Nassau, 29 Jan 2015 – Sixteen years after he first walked into Bahamas Realty as a nearly novice agent with two years’ experience abroad and more hope than history, Stuart Halbert still can’t believe his good fortune. He loves Mondays, thinks Fridays come too soon and as for the weekend, well, that’s for working, too.
It’s that attitude that has just made Halbert Bahamas Realty’s top producer in 2014 for the 7th time, a journey that has taken the industry through thick and thin and been peppered by sea changes in the economy and the profession.
“When the economy took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worst in 2008, Stuart went on, working hard, never giving up,” said Larry Roberts, chairman of the real estate company celebrating its 65th year. “But for several years, the returns did not match the energy he expended and what made everyone admire him so much is that he was always there, always ready to show a property, to co-broke a sale, to bring a positive approach. He put in the extra hours and is always highly motivated.”
That drive and motivation paid off again in 2014 for Halbert, who is among fewer than 5% worldwide to qualify as a Certified Residential Specialist. Halbert says much of the success is due to advent and growth of MLS, the Multiple Listing Service that permits all participating firms to share information on listings.
“The MLS has changed the way we do business, allowing us to expose our listed properties to a much wider market, accumulate more statistics, provide better information to prospective buyers or sellers, maintain more accurate appraisals, enjoy more co-brokes (sales shared by listing agent or firm and other participating BREA MLS agents),” said Halbert, a director of the Bahamas Real Estate Association for the past six years and a past treasurer.
While the MLS has boosted activity, Halbert suggests other measures he is convinced would substantially open up the industry and provide a flash charge to a housing ownership phenomenon with positive broad and sustained economic benefits.
The first, he believes, is banks releasing their hold on foreclosed properties and, instead, letting industry professionals take the lead. “People wanting to buy a home go to real estate agents, not to banks,” says Halbert, calling the hundreds of homes being held by local banks “the 500-pound elephant in the room.”
He also believes that an increase in inventory is needed, with a greater number of small scale developments.
“Given that more people are out looking (for homes) now than had been for several years and the name Bahamas is synonymous with a fabulous place to live, I am always surprised that there are not more developments underway,” said Halbert, claiming that older estates that are harder to maintain in today’s environment along the waterfront would make logical locations for small scale townhome or condo living.
“Barring any international financial crisis, we are on our way to a very good run,” says Halbert, who is still singing the praises of living in The Bahamas and working at a company he believes is highly charged and on the cutting edge. But then singing has always been Halbert’s style. Long before he walked into that office that still makes him glad to be alive and in The Bahamas, the Scottish-born winner was the composer, musician and entertainer who penned and sang such favourites as Goombay, Goombay Summer as a member of the Nassauvians and entertained at the historic King and Knights Club on West Bay Street.
“Sixteen years and still having fun, can’t ask for more than that,” says Halbert, a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his face and the newest trophy in his hand.
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Sea Patrol Vessels Approved by Cabinet, October 11 Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 26th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 at the Governor’s Office, Providenciales.
All Members were present except the Hon. Josephine Connolly.
- Approved the Consultation Report on the Proposed Amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Ordinance with amendments and agreed for the amended document to be brought back to Cabinet for final approval for onward submission to the House of Assembly.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Geta Crew Holding Ltd. for a mixed use development project on the island of Grand Turk, with the view of entering into a Development Agreement as per the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and the National Investment Policy.
- Approved the renewal of rental lease agreement, for various Government offices, between TCIG and Waterloo Property Management, Grand Turk.
- Approved the awarding of the following contracts:
- PN 005694, TR 23/13, Furniture and Equipment for NJS Francis Building; and
- PN 005696, TR 22/10, Purchase of Patrol Vessels.
- It noted the update from Her Excellency the Governor regarding the upcoming visit of UK Ministers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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