#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 – With possible severe weather expected to affect the Central and Northwest Bahamas this weekend, officials of the Grand Bahama Rand Memorial Hospital are taking extra precautions ahead of the system to secure patients in Samaritan’s Purse tents.
Ms. Sharon Williams, Administrator of the Rand, said the hospital is concerned about the report from the Bahamas Met Office about bad weather expected to pass through or near Grand Bahama during the weekend.
“Since April 26, our last encounter with severe weather conditions, where our tents hospital at Samaritan was severely impacted by the weather conditions, we have been working very closely with the local Met office in monitoring local weather conditions,” said Ms. Williams.
“We have been advised that from Wednesday through late Saturday that there will be the possibility of heavy rain and wind that could impact the Grand Bahama area. That, no doubt, brings concern again for our tents at Samaritan’s Purse and in addition, our modular isolation facilities near our Emergency Room which we have set up for Covid-19 response.”
The Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued a statement on Tuesday (May 12) of a frontal boundary over the southeast Bahamas that will back up over the Central Bahamas on Wednesday and stall through Thursday.
During that time conditions are expected to become favorable for the development of an area of low pressure along the frontal boundary by Friday afternoon in the vicinity of Cat Island.
As a result, “pockets of squally showers, heavy thunderstorms, strong, gusty winds and the potential for water spouts and tornadic activity can be expected over portions of the Northwest and Central Bahamas from Wednesday through Saturday,” according to the Meteorology Department.
The Hospital Administrator said that they have proactively advised their managers to meet with Administration to devise plans for the movement of patients and clients in those areas that could be adversely impacted by bad weather. She said that those plans have already been put in place.
“We are looking at our new facilities at the Cancer Association to be able to house some persons if necessary,” said Ms. Williams. “Also, our Emergency Room facilities is also a consideration, if it isn’t too crowded – we will have to see what patient load we will have there at the time. Of course, our facility at the Freeport Community Clinic, at our IAT building is also under consideration for use if necessary.
“Between those three locations, we will house our patients temporarily until the weather returns to normal.”
In terms of preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, the Rand Memorial Hospital Administrator said that the close communication with the Met Office will continue and that all weather systems – inclusive of tropical storms and hurricanes – will be monitored by the hospital’s Administration extra closely and that even more proactive measures will be taken when necessary.
“We do this every year, but the only difference this year is that we do not have use of the full hospital,” Ms. Williams pointed out. “So, we are engaging the various health care facilities, as we usually do around the island, and discussing with them about moving our clients to those areas if it becomes necessary. Of course, we have to solidify those arrangements, before announcing their names to the media.
“But we are definitely looking into alternatives for housing our patients, inclusive of the Government working very aggressively to complete the renovations for the Rand in a timely manner. We might not be finished for the beginning of the hurricane season, but we hope to be finished very soon and we are praying that it is before any significantly severe weather patterns hit this area.”
The Bahamas Meteorology Department said that the low pressure will move northeast and away from The Bahamas late Saturday night, and partly sunny and drier conditions are expected to return on Sunday.
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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