#Nassau, Bahamas, May 13th,2020: As Bahamians begin to navigate their way forward under the gaze of COVID-19, facing what is certain to be a new normal, many are looking to take advantage of the ‘shelter-in-place’ protocols by learning new skills both as a way of enjoying themselves and also as a potentially new source of income. Riding this wave of industriousness right alongside them, the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) is set to roll out a free lecture series that covers a diverse range of topics. Throughout the months of May and June, BAMSI’s academic arm will host its Free Virtual Educational Series to help people tap into their best, and most creative selves.
The virtual education series expands on BAMSI’s agriculture and marine-related focus, covering an eclectic array of topics, including Art and the Environment, Food Security, Bush Tea DIY Activity Kits and Bahama Butterflies DIY Activity Kits and Aquaponics. The series, which begins this Friday, can be enjoyed by anyone with internet access, and participants may register for one or all the classes.
Dr Raveenia Roberts-Hanna, BAMSI’s executive director, said the decision to launch the series, which includes two sessions on job readiness, was made to help Bahamians begin to think about how they can forge a better path for themselves in a post COVID-19 environment. “This is one of the ways BAMSI is giving back and contributing to the positive wellbeing of our community even as we face an uncertain future. Imagine taking an hour or two once a week to learn something that brings joy and educational empowerment, that strengthens your vision for a brighter future, and that helps you feel more enriched – that holds incredible value and BAMSI is excited to help participants begin that journey.”
While the lecture series is an end in itself, the hope is also that individuals will be inspired to seek further training and education through the Institute’s certificate and degree programmes. Dr Hanna explained that the seven-week certificate programmes in Backyard Farming and Agriculture are set to roll out June 1st, with degree programmes slated to begin in September.
While many companies are trying to find their footing in this new marketplace, BAMSI, is poised to be a change agent for a country that is looking to shore up its food security at both the commercial and community levels. As the world grapples with the corona virus, and countries turn inward to protect their citizens, the question of food security has never been more foremost in the minds of Bahamians. Through its farm in North Andros and growing partnerships with farmers across the country, BAMSI is on the front line, helping to secure the supply of fresh produce to Bahamians.
The Institute’s academic arm is also playing a pivotal role in shaping a new future. It is offering the public the opportunity to take advantage of a cross section of courses that will help them develop new careers, gain traction for entrepreneurial ventures or simply support the dreams of a backyard farming enthusiast.
“In light of the incredible impact that COVID-19 has had on every aspect of our lives,” Dr Hanna said, “from changes to the Bahamian economy to this tremendous focus on our ability to feed ourselves, to how we practice social distancing in our everyday lives, BAMSI wants to take on the role of empowering our people to focus on how they can craft a better way forward for themselves, their family and the Bahamas as a whole.”
For more information on BAMSI’s Free Virtual Education Series, visit www.bamsibahamas.edu.bs
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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