#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.”
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. “
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.
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.”
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
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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