#Nassau, The Bahamas – October 22, 2020 – For 14 years, Philip Smith has been feeding the hungry, first with loaves of bread he baked in his small apartment. For the last seven years as executive director of Bahamas Feeding Network, he has headed an unprecedented volunteer effort that has provided more than one million hot meals to those who most desperately need help. But never has he seen the extent of hunger explode as it has in the last seven months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and widespread unemployment.
“Hunger, especially in households with young children and among the elderly, was a major problem before, but in many ways, it was a quiet problem. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the stark reality of hunger is staring us in the face and we are extremely grateful to the government of The Bahamas for their intervention which has made it possible to feed more than 55,000 households or 220,000 individuals,” he said. “For organizations like the Bahamas Feeding Network and all of us who are currently working within the framework of the National Food Security Task Force, we need to pause, take a deep breath and thank the administration for recognizing the depth and breadth of the extent of hunger, and funding its relief to the best of the government’s ability.”
According to Smith, nearly one in every two households in The Bahamas is struggling to put food on the table, double the figure of just a few months ago. The Bahamas Feeding Network, Bahamas Red Cross, Hands for Hunger, Lend a Hand, One Eleuthera Foundation, The Grand Bahama Food Task Force and IDEA Relief in Abaco make up the National Food Security Task Force which is now providing food parcels and food vouchers for more than 55,000 households or an estimated 220,000 people every week.
“That is more than 50% of the population of The Bahamas,” said Smith, “and that does not include those who are too proud to ask for assistance or are surviving on a minimal diet heavy in starches and carbohydrates, inexpensive but not the healthiest of diets which is another problem we are trying to deal with, using this crisis to encourage healthier choices.”
While the figure of half of all local households struggling to put food on the table is staggering, it is not far from the overall global rise in hunger.
“By comparison,” Smith said, “the estimate pre-pandemic was that one in every eight or about one billion people around the world suffer from either chronic or acute hunger during normal times with the highest numbers being in Africa. Recently, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme reported a tripling since the pandemic, mirroring what The Bahamas is experiencing.”
In the U.S., a Brookings Institute survey at the end of April, just months after the pandemic started, found that two in five households with mothers with children 12 and under were food insecure.
“And those figures are close to what we experienced in The Bahamas. Prior to the pandemic, it was about one in every seven people and now it is three times that,” he continued. “The silver lining, if there is one, is that we anticipate the spike that tripled the need to feed will diminish as jobs return, but in the meantime we appreciate government’s sensitivity to the desperate situation that would exist if it were not for its understanding of the need and its willingness to tackle it.”
The government is spending about $1 million a week to combat hunger and this week announced it would extend the work of the task force, originally scheduled to end this month, to December 31.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation “Bringing The Bahamas” to Cities Across the Globe
#TheBahamas, August 16, 2022 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation will launch a series of Global Sales and Marketing Missions through May 2023, beginning in Florida and New York next month. Missions are planned for the USA, Latin America, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe.
“As the catalyst to the growth and development of the Tourism industry these past 50+ years, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is focused on the maximization of the return on our investment,” said the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation.
DPM Cooper and Acting Director General of Tourism, Latia Duncombe, will lead the missions.
“We’ve invited a cross-section of hoteliers and stakeholders to join the missions in promoting our Brand as the industry rebounds, and as we work to generate new leads and recapture market share,” said Mrs. Duncombe.
The BMOTIA senior executive members will meet with wholesalers, travel specialists, media contacts, potential investors, airlines, and corporate stakeholders. During these events, attendees will have the opportunity to:
- Meet Tourism specialists across the product segments
- Engage in questions and answers
- Learn about new developments and product offerings by key industry stakeholders
- Experience Bahamian culture through local cuisine, music, cocktails, and special Junkanoo performances, which will be making its triumphant return to Nassau.
Having maintained “It’s Better in The Bahamas” appeal, the myriad of hotel brands – all-inclusive and self-catering properties – complements the Ministry’s 16-island identification of diverse cultures and experiences.
ADG Duncombe confirmed that the industry’s forecast for the remainder of the year and through March 2023 is very promising, and marketing initiatives will further concretize the Bahamas’ Global Brand. “We hope these events will inspire our partners, leaders, and representatives, and that we will collectively keep the heartbeat of our economy alive by working together,” she said.
The “Bringing The Bahamas to You” Global Missions will bring a taste of Bahamian culture across the globe to inspire travel to the destination.
For more information, please visit Bahamas.com/GlobalMissions2022.
2023 Bahamas Charter Yacht Show Announcement
#TheBahamas, August 16, 2022 – The Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM), in conjunction with the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA), and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, is proud to announce the 2023 Bahamas Charter Yacht Show (BCYS), to be held in Nassau, Bahamas on February 23rd – 26th, 2023.
The 2023 Bahamas Charter Yacht Show will be one of the top international charter shows in the world, and bring together charter yachts, charter yacht brokers & managers, Bahamian marinas, marine & yacht trade companies. Yacht charter has increased greatly in The Bahamas in the last ten years, and now plays an integral part in The Bahamas’ boating and yachting tourism, providing millions of dollars to the nation’s treasury in terms of charter fees, and millions directly into the Bahamian economy through direct expenditures.
The goal of the BCYS is to (1) allow charter yachts that charter in the islands of The Bahamas to showcase their yachts and crew to charter brokers and charter managers from around the world, (2) allow marinas and resort properties from around The Bahamas to showcase their individual locations, and (3) allow local Bahamian companies that cater to and benefit from yachts being in The Bahamas, to showcase their products and services directly to the yachts and charter brokers.
This year’s show is based primarily in downtown Nassau and will include the following marinas and properties:
- Baystreet Marina
- Atlantis Resort & Marina
- Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina
- Nassau Yacht Haven Marina
- The Pointe Marina
- Margaritaville Beach Resort & Marina Nassau
In addition, ABM marinas from throughout The Bahamas will be on hand sharing what makes their Out Island destinations perfect for yacht charters.
The Bahamas Charter Yacht Show is comprised of a partnership with the Association of Bahamas Marinas, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA). The 2023 Bahamas Charter Yacht Show is chaired by Joe
Dargavage, Managing Partner of the Romora Bay Resort & Marina and President of the Association of Bahamas Marinas, Ms. Erika Feszt, Assistant Manager and Peter Maury, General Manager of Baystreet Marina, and Ms. Laura Garcia, Partner at United Island & Yacht.
For all information, visit https://bahamascharteryachtshow.com.
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PM Davis says Regional UNFCCC Meeting Attendees share a ‘determination to make important progress’ on climate change issues
By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services
#NASSAU, The Bahamas, August 16, 2022 – – During his Official Remarks at the Opening Plenary Session of the Caribbean Regional Heads of Government Meeting in Preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference of The Parties 27 (COP 27), on August 16, 2022, Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis noted to attendees that they all shared a determination to make important progress together in the coming days.
“As many of you know, the end of August and the beginning of September has become a very poignant time on the Bahamian calendar,” Prime Minister Davis pointed out, at the Meeting, held at Baha Mar Convention Centre. “September 1st will make three years since Hurricane Dorian landed on our shores.”
“The physical, psychological, social, and economic damages are still very much with us,” he added. “Across the world, we’ve seen the intense heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts that are further, terrible evidence of the accelerating impact of climate change.”
“One thing is clear: success will require collective action,” he said.
“If we advance our interests merely as individual Small Island Developing States, our voices will be dispersed, unable to be heard above louder, wealthier, carbon-producing interests,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis said: “Friends: There really is strength in numbers; and if we stand together, we are less likely to fall apart. And so this regional meeting is critical. Our shared characteristics go beyond our physical geography.
“We need to find effective, efficient ways to adapt to new realities,” he added. “We have to re-structure our lives and our living environment to mitigate against the disasters which are becoming more frequent and more severe.
“Easy to say – much harder to pay for.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the Caribbean had been identified as the region with the largest number of indebted countries. He said that while there were multiple reasons for this, in many cases a major contributor to debt is borrowing associated with recovery efforts from the impact of climate change.
“Here in The Bahamas, we undertook an exercise which revealed that more than 50% of our outstanding debt can be linked to the impacts of the hurricanes which descended on us between 2015 and 2019,” Prime Minister Davis said. “Our countries are struggling with debts accumulated by climate disasters.”
He added: “What does this mean for the development of our nations, when our risk profile is becoming so severe that insurers question their willingness to offer risk facilities to offset climate disasters? Put simply, we are in danger of becoming uninsurable.”
Prime Minister Davis said that many, if not all, of the countries represented at the Meeting had already faced challenges in accessing climate-related funds.
By acting in “common cause”, he said, they could move with more authority and with greater impact to address legacy issues which have held them back from making meaningful progress.
“This is not to say that there aren’t differences among us,” he noted. “With some issues, we can agree to disagree. With others, we can use this forum to find and build consensus before we engage with our colleagues around the world.”
Prime Minister Davis said that COP26 in Glasgow promised a renewed commitment to act. He noted that in the prior two weeks, both the United States and Australia had taken “historic” steps forward to address emissions.
“But the conflict in Ukraine, spiraling inflation in energy costs along with other goods and services, and significant disruption to supply chains, have put pressures on the promises to restrain carbon emissions around the world,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“The progress in the United States and Australia is important,” he pointed out. “The world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries generate 80% of global emissions. They can act – when they choose to.”
“Their progress also shows nothing is inevitable, in this great fight of our time,” Prime Minister Davis pointed out. “We cannot get stuck, or allow others to languish in inaction, when forward motion is required.”
Prime Minister noted that there was much room for innovation.
“I don’t just mean technological innovation – I also mean innovation in the way we think about climate challenges and solutions,” he said. “Consider, for example, the Call to Action on Living Lands (CALL), which emerged from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda earlier this summer.
“The Call to Action highlights the importance of building natural resilience by stopping and reversing biodiversity loss, and developing nature-based and ecosystem-based approaches to combating climate change.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that, if it was true that almost all of the hard work fighting climate change lies ahead of them all, it was also true that their ingenuity was up to the challenge.
“And so, Friends, I encourage your most active and vigorous participation in these discussions. Let us bring our best ideas to the table,” he said. “Let us work together to construct a joint solution in respect of climate risk insurance and other climate risk facilities.
“And let us take practical steps to improve access to climate finance.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that they were well-aware that, going into COP27, work was underway to advance the implementation of a Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, along with the establishment of a Loss and Damage Facility.
“These are important tools to support our countries,” he said.
“However, we also need to ensure that risk or insurance facilities are also in the toolbox of solutions to help our people,” Prime Minister Davis added. “Access to climate finance should not be unclear or cumbersome. And the application of per capita overseas development assistance eligibility should not be taken as the main consideration for offering climate finance; if so, means that many Caribbean states would be frozen out from the start.”
Prime Minister Davis said that they should all work together to advance the use of a Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index to reflect the true needs of Small Island Developing States; and work to persuade donors and partners to ensure that all SIDS are eligible for access to bilateral climate financing.
“Colleagues, we are at an important time, when the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance is currently being assessed by countries operating within the UNFCCC framework,” he said.
“If we can do the heavy lifting here, our chances of success are greatly improved,” he added. “We are more likely to avoid the mistakes of the past.
“And we will have a greater chance of securing better futures for us all.”
Prime Minister Davis said that it was his “fervent hope” that the meeting becomes an annual event, one where common interests, shared objectives and mutually-accepted protocols, lead to “outcomes which will ensure our very survival”.
“It is no exaggeration to say that our very lives depend on it; and the only way forward is together,” he said.
Photo Caption: Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis speaks, on August 16, 2022 at Baha Mar, during his Official Remarks at the Opening Plenary Session of the Caribbean Regional Heads of Government Meeting in Preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference of The Parties 27 (COP 27), which will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November.
(BIS Photos/Eric Rose)
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