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BAHAMAS: Minister Dames Explains why Bill is not a ‘Spy Bill’



#Bahamas, April 30, 2018 – Nassau – While giving his contribution to the Interception of Communications Bill 2017, Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames termed it a comprehensive contemporary law to fight “sophisticated technologically savvy criminals and dismantle their criminal networks.”

“From the outset, let me dispel this ridiculousness of the Interception of Communications Bill being referred to as a ‘Spy Bill’,” Minister Dames said in the House of Assembly, on April 25, 2018. “For all within hearing distance of my voice, it is not and I will explain in my Contribution this morning.

“The word ‘spy’ connotes breaking the law and impinging upon the constitutional rights of an individual.  The mere fact that we are in honourable House debating this very important Bill, represents an urgent need to send a clear message that this Government, is committed to adhering to the Constitution of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the rule of law and in no case assuming the posture of politics of disrespect and arrogance.”

Minister Dames pointed out that a responsible Government does not come to Parliament to inform its citizens and pass legislation only to ignore the very legislation it was responsible for bringing to Parliament.

“This does not make sense,” he stated.  “The entire absurdity of the Interception of Communication Bill being referred to as a ‘Spy Bill’ needs to be put to a perpetual rest.”

Minister Dames said that the Interception of Communication Bill was timely and pertinent to The Bahamas’ national security and well-being as a nation.  He added that the foremost aim of the Bill was to thwart any and all national security threats to Bahamian citizens, residents and visitors.

“This Bill is a vital tool to assist in our crime fighting strategies, particularly in combating drug, human, and gun trafficking, gang violence, cyber crimes and other forms of transnational organised crimes,” Minister Dames said.  “Without legislation such as this one, law enforcement agencies will be severely handicapped and disadvantaged in their attempts to detect, collect, analyse, investigate and prosecute associated crimes in a world where technology related platforms have become the preferred means of communications across the globe especially for organised crime organisations.

“Therefore, the question, we must now ask ourselves, ‘Who do we prefer to have the upper hand, organised crime groups or the men and women in law enforcement who have taken an oath to protect us all?’.”

Minister Dames noted that the Bill sought to provide a single legal framework within which the interception of all communications on public and private systems would be authorized inclusive of public telecommunication operators and Internet providers. The Bill, he added, provides for the interception of communication carried wholly or partly by wireless telegraphy and also covers all mail handling systems including parcel and courier services.

“This Bill further provides for the use of certain devices for listening to private conversations,” he said.  The Bill, once passed, will come into operation on a day decided by the National Security Minister and it will be publicly announced.”

Minister Dames noted that the word communication, as defined in Section 2 of the Bill, included anything transmitted by means of a postal service, including a postal article; anything comprising speech, music, sounds, visual images or data of any description; and signals serving either for [impart] of anything between persons, between a person and a thing or between things or for the actuation or control of any apparatus.

Intercept or Interception, as defined in the same section of the Bill Section, he added, included aural or other acquisition of the contents of any communication through the use of any means, including an interception device, so as to make some or all of the contents of a communication available to a person other than the sender or recipient or intended recipient of that communication; monitoring of a communication by means of a monitoring device; viewing, examining or inspecting of the contents of any communication and diverting of any communication from its intended destination to any other destination.

Minister Dames stated that, in the last two decades, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have continued to advance, thus highlighting the critical need for the collection of data to be used as a fuel to protect and enhance national security interests.

“The smartphone, which can be referred to as one’s most personal computer, is owned by approximately 2.5 billion of the world’s population, according to Statista, a leading provider of consumer data,” he said. “The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, found in a recent study an estimated 95 percent of all Americans owned cellphones; nearly three quarters of American adults own desktops or laptops; half of the adult population own tablets and around one in five own e-readers.

“I suspect that the use of ICTs in The Bahamas is widespread,” he added.  “With this ever increasing use of communication gadgets and its rapid evolution, it is imperative that legislation allow law enforcement to keep pace with changing technology and prevent criminals from abusing communication devices to commit offences.”

That, Minister Dames said, was the crux of the Bill: the necessity for law enforcement to address dangers posed by criminals using advanced technologies such as newer encrypted forms of Internet-based communications,inclusive of computers, Ipads, smartphones and other similar instruments.

“I can speak of personal experiences in which police acting on intelligence pursued criminal networks in this country and in doing so, it was not uncommon for criminal groups to have had multiple disposable prepaid phones which they were able to quickly discard so as to evade detection,” Minister Dames said.  “This ‘modus operandi’ is nothing new and will only increase in occurrences.”

“As such, we have to equip our law enforcement agencies with the applicable legislative tools to remain relevant and collect the necessary investigative information by way of modern platforms for the sole purpose of protecting the local as well national security interests of the people they have sworn to protect,” he added.


By Eric Rose

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases



October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at:

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World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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RBDF Congratulates Retired Commander Defence Force on National Honour Award 



#TheBahamas, October 13, 2021 – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force congratulates Commodore Retired Leon Livingstone Smith, who was a recipient of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021. 

During a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street, Commodore Smith was presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith. Also in attendance were his daughter, Mrs. Italia Seymour, and the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King.

Commodore Smith was one of sixteen other deserving individuals recognized on National Heroes Day for the vast contributions they made to the development of the country. The first Bahamian Officer to be appointed as Commander Defence Force, he is the longest-serving Commodore to serve this office from 1983 to 1997.

Throughout his military career, he received numerous awards and accolades, and his career in public life spanned over forty years, and on September 19, 2014, an RBDF Legend Class Vessel bearing his name was commissioned. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is truly grateful for the devoted services of Commodore Smith to the organization and his country.

Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King extends congratulations on his behalf of the members of his Executive Command, Officers, Senior Enlisted, and Junior Enlisted members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, to Commodore Retired Leon Smith, on his great accomplishment.


Header:  Commodore Retired Leon Smith being presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

Insert: Commodore Retired Leon Smith along with recipients of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

(RBDF Photos by Able Seaman Paul Rolle II)


(For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website:, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 




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