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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: $70 Extension for Sangster Airport Runway



Montego Bay, December 16, 2019 – Jamaica – The operators of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, have commenced work to extend the runway at a cost of US$70 million.

The project, for which ground was broken on Thursday (December 12), will entail, among other things, the length of the strip being increased from 2,662 metres to 2,940 metres.  The extension will facilitate the establishment of safety areas at either end of the runway and the installation of a jet blast screen intended to enhance the safe and effective use of the taxiway.

It is also expected to reposition the airport to accommodate larger, more powerful planes, while significantly reducing arrival and departure timelines. The development is slated for completion by the end of the third quarter of 2020.

Sangster International Airport is being operated by MBJ Airports Limited, under a 30-year concession agreement with the Government.  The entity is a subsidiary of the partnership between Mexican entity, GAP, and the Vantage Airport Group, headquartered in Canada.

Speaking at Thursday’s ceremony, Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, said the programmed extension forms part of MBJ Airports’ capital improvement plan, designed to ensure the facility’s continued compliance with local and international aviation safety and security standards.

Mr. Montague said that in order to ensure the project’s sustainability, the requisite enabling works that are integral to the undertaking will be executed.

“There will be additional metres of safety zones, which will bring the runway into compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards. It is, indeed, a comprehensive overhaul that [will amount] to a far safer and more efficient airport,” the Minister further stated.  These inputs, he pointed out, are expected to enhance the safety protocol to facilitate heavier aircraft.

Mr. Montague noted that since Sangster Airport’s privatisation in 2003, “every effort has been made [by the operators] to ensure that there continues to be significant improvement [to the facility]”, the third largest in the region.  

“The airport serves as the primary gateway to Jamaica and facilitates the transit of more than 85 per cent of tourists arriving on the island and served a total of over 4.54 million passengers in 2018,” he informed.

Mr. Montague said the new runway will guarantee the arrival of bigger planes and more visitors, adding that “tourism and other related services will benefit tremendously”.   He further contended that it will have a domino effect that revolutionises the entire travel experience to Montego Bay and, ultimately, boost Jamaica’s economy.

“It is indeed a great milestone and should be recognised nationally as a remarkable contribution to Jamaica’s economic prosperity.”

He said that with the ability to cater to larger, more powerful planes, the time in the air will now be drastically reduced for aircrafts using our airspace and runway.

Mr. Montague assured that the Ministry remains committed to making Jamaica’s aviation industry the best in the world, whilst attracting record-breaking numbers of visitors.

Contact: Garwin Davis

Release: JIS

Photo Caption:

Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (centre), converses with Member of Parliament for Central St. James, Heroy Clarke (left), during Thursday’s (December 12)  ceremony to break ground for US$70-million Sangster International Airport runway extension project in Montego Bay, St. James. Also pictured is outgoing Chief Executive Officer of MBJ Airports Limited Dr. Rafael Echevarne.

Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (centre), breaks ground for the US$70-million Sangster International Airport runway extension project in Montego Bay, St. James, on Thursday (December 12). Also participating (from left) are: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, Audley Deidrick; Project Director for Surrey Paving Aggregate, Michael Archer; Member of Parliament for Central St. James, Heroy Clarke; and Chief Executive Officer of MBJ Airport Limited, Dr. Rafael Echevarne.

Garwin Davis Photos

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Caribbean News

ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021



Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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Bahamas News

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 News

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.”

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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