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Bahamas Appoints National Coordination Committee on COVID-19

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Dr. Pearl McMillan, Co-Chair of COVID-19 Task Force, The Bahamas

#Nassau, The Bahamas – March 12, 2020 – The Cabinet Office announces that Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis today appointed the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 (NCCC) as part of the Government’s overall preparedness and response plan to the virus.

The Committee is co-chaired by Dr. Pearl McMillan, Chief Medical Officer and Mr. Matt Aubry, Executive Director, Organisation for Responsible Governance, and is made up of Government officials from the ministries of health, finance, tourism and education, and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM); stakeholders and civil society members, and port and union representatives.

Matt Albury, Co-Chair of COVID-19 Task Force, The Bahamas

In addition to serving as a coordination and steering committee, the NCCC will also engage with the COVID-19 multi-governmental agency Task Force to implement decisions of The Bahamas Government, recommend policies to the Cabinet and provide sector and society impact analysis and feedback to Cabinet, as applicable.

Government committee members include: Mr. Marlon Johnson, Acting Financial Secretary; Mr. David Davis, Permanent Secretary, OPM; Mrs. Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Ministry of Tourism; and Mr. Marcellus Taylor, Director of Education.

From civil society and stakeholders, Mr. John Rolle, Governor, Central Bank of The Bahamas; Bishop Delton Fernander, President, Bahamas Christian Council; Mrs. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Chair, Bahamas Maritime Authority; Mr. Ed Fields, Director, Downtown Nassau Partnership; Mrs. Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson, Chair, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Carlton Russell, President, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; and Dr. Charles Diggiss, President, Doctors Hospital Health System. Mr. Bernard Evans, President, National Congress of Trade Unions represents labour stakeholders.

Port representatives include Mr. Mike Maura, Regional Director, Global Ports, and Chair, Arawak Port Development; Ms. Vernice Walkine, President and CEO, Nassau Airport Development (NAD); and Sherry Brooks, Director Government Relations, Grand Bahama Container Port.

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Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Statement to Update on the Sale of the Grand Lucayan

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“Deal progressing toward closure”

 

#GrandBahama, The Bahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL) advises that negotiations toward a successful deal on the Grand Lucayan Resort continue to progress satisfactorily. It was announced in the first week of August in a joint statement with Electra America Hospitality Group that the due diligence period was extended by 45 days to September 15.

By virtue of this, the final closing date was also extended to November 15, 2022. We note that the recent seven-day extension did not impact the agreed November closing date. We anticipate that the sales process will be completed consistent with our revised timelines. The Board of LRHL remains committed to ensuring that a credible plan and shared vision for the resort is realized – a plan that will provide jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities and strengthen Grand Bahama’s economy.

We remain on track for a successful purchase and signing of a Heads of Agreement, in the best interest of the people of Grand Bahama.

There are matters connected to the transaction that are still being negotiated; we look forward to briefing the public as soon as negotiations are concluded.

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MASK AND COVID TESTING MANDATES END FOR THE BAHAMAS

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Bahamas is looking ahead to another roll back on restrictions as the precautions set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic fade away.  October 1 ends the mandate for face masks in The Bahamas; it’s another policy being recalled as the world embraces a new normal, where face coverings are optional.

In a snap measure, the minister of health for the Bahamas, Michael Darville also this month ended the COVID 19 testing entry requirement for the unvaccinated.  It makes The Bahamas, as a leading tourism destination, more affordable and more accessible as evidence supports that it does not also mean a spike in Covid cases.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis announced that the mask mandate change from New York, following his appearance at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and while attending the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.  However, it is not masks off for everyone:  medical facilities, aged care centers and schools will keep the rule.

The decision was met with applause by President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Darrin Woods who said this move will undoubtedly improve tourism numbers and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery.

Additionally, President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Robert Sands, said the time for mask mandate and Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated travellers had long passed. He believes that removing this protocol will level the playing field since other rivals in the tourism industry have already done so.

Already, long stay guests to The Bahamas were exempt from mask wearing on hotel properties.

At this point, some 173,000 Bahamas residents have been fully vaccinated and in the September 26 health report; three patients were in intensive care from the virus of the 132 active and only one new case had been recorded in Nassau.

 

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