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Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park Wins Prestigious Global Ocean Refuge Award

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#Bali, October 30, 2018 – Indonesia –  On Monday, October 29,  at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, where representatives from nations around the world and hundreds of marine conservationists are gathered, Marine Conservation Institute announced that the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park in The Bahamas earned a Platinum Global Ocean Refuge Award. Joining a prestigious group of ten marine protected areas (MPAs) that comprise the Global Ocean Refuge System means that Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (https://globaloceanrefuge.org/refuges/exuma-cays-land-and-sea-park) meets the highest science-based standards for biodiversity protection and best practices for management and enforcement. This strongly protected blue park makes an outstanding contribution to saving marine life for future generations.

Marine Conservation Institute awards Global Ocean Refuge status to MPAs like the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park for actively protecting the world’s most valuable and biodiverse ocean habitats, sustaining marine biodiversity and increasing populations of marine life. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park joins a growing network of Global Ocean Refuges that will contribute to reaching strong protection for 30% of the ocean’s most critical places by 2030. The Institute’s objective for the award is to bring special recognition to nations, decision makers and site managers who effectively protect their marine ecosystems and to incentivize better ocean protection worldwide.

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) serves as an ecological refuge to numerous plant, coral and animal species due to its relatively undisturbed coral reef, mangrove, and seagrass bed ecosystems. In an archipelago of many islands and surrounding reefs, this MPA stands out for strong protection and careful management. The ECLSP  is one of 32 National Parks managed by the Bahamas National Trust a non-governmental organization created by an Act of  Parliament with the statutory mandate of managing the national parks.

Eric Carey, Executive Director, The Bahamas National Trust, said, “The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) highlights the ability of a well-managed marine park to not only preserve the beauty of an area, but also to provide critical protection for marine life to maintain the delicate balance, and health of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. It also shows how no marine protected area is an island, and how outside factors, whether they be increasing sea temperatures or unsustainable fishing, can affect the ability of the park to safeguard the species and habitats within it. The Bahamas is currently addressing these issues by expanding its system of MPAs to build a network of MPAs that will replenish each other and surrounding areas, sustainably protect marine ecosystems and key species within them, while allowing human access and uses that are compatible with the goals of sustainability. The ECLSP was the springboard that created the awareness of how important it is to protect and conserve our marine environment. The Bahamas National Trust is honored to be recognized by the Global Ocean Refuge System. There is no greater honor than to be recognized by the scientific community and peer management agencies.”

Janet Johnson, President, The Bahamas National Trust, said “The Bahamas National Trust is honored to accept this Platinum Global Refuge Award. To have marine scientists from around the world recognize and recommend the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park for the award is overwhelming, but also rewarding. The original members and advisors of the Exuma Expedition in 1958, who recommended the protection of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first land and sea park in the world, were visionaries. They envisioned a park in which the land and sea were held interdependently with man, as an integral part of the natural system, reaping a resource harvest, enjoying natural aesthetic values, but never destroying resources beyond their ability to replenish themselves. Their vision led to a park that would influence the course of inshore, marine conservation throughout The Bahamas and around the world. This award recognizes that vision and helps to ensure that the ECLSP, through the implementation of science-based management standards, conserves unique island ecosystems, functions as a marine fishery reserve and assures that the beauty of the area will be enjoyed and experienced by future generations in perpetuity.”

Today’s Global Ocean Refuge announcements recognize six other MPAs around the world that share many of the same characteristics of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. These awards bring the total number of Global Ocean Refuge award winners to ten. The award celebrates excellence in marine conservation just as the Oscars™ do for movies or Olympic medals do for sports.

 

MPA Country Total Area (km2) Award Level
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park Bahamas 455.8 Platinum
Cape Rodney – Okakari Point Marine Reserve New Zealand 5.5 Gold
Cerbère-Banyuls Marine Nature Reserve France 6.5 Silver
Chumbe Island Coral Reef Sanctuary Tanzania 0.6 Gold
Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park Australia 221 Platinum
Misool Private Marine Reserve Indonesia 1220 Platinum
Ilhas Selvagens Portugal 1,334.3 Gold
Total area added 3,243.6

“We are extremely proud of our ten Global Ocean Refuges and their management teams. In 2018, we are adding seven new blue parks to the Global Ocean Refuge System, covering an additional 3,243.6 square kilometers (1252.4 square miles) of ocean. Each one has a strong management team, a clear plan to conserve biodiversity, and effective monitoring and enforcement efforts in place. Each Global Ocean Refuge supports healthy oceans, contributes to its local economy, and brings us closer to the global goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030,” says Sarah Hameed, Director and Senior Scientist of Marine Conservation Institute.

“To understand the importance of these new blue parks in the Global Ocean Refuge System, it is critical to understand that many of today’s MPAs do not protect ocean ecosystems very well: they have loose or no rules and weak or nonexistent management,” said Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute. Morgan continued, “Sometimes called ‘paper parks’, they appear in lists of MPAs and are officially counted as MPAs but lack substance. Joining the Global Ocean Refuge System requires achieving a science-based standard that we know protects the oceans for generations to come. By recognizing, valuing, and visiting these blue parks, we encourage more countries to meet this critical standard going forward.”

Winners join a prestigious list of Global Ocean Refuges including Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. These outstanding MPAs help secure lasting protection; and their recognition is inspiring other MPAs to apply for Global Ocean Refuge status. Nominations for 2019 awardees begin in January. Visit the Global Ocean Refuge System website to learn how your MPA can be evaluated for a Global Ocean Refuge award: https://globaloceanrefuge.org/refuges/criteria/

 

About the Global Ocean Refuge System Awards

Marine Conservation Institute launched the Global Ocean Refuge System to safeguard marine wildlife, secure critical habitats, and protect ocean health for future generations. In 2017, the first three Platinum-level Global Ocean Refuges were awarded: Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Malpelo Fauna, and Flora Sanctuary, and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Another seven Global Ocean Refuge Awards are being announced at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference.

 

About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System(GLORES)—as a strategic way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. To enhance marine protection efforts around the globe, Marine Conservation Institute also built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database, the Atlas of Marine Protection

 

 

Press Release: Global Ocean Refuge System / & BNT

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Chinese Embassy Donates Greenhouses To The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, October 22, 2021 – In an effort to assist the Government of The Bahamas with its goal to increase food production, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China donated 15 greenhouses recently.  The greenhouses, which vary in size, will be distributed in Grand Bahama and throughout the Family Islands.

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting, Parliamentary Secretary Leonardo Lightbourne along with Permanent Secretary Joel Lewis were on hand to receive the items.

Minister Sweeting expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas.

“I would like to sincerely thank you for these greenhouses, which speak to our blueprint for change. Agriculture plays a significant role in finding ways to feed ourselves. Big things start small and real change starts with ideas. These greenhouses will definitely play an instrumental role in finding new ways of farming techniques and ideas to feed ourselves,” he said.

The Minister mentioned that Agriculture contributes only 0.8 percent of GDP, a rate he is looking to drastically change.

“I look forward to working with you in the future because it is very important to myself and my ministry that Agriculture becomes prominent in our country and where people feel that they can be business-oriented,” Minister Sweeting said.

People’s Republic of China Ambassador to The Bahamas Dai Qingli said the Embassy is looking forward to continuing to work with the government and further the countries’ mutual beneficial cooperation.

“The raging pandemic has highlighted once again the importance of the Agricultural sector and the imperative of reducing the cost of living for the average Bahamian,” she said.

“I very much support the minister’s objective to make Agriculture more appealing to Bahamians and attracting more investment into this vital sector. Agriculture has a big potential to be commercially viable as is shown with our experience with working your Caribbean neighbours. Today’s donation of greenhouses is only a small beginning to what we hope to be a growing Agricultural partnership between our countries. I’m glad that the minister has just expressed his commitment of working with us.”

The Ambassador said the two countries have long been in discussions to further develop the Agriculture industry.

“It is now time to put our ideas into practice by working together on the ground and in the fields. I look forward to discussions with the minister to understand his priorities and to see how we can best work with him,” Ambassador Qingli said.

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Students display culinary skill and creativity in Bahamas Young Chef Competition

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Lamont Missick with judges and teachers

#TheBahamas, October 19, 2021 –  – Despite setbacks and limitations due to COVID-19, Lamont Missick, H.O. Nash; Gerardo Annacius, Anatol Rodgers and Brianna Butterfield of Kingsway Academy, overcame the odds and finished first, second and third respectively in the second phase of the recent 29th Annual Bahamas Young Chef New Providence District Culinary Competitions.

With hybrid lessons and just two weeks of in-person classes supervised by teachers, the three students, who are enrolled in Family and Consumer Science Education, stepped up to the plate and earned the right to enter the upcoming third phase (National Round) of the annual contest.

Now into its 29th year, the annual district competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education along with Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, was held at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School, October 7 and 8.   Under the watchful eyes of judges who are all professional chefs — Clement Williams, Jimmy Dean, Chief Judge Gerald Rolle, Hazel Rolle, and Celeste Smith — the students were required to use Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour to prepare a dish and dessert based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots.”

Following the grueling round in the kitchen and interviews by the judges, Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer congratulated the students and parents, and offered advice to the teachers.

“We appreciate all of the time and effort that you put into your children. This competition is a true partnership between home, school and industry. The chefs are willing to give their input and give them [the students] the benefit of their experience.

“We have three young persons who are very much into what they are learning in school. They are putting their best foot forward. All of them are automatically in the national round,” said Ms. Turnquest.

“COVID-19 is forcing us to use technology in new and creative ways. You are now able to bring industry professionals into your classroom almost on a regular basis who don’t have to leave where they are to get into your classroom to give the students the benefit of their knowledge.”

She urged the students to use the judges’ critiques to refine and elevate their dishes.

“You saw the experience of working in the kitchen with persons viewing and walking through while you are working. That is something valuable. Take advantage of it and we’ll see you again for the National round. Congratulations to all of you today.”

 

Lamont Missick, 14,

Flour dish: Pineapple upside down muffin

Rice Dish: Land and Sea Rice

Lamont said he used the opportunity to sharpen his culinary skills.

“I realized my love for culinary arts from the age of 8. I remember watching Ratatouille, and hearing that “anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great. I aim to be great and one day become and executive chef in my own restaurant,” said the ninth grader.

 

Brianna Butterfield, 14

Flour dish: Sugar apple almond muffins

Rice dish: Spinach Carrot Rice Cup with grouper pineapple sauce

“I love to cook and I wanted to boost my cooking skills,” said Brianna.

 

 

Gerardo Annacius dubbed his dishes ‘Fall ‘n’ Love’.

Rice dish: Conch and shrimp rice ball with plantain and coconut deep fried in coconut topping

Flour dish: Toasted bennie spiced cream puff with native pumpkin and coconut crème filling topped with ginger caramel

 

All of the judges commended the students on their dishes and encouraged them to continue to work hard.

Lamont was praised for his organized and sanitized kitchen-station. Also noted was his flavorful ‘spot on’ rice dish from which exuded flavors of conch, lobster, salt beef and coconut milk.

Chef Williams encouraged him to improve his presentation and move away from serving rice the old fashioned way of “cupping” in a bowl.

The judges were impressed with Annacius’ theme: “Fall ‘n’ Love’ and gave him pointers on how to improve his dish and dessert.

“You experienced a slight setback in the kitchen and your dessert dish did not come out as expected — but you did not stop, you made an effort to present something. Your dessert was flavorful; it did not rise like it should but you executed based on what you had,” said Chef Smith.

 

By Kathryn Campbell

(BIS Photos)

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Nine Grand Bahama residents have had their minor criminal records expunged

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#TheBahamas, October 19, 2021 – The Davis Administration is fully committed to ensuring that young Bahamians get second chances where possible, by expunging minor offence records, where necessary, according to Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey.

“One of our mandates in our ten-point plan in the ‘blueprint for change’ is compassionate social relief and the expungement of records for offences that are due, based on the violations of the Emergency Orders.  So, we are going to continue to ensure that those records are expunged,” said Minister Moxey.

“For Grand Bahama Island, this ministry is responsible for the promotion of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the island. So, this is an ideal time for those who have not been able to find jobs, based on these criminal records, to be able to re-enter the job market.”

During a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, October 14, 2021, Northern Bahamas representative for the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee, Mr. Dudley Seide, paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Grand Bahama, during which time he announced that nine people from the island of Grand Bahama have had their minor criminal records expunged through the efforts of the Committee.

Minister Moxey called it a great day for Grand Bahama and for Grand Bahamians. She noted that overall, many people in Grand Bahama are hurting financially, adding that those people with minor criminal offences were held back from supporting themselves and their families because of their inability to gain employment because of their criminal records.

“On behalf of the government, we are excited that this day has come and to also let the community know that we are committed to this effort,” added Minister Moxey. “We want to also appeal to those people who may have received criminal records during the Emergency Orders to come forward and apply and begin the process to have their records expunged.”

Mr. Dudley Seide of Reach Out Organization and a member of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee said that nine Grand Bahamians who had applied to the committee to have their records expunged have had their applications approved.

“The mandate of our new Minister for Grand Bahama is to help young people who have been arrested on minor offences and who were arrested or charged during the Emergency Orders,” said Mr. Seide.

“This is a golden opportunity for these people to get their lives restarted. These people can now go on and live their lives. These offences prevented these people from getting jobs, obtaining a U.S. Visa, travelling – but now they can begin to do all of these things. What was hurtful was to see so many people who were arrested during the Emergency Orders, who paid the fines, but who had no idea that these offences were still on their records.

“I want to thank the Minister for National Security for giving young people an opportunity to restart their lives.”

Minister Moxey thanked the members of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee for their tireless work in helping people “get their lives back.”

 

By Andrew Coakley

Photo Caption: PART OF SECOND CHANCE – Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey (second from right) was on hand when Mr. Dudley Seide, member of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee (left) presented Brian Bullard Jr. (second from left) with an official declaration of the expungement of his record, during a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister (GB) on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Bullard was one of nine Grand Bahamians who’ve had their records expunged through the efforts of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee.

(BIS photo by Lisa Davis)

 

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