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BAHAMAS: Residents urged to complete preparations as hurricane season heightens



#Nassau, September 12, 2018 – Bahamas – As The Bahamas moves into the peak of the hurricane season, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) urges residents, companies, schools, churches and government ministries and departments  to bring hurricane preparedness measures to a completion.

Basil Dean, Chief Met Officer, announced during a Press Briefing at NEMA headquarters, Gladstone Road, Tuesday, September 11, 2018, that The Bahamas is expected to be indirectly affected by Hurricane Florence as it draws closer to the Carolinas.  Very large sea swells with wave heights of 18  to 20 feet are anticipated to hit the coastlines of islands including Abaco, Eleuthera and Cat Island.

“Major, large swells will be a major problem for residents along the coast . We’re asking beachgoers to stay out of the water during this period. We expect the swells to remain through Friday at which time they are expected to subside a bit.

“Up until then, large swells will continue to impact the northern east coast of these islands and will be amplified during high tide. We anticipate high tide around 9:28 am in the capital, and in Eleuthera, 9:48 when we will experience the full impact of sea swells. The Glass Window Bridge in Eleuthera will be impacted by this. We’re asking residents and motorists to exercise extreme caution. Once swells begin we’re asking them to cease using the bridge until conditions have subsided,” said Mr. Dean.

Captain Russell appealed to persons in North Eleuthera to refrain from traversing the Glass Window Bridge during the swells. He recalled that a visitor who was sightseeing at the Glass Window Bridge lost his life in the aftermath of  a weather system earlier in the year.  Administrators in Northern Eleuthera will be advised to close the bridge at a certain point in time during severe weather.

“We must stress that when the Bridge goes into a rage as a result of swells coming across the area people are to refrain from going in that area ” said Captain Russell.  Captain Russell expounded on hurricane preparations in effect by NEMA.  He said all government ministries and departments including the Royal Bahamas Police Force, The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Services, are prepared  to respond individually and collectively to any event that may occur in the hurricane season.

“All key partners are involved and standing by. In the event that we have to activate local partners, regional partners, international partners are standing by in response to assist us.”

Improvements to communications, evacuation plans particularly for disabled persons, senior citizens, and young children, and its shelter program, are among the efforts to assist in the response and recovery plans of NEMA.

As a result of a Japanese Grant Aid of $1.8 million to assist with equipment for a disaster response programme, NEMA has received “key” assets to improve its logistics and transportation capabilities  including a tractor head, a crane, freezer containers and 3 trucks.

“We’ve asked (the Japanese government) for some 40 base radios and 200 hand-held radios. Our aim is to ensure that in every district where there is an administrator, there is a radio camp set up with 8-12 hand held radios to have them better communicate within their districts,” said Captain Russell.

Fifteen marines from the RBDF and officers from the Ministry of Works have been trained to operate the crane.  Next week, officers are expected to be trained in how to operate and maintain the freezers and manage the tractor heads and trucks.

Captain Russell said the assets will greatly enhance recovery and response operations throughout the entire Bahamas.

“Once the roll-on, roll-off vessel is operational, and we have personnel and equipment to move between our warehouses to disaster stricken areas, the aim is to reduce the timeline in getting supplies to an impacted area.

Members of the press were given a tour of the equipment which is scheduled to be officially presented to The Bahamas government in October.


By Kathryn Campbell

Release: BIS

Photo Captions:

Header: Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA, speaks at a Press Briefing, Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

First insert: Basil Dean, Deputy Director, the Meteorological Department, urges residents to prepare for the hurricane season as it reaches its peak.

Second insert: Media representatives are taken on a tour of equipment given by the Japanese Government to assist with hurricane preparations and recovery efforts.

(BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)


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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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Bahamas News

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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Bahamas News

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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