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Abaco evacuee outraged by news reports; believes two thousand killed in hurricane



All photos from cell phone video shared over social media

#TheBahamas, September 6, 2019 — Abaco residents who have managed to get off the island following monster Hurricane Dorian are outraged at news reports which they say give a watered-down view of what is actually happening in the decimated northern Bahama island.

“Stop letting people lie to y’all and look at things with y’all third eye ya know. Any man walking with sense could know, no 20 f***kin’ bodies in Abaco…. Even if they say 200 bodies, they damn lying.”

In the voice note we received early Friday morning, a young man expresses his outrage at the wrong information, that people are believing that information and the lack of urgency for Abaco’s people who are suffering a second storm. 

“The media lying about the sh** bro, I just come from Abaco today… spread awareness about what happening over there buoy.”

He said his name is Uriel Simms and he encouraged use of that name in telling the story he characterizes as ‘the real truth’.

“I need everybody and dey Ma to send this voice note to every single person in Nassau. When I walk through the land in the eye of the storm, buoy people dead bodies was in the road like flies.  They lying about the amount of dead people in Abaco.”

It is difficult to ignore such an impassioned plea for the ‘real story’ to be told and it is increasingly difficult to authenticate information from officials. 

Magnetic Media has been enquiring of NEMA and Bahamas Information Services but has received nothing, so far.

Media reports both nationally and internationally are revealing the devastation, the heart-breaking stories of experiences during the storm, but four days on the cry is for practical help and that, Simms says is not coming.

“This a time to be hopping in ya friggin boat, hopping in one plane and flying ya ass to Abaco!”

Abaco needs all the help it can get said the civilian reporter who, in the two voice notes, focused largely on the death toll of the hurricane which pounded Abaco for two days – Sunday and Monday, this week.

Mr. Simms says he was told the morgue can hold 70 bodies; that capacity has long been surpassed, he said.  Simms is certain that hundreds of deceased people are between the morgue and the clinic.

“…they over-jam that buoy.  At least two thousand people dead in that storm.  I walk in the back of Great Cestern to see my family bro.  Bodies in the road like flies… you can see hands sticking out from under houses and t’ing where they get crush, buoy.”

Simms offered his understanding of the reported uprising of Haitians in Abaco; he said that story is also being told incorrectly.

“And it ain’t only no Haitians taking over, that’s only the portrayal the media like to give.  It’s Haitians and Bahamians doing that sh*t over there.  Buoy, that’s why the storm come, y’all too divided and t’ing buoy.  Haitians supposed to be our black brothers and sister and y’all hatin’ on them.  Try come together and lift one another up.”

The man said civilians managed to get guns out of the Ace Hardware store on Abaco island; he said there is looting. 

“White people walking up and down by their business trying to protect it with guns willing to shoot people buoy.”

Simms labelled it, “…a mad, mad world in Abaco.” For the first time since Hurricane Dorian’s approach and hit in the northwest Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis gave no national update.  Government and NEMA were silent on Thursday; more focused, publicly anyway, on the delegation of Caribbean leaders which came for a tour of the devastation.

UPDATED: Government today announced the death toll is at 30 people lost in Hurricane Dorian.

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

U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”



#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic



#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Bahamas News

The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation on Visitor Arrivals



#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism is extremely excited to announce that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers.
In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper praised The Bahamas’ performance and the work put in by industry professionals across the board.

“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than 7 million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year was no accident,” he said.

“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our Missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world.”

DPM Cooper forecasted that 2023 promises to shatter even pre-pandemic numbers as interest in the Bahamas and our brand reputation have never been stronger.

“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said. In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.

Nassau and Grand Bahama remained our most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and The Berry Islands remained our most popular destinations by sea.  Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019.  December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history.  Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than 1 percent below 2019 cruise arrivals.

Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019.
Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021.

The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021. The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

DPM Cooper confirmed that the last six months are the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen.  He firmly concluded by saying; “What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.”

Mrs. Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism added that everyone should understand that tourism is critical to our economy and all Bahamians, even those who do not directly work in the tourism industry, should always seek to lift the industry up.

“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year.”

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