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BAHAMAS: Renovations at the AIDS Foundation

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#Bahamas, January 19, 2018 – Nassau – The AIDS Foundation is getting a much-needed facelift for the New Year, having ended 2017 in dire need of a new kitchen and other renovations.  Now, the finishing touches are being added to a set of new cabinets soon to be installed, thanks to a donation from CIBC FirstCaribbean.

“At our afterschool program, we have a part-time cook who prepares a meal for the kids – the idea being that once they have a meal then at the end of the day they’ll be able to take their medication,” said Lady Camille Barnett, President of the AIDS Foundation.   “Our kitchen was in dire need of renovation.   The buildings we’re in now were donated to us in the late 1990s, and not much work has ever been done to them because we’ve had to use our resources for other things.   CIBC FirstCaribbean’s donation will go towards helping us finish the renovations in the kitchen area, which is vital to the work that we do with young people.”

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Established in 1992, the AIDS Foundation engages in HIV/AIDS education, awareness, advocacy, support, treatment, and prevention.   Their afterschool program caters to people of all ages, and has three components: academic, psycho-social, and medical.

Carpenter 1“On the academic side, we have trained educators who work with the kids from 4:00pm until 5:30pm on school assignments Monday through Thursday.   The psycho-social component happens on Friday and it’s all the interaction we do to support them in terms of their health, especially those who are HIV positive.  We teach them anything from self-esteem building, to making good choices and life skills.  With the medical component we work very closely with the Ministry of Health, because they’re the healthcare providers for these young individuals.  We are actively involved with making sure they get to clinic appointments and that they take their medication.

“We also found that as some of these kids have grown up, they need help with job preparation and we’re doing that with them as well.  So I like to call this the ‘holistic program,’ because we try to support them and meet all of the needs they have.  Sometimes it involves housing – at one point our social worker actually housed three of the kids in her home because there was no place for them to go and no one for them to be with.  We try to provide complete support for them and at the end of the day we want them to be healthy, productive, and independent young people – that’s the goal,” said Lady Barnett.

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Part of that process involves creating a “safe space” that is comfortable for program participants.  “There’s still a stigma surrounding HIV, and you don’t want the children coming to a place that’s broken down because that’s not good for their self-esteem. You want the place to look nice.  We’re receiving help to renovate our stairs soon, because they’re in pretty bad condition. So along with the donation from CIBC FirstCaribbean to renovate our kitchen – all of that is just giving it a little facelift.  I think coming to a place that looks decent and not broken down enhances everybody’s self-esteem.”

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Carpenter 1 – CIBC FirstCaribbean’s donation to the AIDS Foundation is going towards kitchen renovations, with carpenter Quintin Anderson hard at work giving the non-profit organisation a much-needed ‘facelift.’

Carpenter 2 – Carpenter Quintin Anderson puts the finishing touches on a set of cabinets for the AIDS Foundation’s soon-to-be refurbished kitchen – a dire need that was met with the help of CIBC FirstCaribbean.

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Bahamas News

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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