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Bahamas Development Bank Op-Ed highlights fragility of economy and opportunities for innovation

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#TheBahamas – March 22, 2020 — The evolving COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resiliency of global systems.

Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis has cautioned Bahamians that there is no need for panic buying, as the country has sufficient supplies either in inventory or on order to last several months. Still, this crisis highlights the fragility of modern life in a country that produces very little of what it consumes. Further, dependence on a single industry leaves The Bahamas particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. The interconnected world means that no disease is truly distant.

Bay Street with suspension of cruise industry until April 30 due to COVID-19

Climate change will generate more frequent and powerful storms, increase the salinity of our freshwater resources and ultimately pose significant threat to business as usual.  Self-sufficiency must be treated as a national security issue, and given the attention and investment required to make serious progress.

Firstly, without the ability to feed our population, we cannot consider ourselves to be a true sovereign nation.  Although we cannot match the subsidies that our American neighbors provide to their farmers, we can strengthen our agribusiness sector by improving access to financing, land grants, technical support, and agricultural research.

The Apiary Program in Grand Bahama, developed by The Bahamas Development Bank in partnership with other agencies, combined workshop training and financing to create 6 new businesses that produce honey and value added products.

Similarly, The Long Island Small Ruminant Program launched 3-5th March aims to revitalize sheep and goat farming and ultimately create a viable commercial livestock production center with the capacity to supply domestic and international markets.

The Bahamas Development Bank is also crafting a program for small scale poultry production that will provide a consistent, high quality natural alternative to the cheaper, older and less nutritious chicken, that is the main product currently offered to the Bahamian consumer. These programs can immediately be expanded to increase domestic food production.

Secondly, resilience will require technological innovation, new models, and forward thinking. Relying on benevolent foreign investment will not provide us with true economic empowerment. We are blessed with talented young people, brimming with ideas and willing to work hard if given the opportunity.

As part of The Bahamas Development Bank’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals we are working to empower young people through projects in creative industries and renewable energy.

The Bahamas will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has outlined a comprehensive plan to limit the spread, cope with the infirmed and support businesses. The Bahamas Development Bank, along with other Development Finance Institutions, is poised to extend concessions and channel financing to support industry where needed, in accordance national directives from The Ministry of Finance. Our indomitable spirit will see us through to the days ahead. We must however, heed the lessons of this moment and increase investment in self-sufficiency, economic diversification and Bahamian empowerment.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Bahamas Development Bank Launches 50th Anniversary Celebrations  

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Nassau Bahamas, 3 March 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) recently commenced its golden anniversary celebrations with special church services held at Freeport Bible Church and Golden Gates Native Baptist Church, in Grand Bahama and New Providence respectively. Both services marked the beginning of a year filled with commemorations of the bank’s 50 years of financial service and national development.

Bahamas Development Bank Managing Director, Nicholas Higgs, said, “As we launch our 50th anniversary celebrations, we are reminded of our journey fueled by an unwavering commitment to our country. As we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond, we remain dedicated to fostering economic growth, supporting local entrepreneurs, and building a prosperous future for The Bahamas.”

The New Providence service was led by Pastor Alonso Hinsey Jr., who serves not only as the senior pastor of Golden Gates Native Baptist Church but also as an executive at BDB. In his sermon, Pastor Hinsey emphasized the importance of trusting God and being trustworthy as two sides of the same coin.

“Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship and our relationship with God is no exception. When we trust God, we believe who He says that He is, what He is going to do, and that He will do what He says He will do. We rely on Him to guide us, protect us, and to provide for us. Being trustworthy is just as important. When we are trustworthy, others can rely on us to keep our promises, can rely on us to tell the truth, and act with integrity.”

He referenced the story of God ordering Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Isaac.

“Trust is not easy when facing challenges. However, even in the midst of our doubts and fears, God is faithful and trustworthy.  When we are trustworthy, others know they can rely on us and that they will not be let down. When we are trustworthy, we are reflecting the character of God who faithful and true,” Pastor Hinsey added.

Hinsey also stressed that, “Trustworthiness is essential for building strong relationships and creating a just and harmonious society.”

The Bahamas Development Bank has been instrumental in providing financial solutions and expertise to Bahamian businesses and entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and sustainability across the country. The 50th anniversary marks a significant milestone in the bank’s history and will be marked by a variety of events, including community outreach initiatives, competitions, and celebrations that both reflect on the bank’s past accomplishments and outline its way forward.

Pastor Hinsey’s powerful message can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/live/c0FxUErI65o?si=em2vTZ7AfPIZklNk.

 

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Abaco Hurricane Shelter ‘progressing’ despite inherited delays

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Bahamas Information Services

March 3, 2024



Central Pines, ABACO, The Bahamas – The new, State-of-the-Art Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre currently under construction in Central Pines, Abaco, is scheduled to be fully completed by November 2024, despite some inherited delays.

Contractors add that the dual Shelter/Community Centre, which is anticipated to be a prototype for the future design and construction of shelters in The Bahamas, will have an “occupied date” of early summer, meaning that the facility should be available to host those persons requiring assistance at that time, if the need arises.  This is good news as the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.  Abaconians will continue to have access to a host of other approved shelters throughout the island, and not just rely on the prototype alone, however.

Disaster Risk Management officials further say the dual Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre will be “one of a kind” in the region in terms of its construction and design. The building is being constructed under “a new building code,” that calls for its structure – doors, window, roof — to withstand hurricane force winds of up to 250 miles per hour (Category 5 Hurricane and higher).

Its mechanical systems are designed to accommodate diverse loads, including an industrial kitchen, communication systems, air-conditioning system, male and female bathrooms and showers, office spaces for emergency personnel, in addition to storage areas.

Standby generators to ensure continuity with communications, water, sewerage, air-conditioning, refrigeration, safety and security, will be installed in order to mitigate the impacts of disruptions in power.

A ramp that was not included in the original design, was added to allow persons with disabilities and the elderly — considered two of the more vulnerable populations particularly during natural disasters such as tropical storms and/or hurricanes — easy frontal access to the facility under the protection of a canopy.

“Construction is going very well, particularly now that we are back on schedule,” said Mr. Chris Symonette, Project Manager. “We had lost almost a year due to some faults that we found in the ground, and in the foundation, we met in place when we assumed responsibility for the project. These corrective measures took us about 9 months to resolve.

“The building is one of a kind in the region. As a matter of fact, this will be the first 250 miles-per-hour hurricane shelter design in The Bahamas. We had to exceed the ratings while ensuring that we have redundancy upon redundancy,” Mr. Symonette added.

Raeh Williams, a Director, with Wilkem Solutions, a Bahamian-owned entity that specializes in development, civil works and waste management, among other services, said the construction team has been “pushing every day” to ensure that they meet the projected dates. The company took over construction operations a little over one year ago.

“We met a lot of challenges that were a real test of our skill and tenacity because there were caves, holes and a lot of other issues that basically caused us to have to perform a lot of corrective work to get us where we are today. The scheduled completion date is November 2024, but we are anticipating having an occupied completion by June/July which is right at the beginning of the Hurricane Season so that if there is some need to use the shelter, it will be available. That is our push and we are pushing every day to make sure that we stick to that.”

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Header: Minister Lundy and delegation reviewing building plans for the multi-purpose Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre. (BIS Photo)

1st insert: Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre Project Manager Chris Symonette (right) updates Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Risk Management, the Hon. Leon Lundy (second right) during State-Minister Lundy’s Official Visit.  (BIS Photo)

2nd insert: Minister Lundy (second right) and team conduct a walk-through of the multi-purpose Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre under construction in Central Pines.  Also pictured (from left) are: Mr. Kirk Cornish, Member of Parliament, North Abaco, and Mr. John H. Pinder, Member of Parliament for South and Central Abaco and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation.  Project Manager, Mr. Chris Symonette is at far right. (BIS Photo)

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Over 9.6 Million Tourists for The Bahamas, 38 percent jump

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, March 3, 2024 – The Bahamas has again positioned itself as a top destinations within the Caribbean with record breaking tourism arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone as announced by the Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation

A massive 9,654,838 visitors arrived in The Bahamas, indicating a 38 percent increase from 2022 as well as 33 percent rise from the previous record of 2019, before the pandemic.

Delving into the details of this surge in arrivals, air arrivals increased by 17 percent with 1,719,980 visitors up from 1,470, 244 in 2022.

Cruise arrivals went up significantly by 43.5 percent at 7, 934,858 up from 5,530,462 in 2022.

According to reports, New Providence saw 4,441,540 visitors, a 36 percent increase from 2022 while Grand Bahama attracted 559,812 visitors, a 44 percent increase.

The Family Islands brought in 4,653,486 tourists which is a 40 percent increase from 2022.

Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism Investments and Aviation and Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism, as featured in reports, expressed great pride in this achievement, marking it as an indicator of The Bahamas’ hard work and dedication to foster and maintain tourism growth.

“This record-breaking year is a clear indication of the Bahamas’ position as a top-tier destination for travelers seeking unparalleled experiences. Our islands offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, making it a favorite of visitors from around the world,” said Cooper

Duncombe referred to future success for The Bahamas, with this development as a stepping stone.

“With our commitment to excellence and innovation in the tourism sector, the Bahamas is poised for even greater success in the years to come,” she maintained.

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