Colors: Blue Color

The Severn Trent region has been basking in sunshine for the last few days and, with the sunny weather set to continue, the company is asking customers to just think a little bit more about how they use water.

Everyone has a part to play when it comes to saving water and it can be the smallest changes right now that can make the biggest difference in the future.

Doug Clarke, Severn Trent’s water efficiency manager, says: “There are so many things that our customers can do to help save water in their daily lives – and if they’re on a water meter it’ll help save them money too.

“Some of our simplest tips relate to your morning routine - always turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth and keep an eye on how long you’re in the shower, the shorter it is, the more you can save.

“A short, cool shower is also much better than running a bath and has the added bonus of helping to reduce the cost of your energy bill too.”

It’s been more than 20 years since Severn Trent last had a hosepipe ban in place and, while the company is confident it has enough supply to meet demand, it's still encouraging customers to save what they can.

Doug continues: “It’s never a bad thing to save a little water, and it’s just little things that can make a difference. Consider using your leftover washing up water in the garden, or invest in a water butt to catch rainwater that you can use to water your plants and flowers through the summer.

“On top of that we have some great water saving devices, including shower timers and plant water saving gel, available to order for free on our website.

“Our water resources are in a healthy position and looking good for the summer ahead so we’re just asking our customers not to be complacent and to think about all the different ways they can save water. I’m sure everyone wants the warm weather to continue but, if it does, we just need to get into some good habits now.”

The Pure Grenada exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 named ‘Grenada-The Road to Success’ has won a highly coveted gold medal. This brings to 14 the number of gold medals awarded to Grenada in 20 years of exhibiting at the Show, with four being awarded in as many consecutive years to Grenada-based lead designer, Catherine John and her extended team of volunteers.

This year, the team brought Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean to life with a fragrant and exuberant representation of one of the island’s iconic historic symbols-the board bus. Measuring 10ft by 4ft, the sides are open to the spice-fragranced breeze and sweeping views as the bus heads back to the countryside from the capital city of St George’s.

The Grenada team’s intricate design emphasises the rich and abundant flora typical of the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, accented with scented spices and complemented by verdant foliage. Heliconias, orchids, gingers, tropical ferns, fruits and spices all feature prominently.

Mrs. John said: “’Grenada-The Road to Success’ unites Grenadians in the memory of travelling by open-sided bus to and from our capital St George’s. These buses, always resplendent in our national colours of red, gold and green, were an institution in themselves and provided vital transport links to work, school and markets. Goods were carried on the rooftop, represented by our hanging orchids and bananas, whilst the exhibit showcases our islands’ extraordinary fertility and biodiversity with evocative blooms, foliage and spices that thrive at different levels of vegetation.”

She added: “Our rainforest, dry forest, orchids and spices are all represented, revealing their intense colours and fragrances to ensure Grenada really stands out from the floral displays at the Show.”

The blooms, greenery and spices were grown in Grenada and arranged to design ahead of Monday, 21st May when the display enthralled VIP Press Day visitors including Dr Johnson Beharry VC – recipient of the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, who was born in Grenada. Well-known names including ITV Royal Wedding presenter, Philip Schofield; athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton; singer Beverley Knight; and actors Alison Steadman OBE and Christian Vit (Game of Thrones) were also impressed.

Mrs. John said: “We’re delighted that the exhibit has been awarded a Gold Medal here in London. A journey on an open-sided bus was a delight, and my personal inspiration for the design comes from memories of driving past cocoa and spice trees, palms, exotic blooms and brightly-coloured blooming shrubs. Many more Grenadians will fondly recall idyllic journeys on such buses between the 1930s and 1990s.”


Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, said: “We’re proud to sponsor ‘Grenada-The Road to Success’ and the entire team who have once again provided visitors to the world’s premiere flower show with an authentic taste of our islands. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an unrivalled world stage and continues to play a prominent role in enticing visitors to Pure Grenada, where they are free to wonder at our abundant natural beauty and exquisite gardens.”

All connected with the pavilion express their gratitude to the 2018 supporters and those who offered their time and plant materials.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has outlined her vision to fight corruption in the Commonwealth.

She was speaking at the opening of the 8th Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Partnering towards assets recovery and its return’, and the Secretary-General highlighted the challenges facing member states.

“Globally, we are facing a tsunami of corruption. In 2015, UNODC estimated that the amount of money laundered globally each year is 2 to 5 per cent of global domestic product or between 800 billion and USD 200 trillion,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “It is estimated that corruption costs the African continent over USD 148 billion per annum.

“You, the heads of anti-corruption agencies, will be seeking to meet this challenge. You are leading the fight against this Tsunami. You are the early warning mechanisms, the rapid responders, mobilisers, you put in place necessary, critical measures that enable us to build back better.”

To applause from two of the country’s former heads of state, the vice-president of Nigeria, Yemi Osibanjo, Thabo Mbeki, the former South African leader, and 200 delegates to the conference, she highlighted some of the successes against corruption in the continent.

“I would like to share a few of the inspiring stories on how you on the continent are beginning to win the battle against corruption,” continued the Secretary-General. “Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime is currently investigating 26 suspects who are accused of money laundering and fraud to the tune over 300 million pula, which is equivalent to USD 85 million.

“The Asset Recovery Unit of Uganda’s Inspectorate of Government is currently investigating three cases to the value of USD 5 million dollars. In Mauritius, the Asset Recovery Investigation Division is pursuing criminal proceedings in a case that is valued at about half a billion dollars.

“South Africa’s Special Investigations Unit which, between 2015 and now, has recovered assets or prevented fraud equivalent to 13 billion rand which is just over USD 1 billion dollars. Here in Nigeria, over USD 3 billion dollars of ill-gotten gains have been recovered.

“I would like to put on record my deepest admiration and gratitude for all anti-corruption agencies gathered here today, including those at the forefront of cases I have just highlighted.”

Secretary-General Scotland said the Commonwealth owed ‘immense gratitude’ for the wisdom and leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. She described as ‘excellent and forthright’ the work being carried out by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) under the leadership of its acting-chair, Ibrahim Magu, and applauded the efforts of Professor Bolaji Owasanoye and his team at the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).

The Secretary-General also encouraged delegates to read last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) communique which resolved to tackle corruption, illicit financial flows, money laundering and terrorist financing by intra-Commonwealth cooperation. She also urged them to study the newly launched Commonwealth Innovation Hub and make best use of the Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform (OCCJR).

“The Office is currently working with the British Standards Institute and the Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Centre on a package of Commonwealth Integrity benchmarks.

“The plan is for the benchmarks package to include a summary of requirements for key anti-corruption standards and commitments, with Commonwealth examples of good practice on implementation and enforcement,” said the Secretary-General. “Initial elements of the package will be presented during this conference, and feedback and recommendations from participants will be most valuable.

“I believe that the development and roll-out of a Commonwealth Integrity Index will act as a further weapon in our armoury to tackle this global tsunami. By doing so, we truly are working and acting towards the goal which I have so often enunciated.”

Secretary-General Scotland said that there would be a formal process of consultation with member countries to take all views into account. She anticipated that the benchmarks package could be presented for adoption in Rwanda at CHOGM 2020.

The Caribbean resiliency will be centre stage as visitors from the region join the New York Diaspora for a lively spiritual celebration highlighted by inspirational words from religious leaders and uplifting performances during a Revival for the Caribbean programme.

The revival will kick-off Caribbean Week New York 2018 (#CaribbeanWeekNewYork2018, #CWNY18) on Sunday, 3 June. This free event is open to the public and will begin at 4 p.m. at the Meredith Global Corporation (225 Liberty Street, 5th floor auditorium). Attendees are asked to register via

Master of ceremonies, the riveting gospel singer, Pastor Wendy Mitchell Lewis of Regenerating Lives Ministries in Covington, GA, will join other religious leaders and musicians, including Caribbean nationals and youth representing various faiths. The programme will feature gospel performances and motivational messages by talented and accomplished Caribbean nationals, all out to show their support for Caribbean nations affected by last year’s hurricanes and to give thanks for the recovery efforts.

The Revival for the Caribbean will include:

·     Welcome address by Hugh Riley, Secretary General and CEO, Caribbean Tourism Organization

·     Motivational message by a dynamic youth, Deacon Leandra Lambert, Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

·     Message of hope from Rabbi Bob Kaplan

·     Message of peace from Mohammed Razvi, Makki Mosque

·     Message of thanksgiving from a Guyanese pundit

·     Inspirational reading by Merisalyn Roberts, Miracle Temple Ministries, Brooklyn

·     Invocation by Pastor Gilford Monrose, Director, Faith-Based & Clergy Initiatives, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Participants will enjoy performances by:

·     Pastor Wendy Mitchell Lewis – Trinidad & Tobago

·     Minister Janice Charles – Grenada

·     Minister Cora Moore Williamson – Guyana

·     Minister Wayne Johnson – Trinidad & Tobago

·     Keeyana Lampkin – Saint Lucia

·     Braata Performing Arts Group – Jamaica

Caribbean Week New York 2018 will have a special feel this year as the Big Apple’s 8.5 million residents get a taste of the reenergizing and rejuvenating power of Caribbean wellness. During the week-long event (June 3 – 8), the wellness theme will be incorporated into many activities, including a trade show and educational forum for travel agents on how to sell the Caribbean as a wellness destination. Registration details for all events can be found at

The Grenada Tourism Authority has announced a number of new initiatives and programmes aimed at improving the product offerings as well as increasing visitors to the tri-island destination.

Cruise Guest Experience Project Consultancy

Following the visit to Grenada of a high level delegation of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in June 2017, Grenada’s Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen spearheaded a policy initiative to engage a cruise consultancy to improve the Pure Grenada Cruise Guest Experience.

Since then, Mico Cascais with 30-plus years’ experience in the global cruise industry has been engaged to fill this role. A six-month consultancy was approved by Minister Modeste-Curwen with the aim of developing a Grenada Cruise Guest Experience project proposal and road map.

The project is a 50/50 public private partnership between the Ministry of Tourism/Grenada Tourism Authority and private tourism stakeholders to be funded by both parties.

Today, one of the private sector partners George F. Huggins and Company Grenada Ltd. pledged its financial support for the project with the handover of a cheque to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Arlene Buckmire Outram. Making the presentation on behalf of company CEO Anya Chow Chung was General Manager of the Services Division Sheldon Alexander. Speaking about the contribution, Mrs.Chow Chung said, “As the main tour operator for cruise ships in Grenada, we are delighted to significantly support this initiative aimed at improving the experience of cruise passengers who visit Grenada.”

Speaking of the project, GTA Nautical Development Manager Nikoyan Roberts said, “Team Grenada wants more passengers to come off the ship, experience Grenada and book tours.”

PS Outram thanked all private partners for joining the Ministry and the GTA in the initiative.

Additional Flights to Pure Grenada for Summer

A number of airline partners have announced more exciting opportunities for travellers to get to Pure Grenada for Summer from the main source markets.

From New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, Jetblue has announced a daily service from June 21  - September 4, 2018. Further to the daily flights, Jetblue has increased capacity from August 15 – September 04 with a larger aircraft.

Additional airlift out of New York will include two non-stop Caribbean Airlines flights in August.

Delta Airlines announced two additional flights from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport in August.

From Canada, airlift capacity has doubled from Toronto Pearson International. Air Canada Rouge announced an additional flight increasing the service to two weekly flights from May to August. September and October will continue with one weekly flight making it an all year round service.

Additional airlift out of Toronto will include one charter flight by Sunwing on August 1 and one non-stop flight from Caribbean Airlines on August 9.

Speaking about the additional airlift, GTA Marketing Manager Francine Stewart said, “ We are thrilled for the additional airlift from our source markets since Pure Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique is in-demand making it a year round destination”

#NextStopGrenada Summer Campaign

Following a particularly long Winter in North America and Europe, Grenada is enticing travellers to come to the destination for Summer deals with its #NextStopGrenada Campaign.

From May 1 to October 31, Grenada’s extended Summer season will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy up to a 50% discount on hotel rates, take advantage of room upgrades, complimentary massages, children discounts, complimentary yoga classes, tour discounts and so much more. This campaign is perfectly timed with Grenada’s increased airlift, providing more opportunities for visitors to experience the destination and enjoy savings.

According to GTA CEO Patricia Maher “The value proposition for people booking in the summer period is tremendous and they get to enjoy quality accommodation offerings and excellent customer service that bring visitors back year after year.”


Project Trumpmore is aiming to demonstrate climate change in a monumental way. A Finnish NGO wants to commission a 115-foot tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face in the arctic region to demonstrate that climate change is happening. Like the former US presidents on Mount Rushmore, Donald Trump will have his face carved onto an arctic glacier, in order for it to melt.

Global warming is one of the most important issues and topics of today. There are still people who ponder whether it’s a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting. Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes, says Nicolas Prieto, the chairman of the association Melting Ice, which is behind Project Trumpmore.

One person can make a difference

The project started when three young men working in the creative field got enough of talking and wanted to act instead. Instead of filling the world with fake news and alternative facts, this project aims to actually show climate change taking place.

Their starting point was to create something concrete, something people can see and something that makes climate change visual. In general, we believe that a DIY-attitude appeals to people, and it’s certainly the same thing which got us started, Prieto sums up.

Project Trumpmore’s goal is to generate conversation and hopefully catch the eye of anyone who is willing to fund our project.

- This project is a huge challenge and we can’t do this without help. We are now asking everybody to join this movement. It can be made by talking, liking, sharing, funding etc. All possible help is more than welcome.

Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the three-island destination best known as the Spice Island of the Caribbean and for providing travellers with boundless opportunities to explore, relax and experience the best of Caribbean living launched its Summer campaign #NextStopGrenada. It is designed to provide visitors with true value for money and the chance to experience all the destination has to offer.

From May 1 to October 31, Grenada’s extended Summer season will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy up to a 50% discount on hotel rates, take advantage of room upgrades, complimentary massages, children discounts, complimentary yoga classes, tour discounts and so much more.

According to Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) CEO Patricia Maher “The value proposition for people booking in the summer period is tremendous and they get to enjoy quality accommodation offerings, and excellent customer service that brings visitors back year after year.”

Increased air access to Grenada is an added bonus for Summer as airline partners announced a number of additional flights to the destination from John F. Kennedy International in New York, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International in the USA and Toronto Pearson International in Canada.

During the Summer, Pure Grenada offers a host of festivals and cultural events to keep visitors entertained, including the: Chocolate Festival May 11 – 19; Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta May 18 – 21, Carriacou Regatta August 3 - 6, Spice Mas August 13 – 14 and Dive Fest October 3 – 6.

Commonwealth countries have unanimously committed to take action on cybersecurity between now and 2020, following a landmark declaration.

In a major announcement at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the 53 leaders agreed to work closely together to evaluate and strengthen their cybersecurity frameworks and response mechanisms.

The declaration is the world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cybersecurity cooperation. It followed an announcement by the UK government to pledge up to £15 million to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities and ‘tackle criminal groups and hostile state actors who pose a global threat to security, including in the UK’.

Speaking after the announcement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said, “Cyberspace opens up new opportunities for socio-economic development by broadening common space and extending access. There is immense fresh potential for the multiple layers of Commonwealth connection to be used for the common good. The many positive benefits that can be derived are easily undermined and subverted by cybercrime, which has no respect for national boundaries. Commonwealth member countries are working together to strengthen their capacity, individually and collectively, to detect and guard against the debilitating threats cybercrime poses to all many aspects of national, regional and international security.”

With the internet increasingly central to global commerce, the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration sets out a shared vision of cyberspace in areas such as economic and social development, and online rights.

The declaration is also an important step for Commonwealth small states, which account for 31 of the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries. By promoting digital inclusion and a safer cyberspace, it sets out practical steps that will enable them to advance their economic and social development.

Steven Malby, Head of the Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, said, “The Commonwealth Cyber Declaration is a landmark document which builds on the work of the whole family of 53 member countries. It emphasises the important role that the Commonwealth can play in this area at a time when cybersecurity and the protection of people’s rights online is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”

With transnational cybercrime increasingly a challenge for global governments, Commonwealth countries are taking a leading role to combat cybercrime and promote good cybersecurity. The declaration includes recognition of the potential for a more active Commonwealth role in international discussions on global stability and cyberspace.

Mr Malby added, “There is a genuine need for international cooperation and capacity building for law enforcement and criminal justice officials on cybercrime, and this declaration represents a significant step forward in addressing countries’ concerns.”

The declaration marks a continuation of Commonwealth work in this area, including that of the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI), as well as the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). In collaboration with the CTO and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations, the Commonwealth Secretariat will provide technical assistance to countries on cybercrime and cybersecurity capacity building. This will help to enhance incident-response capabilities, create effective laws for cyberspace, and strengthen law enforcement responses.

On the occasion of Earth Day this Sunday, the theme of which is "End Plastic Pollution", St. Lucia's Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts are reaffirming their commitment to the environment with the elimination of 90 percent of single-use plastics from their operations.
Carefully built to ensure minimum disturbance to a lush 600-acre estate in the Soufrière hills of St. Lucia, Anse Chastanet and its sister property, Jade Mountain, are award-winning resorts dedicated to responsible tourism. Mindful of the impacts of plastics on land and marine environments, the resorts' management teams began their internal focus on the reduction and elimination of plastics from their operations in 2015.
Since then, the resorts have made great strides in reducing plastic usage and in finding creative alternatives to plastics for food containers, cutlery, cups and straws. This includes the use of wooden, metal and melamine products as well as cornstarch- and sugarcane bagasse-based items, and putting an immediate stop to the purchase of certain plastic products and Styrofoam.
"We encourage the hospitality sector to examine closely their use of plastics and engage in dialogue with their teams," said Nick Troubetzkoy, managing director of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain. "Often the most creative and practical solutions lay within your team and getting your staff directly involved in coming up with solutions also helps ensure buy-in to the commitment cycle needed in order to transform."
At the resorts' bars, plastic straws were replaced with straws made from cornstarch and now, drinks are served with straws only upon request - with the exception of a few specialty drinks. "The guest response to this has been wonderful, as they comfortably 'buy in' and embrace the initiative," Troubetzkoy said.
Plastic cups are no longer available at the resorts' staff hydration stations - instead, employees bring their own reusable cups or bottles. This small change on its own accounts for the elimination of more than 500 single-use plastic containers daily. In the staff canteen, metal cutlery has replaced plastic cutlery, and employees bring their own reusable containers if they need to take food back to their desks and stations.
Groundskeeping on the sprawling 600-acre estate had also become an area that consumed a lot of plastics, Troubetzkoy explained. For vegetative waste-clearing, single-use plastic bags have now been replaced with heavy duty reusable bags that are ultimately compostable at the end of their life cycle.
"The real message here is that everyone has an opportunity to look at how to do things differently," Troubetzkoy said. "Our experience is that for minimal or no cost we have managed to find viable alternatives to the use of plastics. The spin-off benefits have been better team engagement and the extension of lessons learned here to the communities that surround us, as our team members start to practice at home what they have begun to do at work."
In further celebration of Earth Day 2018, Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain are encouraging their guests to participate in a lineup of interactive environmentally conscious activities. Guests can plant cacao trees on the resorts' organic Emerald Farm, which is the source of much of the restaurants' fresh produce and the inspiration for their farm-to-table approach to dining.
On Earth Day, visitors can also enjoy a "Low Carbon Dining Experience", which utilizes little to zero carbon-producing cooking methods, such as marinating, curing and seawater poaching. Chefs will use wood ovens and charcoal grills to further reduce the resorts' carbon footprint. Menu options include an Emerald Farm Watermelon and Julie Mango Salad, Charcoal-grilled Banana Leaf Mahi Mahi and Zucchini Carpaccio.
Scuba enthusiasts can take part in an underwater clean-up dive with guides from the resorts' onsite dive operation, Scuba St. Lucia, which last year won the PADI Green Star Award for its commitment to conservation.
Guests also have the opportunity to join a dive to hunt the invasive lionfish species, which has no natural predators and is known to dramatically impact native ecosystems and local fishing economies. Scuba St. Lucia answered the call of regional conservationists to battle the species by introducing the PADI "Invasive Lionfish Tracker Specialty Course", which teaches participants about controlling the intrusive population and how to humanely capture and euthanize these fish. Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain also include lionfish in their culinary offerings, serving it up in a variety of ways - grilled, stewed, as sashimi, and as citrus ceviche wrapped in a crispy tortilla.
Among their host of sustainable practices, the resorts operate with a "water is life" water management philosophy, which includes non-toxic cleaning products, an onsite wastewater treatment plant, and an independent water supply to avoid burdening the surrounding community of Soufrière.
Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain consistently receive recognition for their sustainable initiatives, most recently achieving Travelife Gold Certification. In 2016, Jade Mountain also became the first hotel in the Caribbean to earn the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

This Earth Day, April 22, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) joins the worldwide celebrations.
Earth Day's theme this year, "End Plastic Pollution," is especially relevant for CHTA because preventing or removing plastic pollution remains a big challenge for many of our tourism enterprises and in fact, for many of our island destinations at large.
We recently saw the "plasticberg" of garbage that drifted into parts of our pristine Caribbean Sea, underscoring the plastic pollution that already spoils some of our beaches. So, it is even more urgent that we come together in a smart partnership with all sectors and communities to clean out the plastic pollution and ensure clean and pristine waters dominate the million square miles that comprise the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), CHTA's nonprofit affiliate, continues to offer tourism enterprises and communities sustainability resources and share best practices to end the irresponsible dumping of plastics across the Caribbean.
On the occasion of Earth Day, CHTA is pleased to announce the planned introduction of a new section in the CHTA website's Knowledge Center, dedicated to research, best practices and practical information to help guide hoteliers, their employees and guests in better understanding how they can help reduce the harmful effects from the proliferation of plastics.
As Earth Day organizers note, the alarming growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of not only our beautiful Caribbean, but also our planet as we know it, with effects ranging from poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, and from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills in the constrained space of our islands.
This Earth Day, we encourage our members to dedicate themselves to generating the inspiration and information needed to fundamentally change human attitudes and behaviors about plastics and motivate their team members, their families and communities to take personal responsibility for the plastic pollution that each one of us generates by choosing to reject or reduce plastics and to reuse and recycle where possible.
CHTA salutes its tourism enterprises that have successfully reduced the use of plastic in their operations, with creative alternatives to plastics for food containers, cutlery, cups and straws and the introduction of reusable water bottles. We also salute the destinations that have already begun to ban plastic checkout bags for groceries or other merchandise. By sharing these successes we hope to encourage and inspire more business to find plastic-free solutions.
To be successful, we need a Caribbean strategy that can fit into the Earth Day Network's global framework to regulate such pollution, in particular in our tourism and hospitality sectors. Let's encourage our governments, our hotels and tourism businesses to be leaders in keeping plastics out of our seas, and also engage with the cruise and airline industries to eliminate plastic waste.
Together, we can exhort universities, schools, school teachers and students to end plastic pollution throughout our islands.
Our fourth annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), the premier educational forum for Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals (from June 22-24, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami) will be an excellent forum to take this discussion to another level.
CHTA and CAST support the Earth Day Network's mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

A Christian School girl of Pakistani origins gave up her Easter holidays to champion the rights of thousands of Pakistani Christian girls who are at risk of rape, kidnap and forced Islamic marriage every year in Pakistan.

Hannah Chowdhry, who volunteers for the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) organised a meeting with UKIP MEP Nathan Gill to discuss concerns about persecution of minorities in Pakistan, after the Welsh MEP and Welsh Assembly Member responded to a regular email correspondence sent out by BPCA.

Mr Nathan Gill was moved by the plight of Pakistani Christians and created a small video which he shared on social media drawing some necessary attention to the plight of millions of Christians who have suffered oppression and discrimination since the creation of Pakistan, despite the original founder of the nation holding much more egalitarian views.

During a meeting with Nathan Gill, Hannah explained that she had begun to volunteer with the BPCA after learning about girls around her age that had suffered brutality at the hands of men much older then them, often after the girls had been entrapped by friends at school who had been actively involved in planning the kidnaps and knew that it would lead to brutal sham marriages enacted by corrupt local imams.

Hannah Chowdhry, said:

"The average age of victims is 13 but many can be younger than this. I am now 14 and when I think about what these vulnerable girls have been through it makes me shudder.

"I have written to the High Commissioner of Pakistan several times asking for him to help these girls, but have never received any response.

"When I saw the video that MEP Nathan Gill produced in response to one of our regular newsletters, I realised he was interested in helping these girls and many other victims of oppression in Pakistan so I requested a chance to discuss concerns about Pakistan and was pleasently surprised when he agreed to meet.

"My father Wilson Chowdhry, came with me and we shared details of many persecution stories relating to Pakistan, Nathan was receptive and I also met with his colleague Jim Carver MEP.

"While we were at Brussels we also attended various seminars and even held a protest outside the EU parliament itself, which my father helped organise with the global Pakistani Christian community, on the back of our visit.

MEP Nathan Gill has agreed to help BPCA raise a series of questions to European Parliament ensuring that the EU is knowledgeable on the real human rights crises that is manifest in Pakistan. Hundreds of Christians and Ahmadis are incarcerated in Pakistani jails under false blasphemy charges through a draconian law that targets non-Muslims and is used to settle personal scores and usurp properties and employment roles. 1.5 million Christian slaves work in the brick kilns and carpet weaving factories of Pakistan where they eke out an existence working 14 hours a day for six days for a pittance, forced to pay of the debts of a patriarch who borrowed a small loan of say £50, leading to overwhelming debt and unquenchable interest. Current figures suggest that only 4% of Christians attain an adequate level of literacy, due to; fear of bullying in school, debt-driven child-labour, and desire to protect vulnerable girls from kidnap.

During the visit Hannah met with South Asian Delegate for the EU MEP Jean Lambert (Green Party) and the First Vice President for the EU Mairead McGuiness (Fine Gael) during a seminar on persecution of non-believers. She was also provided with a tour of the EU building itself and was able to peer inside the main debate hall for the EU Parliament building and saw a view of the whole inside of the building from the top floor.

She also attended a regular prayer meeting that is attended by officials of the EU, lobbyists and MEP's. During the meeting leaders of the prayer group prayed over the life of Hannah which was encouraging for Hannah.

The fourth annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), the premier educational forum for Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals, is slated for June 22-24, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) announced that plans are set for the top regional gathering where unity and innovation will be examined as central factors to fuel the growth of the region's bread and butter industry.

CHTA president Karolin Troubetzkoy said after a challenging close to 2017 following the impact of September's hurricanes, it was important for industry stakeholders to get together and share ideas to stimulate the growth of the hospitality sector for the remainder of 2018 and beyond.

"As we meet under the theme of 'Unite and Innovate', delegates will learn from each other, break the molds and set a new normal for the industry," she asserted, adding "you really need to be there to connect with people and ideas which simply can help you to improve your bottom line while innovating and contributing to the competitiveness of the region's leading economic sector."

CHIEF is a critical educational platform for regional hoteliers, industry professionals and allied partners where best practices are shared. "Professional development and connectivity with peers continues to be the number one reason why our members attend CHIEF," said Troubetzkoy, who looks forward to benefiting from and contributing to the various sessions during the summer conference.

Three educational tracks will cover a multitude of relevant hospitality and tourism topics, ranging from operations to sales and marketing, the sharing economy and sustainability. Professional development training and a vibrant speed networking session will return this year.

In a rapidly changing economic climate, and especially after the afflictions of last year's storms, "this is the event to attend if you want to take on the issues affecting your business right now," said CHTA CEO Frank Comito. He expanded on the theme by pointing out CHIEF was designed to allow participants to "unite with fellow hoteliers, innovative vendors, government officials and industry experts and to create new possibilities for a stronger, more sustainable and more profitable industry."

By encouraging hotel owners, vendors, managers, associations and agencies from more than two dozen Caribbean countries and territories to unite under one roof for a weekend in June, Comito expects "a stimulating generation of innovation and creativity, which will fuel our sector for the exciting time ahead."

CHIEF will also feature Taste of the Caribbean, where the region's best chefs and their teams from around the region will compete for culinary awards. Taste of the Caribbean also provides educational opportunities for food and beverage participants, who learn the latest trends and techniques emerging from their industry.

Also returning to Miami this year will be CHTA's Caribbean305 event, where flavors from more than a dozen Caribbean nations will be simmering at the culinary and cultural celebration taking place on Miami's Jungle Island on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 8 p.m.

Having consistently achieved the highest benchmarks in the hospitality industry , Grenada's family owned and operated Spice Island Beach Resort has been rated among the top 3 luxury hotels in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor reviewers in the company's 2018 Travelers' Choice Awards.
Now in its 16th year, the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards are determined based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travelers worldwide. TripAdvisor recognized 8,095 properties in 2018.
"TripAdvisor reviews are invaluable to us as they affirm our commitment to providing a level of unobtrusive service that is unparalleled in the industry. They are used by management to constantly assess performance, and among other things, reward employees who go the extra mile for our guests," said Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, chairman and managing director of Spice Island Beach Resort.
"Ultimately, this achievement belongs to our staff and management team. It is an unequivocal testament to all the hard work that goes into tailoring memorable experiences based on the unique vacation personalities of our esteemed guests," said Sir Royston.
Tucked away on a spectacular stretch of Grand Anse Beach just 10 minutes from the airport, Spice Island Beach Resort encompasses 64 elegantly-appointed suites including three private pool suite categories as well as luxurious beachfront accommodations which open directly onto the sand.
"This year's Travelers' Choice Awards for Hotels recognize thousands of exceptional accommodations that received the highest marks for value, service, amenities and overall experience from travelers worldwide," said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.
"Millions of reviews and opinions from the TripAdvisor community informed this list of winners that will inspire and help travelers plan and book their next amazing trip," noted Ferencsik.
Recently, Spice Island Beach Resort received the ultimate distinction for hotels - the AAA Five Diamond Award. This marks the second consecutive year the resort was selected based on the evaluations of professional AAA inspectors. The coveted distinction was only bestowed upon seven other resorts throughout the Caribbean.
Spice Island Beach Resort is also a proud recipient of the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

Day 2; a 9.00 a.m start and a most informative morning. The theme for this conference ' The Commonwealth-Business Advantage and Opportunities'. Again, we were honored by the presence of the Premier of Queensland, as well as Baroness Scotland, Lord Marland and the Mayor of the Gold Coast all who spoke. They were joined by keynote speaker Dr Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of the Economist who gave his publications view of the world and its business climate by 2050. So what have we got to look forward to according to them?

Demography- by 2050 the world population will rise to 9.5 billion with half that number living in Africa. People will live longer having an impact particularly on the healthcare system and pensions. There will be a greater trend to Urbanisation

The Economy-The centre of gravity will shift to between India and the Chinese border. Western Europe and the USA will be in decline with Asia on the rise.

Technology-this will be the next industrial revolution. It will impact upon jobs with the drivers of technology being in biology and physics. We were reminded of a quote by William Gibson “The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed" Past industrial revolutions shifted jobs and the forthcoming one will do the same. We will see the growth of Bot wranglers used on Aps, Drone technicians, virtual fashion designers, Indoor farms (having farms with no natural light closer to populations),synthetic tissue engineers, fantasy companies, driverless cars, Oyshi farms (synthetic fish from cell cultures), machines which will take over the role of doctors, data banks and chemicals produced from bio technology.

Theme-a whole new world of social change Politics-Democracy and its discontents

So where does the Commonwealth fit into all of this? Well, to quote Dr Franklin, We all know that the Commonwealth is not the answer to everything and not the setter of rules but instead operates by consensus. It is not a huge dispenser of money and has a very disparate geography. Its most visible area is sport. It has soft power rather than hard power but soft power matters.

The Commonwealth is a multi dimensional network with a common language which boosts trade by 2.2 times. Add to that the 'commonwealth effect' it’s a plus plus. Inevitably with Brexit, the Commonwealth has come more to the fore.

The event continued with a panel discussion entitled 'Enhancing the Commonwealth Advantage for Business’. Lord Marland concurred as to the Commonwealths soft power also suggesting it has been at a crossroads as to its existence and that it was imperative that people make a real effort for its continuation. Its common language made it much easier to 'set up shop' overseas; there was a tremendous cross fertilisation of citizens.

The Commonwealth is an enabling organisation for those who want to be part of it. He recognised some of the challenges for business particularly for SME's:- Finding a route to market in an unknown country,Finding business partners and the cost of the venture.  Any organisations which can help with these challenges are welcome.

Supporting Lord Marlands comments, Monica Bradley, Director, Purposeful Capital, a venture capital fund providing thought leadership and research to assess game changing ideas for people and their communities, confirmed that "the Commonwealth provides us with an enormous opportunity to be in a club where you can build trust. We live in a society not an economy. Britain is now having a more active focus on the Commonwealth"

For the first time, Seychelles will host the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) Marathon Swim World Series Open Challenge 2018.

On 20 May, swimmers from around the world will converge on Beau Vallon beach for the marathon swimming competition. This is the first time that an African country will host the event.

Given its popularity, the open challenge is set to attract worldwide media attention and boost Seychelles' profile in the international arena. In a deal with FINA, Seychelles will host an annual series of the competition for the next four years. Seychellois swimmers are therefore urged to take part.

David Vidot, chairman of the Seychelles Swimming Association, said: “We want this to be a massive event, and we want to see many Seychellois come to swim on that day."

"We also want to make an impact on the community, so we urge school children to take part in the competition," Vidot added, stating that there will be shorter distances for those who can't swim long distances.

Seychelles expects to host 60 elite swimmers to compete in the race, which is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. The morning will be dedicated to open water races for mass swimmers. The main event will be followed by a post-race prize ceremony and an evening gala dinner for the elite participants, sponsors and entourage.

The best Seychellois swimmers will represent Seychelles during the remainder of the series, due to take place in Portugal, Hungary, Canada, Chun'An in China, Taiwan and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

“Tourism accounts for more than 58% of Seychelles' GDP, so we're excited to host this high-profile sporting event for the first time,” said Sherin Francis, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board. “We can't wait to show our hospitality to everyone coming to the FINA Open Water World Series.”

Beau Vallon was chosen to host the competition because of its calm weather and access to hotels near the beach. It is also known as a safe place to swim. Designated areas and sitting facilities will be available for spectators. Registration fees and other details will be announced soon. The names and nationalities of the swimming competitors will be announced two weeks ahead of the series.

A recently approved $45 billion investment in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is set to solidify the country’s position as ASEAN’s regional aerospace hub. The Eastern Economic Corridor bill will earmark these funds for the general development of the region, including, most notably, U-Tapao’s future Aeropolis – an entire city infrastructure built around said airport – and will likely help Thailand surpass the USD $9.3 billion of foreign investment the country drew in 2017 for the EEC. The earmarked funds will also cover the construction of a motorway, deep sea ports, a high-speed railway linking the country’s three major airports (Suvarnabhumi, U-Tapao, and Don Mueang), and other infrastructural developments.

“As one of the most visited countries in the world year after year, Thailand is ready to embrace its future as the most significant aerospace hub in the ASEAN region,” says Mr. Chokedee Kaewsang, Deputy Secretary General of Thailand Board of Investment. “The passing of the EEC bill is an exciting development, and we look forward to our country’s aerospace sector continuing its meteoric growth in the coming years.”

Thailand’s aerospace industry is growing exponentially. Currently, its air traffic is rising at a rate three times faster than the global market, doubling every 15 years since the early 1980s. The EEC Aeropolis, projected to be in place by 2023, will relieve some of the swell of tourists expected to continue travelling through Thailand’s main airports. Anchored by U-Tapao Airport, it will also include free trade, logistics, and airport industry areas, as well as an airline MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) Centre and several other features to ameliorate the anticipated volume of travelers. An inner ring, extending 10 kilometers out from U-Tapao Airport, will host the Aeropolis’ city infrastructure, while the outer ring is where logistics activity will take place and connect resident companies with logistics infrastructure in Chon Buri, Chachoengsao and Rayong.

The EEC Aeropolis project also strengthens Thailand’s already significant MRO capabilities. Thailand’s MRO expenditure is expected to reach a total of USD $10.6 billion through 2024, and the top five components produced in Thailand (wheels and brakes, APU, IFE components, engine-fuel and control, and landing gear) is forecasted to generate more than USD $1.7 billion through the same time period. Major aerospace companies already present in Thailand’s EEC include Chromalloy, which supports commercial aviation engine manufacturers, and TurbineAero, which was chosen in February by Boeing to provide aftermarket support in the Asia Pacific region.

In March, the Thai government hosted a group of international journalists and investors to attend a seminar titled “Thailand Taking Off to New Heights,” which draw over 3,000 participants, including Thai and foreign investors, international press and government agencies, and guided them on a visit to the EEC area and U-Tapao soon-to-be Aeropolis site. A delegation from the Thailand Board of Investment, led by Mr. Salil Wisalswadi, Acting Executive Advisor of Thailand Board of Investment, will also be attending the MRO Americas trade show in April 2018 to provide more information on investment opportunities in aerospace and MRO sector in Thailand.

“Considering our country’s strengths, we look forward to attending MRO Americas next month and speaking with industry professionals about the numerous opportunities available to North American aerospace companies in Thailand,” added Mr. Kaewsang.

As has been the trend for the last several years, major foreign investment activity into Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor continues to expand, and February was a particularly busy month for the Thai aviation sector.

In February, Rolls Royce signed an agreement with Thai Airways to offer testbed capacity for the airline, a move the company described as a crucial building block to their growth in the ASEAN region. That same month, Airbus announced a partnership with Thai Aviation Industries in which Airbus will support all of Thailand’s law enforcement and military helicopters for the next two years. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, also announced that Thai Aviation Services would serve as its Customer Support Center.

“Recently ranked the least miserable country in the world by Bloomberg, Thailand offers international aerospace companies a high quality of life, access to a skilled and talented workforce, and a business-friendly climate,” concluded Mr. Kaewsang. “We look forward to seeing our peers at MRO Americas in April and sharing the strengths of our aviation sector with them in person.”