FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28th October 2015
(via the Bahamas Information Services)
The Government is deeply disappointed that Baha Mar’s insolvency and the continuing delays in resolving it have led the Joint Provisional Liquidators to apply for and obtain sanction to implement a redundancy programme affecting approximately 2,000 Baha Mar employees.
Since June 29, when Baha Mar abruptly filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, the Government has consistently sought to minimize the consequences of Baha Mar’s insolvency for its work force, both by promoting prompt resumption of construction and opening of the Resort and by covering many of Baha Mar’s payroll obligations from amounts otherwise owed to Baha Mar. The Government is continuing to press for interim and long-term funding that will permit remobilization of construction activity and will provide a timeline for restoring Baha Mar’s work force.
The Government categorically rejects any suggestion that the redundancy programme adopted by the Joint Provisional Liquidators could have been avoided if Baha Mar had continued to pursue bankruptcy reorganization in the United States. As “debtors-in-possession” under the US Bankruptcy Code the Baha Mar companies faced the same cash shortage that now confronts the Joint Provisional Liquidators. On July 10 Baha Mar told the Bankruptcy Court that in the absence of an agreement “in the near term” with the Export-Import Bank, Baha Mar would “be compelled to immediately downsize their operations to a minimum over approximately 45 to 60 days, which includes . . . reducing their work force to a skeletal staff . . . .” According to a July 10 affidavit submitted by Baha Mar’s President, the “skeletal staff” would have comprised only 52 employees, plus an additional 47 employees “to assist with the wind-down of their respective operations . . . notwithstanding their impending termination.”
Thus, Baha Mar’s management was planning to implement draconian work force reductions long before the Joint Provisional Liquidators were compelled to pursue their redundancy programme. Unlike Baha Mar management, however, the Joint Provisional Liquidators have realistic prospects for obtaining necessary funding.
On August 26 Baha Mar filed with the Bankruptcy Court a proposed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan; but that plan was entirely hypothetical, and it offered no hope of avoiding workforce reductions. The plan hinged entirely on the availability of at least $400 million to $600 million of “Exit Financing,” for which Baha Mar management did not purport to have any commitment from anyone.
The Government urges the principal stakeholders, i.e., the Export-Import Bank, China State Construction Engineering Corp., the Joint Provisional Liquidators and Baha Mar’s developer to continue without delay negotiations or take what further measures may be necessary to achieving the paramount objectives that they share with the Government: resuming construction and completing and opening the Resort for business as soon as possible, for the benefit of all parties, especially the Baha Mar workforce, and numerous Bahamian subcontractors and suppliers.
With respect to the foregoing the Government has at all times acted in accordance with the best advice of its Bahamian, United States and United Kingdom legal and other professional advisers and always in the best interests of the Bahamian people and the eventual success of the Development.
Omicron results in 267,000 case record for USA, eclipsing even Delta
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, December 31, 2021 – The US has broken its record for most daily coronavirus cases with a massive 267,000 cases recorded on Tuesday. The information was courtesy of data prepared by the New York Times about infection rates.
The Omicron variant now accounts for more than half of the cases in the country.
Information the Times released said, “The country is averaging more than 260,000 new cases a day, surpassing the peak levels from last winter. Infection rates are especially high in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. Though breakthrough infections are common with Omicron, scientists say vaccinated people, especially those who have received booster shots, have protection against severe cases and death.”
Despite the steep increase there is a silver lining. The same data that shows the increase also shows that hospitalizations and deaths remain at a steady rate and that rate is much lower than variants like Delta.
Amidst the drastic increase the Centers for Disease Control has slashed its recommendations for quarantine days in half, after which a COVID patient may leave quarantine without testing. There has been much controversy surrounding the issue with accusations of capitalism being slung toward the entity.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended the decision saying, “What we do know is about 85 percent to 90 percent of viral transmission happens in those first five days, which is why we really want people to stay home during that period of time.”
She said masks should be worn for five days after quarantine to prevent the final 10 per cent to 15 per cent of possible transmission.
Walensky did not explain the efficiency of a 10 quarantine vs the new five day quarantine or say if this was expected to lead to an uptick in cases.
Deadly Salad Mix Recall in US; TCI seems unaffected
By Shanieka Smith
#December 24, 2021 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating an outbreak related to packaged salads that have killed about three people, and 22 have been hospitalised due to fears over Listeria infection.
Recalls were made in Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Massachusetts.
The brands recalled are Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field, and Wellsley Farms Organic.
The CDC advised that anyone who has purchased the recalled items should discard them and properly sanitise their refrigerators to avoid contracting the associated bacteria called listeria.
Listeria may cause headaches, stiff neck, confusion, and fever.
Local grocer, Sunny Foods confirmed that the recall does not impact his store and it may be the same for others in country.
The TCI Government had not replied up to news time to a query about whether the recall affects this market.
TC Reef Fund gives a Financial & Projects Report
By Shanieka Smith
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, the local environmental non-profit, announced a successful fiscal year. Approximately $114,058 dollars was raised in 2021. The expenses of the organization, however, outweighed the revenues. For the fiscal year, it was about $128,984 dollars.
The largest source of revenue came from donations designated for specific projects. Nearly half of the fiscal year’s revenue came from individual donations and memberships. Don Stark, Chairman of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said the ongoing success of fund-raising contributed to hiring their first full-time Executive Director in 2021, Mrs. Alizée Zimmermann.
“I have been very happy to become a major part of the TCRF as the Executive Director,” said Alizée Zimmermann. “TCRF has accomplished so much since 2010 and I hope that we will continue to be a leader in environmental advocacy not only in the TCI, but also regionally. We are already considered a regional leader in the battle with SCTLD. I am also happy to say that in 2021 we have expanded our volunteer network to over 100 residents who donate their time to assist TCRF with our various projects. We could not accomplish the things we do without the support we receive from these generous volunteers.”
Since 2010, when the organization was founded, $1.4 million dollars have been raised without the government’s contribution. About $924,000, which is, 67 per cent of the money, has been used to support environmental projects in the TCI.
Its largest project, which started in 2012, is installing and maintaining dive and snorkel boat moorings. Stark said the project’s cost is now at 287 thousand dollars.
“That’s $287,000 that TCRF has essentially donated to the TCIG, since once we install a mooring in a marine park, it becomes Government property,” said Stark.
He added that over $43, 000 had been invested in education and outreach programs.
Alizée Zimmermann, Executive Director of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said they expanded their volunteer network to over 100 residents.
The Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease project, which dominated the expenses, came to almost $37,000. Also, moorings which were over $24,000 accounted for a large part of the project expense.
The third-largest project expense was the Smith’s Reef Rehabilitation and Improvements project. It was about $10,585 dollars for the year.
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