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Bahamas DPM says monument will help residents remember the lives lost during Hurricane Dorian

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#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — July 15, 2020 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest said the pain caused by the loss of lives during Hurricane Dorian remains personal for him.

“Many who died were my friends,” said Minister Turnquest. “Some who are still missing, I know personally. I’ve visited and shared with those persons, in homes now shattered and destroyed. Monuments like this are erected to help ensure that we never forget what happened September 1st, 2019.”

UNVEILING MONUMENT – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest (left), along with Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Sarah St. George (right) unveil a monument dedicated to the lives lost

The Minister’s remarks came on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, during the unveiling of a monument at the Sir Jack Hayward Bridge, which leads to East Grand Bahama, to serve as a memorial to the lives lost in East Grand Bahama during Hurricane Dorian in September of 2019.

“On behalf of the government, I commend the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its partners for this kind gesture,” said Minister Turnquest. “This occasion pays tribute to those who died as a result of Hurricane Dorian. It reminds us not only of the loss, but also of the tremendous effort and courage the surviving families and friends have had to bear, as they carry on and rebuild their lives and properties.

“We want them to know that they have not been forgotten. Also, their strength is symbolized by this monument. This monument will highlight our resilience and determined drive to carry on for those who did not make it. “

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The Deputy Prime Minister noted that since the passing of the historic hurricane, the Government of the Bahamas has taken measures and steps and learned lessons from the experience to strengthen institutions in preparation for future storms, which the country must assume will come.

He noted that there has been the legislation of mandatory evacuations, hardening of the island’s sea defenses with the completion of the Smith’s Point Seawall and the Fishing Hole Causeway, with more such investments to come in the future in West and East Grand Bahama.

He added that building codes that help to protect people and property during storms are being drafted; NEMA has been strengthened in its leadership and management of disaster preparation and response; the Disaster Reconstruction Authority has been formed and is presently assisting Bahamians with rebuilding efforts.

“Shelters that have been damaged during Hurricane Dorian are being repaired and new ones identified,” said Minister Turnquest. “The Rand Memorial Hospital is being completed renovated and renewed to almost a new facility, with expanded bed capacity, in preparation for a new facility that will eventually be built as things return to normal.

“The government understands that there is no quick fix to do it right, but we understand the urgency.

“The unveiling of this monument cements the fact that our recovery demands a unified approach. We are in this together and we will get through this together.”

The Deputy Prime Minister urged the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its partners to redouble their efforts in the cleanup of Grand Bahama, noting that there are still a number of areas that remain filled with debris, which is hampering the rebuilding efforts. He said that the completion of the cleanup project will go a long way towards the recovery of the island of Grand Bahama.

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The Deputy Prime Minister also pointed out the urgent need for a new airport in Grand Bahama. He noted that the temporary facility is adequate, but not ideal.

“Of course, we all have to do our part to restart the economy and assist residents to return and to start new businesses on the island,” said Minister Turnquest. “In this regard, I want to commend the Grand Bahama Port Authority on its RISE Program and for partnering with the Small Business Development Center to assist entrepreneurs throughout the length of this island.

“I want to thank the Port Authority for the humanitarian assistance to the residents on the island, through their Foundation.”

Memorial for Hurricane Dorian victims unveiled in Grand Bahama. Photo by BIS

Minister Turnquest pointed out that the monument will not just represent the lives lost during Hurricane Dorian, but will also serve as a tribute to all of the frontline workers, First Responders and even private citizens who became heroes, having used jet skis, boats and other means to save the lives of many Grand Bahamians during Dorian. 

“This Memorial is for you too, as we celebrate and remember your courageous acts of kindness. Yet, it is another forceful reminder that we are indeed a village and together we cannot and must not fear.

“While this Memorial is located here in Grand Bahama, let me say to the people in Abaco that it is difficult and near impossible not to link Abaco to this moment. The Grand Bahama and Abaco ties, particularly in East Grand Bahama are strong.

“This Monument celebrates your loved ones too.”

The Deputy prime Minister told those in attendance that there are plans to construct a Memorial park in East End (proper), to have a place where family members can go and reflect on the lives of those who were lost in the historic and terrible storm called Hurricane Dorian.

BIS Press Release by Andrew Coakley

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GBPA welcomes EY’s New Office to Freeport

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#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has approved a business license for EY Bahamas Ltd., who is set to open a new office in Freeport.

With more than 300,000 employees globally, EY provides assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions services to businesses, countries and entrepreneurs. Significant economic impact from this investment will stem from the need for local housing, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation and more.

“We are pleased to welcome EY to Freeport,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.  “GBPA has been working with EY to take advantage of the BH-1B Visa program, which provides a significant opportunity for us to welcome more people to our city. We are looking forward to the economic boost to local businesses including grocery stores, taxis, car rentals, the housing market, restaurants and more. The ripple effects as a result of EY’s new footprint in Freeport will be a positive addition to our business community.”

GBPA and EY began serious discussions in 2019 prior to Hurricane Dorian regarding the benefits of operating in Freeport’s Special Economic Zone.  Since then, GBPA continued building its relationship with the firm and further helped them to understand the benefits of the BH-1B visa, which allows them to use Freeport to support their client’s needs across the region and globe.  Besides attracting local Bahamian and international talent, EY was drawn to Freeport’s proximity to North America, its safe environment, technology infrastructure and more.

EY has operated in The Bahamas for decades, providing rewarding careers for Bahamians. In its new Freeport location, EY will offer its clients solutions utilizing global talent, while creating new opportunities for employment and training for Grand Bahamians.

“Our Invest Grand Bahama promotional arm is dedicated to attracting these types of businesses that can benefit from our unique Free Trade Zone. We will continue to do our part as we promote the best Freeport has to offer,” Mr. Rolle concluded.

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RM Bailey’s Class of 2022 told, go where your heart leads you; be courageous, innovative, be your best

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – Vice-President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Barry Griffin appealed to R.M. Bailey Senior High School’s Class of 2022 to be advocates of change and to use their voices to encourage good governance and constant innovation.

Senator Griffin was the guest speaker at the school’s commencement exercise Monday, June 20, at Charles Saunders Auditorium. “Empowered to Make What Seems Impossible – Possible” was the theme for the event.

“What we need now from our leaders is a sense of urgency. There has long been this feeling in The Bahamas, and in particular the upper echelons of our country, that we have comfort and we can manage to navigate the twists and turns that come our way,” said Senator Griffin.

“But what Hurricane Dorian has taught us, what the pandemic has taught us, what the inflation and rising costs of gas, electricity and food has taught us is — something that those at the fringes of our society have known for far too long — that comfort we feel will not last for long.”

To make the change, he remarked that the love of an old  “anachronistic” system that no longer serves the nation and its students must be removed.

He appealed for expanded opportunities for all, structural changes in the economy and in politics.

“We must begin to call a spade a spade — we have a problem of inequality, a problem of equal access to opportunity and a problem of failed politics. And graduates the only way that changes, is by you making your voices heard.”

He offered the following advice to the graduates:

  1. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
  2. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  3. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, both are equally important.
  4. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.
  5. There is no script. Live your life the way you want.
  6. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  7. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
  8. Failure is the condiment that gives success flavour.
  9. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
  10. Go where your heart leads you — and do everything you desire — act as if it were impossible for you to fail.

“My advice is to be bold, to be you, to embrace failure, and to live as if everything is possible.

“It is my hope that you run out of here excited, leaning forward into the wind and ready to take the world by storm,” he said.

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Summit of the Americas elevates hemispheric challenges, Bahamas PM vocal

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – “The Americas are challenged by crisis.” This was the statement made by the Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis during his contribution to the Plenary Session of the 9th Summit of the Americas on June 10, 2022.

“Climate, COVID and conflict have undermined our safety and our security,” he said. He went further to ask some thought-provoking questions: “Have we done enough here, at this gathering, to relieve suffering? To promote peace? To fight for the economic dignity of our People? “Will the work we carried out here continue once the spotlight and the world’s attention has moved on?”

He said the work and fine words do not count unless the people are told that the leaders have laid a true foundation for their progress.

Hinting back to the Summit in 2019, he said it is evident that the good intentions and optimism of that gathering did not translate into enduring advancement.

“Indeed, some countries in our hemisphere have become more unequal and more violent… across the Americas, the scourges of racism and discrimination appear to be on the rise. Emerging moral and technological challenges to our democratic norms threaten our capacity to deliver free and fair elections, and effective governance.” He added that all the mentioned challenges are “eclipsed by the existential threat of climate change.”

He expressed thanks to President Biden and Vice-President Harris and the people of the United States, to host and facilitate the dialogue and cooperation because none of the mentioned issues can be resolved by one nation.

Davis added, however, that “multilateral engagement at the highest levels happens too infrequently – certainly when it comes to issues which are important to the Caribbean,” he added. “But if the work of this Summit continues, if the will to cooperate endures, if words turn into action –change can lead to progress, and we can move forward.”

He highlighted several key factors affecting the region’s development, like hurricanes and other natural disasters that result in injury and debt, Covid-19 and the lack of sufficient healthcare workers, disinformation, and the illegal shipment of guns and movement of people. He also hinted at a topical issue, which suited the occasion as some countries were not invited to the Summit.

“It is easy to talk with those with whom we agree, but we must also be able to talk with those with whom we disagree. In fact, sometimes those are the conversations that are most urgently needed,” he said.  Prime Minister Davis noted that all the countries in the hemisphere faced overlapping developmental, security and democratic challenges. Collaboration and collective action can only be of mutual benefit. The absence of the Republic of Cuba has made these deliberations less complete,” added the Prime Minister.

“We must also be mindful of the unintended consequences of isolation and separation,” he said as he shared that more could be done to provide support for Haitians.

He noted that for the institutions within the Inter-American system to fulfil their potential, there should be some rethinking or re-calibrating. He added that the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular, required both a structural and cultural adjustment.

As the Prime Minister ended his presentation, he called for not just more talking but also that participants “keep ‘doing — upholding our commitments and taking the action necessary for our collective survival.”

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