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BAHAMAS:Women’s issues front and centre stage at CHOGM 18



#England, April 23, 2018 – London –  The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is intently involved in the discussion on empowering women and girls in all aspects of personal and community development – at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.

According to Minister of Social Services and Urban Development the Hon. Lanisha Rolle, The Bahamas has certainly made strides in these areas, although there is much more to be done.

The Minister, and Mrs. Patricia Minnis, wife of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, attended three days of sessions at the Commonwealth Women’s Forum, which is held alongside the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  This Forum provides the opportunity to focus on the Commonwealth’s progress toward gender equality, under the theme “An empowered future for women and girls.”

The Forum reflected on some of the global challenges still faced by women, as part of a wider commitment to “leave no one behind” in the Commonwealth journey to achieving gender equality by 2030.  The first Commonwealth Women’s Forum (CWF) was held in Malta in the lead up to the November 2015 CHOGM as a response to a proposal from the 10th meeting of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Meeting of 2013.


The programme included substantive plenary sessions and parallel workshops providing ministers and heads of women machineries the opportunity to focus on specific areas such as ‘Ending violence against women and girls’, ‘eliminating harmful practices/addressing barriers to empowerment’, and ‘diversity and women’s economic empowerment’. Discussions also centered on best practices for women in leadership, and peace and security.

“The things discussed today were issues that keep women back in terms of their empowerment, in terms of their opportunities for growth and development, economic empowerment issues as well as the challenges for women in rural areas and the effects of climate change.  These things are very important,” Mrs. Rolle said.

Also discussed were natural disasters and how women are being able to survive and thrive and assist in taking care of their families.

“One of the hot topics on the agenda was Gender Parity and the importance of all Commonwealth countries understanding that women play an equal role in the growth and sustainable development of a country,” she said.  “It was said that if women play an essential role, the country would do much better, especially if women are empowered equally.”

The goal, she added, is to have women represented in a broad cross-section of societal development.

“So we want to see women fairly represented in Parliament, we want to see women fairly represented in every aspect of leadership in the private and public sectors — and so it is just the coming together of common countries with common interests to discuss ways that we can set the agenda, [and] meet the goals.”

As for how The Bahamas is progressing, the Minister said although strides are being made there is much to be done.



“We are moving forward but we are not there yet.  There is much work to be done.  There were 5 women elected to parliament during the last General Election.  When there is about 60 percent of women who can vote and there is only 12 percent represented in parliament, it causes the issues of women not to be in the forefront as they should be but certainly we have the opportunity in coming here (CHOGM) to share our concerns from a small island nation,” she said.

Mrs. Patricia Minnis, Minister Lanisha Rolle, PS Cora Colebrooke, Katherine Stewart-Marsh, Tamicka Thompson and Erica Ferreira, attended Day Three of the Commonwealth Women’s Forum — ‘Overcoming Barriers, Violence Against Women and Girls/Assessing Emerging Evidence: How Can We Reduce Global Rates of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and Share Best Practices from the Commonwealth.’ The session had a particular focus on intimate partner violence, as the most widespread form of VAWG.


By Lindsay Thompson


Photo Caption:

Pictured standing, from left: PS Cora Colebrooke, Katherine Stewart- Marsh, Erica Ferreira, Patricia Minnis, Minister Lanisha Rolle and Tamicka Thompson.

(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)





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Bahamas News

Statement From Hon. Fred Mitchell, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Passing of Colin Powell



#TheBahamas, October 18, 2021 – I learned this morning  of the death of Colin Powell, the American general and diplomat. I worked with him as Foreign Minister in my first term, particularly on issues related to Haiti.

Yesterday in the CARICOM meeting, I recalled while discussing Haiti his role in the crisis of that time. I recall his life, times and work as generally thoughtful and considered. He was also an example of Caribbean success in America, one to emulate. He was the son of Jamaican parents. He was an example of success as a Black man in America. I am saddened by his passing.

On behalf of the Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, the government and people of The Bahamas, and in my own behalf, I extend condolences to the United States of America and his family.



Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

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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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