#Freeport, GB, October 21, 2019 – Bahamas – Today the Government of The Bahamas signed a Heads of Agreement with Western Atlantic University of Medicine Ltd. for the establishment and operation of a University School of Medicine in Freeport.
The development represents a $64 million investment and will provide hundreds of construction and permanent jobs.
Prime Minister Minnis described Monday’s signing as an important part of the Hurricane Dorian recovery and reconstruction effort.
“This development represents a significant investment in Grand Bahama, the country’s second largest economy,” said the Prime Minister.
It is estimated that in the University’s first 10 years of operation, student and faculty spending on housing, food, entertainment, goods and on-island transportation, will provide a combined $200 million in revenue for Grand Bahama.
At the peak of construction, 150 jobs will be created.
During the full operation of the campus, approximately 200 permanent jobs will be created for Bahamians.
“This major development will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy over time, and provide direct and indirect opportunities for scores of residents,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
The development will include university-owned housing for faculty, staff and students on campus. It will also encompass: on-campus businesses, including a bookstore, cafeteria and a student center providing music, food, beverages, a copy center and related services.
Western Atlantic intends to build its own campus on land to be leased from the Public Hospitals Authority. A maximum of 50 acres will be leased in three tranches, based upon the University’s satisfaction of certain deliverables.
The campus will be developed in multiple phases over the next 10 years. The first three phases represent an investment of $64 million dollars. It will involve the construction of 98,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, lab facilities, maintenance, security and related spaces.
Construction will begin on the first phase by the end of this year.
During the construction phase, Western Atlantic has agreed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers.
Under the agreement, Western Atlantic will also work closely with the Government and local communities to develop training and professional development programs for Bahamians who want to work during the operation of the campus.
Approval to operate the campus will be contingent on the University obtaining accreditation from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), or an equivalent body.
Western Atlantic will also work toward receiving accreditation for its students to be able to practice medicine in the US, Canada and The Bahamas.
“This development has the potential to attract global talent and build international connections,” said the Prime Minister. “It also represents another opportunity to diversify our economy.”
Prime Minister Minnis pointed to signs of recovery progress on Grand Bahama, including of the reopening of the Grand Lucayan hotel and Port Lucaya, the return of cruise ship visitors and the restoration of essential utilities.
“We have a long road ahead of us for recovery and reconstruction, but we are making progress,” said Prime Miniser Minnis. “Today’s signing is yet another indication of the progress we are making together.
Release: Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Photo Caption: Signing of Heads of Agreement with Western Atlantic University of Medicine Ltd. for the establishment and operation of a University School of Medicine in Freeport. The signing ceremony took place on October 21, 2019 in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Pictured signing on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas is Secretary to the Cabinet Camille Johnson, and on behalf of the Developer is CEO, Western Atlantic University School of Medicine, Peter Goetz.
Government committed to swift and successful execution of strategic plans for GB
#TheBahamas, September 24, 2021 – Newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey arrived in Freeport on Friday, September 24, 2021 and spent her first official day in office, at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Grand Bahama Minister immediately talked about plans to revive the economy of Grand Bahama.
“Our island has been unbelievably challenged by natural disasters and a strained economy for far too long. However, despite our challenges, Grand Bahamians remain remarkably resilient. As your Minister, I am excited to journey with you as we recover, rebuild and revolutionize the island of Grand Bahama.”
The Davis Administration, she added, has implemented strategic plans to achieve this goal. Minister Moxey said that the government is committed to the swift and successful execution of those plans.
“The first thing I wanted to do was to get into office, because there is so much work to do,” said Minister Moxey. “There are so many people hurting in the community and there are so many projects that need to be tackled.
“We have the situation with the airport. We know that the Grand Bahama International Airport was sold to the government, so we have to get the ball rolling with that and develop a master plan for the airport. Of course there will be a lot of collaboration that’s involved. We have to meet with the private sector and the regulators.
“There is the situation with the Lucayan Resort and that is something that we will look into and try to figure out how to resolve the issues that may exist there. But we have a plan for the island in general.”
Minister Moxey noted that Grand Bahama had been in the doldrums long before Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 Pandemic, pointing out that the island’s economy began to go downhill from the passing of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and 2005.
She has vowed to work with diligence to begin delivering immediate social relief to Grand Bahamians and much-needed reconstruction on the island. It is envisioned that this will, in turn, assist in the government’s mission to stabilize the economy of Grand Bahama and create opportunities for Bahamians to thrive.
“In general, we want to empower Bahamians and to empower Grand Bahamians, because that is what will help us move forward,” Minister Moxey added. “It’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we would like the entire community to join us as we bring these objectives to pass.
“All that Grand Bahama needs will not happen overnight. It will take some time to get Grand Bahama to the place where we all would like to see it. So, we want the public to bear with us as we weed through all that has been going on.
“I’m about creating systems that allow for things to happen. We would like to see results, but we have to know what we need to put in place to get results. I love the island of Grand Bahama and the people of Grand Bahama. So, as I settle into this new role as Minister for Grand Bahama, I will do my best and work around the clock to turn things around.”
Minister Moxey said that she was proud to be the first woman to hold the title of Minister for Grand Bahama, and it is her hope that she would be able to inspire the future of women in leadership.
BIS Photos/Lisa Davis
Header: Newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey met with the press in her office at the Ministry of Grand Bahama on Friday, September 24, 2021.
Insert: Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (Grand Bahama), Mr. Harcourt Brown greeted newly appointed Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey upon her arrival at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday, September 24, 2021, during her first official day as the new minister.
Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance. The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections. However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.
68,000 STAYED AWAY
While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.
However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.
PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER
This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.
Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.
It could also be voter apathy.
BEST IN SHOW
Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.
North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.
VERY LOW SHOW
The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).
BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.
The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.
“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.
“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”
- Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
- Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
- Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
- Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
- Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
- Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
- Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
- Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
- Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.
“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.
Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.
“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are here to meet them head on.”
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