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Contract Signing for Construction of Police Fire Station for Grand Bahama

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Grand Bahamians, in particular, will not soon forget the names “Francis” and “Jeanne”. For too many, the effect of these back-to-back hurricanes remains very present in their lives. For too many, recovery has been long and hard; and for too many, hope has been a tough option.

Because of this, my visits to Grand Bahama are taken as occasions to renew hope and to encourage positive attitudes in a people that I know to be among the most resilient of Bahamians. I am, therefore, very pleased to be here to witness this event, which will restore and enhance a work environment befitting this District’s hardworking team.
Unfortunately and unexpectedly, in 2004, Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne brought irreparable damage to the landmark metal, pre-fabricated fire station located at East Settlers Way. Officers and staff, I am advised, continue to execute their duties from cramped accommodations in the former Mobile Division Headquarters.

The challenges of economy have caused delay of what Government committed to do since 2012. That delay, though, has not translated to denial. Grand Bahama will have a new state-of-the-art Police Fire Station from which officers can serve the population well into the future – and very soon.

Today, I am very pleased to witness the execution of a contract in the amount of $6,109,999.75 between the Government of The Bahamas and Patrick McDonald Construction Company to construct the new Police Fire Station for Grand Bahama. The contract period is not to exceed 70 weeks. The terms of the contract is the standard Government Long Form contract with some modifications.

The journey toward today began with the invitation of three (3) building contractors located in Freeport, Grand Bahama to submit competitive bids. Initial bids were submitted and publicly opened at the Ministry of Finance Tenders Board Meeting in Nassau on 16th December 2014.

A Tender Report was prepared by the Quantity Surveying Firm Veritas Consultants Ltd, and the same was presented to the Tenders Board earlier this year. A recommendation was made to Cabinet for consideration. A decision was subsequently made, and today, we bring to you the product of Cabinet’s decision.

The purposed Police Fire Station Project will be designed and built on approximately three (3) acres of relatively flat land at Fairfield East on the corner of Sergeant Major Drive and Settlers Way, East Freeport. The Government of The Bahamas appreciates then kind donation of this land by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

The Station features an 11,660 square foot main Administrative Building, two-storey and masonry structure. The ground floor will house the daily administrative offices for its staff, as well as a reception area with public restrooms. There will also be a police training room, an operator’s office, police locker room, exercise room, day room, dining room, and kitchen. Additionally, there will be a First Aid Room for staff that may fall ill or sustain injury during working hours.

The upper floor will house police dormitory for both male and female police officers. There will be eight (8) single bedrooms, two double bedrooms and five bunk beds for male officers. The female officers will be provided housing with four (4) bunk beds, separate bathrooms, changing areas, and showers. A common laundry room will serve all officers.

Adjourning the Administrative Building is a single storey masonry fire garage will house four fire trucks and have some support spaces for storage, tools, and lockers. A grease pole will connect the garage to the dormitory level of the main building.

There will also be standalone masonry buildings to service the fire trucks and other police vehicles associated with the police fire station.

Patrick McDonald Construction Company submitted the lowest and comprehensive bid at tender. We thank the unsuccessful companies that participated in the process. We thank the Royal Bahamas Police Force Fire Branch for your tolerant professionalism. Above all, we thank Grand Bahama for your patience. Hope remains alive and well.

END

Hon. Philip E. Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister
29th May 2015

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Opposition Leader strong admonition to New RBC Manager

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – The Opposition has proposed to the new Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), that the institution open new branches in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), with services that can lead to financial inclusion.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Edwin Astwood says while the Managing Director has his welcome to the TCI, he said a meeting she had with significant Government officials, has been keenly noted, especially for RBC’s involvement in funding key Government projects, and for “talks to progress further than this, I believe the discussion on Financial Inclusion must take place.

“Providing much-needed access to banking services to individuals and businesses in our underserved communities. This can help improve financial literacy and access to financial products for the family islands population outside of Providenciales,” the Opposition Leader said in a statement.

He added that a discussion on Supporting Economic Development, must also be on the table, as a “caring Government” would have been soliciting the respective bank for more access to capital for the people on TCI-owned businesses, stressing that the Opposition is cognizant of the fact that by offering small to medium-sized business loans, banks can support entrepreneurship and economic development in communities throughout the TCI.

Further, he said access to capital is crucial for small businesses to start and grow, and by providing loans, banks can help stimulate local economic activity and job creation, underscoring that when banks invest in rural districts through branches and business loans, they contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the community.

“Small businesses are often the backbone of rural economies, and by supporting them, banks can help these communities thrive. I believe that banks doing business should be concerned about Building Customer Relationships. Opening branches in our family islands and underserved communities of Providenciales and providing business loans can help banks build long-term relationships with customers,” he said

He argued that by being present in the community and supporting local businesses, banks can establish trust and loyalty among residents, which can lead to increased customer retention and satisfaction.

Mr. Astwood in his strident statement, said citizens deserve better from banking institutions, and the people of Providenciales where the banks are located deserve better, and “our people in the family islands deserve better, therefore the TCI deserves better, and that is a PDM Government who will work to foster a healthy and inclusive financial system that includes serving the interests of all our people in all our islands,” he said.

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Norman B Saunders Airport Opens, opportunities touted by Gov’t

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 29, 2024 – Employment and business opportunities are now looming in the South Caicos, and Government officials are urging young people, along with entrepreneurs to prepare themselves and maximise the openings.

Speaking at the renaming of the of South Caicos Airport to the Norman B. Saunders Snr. International Airport, Deputy Governor, Hon. Anya Williams said the Government is diversifying the economy, and expanding tourism to all the outer islands.

“You have to be part of that. For this airport to operate as an international airport, we need additional staff. We will need immigration officers, custom officers, fire officers, and we will need other staff,” the Deputy Governor said.

She added that the Government is providing small grants, assistance in preparing business plans, and technical advice for the setting up of “your businesses. Prepare to come back home because your island will need you,” she told her audience.

The Deputy Governor noted that having had the opportunity to work with Mr. Saunders, she found him to be a great “encourager, and someone who is so smart and articulate,” and always take the opportunity to “grant wisdom” to others, and “I developed so much respect” for the former Parliamentarian, she said.

For Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, the new airport is a catalyst for progress, as the Government has signed an agreement with American Airline, while major resorts are entering the area, and “plans are afoot to have an activity here, that you have never seen before in South Caicos,” he said.

Declaring that young people should “get ready,” the Premier said, “this is your moment, so, South Caicos, I want you to appreciate what you see here, I want you to treat it properly and well, and all of you, young people should strive to leave a positive legacy,” as Mr. Saunders has done, he said.

Mr. Misick also said Mr. Saunders who became Chief Minister of the Turks Caicos Islands (TCI), from 1980-1985, with responsibility, among other things, as well as  Immigration, Fisheries, Civil Aviation, went “above and beyond the call of duty,” in the performance of his duties, and “we are all better for it. Naming this airport in his honour, is only a very small token” of the recognition he should be given, the Premier said.

In his response, Mr. Saunders said he enjoyed all the moments in public live, and “we believe that South Caicos will be the next big spot, and area for tourism. I trust that this place will be the gateway to other islands, and I am confident that everything I did, was for the benefit of this country,” he said.

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A King and High Level Speakers open SIDS Conference in Antigua & Barbuda

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#Antigua, May 29, 2024 – The Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda is hosting the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which seeks to build resilience, and find solutions to the pressing challenges of debt burden, and to achieve sustainable development goals.

Opened on Monday, in St. Johns, under the theme, “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity,” the Conference which run from May 27 to 30, had addresses from 33 countries, where speakers pressed the need for actions on financing for Climate emergency, and crises such as spiraling debt, and health challenges.

Speaking via video link, King Charles III, said island nations are leading the way in confronting Climate Change, protecting biodiversity, and stewarding the global Ocean, while pointing out that there is potential for large investors to contribute to Climate financing, and the benefits of collaboration among SIDS. The King also called for “bold action” and said “your future is our future.”

Host Prime Minister, Gaston Browne told his audience that SIDS face unprecedented global challenges, that they did not create, and “large-scale polluters” bear responsibility for compensation, as he called for ending fossil subsidies.

The Prime Minister also called for   the establishment of the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS) and the recent unanimous advisory opinion from the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which affirmed the legal duty of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to mitigate Climate impacts to protect the marine environment.

In the Caribbean region, PM Browne has been at the forefront of advocacy to develop a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index that truly reflects SIDS needs for development finance, and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados has spearheaded the Bridgetown Initiative to transform lending and provide inclusive, resilient finance to countries facing Climate crises.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis urged the SIDS Conference to support a new global tax treaty to be negotiated and for financial flows to be regulated to ease the crippling debt burden impeding many SIDS from fully developing their potential.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres aid SIDS stands as a test case for Climate and financial justice, and called on all countries to align with the 1.5°C Climate targets, and for Climate finance to double by 2025, and for significant contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund. “SIDS can make an almighty noise together to deliver meaningful change to benefit the whole of humankind,” he said.

Many SIDS remain dependent on imported fossil fuels, curtailing both their environmental and economic efforts. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), some SIDS would need an investment of around US $5.9 billion annually to achieve their renewable energy targets by 2030 and reduce their fossil-fuel dependency.

The COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing fragilities and triggered the most acute economic contraction across SIDS, increasing their debt burden and depleting resources. Over 40 per cent of SIDS are now on the edge of or are already grappling with unsustainable levels of debt. Between 2000 and 2019, the external debt of SIDS rose by 24 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The total public debt for SIDS now stands at approximately US $82 billion dollars.

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