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PM: “We are embarked on a dynamic new era of innovation and transformation in The Bahamas”

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#Freeport, GB, November 15, 2018 – Bahamas – Officially opening the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit on Wednesday, November 14, Prime Minister, Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert Minnis shared how government is using technology to improve many aspects of national life.

The three-day summit is now in session at the Grand Lucayan resort under the theme, ‘The Future is Now.’

The Prime Minister announced that the mission and commitment of The Bahamas to become a regional leader in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) recently resulted in our becoming a Council member of the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) during a conference held in Dubai a week ago.  The ITU is the world’s highest body with ICT policymaking in three sectors: Radio Communication, Telecommunication Standards, and Telecommunication Development.  This seat, he said, will be beneficial to the region and The Bahamas, as ways to improve the lives of residents are sought.

The Prime Minister said, “My government has prioritized the preparation of The Bahamas to take greater advantage of technology as we are engaged in a new era of innovation and transformation in our economic, social and national development.

“Accordingly, this year’s theme, ‘The Future Is Now,’ addresses the development of our human capacity in meeting the demands of this sector, including opportunities for Bahamian empowerment and ownership.”

The goal, said the Prime Minister, is to develop successful programs in educational institutions and develop partnerships with international organizations.  An example of this is the tuition-free program offered at the Bahamas Technical & Vocational Institute (BTVI) for qualified students.  In Grand Bahama, the overall enrollment at BTVI has increased by 70 percent, and in ICT courses, the increase is 97 percent.

Prime Minister Minnis encouraged Bahamians to take advantage of the opportunity as they can receive an Associate’s Degree or Certificates in Business Office Technology, Information Technology Management, and Software and Network Engineering, free of charge to all Bahamians who qualify.

“My government is also committed to making the University of The Bahamas, including its ICT Programs, free of charge beginning 2019.  Under our administration every Bahamian who qualifies will have the opportunity for free tertiary education, including ICT qualifications.”

The Prime Minister also shared information on the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative, which calls for establishment and strengthening of Smart Technology in communities, schools, homes and public spaces.  Benefitting from the project already is Willard Patton Pre-School.

“This is in keeping with my government’s ongoing efforts for education reform through the use of technology and experience-based-education.

“Further, we have established an Over-the-Hill community web-portal app to coordinate and share information on programs offered by community groups.

“I look forward to The Minister of Education’s presentation on the government’s recent launch of the fiber optic technology upgrade throughout the government-operated school system.  This upgrade will ensure that each school is a fully computerized smart school. Also, each school will be provided with tablets to facilitate this digital initiative.”

These efforts will connect the major communities throughout the archipelago.

“During my tenure as Minister of Health, we made advances in telemedicine, which helped to improve health care for citizens and residents who were able to connect remotely to our major hospitals in New Providence and Grand Bahama.”

Smart technology through the use of drones is being used in National Security, providing law enforcement with enhanced surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

“Shot Spotter Technology (SST) will revolutionize crime fighting in The Bahamas.  This technology will provide police officers in patrol cars and police control room with real time data on the precise location of a gunshot that was fired. 

“These advancements in technology demonstrate my government’s commitment to utilizing technology-based innovations to maintain safety and security.

“Good data is instrumental for decision-making and good governance.”

Prime Minister Minnis continued, “Ladies and Gentlemen:  The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit or PMDU was established earlier this year.  It supports government ministries and agencies in driving the implementation of key objectives through data-driven decision-making.

“As we embrace the multi-faceted uses of technology for the advancement of Bahamians, steps must also be taken to position our country as a technology centre of our region. 

“At this year’s summit, we will also advance discussions on the framework and regulatory procedures to encourage and support crypto currency assets and related instruments.

“Companies that utilize blockchain technology as a basis for their new products and services, represent the genesis of a new wave of innovation.

“There is no reason why these new blockchain technology companies that have their eyes on global markets cannot have their base of operations here in The Bahamas.

“A recent release by The Central Bank of The Bahamas on crypto assets stated that we must: ‘enhance the sector’s competitiveness without compromising the integrity and international reputation of The Bahamas, or undermining the financial safety of Bahamian households’.”  

The immigration policy of the country is currently being revamped, he said, to attract new business and is currently considering draft legislation for a special BH1B Visa, as recommended by the Grand Bahama Technology Steering Committee.

“Our E-government transformation has begun.  Government must work for its citizens in new and innovative ways.

“We will also advance discussions on how we can increase and integrate our online services in order to provide more efficient and effective service to Bahamians and residents. These include: providing a single online window facility through which multiple services can be accessed; interoperability for transporting data securely between relevant agencies and clients; data ownership; and retraining for citizens and public officers.”

In closing, the Prime Minister said, “Paramount to our success is strengthened partnerships with you, our domestic, international and regional partners and stakeholders. We are especially pleased that next year, Dell, one of the most recognized technology leaders in the world, will host one of its technology conferences in New Providence.

“These are the types of relationships, based in technology, that validate our drive and determination to reap multiple benefits.  We are embarked on a dynamic new era of innovation and transformation in The Bahamas.  We are pro-actively embracing the vast benefits of technology to boost growth and productivity, as well as employment and entrepreneurship.”

 

By Robyn Adderley

Release: BIS

Photo Caption: Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert Minnis officially opened the 2nd Grand Bahama Technology Summit on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Grand Lucayan Resort.  Members of the Cabinet, senior government officials, leaders in the technology world and students were all present for the event.  

 

(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

 

 

 

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CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases

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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

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World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes

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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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RBDF Congratulates Retired Commander Defence Force on National Honour Award 

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#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: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 

-rbdf- 

#GuardOurHeritage 

#MarlinSpike 

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