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Bahamas Prime Minister Extends Lock Down and Requisitions Face Masks

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#TheBahamas – April 6, 2020 — Bahamians must be weary by now of the lock down and curfews imposed in the effort to protect the Public Health, but ‘cabin fever’ will not stop the Emergency Orders from taking place and morphing as the doctor, prime minister sees it fit. Dr. Hubert Minnis, this morning during the House of Assembly informed of new measures to contain COVID-19, which means almost a month of some sort of Government-ordered restricted movement for residents of The Bahamas.

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The Bahamas has now recorded five deaths due to the coronavirus; with 29 positive cases recorded for the archipelago; it is a fatality rate of over 17 percent. It is an alarming statistic and among the top in the world for deadliest impact of the contagion.

“As of Wednesday April 8, 2020, starting at 9 p.m. a complete lock down will again be implemented effective Wednesday, the 8th of April at 9 p.m. and will end at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the 14th of April. At the end of the lock down period, the 24-hour curfew will again resume,” said Dr. Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is also requisitioning all medical supplies to augment stocks at health care facilities; these, he said will for now be purchased from suppliers.

“I would, at this moment, urge every retail store or persons who have any stocked or supplies of any medically approved surgical or face masks for sale to contact the Ministry of Health immediately. In order to sell the same to the public health as the sale of any medical masks to the general public will at some time be prohibited.”

The Prime Minister aimed to allay residents’ concerns about having sufficient food and other supplies during this extension to the lock down. On Sunday, a list was distributed, permitting grocery shopping for individuals in alphabetical order.

Bahamas Virtual Cabinet Meeting held over the weekend

“Yesterday, my Office announced that starting today, Monday April 6, 2020, until further notice, a food shopping schedule is in effect for the entire Bahamas. The schedule was agreed after widespread consultation and discussion, including with the National Coordinating Committee. This schedule will regularly allow all residents access to food shopping three times per week. But because of the wider shutdown this particular week, all residents will have the opportunity to shop at least once before the shutdown comes into effect.”

Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis said the schedule is designed to reduce possible exposure and physical interactions, to avert further community spread particularly in Nassau, Bahamas.

It is expected that physical distancing protocols – six feet a part – will be adhered to as residents form shopping queues.

The Prime Minister reminded Bahamians, during his presentation in the House of Assembly, that the country’s medical experts warn that The Bahamas is in “a surge.”

Photos courtesy of the Office of the Bahamas Prime Minister

“We have watched on the news the consequences around the world of waiting too long to act aggressively. Some countries and jurisdictions that did not act fast enough are experiencing hundreds of deaths per day. We are learning from what happened in those places and applying the lessons to The Bahamas.”

Four people have recovered so far in The Bahamas from COVID-19 and 324 individuals are reported as being in quarantine.

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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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