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Statement on Baha Mar Proceedings

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Nassau, 02 Jul 2015 – On Monday 29 June 2015, Baha Mar Ltd. and 14 affiliated companies involved in the Baha Mar Resort filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the Courts of Delaware, U.S.A. Baha Mar did this without prior notice to the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and related entities. And, we are advised that no advance notice was given to the China Export Import Bank (“EXIM Bank”), the China State Construction Company and numerous Bahamian employees and contractors.

Fourteen of the affiliated companies are incorporated and doing business in The Bahamas. They own, operate and have an interest in Bahamian assets and businesses, including much of the land comprising the Baha Mar resort.

As the public is aware, the Prime Minister, for the past several months and as recently as 26 June 2015, has been negotiating and communicating with the Developer and the EXIM Bank to ensure sufficient funding to enable the opening of the resort at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Government at all times will continue to act in the best interest of the Bahamian people. The successful completion and opening of Baha Mar is in the national interest and is a matter of national priority.

Of particular importance is that the nearly 2,400 Bahamian employees who have been prejudiced by this bankruptcy proceeding must be paid. Paying the employees without conditions attached would allow negotiation, hearing and resolution of other critically important issues determinative of the future of this project.

To this end, the Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, yesterday wrote to the Developer of Baha Mar advising that it is the position of the Government that the Developer should pay the Bahamian employees. They should not be used as pawns in negotiations about the future of the project. The Developer was also advised that in the event that Baha Mar or the EXIM Bank was unable or unwilling to pay the workers, the Government will step in and make the payment for this month while negotiations continue.

The court documents in this matter were obtained by the Office of the Attorney General only yesterday, 1st July 2015. The team at the Office of the Attorney General and our international lawyers are carefully considering these documents and the issues that they raise. We are advised that the EXIM Bank, the Project’s largest creditor, has not been served with the documents.

The Government and the EXIM Bank today, believing that the Bahamian Supreme Court should hear from all parties with an interest in this matter, asked the Supreme Court to adjourn the Developer’s application for the Bahamian courts to recognize the Orders of the Delaware court. The Supreme Court ordered that the matter be adjourned to Tuesday 6th July 2015 at 10am; that the Attorney General and EXIM Bank be joined as Respondents; and that Baha Mar give the Attorney General the employee payment details so that the employees may be paid. The Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas stands ready to make the payments.

It is important that the public be made aware that the orders obtained unilaterally by the Baha Mar entities from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware were obtained on the basis that matters profoundly affecting the Government and people of The Bahamas will be subject to adjudication in the United States. This would have serious and far-reaching implications for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as a sovereign nation.

Completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort are matters of paramount importance to The Bahamas. The Government feels very strongly that resolution of the disputes that have delayed the project should occur in the Bahamas, subject to adjudication (to the extent that they cannot be resolved consensually) by Bahamian courts, consistent with the sovereignty of The Bahamas. The Office of the Attorney General and the Government’s international lawyers are therefore examining options that will ensure that the courts of The Bahamas are front and centre in this matter. This would not preclude ancillary orders being sought from foreign courts should such orders be needed – but as a matter of high constitutional principle and in the interests of national sovereignty, it cannot be the other way around.

The Government will continue to keep Bahamians advised of steps taken in this matter. Today for example, the Government has instructed the Department of Information Technology to provide the means by which there will be access to the publicly available court documents in this matter and briefings on court proceedings as and when they occur. This information will be housed on the website of the Office of the Attorney General.

In closing, I cannot say this strongly enough: the Government, led by the Prime Minister, will continue to do everything possible both through negotiations and lawful means to achieve the earliest possible completion of the project and its successful opening, in the national interest.

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CARPHA, HCC and PAHO call on the Caribbean Community to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” for Caribbean Wellness Day

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September 9, 2022 – The Caribbean Community is celebrating Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) 2022 under the theme “Our Neighbourhood, Our Health”. In commemoration of the day, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are calling on the region to “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” around three main themes – Active Societies, a Smoke Free Caribbean and Healthy Schools.

In a statement commemorating the occasion, Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA noted that, “We take this opportunity, at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, to create a renewed vision and re-commit to the practices and policies that we know support the health and wellbeing of our Caribbean people.”

Built spaces and urban planning laws can significantly impact the level of movement in society and is a crucial element in ensuring a healthier Caribbean.

“The commitment of governments towards the implementation of intersectoral public policies and programs so that all neighbourhoods have basic services, safe public transportation, areas where we can socialise, safe streets, places to walk and green spaces, is so important.” PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said. “I want to recognize the efforts of many municipalities in the region that are working on making their municipalities healthy, responding to the needs of people, and facilitating strategies that improve the conditions of places where they are born, work, study and have fun,” she added.

Another issue to be addressed during the “Reimagine Healthy Spaces” campaign is the negative impact that cigarettes have on both public health and the environment.

Dr. St John noted that, “Millions of trees are cut down annually to produce the number of cigarettes that the industry demands to maintain profits, while cigarette butts and packaging can contribute to environmental pollution.” She asserted that, “This reimagining of a smoke-free Caribbean, that limits the negative impact of the tobacco industry on our health and our environment is necessary, not just for our own health but for the health of the next generation.”

Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition noted that “Healthy Schools are a cornerstone of our neighbourhoods and a building block of a productive society.  A Healthy school is smoke-free, promotes inclusive physical activity and is protected by healthy school policies.” He elaborated, “These policies would limit the sale and marketing of foods full of sugar, fats and salt both in and around schools, while increasing the availability of healthy foods and drinking water.”  In keeping with this, the recently launched digital campaign, ‘#ActOnFacts – The Food in Schools Matters’, encourages public and policymaker support for the introduction of policies that puts the health of our children at the centre.

Caribbean Wellness Day

Caribbean Wellness Day is celebrated each year on the second Saturday in September to address the threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The day was originally conceived by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is an integral part of the Port of Spain Declaration where the region united to fight the epidemic of NCDs. The event aims to increase awareness and promote activities to address non-communicable diseases including mental health issues.

The overall theme for Caribbean Wellness Day for the five year-period, 2020-2024 has been, “Power Through Collective Action”. It is this collective power that can be harnessed to affect the much-needed changes that can transform our spaces into enabling environments for a healthier Caribbean people. Collectively, the region has the power to bring the vision of a healthier Caribbean to life – one person, one neighbourhood, one nation at a time.

CARPHA, HCC and PAHO invite the public to join the celebration by visiting our social media pages to share your vision of Healthy Spaces. The campaign will feature key facts around the need for change, enable conversation in our communities and encourage our leaders to continue to build on the commitments made in the historic Port of Spain declaration.

Follow the campaign by using the hashtags: #CaribbeanWellnessDay, #CWD2022, #CWDHealthySpaces

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Covid Entry Vaccine mandate ‘working’ for Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos will not be dropping its vaccine mandate for visitors immediately according to E. Jay Saunders, TCI Deputy Premier, acting as Minister of Health; Saunders was speaking at a press conference on Monday August 8th.

He explained that while the government would certainly follow the advice of the health ministry the mandate would be around a while longer.

“We feel currently that the vaccine mandate is working for the Turks and Caicos. It certainly hasn’t slowed down the amount of tourists coming into the Turks and Caicos and we’re happy with that,” he said.

He expressed gratitude that the government would not have to be reactive and change the protocols just because of the low tourist arrivals.

“We are watching it to see what’s best for the country and so there’s no date on that. It’s not going to be in forever.

Eventually we are going to get to a point where we think that it’s safe enough, where we have enough herd immunity in the country where we can allow people to come in unvaccinated.”

While the acting minister did not have a specific date set for this removal he reassured that whenever the decision was made it would be with the best interest of the country in mind.

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NEW CAYMAN MISS UNIVERSE IS FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, August 20, 2022 – After cheers, celebration, and a proud victory for twenty-four old, Tiffany LeAnn Conolly, there is now dismay, disbelief, and shame.

Conolly was crowned Miss Cayman Islands Universe at the annual beauty pageant at the Westin Hotel on Saturday August 6.  Now, she is facing several criminal charges regarding an assault last year.  The newly crowned queen has not yet been convicted but appeared in Summary Court in March, facing two counts of common assault, two counts of damage to property, two further charges for disorderly conduct at a police station and one of assaulting a police officer.

Conolly was also arrested following an altercation at a former boyfriend’s house after allegedly assaulting her former lover and another family member, as well as a police officer at the detention centre following that arrest.

Conolly was still allowed to enter the pageant because she has not been found guilty of the charges; the case is still ongoing. On Saturday, she was awarded Miss Photogenic, Miss Best Smile and Miss Best-In-Gown.

The Miss Cayman Islands Universe title comes with a number of rewards and responsibilities, including a $70,000 three-year educational scholarship.  Nonetheless, Conolly may not be allowed to represent the island at the international pageant should she be convicted.

Chloe Powery-Doxey, the first runner-up and winner of Miss Best Legs, will become the new Miss Cayman Islands Universe if Conolly is convicted

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