#Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas, October 14, 2019 — One of the oldest cultural events in The Bahamas, this year, did not happen; the annual Conch Cracking Competition in McClean’s Town experienced a tragic but necessary interruption; the 2019 staging of the event is yet another casualty of catastrophic Hurricane Dorian.
The storm which hit Grand Bahama on September 2, is clearly not over. The annual highlight in the eastern settlement of hurricane surge-swamped Grand Bahama Island is an economic booster, which has given the community distinction since 1972.
The competition was started in the fishing village by a teacher from England, Jeffrey Morgan, as a way to raise money for the school; it has grown to become the only competition of its kind in the Caribbean region, perhaps even the world.
An over 45-year tradition heartbreakingly halted and revealing the depth and width of the impact, even weeks later, of the most horrific hurricane in modern Bahamian history.
BahamasGeoTourism.com describes the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking this way: This annual homecoming event began in 1972 and attracts both domestic and international visitors, who enthusiastically vie for the coveted and authentically Bahamian designed conch trophy, awarded to the best Conch Cracker in the country. Contestants compete to see who can most swiftly extract [and clean the meat from] a given number of conchs. There is a competition for men, for women, for locals, and for visitors!”
It is true; there is no bigger galvanizing event in the East of Grand Bahama and tourism officials, to whom Magnetic Media spoke said the task of upholding the tradition this year was of mammoth proportions; there was simply too much to overcome in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian.
It is still untold how many died in east Grand Bahama and property damage losses, when tallied, are expected to be in the millions.
Drone video by Live Storms reveal that McClean’s Town, a cozy settlement sitting on a picturesque peninsula was smashed by the storm. Roofs gone, buildings bulldozed by the surge waters, others gutted and raided, vehicles turned wrong side up and forced into the ocean and there is debris.
Eastern Grand Bahama, with its ecological richness, is also where there was an oil spill.
Hundreds of residents and tourists would have now been preparing to take the hour-long drive back into Freeport after having watched or competed in the hammering open of conch shells to draw out the conch mollusk (conch cracking), or enjoyed the East’s signature coconut cocktail: Gully Wash or having dined on fresh seafood, including savory cracked lobster – for which east Grand Bahamian home chefs are acclaimed.
But this will all have to wait – we pray – for 2020, when the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking and the resilient people of the community can reveal a glorious bounce-back.
Traditionally, the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking Competition is held at the McClean’s Town school in October on the public holiday which is today identified, in The Bahamas, as National Heroes Day.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
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