Govt Committed to Science and Technology
By SIMON LEWIS
Bahamas Information Services
FREEPORT, G.B. – Both Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie and Education Minister the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald are fully committed to science and technology throughout the country, said Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville.
Dr. Darville’s comments came as he officially opened the 15th Annual SECME Mousetrap Car and Bottle Rocket Competition at the St. Georges High School on Thursday, March 28. The event is attracting participants from schools throughout Grand Bahama.
According to one of the event organisers, Dennis Knowles, SECME was established in 1975 as the South Eastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering by the engineering deans at six Southeastern universities.
SECME, according to Mr. Knowles, has since grown into the largest pre-college alliance in the United States, bringing together 40 universities, 70 industries and government agencies, and 107 school systems representing 900 schools and 20,000 students in 17 states plus the District of Columbia.
It now reaches beyond the Southeast to include school systems in New York, Indiana, Jamaica and The Bahamas.
The winning Senior and Junior teams in the competition will travel to Emery-Riddle Aeronautical University and its College of Engineering in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they will compete at the 37th Annual SECME National Student Engineering Competition. That event is schedule for June 16-23.
Addressing a large group of participants assembled in the St. George’s High School Gymnasium, Dr. Darville who, in addition to his medical career, is also a Canadian trained engineer, said he truly understands the importance of science and technology and what it means to the overall growth and development of the country, especially Grand Bahama, regarded as the industrial capital of The Bahamas.
“As Minister for Grand Bahama I have seen first hand the importance of technical training and how it is tied directly to our economic growth and development.
“Our vibrant industrial sector is certainly playing a vital role in job creation but now we must all put our best foot forward to ensure that we develop the manpower resources to capitalise on these new and exciting jobs,” he stated.
Minister Darville noted that companies like Grand Bahama Power, the Bahamas Oil Refining Company, Grand Bahama Ship Yard and the Grand Bahama Container Port, are all projecting growth in the industrial sectors over the next 10 to 15 years.
“They are also recommending career paths in science and technology for our high school students is a must, and they are constantly expressing the need for young professionals in all engineering disciplines.
“As public servants, educators, councillors we must capitalise on what is happening in our local economy and encourage our students to choose careers in science and technology and ultimately capitalise on these well paying jobs that will become available,” he stated.
Dr. Darville to commended the committed organisers of the program me “who have taken the bull by the horn for many years.”
He said about five years ago he was introduced to the programme at the Professional Engineer’s luncheon where one of the mousetrap’s winning design was displayed by one of the competitors and that he was amazed to learn about the level of competition involved.
“Students, your intelligence, your ingenuity, your determination, and your ability to work cooperatively as a group to achieve one common goal are valuable skills that you will carry on into adulthood,” he added.
SECME OPENING – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville is pictured with several students from various schools on Grand Bahama competing in the Mousetrap Car event of the Grand Bahama SECME Competition. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)
MEDICAL TALK – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville welcomes Dr. Kevin T. Bowe, Medical Officer/VP Medical Services at the National Insurance Board (Nassau) to Grand Bahama. Dr. Bowe and Minister Darville held talks on matters involving NIB and healthcare assistance on Grand Bahama. Officials from the Ministry of Labour, Department of Environmental Health Services, and top management for NIB’s Freeport office participated in the meeting. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)
CIBC FirstCaribbean TODAY shuts another TCI branch, CONFIRMED
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, April, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos will be losing yet another banking branch following confirmation of reports that CIBC FirstCaribbean bank in Grace Bay will be shut down on Friday March 31st.
CIBC representatives confirmed the shutdown to MM Thursday March 30th. Employees at the Leeward Highway branch moved over to the Grace Bay branch in January to allow for necessary upgrades and expansions to infrastructure. That shift lasted for four months and employees were scheduled to move back to Leeward Highway in early April. No mention of a closure to the Grace Bay branch was made in the January 12 press release that detailed the upgrades.
Citing those upgrades, which are now complete, Managing Director of the Bahamas Operating Company, responsible also for TCI, Dr. Jacqui Bend said, “CIBC FirstCaribbean is continuing to work on a number of initiatives aimed at improving the processes and technologies that our teams use to support our clients and employees alike. We have committed further investments in simplification, automation, and security across our bank and, as always, our clients will be the beneficiaries of this renewed effort,
It’s a repeat of the firm’s new mantra focused on self-service and digitization that has seen the local presence of the country’s oldest bank diminish more and more.
CIBC defends the decision explaining that retail client services had already been ceased at that Grace Bay branch and the closure of it earlier this year, while expansion Leeward Highway’s location was designed to ‘reconfigure and improve’ their network for the future.
“While there may be a few teething issues being encountered while our teams and clients adjust to their new surroundings, our teams are working with an ‘all hands on deck approach’ to expedite service to our clients,” she said in the statement shared with Magnetic Media.
The shifts to more digitized services eliminates the in person experience and residents have voiced discontent with the strategy. Earlier this year CIBC First Caribbean indicated they would pare down services and the in branch experience at their Grand Turk location.
It left Grand Turk with no banks within which they could enter to get that ‘human touch’. While there was outrage, Government remained silent.
Since January 3rd, customers of the bank have had to shift to the digital approach which now requires smaller cash deposits and smaller cash withdrawals to be made via ABMs, which are more state of the art and it also means applying for many of the banking features online.
Three days, two matches, two wins for Natl Men’s Football
#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Belief in themselves and an inspiring new coach has caused a dramatic shift in the Turks and Caicos National Men’s Football team according to captain Billy Forbes; the TCI National Men’s Football team secured two impressive back-to-back wins.
“The guys are buying in now, having a coach that they can look up to, who has played professionally before– it’s really amazing,” he explained. “For me, I’m really proud of the guys because three or four years ago that would have been us losing the game probably like 6-0, something like that. For us to go down 1-0 and come back and win it- I think that was fantastic, you can’t really ask for much more.”
He was speaking to the press after a March 28th match against Bonaire. The team is on a winning streak following back-to-back victories over the US Virgin Islands and Bonaire in the Concacaf Nations League. The most recent match with Bonaire almost looked like a miss just one minute in- but as Forbes said they pulled it together. Coach Hayden Mullins, former Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, and National English Footballer detailed the nail-biting match.
“I thought we started slow; we gave a goal away in the first minute,” he said. “The pleasing thing for me is we went from one nil down to 2-1 up at halftime. We had something to build on. Full assessment? The game had everything, we had a red card; we missed a penalty; we went goal down; but the resolve and the character from the guys was perfect. It’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
Sebastian Turbyfield (# 1 goalkeeper), concurred with his captain and coach. Turbeyfield performed quite a few gymnastic feats to keep TCI in the running throughout the match. He described his teammates as having a completely different resolve and promised they would only be getting better from here.
Mullings said the team is one that the country can be proud of and ‘could definitely get out of league C.”
The men returned to the country on March 29th.
Earth Day celebrations
#TurksandCaicos, March 31, 2023 – Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2023, and the Department of Environment and Coastal resources is hosting a poetry competition for TCI youth to mark the event.
Students of all ages are encouraged to write a sonnet to celebrate the TCI’s natural beauty; the winning poem will be published in the Times of the Island Magazine.
The deadline for poems to be submitted is April 30, 2023, and students should submit their poem via email to email@example.com or in person to any DECR office. Entries must include the student’s name, age and school.
The department promises that there are prizes to be won for the top poets.
April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement 53 years ago and helps demonstrate support for environmental protection. The theme for this year is “Invest In Our Planet.”
This year‘s theme follows years of missed climate action goals by governments globally, including poor climate financing. The Turks and Caicos and other small island developing states are particularly at risk environmentally because of the growing threat of climate change.
Currently the country is working through the Environmental Health Department DECR, Fisheries Department, and more to create sustainable fishing, farming, and marine practices that will benefit the country economically, but also protect its natural flora and fauna.
Projects include sargassum research, coral nurseries to rebuild the country’s coral reef, farming in schools, marine spatial planning to create an effective plan for the use of marine resources, participation in the UK Blue Belt program to protect local marine life, and much more.
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