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Over $8.3 million in contracts to rebuild Water & Sewerage infrastructure in Abaco post Hurricane Dorian

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#Nassau, The Bahamas – February 19, 2020 — STATEMENT ISSUED FEBRUARY 13 – The Corporation (WSC) can confirm that we have restored normal water supply to our customers in the following settlements on mainland Abaco – Crown Haven, Fox Town, Mount Hope, Wood Cay, Cedar Harbour, Coopers Town, Fire Road, Blackwood, Casaurina, Cherokee, Crossing Rocks and Sandy Point.

File Photo: WSC Staff in October 2019, Abaco

We have experienced some recent challenges with our water supply systems on the islands of Moores Island and Grand Cay and we expect those to be fully rectified in the coming days. The Grand Cay storage tank was destroyed during the hurricane and a contract has been issued for the demolition of that tank and another contract has been issued for a new 125,000 imperial gallon storage tank.

Last week, WSC mobilized a private contractor to assist our team working to complete extensive repairs to our Marsh Harbour distribution system which includes the communities of Marsh Harbour, Spring City, Dundas Town, Murphy Town, Central Pines, Pelican Shores and Eastern Shores. It is expected that these works will continue for the next few months resulting in substantial improvements in the reliability of our Marsh Harbour water supply system.

At the Marsh Harbour pumping station site, WSC will commence major clearance works in the coming days for a new 1,500,000 imperial gallon storage tank that has already been contracted, a new pumping station building and two (2) new solar power fields. New standby generators were also delivered this week for both the new pumping station and another for the wellfields. When completed, our Marsh Harbour pumping station will be our most advanced water pumping station in the Family Islands with sufficient solar capacity to operate our entire wellfield and pumping station along with standby power and BPL power for use when the sunlight is not available.

File Photo, WSC in Abaco post Hurricane Dorian

This week, WSC mobilized a private contractor to assist our team working to complete extensive repairs to our Treasure Cay distribution system which includes the communities of Treasure Cay and Green Turtle Cay. These works are also expected to continue for the next few months. At the Treasure Cay pumping station, a new standby generator has already been installed and this generator is powering our facilities as no BPL power is available at this location as yet.

The storage tank at this facility was destroyed during the storm and demolition works will be starting in the coming days to remove the collapsed tank and tank slab to make room for a new 750,000 imperial gallon tank that already been contracted.

A contract has also been issued for the repair of the Green Turtle Cay storage tank that was damaged during the hurricane.

Rebuilding of W&S infrastructure started in Abaco, WSC photo

Our Treasure Cay commercial office was destroyed during the hurricane and our Board is expected to approve the commencement of a procurement exercise for several building contracts shortly including a new Treasure Cay commercial and operations center, the new pumping station for Marsh Harbour, two (2) solar power equipment buildings and refurbishment of all of our existing buildings on the mainland and cays.

On Sweetings Cay, which is managed as a part of our Abaco operations, the nongovernmental organization (NGO), WaterMission has provided a standby generator and a desalination plant as the complete water production facility on island was destroyed during the hurricane and the distribution system also experienced substantial damage. The generator and desalination plant are operational and providing water for the remaining residents.

Water Mission on the ground in Abaco assisting restoration and rebuild of water infrastructure; WSC photo

WSC is presently exploring an offer from another NGO to assist with the required distribution system improvement works. Notably, WSC has purchased a plant to replace the plant we lost in Sweetings Cay; at present, it is in Grand Bahama awaiting shipment to Sweetings Cay. Detailed Condition Assessment Reports have been completed for our Treasure Cay and Spring City sewerage systems, both of which incurred substantial damage during the passage of the hurricane.

Our Board is presently reviewing options to commence the required sewerage refurbishment works and it is anticipated that a contract award will be made in the coming weeks.

To support our operational and commercial teams, a fleet of new vehicles and required equipment has been procured. Some items have already been shipped to Abaco and additional items will be shipped in the coming days.

To date, WSC has awarded contracts for vehicles, equipment, new facilities, restoration works & services in excess of $8.3 million and we anticipate another several million dollars in contracts will be awarded in the coming weeks. WSC appreciates the understanding, patience and support of our valued customers in the Abacos as we work to rebuild a stronger, more climate resilient water and sewerage infrastrustructural system.

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Commander Defence Force attends UK-Second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Conference, Antigua

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#Bahamas, September 13, 2021 – In keeping with the Global Security Collaborative Framework and Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King’s strategic intent in strengthening joint relationships with its regional and international partnerships, Commodore King attended the UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua from 1- 3 September, 2021 to share best practices and to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Accompanied by his Aide, Sub Lieutenant Delroy Dennis, the sessions also included General Sir Nick Carter; Gen Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant Colonel Simon Westlake Royal Marines United Kingdom’s Defence Attaché to the Caribbean; and Commander Brian Trim MBE RN Commander task Group.

Also in attendance were countries with various Chiefs of Defence Staff, in particular; Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and defence and security partners across the region, who took part virtually, and shared their views on global security and joint partnerships. They all agreed on several initiatives with training and education designed to improve collective capacity to deal with the diverse security challenges that confront the region.

The inaugural conference convened virtually in November 2020, with each of the regional Chiefs of Defence. This second conference focused on building on the success of the virtual event in strengthening the UK-Caribbean relationships, and developing concepts for UK engagement with its Caribbean partners on issues of mutual interest.

The three-day conference commenced with an ice-breaker reception and concert at Blizzard Camp, hosted by Antigua and Barbuda (ATG) – Chief of Defence Staff Colonel Telbert Benjamin, and joined by the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams. The core conference which took place on September 2nd, began with an opening ceremony, supported by the Prime Minister of ATG, Sir Gaston Browne.

In the first core session, UK- Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland General Sir Nick Carter set out the UK perspective on the strategic context, informed by the recently concluded Integrated Review (IR) and Defence Command Plan (DCP). The three individual sessions covered issues of serious organized crime threats; regional initiatives and the implications for UK Defence engagement; and natural threats.

The UK- CDS expressed his ambition to use the conference as a vehicle for institutional capacity building, military capability development, training and education, doctrine, and concepts. These are ways to maximize collective security development with focused UK engagement while better constructing an approach that matches the region’s aspirations and requirements.

The final session of the three-day conference was held aboard HMS MEDWAY, River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel built on the Clyde. This permanent Caribbean patrol ship was deployed to the Caribbean to support disaster relief and conduct counter-trafficking operations as an alternative setting for a maritime security focused discussion. It served as a setting to discuss regional maritime security, which included talks around preparedness for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response (HADR), and UK involvement in regional partnerships.

Photo Captions: 

Header: Participants at the UK- second Caribbean Chief of Defence Staff (CHoDs’) in Antigua, 1- 3 September, 2021. 

1st insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Defence Force, presenting his country’s brief on board HMS MEDWAY, during the second Caribbean Chiefs of Defence Staff conference in Antigua. 

2nd insert: Commodore Raymond King, Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces: In the front row; Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and General Sir Nick Carter, General Chief of Defence Staff, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland.

3rd insert: Commodore Raymond King, the Commander Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Brigadier General Steven Andrew Ortega, Commander Belize Defence Force; General de Brigada Angel A Camacho Ubiera Inspector General of the Dominican Republic Army; Antigua and Barbuda – Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commander of Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force; Major General C S Collins, General Officer Commanding 1st UK Division; Lieutenant General Rocky R Meade, Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force; Brigadier Godfrey Bess Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force; Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces Trinidad and Tobago; and Air Vice Marshal Darryl Daniel Chief of Defence Staff, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forces.

(Photos courtesy Mr. Wayne Mariette)

 

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 

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Caribbean Wellness Day 2021

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#Caribbean, September 13, 2021 – Health, in every facet, is sought-after, at great expense, by all members of the global community. Though the success of our endeavours in health varies from region to region, it must be emphasised that in our Region, a healthy Caribbean is always the goal for which we strive.

Each year the Caribbean Region observes, Caribbean Wellness Day since it was established at the 2007 landmark summit, ‘Declaration of Port of Spain: Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-communicable Diseases.’

This year’s commemoration focuses on equitable access to health; an all of society approach to health and well-being, and building healthy communities under the theme, “Power Through Collective Action: In it Together, Building Healthy Communities.”

As health care systems are being taxed by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is even more important now to advocate for equitable access to health. Too many of our Caribbean citizens face harsh realities, because of inequities in access – this should not be. Caribbean Wellness Day is the most opportune time for the members of our Caribbean community to ensure that the health of our people is indeed a priority through legislative change, health in all policies and all of society action.

Equitable access to health care in the Caribbean is one of CARPHA’s points of focus as can be seen through our work to ensure equitable access to PPE, equipment, supplies and vaccines through the COVAX facility, a mechanism whose primary function is to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and donations notably the US Government donation of 5.5 million doses of Pfizer BioNTech.

Without the power of voices in chorus, like with the COVAX facility; the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH) and others – many more would be disadvantaged and unserved. Achieving health for all in the Caribbean also means attaining and sustaining healthy environments.

The built environment, which provides for sidewalks, bike lanes, community parks and green spaces, can influence lifestyles, body weight, and improve mental health. As these necessary frameworks are made reality and we avail ourselves of them, we exercise Power through Collective Action showing that we are truly in it together, Building Healthy Communities.

As we speak about the environment, we must mention the effects of climate change. The inaction in the past has set the world on a course of environmental destruction. We need to act now; it is the only way that we can protect the generations to come from even worse realities than those we face today.

As we seek to mitigate the damage done due to inaction on the recommended major climate change interventions, we need to address other pertinent issues. Vector-borne diseases remain a challenge in many Caribbean territories, and unlike the bleak outlook that is presented on climate change, simple adjustments in our behaviour can make the world of difference.

By eradicating breeding grounds of mosquitoes in our immediate environment and communities, we minimize the spread of many vector-borne diseases. Advocacy in health should be the standard operation of every Region, State, and organisation. Sustaining Health and well-being is one of the very few universal desires.

Regardless of creed, culture, or any other divisive line – all organised bodies have a responsibility to promote health. Further to this, we need to take the time to look after ourselves and our families and communities.

Simple actions – increasing our intake of local produce, reading labels of processed foods to make informed decisions, scheduling regular exercise – these actions will drastically improve the health and quality of life of our people.

Working together to this end, will lead to healthier minds, healthier bodies, and a Caribbean that exudes wellness.

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US new Vaccine mandate not for tourists and students

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#TurksandCaicos, September 9, 2021 – The vast majority of visa applicants such as students and tourists do not have to worry about the new CDC requirement for Immigrant Visa applicants to be fully vaccinated.

Our news organization reached out to the US Embassy in Nassau, where Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo informed the notice floating around social media is true but only impacts people who are applying to live and work in the United States.

“The information circulating on social media is a notice stating that starting on October 1 the CDC will require age-appropriate Immigrant Visa applicants worldwide will to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination.

The key detail here is the difference between Non-Immigrant Visas and Immigrant Visas. Non-Immigrant Visas (for which the requirement does not apply) make up the majority of visa applications, and include student and tourist visas. Immigrant Visas on the other hand typically involve moving permanently to the United States through a Green Card, for example, and which make up a very small fraction of visa applications,” said Durazo.

Similar to TCIs work permit holders rule, which requires guest workers to be fully vaccinated in order to be legally in the Turks and Caicos, this rule takes effect for the US on October 1st.

The notice caused quite a buzz, as the United States is a popular destination for islanders to visit and attend school. The US is also the #1 tourism source market for the Turks and Caicos; and only its vaccinated residents will be allowed into these islands;  that mandate started on September 1st.

“First, I’d like to reassure your readers that the vaccination requirement will not apply to the vast majority of Visa applicants, such as those applying for tourist and student visas.  In summary, the vast majority of visa applicants (such as students and tourists) do not have to worry about this requirement. It’s only Immigrant Visa applicants who need to take this requirement into consideration, and they will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.”

Residents suspected the US was activating a similar entry requirement but Durazo said the rule does not apply to visitor and student visas.  Permanent residency applicants, like those wanting Green Card will need to have full Covid 19 vaccination and he said, will receive instructions and clarification from the consular section as appropriate when they apply.

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