Well John and I are heading to our version of Home Depot today (Do It Center) to pick up some cleanup tools for Villa Capri. Meanwhile amazing people are doing amazing things on island. We'll have more updates for you about who we're working with early next week, but more supplies are being flown in the help rebuild (this morning a plane for South Caicos who got hit hard by Maria!) and a huge cleanup effort this morning on 3 parts of the island. We just found out Fortis, our electric company has MADE IT TO CHALK SOUND! That's great news and FAST.
Our 500 sheets of plywood made it on the boat yesterday so we're hoping it arrives by Monday. Thanks for all who donated on our GoFundMe page, please share with your friends, we're going to buy another few hundred sheets this weekend!
What I really wanted to share was a heartfelt message from our Minister of Tourism:
"Come back to Turks & Caicos; come enjoy our lifestyle, our people, and our hospitality, which the world has grown to love. We are open to serve you. The Turks & Caicos Islands that the world has grown to love is still here for you to come and enjoy--our casual luxe lifestyle, our friendly people, and our warm hospitality are all waiting for you! Hurricanes Irma and Maria did not break us, they did not steal our ability to love and serve. These storms only exposed some of our vulnerabilities which we must strengthen.
While the vast majority of our tourism infrastructure sustained minimal damages, several of our communities received direct hits from Irma. Indeed, this will cause some hardship over the short and medium term; however, we have persevered and came through with high spirits. Our government rededicates itself to the rebuilding process on a steady path of completion in the near future. The Turks & Caicos Islands have adapted with resilience.
Our ability to foster partnerships with key agencies, locally and internationally, will accelerate the process of recovery. We continue to remain optimistically confident that we will be able to return to providing the quality and excellent service that our islands are known for. Our tourism product will continue to evolve from the experiences we have undergone, affording us the opportunity to be more creative and innovative with the goods and services we offer.
Hoteliers are on schedule with their repairs and annual off-season maintenance schedules in preparation for re-opening, and have demonstrated their support for the welfare of their workers and the greater community as a whole. “Irma and Maria have provided some challenging circumstances, but circumstances that present us with opportunities to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones,” commented Nikheel Advani, President of Turks and Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association. “We are here to serve, and serve we will”. Most international flights have resumed normal operations as at Saturday, September 23rd.
The majority of the country’s utilities services are back on line, and the workers are feverishly addressing those pending. As Minister of Tourism, I would like to encourage you to include Turks & Caicos Islands in your vacation plans right away. I can assure you that the warm hospitality which our islands have become synonymous with, will embrace you. You will also get some pleasure from knowing that while you are vacationing with us, you are helping us to rebuild our islands and returning normal lives to our people.