#Freeport, Grand Bahama – April 12, 2020 — The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), in collaboration with local medical teams, have sourced and funded a supply of COVID-19 rapid test kits, from a U.S. based company, for use by Grand Bahama Health Services. The kits are on island, and a portion of them have been made available to The Bahamas Ministry of Health for use throughout the archipelago.
Dr. Duane Sands, Minister of Health for The Bahamas, has stated that comprehensive testing is key to controlling the spread of Coronavirus. Once validated, this supply of rapid test kits will support Grand Bahama Health Service efforts and allow speedier cluster tracing and identification of COVID-19 patients.
“This is obviously not our area of expertise or in our remit, but we are doing whatever we can to assist our health care services in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ian Rolle, President of GBPA and Port Group Ltd. “In echoing leaders like Dr. Sands and Dr. Bartlett, who head the COVID-19 response here in Grand Bahama, we have said from the beginning that success against this global pandemic will come from working together. This fight will take a citizen army of the public and private sector, working together safely, to staunch the spread of the virus.”
In prior announcements, the GBPA advised of their leasing the Grand Bahama Cancer Association building to be used as a medical facility, as well as the donation of two x-ray machines to Grand Bahama Health Services. GBPA commended Norma Headley for her hard work and efforts in ensuring the Cancer Association was safely handed over to local health services. The company will continue to provide updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in Grand Bahama through communication with the Minister of Health and Grand Bahama Health Services, as well as relevant white papers and participation in videoconferences with medical professionals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left several Bahamian families and communities grieving due to the loss of loved ones. “We, at the Grand Bahama Port Authority, wish to express our deepest sympathy to the families of those persons who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in this country and, in particular, here in our community of Grand Bahama. And we also wish a speedy recovery to any persons currently infected and quarantined. We understand the loneliness of this disease,” said Sarah St. George, Acting Chairman of GBPA.
In recognizing the selflessness and generosity in the Grand Bahama community, Ms. St. George added, “On behalf of the GBPA, I want to thank all who have stepped up to assist during this time, in particular our Industrials. I also wish to thank those on the front line in public and private sectors, and those who are taking care of the elderly and children at home. Through GBPA’s charitable arm, the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), we will be rolling out initiatives to distribute food vouchers to the needy, and we are also in the process of arranging a safe form of special home deliveries of food and water to those who are COVID-19 positive and confined to their residences. I’m touched by others who have donated food and other goods, and reached out to neighbors in need. We are seeing the best of Grand Bahamians across our island.”
The GBPA reminds residents to stay informed through the government’s COVID-19 website, as well as its own website and social media pages.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
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