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BAHAMAS: GBPA and Mercy Corps Launch Grant Programme to Help Local Economy RISE again

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Freeport, GB, 6 December, 2019 – The Bahamas – Micro, small and medium businesses now have access to much-needed funding as they prepare for the upcoming holiday season. The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), today, announced the “Restoring Industries and Sustaining Employment (RISE) Initiative, in collaboration with Mercy Corps (MC), a leading global humanitarian and development organization.

The RISE initiative will offer grants to at least 100 qualifying local businesses from across Grand Bahama, which have suffered losses as a direct result of Hurricane Dorian.  Grants up to $10,000 will be offered, with applicants having access to Mercy Corps’ ground-breaking MicroMentor programme, that pairs business owners with mentors in their sector, to help guide them forward.

According to GBPA Director Henry St. George, the RISE initiative comes as a direct result of GBPA’s post-Hurricane Dorian assessment of nearly 2,000 Licensees.

“Our post-Dorian SME assessment revealed some very sobering data. We learned that nearly 70% of licensees were either uninsured or underinsured; 55% suffered significant damage due to flooding, and while 60% of businesses have re-opened, they continue to struggle to acquire new inventory, replace damaged equipment, and operate in this testing environment.”

With this information in hand the GBPA recognised that their licensees needed support to mitigate these challenges, and needed it quickly. “Businesses that remain closed or that have been able to reopen only partially, need an immediate injection of capital. This help will assist the reestablishment of operations for many of them. Mercy Corps is known globally for its post-disaster recovery experience and we are delighted to be leveraging their expertise for this program and proud to be partnering with them on the RISE initiative.” stated St. George.

The RISE initiative will offer these grants over the next six-months, with applications starting from today. A vetting and approval committee comprised of GBPA, Mercy Corps, the GB Chamber of Commerce, and relevant sector specialists, will oversee the application process. Businesses can qualify for a grant of up to $10K based on the size of the company, the number of employees, the business sector, extent of damages, its viability and other factors.

Mercy Corps Country Director for The Bahamas, Pete Sweetnam, noted “Mercy Corps is delighted to be working in collaboration with GBPA on this initiative, to assist with rebuilding of the economy of Grand Bahama, as well as opening up vital employment opportunities. Mercy Corps is bringing its global expertise in the area of re-establishing viable businesses post disaster and making them more resilient. Building back Better. Our MicroMentor programme, which currently has some 69,000 entrepreneurs and 25,000 mentors across nearly 200 countries, promotes collaboration to overcome obstacles to entrepreneurial success, will be a part of the initiative and open to all businesses right across Grand Bahama.

Mercy Corps has brought considerable funding to the RISE initiative, including from the American Red Cross and is continuing to seek additional funding and new partners for it. This will enable even more businesses to restart, rebuild and thrive, bring more employment right across the island of Grand Bahama.”

The GBPA/MC partnership will place emphasis on small business training, inclusive of disaster recovery planning, post-disaster finance and marketing training, and insurance management. Its MicroMentor program for small businesses will provide essential post-recovery guidance to participating businesses for up to a year.

“We have just come through one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the history of The Bahamas, which dealt a crippling blow to our business community,” said Derek Newbold, GBPA Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama.  “It will take unique measures to rebuild, restore and recover what we as a nation have lost.  Our partnership with Mercy Corps is a great start to restoring the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.”

To download a copy of the RISE initiative, grant application please visit riseGBPA.com or visit GBPA HQ to collect a copy of this application.

Release: Grand Bahama Port Authority

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Government committed to swift and successful execution of strategic plans for GB

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#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.

“In commencing this role, I reiterate my pledge to inspire hope, enable opportunities and deliver results for the people of Grand Bahama,” Minister Moxey said during a press conference in her office.

“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.

 

PHOTO CAPTION

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.

 

 

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Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#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).

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BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#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.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • 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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