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Bahamas: WHO Declares the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

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#NASSAU, The Bahamas – January 31, 2020 — Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Pearl McMillan said that up to the time of the Ministry’s press conference, January 30, 2020, there had been no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in The Bahamas.

Dr. McMillan said, “The Ministry of Health has been following the guidance of international partners, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ensuring that our borders, health agencies and all stakeholders are prepared to respond in the event we are faced with a case.

“This situation is evolving, and today, after the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee, the WHO has declared the new corona virus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

The CMO explained that following the level three travel advisory issued by the United States CDC concerning the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China, along with travel restrictions in France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Jamaica and other sovereign nations, the Government of The Bahamas has implemented a travel ban, restricting all travel from China to The Bahamas. 

“Effectively immediately, any non-resident regardless of nationality who has visited China in the last 20 days will be denied entry into the country. 

“All residents returning to The Bahamas will be strictly quarantined and monitored for development of symptoms for the duration of the incubation period with a maximum of 14 days.”

Dr. McMillan stated that the WHO’s current recommendation is against all non-essential travel for persons to China at this time.

“The Ministry of Health, therefore, recommends that persons who MUST travel in that region, take precautions to protect themselves by avoiding direct contact with sick people and products that come from animals.

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“Be diligent, pay attention and equip yourself with travel advisory information related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus before you travel.  If during, or after your travel symptoms of respiratory illness are experienced, you are encouraged to immediately contact a medical provider who will guide you as to your next steps.

She added, “Be ready to give your full travel history to health care providers.  As mentioned, all persons returning to The Bahamas from China will be quarantined.”

Common signs of infection with this virus involve respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe respiratory distress, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of this infection include frequent, proper hand washing and use of hand sanitizer; covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing preferably with the elbow and sleeve; thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The CMO noted that the Ministry of Health is working closely with all government departments, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that there is a coordinated and effective response. 

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Pearl McMillan (centre) said that up to time of the Ministry of Health press conference, January 30, 2020, there had been no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in The Bahamas. Also pictured are Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands and PAHO Representative to The Bahamas, Dr. Esther de Gourville. (BIS Photo/Llonella Gilbert)

“The Ministry has hosted a series of 2019 Novel Coronavirus sensitization meetings with our internal and external stakeholders and have met with representatives from Tourism, Nassau Airport Development Company, Civil Aviation, Border Control, Customs, Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.  We have ongoing briefings with the Prime Minister.”

PAHO Representative to The Bahamas, Dr. Esther de Gourville explained that as yet there is no treatment to cure the novel coronavirus infections and there is no vaccine to prevent infections.

She said infected persons are being given supportive treatment to deal with their symptoms and it is should be noted that this is a very dynamic situation and the number of reported cases around the world is changing daily.

PRESS RELEASE, BIS, LLONELLA GILBERT

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PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman

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By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis


NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Tourism Minister commends 153 newly certified Lifeguards

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From: Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas —  “The breathtaking beaches and pristine waters are among the top reasons travellers visit our country. As a leading tourism destination that places the highest priority on the safety and security of its guests, lifeguards play a crucial role in the tourism industry of The Bahamas,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper as keynote speaker at the Lifeguard Certification Graduation Ceremony, May 29, 2024 at Fox Hill Community Centre.

“I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate the outstanding accomplishment of our newly certified lifeguards.

“Tonight marks the successful completion of lifeguard training of 153 candidates total: 134 from New Providence and 19 from Eleuthera. My understanding is that 64 of the graduates are present with us this evening. The others could not come because they have already secured employment on islands outside of New Providence. That is great news!”

He noted that the graduates have all made a substantial investment of time and effort to fully equip themselves to take on the critical role of lifeguard.

They each undertook 30 hours of training led by American Lifeguard Association certified trainer and examiner Lisa Nixon. From this training, they took away the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute their duties as first class lifeguards. In addition to training in lifeguard skills, they completed 40 hours of BahamaHost training which schooled them in the science of gold standard customer service.

In welcoming them aboard ‘Team Tourism,’ he said: “Graduates, you are coming aboard Team Tourism in the best of times, at a time when our tourism industry is experiencing phenomenal growth. Last year, The Bahamas broke all pre-existing records, reaching an historic high of 9.65 million in visitor arrivals.

“You are joining Team Tourism at a time when our tourism industry is in full expansion in resort development and cruise line investments.  Lifeguards are in great demand at the numerous resorts across The Islands of The Bahamas, on the private islands of our cruise line partners, and our major public beaches.”

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper left the graduates with these messages:

“You will be playing a critical role in our nation’s number one industry. We, collectively, have the deepest appreciation and respect for your contribution to the tourism sector, the sector that powers our country’s economy, providing 60 percent of the employment and 50% of the GDP. Your job as lifeguards is in service to our nation, ensuring the highly valued sense of safety among our guests and residents.

“You each already possess deep deposits of the five key characteristics required to be outstanding lifeguards. I humbly ask that you make a commitment to continually cultivate the quality of reliability, sharpen your communication skills, enhance your leadership skills, update your lifeguard skills and be professional at all times.”

He thanked family and friends for their support of the graduates, and those who played a role in assisting the graduates attain certification.

 

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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CIBC Caribbean Announces Walk for the Cure 2024 with $66,000 Donation

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Nassau, Bahamas – On the other side of the thousands of supporters who participate in CIBC Caribbean’s fun-filled Walk for the Cure (WFTC) event every October are the cancer care organizations that use the funds raised to provide essential services all year long.

During the bank’s launch of Walk for the Cure 2024, the $66,000 generated during last year’s walk was presented to the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Groups of New Providence and Grand Bahama, Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Cancer Societies of Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama, Cancer Association of Grand Bahama and GD Sharing and Caring.

CIBC Caribbean’s Managing Director, Dr. Jacqui Bend, highlighted that the event is “more than just a fundraiser because for many, it is a lifeline of hope.”

“Walk for the Cure provides essential care ranging from scans and exams to support for everyday necessities. Over the past 12 years, we have been privileged to support countless courageous survivors, enhancing the lives and well-being of those battling cancer, their families, and the dedicated organizations that serve them,” said Dr. Bend.

Since its inception, Walk for the Cure has raised nearly four million dollars regionwide, significantly aiding the fight against cancer. In less than five months, WFTC will again span New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthera, the four islands where CIBC Caribbean has a presence in The Bahamas.

GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member, Anita Rolle, said, “We express our heartfelt gratitude to CIBC Caribbean for its extraordinary support and commitment to the fight against cancer. It is because of partners like CIBC Caribbean that we continue to make strides in our mission.”

She added, “This donation serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose.”

CIBC Caribbean encourages individuals, families, and corporate teams to join in the meaningful cause. Individuals and groups can register by visiting any CIBC Caribbean branch or by emailing WalkForTheCureBAH@cibcfcib.com. Donations can be made at any CIBC Caribbean branch or through the CIBC Caribbean app.

 

Photo Caption

Standing from left to right are Anita Rolle, GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member; Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group President; Dr. Jacqui Bend, CIBC Caribbean Managing Director; Susan Roberts, Cancer Society of The Bahamas founder; Glenda Whylly, CIBC Caribbean Senior Manager in the Managing Director’s Office and Dr. Williamson Chea, Cancer Society of The Bahamas President.

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