#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.
Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses
Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.
The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).
Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”
Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”
BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.
BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.
The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.
Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.
Storm Chasers Gear Up !
#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – In the unfortunate event of a hurricane when most people are huddled in bed there’s a group of around 287 people across The Bahamas and soon to come, the Turks and Caicos islands who are in the storm working keenly to provide invaluable insight to meteorologists about the real life impact and intensity of weather events. This is already benefiting The Bahamas department of meteorology, and very soon the Turks and Caicos Islands will also stand to gain. The origin group is Stormwatch Bahamas, which is moving assertively now to hatching Stormwatch Turks and Caicos. We spoke to Craig Lowe, Founder and Storm Rescue Unit Captain for The Bahamas.
“It’s all about growing the weather community and protecting the public.” he explained.
That depends on much needed partnerships with locally emergency agencies. This weekend for the first time a Skywarn Instructor from the National Weather Service will be training both teams to take on the huge task of becoming a Storm Chaser. TCI is already equipped with the president and several volunteers but Lowe says they are always accepting more.
Bahamas Record Tourism Arrivals 2023
#Bahamas#Tourism, February 27th, 2024 – The Bahamas tourism sector set a new tourism record with over 9 million arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation. Air arrivals climbed by 17 percent and cruise arrivals 43.5 percent. This indicates a 38 percent increase over 2022, solidifying The Bahamas as a sought after destination in the Caribbean.
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