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Bahamas Gender and Family Affairs Launches Online Family Safety Survey

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Dr. Jacinta Higgs, the Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs

#NASSAU, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 — The Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, has launched an online survey entitled: ‘Family Safety Survey – COVID-19 Bahamas,’ in line with the department’s objectives of “keeping our families safe.”

The availability of the survey is also a part of the technological reform underway at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

Dr. Jacinta Higgs, the Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, said the survey (available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PZDXGP9) examines how interactions in Bahamian homes may have changed since the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas.

To reduce the instances of COVID-19 community spread in countries worldwide, global governments have implemented social/physical distancing policies, curfews and mandatory lockdowns as key mechanisms in that fight. This has resulted in persons having to spend more and more time together in confined spaces at home.

Dr. Higgs said the survey – which will take just five minutes to complete – will allow officials to garner as much information as possible on what is actually happening in homes during the curfew and/or mandatory lockdown periods in order to be better able to respond, and to be better able to bring about improvement: “once we know, and if persons reach out to us.”

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The survey, which has been designed to elicit responses from males and females 18 years of age and above, has multiple objectives.

“The objectives of the survey are to ascertain, via an online platform which is accessible across the length and breadth of The Bahamas, responses from persons – men and women – ages 18 and above, the level of safety and/or violence in their homes pre-COVID-19 curfew, or lockdown or Emergency Order.  And during this experience to find out, in the first instance, what is the prevalence or lack thereof of violence within our homes and, secondly, would the experiences have been exacerbated as a result of persons living now confined, and living very closely to one another over longer periods of time,” Dr. Higgs said.

“Also to find out what are the concerns of Bahamians from every island and every cay; and then finally to provide persons who may be experiencing violence in their homes with yet another safe space contact (safespace242@gmail.com).  A private cell number has also been provided for those persons to have contact with the Department.”

Dr. Higgs said anyone who has access to a cell phone anywhere in The Bahamas can participate in the survey.

“This is the first time in the history of the Department that we have conducted such a survey. This is the first time in the history of the Department that we have such reach to those persons.” 

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The Department has undertaken the steps necessary to ensure the security and confidentially of all answers to the survey. Officials say the answers provided will remain completely “anonymous and confidential.”

The ‘surveymonkey’ web platform is international, universal and used by universities and research organizations and/or centres, in addition to departments within government, to allow those organizations to reach the greatest number of persons electronically.

“It is a platform that is safe,” Dr. Higgs assured. “We are working with one of the major universities, and the information will go directly to the research person assigned to the survey. Once the survey is submitted the responses are immediately gathered by the individual.”

Dr. Higgs said the online survey provides added benefits.

“The online survey is fully electronic which allows for the automatic calculation of the various responses. It further affords us the capability for the survey responses to be disaggregated (divided into detailed sub-categories) outlining for example, how many men have responded, how many women have responded.

“The advantage of using surveymonkey is not only to allow us access to every Bahamian in every Family Island and Cay, but it also allows us to gather that information, collate the information, then analyze the information and provide a report in a very quick turnaround time, as opposed to the sometimes years of turnaround time a survey of this magnitude may yield in terms of analyzing [the data] and then producing a report,” Dr. Higgs added.

BIS NEWS by Matt Maura

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#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.

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Bahamas News

Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

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.

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Bahamas News

74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court

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#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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