#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.
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.”
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.
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.
BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’
Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support
#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.
Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.
“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.
“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”
The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.
In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.
Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.
“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.
“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”
Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.
Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.
Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.
“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”
Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.
The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.
Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.
“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”
Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.
“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.
Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.
“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”
Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel
Da Rocks’ Jonquel Jones and Sun aim to repeat win in bid for WNBA Championship
By Deandrea Hamilton
#USA, September 18, 2022 – Jonquel Jones of Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama power forward and centre for the Suns had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in a victorious and glorious effort against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night. The Connecticut Suns holding on in game three, which could have been elimination if that score went the Aces way.
Now, on ESPN Sunday Jones is hoping for another win and a tie of the series which is a best of game five.
The Sun are now 4-0 in elimination games in the playoffs so far this postseason.
There was other good news on the weekend for Bahamian Jonquel, as she was named an All-WNBA Second Team selection. Jones scored 126 overall, receiving 12 first team votes and 22 second team votes which came as no surprise to many. Jonquel leads the Suns in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots. She averages 14.6 points per game, ranking in the top 20 in the WNBA for scoring.
Add to the road Jonquel is still on for WNBA Champion and historic Bahamian athlete, as a member of the All- WNBA First Team, she will receive $10,300 and each member of the Second Team will receive $5,150.
The Bahamas continues to be proud of this outstanding player.
Tourism, Investments & Aviation Minister I. Chester Cooper Elected Vice Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
#TheBahamas, September 16, 2022 – The Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, was elected to continue to serve as a vice chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism Meetings this week.
DPM Cooper is leading a delegation which includes Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General (ADG) and Dr Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Acting Director of Aviation, to the four-day CTO Business Meetings which are taking place in the Cayman Islands 12-15 September 2022.
“I am grateful and honoured to serve in this capacity on behalf of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the entire Caribbean region,” DPM Cooper said.
“It is important that we continue to forge deeper relations with our tourism counterparts and support each other as we aim for full economic recovery. It is my hope that ongoing efforts will enhance our tourism product across the region and position the Caribbean as the most desirable destination year-round.”
In his role as CTO Vice Chairman, DPM Cooper will provide updates regarding the region’s performance and developments.
The CTO is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising over 24 member countries and territories and provides support to those members in marketing, sustainable tourism, communications, and research & information technology. This year’s conference focuses on regional recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future of tourism.
CTO Business Meetings have been on hold since 2020, making this meeting the organisation’s first in-person event following the onset of the pandemic.
For more information, visit Bahamas.com.
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