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BAHAMAS: Minister Dames: Govt. Taking Steps to Modernize the Police Force



#Bahamas, January 10, 2018 – Nassau – Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames said that since assuming office in May of last year, the government was acutely aware of the “daunting challenges” it faced in tackling crime and while the Government commended The Bahamas’ “brave” law enforcement officers for the positive inroads made to date, there remained much work left to do in 2018 that will require the collective effort of every resident.

“When we came to Office a top priority of ours was to find a short-term solution for the high incidence of violent crime, especially murders,” Minister Dames said, January 7, 2018 at the Annual Royal Bahamas Police Force Church Service, held at Zion Baptist Church, Shirley Street.

Minister Dames said the Government took “immediate” steps to rescue Bahamian communities from the “almost daily violent episodes of crime which had become commonplace.”

“Led by a new commissioner, Mr. Anthony Ferguson, Guns and Gangs and a Rapid Response Units were formed to identify, target, arrest and dismantle these crime networks; hot-spot crime areas and prolific offenders were targeted under a more deliberate and sustained approach, culminating in the development of a force-wide patrolling strategy,” he said.   “The strategy was focused, intentional, dynamic, relentless and it allowed for patrol officers to be within striking distance of incidents as they occurred.

“In the coming months our Government will be introducing additional policies that we have spent a considerable amount of time on that are holistic in scope and are expected to complement current law enforcement efforts and restore the peace in our communities,” Minister Dames said.

Minister Dames pointed out that, for the past several months, a comprehensive Police Manpower Audit was undertaken and would be completed in a few weeks.  What that audit, he said, the Government would determine what was the necessary number of officers needed within the organization to effectively provide policing services to communities on a sustained basis.

“No longer will stations have inadequate numbers of officers on a shift,” Minister Dames said.   “No longer will recruitment be based on who you know, but based on the needs of the organization.”

Moreover, he noted, the Police Manpower Audit would end the need for prescribed promotion dates determined by politicians.

“Our government has heard your cries of upward mobility being impeded because of personal preferences,” Minister Dames said.  “No more.”

“Whenever there is an availability then there will be an opportunity for promotion,” he added.   “So, if there is an availability every day due to a retirement, illness, personal reason or dismissal, there will be an opportunity for some competent and hardworking officer to be promoted.”

Minister Dames said that the Audit would also detail how the command structure should be arranged in order to operate an efficient 21st-century police organization.   A similar audit is currently underway in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; and the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services will also undergo an audit – which is scheduled to commence during the second quarter of 2018, he said.

“It is also noteworthy that the Cabinet has approved the hire of 120 Defence Force Recruits and this recruitment process will commence tomorrow,” he added.   “The Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services have all finalized their recruitment lists and these exercises will commence in a few short weeks.”

Minister Dames said that the Government understood that in the dynamic and constantly changing field of law enforcement, training and education are essential.  The Government also know that the police force was filled with a number of talented officers who have the capacity to, one day, lead the organization.

“Towards this end, our government has committed to establishing a Succession Plan that will involve international attachments, training and postings to critical areas of the Force,” Minister Dames said.

“No longer will training be available for a chosen few but available to all police officers, as your upward mobility in the organization will depend on your exposure and comprehension of your craft,” he added.   “If you are unable to write a basic arrest report then how can you be a station Sergeant?”

The Government is also serious about improving infrastructure and providing officers with equipment necessary to perform all their duties optimally and professionally, he said.

“I am pleased to announce that the Cabinet has approved the purchase of a new $5.9 million vehicle fleet of which $2.3 million will be acquired in this fiscal period,” Minister Dames said.   “These vehicles will comprise police cruisers, SUVs, T-3 Segways and ATVs.”

Minister Dames said, as Minister of National Security, he was also acutely aware of the substandard working conditions that many officers have had to contend with for far too long.  “We cannot expect you to give of your best when we fail to acknowledge and fix the substandard environment in which you work,” he said.

“This also holds true for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Correctional Services,” he added.   Let me assure each of you that we are going to put our money where our mouth is.   We are taking corrective steps to have the dilapidated stations and other buildings that law enforcement officers occupy, completely renovated.”

Minister Dames said that, in a world of technological advances, the Government was fully committed to modernizing the Royal Bahamas Police Force to ensure that it keeps pace and remain on the cutting edge of law enforcement.

“Last year we rolled out the test phase of body cameras,” Minster Dames said.  “We are working with global industry leaders in such areas as improved CCTV technology, analytics, facial recognition capability, license plate recognition, artificial intelligence, gunshot detection, cyber, drones and radar technology to name a few. Bahamians can expect to see many of these tools introduced this year.

“One of our Government’s aim is to bring excitement to law enforcement again.”

Minister Dames said he recently reconvened meetings with all Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies (inclusive of Corrections, Customs, Defence, Immigration, and Police) and they had been mandated by the Government to establish a Multi-Agency Task Force to protect Bahamian borders.

“These multi-agency teams will combine intelligence capacity, skills and resource capabilities of all local law enforcement partners,” he said.   “As Minister of National Security, I am determined that law enforcement agencies will not operate in silos but form one single, seamless bridge with cooperation and camaraderie as its hallmarks.”

Minister Dames said that the Government fully understands that crime fighting rest not in the hands of the police alone.

“The crime fight involves all of us working together,” he said.   “Very shortly, the National Neighbourhood Watch Council will be launched which will empower Bahamian citizens in crime prevention.  Crime Watch Group members are excited and looking forward to this new partnership which will greatly assist you in the execution of your duties.”

On behalf of Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis, The Government and People of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas, Minister Dames publicly thanked “the fine men and women of the entire law enforcement community” for the work that you continue to do.

“In spite of the many challenges you continue to report for duty and give of your best even at the risk of losing your life all in the name of country,” he said.   “You are truly our heroes and without ‘You’ there would be no ‘Us’.   We are also grateful to your families for their sacrifices made as you serve your country.”

Minister Dames said how very pleased he was to be in the Annual Police Church Service at historic “Mother Zion”.

“I believe it is always a wonderful thing to start your year off in service and celebration to Almighty God for allowing us another year of life and for His faithfulness and protection during the past year,” he said.   “I extend best wishes to those officers who retired in 2017 from this noble organization after faithfully serving our nation.”

He said he also remembered and joined them in paying respects to serving officers who fell from the ranks of law enforcement over the past year, adding that may their souls rest in peace.

“Officers, let me assure you that you have the full support of my Ministry, and no effort or expense will be spared to provide you with the necessary tools needed for you to be successful in your execution of duties,” Minister Dames said.   “I commend the endeavours of all police and all other law enforcement agencies.”


By: Eric Rose (BIS)

Photo Caption: Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames speaks at the Annual Royal Bahamas Police Force Church Service, held at Zion Baptist Church, Shirley Street, January 7, 2018.

(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)



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Guys, Have 2 Minutes? Here’s How to Check Yourself for Testicular Cancer



Testicular cancer is a rare form of cancer for men in The Bahamas.  It is highly curable — if you know it’s there!


November 30, 2021 – Men…how often do you perform a self-exam to check yourselves for testicular cancer?

While it’s a relatively rare form of cancer, young men aren’t exempt – in fact, testicular cancer occurs most often in young and middle-aged men. The good news is, it can usually be treated successfully.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on your testicle. But that’s not the only sign of this disease.

Men who have testicular cancer may experience several different kinds of symptoms, says oncologist Timothy Gilligan, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic who specializes in treating testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer most frequently strikes men younger than age 44, and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men ages 15 to 34. It is almost always curable if found early, Dr. Gilligan says, and it is usually curable even when at a later stage. So it’s important to know signs and symptoms.

Here, Dr. Gilligan says, are five possible signs of testicular cancer you might not know about:

5 Testicular Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t a Lump  – Know what to look for and catch it early

  1. A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
  2. Change in testicle size or firmness.Certain types of testicular tumors can reduce testosterone or increase estrogen in the body, which can result in a change in testicle size or firmness.
  3. Swollen legs.When a tumor spreads to the lymph node, it can constrict blood flow in the veins and result in a blood clot. The clots often occur in the legs, which causes them to swell. You might even experience blood clot symptoms such as pain and difficulty breathing.
  4. Lower back pain and shortness of breath.These are symptoms of advanced testicular cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind your stomach. Shortness of breath also may signal that the cancer has spread to your lungs, which may make it harder for air to move in and out.
  5. Breast growth or tenderness.In rare cases, hormone changes also can cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue. Some tumors can secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away, Dr. Gilligan says. If your physician diagnoses you with epididymitis or orchitis and the symptoms do not resolve quickly with antibiotics, request an ultrasound to evaluate for a testicular tumor.

“While up to 95 percent of men with testicular cancer are cured, it’s important to get care quickly if you’re experiencing symptoms because testicular cancers usually grow fast,” Dr. Gilligan says. “If there is disease, the earlier it is treated, the greater than chance for success.”


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Signs of Recovery in East Grand Bahama Habitats Scarred by Hurricane Dorian



#TheBahamas, November 30, 2021 – In the pinelands and mangroves that make East Grand Bahama so distinctly unique, nature is replenishing itself from the massive destruction of Hurricane Dorian. The restoration slowly taking shape is evidence that the death and devastation that the massive storm left behind is giving way to new life, according to biodiversity experts and scientists who recently conducted field assessments.

The biodiversity consultants with the Implementing Land, Water and Ecosystems Management (IWEco) in The Bahamas project have concluded a new phase of field surveys in East Grand Bahama. The team assessed pinelands and wetlands, collecting detailed information on the habitats and the life forms they support for a biodiversity inventory that will be published as part of the project.

“We have yet to see a standing pine tree that remains alive. In different types of pine habitats, however, you’re seeing different rates of recovery, with seedlings beginning to be established and these seedlings are typically anywhere from eight to 12 inches tall, and some we’ve seen are two to three feet tall,” Mark Daniels, biodiversity consultant with BRON Ltd. said.

The biodiversity team spent more than a week conducting point counts, walking transects and vegetation plots to better understand the recovery process of pine and wetland areas in East Grand Bahama since Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

“The external fringes of those mangrove systems remain dead. However, in the more protected interior regions of these mangrove patches you are seeing mangroves returning and those creek systems where you have mangrove habitats that are inland and protected from the full force of the sea, are also recovering and looking very healthy,” Daniels said.

The biodiversity team also saw several species of wetland and forest birds as well as endemics like the Bahama Yellowthroat and Bahama Woodstar as well as pine saplings that are growing in areas where the trees were dead. Information on the wildlife in East Grand Bahama will also be included in the biodiversity inventory that will be made public.

“We are seeing a lot more birds in the area but most of them are winter migrants from North America coming to The Bahamas and their presence increases our avian fauna by over 50 per cent,” said Scott Johnson, biodiversity consultant with BRON Ltd. “What’s also interesting is that some of the highest diversity of birds we are seeing is in patches of coppice areas in East Grand Bahama. These birds are occupying sites that have a variety of plant species that are producing flowers and some fruits so they have food resources.”

Although the Bahama Yellowthroat and Bahama Woodstar have been observed in the area, other pineland species of birds have not been seen since Hurricane Dorian in 2019, he added.

“I fear that they may have been extirpated from the East Grand Bahama area. Until that pineland ecosystem comes back which may allow for new immigration of birds in that area, chances are that we may not see Bahama Warblers, Olive-Capped Warblers, or Cuban Emeralds in that area for a while,” Johnson said.

The IWEco The Bahamas project is part of a larger, regional undertaking for the Caribbean funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). For The Bahamas, the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP), the Forestry Unit, the Ministry of Public Works and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust are the leading partners.

The work that is being done towards creating a biodiversity inventory is pivotal as it will not only benefit the natural environment but involve citizens more closely in sustaining it. East Grand Bahama has a diverse ecosystem in its plant and animal life as well as its habitats. Investigating and gathering a record of all these life forms is a key part of developing the systems and driving the adaptation to make the environment stronger.

“The Biodiversity Inventory conducted under the IWEco project and its respective findings show significant signs of ecosystem regeneration, and therefore signs of hope as it relates to Hurricane Dorian recovery,” said IWEco The Bahamas National Project Coordinator Melissa Ingraham. “The inventory, amongst other project aspects, such as the development of an ecotourism sector and capacity building opportunities will be incorporated into a watershed management plan to sustainably guide resource use and management at a community based level.”

The project aims to develop and implement of integrated systems that support ecosystem health and strengthen national monitoring and evaluation systems. Other goals include policy, legislative and institutional reforms to increase capacity for sustainable natural resource management and deepening the knowledge that is key for effective stakeholder involvement.


Header: Gathering information for the biodiversity inventory from the pineland forest near West Gap Creek.

1st Insert: These dead mangroves at Ridge Creek are among the lingering signs of Hurricane Dorian’s trek across East Grand Bahama.

2nd insert: Members of the IWEco The Bahamas biodiversity team visit the mangroves at Ridge Creek where there are signs of recovery.


Press Release: IWECO



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MOSSUD to adopt ‘You are Somebody’ Programme in early 2022



#TheBahamas, November 30, 2021 – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe said his Ministry will adopt the “You are Somebody” Programme within the first quarter of the year 2022 as a means of ensuring that the community of persons with disabilities are included in all aspects of society.

Minister Wilchcombe was addressing the Church Service held (Sunday, November 28 at Living Waters Kingdom Ministries) to officially launch Disability Awareness Week in The Bahamas. The Week runs November 27 to December 4 under the theme: ‘Inclusion for All.’

Inclusion, Minister Wilchcombe said, has been more of a word, than an action.

“The Bible tells us that our gifts open doors,” Minister Wilchcombe told his inhouse and virtual audience. “The Bible didn’t say that you have to be able or living with a disability; the Bible says that all of us have gifts and that we should all utilize our gifts, and leadership must do what it can to lift those gifts and make them useful for communities, for societies, for our country.

“My purpose here today is to tell you that over the next several months, all of the things you thought were left, were gathering dust, will be lifted, will become part of the dialogue in this country and will become a part of the action taken by the Ministry responsible for Social Services and Urban Development (to ensure inclusion). I thank you. I appreciate you. You are somebody.”

Speaking formally for the very first time (outside of the House of Assembly) as Minister regarding one of the units that fall under his remit, Minister Wilchcombe told members of the community that the “You are Somebody” Programme (the name is adopted from the words of U.S Civil Rights icon, the Reverend Jesse Jackson) will help to address some of the many issues still facing the community of persons with disabilities in The Bahamas.

“I have a difficulty with the fact that so many of you, in general, feel marginalized; I have a difficulty because you are not to be considered separate and different in our communities; I have  a difficulty because inclusion has been more of a word than action, that there is still discrimination, that we have not done some of the things that we were supposed to do legislatively; that you still do not have transportation that you ought to have.

“We still have not created the Foundation that was intended to raise funding. The truth is we have not fulfilled the agenda, we have not done what we ought to have done, and so I have come to tell you that my Ministry will be adopting, in the first quarter of next year, a simple programme for the disabled and the programme will be titled –  and I borrow the words of Jesse Jackson – ‘You are Somebody’ and we will do all we must to ensure that you are included.”

Minister Wilchcombe said the Ministry will “lead by example.”

“I am going to ensure that at the Ministry itself, that we lead by example. Those who wish to discriminate and do not wish to provide jobs and employment, well I don’t see why you can’t be receptionists; I don’t see why you can’t be working throughout the Ministry; I don’t see why the Ministry cannot set the example and cause others to follow. And so, we shall lead. My purpose is to ensure that you have an appreciation that you are loved, and that you are appreciated,”

Minister Wilchcombe also shared the stories of his brother, Richard, whom he said is autistic, and his best friend, a female, who spent most of her life in a wheelchair.

“What I found most interesting about both is that they have never been excluded, always included, always individuals who were present with incredible capacity, talent – in fact my brother always teases me that he can do things I can’t,” Minister Wilchcombe added.


By Matt Maura



 Photo Captions: 

Header: Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe addressing Sunday’s Church Service that officially launched Disability Awareness Week in The Bahamas. The Church Service was held at Living Waters Kindom Ministries. The Week runs November 27 – December 4.

1st insert: Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM, Her Excellency Leslie Miller-Brice (third left), joined the community of persons with disabilities for Sunday’s Church Service launching Disability Awareness Week in The Bahamas.  Her Excellency is pictured with (from left): Mr. Kendrick Rolle, Disability Affairs Division; Miss Christina Fernander, Secretariat, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities; Mrs. Desire Clarke, Deputy Secretary, Secretariat, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (to Her Excellency’s left); Mrs. Annette Lunn, Sign Language Interpreter/Community of Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing; Mr. Kelvin Lunn and Miss Tamera Lunn.

2nd insert: Mrs. Annette Lunn provides Sign Language Interpretation for the community of persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing during Sunday’s Church Service. Sign Language Interpreters help to bridge the communication gap for the community. Sign Languages are an extremely important communications tool for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

(BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)



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