#Nassau, Bahamas, October 22, 2020– Schools, libraries, and community centres serve as central access points to a range of programmes and services that meet the needs of the public. As the online school year begins, many students without the necessary devices at home will turn to these institutions as resources during their virtual learning experience.
Aware of this, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Technology Team presented sixty-three computers to eight critical community treasures.
Reverend Clinton Josey of the African Methodist Episcopal Community Centre in Savannah Sound, Eleuthera, is especially thankful and described the bank’s donation as “important and timely.”
“A number of the boys and girls in the community have had to walk or hike a ride to other settlements to have access to a computer or the internet. Our students from our local church and the community can now just walk a minute or so to the centre to complete assignments and projects in a timely manner and not pay community centre fees because it belongs to our community,” he said.
The Palmdale Primary Special Education Unit, Claridge Primary School, Arthur’s Town High School in Cat Island and various public libraries including the Nassau Public Library, Eastern Public Library, Carmichael Public Library and National Library and Information Services are also now better equipped for this eventuality.
Ms. Serethea Clarke, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Education (MOE), in her thanks to CIBC FirstCaribbean, also described the donation as timely.
“These will assist us in achieving our goals in ensuring that our teachers are well equipped and, in the case of our libraries, students will be able to access information at their fingertips to be able to complete research and to ensure that they are active participants in the learning process,” she said while accepting the devices on behalf of the MOE.
“We all know that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning is the new norm. Unfortunately, many students still have challenges accessing online education,” said Mrs. Nikia Christie, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Marketing Manager.
“Our hope is that these devices will not only assist disadvantaged students while they are working safely at home but also later on when they can safely return to schools. Donating computers to libraries and the community centre ensures that there are additional safe and quiet places for them to learn and study.”
Mrs. Christie underscored that “this is not the end.” She said there are also schools and organizations in Abaco and on Grand Bahama that the bank would be looking to donate to as it ensures as many students as possible have access to virtual learning. “CIBC FirstCaribbean is committed to helping the communities that we serve and we are happy to make this donation to ensure that children have suitable computer equipment to continue their education during this challenging time,” said Andrew Hanna, Senior Manager of Technology, CIBC FirstCaribbean.
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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