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Young Bahamian Employed at Google Shares her Knowledge with GB Students

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#Freeport, GB, October 27, 2018 – Bahamas – As the country moves towards becoming more technologically proficient, Kristie Powell, a young and talented Bahamian employed at Tech giant Google in Silicon Valley, is giving back to The Bahamas by passing her knowledge, passion and experience to other young Bahamians.

When the Government’s hosted its first Grand Bahama Tech Summit in 2017, Bahamians working abroad in the technology industry were invited to attend. Powell who was one of the guest speakers, will be returning for the second Tech Summit to be held November 14 – 16, 2018.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama and one of the originators of the Grand Bahama Technology Summit, Senator Kwasi Thompson made the decision to ask Powell with her experience to be a part of the Grand Bahama Technology Hub Steering Committee.

Following the first Tech Summit, Powell helped place the island nation on the “Technology in Schools” map with the launch of “Hour of Code” in schools in Nassau and Grand Bahama.

The program, “Hour of Code” is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries, where one hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages and is geared towards students from ages four upward.

“It was important for me to strike while the iron was hot and while I have the ear of Minister Thompson and the Office of the Prime Minister here in Grand Bahama to implement this program,” said Powell, during one of her trips back to Grand Bahama, following the Tech Summit.

“There are other similar tech initiatives that are coming up, which I think The Bahamas would do well to take advantage of. Building a technology hub really starts with us investing in the future of The Bahamas and that starts with education.”

The ‘Hour of Code’ initiative introduced the students to the world of coding and set the foundation for what is expected to become a future career for many of Grand Bahama’s youngsters.

Subsequently, education will be the main focus of the Second Annual Grand Bahama Technology Summit.

Minister Thompson said he is looking forward to showcasing the educational programs and highlighting the efforts and achievements of the Government and the Grand Bahama Technology Hub Steering Committee, which were launched following last year’s Summit.

“In particular, we will highlight the Ministry of Education’s ICT plans for our schools.  The Ministry recently signed a deal for technology upgrades and to provide tablets for teachers and students,” said Minister Thompson, while talking about plans for this year’s Summit.

“We will also highlight Bahamas Technical and Vocational (BTVI) courses and certificates, which are now being offered to Bahamians free of charge. And we will see the first ICT trained high school students, who completed the first phase of their summer certification course, along with our new program with the YMCA, to provide coding certification to 100 young Grand Bahamians.”

Along with Powell and other Tech savvy Bahamians, training at this year’s Grand Bahama Tech Summit, will also be carried out by global Tech giant CISCO systems. Participants at this year’s Tech Summit will have the benefit of CISCO Networks Academy Training Modules, which will provide training in the area of Networks and Programming.

Carlos Rodriquez of Cisco Systems said that it is in their best interest to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of The Bahamas around a program that is well known around the world.

“Cisco at Work Academy is an initiative that we have internally at the company, to train professionals in different areas of technology, particularly in technology that is connected to specific work,” Rodriquez explained during a press conference to discuss this year’s Tech Summit.

In the case of the Bahamas specifically, the Cisco executive pointed out that there is only one Academy in the country, which is BTVI. However, he noted that BTVI is a pioneer in adopting the program within the island.

With some 415 participants in the different disciplines of the Cisco at Work Academy Program, Cisco Systems, in conjunction with BTVI is expected to bring a whole new level of technology training to Grand Bahama first and then eventually throughout the entire Bahamas.

“This MOU that we want to sign as part of the agenda of the Summit, will allow us to take this program on the island to the next level,” added Rodriquez. “The intention in the next coming year is to take that program to 100 institutions throughout the islands, with aspirations of having some 10,000 students complete the program. So, we want to go from one institution to one hundred and from 400 students to 10,000 students.

“We are convinced that education is the catalyst for transformation. We believe that in this world of hyper-connected economies, it is very important to grow a country’s technology.”

 

By: Andrew Coakley

Photo Caption: Kristie Powell, a Bahamian employed at Tech giant Google in Silicon Valley, is giving back to The Bahamas by passing her knowledge, passion and experience to other young Bahamians, as the country moves towards becoming more technologically proficient.

 

 

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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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