Jamaica leads in Richard Branson-backed plan for a Caribbean climate revolution

Sustainable Energy against climate change
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After hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean in 2017, devastating dozens of islands – including billionaire Richard Branson’s private isle, Necker Island – Branson called for a “Caribbean Marshall Plan.”

He wanted world powers and global financial institutions to unite to protect the Caribbean against the effects of climate change.

Branson at a Climate-Smart Accelerator event. Adrian Creary/Studiocraft, CC BY

That hasn’t happened. So Branson and his government partners from 27 Caribbean countries hope that his celebrity, connections and billions will prod local politicians and the financial community to act.

In August 2018, at a star-studded event at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Branson helped to launch the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a US$1 billion effort to kickstart a green energy revolution in the region.

Read full article on TheConversation.com

Cayman Islands – a Hell of a Place

Grand Cayman Caribbean Travel Info Network
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CAYMAN ISLANDS. You might know the Cayman Islands from a famous movie line, like The Firm – starring Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise. Yes, this is probably THE off-shore banking haven outside the USA. Maybe the fact that they have more registered businesses than people (population is around 60k) has something to do with so many banks – one on nearly every street corner – here. In fact, it’s all linked – the government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation: there is no income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax. Henceforth, based on income, Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean and every second person you meet is a banker or finance expert of some sort.

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Pic of Grand Cayman from Royalcaribbean.com

Most people find themselves in George Town – on the biggest island – when they visit Grand Cayman. The other ones are called Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but very few people live there. Maybe you dream of living on a tropical island for a while?

So what is it like to live in Grand Cayman?, you ask. Some locals complain that there’s little to do, but we beg to differ. First off, this island was frequented by many pirates, including the famous Captain Blackbeard. If you don’t believe us, you can go scuba diving in the swimming pool-clear water of the ocean and visit many ship wrecks from this bygone era, amongst others. You can see what the ships looked like in those days and maybe even endeavor to find treasure down there, although that’ll be your own little fantasy trip, nothing we suggested… While you’re at it, you may see amazing sea turtles and stingrays in these deeps. In fact, there are some specific locations on the island where you can swim with stingrays.

 Shipwreck in Grand Cayman waters from Caribbean360.com

This is not all. The beach is 7 miles long in Grand Cayman – or so the name of the beach says, but we have heard its longer! White, sandy and undulating into clear azure waters, which we already swooned enough about above. Whatever you want to do on this beach can be done – watersports, swimming, splish-splashing, drifting in the water with a cocktail in your hand, rolling in the sand like a kid, sunbathing with your toes in the water – you get it. Considering the big island is 22 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide, all at pretty much sea level, makes us think you can run around the island and that would mean you completed (nearly) a marathon. If you’re into that kind of thing or about to complain that there’s nothing to do on the island, that is.

Next, you can go to Hell. No, not being rude. There really is a place called Hell. It’s a sight to see – black volcanic, sharp rocks are the only landscape here. Quite different to the rest of the environment. What’s more, there is a little post office right in Hell where you can buy a “postcard from Hell” to send to loved ones to alarm them unnecessarily and cause your grandfather to preach about the evils of travel to foreign countries… But that’s thát story.

Of course, there are great restaurants and shopping on the island, even Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville franchise boasts a prominent spot if you want to get your or any Parrot Head doused in some rum.

Not only does this place have a Hell, it also has crocodiles. Ever heard of crocodiles found naturally in the Caribbean? Well, hear again. That is where the island gets its name from – Caimans are a specific kind from here. Wait, they have indigenous reptiles – curly tailed lizard iguanas – but also crocs and sea turtles on and around the island!? Cowabunga!

As is known, hurricane season comes every year to the Caribbean. Last year’s monster season didn’t affect the Caymans much – for a change! Unfortunately these islands have the highest record of being hit by hurricanes of all Caribbean islands. In 2004, hurricane Ivan nearly tore the main island into two with severe flooding. Amazingly the locals rebuilt it within about two years. What a nation!

Talk about nation, did you know that Jamaica and Grand Cayman were once considered one? Cayman and Jamaica were governed as a single British colony until 1962, when the Cayman islands became designated a British overseas territory, one of 14 territories under the sovereignty of the UK but not part of the UK, while Jamaica became independent.

As you can gather, this is a Hell of a place. It’s only 400 miles south of Miami, or apparently known as “South Miami” by expats, so you can swim there, ha! Pack your bags and get there before someone else occupies your perfect spot.


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2017 Holiday Season in the CARIBBEAN – a Tax Deductible Donation?

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by Lizpiano.

Steel pan versions of Christmas songs are playing again. Probably including my favorite Christmas song by the indelible Jimmy Buffett, ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’:

“It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, snow birds fill the air.
… send away for mistletoe.
It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, we’ve got everything but snow.”

No-one will be singing any songs with Maria in them or naming their newborns after grandma Irma this holiday season, of course. However, slowly but surely Caribbean people are picking up their lives and businesses, some trying their best to be ready for the holiday season.

And low and behold, some islands are back in a new way (like with more solar power, thanks to Elon Musk, see my blog: More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at Puerto Rico Airport link below) and open for business.

Photo of Labadee, Haiti, from moveabroadnow.com

The headline, ‘The Caribbean is now Open for Business’,  www.caribbeanisopen.com, is a quote from a campaign launched in October 2017 after the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.

It is called the “Caribbean is Open”-campaign and aims to make tourists aware that 90% of islands in the Caribbean are unaffected by the hurricanes.  According to some Caribbean websites, there has been about a 26% decrease in business to the Caribbean because of a perspective that the whole Caribbean has been devastated. This is not true. The US Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barth and Puerto Rico are the most developed and well-known ones affected. Smaller ones include British Virgin Islands, some of the Bahamas but not the most visited islands, Barbuda, Turks & Caicos, Dominica and Cuba that were affected by the hurricanes this year.

The fact that these islands were so hurricane-slapped should urge tourists to visit them in order to support their road to recovery.

But that also means other favorite islands are still ready for the picking this upcoming holiday season. Off the top of my head there are so many – in alphabetical order: ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), Anegada, Antigua, Anguilla, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, St Eustatius, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia,  St Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

Since these islands are mostly dependent on tourism, this could be a very good idea and an altruistic-tourist-move – beneficial for everyone involved. After all, since it started snowing in the northern hemisphere again, what more do you want than a sandy beach and sunny shores, those are still on the islands. Hotels have electricity, water and food as they were more prepared for disaster than the general islander, so why not? For instance, 65% of hotels in Puerto Rico are now operational and so are many resorts on Turks & Caicos.

Why not view a visit to the affected islands as your own personal donation to their hurricane relief programs?

Here’s a thought for every tax-paying tourist – why not speak to your legislators and request that your away-time this year to the Caribbean, or if you’re from the US – St Thomas, St John, St Croix or Puerto Rico – can be made tax-deductible (as a donation)?

Just a thought. I am looking into doing that.

Hope to see you in the Caribbean this holiday season. Season’s greetings!

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