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TCI on Alert as riots rage in Haiti, two-year president asked to resign

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FILE PHOTO FROM PREVIOUS RIOT IN HAITI

#Haiti, February 12, 2019 – The situation in Haiti is once again volatile as a new round of riots, calling for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise has forced officials to cancel Haiti’s Carnival. 

The economic implications are forecast to be disastrous for Haitians who depend on the event, for Haiti’s tourism which is linked to the celebration and countries like The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos say they are paying attention and stand ready in the event of any exodus from the embattled republic. 

“It is a serious situation that we are watching pretty closely and actually have been watching it since November of last year where things have been heating up in calling for the resignation of the President. In addition, there are some concerns about the handling of aide that is coming into Haiti and that is an ongoing problem which has plagued from one government (of Haiti) to the next,” said Sean Astwood, Deputy Premier and Border Control Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands in a one on one with Magnetic Media on Monday.

Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, which involves the US Coast guard is designed to circumvent drug interdiction but that help stands ready. 

“That Operation is put on alert for this type of activity that any movement on the water, they pay attention to it and they have assisted us on a number of occasions in the past with being able to successfully turn around vessels headed to The Bahamas or to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

TCI DEPUTY PREMIER, HON SEAN ASTWOOD – MINISTER OF BORDER CONTROL

In 2018, nine vessels were turned back to Haiti by the US Coast Guard, in a single effort.  

DP Astwood said there is communication with the United Kingdom too; the UK is directly responsible for national security as the TCI is an overseas territory of Mother England.

“We have already engaged the UK on this.  My officers from the Task Force and Immigration are on high alert.  The Commission of Police and I are in discussions about this as well to ensure that we are taking all of the necessary precautions that we can.  Basically, we are bracing for any potential fall out that would impact us this way.”    

FILE PHOTO: HAITIAN SLOOP INTERCEPTION IN THE BAHAMAS

In recent days, since the cancellation of the Carnival festival in Haiti, there have been no ships landing or intercepted in Turks and Caicos waters.   

The Deputy Premier said still, everyone is on high alert as human smuggling attempts could gain traction as a result of the ongoing protests.

“In the past we have seen where, when you have this type of unrest the number of sloops will try to make it our way as people try to flee the chaos over there (in Haiti).  We are cognizant of the situation and are taking the necessary precautions to combat it and deal with it as best as possible.”

In nearby Bahamas, on Sunday, a somber mass funeral service was hosted by the Haitian League of Pastors and paid for by the Haitian Consulate in The Bahamas.  As many as 30 Haitians, who died in a boating tragedy in the Abaco Cays on February 3, were laid to rest.    

FUNERAL HELD SUNDAY FOR DROWN VICTIMS OF FEB 3, 2019 HAITIAN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Bahamas Immigration reported that a sailing yacht or catamaran had crashed into the coral reefs on and split in half. The impact of the vessel running aground reportedly flung those on board into the water, many of the men and women could not swim. 

Thirty-five bodies are believed to be unrecovered in the mishap and there were 18 survivors taken in by Bahamian authorities with the help of civilians and volunteer group, Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA).

As the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas work to solidify bi-laterally agreed upon ideas of greater amalgamation through a soon to come Memorandum of Understanding, the TCI’s Border Control Minister shared that the Turks and Caicos stands ready with Operation Guardian still activated.

“It has been the most efficient and longest sustained operation that yielded great results.  Last year we repatriated over 3,000 persons out of the country.  Now that is including from illegal sloops as well as on land, but Operation Guardian is responsible for more than fifty percent of that number…”

In Haiti, at least eight people are reported dead in this fifth day of violent protests. The Chamber of Commerce is calling on the President to end the demonstrations which have led to businesses being burned and ransacked. Business owners have expressed that ‘Operation Lock Down Haiti’ will only end when the President and Opposition forces engage in negotiations to pacify the thousands of Haitians demanding Moise’s resignation, a mere two years into his presidency.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

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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