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Bahamas Government to Implement New Accounting System In Order to Better Monitor Country’s Finances

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#Bahamas, November 14, 2017 – Nassau – The Government of The Bahamas is in the process of moving away from the cash-based form of accounting it presently employs to an accrual based accounting system, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Monday.   The move, which is foreshadowed to be implemented at the end of June, 2022 for full central government transitioning to accrual accounting and then 2023 for the public sector at large, is expected to better strengthen the Government’s accounting framework by ensuring greater transparency and accountability in public sector finances, while allowing officials to better monitor government debt and liabilities.

An accrual method of accounting records revenues and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when cash is exchanged.   The term “accrual” refers to any individual entry recording revenue or expense in the absence of a cash transaction.

Prime Minister Minnis said the new system would also allow for government’s use of high-quality information to make informed and sound spending decisions, while properly managing the nation’s assets and liabilities.   Addressing a Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Seminar Monday (November 13, 2017) at Melia Nassau Beach resort, Prime Minister Minnis said the current system of accounting employed is “woefully lacking” in providing government with a complete and accurate view of financial activities and reporting.

“As many of you know, the Government still uses the cash basis of accounting in compliance with IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards); cash basis is woefully lacking in providing us with a complete and accurate view of financial activities and reporting,” Dr. Minnis said.

“As policymakers, we value the importance of financial reporting that meets international standards. It is essential that we are in a position to utilize high-quality information to make informed and sound spending decisions, while properly managing our assets and liabilities.

“This is critical to us securing more sustainable public sector finances, achieving greater credibility in policymaking and building a more durable economic future for our country.   It is also vital to delivering on acceptable levels of transparency and accountability in government’s financial management,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

Dr. Minnis said the Government’s resolve in this regard is underscored by the prominence it has given to fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability in its governing mandate.

“To provide an update to our efforts, the Government’s Working Group produced a concept paper outlining the road map for the implementation of accrual-based accounting and the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards for budgeting, accrual accounting and financial reporting.

“Moving to accrual-based accounting will ensure greater transparency and accountability in public sector finances, as well as, a better monitoring of government debt and liabilities.

“The potential harm of the absence of these prudent practices were exposed in our recent assessment of the fiscal outcome for Fiscal Year, 2016/2017.   As you know, high levels of unbudgeted expenditure arrears are poised to elevate the actual overall fiscal deficit some five times higher than originally budgeted.   The lack of transparency and accountability inherent in cash basis accounting is unsustainable and breeds mistrust,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

Prime Minister Minnis said coincident with the exercise to improve financial reporting, the Government also has a roadmap to modernize and align the existing chart of accounts (COA) with best practices and the International Monetary Fund’s Government Finance Statistics reporting standards.

Work on the COA re-design, which commenced in 2014, is expected to be completed and fully implemented, for July 1, 2018. (A chart of accounts [COA] is a financial organizational tool that provides a complete listing of every account in an accounting system.)

“In the 2017/2018 Budget Communication, the Government announced plans to introduce fiscal rules as a means of achieving a credible and sustainable reduction in the fiscal deficit and the debt position,” Prime Minister Minnis said.

“With the assistance of the IMF, we are making progress in defining a sound framework that will include controls on certain recurrent expenditures; taking more decisive steps with pension reform and better managing subsidies to our state-owned enterprises.

“Successful implementation of this framework depends on our ability to measure our performance which is contingent upon having the proper financial management systems to provide the data needed for analysis, but transitioning public financial reporting to accrual-basis accounting is no small feat. We have targeted a date of end of June 2022 for full central government transitioning to accrual accounting and then 2023 for the public sector at large,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

By: Matt Maura (BIS)

Photo caption: Prime Minister Minnis addressing Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Seminar, November 13, 2017 at Melia Nassau Beach.

(BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

 

 

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Invest Turks and Caicos Attended Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Invest Turks and Caicos (Invest TCI) is pleased to announce the Agency’s participation in the 10TH Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) held November 10th-12th, 2021, at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.

CHICOS is one of the premier hospitality conferences in the region. In its 10th year, this event brought together more than 300 regional and international investors and operators and the region’s leading decision makers – all to discuss the region’s markets and possibilities.

Invest TCI participated in the Caribbean Government Leaders plenary session on Friday, November 12th, alongside the Bahamas Investment Authority, Invest St. Lucia, and JAMPRO. The plenary discussions focused on the investment environment of Caribbean economies in a post covid environment under two key themes: diversification of the economy and tourism and the need for greater involvement of (and positive impact on) local communities.

Attending the summit on behalf of Invest TCI was Interim CEO, Angela Musgrove and Legal and Compliance Officer, Judith Garland.

Commenting on the summit, Ms. Garland stated, “I was delighted to represent the Agency at the 10th Anniversary edition of CHICOS. I found the sessions engaging, and the industry trends and knowledge imparted was most valuable. It was great to meet new faces and establish relationships with industry colleagues, which can present mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships in the future.

Interim CEO Angela Musgrove stated, “Invest TCI will continue to support and leverage industry conferences to promote opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is the Agency’s 5th year attending CHICOS, and it has allowed us to directly engage with potential investors and prospects interested in doing business in the TCI. Through these types of events, the Agency can continue to proactively target new investment opportunities, lucrative partnerships, and financial opportunities that contribute to overall economic development.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit our website at investturksandcaicos.tc.

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Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.

“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”

While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.

She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.

“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.

“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”

 

Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.

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Sandals Foundation donates to skills training programs in Nassau

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – The clothing, textile and art and craft programs at CC Sweeting High School and Aquinas College recently received a major boost from Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort and Offshore Island, through their charity arm, the Sandals Foundation.

The resort, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar overhaul generously, donated bolts of fabric to both schools. This came after Regional Projects Coordinator, Kerry Ann Fung and her team alerted the Foundation about the fabrics as they felt that the schools would benefit greatly from them.

Sandals Royal Bahamian’s General Manager, Adrian Whitehead did the handover and shared that while the resort’s doors may be closed, their hands and hearts remain open to the people of Bahamas.

“We are resolute about giving back to this country in any way that we can. I’m delighted that Aquinas and CC Sweeting will make good use of the fabric and that it will help students to develop the skills they need to create sustainable and expansive change in society. As we continue with the work on the resort, we plan on donating so much more in the coming weeks,” he shared.

He added that properly resourced learning environments form a huge part of Sandals’ commitment to education, as transformative initiatives have been the Sandals Foundation’s goal since its inception in 2009.

Principal at Aquinas College, Mrs. Shona Knowles who received the fabric on behalf of the school shared that the fabric will be used to aid in the inculcation of entrepreneurial skills in students.

“We have a very vibrant art and craft department. The fabric we received from the resort will be used by students for art projects where they make things like handbags, cushions, stool and bench covers and other artistic pieces. We also have plans to use some of the fabric to design backdrops for multimedia purposes,” she said.

“We are grateful to Sandals Royal Bahamian? and are certainly looking forward to a long-term partnership between the Resort and our school,” declared Knowles.

In addition to other donations that the resort plans on making, come December, the Sandals Foundation will be spreading joy with a toy through its annual Christmas Toy Drive. This initiative will see them donating close to 2000 toys to children from various schools and communities in New Providence and Exuma.

The Toy Drive has been a staple calendar event for more than 10 years through generous donations from United States toy company, Hasbro and the kind support of Sandals and Beaches Resorts team members, guests, travel agents and partners.

Release: Sandals Foundation

Photo Caption:  Principal at Aquinas College, Shona Knowles accepts fabric donation on behalf of her school from Sandals Royal Bahamian’s General Manager, Adrian Whitehead.

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