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BAHAMAS: Government/GBPA Collaboration Creating New Narrative for Freeport



#Bahamas, May 15, 2018 – Grand Bahama – Grand Bahama is gaining positive traction as a competitive jurisdiction, as both government and the ‘Port’ take a collaborative approach to promoting the destination.  The Hon. Brent Symonette, Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration brought noteworthy attention to the country’s industrial capital during his remarks at the Opportunities in the Caribbean Region Trade Conference (OCRTC) earlier this week, in Miami, Florida.

Describing Freeport as “the country’s industrial and commercial shipping hub,” Minister Symonette provided conference attendees with a vivid description of the city’s major benefits as the Free Trade Zone of The Bahamas, and why it continues to advance as a major shipping hub and international business centre, just 68 miles from Florida.

“More than 60 years ago, the city of Freeport was created by Charter of the 1955 Hawksbill Creek Agreement, when The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), established the infrastructure for world-class services and facilities in a 230-square-mile economic zone, offering both an exceptional climate for business, private investment and unsurpassed quality of life,” stated Symonette.   “Today, Freeport offers the discerning investor guaranteed long-term tax concessions and benefits for financial, commercial and industrial enterprises within this unique economic trade zone, that are superior to anywhere else in the region,” Minister Symonette continued.

The OCRTC event comes on the heels of a recent Trade Mission to Washington DC, another Government/GBPA initiative, hosted in late March.  The three-day event featured key opportunities for networking, addressing critical issues impacting US Trade, as well as regional opportunities that support competitiveness for US businesses.

GBPA’s representative, Derek Newbold – Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama, explained that the unified approach to investment promotion could only bode well for Freeport, Grand Bahama, positioning the nation’s second city as a major regional competitor for investment.

“Grand Bahama has significant competitive advantages,” cited Newbold.  “It’s value proposition supports a wide range of economic sectors, including ICT & Tech-related industries, manufacturing and value addition, alternative healthcare services, and shipping & logistics, etc.  Grand Bahama’s infrastructure (both hard and soft), proximity and cultural affinity to the US market are complemented by a tax friendly environment and excellent quality of life.  When you combine these features with a skilled workforce, efficient processes and ease of doing business, one begins to see what key investors in Freeport have understood for decades.” Newbold added,

“Joining forces with the Ministry of Financial Services, & Immigration and The Bahamas Consulate Team in Miami to represent Grand Bahama at this event was a welcomed opportunity for GBPA; we believe that cooperative initiatives such as this, helps to position Freeport and Grand Bahama as relevant contenders across the competitive landscape regionally.”

Other jurisdictions taking advantage of the face-to-face opportunity to promote investments within their respective countries, included Jamaica, St. Lucia, Cayman, Barbados, Haiti and several others.

“Public Private Partnerships will be essential as we create a new narrative for Grand Bahama” expressed Ian Rolle, GBPA President.  “Freeport’s success will have a positive impact on the entire country, and we are beginning to see positive traction in terms of investment interest in Freeport once again.  The recent branding of Grand Bahama as the tech hub of The Bahamas will serve to strengthen our position as regional leaders within the digital space.  We applaud government’s efforts and are keen to work even more closely with them to help shape an environment that supports this innovative approach to advancing Grand Bahama regionally and globally,” Rolle concluded.


Release: Grand Bahama Port Authority

Photo Caption: The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) took a collaborative approach to promoting the benefits of Freeport at the recent Opportunities in the Caribbean Region Trade Conference (OCRTC), where Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration, the Hon. Brent Symonette, brought noteworthy attention to the country’s industrial capital in his remarks at the opening ceremony. Pictured from left to right: Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama; The Hon. Brent Symonette; Linda Mackey, Consul General, The Bahamas Consulate General Office Miami and Andy Ingraham, President & CEO of NABHOOD and Horizons Marketing Group Int’l.




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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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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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