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Government underscores the impact of climate change on the country

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NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – The effects of climate change will have the potential to drastically change the landscape of The Bahamas and its residents, the Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon Kenred Dorsett told a workshop on Monday, September 23, 2013.

He was addressing The Climate Smarting Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Work Programme opening ceremony on behalf of the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, at the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture conference room on Thompson Boulevard.

Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency and Lyndon Robertson, project coordinator, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, also addressed the opening ceremony. The workshop, slated for September 23 to 27, 2013 aims to develop a strategic country work programme for comprehensive disaster management that is climate smart and gender-sensitive, amongst other things. It also seeks to educate participants of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and its need to be integrated into The Bahamas’ Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Programme.

Facilitated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, the workshop further seeks to identify peculiar needs of The Bahamas for achieving Comprehensive Disaster Management and to determine what concrete changes are needed to address these needs. Recently, many studies have highlighted the effects and impact of climate change on The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean, which calls for measures to be put in place to counteract the effects.

In March 2012, a CARIBSAVE Partnership study assessed that 15 low-lying states in the Caribbean were particularly vulnerable to climate change and needed to “develop pragmatic response strategies to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience”. And, The Bahamas, like the other 14 Participating States is experiencing coastal erosion and expect to see changes in average atmospheric temperature, reduced average annual rainfall, increased sea surface temperatures and the potential for an increase in the intensity of tropical storms. Additionally, there is a predicted increase in the intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes.

“All of this is dire news and we must begin to act now to help secure our countries,” Mr. Dorsett said. “As developing countries and small island states, we will be the first and the hardest hit.” With continued coastal and beach erosion and the rising sea level, the country’s tourism product will be threatened, he said. “The effects of climate change will be great and have the potential to drastically change the lives we live now. The livelihood of almost every fisherman and farmer will be threatened and thereby food security. The quality of water and its availability is also threatened,” he said.

In The Bahamas these threats are almost replicated on each island and cay, covering over 100,000 square miles. “Our work to mitigate the effects of climate change must be replicated throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas. This makes it that much more challenging for us and much more necessary that we intervene now,” Mr. Dorsett said. In this vein, he regarded the workshop as both timely and relevant. The overall objectives are to: enhance the understanding of vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic hazards in the Caribbean; expansion of Country Work Plan activities and responsibility; agreement on the outcome and output level results for the national CDM Programme, amongst other things.

In 2012, a significant template for The Bahamas’ fist Country Work Plan was created by a number of government agencies in collaboration with CDEMA and NEMA. These agencies were charged with the responsibility of keeping the plan and maintaining it every three years. The Bahamas Government has begun the process of identifying vulnerable areas throughout the country and intends to enforce land use and building code policies.

The Bahamas Environmental Scientific and Technology (BEST) Commission and the Ministry of Works and Urban Development are tasked with monitoring, the implementation and enforcement of these policies supported by legislation. Additionally, the Bahamas National Geographic Information Systems (BNGIS) will assist the mentioned agencies with the execution of these responsibilities through collaborating and supplying spatial data and maps.

By LINDSAY THOMPSON BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICES

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Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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