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Treasure Cay Marina Manager Hunts Down Stolen Boat

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Nassau, Bahamas,  December 5, 2016 –  A 34-foot SeaVee center console sport fishing boat, worth $140,000, stolen on Tuesday November 22 from Treasure Cay, Abaco, was recovered in Nassau, thanks to the prompt action and dedication of an Association of Bahamas Marinas member.

On Sunday, December 4th, a second boat was stolen from a Treasure Cay canal residence. The 31-foot Jupiter was found in Baker’s Creek, with engines missing. Police are following up on leads concerning a car license plate.

The hunt for the SeaVee, however, was a 10-day chase across two islands. Captain Cliff Bootle, Marina Manager of Treasure Cay Beach, Golf and Marina Resort, reported the SeaVee missing in the morning of Wednesday November 23rd. The hunt ended when a close friend of Bootle’s found it on Saturday December 3rd, partly covered by a tarp in a lot behind a Nassau Village church.

The hunt was successful, says Bootle, due to the determination of his friend, social media posts—and a fortunate mistake by the thieves who set off a rescue beacon signal, picked up by the US Coast Guard. The sporty Boynton Beach vessel, called Desperado, was found stripped of its twin 250HP Yamaha four stroke engines but otherwise in good shape.

When the boat, owned by a Georgia resident visitor, was discovered missing on Wednesday morning, Bootle started searching the Treasure Cay area and reported the boat to the police. He began calling his industry contacts and his sister spread the association’s alert on Facebook. Days later on Monday the 28th, the post caught the eye of a dock staff worker from a Nassau marina who had seen a matching boat being towed down Soldier Road by a black truck.

jupiter-boat-stolen-recovered-bakers-creekBootle summoned a close friend who, on Tuesday, began canvassing south Nassau. A lucky break came on Wednesday November 30th when the US Coast Guard picked up a signal from the boat’s rescue beacon, accidentally set off by the thieves. The Coast Guard picked up two signals: one in Nassau Village and another in Marshall Rd. Bootle’s friend focused on the Nassau Village signal.

 After days driving round, Bootle’s friend’s determination finally paid off. On Friday December 2nd, he spotted it in a Sequoia Road car wreck work yard, off Buttonwood Ave, behind the One Accord Pentecostal Ministries church. He thought it was the Desperado, but wasn’t sure. Captain Bootle caught an early morning flight from Treasure Cay and confirmed Desperado’s identity.

To secure the vessel, Bootle summoned the marina association’s contacts at Nassau-based Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Marine Unit, through ASP Carlton Adderley. PC Jones ordered a wrecker and the boat was secured with armed guards and taken to the police compound for fingerprinting.  The engines that were seen on the boat along Soldier Rd on Monday the 28th, had gone.

 “Now we have to figure out who stole it. This time we were lucky,” said Bootle who attributes the good result to his determined friend, Facebook and the US Coast Guard.

 “This is a case of doing everything possible to help a customer,” said Bootle. “We’ll move heaven and earth to recover any vessel from our marina.”

On reflection, Bootle says the government must do something drastic to stop the thefts. It’s hurting the Abaco economy and reputation.

 “The police in the whole of Abaco only have one boat. It should have at least four, one for each area. The thieves know it’s hard to catch them. It’s an easy life and good living for them. We’ve tried to get government’s attention to make the penalties and bail conditions harsher, but the industry feels that the system is ineffective and not doing enough,” says Bootle.

 “Although thefts are down 50% from last year, it’s still a major problem,” said the captain. “The laws are way too light. These thieves are caught but the next day they’re on the streets again planning the next one. Giving these guys light bail is a serious problem. They should all be electronically monitored. But even that doesn’t work sometimes.”

At the recovery scene, Pastor Preston Collins of the One Accord Pentecostal Ministries church, said he saw the boat being trailered into the yard behind his church, figuring it was innocently being bought for repairs. A witness saw the boat’s name: Desperado, Boynton Beach.

 “The engines were on at the time,” said Pastor Collins, “But now they’re gone. They also sanded off the name. You can see the white marks where the words were,” said Rev. Collins pointing to the hull.

 “The boat’s electronics and radar are still there,” said Bootle. “So, the thieves didn’t get everything.”

The marinas association President, Stephen Kappeler, praised his manager Bootle for having the care and dedication to fly all the way to Nassau to make sure the boat was recovered personally and quickly.

 “This was superb case of going the extra mile to assist our marina customers. He didn’t have to go, but Cliff wanted to serve his owner-customer in the most safest way. He rushed to the plane with no concern for himself—no clothes, no toothbrush. He had to ask his family to put some clothes on the next plane. We’re proud of Cliff’s dedication and perseverance,” said Kappeler.

“Our thanks also go out to ASP Adderley and his Nassau RBPF Marine Unit and other officers. They came to the crime scene and brought in armed support to protect it from any further loss,” added the marina association chief. “We hope the brazen thieves will be caught, appropriately punished and put out of action, behind bars—with strict terms or no bail.”

Executive Director of the association, Bob Bower says: “Boat theft remains a major threat to boating yachting and fishing tourism in The Bahamas. For a real solution, this must receive attention from the highest levels.  In Abaco, the police need to be equipped with more than a single boat for responding or patrolling the entire Abaco chain, where the problem has been more severely felt,” he said.

 “An island chain of this length needs a minimum of four active police interceptors: one for Hope Town and Elbow Cay, one for Marsh Harbour, a third for Green Turtle, and one in reserve for repair. In fact, each habited major cay or settlement could use one. That would total about eight patrol craft. And all the police should be trained in boat seamanship and equipped for night interception with night vision and searchlights. Inter-island and inter-settlement communications could do with a major upgrade,” said Bower.

The marinas association is trying to encourage all boat owners to do everything possible to secure their boats and engines. Boaters are urged to install tracking devices, alarms and engine and prop locks and dock owners and marinas are advised to employ bright lighting and video surveillance.

 “Nowadays, every boat and engine should have tracking devices. They’re increasingly affordable and easy to install,” Bower said.

Bower, reflecting the opinion of his association’s membership, believes the penalties for boat theft need to be far more severe than they are at present. “The penalties are far too low”, he said. “The association has been asking government for seven years and more to address the boat theft problem. Police catch these life-criminals but easy bail terms let them out to steal their next boat. Bahamians and visitors—as well as the police—are tired of asking and the frustration of nothing getting done.”

 “A big, nationwide effort against boat theft needs to be organized,” summed the association’s director. “Every stakeholder needs to be present at the table, and a definite plan made and close follow-up. The police are overloaded and don’t have anywhere near adequate resources.”

The Association of Bahamas Marinas is the united voice serving the Bahamas’ yachting, boating, sport fishing and marina industries.

 

 

PHOTO 1: SeaVee stolen boat being recovered Nassau Village Dec 3 (white hull)

Police from Nassau’s Marine Unit tow the recovered 34-foot SeaVee from the car wreck yard found behind a church in Nassau Village. The boat was hunted down over a 10-day period by a friend of Cliff Bootle, Marina Manager at Treasure Cay, a member of The Association of Bahamas Marinas.

 

PHOTO 2: Jupiter Boat stolen recovered Bakers Creek (black hull)

 

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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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