Freeport, Grand Bahama Island — During the month of October 2015, Immerse Bahamas represented The Bahamas at the 2nd Annual US-China Sister Cities Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference connected business leaders, government officials, and citizen diplomats primarily from the U.S. and China. Immerse Bahamas was invited to participate as it works toward building strong sister city alliances with both the U.S. and China. The conference provided best practices and networking opportunities for continued success and growth throughout the sister city network.
With the upcoming ‘Investment & Trade Mission; Hubei China to The Bahamas’ set for Grand Bahama Island on 30th November 2015, it was an ideal opportunity to progress sister city discussions with Chinese Provinces, as well as US cities looking for business, cultural, educational, tourism, and humanitarian exchanges, throughout The Bahamas.
Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel officially opened the conference by highlighting that Chicago Sister Cities International has been at the core of Chicago’s global outreach. “We understand the inherent value of Sister City relationships,” stated Mayor Emanuel. “To illustrate the growth of this relationship, in December 2013, I travelled to Beijing to sign the Gateway Cities Agreement. This agreement links Chicago with eight Chinese cities, as gateway points for investment. It expands trade and investment cooperation, strengthens communication, enhances trust, boosts economic development, and creates jobs.”
The economic impact as a result of the sister cities network was wildly touted, with many examples of major projects and business transactions that have occurred, as a result of sister cities ties. To support this, Sister Cities International (SCI) recently released Measures That Matter℠, presenting the major economic benefits of sister city relationships and their impact on the global economy from 2014. “Not only is the Sister Cities International network a leader in citizen diplomacy and peace building, but this data shows that our network is also of huge importance to the global economy as demonstrated through tourism, trade, and investment,” said Mary D. Kane, Sister Cities International President and CEO. For 60 years, SCI has formed thousands of strong, mutually beneficial sister city partnerships, with thousands of people to-people and municipal exchanges taking place each year.
The keynote speaker of the event, Jake Cefolia, Vice President, Atlantic and Pacific Sales, United Airlines, Inc., also enthusiastically shared the impact of these sister city relationships to the airline industry, and in particular, United Airlines strategic alliance and success in many of the secondary Chinese destination markets.
Immerse Bahamas, a Destination and Project Management Company, specializing in projects that benefit the entire community, was praised for its efforts to further expand and develop sister city relationships with The Bahamas throughout the world, by Chairman of Sister Cities International, Bill Boerum. With the announcement of a delegation from Hubei China set to visit The Bahamas for investment and trade opportunities, at the conference, further discussions were held on progressing sister city relationships with cities and provinces in China with Xie Yuan, Vice President, The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
The Delegation for the Investment and Trade Mission on Grand Bahama Island will consist of executives from various Hubei enterprises with a mission to seek potential investment opportunities in The Bahamas and to promote bilateral trade, with representation in the areas of Agriculture; Light Industry; Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industry; High-Tech Industry; Mechanical Equipment; Urban Construction; Engineering Construction and Building Materials [including Property/Real Estate Development and Tourism]; Mineral Resources Exploration; and Automobile Industry. Interested parties may register at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#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”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#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.
Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation
By Shanieka Smith
#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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