Tag: 5Star

Bandarban: Amnesty Int’l concerned at construction of 5-star hotel

Amnesty International yesterday shared a statement stating its concern about the construction of a five-star hotel in the Chittagong Hill Tracts that could lead to the forced eviction of the Mro people, an indigenous tribe, from their ancestral lands.

“Immediately abandon the construction of the luxury hotel on the Chimbuk-Thanchi route and ensure that any further construction or establishment on the indigenous land respects the free prior and informed consent of the community,” said the statement signed by the organisation’s Head of South Asia Omar Waraich.

“The construction of the luxury hotel on the route between Chimbuk and Thanchi will eventually wipe out villages and forcibly evict a large number of the Mro people. Community members said that the hotel and the associated projects may ultimately lead to the direct and indirect taking away of at least 800 acres of land of the indigenous people,” the statement pointed out.

It said that rather than providing the community with necessary support to realize their own development plans, for example by improving access to education and electricity, the Bangladeshi authorities are violating their constitutional obligation to “protect and develop the unique local culture and tradition of the tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities”.

The statement also said that Bangladesh ratified the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957, which makes it mandatory for the country to follow the articles in the convention, which includes “right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognised”.

The convention also includes that “arrangements shall be made to prevent persons who are not members of the populations concerned from taking advantage of these customs or of lack of understanding of the laws on the part of the members of these populations to secure the ownership or use of the lands belonging to such members.”


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Here’s How To Turn COVID Quarantine Into An Epicurean Retreat At A 5-Star Boutique Hotel

This year has been a washout out for foodies. Not only have restaurants— or at least the sit-down kind— taken a hit, but those who like to experience food in a variety of cultural settings have had their ankles bound and their tongues tied by travel restrictions and border closures.

I am no exception.

So when the government of the Cayman Islands, where I call home, relaxed its outbound travel restrictions, I could no longer be contained. I took the next flight to a nearby island and spent nine days combining work with pleasure.

But there was a catch.

Cayman’s strict COVID-19 regulations require that travellers quarantine at one of three approved hotels for two weeks upon return— at the traveller’s expense.

“If I am going to spend the money, I am going to turn this experience into an epicurean retreat,” I contemplate out loud, marvelling at my ingenuity. I carefully review the amenities offered by each establishment, and for me it is a no-brainer.

I am a regular diner at Palm Heights, a glamorous boutique hotel on Grand Cayman’s pristine Seven Mile Beach. Tillies, one of the two on-site restaurants, boasts the trendiest, most out-of-the-box culinary offering of any hotel on-island and management is willing to provide me with a retreat-esque ‘culinary quarantine experience’ at an added cost.

As someone who makes her living writing and talking about food, I am sold. A week’s vacation has suddenly turned into three.

After a week and a half escape, I begin part two of my vacation.

The blues are bluer, the greens are greener and the whites are whiter at Palm Heights. It is no wonder that founder and creative director, Gabriella Khalil dropped a brilliant primrose into the mix.

I make my way through the ‘COVID-entrance’ of the hotel and ascend to the top floor behind a masked and gloved guide who exudes a vibe that is half camp counsellor, half concierge. I’m sure she feels that she must somehow embrace both personas, given the circumstances.

I put down my bags.

Knock-knock. A masked server stands her guard from six feet away as she drops off a smorgasbord of lunchtime pleasures. From almond cheese to aromatic radishes and cucumbers in a light pecan sauce, colourful plant-based treasures adorn three recycled paper boxes. Resident chef and educator, Dr Aris LaTham, otherwise known as the father of gourmet ethical raw foods cuisine, is the culinarian behind this buffet.

I make my way out to my private patio, and watch “freedom lovers” on the beach, while sipping Slovenian organic wine from paper-thin glass.

This isn’t so bad.

Gerardo Gonzalez, the Food and Culture Manager, who runs a once-a-week natural wine-lovers club at Palm Heights’ Paradise Pizza, is eager for my feedback.

The phone rings. “What do you think of the wine?” 

“Not bad at all,” I smile as

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