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Grand Bahama will be prepared for post-COVID, states Prime Minister Minnis

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PRESS RELEASE (BIS) February 12, 2021 – During a one-day visit to Grand Bahama to tour the capital works projects currently underway, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis on Thursday declared, Grand Bahama will be prepared for post-COVID.

While speaking with the media following a tour of West Grand Bahama and Central Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Minnis also said the curfew in Grand Bahama will be extended to 11pm shortly.

The Prime Minister arrived on Thursday morning accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister and Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell.  He was greeted by Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama; the Hon. Michael Pintard, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources; the Hon. Iram Lewis, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction; Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe; Senator the Hon. Jasmine Darius; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Harcourt Brown; and other senior government officials.

The purpose of his visit, he said, was to see the progress made following the “catastrophic events” of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “It is essential that Grand Bahama and the rest of The Bahamas be prepared for the post-COVID era.”

The tour began in West End where the Prime Minister and delegation viewed the dock and saw plans for the boat ramps and fishing station; the convoy then went to Holmes Rock Junior High School, the Administrative/Government Complex in Eight Mile Rock, with a stop at the Eight Mile Rock High School where the Prime Minister greeted some members of staff and a few students.

Hugh Campbell Primary School was the first stop when the group came back to Freeport; and then it was on to the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre, the Post Office, the Department of Agriculture and to Pelican Bay.

Describing the Administrative Complex as “high end” the Prime Minister noted it is of the standard design that should be replicated in the other islands.

He expressed pleasure in the number of people involved in backyard farming and the program’s growth.

The Prime Minister added that the hospital should be ready for official opening next month. The same company that designed the Critical Care Block of the Princess Margaret Hospital when the Prime Minister was the Minister of Health is currently designing the new hospital for Grand Bahama.

Cabinet is expected to deliberate on the airport, as the paperwork has been completed, said Dr. Minnis, and they are prepared to take over and put a management team in place.

As for Our Lucayan, he said it is “somewhat disappointing” that the property has not been reopened yet “unfortunately, we were affected by COVID just like the rest of the world; hotels around the world have been closed down and we were caught with that also.”

He further stated that professionals have come in and reviewed the agreements that were negotiated to make sure that they were compliant with international standards — “we’re getting the best price we possibly can at this point in time.”

“I can’t give you a date at this particular time, but what I can say is that as we come out of this COVID era, the hotels will be ready, the airlines will return and the airport will be ready so Grand Bahama will be ready for this rebound in terms of COVID.”

Following lunch at Pelican Bay, the delegation travelled to East Grand Bahama to view the road repairs, Freetown Primary School repairs, McLean’s Town Clinic and the McLean’s Town Dock.

The Prime Minister departed Grand Bahama for New Providence on Thursday afternoon.

By Robyn Adderley

Photo Captions:

Header: The construction of two new boat ramps, fishing station and removal of conch shells were on the plans shown to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis on Thursday morning by Garvin Greene of Dewitt Wright Construction.

1st insert: Following the tour of the Government Complex in Eight Mile Rock, Prime Minister Minnis told members of the press that it is a standard building that should be in all of the Family Islands, where all of the government offices are located in one structure.

2nd insert: The newly constructed Holmes Rock Junior High School was one of the stops the Prime Minister made during his tour of capital works projects in Grand Bahama on Thursday.

3rd insert: It is anticipated that newly renovated Rand Memorial Hospital will be ready for official opening in March, said the Prime Minister on Thursday during his tour of capital works projects in Grand Bahama. Leading the hospital tour was Administrator Sharon Williams.

(BIS Photos/Lisa Davis)

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GBPA welcomes EY’s New Office to Freeport

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#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has approved a business license for EY Bahamas Ltd., who is set to open a new office in Freeport.

With more than 300,000 employees globally, EY provides assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions services to businesses, countries and entrepreneurs. Significant economic impact from this investment will stem from the need for local housing, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation and more.

“We are pleased to welcome EY to Freeport,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.  “GBPA has been working with EY to take advantage of the BH-1B Visa program, which provides a significant opportunity for us to welcome more people to our city. We are looking forward to the economic boost to local businesses including grocery stores, taxis, car rentals, the housing market, restaurants and more. The ripple effects as a result of EY’s new footprint in Freeport will be a positive addition to our business community.”

GBPA and EY began serious discussions in 2019 prior to Hurricane Dorian regarding the benefits of operating in Freeport’s Special Economic Zone.  Since then, GBPA continued building its relationship with the firm and further helped them to understand the benefits of the BH-1B visa, which allows them to use Freeport to support their client’s needs across the region and globe.  Besides attracting local Bahamian and international talent, EY was drawn to Freeport’s proximity to North America, its safe environment, technology infrastructure and more.

EY has operated in The Bahamas for decades, providing rewarding careers for Bahamians. In its new Freeport location, EY will offer its clients solutions utilizing global talent, while creating new opportunities for employment and training for Grand Bahamians.

“Our Invest Grand Bahama promotional arm is dedicated to attracting these types of businesses that can benefit from our unique Free Trade Zone. We will continue to do our part as we promote the best Freeport has to offer,” Mr. Rolle concluded.

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RM Bailey’s Class of 2022 told, go where your heart leads you; be courageous, innovative, be your best

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – Vice-President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Barry Griffin appealed to R.M. Bailey Senior High School’s Class of 2022 to be advocates of change and to use their voices to encourage good governance and constant innovation.

Senator Griffin was the guest speaker at the school’s commencement exercise Monday, June 20, at Charles Saunders Auditorium. “Empowered to Make What Seems Impossible – Possible” was the theme for the event.

“What we need now from our leaders is a sense of urgency. There has long been this feeling in The Bahamas, and in particular the upper echelons of our country, that we have comfort and we can manage to navigate the twists and turns that come our way,” said Senator Griffin.

“But what Hurricane Dorian has taught us, what the pandemic has taught us, what the inflation and rising costs of gas, electricity and food has taught us is — something that those at the fringes of our society have known for far too long — that comfort we feel will not last for long.”

To make the change, he remarked that the love of an old  “anachronistic” system that no longer serves the nation and its students must be removed.

He appealed for expanded opportunities for all, structural changes in the economy and in politics.

“We must begin to call a spade a spade — we have a problem of inequality, a problem of equal access to opportunity and a problem of failed politics. And graduates the only way that changes, is by you making your voices heard.”

He offered the following advice to the graduates:

  1. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
  2. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  3. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, both are equally important.
  4. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.
  5. There is no script. Live your life the way you want.
  6. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  7. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
  8. Failure is the condiment that gives success flavour.
  9. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
  10. Go where your heart leads you — and do everything you desire — act as if it were impossible for you to fail.

“My advice is to be bold, to be you, to embrace failure, and to live as if everything is possible.

“It is my hope that you run out of here excited, leaning forward into the wind and ready to take the world by storm,” he said.

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Summit of the Americas elevates hemispheric challenges, Bahamas PM vocal

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – “The Americas are challenged by crisis.” This was the statement made by the Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis during his contribution to the Plenary Session of the 9th Summit of the Americas on June 10, 2022.

“Climate, COVID and conflict have undermined our safety and our security,” he said. He went further to ask some thought-provoking questions: “Have we done enough here, at this gathering, to relieve suffering? To promote peace? To fight for the economic dignity of our People? “Will the work we carried out here continue once the spotlight and the world’s attention has moved on?”

He said the work and fine words do not count unless the people are told that the leaders have laid a true foundation for their progress.

Hinting back to the Summit in 2019, he said it is evident that the good intentions and optimism of that gathering did not translate into enduring advancement.

“Indeed, some countries in our hemisphere have become more unequal and more violent… across the Americas, the scourges of racism and discrimination appear to be on the rise. Emerging moral and technological challenges to our democratic norms threaten our capacity to deliver free and fair elections, and effective governance.” He added that all the mentioned challenges are “eclipsed by the existential threat of climate change.”

He expressed thanks to President Biden and Vice-President Harris and the people of the United States, to host and facilitate the dialogue and cooperation because none of the mentioned issues can be resolved by one nation.

Davis added, however, that “multilateral engagement at the highest levels happens too infrequently – certainly when it comes to issues which are important to the Caribbean,” he added. “But if the work of this Summit continues, if the will to cooperate endures, if words turn into action –change can lead to progress, and we can move forward.”

He highlighted several key factors affecting the region’s development, like hurricanes and other natural disasters that result in injury and debt, Covid-19 and the lack of sufficient healthcare workers, disinformation, and the illegal shipment of guns and movement of people. He also hinted at a topical issue, which suited the occasion as some countries were not invited to the Summit.

“It is easy to talk with those with whom we agree, but we must also be able to talk with those with whom we disagree. In fact, sometimes those are the conversations that are most urgently needed,” he said.  Prime Minister Davis noted that all the countries in the hemisphere faced overlapping developmental, security and democratic challenges. Collaboration and collective action can only be of mutual benefit. The absence of the Republic of Cuba has made these deliberations less complete,” added the Prime Minister.

“We must also be mindful of the unintended consequences of isolation and separation,” he said as he shared that more could be done to provide support for Haitians.

He noted that for the institutions within the Inter-American system to fulfil their potential, there should be some rethinking or re-calibrating. He added that the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular, required both a structural and cultural adjustment.

As the Prime Minister ended his presentation, he called for not just more talking but also that participants “keep ‘doing — upholding our commitments and taking the action necessary for our collective survival.”

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