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Prime Minister announces Exigency Order

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Nassau, Bahamas, October 11, 2016 –  Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie announced, on October 10, 2016,  that an exigency order for properly-approved, privately-imported items would be instituted on Tuesday, October 11, and supplies assigned to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will be given duty and VAT free privilege, with no processing fee being assessed would for those NEMA goods.

“Emergency supplies — such as water, tarpaulins, generators, personal and building supplies — not assigned to NEMA or a recognized charity would be released upon confirmation by NEMA,”  Prime Minister Christie said at a press conference at NEMA Headquarters, Gladstone Road.

“Therefore, any — so to speak — unauthorized purchase or importation must ultimately be approved my NEMA, if you are going to access the privileges offered by the Ministry of Finance,” he added.

Any abuser of those procedures would receive penalties under Customs Management Act, he warned.

Prime Minister Christie noted that the Customs Department had set up a telephone hotline in New Providence at 377-7027 or 377-7030 for persons seeking more information.  For Grand Bahamas and the Family Islands, he said that persons should contact their local Customs office.

griffin-lowe-sound-3Prime Minister Christie said that given the economic costs of the disaster, Prime Minister Christie said, the Government is exploring the option of issuing — through its normal mechanism — a hurricane recovery and reconstruction bond.

In showing the possible immensity of the cost of Hurricane Matthew, Prime Minister Christie said that you could easily multiple the dollar value of the damage and recovery efforts to be easily three to four times that of the cost of last year’s Hurricane Joaquin — which was estimated at some $100 million.

“This will be very much more than Joaquin: enormous damage on thousands of Bahamians, who were not so affected in such number by Hurricane Joaquin,” Prime Minister Christie said.

The purpose of the funds raised by the bonds would be to have an accelerated reconstruction timeline, provide assistance to individuals affected by the hurricane and to provide assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, he said.  “Small and medium-sized businesses are significant contributors to the economy of The Bahamas,” he said.

Prime Minister Christie stated that the Government needs to be innovative in recognizing that there are some people who are going to need help in being able to meet the requirements of their insurance policies and mortgages for lost homes.

He noted that the Government sees having oversight as a “critical” component in the success to the recovery and reconstruction process, and appropriate and respected individuals inclusive of those from the private sector have been selected for such a proposed oversight.

Prime Minister Christie added that, with immediate effect, the Government will continue its consultation with the private sector, with a view to ensuring that all are in agreement with the steps being taken as they all go forward.

“Because, in the final analysis, we do not have room for doubting our capacity to recover,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “We must know that our country has been through adversity before, and that we are not going to be broken or bowed by this.  Working together, we will overcome all of the obstacles in our path.”

 

 

Captions:

Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie speaks with young people, whose homes were severely damaged during the passage Hurricane Matthew. The Prime Minister, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell, and other high-ranking officials carried out an assessment on Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Lowe Sound, Andros and West End, Grand Bahama the areas hardest hit by the storm.

(BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

Minister of Social Services the Hon Melanie Griffin looks at destruction during an assessment of the destruction in Lowe Sound, Andros, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. Also on the trip were Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell, and other high-ranking officials. The assessment took place on Saturday, October 8, 2016. (BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

 

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Bahamas News

Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Will US President Biden deliver on Climate Change funding?

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, October 1, 2022 – US President Joe Biden has reiterated his promise that low income countries, which are also low carbon emitters will receive increased climate aid from the US to the tune of $11 billion per year.

The President was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly recently where he maintained his administration was working with Congress to get the funds which would ‘help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.’

The plan was announced in September 2021 and is a reflection of the USA’s part in the 2010 global pledge made by developed countries to give $100 billion annually in climate financing to developing nations each year.  Biden has indicated that the plan will be in effect by 2024.

While he stressed at the UN that the need is ‘enormous’ the President is having trouble convincing lawmakers at home.  So far the funding which must be approved by Congress has not materialized. The United States Congress is known for having a particularly tight hold on the national purse in regards to climate change funding.

In fact congress dedicated only a little over $1 billion to climate change this year according to Bloomberg.  The US also has a history of promising funding for climate change but not delivering on those high priced promises.

Whether this $11 billion will actually get to nations like those in the Caribbean region is yet to be seen.

This year, the General Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations according to General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Caribbean News

Hurricane Ian impact on Cayman Islands

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, October 1, 2022 – The Cayman Islands experienced fierce winds and high seas from Hurricane Ian on Monday, as the storm passed offshore, causing little lasting damage.

Some areas on the island experienced flooding as low-lying condo complexes and some residential back roads were inundated with water. Almost 4,000 homes were without power on Monday; however, most had electricity restored by the evening.

There were also no reports of any injuries, deaths, or serious structural damage.  The country started its restoration process on Monday afternoon, clearing debris from the roads, surveying the damage and providing support to residents where needed.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, Premier of the Cayman Islands Wayne Panton said he was pleased with how residents handled the situation.

“While we have been very fortunate to have been spared the worst of a potentially very serious storm, I’m extremely pleased to have seen the efforts made by the Caymanian public to prepare for ‘the worst, while praying for the best. In this situation, this is simply the safest, most strategic thing to do,” the Premier said

Despite the all-clear being issued on Monday evening, the Ministry of Education announced that government schools will remain closed to students until Wednesday, 28 September.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, authorities have declared emergencies in six areas, with forecasters warning of storm surges on the coast along with flash floods and mudslides.

Tens of thousands of people were told to leave their homes and seek shelter. Cuba could see up to 12 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian dramatically intensified and is blamed for at least two dozen deaths in Florida; where the storm struck with near category five force winds and a near 20 foot storm surge.

Over 700 rescue operations were activated in Florida in the aftermath of the storm, which is still wreaking havoc in the U.S.

 

Cayman photo credit:  RC Cord

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