#Nassau, April 12, 2019 – Bahamas – The government is making good on its promise to upgrade its digital platform in order to provide efficient services to the public and external customers.
This will be possible through a loan in the amount of $30 million from the Inter-American Development Bank for the purpose of financing the Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness Programme.
Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis tabled a Resolution to this effect in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, January 30, 2019; it was subsequently debated and passed.
The digitization programme is expected to update government procedures, design and implement a government cloud computing service that will allow government agencies to access a shared e-Government infrastructure and applications, update the citizen portal and place government procedures online, among other wide-ranging services.
“Our citizens are more digitally connected and have become far more comfortable accessing services online. There has been increased usage of online shopping, online banking and other services. The government must also create a better experience for citizens by making more services available online,” the Prime Minister said.
The government has already begun this process through the establishment of a Modernization Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister, with the sole mandate of transformation, including digital evolution, of government services.
Another goal is to create an efficient Public Service committed to improving the ease of doing business with the government, the Prime Minister said.
“We must make government work for the people instead of people working for the government. Our services must become more efficient, easier to access, transparent and faster, not just for business but for every Bahamian,” he said.
The Prime Minister quoted Carlos Santiso, the Division Chief of Innovation in the Citizen Services Division, of the IDB, who said: “The digital revolution, greater connectivity and the expanding availability of devices are increasing demand for digital services. Digitally enabled and hyper-connected citizens are demanding more and better services from their governments… governments need to rethink the way they deliver public services.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged that over the years, the Public Service has been inundated with various studies, such as the Government of The Bahamas’s 2007 Comprehensive Compensation Review of all positions across the Public Service. Also, that successive administrations have paid lip service to a transformed civil service.
“It is this administration that will concretely and systematically address that transformation, and hence the creation of the Modernization Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister and the urgent need to borrow the thirty million dollars to assist in the digital transformation. The urgency requires the weight of my office,” The Prime Minister said.
The Modernization Unit has organized its deliberations around four focal points namely: citizen engagement, digitization, innovations and employee empowerment.
“The Bahamas must transform now! And the goal of that transformation must be to improve the lives of Bahamians through the services we provide and for improved global competitiveness of The Bahamas to attract more foreign direct investment and promote the growth of Bahamian businesses.
“Our goal must be embedded in the foundational values of integrity, excellence, transparency, accountability and competitiveness. The Bahamas should not be a carbon copy of Estonia or any other country, but must incorporate and use best-fit practices from those countries that are succeeding,” the Prime Minister said.
The Government currently has an online presence of 400 services, that is, forms that may be obtained online. These forms must be printed, completed and then physically delivered to the relevant government ministry or department. Of that 400, fourteen are actually online services, but may require the user to visit more than one site. “Our government ministries, departments and corporations have been making strides in the use of Information and Communication Technologies and this is seen in the United Nations Electronic Government Development Index in which The Bahamas finds itself in the high category.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker this does not translate into ease of doing business with the government as the systems do not interface, that is, they do not talk to each other.
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 ranks The Bahamas as 118th of 190 countries.
“This ranking does not auger well for encouraging Bahamian businesses or the promotion of foreign direct investment. In addition, it does not translate into customer satisfaction of Bahamians who must use these services every day. The Bahamas cannot remain at this level and survive,” the Prime Minister said.
By Lindsay Thompson
Photo Caption: Prime Minister Minnis, addressing the House of Assembly, January 30, 2019.
(BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)
Bahamas Consulate Opens in LA
#Bahamas#LosAngeles, February 19th, 2024 – The Bahamas Consulate General in Los Angeles, United States. officially opened on February 19th, 2024, by Prime Minister Philip Davis, reaffirming the commitment of the Government to protect all Bahamians as well as The Bahamas’ Economic interests and provide consular support for Bahamians on the West Coast of the United States. This was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.
NBA’s Buddy Hield appointed as Ambassador
#BuddyHield#Bahamas, February 19th, 2024 – Accomplished Bahamian Basketball player Chavano Buddy Hield, has been appointed as Ambassador-at-Large for Sports and Cultural Achievement, by the Davis Administration. This is a major accomplishment recognizing, according to the Office of the Prime Minister, Hield’s outstanding journey from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama to the NBA as well as his commitment to inspire Bahamians. Prime Minister Philip Davis speaking at his Credential Presentation, expressed great appreciation to Hield. He said “Thank you for being a shining example of what it means to be truly great, both on and off the court. Congratulations Ambassador.”
UNDP appoints new Resident Representative for The Bahamas
[Nassau, 6 February 2024] – The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) newly appointed Resident Representative for The Bahamas, Kishan Khoday presented his credentials to Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusa Ali yesterday at the Ministry.
As Resident Representative assigned to the UNDP Multi-Country Office in Jamaica, Mr. Khoday also represents UNDP in The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Mr. Khoday, a Canadian national of Indian descent, is currently leading a team from the Kingston office on the first leg of an official mission to The Bahamas and Bermuda. While in Nassau, he will also meet with Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Vaughn Miller; Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Honourable Jomo Campbell as well as other officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Social Services and Community Development and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
In welcoming the new Resident Representative, Ms Ali lauded significant areas of ongoing cooperation with the UNDP including disaster resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation. She also outlined other key areas for potential collaboration related to digitization and data collection.
Mr. Khoday pledged continuing support for The Bahamas’ development aspirations anchored on an inclusive and sustainable approach that leaves no one behind. He lauded the significant partnership between UNDP and the Government on the nation’s disaster management, climate resilience, biodiversity and debt management agendas, as well as investments in community-based action through the UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Programme and the India-funded Abaco Shelter project. He said that through the current Country Programme (CP)(2022-2026), UNDP offers a strategic approach to combating multidimensional poverty and advancing climate resilient, nature-based pathways, leveraging UNDP’s capacities in innovation, digitalization, and sustainable finance. “As we near the 50th anniversary of UNDP cooperation in The Bahamas, I look forward to building on our long-standing history and expanding cooperation in a way that builds resilience to multi-dimensional crises and advances results under the SDGs. This includes our partnerships for social inclusion and community empowerment; climate resilience and biodiversity, disaster management and sustainable finance,” he stated.
Mr. Khoday has served with UNDP for 25 years, having coordinated over USD $1 billion in country programming to help partners and communities around the world advance inclusive and sustainable development pathways. This included tours of duty with UNDP Country Offices in China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and with UNDP’s regional offices for the Middle East and North Africa based in Egypt and Jordan. Prior to joining the UN, Mr. Khoday worked with government and community organizations in his home countries of Canada and India on issues of poverty reduction, ecological resilience, and community empowerment.
Mr. Khoday is a scientist and lawyer, holding a Juris Doctorate specializing in constitutional, international, and environmental law; a Master of Science in natural resource management focused on land and water systems, and a Bachelor of Science in agriculture specializing in biodiversity and ecological change. The UNDP Resident Representative is a frequent speaker at international conferences and policy dialogues on the development agenda and a recognized thought leader on strategic issues such as climate change, ecosystem resilience, constitutionalism, postcolonial and decolonial theory, and resilience-based approaches to development, having published extensively on these and other issues.
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