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Grand Bahama Utility Company Limited outlines its COVID-19 Contingency Plan

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#Freeport, Bahamas – March 18, 2020 — The Grand Bahama Utility Company Limited (GBUC) has developed a COVID-19 Contingency Plan and is executing preventive safety measures at local water depot distribution sites island-wide.

Philcher Grant, Director of Group Corporate Affairs & Government Relations said, “Over the last few weeks, the GBUC team has been working hard to develop preventative plans by way of response to the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak   in Grand Bahama.  We want to share our initial plans with residents and give details about what the GBUC is doing.  And, we will share the remainder of our plans over the coming days and weeks.”  

The GBUC has embarked on a multi-tiered strategy that targets precautionary measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at remote water distribution sites, while still implementing the two-part plan to restore potable water island wide post Hurricane Dorian.  “We are on track and continue to develop new wells to ensure we bring potable water back by May. We also want to assure you that all of our present potable water sites throughout the island are being maintained and monitored to ensure they are safe.  We have also been working with relevant stakeholders” confirmed Geron Turnquest, General Manager of GBUC.   

A suspension of any disconnections was stressed to reassure customers.  Turnquest stated, “The GBUC will ensure that all persons connected with water will not be disconnected at this time.  We want to ensure that everybody has water to take care of their hygiene and other needs.”

The GBUC COVID-19 protocol which ensures the safe distribution of potable water at distribution sites island wide was outlined, these stations are open to the public on a daily basis to provide potable water free of charge to residents.  Trevor Simmons, Business Development Officer said, “Water monitors are stationed at each site to handle taps and fixtures for filling.  Handwashing stations will be erected at each water distribution site.  We also want the public to know that there is no shortage of water.”

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In keeping with the Ministry of Health’s suggested methods of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Simmons further asked for the public’s cooperation. “We ask that when at water distribution sites, kindly distance yourself from others, as much as possible, while waiting for your water container to be filled.  Also, please follow any instructions given by monitors.  If you have symptoms, we ask that you send someone else to collect water for you and avoid the public distribution sites.”

Residents were also reminded that certified water providers are fully operational and open to the public.  These companies received their certification by passing two required tests from the Department of Environmental Health (DEH). This confirms that their physical plant has been inspected by DEH and that the water quality meets the standards and guidelines set by the World Health Organization.  These companies include Pure Ltd., Bahama Fresh Water & Ice, Crystal Clear H20, Full Oasis Water Center and Sunny Isles.

Ms. Grant added, “We recognize that persons are very concerned.  People have understandably expressed fear over COVID-19.  I want to assure you; we are going to be with you every step of the way.  We are going to do what we have always done as Grand Bahamians, which is to get through this together.  One thing I know about this island, we are nothing, if not resilient.” 

Grant also cautioned residents against misleading actions of certain persons on social media sites by saying, “We would really like to caution the public at this time about the circulation of false information from unaccredited sources.  This is not the time to create mass panic and hysteria.  We urge you to follow the relevant, accredited agencies including Ministry of Health, Grand Bahama Port Authority, the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control.  We ask that everyone practices safety and responsibility as well.

GBPA PRESS RELEASE, MARCH 17

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Bahamas News

Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas

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February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7.  The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration.  This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).

Present at the ceremony were:  The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.

The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant.  He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.

In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF.  It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.”  He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM.  Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.

The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion.  Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.

He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill.  Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.

It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade.  The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”

For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.

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Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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