Bahamas Health Minister Pledges the Ministry’s Commitment to the Victims of Abuse and Violence
#Bahamas, November 9, 2017 – Nassau – Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said on behalf of his Ministry, he is pledging its commitment to ensuring that all victims of violence, especially those victims of abuse in cases of rape and incest, have access to services such as immediate physician attention with a projected increase in medical, physiological and psychiatric personnel.
Dr. Sands explained that this pledge will also be possible with the newly opened Child and Adolescent Unit at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as improved quality service that provides privacy and anonymity.
The Health Minister was speaking at the ‘Connecting the Dots: Child Abuse, Trauma and Violence Symposium’ at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, Thursday, November 9, 2017 organised by The Crisis Centre to allow stakeholders to discuss how they can work together to prevent violence.
Dr. Sands also said there are plans to renovate and redevelop Accident and Emergency at the Princess Margaret Hospital. “We shall pay deliberate attention to updating the Agape area — from a single cubicle to an area more suited to our country’s current and projected needs.”
He added, “Having provided you with concepts on how the Ministry of Health will assist in connecting the dots, I challenge you stakeholders in education, social services and law enforcement to come together as a cohesive group to report every case and to investigate… really investigate every incident.”
Dr. Sands said this would help in curbing incidences of gender-based violence, child abuse and sexual abuse. He noted that the information received would allow for the identification of groups and the sector of society affected and assist with the development of strategies, programmes and policies that would ultimately encourage change.
Dr. Sands said culturally in The Bahamas, violence is perpetuated as being “forceful/fearless” and in some instances celebrated as a form of discipline — “keeping your house in order.” He said many Bahamians are of the view that domestic violence is a private matter and not a crime. “However, this so-called ‘private-matter’ is spilling over into our schools where our children, especially the boys are acting out in the form of bullying and gang violence.
“Our primary and junior high girls are displaying uncharacteristic ‘womanly’ and violent behaviour because of years of sexual molestation, sometimes from their fathers, uncles or other relatives.”
Dr. Sands added that in the workplace, women are withdrawn and non-participatory while the men are overly aggressive and argumentative.
“We continue to under-report, accept or even encourage inappropriate language, unwanted touching and even overt sexual harassment because ‘that’s how we go’.”
The Health Minister said in 2013, the Department of Statistics revealed that some 1,200 women are abused annually. Mirroring these statistics is the Department of Social Services’ report, which indicated that 500 – 600 children suffer abuse annually.
“Sadly, as startling as these statistics may be, they do not represent an accurate account of instances of violence and domestic violence, as many of these incidents of violence are not reported and of those reported, the information is not shared.”
By: Llonella Gilbert (BIS)
Header: Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands bring remarks at the ‘Connecting the Dots: Child Abuse, Trauma and Violence Symposium’ organised by The Crisis Centre to allow stakeholders to discuss how they can work together to prevent violence. It was conducted at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, Thursday, November 9, 2017. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
Insert: Stakeholders attend the ‘Connecting the Dots: Child Abuse, Trauma and Violence Symposium’ organised by The Crisis Centre. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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