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Minister Pintard Gives Report on Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting

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#Bahamas, November 16, 2017 – Nassau – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard said in the House of Assembly, on November 15, 2017, that shortly after his appointment as Minister responsible for Youth Affairs, he received an invitation by the Commonwealth Secretariat to attend the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting, held in Kampala, Uganda.

“This invitation permitted me along with members of my delegation Mr. Darron Turnquest, Director of Youth Affairs, and Ms. Keturah Babb, Youth Delegate – to explore opportunities for strategic partnerships,” Minister Pintard said.

Minister Pintard noted that it was important that public officials and those who are sponsored by the “People’s Money” provide the basis for expenditure on travel to such meetings.

“We are further obligated to report on the outcomes we expect and what the terms of reference were for the meeting,” he added.   “Please note that the representation by the Government of The Bahamas in this forum provided an opportunity for my Ministry to develop and adopt, based on the Government’s agenda, clear, transparent and Commonwealth-endorsed approaches to youth participation, youth empowerment and development.”

Minister Pintard said that they also explored how to create youth networks, inclusive of utilizing national youth councils.

“Furthermore, we were able to increase our capacity to improve and/or create guidelines for partnerships between my Ministry, representatives of youth organizations and other youth governing bodies within and outside of The Bahamas,” he stated.

In addition, to the previously stated objectives, Minister Pintard said, the purpose of the meeting was three-fold.

The first objective, he said, was to review and assess programs in national youth development; share, celebrate and adopt good practice strategies, solutions and models; and identify new priorities for action to advance youth development in the Commonwealth – in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015.

The second broad objective, he said, was to explore the holistic potential of youth and their role in national development and in the youth sector.

“Furthermore participants at this conference gathered to consider emerging youth themes, and how they might contribute to the global youth development agenda,” Minister Pintard said.

Thirdly and finally, he said, the meeting gave participants an opportunity to engage with international organizations and the private sector on strategies for technical and financial support for national and regional youth development.

“I am happy to report that this meeting of Youth Ministers, and Youth Stakeholders and International Organizations achieved this,” he said.

Minister Pintard pointed out that during the meetings, members of the Bahamian delegation were able to review current youth development tools used internationally, pursue resources and learn about potential access to professional support available to member states, which are affiliated with Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP).

These meetings, he said, proved to be successful for the entire team.

“We in the Ministry were able to secure numerous professional partnerships and strategic alliances with other Member States and International Organizations,” Minister Pintard said.   “The Bahamas delegation had an opportunity to critically assess its own initiatives and the others presented, that we thought might be useful in The Bahamas.

“We were able to determine how we could better equip youth practitioners, young people, themselves, and, of course, how to guide the implementation of the National Youth Policy – which has been entrained for at least a decade.”

“Further opportunities were granted to investigate various avenues for technical assistance from represented agencies and further assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat,” Minister Pintard added. “I am happy to report that significant inroads made during the recent trip to Uganda.”

By: Eric Rose (BIS)

Photo Caption:  Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard speaks in the House of Assembly, on November 15, 2017, about The Bahamas delegation’s attendance to the recent 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting, held in Kampala, Uganda.

(BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

 

 

 

 

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U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation on Visitor Arrivals

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#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism is extremely excited to announce that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers.
In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper praised The Bahamas’ performance and the work put in by industry professionals across the board.

“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than 7 million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year was no accident,” he said.

“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our Missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world.”

DPM Cooper forecasted that 2023 promises to shatter even pre-pandemic numbers as interest in the Bahamas and our brand reputation have never been stronger.

“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said. In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.

Nassau and Grand Bahama remained our most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and The Berry Islands remained our most popular destinations by sea.  Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019.  December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history.  Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than 1 percent below 2019 cruise arrivals.

Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019.
Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021.

The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021. The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

DPM Cooper confirmed that the last six months are the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen.  He firmly concluded by saying; “What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.”

Mrs. Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism added that everyone should understand that tourism is critical to our economy and all Bahamians, even those who do not directly work in the tourism industry, should always seek to lift the industry up.

“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year.”

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