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2020 Great Abaco Classic to be played at The Royal Blue Golf Club at Baha Mar

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#Nassau, November 16, 2019 – The Bahamas – Sports, an international sports management company, announced today that the 2020 The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic will be moved to Royal Blue Golf Club at Baha Mar due to Hurricane Dorian’s impact on Great Abaco.

The Korn Ferry Tour tournament, which features 132 professionals vying in the year-long series to earn their PGA TOUR card, will be played Jan. 16-22 in its traditional role as the second event of the new season, following The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, which is played the week before at Sandals Emerald Bay.

“We look forward to welcoming The Great Abaco Classic to The Royal Blue Golf Club in January,” said Graeme Davis, President, Baha Mar. “Everyone at Baha Mar is committed to the recovery and rebuild of the Abacos and we knew how important it was to keep this tournament in the beautiful nation of The Bahamas until its return to Great Abaco.”

Hurricane Dorian created catastrophic damage as a Category 5 hurricane – the strongest storm to ever hit The Bahamas – when it slammed into the Abacos on Sept. 1. The Abaco Club, where the event has been played the past three years, officially re-opened this month, but the hurricane took aim on Marsh Harbour, the island’s largest town, and left nearly every home and business damaged. Progress on rebuilding Abaco is underway, as evidenced by the reopening of Maxwells last week, one of the island’s only grocery stores. But the island needs time to recover before housing nearly 500 visitors for a week, which includes golfers, caddies, tournament officials, broadcast production staff, and fans.

Of the relocated tournament, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar remarked, “In ensuring that the Great Abaco Classic takes place, in spite of the devastation to its original venue, Abaco, our partners, the PGA TOUR and bdG Sports, have shown genuine commitment to The Bahamas and our people, a gesture which we deeply appreciate. The relocated Great Abaco Classic will find a welcome home at Baha Mar’s Royal Blue Golf Club and will certainly live up to the reputation it has established as Abaco’s premier golf tournament.”

The resort destination of Baha Mar is situated across 1,000 acres along the north shore of New Providence Island, in Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas. Baha Mar is home to three iconic hotel brands, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, SLS Baha Mar and Rosewood Baha Mar, as well as a collection of unparalleled offerings and experiences including the largest casino in the Caribbean; over 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges; luxury shopping, and more.  The Royal Blue Golf Club at Baha Mar is the first and only Jack Nicklaus design in The Bahamas. Spanning nearly 7,200 yards, Royal Blue Golf Course’s front nine features water-lined fairways and glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean, while the back nine navigates dense jungle until the island green at the par-3 16th hole on Lake Cunningham.

“Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin and her team at the PGA TOUR were adamant about making the necessary investments to ensure this tournament happened,” said Brooks Downing, Chief Executive Officer at bdG Sports. “And thanks to the tremendous support of both Mr. Davis and Minister D’Aguilar, we are going to utilize this platform to make sure that the Abaco rebuilding effort remains front and center.”

As in years past, and mirroring the Great Exuma Classic, the event is played using a unique Sunday-Wednesday format, allowing for maximum exposure while also appealing to the guests who can participate on the weekend in the official pro-am, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18.

With the change, the event will officially be called “The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar.” And in addition to the global exposure, proceeds from the event will be donated to relief efforts in Abaco.

Bahamas Showcase Basketball Moved to Baha Mar

The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase, an NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, has been moved from Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium to the Baha Mar Convention Center, organizers announced today. The eight-team tournament, now in its third year in Nassau, is scheduled to be played Nov. 22-24, 2019, but has been relocated given that Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium has been serving as a shelter for a number of people from Abaco and Grand Bahama who were displaced by Hurricane Dorian. The Category 5 hurricane hit the northern Bahamas on Sept. 1, damaging a large number of homes and businesses with gusts up to 220 mph, sea surge that rose to 24 feet and more than 48 inches of rain in some areas.

“With the national gymnasium serving a greater purpose, we are fortunate that Baha Mar was in a position to welcome this event at the resort on the same dates,” said Brooks Downing, CEO of bdG Sports, the event owner and operator. “For the prior two years, we have housed our eight participating teams at Baha Mar, so our teams will love the convenience of a stay-and-play model. We’re also fortunate that Baha Mar has recently made an investment and plans to do more basketball programming at the resort, so the move has been seamless.”

The resort played host to the Memphis men’s basketball program in August, as it played games there on a foreign exhibition tour.

“Basketball, both collegiate and professional, is close to the hearts of many Bahamians, and teams from the U.S. have been some of the strongest supporters of Baha Mar since the resort first opened,” said Graeme Davis, President, Baha Mar. “We could not pass up the chance to partner with Ministry of Tourism to Showcase and continue to host this incredible event at home in the Bahamas.” 

The tournament’s first-round action on Friday, Nov. 22, will feature Liberty vs. Morgan State, Rice vs. Milwaukee, UMKC vs. George Washington and Evansville vs. East Carolina. The semifinals and consolation will follow on Saturday with the championship, third-place, fifth-place and seventh-place games on Sunday.

(L-R) Photo from  left: Jeff Rodgers , MOTA; Graeme Davis, Baha Mar;  the Hon Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation; and Brooks Downing, CEO BDG Sports.  (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs

Release: BIS

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Celebrates World Tourism Day

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#TheBahamas, September 28, 2021 – “This year, World Tourism Day has been designated as a day to focus on inclusive growth through tourism, which is quite poignant,” said Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “Like many Caribbean destinations, tourism is the heartbeat of The Bahamas and as we say, it is everyone’s business. Our beaches are breathtaking, and the water is so clear you can see it from space, but that is not what defines us. Rather, it is every individual person who shapes the Bahamas experience and stands to benefit from tourism’s success. I am committed to creating jobs and opportunities for all Bahamians and to help our great nation heal.”

As international travel restrictions begin to ease, spurred by an increase in vaccine accessibility, The Bahamas is well positioned for continued recovery. A rise in scheduled airlift combined with the return of the cruise industry is contributing to a positive increase in visitor numbers, leading to nearly 500,000 visitors over the first six months of the year.

“While we have faced an uphill battle during these unprecedented times, we must stay focused and optimistic as the world begins to reopen,” noted the Deputy Prime Minister. “I join with leaders throughout the Caribbean to elevate the importance of social inclusion, sustainability and smart destinations and businesses. Our beautiful country, and our beloved Caribbean region, will prosper again and continue to progress, as in the words of the motto of The Bahamas:  Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.”

 

Photo Credit: Sandals.com

 

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Lyford Cay Foundations Award Academic Scholarships to 18 Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 27, 2021 – Eighteen Bahamians who are committed to making a difference in The Bahamas in fields ranging from mitigating climate change to ending physical abuse have been awarded generous undergraduate and graduate school scholarships from the Lyford Cay Foundations.

Today’s announcement of the names of academic awardees follows earlier news that for the first time in its 50+ year history, the Foundations saw the majority of successful applicants for vocational scholarships chose training and certification in medical or health-related subjects – perhaps inspired by the great health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both groups, academic and technical vocational, were outstanding this year, making the work of the independent screening committees more challenging than ever and many of the students who applied were so impressive that they were also being offered substantial scholarships from top universities, all of which speaks for the quality and reputation of students from The Bahamas,” said Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Executive Director. “What was of particular interest this year is the common thread in their essays, almost like a fire burning in them – a desire to make a difference in The Bahamas when they return.”

One of those recipients, Empress Sears, a graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, is off to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto with a William Birchall Scholarship. “An issue we as Bahamians should all be concerned about is the lack of attention given to our natural resources,” Sears wrote in her essay. “Our beaches, mangroves, pine forests, and coral reefs are in a state of peril….Overproduction of air pollutants has caused the temperature to steadily climb worldwide. The results of this come in the form of sweltering heat and devastating hurricanes. These effects play a major role in why our natural resources are under extreme stress. It is our duty as Bahamians to seek out the best possible methods to reduce the severity of these natural disasters.”

Two other recipients, Jasmine Adamson and Paul Roberts, plan to tackle the energy problem, focusing on renewables, Roberts at University of California, Berkley, and Adamson at Kettering University.

Another, Rhodricia Francis, was inspired by her own family’s experience to become a pharmaceutical chemist. “I believe that Bahamians deserve access to better treatments and medications,” she wrote. “As a pharmaceutical chemist, I will develop novel, effective drugs with minimal side effects and investigate more efficient methods to synthesize current drugs. Efficiency in drug creation will make medication more accessible to the general population.”

Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Basil Goulandris cited the variety of interests and ambition as “extraordinary.”

“Every year, we think how can next year’s applicants equal this year’s and every year, new applicants surprise us,” he said. “This year, the applicants showed interest in a wide variety of subjects that were very demanding and an extraordinary ambition to make The Bahamas even better.”

Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Tim Unwin agreed.

“When you look at the fields of study and the quality of the scholarship recipients for 2021-22, you have to feel that the future of The Bahamas is in good hands,” Unwin declared. “Upon their return to The Bahamas, these wonderful students will find many opportunities to give effect to their vision.

 The Foundations awarded $380,000 in scholarships this year to 26 new recipients in addition to the 27 ongoing scholarships allowing Bahamians to study throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The Foundations have awarded more than $50 million in education benefits to Bahamians along with helping to support non-profits, with an emphasis on those that contribute to education.

Recipients of this year’s new undergraduate scholarships include Paul Roberts – Physics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jasmine Adamson – Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University; Zion Virgil – Chemistry, Florida Southern College; Rhodricia Francis – Chemistry, Florida International University; Jaleah Taylor – Visual Arts/Communications, Media and Film, University of Windsor; Kiara Minnis – Computer Science Degree with Cooperative Education, Lakehead University; Ashanti Marshall – English and Art, St. Francis Xaviers; Shealyn Burrows – Chemistry, St. Mary’s University; Tyler Christie – Biology, St. Mary’s University; Dacacia Russell – Accounting, Mount Royal University; Chandler Darville – Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto; Alexander Baxter – Management, University of Toronto; Asya Johnson – Computer Science, University of New Brunswick; Empress Sears – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto.

Those working toward graduate degrees include :  Leandria Albury – Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota; Felecia Campbell – Child and Youth Care, Holland College; Lemuel Johnson – Trumpet Performance, Western Illinois University; and Clarence Albury – Creative Writing, Witchita State University.

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Bahamas Prime Minister Speaks at 76th Session of UN General Assembly

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SATURDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2021

“Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to

the needs of the planet, respect the rights of

people and revitalize the United Nations” Introduction

 

 

#TheBahamas, September 26, 2021 – Esteemed Colleague Heads of State and Heads of Government, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres;

President of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives:

On September 16th, Bahamian citizens took to the polls to make their voices heard.   It is an honour to meet with you fewer than ten days after this peaceful exercise of the democratic process.

I wish to extend congratulations to the

Maldives, a sister Small Island Developing State, on their election to the helm of this General Assembly. Know that you will find The Bahamas to be a strong, engaged and thoughtful partner for the road ahead.

We also congratulate Secretary-General Gutteres on his re-election to a second term, and wish him every success.

Colleagues, we are meeting at a most extraordinary time. We come here from different corners of the earth, with our theme — “building resilience through hope” – reflecting our shared determination to pivot from crisis to opportunity.

These crises are inter-connected and multifaceted, and need a global response.    We must collaborate to end the Covid-19 pandemic and address public health issues.

We must co-operate to mitigate the effects of climate change.

And access to development financing must be equitable and fair.

An inadequate response to these issues will have dire consequences for the global economy.

 

Collaborating to End the Pandemic

The world has changed enormously since we first learned about the COVID-19 virus.

This crisis made abundantly clear what has always been true: we’re all in this together.

In every country, we have lost loved ones. We have seen our healthcare workers battle bravely. We have contended with disruption, uncertainty, and grief.

We have benefited from extraordinary cooperation and achievements in science, but we also had to contend with misinformation and disinformation,  and insufficient attempts to curb bad actors propagating the same. Bad information has flowed across borders, undermining public health and public trust.

The pandemic has been very difficult for countries like mine. We face an extraordinary need for new resources in health and education and housing just as our economy is contracting dramatically.

Our inter-connected world means that we will only be safe when all countries, including mine, have the tools needed to fight this virus.

This requires the equitable distribution of vaccines. That includes distribution to Small Island Developing States, who are not manufacturers. Stockpiling for self-preservation is a fallacy.

You will only be safe when we are all safe!

I wish to thank the Government and People of the United States for their donations of vaccines to The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region.

This gift, alongside donations received previously from India, China, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica, will save many Bahamian lives. This is in addition to the ongoing support of PAHO, CARPHA and the COVAX facility and the regional collaboration among CARICOM countries.

But this is still not enough. We need more. Our demand for vaccines has significantly outstripped supply.

Along with vaccines, it is important that safe treatments and therapeutics, are made accessible and designated as public goods. We need to fortify critical global supply chains, and distribution mechanisms, so that we can win this battle, and be better prepared for the next one.      You will only be safe, when we are all safe!    The Bahamas joins those reiterating the need to fully fund the ‘Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’ and its COVAX facility. And we reiterate our alignment with CARICOM’s call for continued high-level engagement to urgently address access to vaccines.

When vaccines are deployed to reduce transmission, everyone is made safer –  not just the direct recipient.  We can, by doing so, reduce the opportunities for new and more dangerous variants to emerge. This virus is  global and requires a global response. COP26 Matters/ Disasters Response

Colleagues, even before COVID-19 shut down my country’s borders, we were dealing with a catastrophic shock to our economy and our country.

Two years ago this month, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic caused catastrophic damage to our islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Hurricane Dorian was strengthened by waters that were well above average temperatures; the earth’s changing climate means that hurricanes like Dorian linger longer and cause more damage.

The devastation caused by this storm is part of our country’s landscape; the physical and emotional wreckage are still with us.

Recently I spoke with a woman who lost her husband and her three children in the storm. Every rainfall is a reminder of the horror. How can we continue to do nothing in the face of such tragedy?

The very worst thing about Dorian is our sense of foreboding – our sense that this hurricane, which took so much from so many – is only the beginning.

None of us believe this is a once-in-a-generation storm. Instead, we know it is a nightmare that could easily recur – tomorrow, next week, next month.

To any leader who believes we still have plenty of time to address climate change, I invite you to visit Abaco and Grand Bahama.

For island nations such as ours, climate change is here. And is a real and present danger.

Before Hurricane Dorian in 2019, we faced hurricanes: in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017.  We cannot survive this “new normal”.

Thus, we are not here to call for measured steps. We are here to say that big and radical change is the only response that can save our country. We are out of time.

We stand with CARICOM countries and Small Island Developing States to remind the world that those who are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report warned that avoiding the worst outcomes requires immediate action; this is, as the Secretary-General noted, a ‘Code Red’ moment.

Our countries disproportionately bear the burden of the “Recovery Trap”, in which we attempt to rebuild to the tune of billions – billions we never had, even before COVID.

 

Colleagues, in a few short weeks, we will meet in Glasgow, Scotland.

The 26th Climate Change Conference cannot be like the twenty-five that preceded it – we cannot pretend that incremental change is sufficient. We cannot set goals we have no intention of meeting. We cannot keep postponing the change we need for countries like mine to survive.

If we are the serious leaders these times require, we must raise our ambitions, and make real commitments to cut emissions.

We must make real progress on bridging the divides in investment, and access-to-technology and skills, especially in areas relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation.

We must strengthen technical assistance for creating, nationally-determined contribution (NDC) commitments, along with commensurate ‘implementation financing’.

We must give teeth and substance to the mechanism for loss and damage if it is to be a meaningful tool for supporting fair recovery, and not simply an exercise in defining and highlighting disaster risk.

Along with our sister nations in CARICOM,

The Bahamas calls for greater climate financing and the need for more engagement and progress on a Climate Investment Platform.

And, as a matter of priority, more innovative financing and debt solutions are needed, including debt for climate adaptation swaps. We also look forward to the capitalization of a Caribbean Resilience Fund. We also need adequate resourcing and timely access to the ‘Green Climate Fund’ and the ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’.

In our just-concluded campaign, we called for new renewable energy initiatives in our own country. We are going to build structural and economic resilience, in a green recovery, with plans to invest in climate-smart infrastructure and environmental protection.

The Bahamas will lead on wetland and ocean preservation, and we will seek re-election to the International Maritime Organization. We look forward to the Biodiversity Conference

next month; we are committed to the successful conclusion of negotiations towards an international treaty to conserve marine bio-diversity.  Advancing an MVI/ Affordable, Accessible Development Financing

Colleagues, the compounding impact of economic, environmental, and now public health shocks, means that access to affordable finance will be the real driver of progress in the near and long term.

The global development financing gap for meeting Sustainable Development Goals by

2030, estimated in 2019 to be $2.5 trillion, is only increasing.

Today we reiterate our country’s support for the inclusion of a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index in the decision-making of international financial institutions, and the international donor community.

On a related front, we believe that access to the global financial system and tax cooperation should not be undermined: by ad hoc and consistently shifting and arbitrary goal posts, and threats of exclusion from the global economy.

Financial Services is a crucial component of the Bahamian economy. We see an indispensable role for the UN in leveraging its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global antimoney laundering, de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

Cuba

On a separate note, I wish to convey The Bahamas’ rejection of the ongoing economic blockade of our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba.

Conclusion

As I conclude, I recall the words of our nation’s first Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, as he stood here 48 years ago this month, on the occasion of our nation’s accession to the United Nations.

He spoke about the journey of our people, from slavery to colonialism to sovereign independence.

He spoke of our country’s wish to be neither dominated nor coerced, and our wish to build friendships with nations who respected our freedom.

He could not have foreseen at that time the challenges we face today, with intensifying hurricanes and a deadly virus that has left no nation untouched. But he saw already that “no nation is an island unto itself” and spoke of the interdependence of all countries.    That interdependence has never been clearer.

Rest assured, colleagues, that in The Bahamas you will find a trusted partner, committed to moving forward on our collective goals for sustainable development, security, and peace.

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