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COVID crisis to make 25,000 Bahamians jobless; unemployment expected to soar to 30 percent says Prime Minister

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#Nassau, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 – With each passing day, COVID-19 is devastating the Bahamian economy.

“Not since the outbreak of World War II over 70 years ago have we lived through such a devastating impact on our economy and the livelihoods of so many Bahamians. Tourism, trade and commerce are all suffering devastating and deep blows. We are in very difficult and uncharted waters,” said Dr. Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister on Mother’s Day during a National Address. 

As the Caribbean region braces for what is forecast to be another high performing hurricane season, countries like The Bahamas, which is still reeling from the historic hit of Hurricane Dorian last year, may see the jobless rate soar to 30 percent.

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The Prime Minister shared, “Based on applications to NIB, more than 25,000 people have been laid off or have lost their income to date.   This number will likely increase.    The initial numbers from the Treasury indicate that the tax revenues for April were just about one-half of what was collected in April, 2019.    Our unemployment rate in the near term will likely exceed an unprecedented and extraordinary 30 percent.  The entire global economy is in freefall and in unchartered territory.”

It is excruciating imagery, to accept that 25,000 Bahamians will be unemployed and as many as 12,000 others, who are work permit holders will be without a job and an income.  The future looks grim, and the Prime Minister on Mother’s Day did not attempt to paint a rosy picture.

“Even the most powerful and developed countries in the world have entered into deep recession with very high unemployment and the loss of scores of businesses, especially in service industries like tourism, hospitality and entertainment.”

It is true that the International Monetary Fund, a month ago in a video statement told the global community that the crisis precipitated by the continuing impact of the Coronavirus contagion would bring about a global recession akin to the Great Depression, which  tragically spanned a decade beginning in October of 1929.

“The IMF predicts that the economic fallout will surpass “that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago,” said Dr. Minnis.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva

The Bahamas, according to the nation’s chief, is forecast to see its economy contract by 14 to 20 percent; a one-year decline.  And the driving engine, Tourism, is severely stalled.

“Our closest economic partner, the United States of America, is now seeing job losses like that of the Great Depression. By some estimates, our economy may shrink by between 14 to 20 percent during 2020.  This will represent a historic one-year decline.   Tourism, the leading engine of our economy, is being devastated.  Many businesses that closed during the lockdown are not confident they will be able to reopen once the restrictions are lifted.   We are facing a stark reality that the vast majority of us have never seen in our lifetimes,” explained Dr. Minnis.

On May 27, The Bahamas is expected to hear the fiscal plan by Dr. Hubert Minnis’ FNM Government Administration, when it presents the National Budget.

“It will be a budget that is shaped to match the unprecedented nature of the times we are living in.   What I will say at that time is that your government will ensure that social welfare allocations are expanded to meet the basic food and other core needs of those economically displaced because of COVID-19.”

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Bahamas News

BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’

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Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support

 

#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.

Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.

“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.

“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”

The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.

In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.

Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.

“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.

“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”

Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.

Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.

Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.

“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”

Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.

“The thing is, this is just one organization, and there are hundreds of them,” said Carey.

The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.

Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.

“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”

Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.

“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.

Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.

“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”

 

Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel

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Bahamas News

Da Rocks’ Jonquel Jones and Sun aim to repeat win in bid for WNBA Championship

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#USA, September 18, 2022 – Jonquel Jones of Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama power forward and centre for the Suns had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in a victorious and glorious effort against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night. The Connecticut Suns holding on in game three, which could have been elimination if that score went the Aces way.

Now, on ESPN Sunday Jones is hoping for another win and a tie of the series which is a best of game five.

The Sun are now 4-0 in elimination games in the playoffs so far this postseason.

There was other good news on the weekend for Bahamian Jonquel, as she was named an All-WNBA Second Team selection.  Jones scored 126 overall, receiving 12 first team votes and 22 second team votes which came as no surprise to many.  Jonquel leads the Suns in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots.  She averages 14.6 points per game, ranking in the top 20 in the WNBA for scoring.

Add to the road Jonquel is still on for WNBA Champion and historic Bahamian athlete, as a member of the All- WNBA First Team, she will receive $10,300 and each member of the Second Team will receive $5,150.

The Bahamas continues to be proud of this outstanding player.

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Tourism, Investments & Aviation Minister I. Chester Cooper Elected Vice Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization

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#TheBahamas, September 16, 2022 –  The Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, was elected to continue to serve as a vice chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism Meetings this week.

DPM Cooper is leading a delegation which includes Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General (ADG) and Dr Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Acting Director of Aviation, to the four-day CTO Business Meetings which are taking place in the Cayman Islands 12-15 September 2022.

“I am grateful and honoured to serve in this capacity on behalf of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the entire Caribbean region,” DPM Cooper said.

“It is important that we continue to forge deeper relations with our tourism counterparts and support each other as we aim for full economic recovery. It is my hope that ongoing efforts will enhance our tourism product across the region and position the Caribbean as the most desirable destination year-round.”

In his role as CTO Vice Chairman, DPM Cooper will provide updates regarding the region’s performance and developments.

The CTO is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising over 24 member countries and territories and provides support to those members in marketing, sustainable tourism, communications, and research & information technology. This year’s conference focuses on regional recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future of tourism.

CTO Business Meetings have been on hold since 2020, making this meeting the organisation’s first in-person event following the onset of the pandemic.

For more information, visit Bahamas.com.

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