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Grand Bahama Update

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Grand Bahama, Bahamas, October 14, 2016 – Hurricane Matthew aggressively moved throughout Grand Bahama Island on Thursday, October 7th, 2016, with hurricane force winds in excess of 150 mph; damaging much of the residences and infrastructure on the southern shoreline, from East to West End. The storm brought Grand Bahama Island to a standstill, crippling business and commerce, with devastation impacting the daily lives of all residents. The level of damage is severe, and the impact to the livelihood of the people remains a serious challenge.

Actions taken following Hurricane Matthew:

  • Social Service

This department is providing accommodations for seventy one (71) displaced residents left in shelters, the majority of which are from the West Grand Bahama including the Pinder’s Point and Lewis yard area. Counseling services are in place for the residents.

Preliminary reports indicate that 525 social assessments were completed to date:

SETTLEMENTS AMOUNT MINOR MAJOR DESTROYED
West End 153 64 54 26
Sea Grape 67 39 27 0
Lewis Yard 33 16 9 8
Pinder’s Point 9 1 4 4
Hunters 3 1 2 0
Mack Town 1 0 1 0
Hepburn Town 30 10 16 1
Hanna Hill 32 16 11 0
Martin Town 21 10 11 0
Russell Town 25 15 10 0
Holmes Rock 1 1 0 0
Jones Town 72 19 39 5
Pinedale 71 41 24 0
Pine Forest 4 1 3 0
Deadman’s Reef 3 1 2 0
TOTALS 525 235 213 44

This work will continue, with added trained field workers from New Providence joining the Social Services teams in Grand Bahama.

1.2   Urban Renewal 2.0.

Urban Renewal is also working within the communities offering assistance with food and humanitarian aid as the case may be.

2.1    Health Services

The Rand Memorial Hospital is fully operational with full power, with all essential services restored.   The High Rock and McClean’s Town Clinics in East Grand Bahama are open and services restored.

The temporary clinic at West End was compromised as a result of flooding but has since been reopened in another location in West End.  The Eight Mile Rock Clinic will continue its regular operations, inclusive of extended clinic hours and will assume responsibility for services in the West End community as well.

2.2    Environmental Health

The Department of Environmental Health Services has increased its surveillance in most vulnerable areas, and is providing updates to the Grand Bahama communities on a regular basis. Cleanup crews have been working within the various settlements to ensure that standing bodies of water is treated and garbage and disaster generated debris are collected and disposed of properly.

3.1.   Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC)

The Grand Bahama Utility Company has commenced restoring supply to its customers. 2 of the 6 major well fields have been brought back online and regular potable water supply has been connected to 80%+/- of the City of Freeport. Water supply in East Grand Bahama was uninterrupted throughout the Hurricane as the High Rock Well Fields stayed operational.

Limited potable water supply is currently being pumped to substations in West Grand Bahama, providing potable water to residents in Eight Mile Rock to West End. GBUC is currently working on repairing ruptured mains in the western end of the island to quickly restore full supply to the respective communities, and will continue to restore water supply, in a phased manner, over the next few days and weeks, as damaged infrastructure is repaired.

 4.1    Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC)

The Grand Bahama Power Company has moved with haste to replace fallen poles and repair transmission and distribution infrastructure, and as of Wednesday October 12th, 2016, power has been restored to some 4,000+ customers with increasingly more homes and businesses being reconnected to the power grid in the City of Freeport.

The company is currently being assisted by its international partners and accordingly, 200 additional support staff and 100 additional emergency repair vehicles to supplement its on-island workforce have arrived in Grand Bahama.

5.1   Tourism Infrastructure

The majority of hotels suffered major roof and/or infrastructural damage including: Grand Lucayan Hotel, Lighthouse Point Resort, Memories Resort & Casino, Pelican Bay Hotel, Castaways Hotel, Island Seas Resort and Old Bahama Bay. Presently, Pelican Bay Hotel has resumed business and the Lighthouse Point is proposing Monday October 24th, 2016, as their
re-opening date. All other properties are having repairs done.

6.1  Educational Infrastructure

All of the schools on the island were damaged. Water has been     restored, electricity to follow. A detailed assessment is being done with cleanup and remedial restoration. A projected opening date of Wednesday October 19th, 2016, is realistic, albeit with limited services.

7.1   Grand Bahama Airport/Seaport Facilities

The airport is open for emergency and domestic flights only. The domestic terminal, as well as the international terminal/United States pre-clearance facility, experienced roof damages. Re-commissioning will follow the restoration of power and water; as well as the full operation of all navigational equipment. The Seaport is open for emergency cargo services only and other limited services.  The Freeport Container Port is experiencing some challenges and will, in time, return to normalcy.

 8.1  Government Buildings & Assets

Detailed technical inspections are ongoing at all government buildings by the Ministry of Works & Urban Development since they were all impacted in one way or another. Most services to the public are limited and will increase over the next several weeks as essential services are returned to normalcy.

9.1  Public Safety

The Royal Bahama Police Force has kept a firm hand on the anti-social habits of some since the storm. While many petty complaints were reported, law and order remains in place.

10.1  Relief Supplies (Short Term/Medium Term Measures)

To date, many humanitarian gestures from businesses, individuals and service organizations have reached the various communities. The Bahamas Red Cross Society, Rotary Clubs and other service clubs as well as churches and civic groups, have moved throughout the communities with some supplies bringing much needed relief to many.

10.2  Sundry Supplies

The need for sundry supplies is great. It is expected that the Government through NEMA provide the following in the short-term:

  1. 10 Pallets Drinking Water
  2. 5000 Boxes Tarpaulin/Plastic Roof Covering
  3. Plywood
  4. Shingles & Other Supporting Materials
  5. Food Supplies/Canned Goods for hot daily meals where water and electricity are not available (i.e. West End, Eight Mile Rock, Lewis Yard)
  6. Personal Hygiene Supplies A/C/D/E should be remitted on a regular basis.

 

10.3  Home Repairs

Minor house repairs would commence in the medium-term, with support given to residents requiring:

  • Materials only or
  • assistance through the Exigency Order

A tracking system will be put in place for all relief assistance offered.  Some major repairs should commence soon as well

10.4  Short to Long Term Measures

Shelter for those who lost their residential homes would be given priority. Based on lessons learned from Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in 2005/2005, immediate attention to secure land in or near West End where over twenty nine (29) homes were destroyed.

New construction techniques would be employed through the Ministry of Works & Urban Development for safe homes, which can be constructed in 60 days or less, at a cost not exceeding $50,000.00 (+/-) depending on various social needs.  Those receiving homes should be made to enter into a rent-to-own agreement with the Ministry of Housing and the Environment (Department of Housing).

 

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Bahamas News

Agreement inked between Bahamas and Dubai

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#DUBAI, UAE, January 18, 2022 – A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Hon. Fred Mitchell and His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, today in Dubai.

The signing of this MOU begins a fruitful relationship between The Bahamas and the UAE. The UAE government is committed to providing technical assistance through their Technical Assistance Programme.  Embedded in the agreement, is a provision that at least fifty percent of the participants in the training programme are women.

Both The Bahamas and UAE are committed to working together on several fronts for the mutual advancement of both countries. The exchange of information will be invaluable as The Bahamas continues to push through the setbacks of the pandemic toward national and economic growth.

 

Photo Caption: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas the Hon. Philip Davis, centre, Minister Mitchell, left, and HE Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al Nahyan.

(Photo/OPM Communications)

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Bahamas News

MP’s Graduate with Parliamentary Governance Certificates

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January 18, 2022 – The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU), in partnership with the Conservatives Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Programme, held an Online Graduation Ceremony on Friday January 14th 2022 for fifteen (15) Members of Parliament who successfully completed a one year certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance with McGill University in Canada.

This professional development certificate programme is recognized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and provided MP’s with important theoretical and practical knowledge in executing their roles and responsibilities as legislators. Sponsorship for the MP’s was provided by the Conservatives WFD Programme.

The successful graduates included:

  • Tracy Panton– MP Albert, UDP, Belize
  • Shyne Barrow – MP, Mesopotamia, UDP, Belize
  • Senator Hon. Sheena Pitts – UDP, Belize
  • Kerensia Morrison – MP St. Catherine North Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tova Hamilton – MP, Trelawny Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dr. Michelle Charles – MP, St. Thomas Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tamika Davis – MP, Hanover Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Rhoda Crawford – MP, Manchester Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Anne Marie Vaz – MP, Portland Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Krstyal Lee – MP, St. Anne North Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Robert Miller – MP St. Catherine South Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Heroy Clarke – MP, St. James Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dwight Sibblies – MP, Clarendon Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Morland Wilson – MP, Westmoreland Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Senator Hon. Shevern John – NDP, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The Online Graduation Ceremony was attended by The Most Hon. Andrew Holness Prime Minister of Jamaica, Maria Miller Conservative MP UK, Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday Leader of the Opposition St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Patrick Faber Leader of the Opposition Belize, Carola Weil Dean of Continuing Studies McGill University, Nick Francis Secretary General CDU, and other officials from the UK Conservative Party’s International Department and Faculty and Staff from McGill University.

Mr. Nick Francis in his remarks at the ceremony noted that this initiative was birthed through greater engagement and consultation with stakeholders in the region in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and he was grateful to the administrators at McGill University for partnering with the CDU and the Conservatives WFD Programme to make this online training possible.

Hon. Patrick Faber and Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday extended congratulations to the graduates and expressed gratitude to the Conservatives WFD Programme, the CDU and McGill University on this successful collaboration to enhance parliamentary democracy in their respective countries.

A second cohort of trainees will commence the Parliamentary Governance Certificate with McGill University in March of this year and will include young prospective MP’s.

Quotes:

Dean of Continuing Studies at McGill University Carola Weil extended congratulations to the fifteen (15) MP’s for successfully completing the yearlong certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance and noted that this was an “important step towards the continuation of good governance and democracy around the world”

In addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Prime Minster the Most Hon. Andrew Holness noted his expectations that the training received will help to inform their advocacy, guide their involvement in policy development, and “contribute to a new cadre of political representatives that will always strive for the highest standards of excellence in governance, in parliamentary practice, and in political representation.”

Conservative MP Maria Miller UK in a pre-recorded message to the graduates (the majority being new female MP’s) noted that in light of the challenges facing women in politics, “the Conservative WFD Programme is committed to strengthening democracy by creating a much more inclusive, accountable and transparent political system.”

 

Press Release: CDU

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Education

Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge

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By Shaniek Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.

It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.

In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced.  Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations.  The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.

The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season.  The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.

In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.

The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI.  It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.

“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.

Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.

Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.

Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.

“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.

Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.

He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.

“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.

Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.

Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.

 

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