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Bahamas gets Update on the Emergency Food Plan

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Statement by Michael Pintard, Bahamas Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources

#Nassau, The Bahamas – From April 27, 2020 — Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the great Constituency of Marco City to which I have the honour to represent.

Mr. Speaker, The Cabinet of The Bahamas has determined that food production is especially crucial in these times. And that whatever measures we put in place must be sustained beyond Covid-19.  We take seriously the mandate that has been given by the Prime Minister to fix outstanding issues that may exist along the entire value chain and supply chain to ensure that The Bahamas has adequate food resources and the right food resources for the health and wealth of our people.

Strengthening existing partners and working with stakeholders to reach common objectives will be critically important to weather this crisis. My Ministry continue to make ourselves available to hear the concerns of farmers and fishers and will be making deliberate efforts to use the available technology to reach out to farmers and fishers throughout the country.

Mister Speaker, the COVID-19 crisis is an important opportunity for Bahamians to make healthier food choices by increasing their consumption of fruit and vegetables. There has been unprecedented interest expressed in farming over the last few months. We are responding quickly and carefully. We are making every effort to make local products accessible and affordable.

  1. The Packing Houses remain operational in all our Family Island locations (Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, and Long Island). The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation continues to operate the Produce Exchange and The Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute has continued local produce purchases. Both agencies have reoriented their marketing to make ‘value boxes’ available to persons on New Providence who may be facing financial challenges and have instituted the social distancing protocols to protect employees and customers. Extended hours have been added on Saturday to facilitate essential workers.

Additionally, ‘The Market’ at Gladstone Road has also been opened to allow purchase of domestic agricultural products.

  • Mr. Speaker, the long overdue renovations to packing houses in San Andros, North Andros, Clarence Town, Long Island, and Lower Bogue, Eleuthera will commence 1st May, 2020. Contracts have already been signed in the amount of four hundred fifty four thousand eight hundred and forty dollars ($454,840.00) to renovate the packing houses in the aforementioned islands.
  • Mr. Speaker, the slaughter house in New Providence has been closed from the initial COVID-19 Emergency Order on March 23rd, 2020. The Government, in consultation with the relevant authorities is seeking a gradual opening of the abattoir to allow for the slaughter of animals.  We anticipate that the abattoir will reopen on Tuesday 28th April, 2020. We will upgrade this facility as a matter of urgency. The growth of the livestock sector depends on a national slaughterhouse system throughout the relevant islands engaged in animal husbandry.
  • The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Marine Resources have maintained essential services to farmers and fishers during the period by providing reduced hours to facilitate urgent matters including facilitating import and export permits. The Veterinary Services will be implementing telemedicine for livestock farmers on New Providence and the Family Islands. The information on the times and link for services will be posted on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.
  • Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources (MAMR) has also produced an Emergency Food Production Plan to strengthen food and nutrition security in this time of crisis. It includes the assistance to farmers in the clearing of Agricultural Land of which one million eighteen thousand six hundred dollars ($1,018,600.00) has been allocated to farmers throughout The Bahamas with four hundred seventy-nine thousand six hundred dollars ($479,600.00) out of the said figure being allocated to Grand Bahama and Abaco (those islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian). These funds have already been sent to the affected islands.
  • Mr. Speaker, my Ministry is in the process of purchasing and distributing some ten thousand (10,000) backyard gardening kits throughout The Bahamas. The kits will include seeds, seedling, fertilizer, drip line, and pro-mix along with guidelines of how to arrange a proper backyard gardening system. The distribution of these kits should begin in two weeks.
  • Mr. Speaker, our Ministry is sourcing more than one thousand (1000) hydroponic systems which will be strategically placed throughout The Bahamas to assist with producing adequate supplies of vegetables especially leafy greens. The MAMR in collaboration with the Ministry of Education is adding an additional 22 hydroponics systems to the previously agreed upon number of hydroponics and aquaponics systems which will be placed in schools throughout The Bahamas.  
  • Mr. Speaker, two thousand layer chicks have been purchased from a local vendor and will be distributed to the Family Islands as soon as this week. This will provide additional protein and encourage farmers in the various communities to produce eggs for their local economy. Additionally, some five thousand (5000) layers are on order from a company in the United Stated and would be available within the next three weeks for distribution to New Providence farmers. On receipt of these birds/layers, it is intended to purchase an additional 5000 to 7000 layers to assist farmers further. The MAMR has begun planning to work with the sector about urgently upgrading the available hatcheries so that we can in the short to medium term dramatically increase egg production throughout the Bahamas especially on New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco and Grand Bahama in phase one.
  • The Ministry’s Food processing and Cooperative leadership in conjunction with BAIC and BAMSI and later with Home Economic Teachers and private enterprises will shortly lay out our plan to accelerate and scale up food processing and light manufacturing.
  1. Mr. Speaker, the Department of Marine Resources plays a pivotal role in the dietary consumption of seafood and the protection of our Marine Resources. During Hurricane Dorian, Marine Resources vessels were damaged/destroyed and we have already paid a 50% deposit of two hundred fifty-four thousand five hundred and twenty dollars ($254,520.00) for three vessels allocated for Bimini, Grand Bahama, and Abaco with which we expect to replace those vessels lost.
  1. Furthermore, we continue to discuss a plan of action to keep both subsistence and commercial fishers fully engaged in order to feed our nation and earn foreign currency. Discussions are underway to ensure the reopening of fish markets in a safe manner and the safe delivery of marine products to stores and customers.
  1. In addition, my Ministry is also in the process of partnering with the Ministry of Social Services, the Ministry of Health, The Ministry of National Security (Royal Bahamas Police Force), the Ministry of Transport and Local Government, the Ministry of Education and also food suppliers and wholesalers, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to launch the National Food Distribution Program to ensure, as the Prime Minister stated, that no vulnerable person is left behind.

Mr. Speaker, the program will target Senior Citizens and Disabled, Persons receiving Social Services Assistance, Students on the School Lunch Program and Furloughed Workers. Mr. Speaker, the distribution will include a number of dried goods but even more importantly Bahamian grown fruits and vegetables, Bahamian marine products, Bahamian jams, jellies, honey, Bahamian meats, Bahamian soaps, etc.

  1. Mr. Speaker in order to ensure that adequate animal feed and agriculture inputs are available to farmers in the various islands and that we reduce wastage in the movement of agriculture and marine products our Ministry is documenting available dry, cool and cold storage space.
  2. Since we last met we have begun to forge important partnerships upon which we will build. We are excited about the meetings held with church leaders about national and local agriculture projects we will work on together. We are encouraged by the initial meeting with the new generation of agro-youth professionals who are committed to the full incorporation of new technologies in all aspects of agriculture and marine resources. We intend to assist them in several key areas as they assist the sector. Our discussions with approximately 16 Agriculture educators resulted in several key commitments on both sides. I and the Ministry team have participated in more than two Ministerial meeting with Ministers throughout the region sharing best practices and plugging the data gap. We are in ongoing discussions with the leaders in the fishing and farming sector.

Mister Speaker,

These are challenging times at a national and personal level for our entire nation. Constituents and staff members have lost loved ones and other staff, in every section of the ministry, (Department of Agriculture, Department of Marine Resources, Cooperatives, Regatta, BAIC, BAMSI, and BAHFSA), and despite these difficult circumstances show up to work daily and on weekends. I am indeed grateful to them and to the farmers and fishers throughout the archipelago for their dedication and support.

Thank you, Mister Speaker, for this opportunity to update the Honourable House.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Celebrates 51st Independence – ‘United In Love & Service’

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By LINDSAY THOMPSON
Bahamas Information Services



NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Commonwealth of The Bahamas celebrated 51 years as an independent nation on July 10, 2024.

A Calendar of Events planned and managed by the National Independence Secretariat focused on the theme: ‘One People United In Love & Service,’ an excerpt from the National Pledge.

An Ecumenical Service and Cultural Show was held July 9, 2024 at historic Clifford Park, where the Flag Raising segment stirred emotions from spectators – many of whom were at that same spot when the birth of the nation happened in 1973.

The 51st Independence Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a number of leadup events: beginning with ‘National Flag Day’ on June 28, during which Bahamians throughout the country donned the national colours of aquamarine, gold and black and held brief ceremonies marked by singing of the National Anthem, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, and solemn Flag Raising.

The traditional Independence ‘Beat Retreat’ was held in Rawson Square, downtown Nassau, June 30, where a joint uniformed branch band wowed dignitaries and scores of spectators with their skillful drills and upbeat music.  This year, young people were added to the mix and drew thunderous applause as they sang the songs of local artists.

On July 1, a National Time Capsule Packing Day was coordinated, which involved all Family Islands, and New Providence.  Residents gathered historic items unique to their specific communities and placed them in time capsules.  All capsules will be unsealed in 2049 during the country’s Diamond Jubilee independence celebrations.

The week leading up to Independence was filled with activities aimed at bringing people together right where they live — their communities.  It called for Bahamians to focus on heritage, culture, love and commonalities as opposed to differences.

The main event on Tuesday, July 9, at Clifford Park drew many who donned fashionable clothing in the national colours, waved pompoms, blew whistles, and held flashing lights as they experienced from 7:30 pm to 12:00 midnight aspects of the spiritual and cultural Bahamas.

The Ecumenical Service sermon was delivered by Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander – who called into focus the theme of unity, love and service.  The gospel singing by Bishop Denczil Rolle & Friends added to the worship mood throughout the park and the vicinity of Fort Charlotte.

Following on, the cultural segment showcased folklore dance, performances by artists who evoked crowd excitement, Junkanoo, skits in which young actors dreamed of their future, and interviews with Bahamians who have beaten the odds.

Minutes before midnight, Her Excellency Dame Cynthia Pratt, Governor General, inspected the Honour Guard; members of the clergy gathered around the National Flag as it was being hoisted and offered prayers for various segments of the community; and as the Flag reached the top – the National Anthem was played followed by a burst of fireworks bringing in July 10, 2024 – the 51st Independence Anniversary of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In those early hours, starting at 1:00 a.m. the celebration continued with ‘The People’s Rush’ Junkanoo extravaganza.

On the afternoon of Independence Day, a ‘Family Fun Day’ was held at Clifford Park, where all manner of activities, games, foods, drinks and entertainment were available for families to enjoy.

That evening, a State Reception at Government House, Mt. Fitzwilliam, was hosted by Governor General Dame Cynthia Pratt in celebration of Bahamas Independence.

PHOTO CAPTION
Photos show the 51st. Anniversary of Bahamas Independence Ecumenical Service and Cultural Show celebrations at Clifford Park, July 9-10, 2024.  (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Bahamas Development Bank Hosts Financial Talk with Freeport Primary School  

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Freeport, Grand Bahama, 15 July 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) recently hosted a group of enthusiastic sixth graders for a session on financial literacy. Over 40 Freeport Primary School students delved into the importance of being goal oriented and the value of savings.

Through engaging activities and discussions, the sixth graders learned about the importance of planning for the future and how disciplined saving can help them achieve their dreams. Beyond this, BDB team members encouraged the students to be their best as they get ready to leave primary school.

Bahamas Development Bank Credit Operations Manager, Brent Deveaux, expressed enthusiasm about the event, stating, “It is crucial for our young people to understand the value of money management early on. By teaching them the principles of saving and goal setting, we are not only empowering them to make sound financial decisions in the future but also contributing to the overall economic well-being of our community. At the Bahamas Development Bank, we are proud to invest in the financial literacy of our youth as part of our commitment to national development.”

Following the interactive session, BDB presented a donation to Freeport Primary School to assist graduating sixth graders with their transition to junior high school.

This Freeport Primary School initiative was part of a broader effort by BDB to celebrate its 50th anniversary with events that engage and benefit the community. The bank believes that financial education is a key component of building a prosperous and financially responsible society. Bahamas Development Bank team members Brent Deveaux, Rachea Mortimer, Rhavanya Carey, and Octovia Green planned and carried out the activity.

 

Photo Caption: The Bahamas Development Bank recently hosted an interactive session designed to provide Freeport Primary School students with practical knowledge about setting financial goals and the benefits of saving money. Standing in center is Freeport Primary School Principal, Gia Walker.

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Prime Minister Davis: New US Embassy Compound represents ‘our commitment to mutually beneficial ties between our nations’

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Turks and Caicos Leaders attend official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Nassau, Bahamas

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said, on June 28, 2024, that it was a “great honour” to join in celebration of the 248th anniversary of the United States’ Independence, and festivities of the New Embassy Compound Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony.

“On behalf of the Bahamian people, we wish the people of the USA a Happy Independence,” Prime Minister Davis said, during his Official Remarks at the event, held on the grounds of the new compound. “As we join you in celebrating 248 years of a successful and thriving democracy, I also extend a warm welcome to the new Chargé d’Affaires Kimberly Furnish and thank the U.S. Embassy for hosting this event, affording us this moment to celebrate with one another.”

He added: “This evening is particularly special as we gather to cut the ribbon for this beautiful new Embassy here in Downtown Nassau. This new building represents our commitment to mutually beneficial ties between our nations. It is a symbol of our enduring friendship as neighbours, as allies in pursuit of a better world, and as collaborators building a brighter and better future together.”

Among those present were Governor General of The Bahamas Her Excellency the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt; Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands her Excellency Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam; Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands the Hon. Charles Washington Misick; Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Fred Mitchell; Hon. Mr. Chief Justice of The Bahamas Sir Ian Winder; Director of Intelligence and Information for North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command Brigadier General Maurizio D. Calabrese; and US Department of State Overseas Building Operations Principal Deputy Director J. Douglas Dykhouse.

Prime Minister Davis noted: “As we reflect on tonight’s theme, ‘Our Shared Future’, I am reminded of the countless ways our nations have supported each other over the years. Whether in the aftermath of our deepest tragedies or through collaborative efforts to protect our borders, the United States has always been a steadfast ally to The Bahamas.”

“When hurricanes ravaged our islands, leaving destruction and despair in their wake, the United States was there, providing vital aid, resources, and support,” he added. “I can’t help but think of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one’. The US has been a true friend to The Bahamas.”

“Moving forward, we will undoubtedly continue to maintain close ties – and not just diplomatic ties but social, cultural, and economic ties as well.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that many Bahamians visit the US on an annual basis – multiple times per year.

“And, if you were to add up all the US citizens who visit The Bahamas each year, you’d get a number that is far greater than our population,” he said. “Our nations are truly intertwined.”

“I am genuinely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the US and The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Davis added. “As we deepen our friendship, we must ensure that we maintain strategic alliances on key issues to protect our interests.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that both nations faced similar issues in immigration and border control, and they also were both preparing for more extreme weather events due to worsening climate conditions. Those, he stated, were just two of the areas where they had the opportunity to work together for the common good.

“One of the most important and sacred aspects of our relationship is our shared commitment to democracy, freedom, and human rights,” Prime Minister Davis said. “These values are the bedrock of our societies, guiding our actions and shaping our futures. Together, we must continue to champion these principles, both within our borders and on the global stage.”

He added: “As we celebrate this milestone, let us also take a moment to reflect on the future we envision for our nations – a future where our collaboration leads to greater prosperity, security, and well-being for our citizens. A future where our shared values and goals continue to guide us toward a more just and equitable world.

“Together, we can achieve great things and ensure a prosperous future for both our nations.

“Thank you, and once again, Happy Independence.”

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