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TCI Autism Classroom in jeopardy, founders launch campaign to save specialised site



#TurksandCaicos, January 3, 2017 – Providenciales – An urgent call for help is designed to rescue a classroom for children with Autism from extinction and it launches a national campaign where just about anyone can afford to help.

IMG-20180101-WA0091The Hope Foundation completed the classroom at the Mills Institute in August of 2015 and in late 2017, founders of the organization hit a financial snag – funds were dried up and the classroom, which caters to eight children was under a very real threat of closing up for good.   That’s when Maxcia and Almando Rigby reached out for help…

“When I was contacted with the news that this important classroom was in trouble, I prayed.   Immediately, an idea came, and I knew instantly that it could work.   If those of us who believe in the value and opportunity the Hope Foundation classroom brings to our educational landscape were to support financially, together, we could alleviate any concerns about money to operate the class.   Individually, it would be manageable and cumulatively, the financial contribution would be sufficient,” said Deandrea Hamilton, family friend and owner of #MagneticMedia.

It takes about $60,000 per year to operate the #HopeFoundation Autism Classroom in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Ms. Hamilton added, “As one bill, the need would be out of reach for most people, but if we shared the bill and literally took care of the classroom one day at a time, then it becomes more do-able.  It takes roughly, $160.00 per day to keep the classroom open and functioning ideally.  I thought to myself, hey, I can do that and I can even get my own son involved – we’ve pledged and will donate to two days of the classroom.  That means 363 days are left for residents and supporters to donate.”

Magnetic Media with the Hope Foundation for #AutismAwareness is calling the campaign and the challenge, “I’ll Pay a Day for Hope!”

Almando Rigby is the Public Relations Officer for the Hope Foundation, he too had an immediate faith that the concept and campaign could work.

IMG-20180101-WA0090“Sponsoring a day will allow our students and their teachers to return to school safe and happy about learning.   It will also allow us to open our doors to four more students who can benefit.   The Hope Autism Classroom supports learning through Individual Educational Plans, center based learning, one on one teaching and group activities.  We also aim to educate based on high social skills opportunities and interactions with typically developing children.   The classroom is a big part of Hope and it speaks to the potential all of our children have to learn and succeed.   ALL children have the right to be educated without prejudice, it’s their God given right to have a place in this world and the Hope Autism Classroom in that place,” explained Almando Rigby, parent and founder of Hope Foundation.

Director & Chairman of Hope Foundation, Maxcia Rigby explained that the outpouring since the inception of Hope has been phenomenal, but shared that “the last part of last year, particularly this new school year has been the toughest for Hope.   Due to the recent storms, fundraising has proven almost impossible.   Rightly so, donations have been focused on hurricane relief efforts and because we rely heavily on corporate and community support which is now diverted to hurricane assistance, we may have to close our room…we are hoping for good success through the I’ll Pay a Day for Hope campaign.”

You can pay a day now.   The need is urgent and you can make a deposit directly to The Hope Foundation’s ScotiaBank account (#755389).   Contact Almando or Maxcia Rigby today:  649-332-9817 or 649-332-1977 and let them know that you are willing to Pay a Day for Hope.


Bahamas News

Universal Healthcare Coverage Cited as a Big-Ticket Item at 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva



#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Health & Wellness Minister the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville, in a pre-assembly interview, has forecast that Non-Communicable Diseases, Universal Healthcare Coverage, areas associated with the pandemic and Anti-microbial Resistance are some of the hot-ticket items on this year’s agenda at the 76th World Health Assembly. Minister Darville who is heading a delegation from The Bahamas comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Public Hospitals Authority and the National Health Insurance Authority cited universal healthcare coverage as a major pillar of the Geneva discussions as the intention is to put it in place globally by the year 2030. He said the government equates the provision of healthcare services with equity across the Bahamas as a priority. This he said will become even more evident when the Parliament moves on new legislation to repeal the old National Health Insurance Act.

The Opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly takes place on Sunday May 21st in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s Assembly is being held under the theme Saving lives, driving health for all, and it comes as the WHO celebrates its 75th anniversary.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.


Press Release: Ministry of Health & Wellness

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DPM says Grand Bahama “is on the move”






#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Grand Bahama “is on the move” said Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Chester Cooper when asked about the Grand Lucayan prior to the Cabinet Meeting held in Freeport on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

The Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation said, “We have taken the position that we want to validate proof of funding and we are in the process of going through that at the moment. The government knows how important the property is to Grand Bahama and its economy, as well as to the nation, and they are working diligently and when they get to a point, an announcement will be made.”

Questioned on the status of the Grand Bahama International Airport, the Deputy Prime Minister said they are about to begin demolition. “There are very complex agreements that are currently being prepared. The lawyers are working diligently.”

With a foreign lender, a foreign airport manager and a consortium of five entities that make up the local partners, there are a number of agreements being made. Consultants are currently working on the ground, and the Deputy Prime Minister said he will meet with them next Tuesday to view the designs.

“The reality is that the work has continued since we entered the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in March. The process is we entered the MOU, we are now completing the full set of legal agreements and designs. We’re going to begin the demolition work shortly. Renovation of the Air Traffic Control Tower is going to begin first and then we’ll go into full scale construction.”

The 2025 deadline for the completion of the airport, is still in place with all parties committed.

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper then turned his attention to airlift to the island stating that they have been “very deliberate and very focused” having engaged Bahamasair for flights from Raleigh, North Carolina; and Sunwing. It is hoped that these flights can become year-round.

With Sunwing recently acquired by WestJet, he said, “this is going to be an overall positive for The Bahamas and Grand Bahama. WestJet has always been a good partner with direct services from Toronto and Montreal, as well as Calgary.” They are currently working to get more airlift to Grand Bahama.

Other airlines include Frontier, Silver and Bahamasair for the possibility of additional routes. For more airlift, he said, they are also speaking with Air Canada which flies from Charlotte and Miami.

“The challenge on the island at the moment is the number of hotel rooms and we’re hoping we can get Breakers Cay open in a short period of time to support the airlift.

“Suffice to say, all of our airline partners are standing by and they are ready to support the island of Grand Bahama. The product is strong, our overall numbers is just 96 percent of 2019, only four percent behind 2019 let’s put it that way; our cruise numbers are up 188 percent compared to 2019.

“So, Grand Bahama is on the move. There’s excitement about the product. People now realize there is a significant level of things to do in East End and West End, and of course in Freeport, and this is attracting a significant level of interest from stakeholders and, potentially, new partners,” he said.

Additionally, the government will make a statement on the $300 million development in West Grand Bahama and it is expected that more information will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

When asked about commercial banks going into the Family Islands that currently have no banks, the Deputy Prime Minister said the issue has been a concern of the government for some time. As the large Canadian banks have been withdrawing from the islands, the money transfer agencies have been engaged to work with existing banks to provide the service.

“I anticipate the bank involved is going to make an announcement soon in relation to Exuma and Long Island mission; and we hope that as a result of the successful implementation of these plans in Exuma and Long Island, that other islands will benefit in due course,” he said.


Photo Captions:

Header – The Cabinet of The Bahamas met in Grand Bahama on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.   Following the meeting, Ministers attended the groundbreaking and contract signing ceremony of the PHA/Grand Bahama Health Services Freeport Health Campus. Shown in the conference room of the Ministry for Grand Bahama, where the meeting was held are Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments, the Hon. Chester Cooper. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)
Insert – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, is seen responding to questions from the media prior to the Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.   The meeting was held in Grand Bahama at the Ministry for Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

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Bahamas News

BAIC Facilitates First-Ever Perfume-Making Workshop






#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 23, 2023 –  The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), has made a significant step in its quest to expand and innovate the industrial sector and offer Bahamians another avenue for entrepreneurship.

On Wednesday, 18th May, the corporation took a leap into the unknown but exciting world of perfume-making when a workshop was facilitated at their headquarters on Old Trail Road.

The one-day workshop brought together artisans and craftspersons from the world of essential oil production, candle-making, aromatherapy and other crafts. Bringing his expertise to The Bahamas, world-renowned perfume maker and skincare specialist, Edwin Bruce, facilitated the event.  Executive Chairman of BAIC, Leroy Major, called the workshop a ‘groundbreaking’ event for the country.

“The perfume industry is a $38.2 billion one that The Bahamas has not tapped into and so after doing some research and finding out that castor oil, which is produced locally, is a component of perfume, we decided to try our hand at perfume making,” he said.

“We invited Mr. Bruce, out of Jamaica, to assist us as he is well-versed in this area. We plan to also facilitate workshops in some of the other islands shortly.”

Mr. Bruce said he was elated to share his knowledge with the Bahamian people given his affection for the country.

During the three-hour event, participants learned about the various layers of scent, the use of raw materials for scents, how to blend scents, the philosophy and olfactory psychology and also the language behind scents.  At the end of the workshop, participants were able to compose and bottle their own personalized fragrances.



(BIS Photos/Betty Vedrine)

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