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TCI: Beaches Resorts Elevates Commitment to Inclusivity During Autism Acceptance Month

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Organization To Become Recertified as Advanced Certified Autism Centers (ACAC) and Expand Offerings At Its Luxury-Included Family Resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos


MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, Beaches® Resorts has announced its expanded commitment to families with children on the autism spectrum, ensuring a safe, fun and comfortable vacation experience that’s tailored to their needs. With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S., special needs travel continues to be one of the fastest-growing family travel segments and one that is severely underserved. Building upon an existing partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – the global leader in cognitive disorder training and certification – Beaches Resorts has extended its Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) accreditation through 2023 and continues to be the world’s first and only ACAC resort company underscoring its dedication to ensuring every family can enjoy the award-winning Luxury Included® vacation experience.

Through this ACAC recertification process, over the next several months, Beaches Resorts’ team members in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos will be eligible to participate in advanced autism training virtually, with an emphasis on the resorts’ key touch point areas, including kids camps, entertainment, front desk/reception, food and beverage and watersports operations. This recertification process will also expand to training of team members at the Airport Arrival Lounge/Reception Area in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, which offer the first point of contact for Beaches Resorts’ arriving guests.

The all-inclusive family resort company, in collaboration with IBCCES, will also launch a Sensory Stimulation Guide for guests with sensory needs, providing comfort and an understanding of what to expect in each designated area of the resort. The guide, which outlines the degree of sensory stimulation in a specific area or event, allows families to easily plan and navigate their visit based on their individual needs. Designated Low Sensory Areas will also be identified at all resorts, allowing guests to find comfort in designated spaces should they need a break from sensory stimulation. These locations will be easily identifiable through resort maps, onsite signage and in pre-travel planning materials.

“As the first resort company in the world to attain the distinguished ACAC credentials, we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished to-date and look forward to findings new ways to demonstrate our commitment to autism acceptance and inclusion while creating an autism-friendly environment,” said Joel Ryan, Group Manager Themed Entertainment and Children’s Activities. “As the best-in-class, luxury vacation experience, we have always strived for an inclusive experience that allows parents to have confidence in selecting our resorts, knowing their children can feel comfortable and safe, have fun and make lifelong memories.”

In 2017, Beaches Resorts became the first resort company in the world to be recognized by IBCCES as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) and, as part of their larger Sesame Street partnership, also introduced Julia, a four-year-old girl on the autism spectrum, who brought an exclusive new activity to Beaches Resorts: Amazing Art with Julia. Two years later, the resort company then became the first to attain the Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC), recognized by IBCCES.

“Like the rest of the world, we know families and autistic individuals are looking forward to traveling, visiting new places, and making new memories as soon as they are able to. They are also looking for organizations that are trained and certified in autism, particularly leaders like Beaches Resorts, who go above and beyond,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman and CEO. “The professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the team at Beaches Resorts is second to none, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership to provide long-lasting support and impact.”

The Beaches Resorts ACAC recertification and extension builds on the existing measures in place to serve this specialized community as well as those with sensory sensitivities including:

• In-depth education for Beaches Resorts staff, with 40 credit hours on autism sensitivity and awareness, centered on communication, motor skills, social skills, environment awareness, emotional awareness, bullying, early childhood identification, transition to adulthood, and more.
• Advanced training with particular emphasis on the company’s Kids Camps, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Front Desk/Reception and Watersports operations.
• An annual onsite audit and review by the IBCCES team.
• Changes to protocols and physical space to accommodate various needs.
• An optional service of ‘One-on-One Beaches Buddy’ providing personalized, private childcare with a buddy who is autism certified, and can be pre-booked for a nominal fee.
• A dedicated toll-free number to Beaches’ Special Services Team, certified by IBCCES, and able to assist both consumers and travel professionals who wish to learn more about a Beaches vacation and on resort autism programming.
• A Culinary Concierge program to support specific dietary restrictions and special requests.
• Modified check-in options for private, in-room, check-in.
• Availability of sensory toys as well as DreamPad pillows for children’s use.
• Modified design and decoration in Kids Camps and key entertainment areas to create a more sensory-friendly environment.

“Beaches Resorts is ‘walking the walk’ in this space and while they are humble about their efforts to serve the autism community, it’s important to note that they were the first travel company to do it, and do it right!” said Holly Robinson Peete, actress, activist and philanthropist. “With first-hand experience as the mom of a child (RJ) with autism, this space is near and dear to me, and inclusive travel on this scale is rare. I continue to applaud Beaches Resorts – and return with my family – as it’s truly a place where we all feel welcome and can relax and enjoy quality time together” Robinson Peete concluded.

Additionally, Beaches Resorts’ industry-leading Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness were created with consideration of guests with sensory disorders. While first meeting rigorous health and safety standards, the resort company ensures the use of low-fragrance cleaners, fragrance-free hand sanitizers and other products to ensure guests with sensory disorders have an enjoyable and safe experience. Complimentary COVID-19 testing is also available to all registered guests at Beaches Resorts prior to their departure.

For more information on Beaches Luxury Included® Resorts and its longstanding commitment to creating an autism-friendly environment, please visit https://www.beaches.com/all-inclusive/autism-friendly/.

Bahamas News

Bahamas To Work With CARICOM Countries To Enhance Poultry Industry

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#TheBahamas, May 26, 2022 – Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Hon. Clay Sweeting said The Bahamas has made great strides to work with CARICOM countries to enhance The Bahamas’ poultry industry.

Minister Sweeting traveled with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Hon I. Chester Cooper, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Leonardo Lightbourne, Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) Ambassador H.E. Winston Pinnock and other top tourism officials to the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo held in Guyana from May 18-20.

The event was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center under the theme ‘Investing in Vision 25 by 2025’.

During the conference, Minister Sweeting met with several CARICOM leaders in Agriculture.  He said he felt encouraged that the region would work together to reduce its food import bill and increase food security.

“In coming to Guyana, we wanted to explore opportunities and options, meet with other countries where we can work with other CARICOM leaders who also share the same focus as The Bahamas in developing their agricultural sector. We are trying to get to the point where we reduce imports by 25 percent by 2025.  The Bahamas is a part of CARICOM and so we are committed to that and we’re looking for sectors to do that. We feel that poultry is one of the sectors that we can do that very quickly and microgreens through vertical farming,” he said.

Minister Sweeting added that many countries are merging their poultry sectors with other food items that they can export.

“As we look around, countries have done very well in the sector. We understand that Guyana is one of the countries that has done well in Agriculture especially in poultry and coconut production.  So, it seems that many countries are merging the two industries,” he said. “That’s what seems to be happening across CARICOM. For persons that are interested in investing in Agriculture, other countries are finding ways to work together to fight food insecurity together and as a unit.

“We feel both are bankable products and we are exploring opportunities to garner attraction in both of those. We were able to visit the poultry farm here in Guyana – Bounty Farms – that has done a wonderful job and produce around 25,000 chickens per day, and we are looking to do something of that sort in The Bahamas as well.  Once we create this poultry industry in The Bahamas, it would create opportunities for Bahamians, for farmers and persons who want to get involved in producing feed. So, it is a full circle industry where thousands of Bahamians could benefit.”

Minister Sweeting noted that countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana are eager to assist The Bahamas.

“What is very interesting and exciting is that the Ministers from Guyana and Jamaica have expressed their assistance to us as a country. If we are looking at the poultry sector, they are looking to help us in any way that they can. The comradery that we have had here over the last few days speaks to what we want to do as a CARICOM country and how our deficiencies could assist them and where they have deficiencies, we can work together. The minister of tourism met with other ministers of tourism and offered them some advice on how they can work with their tourism product and where we lack in agriculture they can assist in that manner as well,” he said.

Minister Sweeting said the government will work towards changing policies to encourage chicken production.

“Chicken is something that we can produce very quickly once we have the right policy in place to protect the farmers, the producers and processors and create an industry. A chicken from egg to adult is very minimal time. We want to be very aggressive with this and as soon as we can create a proper policy in this sector, we want to make it happen,” he said.

 

Release: Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources

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Bahamas News

OFFICIAL ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS 2022 HURRICANE SHELTER LISTING

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#TheBahamas, May 26, 2022 – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has released its Official List of Shelters for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season which commences June 1 and ends November 30, 2022.

Weather forecasters at The Bahamas Department of Meteorology are predicting another above-average season with 19 named storms, including  9 hurricanes, four of which are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher with maximum sustained winds of 111mph or higher) on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

There are two main drivers for this Season’s forecast: An El Nino weather event is not expected in the Pacific during the 2022 Hurricane Season, and water temperatures in the Atlantic are hotter than normal. When an El Nino forms in the Pacific, it produces strong wind-shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere across the Atlantic Ocean which limits the formation of hurricanes. Warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, on the other hand, fuels the formation of hurricanes. With the absence of an El Nino, the 2022 Season is expected to be active.

The names of the 2022 Atlantic storm are as follows: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.

The National Emergency Management Agency urges all Bahamians and residents, who have not already done so, to finalize their individual, family and business plans ahead of the start of the Season. Those plans should include an Emergency Supplies/Preparedness Kit that should include a small First Aid Kit and needed medications, non-perishable food items, battery powered radios, flashlights, extra batteries, hygiene products, masks, whistles (for alerting others if necessary), copies of important documents such as insurance papers and identification (sealed), a list of emergency numbers, cash in small bills, rope, tools, and clothing.

 

MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT  DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS 2022 OFFICIAL HURRICANE SHELTERS

(UPDATED AS AT 13 MAY, 2022)

 

ABACO, CENTRAL DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Central Abaco Primary School Dundas Town
2. Friendship Tabernacle Dundas Town
3. Guana Cay Primary School Guana Cay
4. Man-O-War Primary School Man-O-War Cay
5. Hope Town Primary School Hope Town

ABACO, NORTH DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Amy Roberts Primary Pre-School Green Turtle Cay
2. Faithwalk Church of God, Community Centre Cooper’s Town
3. Grand Cay All Age School Pre-school Block Grand Cay

 ABACO, SOUTH DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Crossing Rocks Primary School Crossing Rocks
2. Moore’s Island School Moore’s Island
3. Sandy Point Community Centre Earnest Dean Highway
4. Soul Seeking Ministry Moore’s Island

 ACKLINS

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Acklins Community Centre Spring Point

 ANDROS, CENTRAL DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Bowen Sound Pentecostal Church Bowen Sound
2. Church of God Cargill Creek
3. Highway Church of God Blanket Sound
4. Miracle Revival International Calabash Bay
5. Mt. Ethel Baptist Love Hill
6. Mt. Siani Baptist Church Calabash Bay
7. St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church Behring Point
8. Stafford Creek Primary School Stafford Creek

 ANDROS, MANGROVE CAY DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Burnt Rock Primary Burnt Rock
2. Mangrove Cay High School Swains, Mangrove Cay
3. St. Peters Baptist Church Little Harbour, Mangrove Cay

 ANDROS, NORTH DISTRICT

NO.                               NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. B. A. Newton Primary School Red Bays
2. BARTAD Building BARC Community
3. Clara Evans Primary School Nicholls Town
4. Ebenezer Baptist Church South Mastic Point
5. First Baptist Church San Andros

 ANDROS, SOUTH DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Deep Creek Primary School Deep Creek
2. Friendship Baptist Church The Bluff
3. Long Bays Cay Preschool Long Bay
4. Mount Olive Baptist Church Smith’s Hill
5. St. Paul’s Baptist Church Black Point
6. The Doctor’s Residence (Special Needs Clinic) The Bluff

 BERRY ISLANDS, GREAT HARBOUR CAY

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Church of God of Prophecy Great Harbour Cay
2. Community Centre Bullocks Harbour

 BIMINI

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Gateway Gymnasium Bailey Town
2. Louise McDonald High School Alice Town
3. Urban Renewal (Special Needs Shelter) Alice Town

 CAT ISLAND

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Lovely Zion Baptist Church The Bluff
2. Mt. Sinai Baptist Church Douds
3. Seaview Seventh Day Adventist Church Wilson Bay
4. St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Arthur’s Town
5. St. Mark’s Anglican Church Port Howe
6. Zion Baptist Church McQueen’s

 CROOKED ISLAND & LONG CAY

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
             1. All Saints Anglican Church, Priest Residence

(Colonel Hill and Church Grove Residents)

 

Church Grove, Crooked Island

             2. Church of God of Prophecy

(Landrail Point, Richmond, Moss Town and Cripple Hill Residents)

 

Cripple Hill, Crooked Island

             3. Command Centre

Administrator’s Residence/Local Government Building

 

Colonel Hill, Crooked Island

             4. Kenneth Farquharson’s Residence

(Long Cay Residents)

 

Albert Town, Long Cay

 ELEUTHERA, CENTRAL DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Camp Symonette James Cistern, Gregory Town
2. Church of The Nazarene Palmetto Point
3. Emily G. Petty Primary School Governor’s Harbour
4. George E. Johnson Hatchet Bay
5. The Salvation Army Palmetto Point
6. Wesley Methodist Church Hall Palmetto Point

 ELEUTHERA, NORTH DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Charles Wesley Methodist Church Lower Bogue
2. Mission Church of God Upper Bogue
3. New Jerusalem Church Blackwood
4. The Current Community Centre The Current
5. The Haitian Baptist People Church The Bluff
6. Zion Methodist Church Current Island

 ELEUTHERA, SOUTH DISTRICT

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Church of God of Prophecy Tarpum Bay
2. Deep Creek Primary School Deep Creek
3. Green Castle Primary School Green Castle
4. Rock Sound Primary School Rock Sound
5. Wemyss Bight Primary School Wemyss Bight

 EXUMA

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
                    1. Bethel Union Baptist Church Ramsey
                    2. Calvary Mission Baptist Church Rolleville
                    3. Ebenezer Union Baptist Church Farmer’s Hill
                    4. Ebenezer Union Baptist Church Barraterre
                    5. Exuma Resource Centre Hoopers’ Bay
                    6. Gethsemane Baptist Church Black Point
                    7. Mt. Herman Union Baptist Church Mt. Thompson
                    8. Mt. Sinai Union Baptist Church Stuart Manor
                    9. Palestine Union Baptist Church The Forest
                10. St. Andrew’s Community Centre George Town
                11. St. Luke’s Baptist Church and/or Airport Terminal Black Point
                12. St. Margaret’s Anglican Church Harts/Steventon
                13. St. Mary’s Magdalene  Anglican Church Williams Town
                14. St. Matthew’s Union Baptist Church The Ferry
                15. St. Theresa’s Catholic Church George Town

 GRAND BAHAMA

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
                    1. Bethany Baptist Church Hanna Hill, Eight Mile Rock
                    2. Bethel Baptist Church Pinedale
                    3. Bethel Deliverance Centre Jones Town, Eight Mile Rock
                    4. Bishop Michael Eldon School/Auditorium East Beachway Drive, Freeport
                    5. Calvary Temple Small Chapel Clive Avenue, Freeport
                    6. Central Zion Baptist Church Eight Mile Rock
                    7. Church of God of Prophecy Pinedale
                    8. Church of the Ascension Arden Forest Road, Freeport
                    9. Community Holiness Church Martin Town
                10. Eight Mile Rock Gymnasium Eight Mile Rock
                11. Eight Mile Rock High School Eight Mile Rock
                12. First Baptist Church Columbus Drive, Freeport
                13. Foster B. Pestina Hall (Christ the King) (Special Needs Shelter) East Atlantic Drive, Freeport
                14. Maurice Moore Primary School Sandcombe Drive, Arden Forest, Freeport
                15. Mount Calvary Baptist Educational Building Seagrape
                16. New Olivet Baptist Church Holmes Rock
                17. St. George’s Gymnasium Sunset Highway, Freeport
                18. Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church Sandcombe Drive, Freeport

 HARBOUR ISLAND

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. Harbour Island Public Library Harbour Island
2. Lighthouse Church of God Harbour Island
3. New Alliance Church of God Harbour Island

 

 INAGUA

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. New Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church Matthew Town
2. St. Phillips Anglican Community Centre Matthew Town
3. Zion Baptist Church Matthew Town

 LONG ISLAND

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
       1. Assemblies of God Salt Pond
       2. Community Centre Clarence Town
       3. Highway Church of God Doctors Creek
       4. Holy Cross Anglican Church Hamiltons
       5. Holy Family Anglican Church Mortimers
       6. Salem Baptist Church Millers
       7. St. John’s Anglican Church Buckleys
       8. Seymour’s Gospel Chapel Seymour’s

 MAYAGUANA

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
1. St. James Native Baptist Church Abraham’s Bay
2. Betsy Bay Community Centre Betsy Bay
3. Mayaguana Comprehensive K- School Pirate’s Well

 NEW PROVIDENCE

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
       1. Agape Full Gospel Baptist Church Kennedy Subdivision
       2. Berea Seventh-Day Adventist Church Baillou Hill Road South
       3. Canon Neil E. Roach Hall, Holy Cross Anglican Church Highbury Park
       4. Church of God Convention Centre (for use by SRC) Joe Farrington Road
       5. Ebenezer Mission Baptist Evangelistic Church St. Charles Vincent Street
       6. Epworth Hall, Ebenezer Methodist Church

(for use by Homeless and People with Physical Disabilities)

 

Shirley Street

       7. Grants Town Seventh-Day Adventist Church Wellington Street
       8. Hillview Seventh-Day Adventist Church Tonique Williams Darling Highway
       9. Maranatha Seventh-Day Adventist Church Prince Charles Drive
   10. New Bethlehem Baptist Church Independence Drive
   11. New Dimensions Ministries Joe Farrington Road
   12. New Providence Community Centre Blake Road
   13. Pilgrim Baptist Temple St. James Road
   14. St. Barnabas Anglican Church Wulff Road and Baillou Road
   15. Rev. Dr. O. A. Pratt Educational Building,

St. John’s Native Baptist Church

 

Augusta and Meeting Streets

   16. Samuel and Cornella Williams Community Centre,

The Salvation Army

 

Meadow Street

   17. Southwest Cathedral Church of God Carmichael Road
   18. The Anglican Church of the Epiphany Prince Charles Drive
   19. The Salvation Army Mackey Street

 RAGGED ISLAND

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
         1. Holy Innocents Anglican Church Duncan Town

 SAN SALVADOR AND RUM CAY

NO. NAME OF SHELTER ADDRESS
       1. Fellowship in Christ Kingdom Ministry Cockburn Town
       2. Grace Research Center United Estates Settlement
       3. Idell Jones Community Hall, St. Augustine Church Hall Cockburn  Town
       4.              St. Christopher Anglican Church Port Nelson, Rum Cay
       5. St. James Native Baptist Church North Victoria Hill
       6. St. John’s Native Baptist Church United Estates

@ 9 May, 2022 DOSS, Disaster Management Unit

 PLEASE NOT THAT THIS LIST IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE; IF NECESSARY

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Bahamas News

COVID-19 TRAVEL RISK ADVISORY RATING INCREASED FOR THE BAHAMAS

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#TheBahamas, May 24, 2022 – The Ministry of Health & Wellness advises the public that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that the COVID-19 Travel Health Advisory for the Bahamas will be moved from level two (2) moderate to level three (3) high.

The CDC level three (3) rating advises international travelers to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before coming to The Bahamas.  It also advises that even if COVID19 vaccines are up to date there may still be a risk for getting and spreading COVID-19.  Proper mask wearing for anyone two (2) years or older is recommended for indoor public spaces and requirements for this country should be followed.

Bahamians and residents are urged to continue to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols which help to limit the spread of the virus.  Persons can also guard themselves from severe COVID-19 infection by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, 1st and 2nd boosters and extended series doses for persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.  Appointments can be made online at vax.gov.bs or walk-ins are welcomed at vaccination sites.

Persons with mobility challenges may request a home visit by emailing vax242.mobile@gmail.com.

 

Release: BIS

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