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Bahamas Department of Education holds Professional Development Workshops for Family and Consumer Science Educators



#NASSAU, The Bahamas – February 26, 2020 — Interpersonal and communication skills and preparation for certifications and internships are among the essentials that teachers must impress upon students in Family and Consumer Science said Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education, Career and Technical Education Section.

“Your degree does not make you qualified. Your experience speaks to what you are able to do and the lifelong field that you develop. It doesn’t matter if you have a Masters’ Degree or PH.D.   If you’ve never been in industry, you’re still coming in as a junior,” said Mrs. Bastian.

Simmone Bowe, Director, Human Resources, Ministry of Tourism, addresses educators during a panel discussion put on during Family and Consumer Science Education Unit Spring 2020 Professional Development Workshop.  Seated from left is Martysta Turnquest, Outreach Specialist, BahaMar; Ricardo Ramos, Global Organization Program Director, Air BnB; Suzanne Pattusch, Executive Vice President, Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association; Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education and Gadville McDonald, Executive Director, NTA. Other participants in the panel discussion are pictured seated.  
(BIS Photographer/Patrick Hanna)

“If they’re coming in to make beds, let them spend a day making beds. If they’re coming in to work the front office, let them spend a day working front of office.”

Mrs. Bastian was among a panel of industry professionals who participated in a discussion during Family and Consumer Science Education Unit Spring 2020 Professional Development Workshop put on by the Department of Education for public and private junior and senior high school teachers. The theme for the workshop was ‘Curriculum Implementation: Transitioning Students from School to Work and Beyond’.

She urged the teachers to be monitors and coaches, and to network with industry.

“We need our children to be coached into what we want them to be. They don’t leave high school as high school students, come to industry and be where they are, but if we have a relationship that’s on-going we are allowing them the opportunity to develop the kind of experiences they need.

“We want industry to tell us more of what it is you want them to come out with so we can push them in that direction. Collaboratively, we want to prepare the kind of students so industry is running, fighting to get them with joint partnerships,” she said.

Furthermore, Mrs. Bastian appealed to industry professionals to invest in teachers.

“You can only take students as far as you’ve been. You can talk about the experience because you’ve been a part of the experience. Whatever we want to see in our students we’ve provided the opportunity whether it’s through an agency like the National Training Agency (NTA) or the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

2020 Atlantic Hurricane Storm Names

Providing an overview of NTA, Gadville McDonald, Executive Director, said it is a competency based training organization that focuses on workforce development.

He said NTA partners with training providers and industry leaders to ensure that individuals are properly trained and prepared to contribute to the industry on day one.

 “We make sure they have NTA certificates at the end of completion but we [also] make sure they have international certification,” said Mr. McDonald.

“We’ve trained 600-850 students annually — who have not successfully completed high school and are not necessarily prepared for the workforce. We take them through 4 weeks of mandatory workforce preparation, ensure attitude and mindset are right – for the most part that is the number one challenge in our country.

“We’ve been successful over the last 5 years of training over 6,000 young Bahamians. More than 40% of them every year choose the hospitality industry,” said Mr. McDonald.

The panel also comprised industry professionals including Simmone Bowe, Director, Human Resources, Ministry of Tourism; Martysta Turnquest, Outreach Specialist, BahaMar; Suzanne Pattusch, Executive Vice President, Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association and Ricardo Ramos, Global Organization Program Director, Air BnB.

Representatives from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute and the National Restaurant Association participated in the two-day event held at C. C. Sweeting Senior High School.

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Bahamas News

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

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PM Davis ‘confident’ that Revenue Outturn will near $2.9 billion




Bahamas Information Services



#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 30, 2023 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said in the House of Assembly, on May 31, 2023, that public revenue receipts were strong over the nine-month period of July 2022 to March 2023, due to legislative reform, effective policy decisions, strengthened economic conditions and more efficient collection efforts.

“Analysis of the trends of the first three quarters of this fiscal year, and the years prior, suggest that the government is potentially set to exceed the $2.85 billion target set forth in the February 2023 Mid-year Supplementary Budget,” he said, during his Communication on Budget 2023.

“I am confident the revenue outturn at the end of the Fiscal Year 22/23 will near $2.9 billion.

Public spending has remained on track, and is well within the budgeted amount,” Prime Minister Davis added.  “For this reason I am confident that expenditure at end of the Fiscal Year 2022/23 will almost reach the target of $3.1 billion set in the Supplementary Budget.”

He pointed out that the primary balance will, therefore, record a surplus of $68.4 million at the end of the fiscal year, a $54.8 million increase from the $13.6 million surplus projected in the supplementary budget.

“Likewise, the overall deficit is expected to improve to $520.6 million, down from the $575.4 million outlined in the supplementary budget,” he said.

Speaking of Government financing, Prime Minister Davis said that The Bahamas’ borrowing costs had begun to experience a downward trend in the previous quarter; but the cost of borrowing rose at the end of March 2023.

“At the end of the third quarter, the total average cost of borrowing for current outstanding debt had risen to an interest rate of 5.55 percent,” he pointed out.  “This is notably higher than the previous year’s rate of 4.93 percent at the end of March 2022.

“This increase in borrowing costs is primarily attributable to the higher costs associated with external loan facilities.”

He added that, more specifically, the average interest rate for external financing had risen by 1.99 basis points, resulting in a rate of 5.55 percent as of March 2023, compared to the preceding year’s 3.56 percent.

“Throughout the past year, the interest rate policies of the major Central Banks have been restrictive, with a series of interest rate increases,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “These adjustments have been primarily motivated by the escalation of inflation, and the resulting upsurge in interest rates has had an impact on the Bahamas’ external borrowing costs.”

He added: “However, the cost of borrowing in the domestic market has been declining over the past quarters.

Looking at it in more detail, we can see that:

  • The average interest cost for domestic loans subsided by 27 basis points to 4.62 percent at end of March 2023, from 4.89 percent in the previous year;
  • And the average interest cost for domestic bonds subsided by 3 basis points to 4.63 percent at the end of March 2023 from 4.66 percent in the previous year.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that those statistics affirmed the Government’s latest medium-term debt strategy, which aimed to shift its borrowing away from costly external commercial debt.

“Such debt has seen a sharp increase over the past five years, including recent interest rate hikes,” he said.  “This strategic move will enable the government to once again rely predominantly on the domestic market to meet its financing requirements.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, when considering the maturity of debt, or the average time it takes to repay the principal amount in the government’s debt portfolio, a longer maturity period led to a reduction in refinancing risk.

“In essence, prioritizing longer maturities is key to managing debt effectively,” he said.  “And so another element of the government’s medium-term debt management strategy is the goal of prolonging the average maturity time of its debt.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, in the face of “unprecedented turbulence” in the global financial markets, the Government was able to maintain its average time to maturity.

“At end of March 2023, the average time to maturity has decreased slightly to 6.7 years, down from the previous 6.8 years in March 2022,” he said.  “This variance is due solely to the external loan component, as the average time to maturity on internal debt has remained steady at 7.1 years.”

“This highlights the significance of maintaining a prudent approach to debt management, and aligning this administration’s practices with the government’s optimal debt strategy,” Prime Minister Davis added.

“It is imperative that we continue to exercise prudence in this area to ensure financial stability.”

(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

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PM states HCA model not working during budget debate




Bahamas Information Services



#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, May 30, 2023 – The model of the Hawkbill Creek Act, the agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, is not working, said Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis during the opening of the 2023 Budget Debate on Wednesday, May 31 in the House of Assembly.

The island of Grand Bahama, he said, contributes 12 percent of the country’s GDP, however, there was a decline by 9 percent when compared to the previous year. Tourism, he said, increased in 2022 showing a growth in accommodation and food service.

“Unfortunately, the statistics show a prolonged decline in the Grand Bahamian economy. The evidence confirms the view of my government that the Hawksbill Creek economic model, which was meant to attract foreign direct investment, does not work.

“Furthermore, in our view, the government model of the Grand Bahama Port Authority must change, in order to realize the promise, growth and prosperity we all desire.

“Additionally, the Government of The Bahamas has serious concerns regarding the compliance of the GBPA and its related companies with the terms and conditions of the Hawksbill Creek Act, and its subsequent amendments.”

In the past, said the Prime Minister, administrations have attempted to address the issues however they appear to be “systemic and fundamental.” Decisive action will be taken, he continued, and a separate detailed announcement will be made at another time.

Prime Minister Davis mentioned that even though the GDP for several islands has experienced growth, Abaco and Grand Bahama have not done as well. Abaco, he said, saw a decline of 6 percent in 2022 with its contribution to the economy at 2.8 percent ranking the island as the third largest contributor.

“While there was a slight improvement in Abaco’s economy compared to 2019, it has yet to reach the levels seen before Hurricane Dorian. The decline in the economic activity is directly related to the slowdown in the real estate and construction sectors.”

He continued, “Declines in the real estate sector are directly as a result of a shift to higher intermediate consumption in 2022 from that of the previous two years. In terms of declines in construction, it should be noted that in 2020 and 2021, Abaco experienced significant recovery efforts in the form of debris removal, site preparation and building of damaged structures.

Such efforts bolstered the value added to the island’s GDP during those years. As those efforts wrap up, the industry saw a gradual decline as construction tempered to normal levels in 2022, resulting in a lower GDP.
Additionally, the Prime Minister said the Grand Bahama International Airport will be repaired, and a new healthcare facility will be built. Provisions have also been made for the continuation of an employment program for $4.7 million, along with the construction of a 50-meter swimming pool facility.

The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday, June 7, when the debate will continue.

(BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)

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