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Caribbean News

CHTA President calls for support to Rural Areas on World Tourism Day



#MIAMI, Florida (September 25, 2020) – The president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) welcomed the focus of World Tourism Day this year on the important, but often overlooked, linkages between tourism and rural development. Applauding the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) celebration of tourism’s essential role in providing opportunities beyond major urban centers, Patricia Affonso-Dass noted that many of the Caribbean’s rural areas have benefited from tourism’s development and are now challenged with working together to revitalize tourism, as their communities have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


“The Caribbean is replete with examples of how tourism has been key to the development of rural communities. Many of our hotels in rural areas are major generators for other economic activity in their communities beyond the creation of jobs at the resorts,” said Affonso-Dass.

“These hotels have spawned a range of businesses and jobs which otherwise would not exist without tourism, including new attractions, ground transportation services, restaurants, musicians and entertainment providers, fishermen, farmers, and other support services for hotels.  

“As tourism-generated dollars circulate from visitor spending and employee earnings, they in turn support the grocery stores, petrol stations, banks, insurance companies, and public services that help to build and maintain roads, utilities, sanitation facilities, health clinics, police and fire securities, and other infrastructure which is so essential to rural development,” she added.  

The tourism leader optimistically reflected that the slowdown of visitor arrivals to the Caribbean due to the pandemic was a golden opportunity for the region to invest in showcasing the beauty, diversity and productivity of rural areas through the development of more agricultural tourism offerings, which help to preserve and promote history and culture. 

“The beauty of our coasts, beaches, reefs, and seas is well known but we should support and highlight the potential of our inland farming communities to feed and sustain not only our residents, but also the formal tourism sector, and encourage visitors to experience the simple joys of Caribbean country life through agritourism,” Affonso-Dass urged. 

The CHTA leader believes the economic benefit to territories and countries is another strong argument for supporting the rural environs: “While we have made real headway in recent years integrating local produce into hotel and restaurant menus, we need to continue and streamline this effort by working with farmers to strengthen critical supply chain challenges and implementing virtual clearing houses that would allow farmers to know what products are needed in what quantities, at what standard and in what timeframes so that they can maximize the value from their production. This way we all benefit and our visitors can enjoy a real taste of our distinctive regional flavors while giving our farmers, large and small, more sustainable livelihoods.” 

UNWTO has reported that young people have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with youth in rural communities three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults, making rural tourism an important social adhesive.

Plaiting of the May pole, South Caicos Turks and Caicos Islands. Photo by Magnetic Media

“Supporting tourism recovery and strengthening its linkages to the rural areas would allow our young people to remain and earn a sustainable living in their beloved lands rather than migrating within their home countries or abroad,” observed Affonso-Dass.

Indeed, she pointed to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement that for rural communities, indigenous peoples and many other historically marginalized populations, tourism has been a vehicle for integration, empowerment and income generation.


The CHTA president emphasized that rural communities were typically much less prepared to deal with the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. “This is due to several factors, such as aging populations, the difficulty in sustaining durable livelihoods and the difficulty and cost of developing and maintaining efficient and reliable communication so they can quickly identify the food needs of consumers. And, we totally agree with the UNWTO that tourism offers a solution to all of these challenges,” she said. World Tourism Day 2020 will be celebrated by UNWTO’s member states on September 27, 2020, as well as by cities and other destinations and private sector organizations and individual travelers. 

It comes as the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme



#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.

The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.

“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.

“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.

To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.

They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.

They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.

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