#Freeport, The Bahamas, June 16, 2021 – – The Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) is pleased to provide an update on the development of its new three-million-gallon Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant and the return of full potability to customers across Grand Bahama.
Development of the $5 million facility has entered the next phase with the arrival of the initial RO units and back up generation, and with completion of the RO columns and generator pads. Since construction began in January 2021, the GBUC team and Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM), partners for the construction and commissioning of the state-of-the-art RO plant, have been working single-mindedly on the build, which will deliver reliable, cost effective and clean water. Construction is on schedule for completion in late-August 2021, barring no covid related shipping delays. Once commissioned, will enable the remaining 30% of the island to become potable.
“With the completion of the RO system, more of our equipment will be updated with advanced technology which includes digitized well monitoring, reserve power supply, pipe, valve and meter replacement programs, and a leak protection program,” commented Philcher Grant, Director of Operations at GBUC. “This will be a milestone achievement for GBUC, enabling us to expand our capacity as part of our modernization and long-term storm-hardening plan. We are rebuilding stronger and better.”
Remington Wilchcombe, GBUC Operations Manager, noted that, due to the extensive pre-work including surveying, environmental approvals and engineering design, the customized plan that was created for the Island’s RO facility will meet the exact requirements and specifications outlined by GBUC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“By integrating mobility into the design for the RO plan, we are ensuring that the equipment can and will be moved in the event of a storm which will limit damage risk due to flooding or high winds,” Mr. Wilchcombe stated. “The RO facility will not only bring the entire island of Grand Bahama to full potability, but it will also meet the needs of water customers reliably for many years to come.”
The second shipment of RO units is scheduled for mid-July, and the new water plant pumping station and wellfield will be completed. The full RO system is on schedule to be tested and ready for commercial use by the late-August deadline.
Ms. Grant noted that, while 70% of the island is currently potable, the RO facility will not only enable restoration of full island water potability, but also create sustainability and contingency in the event there is another catastrophic storm like Hurricane Dorian. She stated, “We wanted to ensure reliability of fresh, potable water supply, today and in the future, and the RO system was the right solution to make that happen.”
GBUC’s $5 million capital investment followed unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Dorian to a fresh water aquifer located at Wellfield 6 which, prior to the storm, serviced 60% of the island with high quality, abundant and reliable supply of drinking water for decades.
“Not only do we work here, but we live here too,” continued Ms. Grant. “That’s why our GBUC team has worked so tirelessly. We have experienced first-hand the same challenges as our customers. The completion of the RO system allows us to meet the potable water needs of all our customers, and ensures that Grand Bahamians will never again be without potable water for a prolonged period no matter what we endure, whether interruption to our power servers or a severe storm season.”
Glass Window Bridge envisioned as a symbol of resilience and sustainability says Works and Utilities Minister
By KATHRYN CAMPBELL
Bahamas Information Services
#ELEUTHERA, The Bahamas, September 27, 2022 – A new bridge design that incorporates opportunities for Bahamian entrepreneurs was presented at a Town Hall Meeting Thursday, September 22, 2022 at St. Patrick’s Lodge Hall, Hatchet Bay.
During the livestreamed event the Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears; the Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs; island administrators, representatives of the Ministry of Works, Town Planning Board, the Bridge Authority, Local Government, Lambert Knowles and other consultants, and residents of Eleuthera discussed plans for the proposed replacement of the Glass Window Bridge (GWB) in North Eleuthera.
Minister Sears termed the meeting very “successful” consultation and attendance by local stakeholders and virtual participants.
He said Mr. Knowles has assembled a world-class team of bridge designers who have put together a design that will turn the GWB “into a symbol of resilience, sustainability and also a place of entertainment and relaxation where Bahamian businesses can come and share in the wonderful goods of Eleuthera to the international travelling public as well as the residents in Eleuthera.
“We’re speaking now with Caribbean Development Bank with respect to funding; the design is now completed, there is also interest in PPP’s. Within the next two months we should have a funding pathway and then of course we will move on the procurement. Once the funding is in place we will announce a date.”
“It is not only a look out point, we are approaching this project as an enterprise where the people who live in Eleuthera would have the same opportunities that the people in South would have as the Disney Project would have, but it would be more significant than Disney because this project would be owned by Bahamian people — entrepreneurs, performers and culinary artists.
“Eleuthera is one of the places in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where development is taking place very rapidly. It is one of the most unique communities in our country; it is the fifth largest economy within the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. We have some of the wealthiest industrialists with homes in Eleuthera; we also have booming Bahamian business resorts throughout Eleuthera.”
The GWD represents a place where we “can build opportunities for Bahamian businesses, Bahamian entrepreneurs to showcase the imagination of the Bahamian crafts persons, also to showcase the culinary skills as well as the extraordinary culinary dishes of Bahamian cuisine,” he said.
Although “spectacular” Minister Sears said the current one-lane bridge is “dangerous” and unable to facilitate the transport of freight from the north to the south of the island because its carrying capacity is only 12 tonnes — anything over 12 tonnes cannot be transported over the bridge.
He noted other challenges and informed that the bridge is not fulfilling the potential that it has for the development of Eleuthera.
Using a Power Point presentation, Mr. Knowles introduced the design team, technical aspects of the built design and various options considered for the new bridge.
He said the proposed bridge will be unique; a picture opportunity and a venue to host an event. It will have a park, security, rest rooms, parking, a location for food trucks to sell crafts and food; and topography with different elevation.
During the question and answer segment, Minister Sears said a decision has not yet been made regarding a bridge toll on the major undertaking.
“It is a project which multilateral bodies and private sector investors have expressed an interest in participating in the funding. It is a project that once we have the community by-in the government is committed to building a world class production at this location.” Construction is expected to take place on the proposed bridge from 2023-2026 at an estimated cost of $50-$60 million.
The GWB was built in 1990 and provides the only vehicular link between North and South Eleuthera.
(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)
PMH Dialysis Unit Gets Boost with Donation of 6 New Machines
#TheBahamas, September 27, 2022 – The Princes Margaret Hospital (PMH) Dialysis Unit received a significant boost as it officially took possession of six (6) donated dialysis machines on Wednesday. The donation of six (6) Fresenius 2008T Hemodialysis Machine with Bibag for Hemodialysis treatments was facilitated by Coral Pharmaceuticals Limited, representative for Renal Dynamics in the Bahamas.
The donation supports the need for dialysis machines for the Princess Margaret Hospital Dialysis Unit; especially considering the age of the existing equipment. Each device has the capacity to treat an estimated three (3) patients per day.
Making the presentation on behalf of Renal Dynamics was Mr. Nicholas Schweickert, Director of Operations. Renal Dynamics supports Dialysis Clinics / Units throughout the region and has done so for more than twenty-five (25) years. Renal Dynamics sells and supports hemodialysis machines, supplies and peritoneal dialysis products as well as facilitates training programs.
The refurbished equipment is valued at over $60,000.00 USD which includes not only delivery, shipping, and installation, but also training for nurses.
Receiving the dialysis machines on behalf of the hospital were PHA Chairman Mr. Andrew
Edwards, Deputy Managing Director. Dr. Keva Thompson, Director of PHA Foundations Mrs. Alana Major, Hospital Administrator Ms. Mary Lightbourne-Walker, and Assistant Director Supplies Management Agency Ms. Shavonne
Burrows. Sister Darnell Roker, Nurse Manager of the Dialysis Unit also attended the official handover representing the PMH Dialysis team.
Also present were Paul Bevans (Director) and Shenika Taylor (CEO) of Coral Pharmaceuticals Limited.
Chairman Edwards expressed the PHA’s and the Dialysis Unit’s gratitude to the representatives of Coral Pharmaceuticals and Renal Dynamics for the generous donation. He noted the ongoing support by Renal Dynamics demonstrates the necessity of private entities partnering with the PHA to enhance the quality of care offered.
The donated machines will replace some of the older equipment currently in use and will provide vital back-up for the remaining machines within the unit.
Photo Caption: L-R, Alana Major, Paul Bevens, Nicholas Schweickert, Keva Thompson, Andrew Edwards, Darnell Roker, Shavonee Burrows, Shenika Taylor
AG Outlines Digital Assets Legislation at STEP LATAM Conference in Panama
By BETTY VEDRINE
Bahamas Information Services
#Nassau, The Bahamas, September 27, 2022 – With Financial Services playing a key role in the country’s economy, efforts continue to keep the sector progressive. That includes incorporating new products, including trading in Digital Assets. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder made these points at the STEP LATAM conference in Panama, September 22-23, 2022.
STEP LATAM, which stands for Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Latin America, is a professional networking body that brings together professionals from a cross-section of businesses in the financial services sector. STEP provides education, training, representation and networking opportunities for its members, of which there are over 21,000 across 95 jurisdictions.
Minister Pinder outlined some of the country’s legislative agendae pertaining to financial services’ inclusion of digital asset regulation. After presenting a snapshot of the objectives and the legislation on the table, Minister noted the way forward for the country.
“I wish to mention three more items intrinsically linked to any successes we will enjoy in the future from our commitment to be in the vanguard of global digital assets regulation. The first is the understanding that there needs to be greater general and advanced knowledge and competence with regard to financial technology in The Bahamas, to support the talent base necessary to be industry leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs, coders, analysts, regulators, support staff, to write news and technical stories about developments in the space,” he said. To meet this objective, he said that there would have to be collaborations and partnerships with other stakeholders.
“To further this endeavour, the Commission intends to collaborate with the University of The Bahamas on three 8-week courses focused on the digital assets sector. Attendees will earn a certificate upon successful completion of the course, which can be used to demonstrate to the Commission that the individual possesses the requisite education and knowledge to engage in DAB registrable activities in The Bahamas. In conjunction with this, the Digital Advisory Panel is working with the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services to build a sustainable curriculum for our domestic financial services talent to be knowledgeable, qualified and excel in the digital asset fin tech space,” said Minister Pinder.
Another collaboration, he explained would be one with the Securities Commission of the Bahamas. “ The second is the Securities Commission of The Bahamas Fintech hub, SCB FITLink, which launched in 2019. The hub is a central point for the Commission and the public to engage on digital assets business, crowdfunding, distributed ledger technology, and initial token offerings. In addition to engagement with the public, FITLink facilitates regulatory consultation by helping fintech innovators and incumbents navigate the Digital Assets regulatory landscape, among other things, making the regulatory process understandable and efficient.”
He also invited the members to join the Bahamas in 2023, for the FinTech festival, which will be held at Atlantis Resort, January 2023: “Thirdly and finally, we are not being shy about telling the world what an amazing and wonderful legislative framework we have for digital assets business. On that note, I take this opportunity to invite you all to D3 Bahamas, which will undoubtedly be the annual FinTech festival in the region. The date has been tentatively set for January 2023 at the Atlantis Resort and conference centre.”
He concluded by saying that The Bahamas is committed to being a major player in the financial services sector. “In order for a jurisdiction to be a preeminent player in the digital assets industry there must be confidence of a nimble regulator, a regulatory regime that is respected worldwide and incorporates real time best practices, and a commitment of government policy to advance the growth of the industry, assuring the jurisdiction is a safe place to do business that will do what is necessary to keep the bad actors out. I am proud to say The Bahamas is an example of the success of the model.”
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