#Abaco, The Bahamas – September 1, 2020 — They floated almost angelically; the beautiful blossoms tossed onto the waters buffeting the shores of Great Abaco. Beneath the clear ocean which carried wreaths away from the still battered wooden dock and the people who lined the shore, is evidence that something horrible happened here.
The broken, barnacle-covered debris beneath, and flowers floating above created a dramatic image – eerily symbolic of the gravity of the moment.
What Abaco had endured, what the islanders have overcome and what was painfully wrenched from the people on September 1, 2019 when Hurricane Dorian hit.
Wreaths were today given to the very same waters which have taken so much… still it is where countless loved ones spent their final minutes fighting for their lives and where those left to mourn found it most fitting to say a more formal farewell.
A solemn ceremony was held at Friendship Tabernacle in Marsh Harbour on this September morning; with dignitaries including local government officials, Members of Parliament and Hon Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs who represented the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, all attending.
Messages to the diverse attendees, according to prominent media businessman, pastor and community leader, Silbert Mills were: “Uplifting, encouraging, inspiring…”
Rev. Mills shared, Abaconians were mindful of COVID-19 social distancing protocols as they filed into the church; and he was pleased with the unity and comforting tone of the service… some were quiet, he said, others sobbed and yet more were thankful, somehow.
It has been one year since Hurricane Dorian brought harrowing conditions which led to a still untallied death toll.
“We still do not know how many of our Haitian brothers and sisters were lost in the hurricane,” explained Rev. Mills in our phone interview earlier today.
The Royal Bahamas Police and Royal Bahamas Defence Forces brought nobility to the thanksgiving service; participating most memorably in the finale wreath laying ceremony held at the water’s edge.
The island’s capital, Marsh Harbour was crushed under the weight and devoured in the fierceness of Hurricane Dorian – strongest Atlantic Hurricane in modern history, which sat for three days over Abaco and Grand Bahama in the northern Bahamas.
Today, power is restored, internet services are available, reconstruction is underway and temporary housing is embraced.
“Oh the dome homes are complete and fully occupied; in fact new dome homes are being built on properties as people work to repair what was structurally lost,” updated Rev. Mills.
There is dignity.
As wreaths were laid; the quiet singing of a well-worn gospel hymn of perseverance.
“…Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to knowa
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
Residents are at 5 p.m. called to line the shores from Marsh Harbour to Murphy Town for a drone fly-by in memory of Abaco’s darkest day.
Bahamas as Caribbean top 2024 Spring Destination
#Bahamas#Tourism, February 23rd, 2024 – The Bahamas has been categorized as the most popular Caribbean destination for travel in the upcoming spring season by travel insurance company Squaremouth, in a new report. It was the only Caribbean nation to make the list for the top 10 destinations. The report is derived from travel insurance purchases made through Squaremouth.
Regional Soldiers head to Jamaica to train for pending Haiti mission
#Haiti#KenyaMultinationalForce#CARICOM, February 22nd, 2024 – About 150 Bahamian soldiers are heading to Jamaica within the next one or two weeks for a joint training with Jamaican soldiers, in preparation for the pending Kenya led multinational force mission to Haiti according to Bahamian Defense Chief Commodore, Raymond King, in reports. Soldiers and security forces from Chile and Argentina will also travel to Jamaica for the training.
King informs that Kenya and Haiti are in the process of signing off on an agreement to allow Kenya to lead the force into Haiti, following advice from Kenya’s High Court which recently deemed Kenya’s decision to deploy police officers to the gang run nation as unconstitutional. This agreement includes a formal request for assistance from Haiti, allowing Kenya to legally intervene on the ground.
Major plans for The Bahamas announced Davis
#Bahamas#Development,February 22nd, 2024 – “Things are changing in The Bahamas,” were the words of Prime Minister Philip Davis as he outlined some of the Government’s plans to improve the nation through a decrease in the cost of living, enhanced security for Bahamians and the expansion of access to opportunities. Davis, who was presenting on February 21st, the Bahamas Mid-Year Review of the fiscal performance for the fiscal year 2023/2024, highlighted a long list of plans for the archipelago.
Here’s the full list stated in Davis’ address :
- A new energy policy and an expansion of renewable energy, including microgrids, and an emphasis on engaging local Bahamian firms and building local professional capacity;
- An expansion of Bahamian ownership in our economy, including support for entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, and an expansion of affordable housing –with hundreds of families moving into new homes by this summer;
- A modern and award-winning specialized tourism product, with new investments across our archipelago, and major visibility and branding campaigns in New York, Florida, and the UK;
- Progress on redeveloping downtown Nassau, long overdue;
- New commitments to education, including a Parental Engagement Unit; more teacher training, modernizing the curriculum, classroom enhancements, improving school attendance, and using the Renaissance testing results to design individualized support for students;
- An expansion of technical and vocational training, including certification at the high school level;
- An Empower Grand Bahama micro-grant programme for entrepreneurs; $1.5 billion in investments for Grand Bahama in the pipeline; the Beautiful Grand Bahama programme, in which collaboration has led to safer communities; and Collab Grand Bahama, which fosters partnerships between the government and the private sector to bring change and progress to Grand Bahama;
- Major upgrades to our health infrastructure;
- More support for our athletes and sports programmes;
- We’re on track to pave 65 miles of road in New Providence alone this year;
- Investments in NIB to improve fairness and efficiency;
- A National School Breakfast pilot programme, which is already giving thousands of our children breakfast in their primary schools, and is ready to expand;
- New classes, camps, lessons, and programmes at our Urban Renewal Centres;
- A Youth Guard to strengthen our capacity during national emergencies, and give more young Bahamians a path forward;
- A Task Force addressing unregulated shantytowns in New Providence and Abaco, with other islands to follow;
- The selection and training of new immigration officers;
- Saturation patrols and new investments and collaboration in crime prevention;
- A juvenile detention facility;
- A cadre of officers trained to recognize and manage psychiatric issues;
- Stronger partnerships and new patrol vessels to secure our nation’s borders;
- Major new investments across our Family Islands, including new airports, and road paving in Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Abaco, Long Island; Great Harbour Cay, and Crooked Island;
- The development of our nation’s blue carbon credits strategy; and
- A major investment in agriculture and national food security.
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