in 1901. They had three children,<br />

Alice, Louise, and Ernest. Grace divorced Jobling in 1925 and<br />

married James Lake, an insurance investigator, a few months later.<br />

Californians try to colonize Grace’s property<br />

In 1938, Richard Irving, a traveling salesman from<br />

California, met Grace’s second husband James Lake at<br />

a hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Lake, an insurance investigator,<br />

was attending a conference <strong>the</strong>re. During <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

conversation one evening, Lake mentioned that his wife<br />

owned land on East Caicos. Irving, distressed with <strong>the</strong><br />

situation in America for <strong>the</strong> middle class and his view<br />

that <strong>the</strong> Roosevelt Administration was heading toward<br />

socialism, was immediately interested. Irving and Lake<br />

developed a plan whereby a small group <strong>of</strong> like-minded<br />

individuals would move to Grace’s inheritance on East<br />

Caicos to form a colony.<br />

In early 1940, a group <strong>of</strong> 19 “pioneers” left California<br />

bound for East Caicos. Grace’s husband James Lake, who<br />

had visited <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> a few years earlier,<br />

promised <strong>the</strong> group that many valuable resources<br />

awaited <strong>the</strong>m on East Caicos such as wild cattle, fertile<br />

land for growing crops, fruit trees, and much more. In<br />

addition, Lake told <strong>the</strong> group <strong>the</strong>y would be self-sufficient<br />

within a few months because <strong>the</strong>y could sell <strong>the</strong> sisal that<br />

was growing wild, bat guano from <strong>the</strong> caves, and <strong>the</strong> wild<br />

donkeys to a dog food company.<br />

It wasn’t long before <strong>the</strong> group discovered that<br />

none <strong>of</strong> James Lake’s promises were true. Disappointed,<br />

most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> group left East Caicos within months <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

arrival. The last to leave was James Lake in 1943. Grace,<br />

his wife, left <strong>the</strong> year before. (Read more about <strong>the</strong> effort<br />

to colonize East Caicos at: https://www.timespub.<br />

tc/2018/01/modern-crusoes/.)<br />

Christensen visits East Caicos but sells<br />

In June 1949, James Christensen and Herbert Crisson led<br />

a party <strong>of</strong> a dozen Bermudians to East Caicos aboard <strong>the</strong><br />

M.V. Zolaleta to determine if it could be developed into<br />

a tourist resort. They were disappointed with conditions<br />

<strong>the</strong>re—especially <strong>the</strong> millions <strong>of</strong> mosquitoes. However,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were impressed by <strong>the</strong> beautiful beaches and <strong>the</strong><br />

presence <strong>of</strong> fresh water. The expedition was considered<br />

a success—despite <strong>the</strong> mosquitoes—and group leaders<br />

planned to seek £1,000,000 following <strong>the</strong>ir return to<br />

Bermuda so <strong>the</strong>y could develop <strong>the</strong> property.<br />

Money to develop Breezy Point following <strong>the</strong><br />

Christensen expedition never materialized and in 1976<br />

<strong>the</strong>y sold <strong>the</strong>ir East Caicos holdings to Solar Enterprises<br />

Ltd. <strong>of</strong> Bermuda.<br />

Solar Enterprises sell <strong>the</strong> property<br />

In 1998 <strong>the</strong> Royal Gazette reported that <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

72 shareholders in Solar Enterprises Ltd. and that <strong>the</strong><br />

1,375.5 acre parcel <strong>of</strong> land on East Caicos was <strong>the</strong>ir primary<br />

asset. (It’s amazing how <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> this property<br />

changes.) It was also reported that a buyer from <strong>the</strong> State<br />

<strong>of</strong> Maryland had <strong>of</strong>fered to buy <strong>the</strong> property for $7.09<br />

million—this deal collapsed in December 1998.<br />

Solar Enterprises Ltd. announced in February 2006<br />

that it had sold <strong>the</strong> 1,375 acre parcel at Breezy Point for<br />

$8.5 million. The company went into voluntary liquidation<br />

in late 2006 after paying <strong>the</strong>ir shareholders a dividend <strong>of</strong><br />

$9.25/share. Although <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> buyer was not<br />

reported at <strong>the</strong> time, it was probably <strong>the</strong> Arden Group <strong>of</strong><br />

Philadelphia. 1<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r attempts to develop East Caicos<br />

Dr. John Bell—<strong>the</strong> Loyalist period<br />

Dr. John Bell, a Scotsman, arrived on <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong><br />

1<br />

Fred Pearce, YaleEnvironment360, “On an Unspoiled Caribbean Isle, Grand Plans<br />

for Big Tourist Port,” June 29, 2015.<br />

62 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

This stone wall was built along <strong>the</strong> shore in <strong>the</strong> Breezy Point area. The fact that it is in such good condition after hundreds <strong>of</strong> years is a testament<br />

to those who built it and toiled here.<br />


Carriacou (near Grenada) circa 1776. He bought his<br />

first property <strong>the</strong>re in 1777 and began growing cotton<br />

for export. He continued buying and selling land on<br />

Carriacou until at least 1795. 2<br />

John Bell began visiting The Bahamas in 1789 searching<br />

for land beyond Carriacou in order to expand his<br />

cotton production. Though no documentary evidence<br />

has been found to indicate John Bell was ever a Loyalist,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Crown gave him three land grants in 1791 for 1,100<br />

acres <strong>of</strong> land on Grand Caicos. Bell was one <strong>of</strong> at least 83<br />

grantees to receive at least 112 land grants on <strong>the</strong> Caicos<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> and Providenciales from <strong>the</strong> British Government<br />

between 1789 and 1794. The majority <strong>of</strong> land grants<br />

were on North and Middle Caicos. However at least four<br />

were on Providenciales and one was on East Caicos.<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> those receiving <strong>the</strong>se grants were Loyalists from<br />

America. 3<br />

Bell’s largest land grant was for 720 acres on what<br />

is now Middle Caicos. An 80 acre grant was for a small<br />

island west <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> passage Windward Going Through<br />

(between Middle and East Caicos) and <strong>the</strong> third grant<br />

was for 300 acres eastward <strong>of</strong> Windward Going Through<br />

on East Caicos. Over <strong>the</strong> next few years Bell purchased<br />

more land, greatly expanding <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> his Caicos holdings.<br />

Bell created two plantations on his Caicos property<br />

that he named Increase and Industry. Though Bell built a<br />

house and planted 300 acres <strong>of</strong> cotton on Middle Caicos,<br />

he probably spent most <strong>of</strong> his time on Carriacou because,<br />

though never married, Bell had two families on Carriacou<br />

as well as several plantations to manage.<br />

Bell wrote his will on <strong>the</strong> island <strong>of</strong> Guadeloupe in<br />

1800 and died shortly <strong>the</strong>reafter. His will bequea<strong>the</strong>d<br />

his Carriacou properties to his daughter Mary Ann and<br />

her mo<strong>the</strong>r Alziere; to his three children by Margaret, his<br />

2<br />

J. Beatty, I Bear Witness: An African's Quest for Faith and Community in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic World, 2014.<br />

3<br />

Beth Wagstaff, genealogical researcher, Auckland, New Zealand.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 63

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

The 540 acre parcel above is possibly <strong>the</strong> property Richard Padgett received in exchange for <strong>the</strong> 92 acre parcel he had purchased from <strong>the</strong><br />

TCI Government in 2005.<br />

manumitted slave; and to his Scottish nieces and nephews.<br />

Bell’s will did not mention his Increase or Industry<br />

plantations on <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>. 4<br />

An 1801 inventory <strong>of</strong> Dr. Bell’s Caicos properties<br />

records that his Increase Plantation had grown to<br />

1,470 acres and that Industry Plantation consisted <strong>of</strong><br />

about 1,000 acres. The inventory reiterated that Bell’s<br />

properties included 300 acres on East Caicos that were<br />

separately valued at £150. What Bell did with his East<br />

Caicos acreage is unknown, however it is unlikely this<br />

land was planted or developed.<br />

By 1800, cotton production in The Bahamas was in<br />

decline due to insect infestations, worn out soil, and low<br />

cotton prices. Many cotton planters were selling or abandoning<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir properties. Since John Bell did not mention<br />

Increase or Industry Plantations in his will, it’s assumed<br />

he abandoned <strong>the</strong>m or left <strong>the</strong>m to his slaves. However,<br />

slaves typically could not afford to maintain an estate<br />

like Bell’s. Though <strong>the</strong> final disposition <strong>of</strong> Bell’s Caicos<br />

property is unknown, it probably reverted to government<br />

ownership within a few years <strong>of</strong> his death.<br />

John Houseman - Developer<br />

Retired British S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

and journalist John Houseman, his wife, and <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

two children, having obtained a government lease for<br />

land on East Caicos, moved <strong>the</strong>re in 1968 to establish<br />

a hotel. Houseman gave up <strong>the</strong> plan eight months later<br />

and moved back to Grand Turk. He became <strong>the</strong> editor <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Conch News.<br />

Richard Padgett - Developer<br />

British developer Richard Padgett built a house on<br />

Providenciales in 1996. His plan was to build a hotel and<br />

develop <strong>the</strong> property that was once <strong>the</strong> Third Turtle Club.<br />

In early 2005, Padgett acquired 92 acres <strong>of</strong> government<br />

land near Breezy Point on East Caicos. (The 99-year<br />

lease <strong>the</strong> Stamers children sold to John Reynolds in 1871<br />

had expired and it’s likely <strong>the</strong> property reverted to government<br />

ownership even earlier). Pagett acquired this<br />

land without a survey and later complained to <strong>the</strong> government<br />

that he needed an easement across o<strong>the</strong>r property<br />

4<br />

J. Beatty, I Bear Witness: An African’s Quest for Faith and Community in <strong>the</strong><br />

Atlantic World, 2014.<br />

64 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

<strong>Islands</strong> government ministers. Under<br />

<strong>the</strong> settlement agreement, Padgett<br />

transferred all his properties back to<br />

<strong>the</strong> government plus a cash contribution<br />

<strong>of</strong> $75,000 to cover <strong>the</strong> cost <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> investigation. In March 2009, as<br />

<strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> corruption investigation,<br />

<strong>the</strong> premier <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> TCI resigned.<br />

Five months later <strong>the</strong> United Kingdom<br />

suspended Turks & Caicos self-government<br />

and <strong>the</strong> British governor<br />

took over direct rule until October<br />

2012. 7<br />

Breezy Point today<br />

Today Breezy Point remains vacant<br />

land—no one lives <strong>the</strong>re and it has<br />

not been developed. But, it has had a<br />

long and interesting history since <strong>the</strong><br />

Ingham bro<strong>the</strong>rs became <strong>the</strong> owners<br />

by way <strong>of</strong> land grants in 1807.<br />

At left is a summary chart <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> many who have owned this land<br />

at Breezy Point. Who will be <strong>the</strong> next<br />

owner? Will East Caicos be developed<br />

for <strong>the</strong> cruise ship industry or<br />

become a resort? Only time will tell.<br />

Some would like it to remain <strong>the</strong><br />

largest undeveloped island in <strong>the</strong><br />

Caribbean. 8 a<br />

for better access to Breezy Point. He also complained<br />

that he had lost 18 acres <strong>of</strong> beachfront property due to<br />

erosion. In 2007, <strong>the</strong> government agreed to exchange<br />

Padgett’s 92 acre parcel for three parcels <strong>of</strong> government<br />

land totaling about 540 acres—a very sweet deal indeed. 5<br />

Between August 2003 and August 2009 Padgett had<br />

been making hundreds <strong>of</strong> thousands <strong>of</strong> dollars in illegal<br />

payments to corrupt senior government <strong>of</strong>ficials for<br />

favorable real estate deals. In May 2013, Padgett pleaded<br />

guilty to bribery and filing false documents. 6<br />

Due to ill health, Padgett, <strong>the</strong>n living in England, was<br />

given a suspended jail sentence for bribing Turks & Caicos<br />

The author wishes to thank <strong>the</strong> following<br />

individuals for <strong>the</strong>ir valuable contributions: Linda<br />

Abend <strong>of</strong> Bermuda for searching <strong>the</strong> Bermuda Archives<br />

for original documents; John Adams, former Bermuda<br />

Government Archivist now living in <strong>the</strong> UK; and Beth<br />

Wagstaff, genealogical researcher, Auckland, N.Z.<br />

5<br />

TCI-SIT.org, February 3, 2016<br />

6<br />

The Sun TCI, May 31, 2013<br />

7<br />

Ibid<br />

8<br />

Fred Pearce, YaleEnvironment 360, On an Unspoiled Caribbean Isle, Grand Plans<br />

for Big Tourist Port, June 29, 2015<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 65

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />


Among <strong>the</strong> most currently identifiable shipwrecks in <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> is <strong>the</strong> Soviet oil rig service vessel refitted as a Panamanian<br />

cargo ship La Famille Express. In 2004, <strong>the</strong> heavy winds <strong>of</strong> Hurricane Frances caused <strong>the</strong> ship to drift from its anchored position in <strong>the</strong> South<br />

Dock area <strong>of</strong> Providenciales and become permanently stranded in <strong>the</strong> shallow waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos Banks, about two miles <strong>of</strong>f Long Bay Beach.<br />

Run Aground<br />

An introduction to <strong>the</strong> shipwrecks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong>.<br />

By James Jenney, The Bahamas Lost Ship Project<br />

There can be little doubt that <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> Europeans in <strong>the</strong> West Indies was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most significant<br />

events in modern history. Explorers arrived in strange looking ships, dressed in strange clothing, spoke<br />

a foreign language, and immediately showed <strong>the</strong>ir goal to be one <strong>of</strong> conquest ra<strong>the</strong>r than a social visit.<br />

66 www.timespub.tc

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

But <strong>the</strong> subject <strong>of</strong> this article is not <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong><br />

early European explorers. It is, ra<strong>the</strong>r, meant to be an<br />

introduction into <strong>the</strong> maritime history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> area, and<br />

specifically <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> based on <strong>the</strong><br />

lost ships that abound throughout this region. It is a fact<br />

that wherever men travel on water in ships, <strong>the</strong>y leave<br />

behind wreckage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir voyages and vessels.<br />

Any discussion <strong>of</strong> shipwrecks ultimately leads to <strong>the</strong><br />

question <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cause <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shipwreck. In simplest terms,<br />

shipwrecks have one <strong>of</strong> three root causes. The first is<br />

wea<strong>the</strong>r. If <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r is good and visibility clear, <strong>the</strong><br />

number <strong>of</strong> wrecks can be expected to be fewer. The second<br />

cause is human error. In terms <strong>of</strong> a shipwreck this<br />

can be <strong>the</strong> result <strong>of</strong> less than adequate skill <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mariner<br />

in handling his vessel, incorrect or incomplete charts,<br />

an improperly built craft, or o<strong>the</strong>r issues within his control<br />

that were not handled properly. The third cause is<br />

“non-wea<strong>the</strong>r related” issues—usually war or o<strong>the</strong>r hostile<br />

activities by pirates, privateers, and such. Any or all <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se factors can lead to a loss <strong>of</strong> a vessel.<br />

The location <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> is a key<br />

to <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> lost vessels. Situated at what could<br />

be called <strong>the</strong> entrance to one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> popular routes to<br />

and from Caribbean ports—north <strong>of</strong> Hispaniola, nor<strong>the</strong>astward<br />

from Cuba, and south and easterly from <strong>the</strong><br />

Bahamas—<strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> vessel traffic in <strong>the</strong> waters surrounding<br />

<strong>the</strong> Turks <strong>Islands</strong> and <strong>the</strong> Caicos Bank meant<br />

that accuracy in navigation was necessary. On <strong>the</strong> western<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos Bank is found <strong>the</strong> Caicos Passage, sort<br />

<strong>of</strong> an extension <strong>of</strong> (or it could be said to be a part <strong>of</strong>) <strong>the</strong><br />

Windward Passage that <strong>of</strong>fered vessels from <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Caribbean an outward-bound route to <strong>the</strong> Atlantic Ocean.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> northward side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> is <strong>the</strong> Atlantic<br />

Ocean. It seems that <strong>the</strong> nearshore waters on that side <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> was also subject to considerable vessel<br />

activity . . . and wrecks.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> past, most researchers who have studied shipwrecks<br />

in <strong>the</strong> West Indies have typically been focused on<br />

shiny objects <strong>of</strong> great value, a.k.a. treasure. But <strong>the</strong>re is<br />

more than one definition for <strong>the</strong> word treasure and heret<strong>of</strong>ore<br />

no one seems to have taken <strong>the</strong> time to study all<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wrecks lost in <strong>the</strong> West Indies. They include those<br />

workaday vessels who carried salt, sugar, cotton, logwood,<br />

and a variety <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r cargoes northward or who<br />

brought finished goods, provisions, building supplies,<br />

and such to ports in <strong>the</strong> Caribbean Basin. There was significant<br />

travel in both directions and where <strong>the</strong>y sailed,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>ten wrecked.<br />

At present, <strong>the</strong>re are more than 650 documented<br />

wrecks in <strong>the</strong> waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos. The earliest<br />

wreck dates back to <strong>the</strong> summer <strong>of</strong> 1500 and may<br />

be that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pinta, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ships that first crossed<br />

<strong>the</strong> Atlantic with Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, it<br />

seems that those who found <strong>the</strong> wreck were more interested<br />

in looking for shiny stuff and may have destroyed<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> earliest wrecks <strong>of</strong> that vintage ever known to<br />

have been found in <strong>the</strong> West Indies.<br />

The latest wreck, at least to my knowledge, took place<br />

in 2012 and remained visible on <strong>the</strong> west side <strong>of</strong> Grand<br />

Turk for some time. For wrecks that have been assigned<br />

a somewhat specific location, <strong>the</strong> numeric top ten sites<br />

would be: Grand Turk Island (also known as Grand Key)<br />

—75 wrecks; Caicos Bank—55; West Caicos—45; Grand<br />

Caicos (Middle Caicos)—36; Providenciales—26; North<br />

Caicos—24; Birch’s Lookout—19, Salt Key (also known as<br />

Little Turks Island)—18; East Caicos—17; and <strong>the</strong> Caicos<br />

Passage—17. The number <strong>of</strong> shipwrecks lost at <strong>the</strong>se<br />

sites, added toge<strong>the</strong>r, equates to 50% <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> wrecks in<br />

<strong>the</strong> country.<br />

As to <strong>the</strong> types <strong>of</strong> vessels which can be found here,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y include: Caravel, ship, brig, brigantine, sloop, schooner<br />

(2, 3 and 4-masted schooners), bark (or barque),<br />

steamship, motorship, and screw powered diesel-engine<br />

vessels. As to <strong>the</strong>ir nationalities, almost every major country<br />

plus a large number <strong>of</strong> minor countries’ vessels left<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir bones here: American, Bahamian, Bermudan, British,<br />

Canadian, Colombian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French,<br />

German, Greek, Haitian, Honduran, Jamaican, Japanese,<br />

Norwegian, Panamanian, Portuguese, Russian, Sardinian,<br />

Scottish, Spanish, Swedish, and local vessels from Turks<br />

& Caicos. The collection <strong>of</strong> wrecks here can truly be called<br />

international in scope.<br />

A more detailed study <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shipwrecks at <strong>the</strong> Turks<br />

& Caicos <strong>Islands</strong> will follow in future editions <strong>of</strong> Astrolabe.<br />

a<br />

James Jenney is <strong>the</strong> director <strong>of</strong> research for <strong>the</strong> Bahamas<br />

Lost Ships Project, which is working in collaboration with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bahamas Maritime Museum and Carl Allen <strong>of</strong> Allen<br />

Explorations. For more information, visit https://www.<br />

bahamasmaritimemuseum.com.<br />

<strong>Times</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 67

astrolabe newsletter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Turks & Caicos National Museum<br />

Museum Matters<br />

Current days & hours <strong>of</strong> operation:<br />

Grand Turk (Front Street): Hours vary daily, but in<br />

general open on all cruise ship days 9 AM to 1 PM.<br />

When a ship arrives on or after 9 AM, we will open one<br />

hour 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,<br />

so please check our website or email us for updated<br />

information:<br />

www.tcmuseum.org<br />

info@tcmuseum.org<br />

68 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, 2023, 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>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 69

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 />

70 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 $35. 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 />

24/7 emergency room, operating <strong>the</strong>aters, diagnostic<br />

imaging, maternity suites, dialysis suites, blood bank,<br />

physio<strong>the</strong>rapy and dentistry.<br />

In addition, several general practitioners operate in<br />

<strong>the</strong> country, and <strong>the</strong>re is a recompression chamber, along<br />

with a number <strong>of</strong> private pharmacies.<br />

Immigration<br />

A resident’s permit is required to live in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. A<br />

work permit and business license are also required to<br />

work and/or establish a business. These are generally<br />

granted to those <strong>of</strong>fering skills, experience and qualifications<br />

not widely available on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Islands</strong>. Priority is given<br />

to enterprises that will provide employment and training<br />

for 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>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 71

Government/Legal system<br />

TCI is a British Crown colony. There is a Queen-appointed<br />

governor HE Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam. She presides<br />

over 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 />

72 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 />


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City _____________________________________________________________________<br />

State/Province____________________________________________________________<br />

Country/Postal Code_____________________________________________________<br />

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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>Spring</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 73

classified ads<br />

D&Bswift_Layout 1 5/8/18 7:24 AM Page 1<br />

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Your fastest way to <strong>the</strong> beach...<br />

649-941-8500<br />

todd@gracebaycarrentals.com<br />

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649-941-8438 and 649-241-4968<br />

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We’re here to<br />

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Provo & North-Middle Caicos<br />

Office: 946-4684<br />

Amos: 441-2667 (after hours)<br />

Yan: 247-6755 (after hours)<br />

Bob: 231-0262 (after hours)<br />

scooterbobs@gmail.com<br />

www.scooterbobstci.com<br />

74 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 |

Construction Start <strong>2024</strong><br />

Limited Availability Remaining<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.

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