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NEMA gets 10,000 meals-a-day assistance from RCCL for storm recovery

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#Freeport, GB, September 6, 2019 – Bahamas – International supplies for the residents of Grand Bahama who had been devastated by Hurricane Dorian began arriving in today, as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line brought in 10,000 cooked meals and water, along with boat loads of other food items and supplies.

Members of the international press were on hand for the arrival of the goods at the Freeport Harbour on Thursday morning.

“This is a coordinated effort on between Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and NEMA in Grand Bahama to assist victims of Hurricane Dorian disaster,” said President of the Senate, the Hon. Katherine Forbes-Smith, who is assisting the Government and NEMA in their restoration efforts.

“Royal Caribbean is one of our international partners who has had a working relationship with The Bahamas for some 40 years. So, they wanted to reach out and do what they could to assist Grand Bahama during this time.”

According to Alex De Roeck of Royal Caribbean, the effort is not a one-time affair.

“We will be delivering these 10,000 meals every day during the duration of this effort to be of service to the Grand Bahamian people,” said De Roeck, who works in hotel operations, RCCL Miami. “We will be diverting our cruise ships to this port every day to ensure that this effort continues.

“What will be happening is, we will provide the items and deliver them, but local Emergency officials will decide where they are to be delivered and distributed.

Thursday’s delivery of food items and supplies was accomplished by the Empress of the Seas.  Because of the possibility of debris in the water, the cruise ship did not dock at the harbor, but out to sea, where tug boats loaded the supplies and delivered them to waiting trucks on the dock.

Alex noted that this kind of humanitarian effort is a part of Royal Caribbean’s operational profile. Adding that the relationship between Royal Caribbean and the Bahamas has been a long, established one. “So, we try to reinvest in the local community and also try to assist that community when things like this happens.

“Because we have this long relationship with the islands, we want to do our part to support them and to get them back on their feet.”

While Royal Caribbean has most of its ships ported in Nassau, Alex said that the cruise line will use a different ship each day to make the trip to Grand Bahama to deliver the 10,000 meals.

He added that the company is seeking to set up a feeding kitchen on the island, but said that option was not concrete, as they have to work with NEMA to discuss the feasibility and location of such a kitchen.

Other items being donated by Royal Caribbean – in addition to the meals – include generators, blankets, towels, tissue, cereals, canned goods and other dry goods.

The joint effort was one which Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson had made mention of during his live update on ZNS on Wednesday evening, when he noted that a number of international companies, corporations and individuals have expressed their interest in doing what they can to assist Grand Bahama during this time of natural disaster.

“We have been in contact with many of those people and there is a huge desire by our international friends to do what they can to help us,” Minister Thompson said on Wednesday night. “Through NEMA, we are organizing to properly bring in the aid that is being offered and to ensure that they are properly distributed to the residents of Grand Bahama.”       

Minister Thompson, along with Deputy Prime Minister, K. Peter Turnquest and other Parliamentary representatives are all working with NEMA (GB) in the effort to help restore Grand Bahama following the devastation by Hurricane Dorian on Monday, September 1, 2019.

Packing winds of 185 miles per hour Hurricane Dorian pounded Grand Bahama for two days as its movement slowed down considerably over the island. Many residents lost their homes due to flooding and high winds.

Once the all clear had been given on Wednesday, September 4, NEMA and the Emergency Center have been busy with the work of restoration of the island.

By Andrew Coakley

Release: BIS

Photo Captions:

Header: Crew Members of Empress of the Seas cruise ship help to unload food items delivered to Grand Bahama as a part of relief efforts following devastation by Hurricane Dorian. In addition to dry goods, water, generators, blankets, etc, RCCL also delivered 10,000 cooked meals for residents of Grand Bahama.

1st Insert: President of the Senate, Kay Forbes-Smith (center, pink blouse), along with Tammy Mitchell from NEMA (left) look over the list of items expected to be delivered to Grand Bahama on behalf of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, which arrived on the island on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at Freeport Harbour.  At left, is a team of volunteers from RCCL, who helped to unload the items.

2nd Insert: Crew members and workers of Freeport Harbour helped to unload water donated to NEMA from RCCL as a part of Hurricane Relief efforts.

BIS Photos/Andrew Coakley

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PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman

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By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis


NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Tourism Minister commends 153 newly certified Lifeguards

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From: Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas —  “The breathtaking beaches and pristine waters are among the top reasons travellers visit our country. As a leading tourism destination that places the highest priority on the safety and security of its guests, lifeguards play a crucial role in the tourism industry of The Bahamas,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper as keynote speaker at the Lifeguard Certification Graduation Ceremony, May 29, 2024 at Fox Hill Community Centre.

“I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate the outstanding accomplishment of our newly certified lifeguards.

“Tonight marks the successful completion of lifeguard training of 153 candidates total: 134 from New Providence and 19 from Eleuthera. My understanding is that 64 of the graduates are present with us this evening. The others could not come because they have already secured employment on islands outside of New Providence. That is great news!”

He noted that the graduates have all made a substantial investment of time and effort to fully equip themselves to take on the critical role of lifeguard.

They each undertook 30 hours of training led by American Lifeguard Association certified trainer and examiner Lisa Nixon. From this training, they took away the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute their duties as first class lifeguards. In addition to training in lifeguard skills, they completed 40 hours of BahamaHost training which schooled them in the science of gold standard customer service.

In welcoming them aboard ‘Team Tourism,’ he said: “Graduates, you are coming aboard Team Tourism in the best of times, at a time when our tourism industry is experiencing phenomenal growth. Last year, The Bahamas broke all pre-existing records, reaching an historic high of 9.65 million in visitor arrivals.

“You are joining Team Tourism at a time when our tourism industry is in full expansion in resort development and cruise line investments.  Lifeguards are in great demand at the numerous resorts across The Islands of The Bahamas, on the private islands of our cruise line partners, and our major public beaches.”

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper left the graduates with these messages:

“You will be playing a critical role in our nation’s number one industry. We, collectively, have the deepest appreciation and respect for your contribution to the tourism sector, the sector that powers our country’s economy, providing 60 percent of the employment and 50% of the GDP. Your job as lifeguards is in service to our nation, ensuring the highly valued sense of safety among our guests and residents.

“You each already possess deep deposits of the five key characteristics required to be outstanding lifeguards. I humbly ask that you make a commitment to continually cultivate the quality of reliability, sharpen your communication skills, enhance your leadership skills, update your lifeguard skills and be professional at all times.”

He thanked family and friends for their support of the graduates, and those who played a role in assisting the graduates attain certification.

 

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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CIBC Caribbean Announces Walk for the Cure 2024 with $66,000 Donation

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Nassau, Bahamas – On the other side of the thousands of supporters who participate in CIBC Caribbean’s fun-filled Walk for the Cure (WFTC) event every October are the cancer care organizations that use the funds raised to provide essential services all year long.

During the bank’s launch of Walk for the Cure 2024, the $66,000 generated during last year’s walk was presented to the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Groups of New Providence and Grand Bahama, Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Cancer Societies of Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama, Cancer Association of Grand Bahama and GD Sharing and Caring.

CIBC Caribbean’s Managing Director, Dr. Jacqui Bend, highlighted that the event is “more than just a fundraiser because for many, it is a lifeline of hope.”

“Walk for the Cure provides essential care ranging from scans and exams to support for everyday necessities. Over the past 12 years, we have been privileged to support countless courageous survivors, enhancing the lives and well-being of those battling cancer, their families, and the dedicated organizations that serve them,” said Dr. Bend.

Since its inception, Walk for the Cure has raised nearly four million dollars regionwide, significantly aiding the fight against cancer. In less than five months, WFTC will again span New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthera, the four islands where CIBC Caribbean has a presence in The Bahamas.

GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member, Anita Rolle, said, “We express our heartfelt gratitude to CIBC Caribbean for its extraordinary support and commitment to the fight against cancer. It is because of partners like CIBC Caribbean that we continue to make strides in our mission.”

She added, “This donation serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose.”

CIBC Caribbean encourages individuals, families, and corporate teams to join in the meaningful cause. Individuals and groups can register by visiting any CIBC Caribbean branch or by emailing WalkForTheCureBAH@cibcfcib.com. Donations can be made at any CIBC Caribbean branch or through the CIBC Caribbean app.

 

Photo Caption

Standing from left to right are Anita Rolle, GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member; Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group President; Dr. Jacqui Bend, CIBC Caribbean Managing Director; Susan Roberts, Cancer Society of The Bahamas founder; Glenda Whylly, CIBC Caribbean Senior Manager in the Managing Director’s Office and Dr. Williamson Chea, Cancer Society of The Bahamas President.

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