#NASSAU, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 – Employees across the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development are continuing to fulfill the needs of their regular clients while working to address the influx of new requests for social assistance as a result of the presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas.
These include employees from the Department of Social Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, the Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services and Urban Renewal, in addition to key Divisions and entities such as the Disability Affairs Division, Community Affairs Division, Community Support Services Division, and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and its Secretariat.
Employees continue to work on the frontlines of the Government of The Bahamas’ overall response to the COVID-19 Pandemic along with the other government agencies that have been declared essential services.
(Social assistance refers to government programmes that provide a minimum level of income support to individuals and households living in poverty. These programmes lend support either in the form of direct cash transfers or through a variety of in-kind benefits, for example, food coupons and certain other subsidies.)
Department representatives are called upon to provide assistance to regular clients in areas such as disability allowance, foster care assistance, food assistance for families, older persons and persons with disabilities, and assistance with payments of utilities (electricity and water), among others.
Personnel are also on call around the clock to provide access for persons in the event any domestic violence and child abuse matters occur, while others are working within communities to help address anger management and temperament issues.
Staff assigned to the various residential facilities for children and senior citizens, in addition to the juvenile facilities, are also at work ensuring that these facilities continue to operate at an optimum level. Rental cars that are used for deliveries during the day are also being used to transport staff in need of transportation, to the various facilities in order to accommodate their shifts.
The Department of Social Services continues to provide regular food assistance to its regular clients, in addition to Emergency Food Assistance for walk-in clients seeking food assistance as a result of the presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas.
Those latter persons are provided with a $50 Food voucher to address their immediate need, and are later assessed by social assistance providers to be placed on the Temporary Food Assistance Programme upon which the client can be placed for up to three years.
Social Services personnel, who have been allowed to work from home in order to follow the social distancing guidelines – have joined colleagues at the centres in ensuring that assessments on the many new applicants as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, are done as quickly as possible.
The Department’s regular clients who receive food assistance through The Bank of The Bahamas VISA Prepaid Card, have funds uploaded to the approximately 8,000 cards each month for recipients throughout The Bahamas.
The Department has also been managing the provision of special food assistance to the thousands of persons in the tourism industry who were placed on a reduced work hours with effect from March 1, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic; and has been working in partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, and various non-government organizations to promote food safety and security.
Meanwhile, team members from the Urban Renewal Department continue to have a presence in the communities within which Urban Renewal Centres have been established. Teams have distributed food packages to senior citizens utilizing curbside distribution policies, all while ensuring that the Ministry of Health’s protocols were strictly followed in the collection, preparation and distribution of those food packages.
(Plans are underway for similar deliveries in Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Family Islands in order to be consistent with Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell’s mandate “of not being just New Providence-centric.”)
Additionally, Dr. Eric Fox, an Anger Management and Temperance Expert and Consultant with the Urban Renewal Commission, who has done tremendous work in the inner-city communities over the past 32 years, continues to perform those services within the various communities — utilizing various forms of social media and other communication to remain “in close contact” with graduates and participants of his programme.
The Executive Director of Teen Challenge, Dr. Fox has also reached out to those members of the public at-large who may need his assistance, while adhering to the personal distancing protocols.
The Ministry has also made provisions for the community of persons with disabilities who are not clients of the Department to provide their information via telephone to the Social Workers at the Disability Affairs Division so that they can receive Emergency Food Assistance. They are required to show their ID’s upon collection. Persons with disabilities can contact the Disability Affairs Division at telephone: 325-2251/2 for assistance.
Additionally, officials at the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and its Secretariat, have also been diligently working to ensure that the needs of the community of persons with disabilities are being met.
The Commission has established a 24hr call and WhatsApp line at 376-8328. The community of persons with disabilities can also register online through the Ministry’s link on the government’s website: www.bahamas.gov.bs. They may also email the Disabilities Commission at Disabilitiescommission@bahamas.gov.bs.
“The Ministry’s response to COVID-19, through its various Departments and Divisions, takes into account the needs of our most vulnerable groups of clients consisting of our children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, in addition to our regular clients and those persons who now find themselves in need of social assistance as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said.
“We have endeavoured to use every avenue to remain accessible to not only our community of persons with disabilities, but those who are generally in need.
“I extend my sincere thanks to my staff who have persevered through the increased demands of Hurricane Dorian (2019) and have now risen, yet again, to the challenge of executing their normal duties while providing special assistance to those in need as a result of the economic fallout from COVID-19. Many do so amidst fears for their own safety and that of their families,” Minister Campbell added.
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Bahamasair Introduces New Flight Service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Georgetown, Exuma
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Bahamasair celebrated a significant milestone on Wednesday November 15, 2023, with the launch of its new direct service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Georgetown, Exuma. The new route enhances accessibility and convenience for Bahamian residents and travelers seeking direct access to the Exuma Islands.
The inaugural flight carried approximately 50 passengers. The new service, which will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, allows Bahamian locals to explore mainland Florida, while at the same time, providing travelers direct access to Exuma without the need for a stopover in Nassau.
During a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair, was delighted with the new service. He highlighted that the decision to add the flight to the Airline’s roster was a direct response to the public’s demand. He added that the move signified Bahamasair’s commitment to delivering a quality product.
“Today, we are thrilled to inaugurate our first flight between Georgetown and Fort Lauderdale, marking a significant milestone in expanding our reach and enhancing connectivity,” Mr. Cooper said. “Next year, we are looking to acquire more airplanes, leading to increased rotations and even more accessibility.”
For the route, ATR aircraft will travel between the Georgetown International Airport and Terminal 1 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, with an estimated flight time of approximately 90 minutes.
Lamar Fisher, Broward County Mayor, emphasized the significant impact of Bahamasair not only on the airport, but also on the county. The mayor pointed out that The Bahamas currently ranks as the 5th largest international market for FLL. He highlighted the strong cultural, historical, and business ties between South Florida and The Bahamas, expressing optimism that the new route to Georgetown would strengthen the connections.
“We welcome the Georgetown route,” said Mayor Fisher “We look forward to the tourism, business and trade benefits to come, connecting Broward County to another island in The Bahamas.”
Highlighting the significance of this milestone, Dr. Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Director of Aviation at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, characterized the launch as historic. He conveyed his enthusiasm as The Bahamas reached another major achievement, having welcomed approximately 7.9 million visitors in the first nine months of 2023.
Dr. Romer underscored the government’s strategic vision to boost overall arrival numbers.
“This milestone is particularly noteworthy because, despite the ongoing efforts of our longstanding partner airlines to bring people to The Islands of The Bahamas, I am delighted that our national airline, Bahamasair, has left its mark and etched history,” he said. “We are highly pleased with Bahamasair’s initiatives; they consistently make us proud. Their exploration of new routes has our full government support.”
“This inaugural has significant economic value and benefit because each person who comes into Exuma on a plane contributes 28 times more than a cruise arrival,” said Dr. Romer. “So, when we look at Bahamasair adding additional seat capacity to Exuma, that translates in a tangible way to heads in beds and money into the economy of Exuma.”
Georgetown, Exuma serves as the gateway to an unparalleled Bahamian experience, with access to pristine beaches, ranked among the world’s best. Exuma is also home to the world-famous swimming pigs. Exuma and its neighboring island to the South – Long Island – will both benefit from the new route. Over the past 26 years, Bahamasair has provided transportation to FLL. During that period, the Airline has conducted over 65,000 flights and transported more than 4 million passengers.
With Georgetown, Exuma added to its schedule, the Airline now offers seven (7) daily flights to Fort Lauderdale to and from other Bahamian Family Islands: Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Stolen Money likely circulating in The Bahamas
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Some Bahamians could unknowingly be using stolen money from the bank after one reported being robbed of the cash.
According to a press release from the Central Bank of The Bahamas eary this month, a commercial bank informed them that it was violated by an armored car robbery and bundles of money were stolen.
The Central Bank urged that these banknotes could be in circulation.
In making sure the public knows as much as possible about the stolen money, the Central Bank released information and images on the banknotes. This includes serial number details.
Additionally, the complete list of serial numbers has been provided to authorities and commercial banks where possible, the release said.
The 2018 series 20 dollar notes have a serial number range of N760001 to N765000. All the others have non-sequential numbers.
People are urged to contact the Commercial Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Royal Bahamas Police Force, at (242) 322-4191 or (242) 501-9991/2, if they have the banknotes or suspect any suspicious activity related to the notes.
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