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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

GBPA invests $1.1 million in major road infrastructure improvements for city of Freeport

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#TheBahamas, May 20, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) will commence its $1.1 million road resurfacing project in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sunday, May 22, 2022 beginning with the Fishing Hole Road, and West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout.

“Our City Maintenance and Management section is excited to begin this important initiative to resurface roadways within Freeport,” said Troy McIntosh, GBPA Deputy Director of Building and Development Services.  “Our city has been through many challenging storm events which did catastrophic damage to infrastructure around the island, including our roads.

“But our community is resilient, and we are seeing a positive shift in the economic tide,” continued McIntosh. “Excitement for future opportunities and anticipation of new investments is palpable through the city, so we knew this was the ideal time to start this aspect of Freeport’s much-needed makeover to which GBPA is fully committed.”

Roadworks are scheduled for main thoroughfares and a number of residential roads.  These areas include the Fishing Hole Road, West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout, West Atlantic Drive at Rayvin Mall roundabout, Beach Way Drive, Bahama Reef Boulevard, Pioneers Way, Waterfall Drive, Tarrytown Street and Grand Bahama Highway.  “We selected these locations using our Road Rating System, which allows inspectors to assess the condition and rideability of our roads on an annual basis,” added Mr. McIntosh.

The GBPA roadworks project went out to bid in December 2020.  In March 2022, the bid was awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM), who specializes in heavy civil engineering projects including major highways.

“We ask motorists to drive with due care and attention while roadwork is underway,” Mr. McIntosh advised.  Flagmen and temporary traffic lights will be in position to direct traffic.  Please obey the speed limit and posted signs to help ensure the safety of all motorists and crews as they conduct work.  Delays are expected as there will be partial lane closures in some areas.”

The initial phase of road resurfacing is scheduled to be completed at the end of June 2022.  For the latest updates and information on redirected travel routes, residents can follow any of the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s social media sites or visit its website at www.gbpa.com.

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Freaky Weather includes Waterspouts, Severe Flooding and fish in Backyards

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By Dana Malcolm & Deandrea Hamilton

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 19, 2022 – A waterspout whirling its way onto shore in the west, images of submerged cars, impassable roads and even fish darting around in a flooded backyard were the testimony of Nassau’s extreme weather weekend.

The Bahamas Department of meteorology had predicted severe weather from Friday midday to Saturday warning of, “GUSTY WINDS, DANGEROUS LIGHTNING, HEAVY DOWNPOURS, HAIL AND POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT OR TORNADIC ACTIVITY and possibly LOCALIZED FLOODING.”

Reports of hail, the freakish funnel cloud, downpour flooded streets, submerged cars and stranded workers trying to get home made for a shocking weekend.

There were dramatic videos of the forecast, waterspouts, which made an appearance near seaside restaurants Sapodilla Bay and Traveller’s Rest.  The ‘water tornado’ slashing against parked cars, producing whipping winds and tossing water into the restaurant elicited screams and frantic activity as residents could be heard rushing to safety.

The storm is unseasonably early with the official start to the hurricane season still two weeks away; but it maintains a trend for severe weather consistently appearing well ahead of the official June 1 start.

On Tuesday waterspouts erupted in the bay off Harbour Island, Eleuthera, also in The Bahamas as the country was inundated this week with SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS issued by The Bahamas Department of Meteorology.

The latest forecast as weekend approaches is there will be more of the same.

“EXTENDED FORECAST (FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS): A TROPICAL WAVE, SKIRTING THE

SOUTHERN PERIPHERY OF THE BAHAMAS, WILL PROGRESSIVELY MOVE WESTWARDS AND

INFLUENCE AN INFLUX OF MOISTURE NORTHWESTWARDS OVER THE BAHAMAS, KEEPING

RAIN CHANCES IN THE FORECAST INTO SATURDAY.”

The first tropical wave of 2022 has been identified but a pre-season storm is not yet expected. There have been pre-season tropical storms for the past seven years in a row according to WWLTV and the season is expected to be more severe than usual.

“An above-average season with major hurricane landfalls in the U.S.and in the Caribbean is unfortunately likely. Accuweather experts predict.

“16-20 named storms and six to eight hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, about three to five are forecast to reach major hurricane status.”

Boaters and swimmers in the two archipelagos – The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands – were warned to be cautious as well, “BOATERS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT DUE TO THE THREAT OF POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT ACTIVITY. BEACHGOERS SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION DUE TO THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS,” the Meteorology Department said.

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Government, fulfilling commitment to provide housing for Bahamians

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has underscored the government’s commitment to “strengthening” and “deepening” its “unmatched” legacy of providing access to decent, affordable housing to Bahamians.

“My government is acutely aware of the current housing shortage in The Bahamas and the backlog of housing applications at the Mortgage Corporation of The Bahamas (BMC),” said Prime Minister Davis.

“Our BMC Executive Chair, Barbara Cartwright, is committed to expediting those applications and assigning without delay, suitably qualified housing applicants.

“I believe the number of applications at BMC in just the last eight months is in excess of 3,500. This housing demand suggests that we move with urgency and dispatch.”

In this vein, the government, Monday, along with stakeholders, unveiled The Renaissance at Carmichael, a housing sub-division on 70 acres of crown land off Carmichael Road in Western New Providence.

Executives of the government and public-private partnerships (PPP) participated in a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, May 16, 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow Bahamian families the ability to open the doors to 200 new homes.

The subdivision is being funded by a PPP arrangement between the Government, a $20 million backing from PROVEN Wealth Ltd. through Simplified Lending, the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas and financiers.

Dignitaries in attendance: the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Leroy Major, Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet; David Davis and Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretaries; Barbara Cartwright, Chairman, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation; Oral Lafleur, Acting Chief Housing Officer; and Thomas Ferguson, Acting Director of Housing. Representatives of private sector partners: Robert Pantry, Founder and CEO, Simplified Lending; Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Limited.

Prime Minister Davis assured that as the economy fully opens and grows, the government expects to expand PPPs in other areas of national economy including public infrastructure providing investments, ownership and job opportunities for Bahamians.

Minister Coleby-Davis said the initiative will set a new standard in affordable housing by which other housing developments will be measured.

She described today’s signing is an “historic” milestone which can be attributed to the commitment of the government to bring to fruition a concept from an idea to reality.

“With this project we intend to create an estate where a sense of community thrives. There will be lit streets, sidewalks; a park where children can play safely and family gatherings can take place. Neighbors will be able to come together and interact as our families were able to do many years ago.

Formerly known as Carmichael Village Sub-division, the community will comprise 104 single family, two and three-bedroom residences, and eight two-storey condominium buildings with 12 units each.

In a video presentation Minister Coleby-Davis said, “Thanks to Simplified Lending, a Bahamian company which secured funding through a leading regional finance company called PROVEN. Many who only dreamed of home ownership will be able to walk through the front door to their new lives in less than one year.”

She informed that homes will be built to the highest quality with steel frame construction, storm-rated windows and doors, attractive facades and strong concrete foundations raised three feet above road level.

“Thanks to careful design, planning and exemptions on certain building supplies, every home will remain in the affordable price range opening doors to home ownership starting at $130,000,” she said.

Mr. Heaven said, “This transaction today will be primarily funded through the Bahamian portion of our Heritage education fund which is a regional education savings plan that is over 30 years old and is a household name for saving for your children’s tertiary education.”

The government broke ground for Pinecrest Sub-Division, a 43-lot community in Southern New Providence in January of this year.

 

Release: BIS

BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna

Header: From left: Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretary; the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet and the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

1st insert: The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is pictured speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for The Renaissance at Carmichael, a new sub-division in western New Providence.

2nd insert: The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing and Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Ltd., after ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

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