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Bahamas announces new COVID-19 measures for New Providence, Abaco and Eleuthera

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#Nassau, The Bahamas – November 9, 2020 — Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis on Sunday announced the relaxation of certain restrictive measures for the islands of New Providence and Abaco, and an increase in restrictions for mainland Eleuthera. In an address to the nation on Sunday 8 November, the Prime Minister pointed to the progress recorded on New Providence and Abaco since restrictive measures were introduced a month ago. Since then, there have been reductions recorded among key health indicators watched closely by health officials, including the number new cases of COVID-19, transmission, the national positivity rate and hospitalizations.

“We have seen good progress on both New Providence and Abaco,” said Prime Minister Minnis. Effective Monday 9 November, the weekday curfew for New Providence and Abaco will move to 9pm to 5am, and the weekend 24-hour curfew will be lifted and a 6pm to 5am curfew on Saturdays and Sundays will take effect. Other changes to take effect on Monday for New Providence and Abaco include:

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• the resumption of in-stores services in the retail sector – including pharmacies – Monday to Saturday; • food stores may open on Saturdays; • outdoor dining at restaurants permitted Monday to Saturday, including at fish frys. On Sundays, only drive-thru and take-away services will be permitted; • indoor dining at hotels will be permitted; and • beaches and parks will open Saturdays and Sundays from 5am to 6pm.

On Grand Bahama, the daily curfew, Monday to Sunday, will also move to 9pm to 5am. The Prime Minister said the government would continue to consult with health officials to determine the appropriate time for the safe reopening of gyms, spas and other elements of the economy. For the island of Eleuthera (excluding Spanish Wells and Harbour Island), Prime Minister Minnis announced that a 6pm to 5am weekday (Monday to Friday) curfew will take effect on the mainland starting tomorrow.

All bars, and restaurants connected to bars will be closed. Funeral services may take place at the graveside only with a maximum of 10 people not including officiant; and weddings will be limited to 10, not including the officiant. Repasts and receptions are prohibited. Indoor church services and in-person classroom instruction of students will be prohibited. Public and private social gatherings will also be prohibited. On the weekends, a 24-hour curfew will be implemented starting on Fridays at 6pm to Mondays at 5am. During the 24-hour curfew, businesses are not permitted to operate, including grocery stores and pharmacies.

“To reduce the spread on Eleuthera, I ask everyone on the island to please go back to measures that worked for you in the past, so that Eleuthera can reopen various areas safely and as quickly as possible,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

Arawak Cay, Nassau Bahamas – World Famous Fry

The Prime Minister said that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is on alert and in place to ensure that vessels do not flee Eleuthera in violation of the Orders. Additional police resources have also been deployed to ensure enforcement of measures put in place to protect the residents of Eleuthera.

As of Saturday 8 November, Eleuthera had a total of 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island. All districts in Eleuthera have recorded confirmed cases of the virus, with the greatest proportion of cases in South Eleuthera, followed by North Eleuthera and then Central Eleuthera.

The measures for Eleuthera were recommended by health officials following an assessment of the COVID-19 situation on the island last week, noted the Prime Minister.

In his address, the Prime Minister acknowledged the Family Islands that currently have no active cases of COVID-19, including Acklins, Crooked Island, Cat Island, Inagua, Mayaguana, Long Island and San Salvador.

“As we emerge out of this second wave, let us be cautiously optimistic and let us continue to be careful,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We are opening up. But if we stop following the public health advice, virus cases will increase again, and we may end up back under restrictions.”

From Office of the Prime Minister, Bahamas

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Bahamas News

Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas

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February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7.  The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration.  This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).

Present at the ceremony were:  The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.

The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant.  He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.

In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF.  It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.”  He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM.  Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.

The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion.  Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.

He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill.  Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.

It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade.  The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”

For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.

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Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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