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Commonwealth Law Ministers Will Share Best Practices to Develop Technologies to Improve their Justice Systems



#Bahamas, October 25, 2017 – Nassau – Commonwealth Law Ministers met in Nassau for four days to discuss law reform for civil and criminal justice, and the application of the technology to achieve objectives.   The conference was held at Baha Mar convention centre, October 16-19, 2017 under the theme “Strengthening the Rule of Law Through Technology.”

Commonwealth Secretary General, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland (Baroness Scotland), Q.C. told the media in the Closing Press Conference: “We know that our Commonwealth jurisdictions are facing many challenges today.   So, this was a really important moment for us and I thank the Bahamas Government and the Attorney General, the Hon. Carl Bethel, Q.C. for generously hosting us.”

She said: “The whole point of this conference was to bring the Law Ministers together to be able to discuss issues of common interest and to produce packages and tools to assist all our Ministers; and I believe we have achieved our aim.”

Baroness Scotland described the meeting as having “a wide-ranging agenda” that included currently discussed hot topics such as “the Rule of Law and Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Management, Countering Violent Extremism, International Humanitarian Law, Separation of Powers, Judicial Independence, and Child Early Enforced Marriage.”

“Each of these topics has important bearings on the everyday lives and livelihoods of Commonwealth citizens and on their personal welfare and individual dignity.   The outcomes of their discussions, I am confident, will help countries to uphold the Rule of Law and deliver to these citizens a justice system that is fair and efficient and responds to modern challenges,” said Baroness Scotland.

“Understanding these challenges, Law Ministers have emphasized and agreed on a number of key points.  With regards to the theme of ‘Strengthening the Rule of Law through Technology’, Ministers looked at technology’s ability to promote efficiency, accuracy, quality of services, and long-term cost effectiveness in many areas including the preparation of legislation, the use of video and teleconference systems in court proceedings, police, and prosecution and court case management systems, e-filing and documentation, legal and digital identity, and more effective communication with and between law enforcement and justice institutions,” she said.

She added that the Law Ministers proposed that small and developing countries be supported “through the sharing of best practices and solutions from across the Commonwealth to develop technologies that can improve their justice systems.”

The Baroness balanced the Ministers’ conclusions with: “They also looked at the other side of the coin — the challenges technology poses, including threats to privacy and issues of cyber security.   At the meeting, the Commonwealth presented a new secure messaging mobile app, which will be trialed in 2018.   This app will help countries collaborate to tackle cross-border organized crimes and cyber crimes.  The Law Ministers agree, that in order to meet their sustainable development goals, they need sound legal frameworks to develop and improve health, education, employment, financial and other critical services.”

She continued, “They discussed how they will work with law reform bodies, national parliaments, the judiciary and law ministries to make their aspirations a reality.  They also turned their attention to the fight against terrorism.   Ministers considered a raft of recommendations, including strategies to review and strengthen legal frameworks and legislation to prevent the grooming and recruitment of foreign terrorists, and to stop them from crossing borders and being funded.”   The Law Ministers agreed to share experiences and put in place measures to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorists, in line with the United Nations Resolution 2178.

“They also agreed that non-coercive measures should be adopted, when necessary and/or in combination, with criminal justice approaches that where appropriate, member countries can be able to rehabilitate and reintegrate returning terrorists and stop the recruitment, training and organizing, transporting or equipping of anyone to commit acts of terror,” said Baroness Scotland.

“On the issue of countering violent extremism, Ministers agreed that coordinated action and drawing on lessons learned from right across the Commonwealth was essential as a way forward.   They also emphasized that tackling the issue of extremism online was best achieved through cooperative engagement through global communications service providers.   Regarding the implementation of international humanitarian law, Ministers reiterated its importance and committed to consider ways to promote and implement these laws in their countries.”

Baroness Scotland added that Law Ministers also discussed Child Early and Forced Marriage and expressed their strong support for its prevention and elimination.

“They recognized Child Early and Forced Marriage as one of the barriers to the achievement of sustainable development; the full realization of human rights for women and girls, and the elimination of violence against women and girls,” said The Baroness.

“Law Ministers recognized the increasing impact of climate change and natural disasters on our member countries and expressed solidarity with all Commonwealth member countries, effected by natural disasters and extreme weather events in recent months including, and in particular, those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”

Baroness Scotland emphasized that Law Ministers stressed the need for practical and technical assistance, in dealing with the challenges of climate change.

“The focus on national implementation of the existing global framework for climate change as contained in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

“Ministers highlighted the importance of effective laws to support the smooth operation of relief efforts during and after natural disasters including the accountability of relief agencies and the import, export and transit of emergency items,” said The Baroness.

“We have responded positively to their requests to continue to cooperate with other international organizations including the international federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and the British Red Cross to help countries review and strengthening their legislation.”

Baroness Scotland also said, “These are just the highlights of the critical discussions that took place during the course of the meeting.  To assist governments to turn to their aspirations into action, we have offered them some new tools: Our new ‘Legislative Drafting Handbook and Guide to Law Reform’ will help countries to implement effective legislation in a host of areas, including climate change, ending early enforced marriage, and gender equality.   It would particularly be of value for small jurisdictions, facing unlimited challenges to drafting or reforming legislation.”

According to Baroness Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Legal Exchange is a knowledge portal that will support member countries by providing access to the laws of 52 states.   The website is one of the series of products from the Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform launched by Baroness Scotland in July, and would provide technical assistance and an online platform with best practice guides, model law standards, templates and legal insights on climate change, human rights, and a whole range of other issues, aimed at supporting governments wishing to either advise existing laws or draft new legislation.

She concluded the meeting with the press conference adding that the legal exchange website contains the database of statutes and Commonwealth model laws, which have been digitized, categorized, and cross-referenced, making it easier for governments and Law Ministers to access and download.  The site also provides an online community of practice for government lawyers from across the Commonwealth, enabling countries to share information on current law reform initiatives.

By: Gena Gibbs (BIS)

Photo caption: Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland and Bahamas Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Carl Bethel addressed the media, October 19, 2017 on the conclusions of the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting (CLMM) at Baha Mar Convention Center.  (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)



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PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman



Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis

NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”


(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Tourism Minister commends 153 newly certified Lifeguards



From: Bahamas Information Services


NASSAU, The Bahamas —  “The breathtaking beaches and pristine waters are among the top reasons travellers visit our country. As a leading tourism destination that places the highest priority on the safety and security of its guests, lifeguards play a crucial role in the tourism industry of The Bahamas,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper as keynote speaker at the Lifeguard Certification Graduation Ceremony, May 29, 2024 at Fox Hill Community Centre.

“I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate the outstanding accomplishment of our newly certified lifeguards.

“Tonight marks the successful completion of lifeguard training of 153 candidates total: 134 from New Providence and 19 from Eleuthera. My understanding is that 64 of the graduates are present with us this evening. The others could not come because they have already secured employment on islands outside of New Providence. That is great news!”

He noted that the graduates have all made a substantial investment of time and effort to fully equip themselves to take on the critical role of lifeguard.

They each undertook 30 hours of training led by American Lifeguard Association certified trainer and examiner Lisa Nixon. From this training, they took away the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute their duties as first class lifeguards. In addition to training in lifeguard skills, they completed 40 hours of BahamaHost training which schooled them in the science of gold standard customer service.

In welcoming them aboard ‘Team Tourism,’ he said: “Graduates, you are coming aboard Team Tourism in the best of times, at a time when our tourism industry is experiencing phenomenal growth. Last year, The Bahamas broke all pre-existing records, reaching an historic high of 9.65 million in visitor arrivals.

“You are joining Team Tourism at a time when our tourism industry is in full expansion in resort development and cruise line investments.  Lifeguards are in great demand at the numerous resorts across The Islands of The Bahamas, on the private islands of our cruise line partners, and our major public beaches.”

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper left the graduates with these messages:

“You will be playing a critical role in our nation’s number one industry. We, collectively, have the deepest appreciation and respect for your contribution to the tourism sector, the sector that powers our country’s economy, providing 60 percent of the employment and 50% of the GDP. Your job as lifeguards is in service to our nation, ensuring the highly valued sense of safety among our guests and residents.

“You each already possess deep deposits of the five key characteristics required to be outstanding lifeguards. I humbly ask that you make a commitment to continually cultivate the quality of reliability, sharpen your communication skills, enhance your leadership skills, update your lifeguard skills and be professional at all times.”

He thanked family and friends for their support of the graduates, and those who played a role in assisting the graduates attain certification.


(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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CIBC Caribbean Announces Walk for the Cure 2024 with $66,000 Donation



Nassau, Bahamas – On the other side of the thousands of supporters who participate in CIBC Caribbean’s fun-filled Walk for the Cure (WFTC) event every October are the cancer care organizations that use the funds raised to provide essential services all year long.

During the bank’s launch of Walk for the Cure 2024, the $66,000 generated during last year’s walk was presented to the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Groups of New Providence and Grand Bahama, Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Cancer Societies of Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama, Cancer Association of Grand Bahama and GD Sharing and Caring.

CIBC Caribbean’s Managing Director, Dr. Jacqui Bend, highlighted that the event is “more than just a fundraiser because for many, it is a lifeline of hope.”

“Walk for the Cure provides essential care ranging from scans and exams to support for everyday necessities. Over the past 12 years, we have been privileged to support countless courageous survivors, enhancing the lives and well-being of those battling cancer, their families, and the dedicated organizations that serve them,” said Dr. Bend.

Since its inception, Walk for the Cure has raised nearly four million dollars regionwide, significantly aiding the fight against cancer. In less than five months, WFTC will again span New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthera, the four islands where CIBC Caribbean has a presence in The Bahamas.

GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member, Anita Rolle, said, “We express our heartfelt gratitude to CIBC Caribbean for its extraordinary support and commitment to the fight against cancer. It is because of partners like CIBC Caribbean that we continue to make strides in our mission.”

She added, “This donation serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose.”

CIBC Caribbean encourages individuals, families, and corporate teams to join in the meaningful cause. Individuals and groups can register by visiting any CIBC Caribbean branch or by emailing Donations can be made at any CIBC Caribbean branch or through the CIBC Caribbean app.


Photo Caption

Standing from left to right are Anita Rolle, GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member; Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group President; Dr. Jacqui Bend, CIBC Caribbean Managing Director; Susan Roberts, Cancer Society of The Bahamas founder; Glenda Whylly, CIBC Caribbean Senior Manager in the Managing Director’s Office and Dr. Williamson Chea, Cancer Society of The Bahamas President.

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