#Freeport, GB, November 30, 2018 – Bahamas – The new, E-Procurement and Supplier Registry, soon to become a national initiative, will not only help to equalize the playing field between small, medium and big businesses when it comes obtaining government contracts, but the government has pledged that a minimum of 20 percent of all its procurement must be won by small businesses.
Making the announcement was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest during the opening of the Ministry of Finance’s E-Procurement reform seminar, which was held at Pelican Bay resort on Thursday, November 29, 2018.
In opening the seminar, as well as officially launching the E-Procurement and Supplier Registry System, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that the whole idea of the reform is to make the process of government procurement transparent and to ensure that there is fairness across the system, so that everyone has an opportunity.
“I know that for most businesses in The Bahamas that I have come across, one of the things that they have been concerned about is fairness and access,” said Minister Turnquest.
“We know how it worked in the past, where if your party is in power you get the contracts and when your party is not in power, you’re out of luck. This system seeks to try to create some balance, some equity and fairness across the system, so that we can take out these kinds of bias.
“If we allow the system to work the way it has been designed to work, it is going to create equity and it will result in savings and GDP business growth for all Bahamians.”
Minister Turnquest said that the Government of The Bahamas is very excited about the Small Business program that has been initiated and which has blossomed in Grand Bahama. He said the program is a very integral entity that is going to help broaden the economic pie in The Bahamas.
“I think we all know that there are those entities, who because of their resources, have been able to corner the market on procurement and economic activities in this country. Through the efforts of the Small Business Development Centre, we are hoping to empower the ordinary Bahamian who doesn’t have a rich parent or some connected source, that they will be able to obtain the kind of support and resources that will allow them to enter the mainstream and compete with the ‘big boys’ and the legacy institutions.
“That is very important. Because as we move into a more modern society and as we have more and more of our young people coming into the sector with very high expectations, it is important that they have an opportunity to compete and fulfill their visions, without unfair bias. So, we are extremely happy with what the Small Business Development Centre is doing, particularly in Grand Bahama.”
The Finance Minister proudly noted that for months, the Ministry of Finance has been engaged in a comprehensive reform effort to transform the entire system of government procurement. He pointed out the tremendous strides forward his Ministry has taken in promoting the initiative, most notably in legislative reform and establishment of the online E-Procurement and Supplier Registry system (E-PSR).
“When we speak of government procurement, we are literally referring to goods and services which central government or state-owned enterprises purchase,” said Minister Turnquest.
“Government procurement accounts for a substantial portion of the Bahamian economy. Naturally, that means that it also accounts for a substantial portion of taxpayer’s money. Rightfully so, taxpayers expect us to carry out public procurement fairly, transparently, efficiently and with high standards of conduct.
“Recognizing the weaknesses in our current system that exposes the government to waste and corruption, the public procurement reform that is currently underway is aimed at modernizing the public procurement process, by developing a strong and unified legal framework.
He noted that the development of public procurement legislation is rapidly approaching completion, which has amplified the need for the enhanced awareness-building efforts in Grand Bahama. The Finance Minister said that a test bid of the E-PSR will be launched in January, 2019, using the online system, to ensure that all systems are working.
“We want to make sure that potential Grand Bahamian suppliers are equipped with the tools to fully and comfortably participate in this test bid and more broadly, public procurement in the future,” said Minister Turnquest. “The test bid will give suppliers an opportunity to ensure that they understand how the E-PSR operates before we implement the mandatory use of the E-PSR for all public procurement.
“We have completed drafting the proposed Public Procurement Act, which will be presented to Parliament very shortly.”
According to Minister Turnquest, the proposed legislation will:
- Establish a Department of Public Procurement that will enhance transparency and value for money within the procurement process by providing oversight and accountability.
- Modernize and align procurement practices with international and best practices.
- Establish a public procurement board and review tribunal.
- Establish a fully transparent bidding process, where bids and bid winners are posted on line.
- Define in law the suite of procurement methods. Including competitive bidding, selective bidding, restrictive bidding and limited bidding.
“It represents a revised national framework for all public procurement. Under this new framework, we’ve committed to reserve a portion of national procurement budgets for small businesses, which will benefit entrepreneurs in Freeport and other Family Islands,” added Minister Turnquest.
“The Public Procurement Act will oversee the E-Procurement and Supplier Registry system and all national procurement will be executed through the online procurement and Supplier Registry system in the near future.”
Minister Turnquest stressed the fact that registration will be mandatory for any business seeking to have a contract with the government. He said that the Independent Procurement Review Tribunal will provide recourse for all persons who feel that there has been an injustice in any national procurement process.
By Andrew Coakley
Header: Following the official opening of the E-procurement seminar and launch of the E-procurement and Supplier Registry system, Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Peter Turnquest (centre) answered questions from the media, before the seminar for Ministry of Finance personnel began at the Pelican Bay Resort on Thursday, November 29, 2018. At right is Executive Director of the Small Business Development Centre, Davinia Blair, and, at left, Daniel Ferguson of the Ministry of Finance.
Insert: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest was the keynote speaker during the opening of the E-procurement reform seminar and launch of the E-Procurement and Supplier Registry system at Pelican Bay Resort on Thursday, November 29, 2018.
BIS Photos/Lisa Davis
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
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: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean
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)
- 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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