#Bahamas, February 14, 2018 – Nassau – The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, encouraged members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to ‘hold the line’ in his first Commander Defence Force’s Divisions held on Friday 9th February, 2018. The ceremonial Divisions provided Commodore Bethel the opportunity to inform his Officers and Marines of his intent for the year, and to address challenges and concerns of the Force with solutions to overcome them. This military tradition also allowed Commodore Bethel to thank his troops for their service and accomplishments during the past year.
The timely address came on the heels of three wooden Haitian sloops landing on the southern coast of New Providence over a three-month stretch. Notwithstanding these landings the Defence Force had apprehended or assisted with the apprehensions of some 1,300 migrants last year, including the disruption of a suspected international migrant smuggling operation two months ago, which resulted in the apprehension of 14 people from five nations aboard an unsuspecting motor yacht. The Defence Force also apprehended a Haitian sloop earlier this year.
In the weeks leading up to the parade, Commodore Bethel met with Defence Force Officers and Marines at all levels highlighting the short and long term solutions for the challenges that lie ahead. During his Friday address, Commodore Bethel encouraged his troops to remain focused, and not to allow themselves to be distracted from the task at hand while they ‘hold the line’ in performing their duties.
During the sectioned meetings prior to his Divisions, Commodore Bethel reminded members that the Defence Force was at a critical stage of transition where it recently entered a new era of modernization to resolve problems of inadequate bases, port facilities, maritime assets (including ships and aircraft) and personnel, while simultaneously dealing with the constantly changing tactics of poachers, as well as migrant and drug smugglers.
As a result, the Defence Force is unfolding plans for the expansion and construction of bases in Inagua and Ragged Island, respectively, to sustain long term deployments of its ships and aircraft to provide immediate response to poaching, as well as illicit smuggling activities originating in the Southern Bahamas. Though limited in capacity, the Defence Force has already began reconnaissance flight operations out of the southern Bahamas.
Other short term goals shared by Commodore Bethel included the Prime Minister’s, Dr. the Honourable Hubert Minnis. and the Minister of National Security’s, the Honourable Marvin Dames intent for the Defence Force to develop and coordinate a national multi-law enforcement agency drone program, as well as a national multi-law enforcement agency Coastal Security program to address the problem of changing modes of operations by those engaged in criminal activities on and offshore.
High on the list of priorities is the accelerated recruitment of personnel as an initial human capital audit has revealed that the Defence Force is currently operating at a shortfall of over 500 persons, thus highlighting the added responsibilities borne by each member of the Force. In January of this year, 120 persons had commenced recruit training.
The Defence Force is also moving forward with plans to enhance its communications, detection, tracking and interdiction capabilities. Initial work has commenced on the installation of a coastal radar system. Additionally, plans are already underway for the acquisition of an island-wide ‘Motorbro’ radio communication system, along with an Automated Identification System for identifying vessels in Bahamian waters. These programs are being funded by the US State Department under its Foreign Military Sales program.
While expressing concern for the recent landing of a Haitian sloop for which a Board of Inquiry will be convened to investigate, Commodore Bethel applauded his men and women for the successes they did achieve in exercising their powers as Peace Officers, Customs Officers, Immigration Officers, Fisheries Inspectors, Port Security Officers, National Emergency Managers and much more.
Earlier this year, the Defence Force divers had assisted with recovery of remains of Bahamian occupants of an aircraft that had crashed in waters off North Andros. More recently, the Defence Force has provided support for Police operations on the streets of New Providence with significant success. In addition to capturing a go fast vessel with an estimated one and a half million dollars’ worth of marijuana, last year made the third consecutive year that the Defence Force deployed troops, ships and its Containerized Mobile Base to bring disaster relief assistance to thousands of Bahamians combined in New Providence and the Family Islands during Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma. The Defence Force also provided relief assistance to the Commonwealth of Dominica on behalf of the Governments of The Bahamas and Jamaica.
In thanking the men and women for their dedicated service and encouraging them to hold the line, Commodore Bethel also informed them of specific goals that would be achieved to improve their conditions of service at all levels.
(For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and view our Youtube channel) -rbdf-
Header: Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel conducting an inspection of the Honor Guard during the Commander Defence Force Divisions on February 9, 2018 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Also shown is Guard Commander. Lieutenant Elizabeth Simms.
Insert 1: Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel and Lieutenant Edward Fritz leading a routine inspection of one of the platoons during the Commander Defence Force Divisions on February 9, 2018 at HMBS Coral Harbour.
Insert 2: Commodore Tellis Bethel conducting an inspection of the Officer Platoon during the Commander Defence Force Divisions on February 9, 2018 at HMBS Coral Harbour.
(RBDF Photos by Marine Seaman Kyle Smith)
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
- A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
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
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
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)
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
News1 week ago
Premier and Deputy Premier discussed high-priority issues with UK Government at Joint Ministerial Council Forum in London
News5 days ago
Boat Capsizes, no bodies found…yet
News5 days ago
Assurances from Premier & Tourism Minister ahead of Beach Vendors Bill DEBATE
News5 days ago
Governor statement on November 29 Capsized Sloop
News1 week ago
Caribbean Development Bank to offer solutions for TCI with Sea Defences
News5 days ago
Call for Boycott of the Bill; Vendors say the move will “Kill” business
News5 days ago
Canopy Coming and Reno Planned for two major airports, Officials Update
News1 week ago
Land must be cleared for two new Coastal Radars to boost Border Security