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Minister Rolle Shares a Taste of Bahamian Culture at Forum in Dubai



#DUBAI, November 30, 2018 – UAE – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha Rolle gave a brief taste of the topic of Bahamian culture to the delegates and distinguished guests in attendance at the First United Arab Emirates Caribbean Cooperation Forum, in the city of Dubai, on November 24, 2018.

“Excellencies, this event is not only timely but visionary,” Minister Rolle noted. “As the world transforms from the status of national states to a global village, each country’s culture above all is being impacted predominantly by the advancement of technology, and the desire of nations to work in unity to enhance our relationships, and build better nations for our people to work and our children to grow and play.”

“Indeed, it is essential that while we recognize all that we have in common, it is equally important that we preserve our individual cultures,” she added. “With this backdrop, I will attempt to share succinctly yet informatively with respect to the multiple facets of the Bahamian culture, in particular, our prominent industries, music, arts, cuisine, customary practices and religion as well as note factors that impact cultural trends and transformation.”

Minister Rolle also thanked the organizers for their invitation, warm hospitality, and for the opportunity to share with on the topic. She pointed out that it would be it would be remiss of her if she were not to boast of the thing that all Bahamians say, ‘identify us’ and brings everyone together: Junkanoo.

Minister Rolle began by giving a brief talk on Junkanoo and termed it “The Bahamas’ premier cultural festival”.

“The Junkanoo Parade is a collection of cultural expressions inclusive of fine arts, native music and the work of local artists,” she noted during her talk. “Every aspect of the parade is unique, from the creation of giant 30-foot costumes made from local card board and crepe paper, to the manufacturing of drums made from goat-skin harvested on our very islands, to the unique Afro-Caribbean dance and sounds that create a spirit that inspires Bahamian pride and an atmosphere of jubilance.

“Notably, the festival unites a cross-section of people from varying economic statuses, demographics and religious backgrounds. Junkanoo only speaks one language for the people of The Bahamas, and that’s ‘We Bahamian and Proud’.”

Minister Rolle pointed out that, worthy of mention, was the industry’s efforts to include Bahamian youth in the rich cultural experience.

“As a part of our strategic cultural succession plan, for 30 years we have developed a Junior Junkanoo Program as a feeder system and strategic tool to educate our school children regarding the value of our heritage and the culture of our ancestors,” she said.

She then gave a brief introduction to “good island food”, saying that The Bahamas is also known for its rich cuisine inclusive of the delicacies of native conch, lobster and fish, all organically grown in its waters.

“Our professional chefs and local house cooks have developed a rich combination of spices and unique food handling and preparation techniques; in addition to mouth-watering flavours that leave our natives and visitors alike returning for more,” Minister Rolle said. “While there are fast food restaurants mainly in the capital city of Nassau, there is a love for morning boil and stew fish with warm freshly-baked johnny bread, the famous conch burgers, cracked conch or famous ‘chicken-in-da-bag’ for lunch, and conch salad or fritters for appetizers, and our scrumptious green peas and rice, fresh fried grouper or snapper fish, broiled crawfish or lobster for dinner, and a variety of native fruit drinks such as the coconut sky-juice.”

She pointed out that it was customary to eat at least three meals per day, and prepare great feasts during Christmas holidays, and a spread for adult birthday celebrations. Indicative of the Caribbean and Latin American countries, foods prepared in The Bahamas are normally seasoned and spicy, she added.

“Demonstrating our ability to attain excellence in culinary arts, this year, The Bahamas National Culinary Team was selected as the region’s best in the ‘Taste of the Caribbean Competition’,” she said. “Indeed, this achievement speaks to the high standard of food preparation practiced within our jurisdiction to the satisfaction of the world.”

Minister Rolle stated that freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of The Bahamas and that citizens, visitors and residents are free to exercise their religious belief.

“Sports and developing professional athletes also play a significant role in our Bahamian culture,” she said. “Education is also a most important aspect of our culture and thus pre, primary and secondary education is provided free of charge.”

Minister Rolle noted that some forces that influence Bahamian cultural platform include climate change, irregular migration and poaching.

“While we recognize that these problems are not unique to The Bahamas, we appreciate the need for countries to work collaboratively to ensure the preservation of our cultural identity,” she said.

“Transformation of our cultural industry requires the development of facilities such as a Local Performing Arts Theatre and a state-of-the-art Music Recording Studio,” Minister Rolle added. “A formalized cultural education curriculum would also ensure the necessary further development of our cultural values and initiatives.”

Minister Rolle quoted Marcus Garvey, whom she termed a well-known Caribbean Politician, by saying, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

“Fellow Delegates, ironically and quite significantly, my Ministry’s theme for our 2018 National Cultural Month in December is: ‘The Root, The Tree, The Fruit’, a theme which speaks holistically to the essence of our Bahamian/Caribbean Culture,” she said. “On that note, on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas and in my capacity as the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, I wish to congratulate this honourable body on a successful cooperative forum, and look forward to the fruits that will bear from the seeds planted during this inaugural conference.

“I thank you once again for allowing The Bahamas to be a part of this ground-breaking experience and wish your country every success.”


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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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