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Bahamas Minister of Education calls for keen attention to changes due to COVID-19

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#Nassau, Bahamas – March 19, 2020 — The Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, urged Bahamians to participate consciously, patiently and with keen alertness to the changing demands that may come as a result of COVID-19 (Corona Virus).

In a Communication to Parliament, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Minister Lloyd provided an update for the public and persons connected to education including leaders, superintendents, principals, administrators, teachers, students, other staff, parents and stakeholders.

“The reality is that we are in a National Public Health Crisis, evolving as we speak. The Bahamas has never been here before. Each day, the Science Community is learning more and more about the Corona Virus, which means that each day our response will have to adjust to conform to the new realities,” he said.

He acknowledged the stakeholders for their understanding, wisdom, patience and cooperation and expressed the leadership’s care for each member of the team.

Minister Lloyd also announced the following:

Support Staff

  • A rotation system is to be put in place for janitorial and clerical staff. The janitorial staff is to thoroughly clean all campuses using the protective equipment that will be provided.

Security Officers

  • All security officers are to report to work each day for their entire shift. Security officers that have large amounts of vacation time and or holiday days that they may have accumulated are advised to apply to take those days at this time.

Instructions

  • Teachers are to continue to engage students through the media they have established. Where that has not been done, they are directed to attend school, maintaining social distance, and secure the register of their students, while also utilizing sources for educational materials
  • Beginning March 30, 2020, the “live” instruction will be provided by teachers.
  • The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Virtual School Platform is being upgraded and will be ready Monday, March 23, 2020. Fifty teachers have been trained for this platform which accommodates up to 100,000 students.
  • Over 500 devices have been given to students and teachers to access this program. Students can access this platform with any device that has internet connectivity such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets, etc.
  • The Ministry has approximately 1800 tablets for teachers and 2500 Amazon Fire 7 for students left to be distributed. It also has approximately 10,000 Amazon Fire 7 tablets that are in schools.
  • One-on-One ONLINE learning for after school and weekend personalized sessions are also being expanded which will be ready by Monday, March 23rd, 2020. Teachers will be allowed to use their personal devices for instructions or go to the campus and use those available there.
  • Remote conferencing capability is now being installed so that MOE leaders can communicate with all superintendents and principals in order to disseminate and receive information remotely.

     
  • By Friday, March 20, 2020, the Home Schooling Unit will be providing tips for parents working with their children at home and a list of educational links. The MOE will publish consistently and frequently Public Service Announcements, send out messages through WhatsApp, Facebook and the Ministry’s web site.

    Instructional Materials

    • Utilize existing resources that currently meet quality standards

    • Create instructional resource kits (digital, hard copies, etc.)

    • Publish list of topics in sequence by subject and grade level on MOE Website

    • Produce specific review package for National Examination candidates. To date, 1650 students have been engaged through our virtual learning platforms.
     
  • 19,829 Primary school students will participate in a one-hour daily live session as parents/guardians will be encouraged to follow the posted learning plans to support their children at home.
  •  The MOE will also be airing content via Our TV, ZNS, and radio.

    Lunch Program

    Meal vouchers will be provided for two weeks.  Parents will be required to collect and confirm the receipt of vouchers for their child/children. MOE will engage a number of eateries whereby students could be provided a meal.

    Guidance Counsellors

    Guidance Counsellors will be provided with cell phones so that psycho-social support could be given 8 to 4 for non-academic and psychiatric support.

    Security officers are also maintaining vigilance regarding persons accessing the building who are presenting with flu-like symptoms, and bringing such persons to management’s attention for further attention. It is anticipated that satellite offices will follow suit in these practices

    The Toll-Free numbers below would be available by this Friday:

    1. 300-2320

    2. 300-2319

    Proposed Revised Examination Dates

    Considerations are now being made to extend the Examination timetable. More information will be provided at a later date.

    Students have already received Individual timetables, however the large display timetables have not been printed as yet. It is proposed that the new dates, if agreed upon, will appear on the large/display timetables as well as placed in the media and on social media.


    To assist students with final preparations for examinations administrators, parents, guardians and other caregivers will be advised to:
  • Eliminate all non-instructional or non-essential observances in school e.g. Fun Day, field trips, special assemblies, sports days;
  • Provide opportunities for after-school instruction once students return to campus.

    University of The Bahamas

     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, UB campuses, centres and business operations including the Oakes Field Campus, Grosvenor Close Centre, and UB-North operations in Grand Bahama will transition to remote operations until further notice.
  • Additionally, Chapter One Bookstore will be closed until further notice. All events scheduled for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester are cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes Spring 2020 Commencement. A further announcement will be made about Commencement at a later date.

    Remote Instruction
  • Remote instruction and communications will commence on Monday, March 16, 2020 using online applications including MOODLE and Zoom.
  • Faculty and student communications on course content will continue via online channels. A decision will be communicated by Friday, March 20, 2020 regarding laboratory and practicum classes.
  • Teaching practice, kitchen classes and internships are suspended until further notice.
  • Students and faculty needing assistance with remote instruction should contact the IT Helpdesk at 302-4588 or ithelpdesk@ub.edu.bs. Academic Affairs faculty and staff will be permitted to access their offices on Monday, March 16, 2020 to secure their offices.
    Residential Life

  • Students who are residing in university dorms are advised to gather their belongings and initiate arrangements to leave the dorms and return home effective immediately. Students who are not in a position to do so, should contact the Director of Residential Life and Housing at 422-6429 and Dean of Students at 424-8559 for further instructions and assistance

    Administrative Operations

  • Staff are advised that although they are to work remotely, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 they should remain in contact with their supervisors. Staff members who provide essential services including Security, Physical Plant, Information Technology, and Business Office, are advised that they will receive further instructions from their department heads.
  • The public is advised to use all available online resources to complete business transactions where possible during this interim period.

    Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute

  • Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 all face-to-face classes at BTVI have been cancelled until Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Only limited services are available on campus. Updates on the services available are posted on social media and the BTVI website. Many classes have been and are being moved to an online format. Training on the use of online has been made available to faculty. In particular, BTVI will use technology to enhance course content until the end of the term.
  • A series of free online training programs/courses are available to faculty which can assist them in improving their teaching capabilities.
  • Finally, plans are being prepared to properly manage end of term issues such as exams.
    National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas

    As of March 2020, NAECOB will recognize all online programmes completed at institutions that have been accredited by agencies acknowledged by NAECOB.
  • Programmes completed by Institutions not recognized by NAECOB prior to March 2020, will not be accepted.

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GBPA invests $1.1 million in major road infrastructure improvements for city of Freeport

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#TheBahamas, May 20, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) will commence its $1.1 million road resurfacing project in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sunday, May 22, 2022 beginning with the Fishing Hole Road, and West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout.

“Our City Maintenance and Management section is excited to begin this important initiative to resurface roadways within Freeport,” said Troy McIntosh, GBPA Deputy Director of Building and Development Services.  “Our city has been through many challenging storm events which did catastrophic damage to infrastructure around the island, including our roads.

“But our community is resilient, and we are seeing a positive shift in the economic tide,” continued McIntosh. “Excitement for future opportunities and anticipation of new investments is palpable through the city, so we knew this was the ideal time to start this aspect of Freeport’s much-needed makeover to which GBPA is fully committed.”

Roadworks are scheduled for main thoroughfares and a number of residential roads.  These areas include the Fishing Hole Road, West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout, West Atlantic Drive at Rayvin Mall roundabout, Beach Way Drive, Bahama Reef Boulevard, Pioneers Way, Waterfall Drive, Tarrytown Street and Grand Bahama Highway.  “We selected these locations using our Road Rating System, which allows inspectors to assess the condition and rideability of our roads on an annual basis,” added Mr. McIntosh.

The GBPA roadworks project went out to bid in December 2020.  In March 2022, the bid was awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM), who specializes in heavy civil engineering projects including major highways.

“We ask motorists to drive with due care and attention while roadwork is underway,” Mr. McIntosh advised.  Flagmen and temporary traffic lights will be in position to direct traffic.  Please obey the speed limit and posted signs to help ensure the safety of all motorists and crews as they conduct work.  Delays are expected as there will be partial lane closures in some areas.”

The initial phase of road resurfacing is scheduled to be completed at the end of June 2022.  For the latest updates and information on redirected travel routes, residents can follow any of the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s social media sites or visit its website at www.gbpa.com.

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Freaky Weather includes Waterspouts, Severe Flooding and fish in Backyards

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By Dana Malcolm & Deandrea Hamilton

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 19, 2022 – A waterspout whirling its way onto shore in the west, images of submerged cars, impassable roads and even fish darting around in a flooded backyard were the testimony of Nassau’s extreme weather weekend.

The Bahamas Department of meteorology had predicted severe weather from Friday midday to Saturday warning of, “GUSTY WINDS, DANGEROUS LIGHTNING, HEAVY DOWNPOURS, HAIL AND POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT OR TORNADIC ACTIVITY and possibly LOCALIZED FLOODING.”

Reports of hail, the freakish funnel cloud, downpour flooded streets, submerged cars and stranded workers trying to get home made for a shocking weekend.

There were dramatic videos of the forecast, waterspouts, which made an appearance near seaside restaurants Sapodilla Bay and Traveller’s Rest.  The ‘water tornado’ slashing against parked cars, producing whipping winds and tossing water into the restaurant elicited screams and frantic activity as residents could be heard rushing to safety.

The storm is unseasonably early with the official start to the hurricane season still two weeks away; but it maintains a trend for severe weather consistently appearing well ahead of the official June 1 start.

On Tuesday waterspouts erupted in the bay off Harbour Island, Eleuthera, also in The Bahamas as the country was inundated this week with SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS issued by The Bahamas Department of Meteorology.

The latest forecast as weekend approaches is there will be more of the same.

“EXTENDED FORECAST (FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS): A TROPICAL WAVE, SKIRTING THE

SOUTHERN PERIPHERY OF THE BAHAMAS, WILL PROGRESSIVELY MOVE WESTWARDS AND

INFLUENCE AN INFLUX OF MOISTURE NORTHWESTWARDS OVER THE BAHAMAS, KEEPING

RAIN CHANCES IN THE FORECAST INTO SATURDAY.”

The first tropical wave of 2022 has been identified but a pre-season storm is not yet expected. There have been pre-season tropical storms for the past seven years in a row according to WWLTV and the season is expected to be more severe than usual.

“An above-average season with major hurricane landfalls in the U.S.and in the Caribbean is unfortunately likely. Accuweather experts predict.

“16-20 named storms and six to eight hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, about three to five are forecast to reach major hurricane status.”

Boaters and swimmers in the two archipelagos – The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands – were warned to be cautious as well, “BOATERS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT DUE TO THE THREAT OF POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT ACTIVITY. BEACHGOERS SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION DUE TO THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS,” the Meteorology Department said.

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Government, fulfilling commitment to provide housing for Bahamians

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has underscored the government’s commitment to “strengthening” and “deepening” its “unmatched” legacy of providing access to decent, affordable housing to Bahamians.

“My government is acutely aware of the current housing shortage in The Bahamas and the backlog of housing applications at the Mortgage Corporation of The Bahamas (BMC),” said Prime Minister Davis.

“Our BMC Executive Chair, Barbara Cartwright, is committed to expediting those applications and assigning without delay, suitably qualified housing applicants.

“I believe the number of applications at BMC in just the last eight months is in excess of 3,500. This housing demand suggests that we move with urgency and dispatch.”

In this vein, the government, Monday, along with stakeholders, unveiled The Renaissance at Carmichael, a housing sub-division on 70 acres of crown land off Carmichael Road in Western New Providence.

Executives of the government and public-private partnerships (PPP) participated in a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, May 16, 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow Bahamian families the ability to open the doors to 200 new homes.

The subdivision is being funded by a PPP arrangement between the Government, a $20 million backing from PROVEN Wealth Ltd. through Simplified Lending, the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas and financiers.

Dignitaries in attendance: the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Leroy Major, Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet; David Davis and Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretaries; Barbara Cartwright, Chairman, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation; Oral Lafleur, Acting Chief Housing Officer; and Thomas Ferguson, Acting Director of Housing. Representatives of private sector partners: Robert Pantry, Founder and CEO, Simplified Lending; Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Limited.

Prime Minister Davis assured that as the economy fully opens and grows, the government expects to expand PPPs in other areas of national economy including public infrastructure providing investments, ownership and job opportunities for Bahamians.

Minister Coleby-Davis said the initiative will set a new standard in affordable housing by which other housing developments will be measured.

She described today’s signing is an “historic” milestone which can be attributed to the commitment of the government to bring to fruition a concept from an idea to reality.

“With this project we intend to create an estate where a sense of community thrives. There will be lit streets, sidewalks; a park where children can play safely and family gatherings can take place. Neighbors will be able to come together and interact as our families were able to do many years ago.

Formerly known as Carmichael Village Sub-division, the community will comprise 104 single family, two and three-bedroom residences, and eight two-storey condominium buildings with 12 units each.

In a video presentation Minister Coleby-Davis said, “Thanks to Simplified Lending, a Bahamian company which secured funding through a leading regional finance company called PROVEN. Many who only dreamed of home ownership will be able to walk through the front door to their new lives in less than one year.”

She informed that homes will be built to the highest quality with steel frame construction, storm-rated windows and doors, attractive facades and strong concrete foundations raised three feet above road level.

“Thanks to careful design, planning and exemptions on certain building supplies, every home will remain in the affordable price range opening doors to home ownership starting at $130,000,” she said.

Mr. Heaven said, “This transaction today will be primarily funded through the Bahamian portion of our Heritage education fund which is a regional education savings plan that is over 30 years old and is a household name for saving for your children’s tertiary education.”

The government broke ground for Pinecrest Sub-Division, a 43-lot community in Southern New Providence in January of this year.

 

Release: BIS

BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna

Header: From left: Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretary; the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet and the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

1st insert: The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is pictured speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for The Renaissance at Carmichael, a new sub-division in western New Providence.

2nd insert: The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing and Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Ltd., after ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

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