Road Town, October 24, 2019 – Tortola – Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Andrew A Fahie, has signaled his intention to strengthen ties with the rest of the Caribbean Community, noting that there will be business and job opportunities in his country due to an aggressive development thrust.
In a statement on October 23, Fahie called on local and regional entrepreneurs and innovators to use apply their creativity to identify the business opportunities that will be emerging as development on the British Overseas Territory takes off, so that they can tap into those opportunities.
“My message to local and regional business interests is to prepare yourselves. If your venture requires a foreign partner, find one now and start the process. If you are foreign based and you have something the BVI needs, make your BVI connection. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of opportunities for getting involved,” Fahie said.
Two years after being devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the BVI has made significant strides in recovery and is working on a development programme that will make its infrastructure, economy and people more resilient to sudden and dramatic events in the tourism and financial services industry, which are its two main economic engines. Fahie, whose Virgin Islands Party (VIP) won the general election last February, is looking to increase the country’s revenue from those two sectors, while encouraging the development of new industries that will diversify the BVIs economy.
The implementation of economic substance legislation, coupled with the BVI’s tourism strategy, is driving up rivals into the country. The BVI Government has also indicated its intention to diversify its tourism thrust into areas such as hosting meetings, conferences, training, education, medical services and other sporting events besides its annual regattas.
This growth is driving a demand for goods and services, and Fahie says while his primary goal is to ensure that BVIslanders and local businesses benefit as much as possible from this activity, excess demand will have to be supplemented with help from outside – starting with the BVI’s CARICOM neighbours who face similar challenges and circumstances.
“Our CARICOM neighbours have a lot to offer in terms of manufactured goods, professional services, skilled labour and partnerships that will have mutual benefits. The Caribbean region is very strong if our countries and our people work together,” Fahie said, adding that he intends to invite regional government and business leaders to examine the dynamics of opening up intra-regional trade.
“We will be reaching out to the leaders in the region and business organizations to let them know that the BVI is serious about doing business and we are open for business. We need lumber, aggregates, construction materials, foodstuff and other products, which can be easily accessed by establishing an ocean freight trade route from Guyana, through Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica, the Virgin Islands and also Jamaica. A rising tide will lift all boats, and the BVI will take the lead in developing this,” he said.
He added, “Our mission today must be to spark a transformation locally and regionally and create an environment where all of our people enjoy a high quality of life, characterized by a feeling of reasonable happiness, comfort and security; where they occupy sustainable jobs in the careers of their choosing; where our people, especially the young ones, have easy access to the opportunities for education, training and development so that they can pursue their dreams; and where they can get high value for their earnings.”
The BVI, known as “Nature’s Little Secrets”, is a cluster of about 50 islands and cays located just east of Puerto Rico. It has the reputation of being one of the more prosperous states in the Caribbean and Latin America region. It boasts a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.027 billion (2017 est.) with an estimated per capita GDP of $34,246. As one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, the BVI attracts over 1 million tourists annually including about 400,000 overnight visitors, due to its pristine beaches, scenic locations, and its ideal location for sailing, snorkeling and diving. The BVI is considered the sailing capital of the world and a very popular destination for Old Years’ Night parties.
Release: BVI Government
Photo Caption: Road Town, Tortola two years after hurricane Irma
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.”
Sandals Resorts International Offers a Travel Industry-First with New Sandals Vacation Assurance Program Included in All Reservations
Guests of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts Book Worry-Free with new Flight Protection,
a Free Trip Replacement For the Unexpected and more
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, September 21, 2021 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the parent company of the Caribbean’s leading luxury all-inclusive resort brands Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, announces the introduction of Sandals Vacation Assurance, the industry’s most comprehensive vacation protection program featuring an industry-first guarantee of a free replacement vacation including airfare for guests impacted by COVID-19 related travel interruptions.
According to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, the new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is designed to take the worry out of travel, giving guests certainty that their investment in an all-inclusive luxury vacation is safeguarded from interruptions outside of their control. “We want to put the fun and joy of planning and anticipating a great vacation back into travel. While we recognize the real concerns that may weigh on our guests’ minds, we’re taking extraordinary measures to remove worry from the equation so travelers can delight in the entire travel journey – from booking to departure,” said Stewart.
All current and new reservations made now through December 31, 2021, for travel until December 31, 2022, will automatically receive the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Protection at no charge.
Benefits of the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Program:
- Replacement Vacation if a trip is interrupted while on vacation – INCLUDED
- Replacement airfare credit for US travelers, up to $500 per person on the replacement vacation – INCLUDED
- Quarantine stays of up to 14 nights at no charge if required – INCLUDED
- COVID-19 testing to meet any government requirement from the comfort of the resort – INCLUDED
- Comprehensive Travel Protection Plan – Insurance is on US – INCLUDED
- Cancel anytime reservation policy, without penalties or added fees – 31 days or more for a 100% refund or within 30 days for a future travel date
- A Vacation Assurance Hotline should guests or travel advisors have any questions related to travel protocols or anything else related to COVID-19
- Assurance of industry-leading Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, implemented at all Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, to ensure heightened health and safety measures throughout their stay
The Sandals Vacation Assurance protection program complements the health and wellbeing procedures of the Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness which were introduced last year and detail the hundreds of daily actions taken to fully safeguard the entire guest journey. Stewart added, “Throughout our 40-year history, and especially during difficult times, we have always put guests first. Combined with our proven track record of health and safety, our new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is the guarantee our guests can count on. It’s another example that we will do whatever it takes to continue to earn their trust so they can focus on what truly matters: quality time in our beautiful Caribbean with the ones they love most.”
Certain restrictions apply. For more information, visit https://www.sandals.com/book-with-confidence/.
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