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Bahamas: We Are One’ Neighbourhood Watch Campaign Launched

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#NASSAU, The Bahamas – November 18, 2020 — Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames said, on November 16, 2020, that it was over two years ago since the National Neighborhood Watch Council programme was birthed with “community minded individuals who wanted to make a lasting difference in their respective neighborhoods.”

“Their vision was to collaborate with their neighbors to solve community safety challenges in partnership with law enforcement,” Minister Dames said, during the during the Official Launch Ceremony of the National Neighbourhood Watch Council (NNWC) / South Central “We Are One” Campaign, held at the Edmund Moxey Community Center.

“But, most importantly, they wanted to enrich, uplift and inspire a renewed sense of national pride within the hearts and minds of all Bahamians, throughout the communities in which they lived.”

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Among those present were Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis; Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle; Leader of the Official Opposition representative and Member of Parliament Picewell Forbes; Deputy Commissioner of Police Ismella Davis-Delancy; President of the Bahamas Christian Council Bishop Delton Fernander; Superintendent and NNWC National Coordinator Wilton Johnson; NNWC Co-Chairs Alesha Hart and Keno Wong; Chairman of the Bahamas Public Parks and Public Beach Authority and Member of Parliament Shanendon Cartwright; Pastor Mario Moxey; President of the Ridgeland Park Community Association and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the NNWC / South Central “We Are One” Campaign Shelly Lewis; and other Government and civil society stakeholders.

Minister Dames noted that, since that start more than two years earlier, the National Neighborhood Watch Council had morphed into one of the fastest growing and successful community programs that The Bahamas had ever seen.

Marvin Dames, Minister of National Security – The Bahamas

“With nearly 150 neighborhood watch groups which span over New Providence, Grand Bahama, and several of our Family Islands, the NNWC has modernized the traditional style of community engagement to one of community empowerment,” he said.

Minister Dames pointed out that, under the leadership of the National Coordinator and two distinguished community leaders who both serve as co-chairs, supported by the Ministry of National Security, the NNWC continued to make a positive impact on community safety and bridge the gap between local law enforcement and members of the public. The evidence of the NNWC’s success is both quantitative and qualitative, he added.

“The quantitative evidence is compelling as, during the past two years, members have targeted various property crimes that were impacting the quality of life and safety within some communities throughout The Bahamas — including burglary, housebreaking, and stolen vehicles,” Minister Dames said.

“As a result of the strategies employed by law enforcement and partnerships with the residents through the NNWC, these offences all shown a noticeable decrease.”

“From a qualitative aspect, the NNWC has been successful in promoting a better quality of life, a greater sense of security, responsibility, and personal control, and the strengthening of community pride and unity among citizens and residents, alike,” he added.

We Are One neighbourhood watch program launched in The Bahamas; speaking Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis

“NNWC members are building and sustaining a nationwide culture of prevention that is focused on safety awareness, and observation which draws on the compassion of our citizens and residents, enabling them to lend a hand to their neighbors whenever and wherever the need arises.”

Minister Dames said that stakeholders were especially grateful to Prime Minister Minnis for having proclaimed November 16, 2020 through December 18, 2020: “We Are One” — Unity and Healing in the Midst of Crisis.

“Our nation is built on the strength and resilience of our citizens,” he said.

“If there is one thing that Hurricane Dorian of September 2019 and the global pandemic of 2020 declared in March 2020, has taught us, is that we all need each other to survive.

“The ‘We Are One’ National Campaign is filled with a series of exciting community-building events that are geared toward building unity, healing, lending a helping hand, and changing lives throughout our nation.”

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Some of the upcoming events that are a part of the Campaign include a National Clean-Up Day in partnership with the Department of Environmental Health Services on November 21, 2020; Thanksgiving Day Luncheon on November 26; National Neighborhood Day on November 28; “Give Thanks” Church Service on November 29; a National T-Shirt Day on December 4; Communities Pilot Project Day on December 5; and “12 Days of Christmas” commencing on December 8, 2020.

“All Bahamians throughout the length and breath of The Bahamas are encouraged to support and participate in the activities,” Minister Dames said. He also congratulated the “hard-working” organizing team under the leadership of Ms. Shelly Lewis and Lakel Johnson for “putting together an impressive lineup of events which provides all Bahamians with an opportunity to restore hope; happiness; and togetherness as we battle some of the most challenging times that our country has ever been faced with”.

“I also congratulate Mrs. Cheryl Darville, Under Secretary; Supt. Johnson, National Coordinator; our Permanent Secretary Mr. Marco Rolle; Ms. Sylvia Lightbourn, Finance Officer; Mrs. Chavasse Turnquest, Chief Executive Officer; and Mr. Kent Minnis, Manager, BIS & his Team for their unstinting support in making this Campaign a reality – in addition to the co-chairs who are with us here today,” Minister Dames added.

BIS News by Eric Rose

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Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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MYSC set to begin training for National Youth Guard

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Robyn Adderley, BIS

#FREEPORT, The Bahamas, November 25, 2022 – Officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture along with members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Defence Force toured the Police Training College on Tuesday, November 22 in preparation of the start of the Bahamas National Youth Guard training programme.

Sandena Neely, Head of the Division of Youth, explained that the Bahamas National Youth Guard is a programme designed to train young Bahamians to serve during a national disaster.

Participants are to be between the ages of 18 and 25 and Bahamians willing to serve their country.

“In the event of a natural disaster, we want to implement a strategy where young Bahamians are going to be able to facilitate being a part of every part of the national disaster plan from prevention and mitigation all the way to recovery.”

She explained that they were touring the Police College in Grand Bahama because it is the proposed site for their three-month training. Training starts in January and will include Bahamians nationwide to be trained, skilled and certified so that they can return to their communities and serve.

The 27-month programme starts with three months of training, followed by three months of internship during which time they will receive a stipend, and then they will be on-call for the remaining 21 months. If they are called to serve during that period, they will receive an additional stipend.

While touring the campus, the delegation started with the auditorium where most of the time would be spent. In there, along with the all-purpose room, there are three classrooms and one computer lab.

The delegation was comprised of Ministry of Youth officials Undersecretary Montez Williams, Ms. Neely, Deputy Director of Sports Northern Bahamas Norris Bain, Youth Programmes Coordinator for the Grand Bahama Office Carla Brown-Roker, Programme Officer Kenneth Frazier, Youth Officer Kenneth Miller, Communications Officer Lamar Matthews and Kree Hanna, Administrative Assistant. From the Royal Bahamas Police Force there was ACP Dellareece Ferguson, ACP Kenwood Taylor, ACP Craig Stubbs, ACP Theophilus Cunningham and Assistant Superintendent Randolph Deleveaux.  Daryl Jones represented the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Then it was off to touring the dormitories that are equipped to house 32 males and 12 females.

The Bahamas National Youth Guard is being facilitated by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and joined by partners from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, NEMA, DRA, Social Services, the National Drug Council, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and others.

Programme Officer, Kenneth Frazier, Youth Officer at the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture said training will begin the second week in January in Grand Bahama. The focus is on Grand Bahama and Abaco because those two islands are hardest hit by storms.

“We understand that people here are aware and understand what is needed for the persons in this programme.”

When disasters strike, he said, people within their own communities ought to be able to assist as soon as possible. As such, the call has gone out all over the country to get people to sign up for the programme.

“The idea is to have people within each community to have the skills needed to help mitigate response every part of the national disaster.”
The delegation then paid a courtesy call on the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Melvin Seymour, when they shared details of the programme.

According to Neely, “Stakeholders are the way that we operate. They are our arms, our feet, our legs. They help us to walk and help us to service. We are a youth development agency, but we know when and where to look for our partners who can help us to bring programmes to life.”

The programme, Ms. Neely further explained, came to being because it is important for residents to be able to assist themselves.

She closed with, “We want to build a generation of Bahamians who are able to help ourselves whenever a disaster or some emergency happens in our country.”

 

Photo Captions:

Header: A group from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, led by Undersecretary Montez Williams, travelled to Grand Bahama to tour the Police Training College where the three-month training programme for the National Youth Guard is set to begin in January. The tour took place on Tuesday, November 22 and included staff from the Ministry of Youth, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

1st insert: A tour of the dorms at the Police Training College was on the agenda as the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is set to begin a three-month training programme for the Bahamas National Youth Guard in January. Sandena Neely, Head of the Division of Youth, is seen discussing what will be needed during the tour on Tuesday, November 22. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

2nd insert:  A delegation from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force on Tuesday, November 22, toured the classrooms of the Police Training College in Freeport. The three-month training programme for the Bahamas National Youth Guard is set to begin the second week in January. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

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