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Swearing In Ceremony Held for Four New Magistrates at the Supreme Court

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#TheBahamas, June 19, 2021 – The Hon. Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree welcomed four new Magistrates during the Swearing In Ceremony at the Supreme Court on Monday, June 14, 2021.

“I commend you for your public service in taking up your post as a Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate and wish you much success as you transition from lawyer to judicial officer. You now leave advocacy behind and take up the mantle of decision making in cases in your court as you dispense justice to all who are before you in a manner which is consistent with the oaths which you have taken this morning.”

“You are no longer in the arena representing a client, but must now adjust to presiding over that arena with impartiality and fairness with complete fidelity to justice according to law.”

The four Magistrates taking the Judicial Oath were: Mr. Shaka Serville; Mr. Algernon Allen Jr., Miss Kendra Kelly, and Mrs. Ian Marie Darville-Miller.

The Chief Justice explained to the new Magistrates that their decisions will touch thousands of lives over the course of their time in the Magistracy. He stated that they will carry the weight of that responsibility every day as they deal with cases before them. “You will find that the journey from lawyer to judicial officer is not seamless.  It is a process which requires you to remain astute and focused on your judicial duties as you navigate the waters of transition.”

The Chief Justice said he is confident that they would successfully complete this journey and discharge judicial duties with distinction, courage, integrity and independence.

“Your assumption of duties as a Magistrate is much anticipated and you will find a full calendar of cases waiting for you. The Magistrates’ Courts are the busiest courts in the country and interacts with more people than any other court. For many of the persons who have cases in the Magistrates’ Court, their view of the administration of justice is based primarily if not solely on their dealings with those courts.”

He noted that this only underscores the importance of the work that is carried out in the Magistrates’ Courts. “As a group of four new Magistrates, with a fifth Magistrate scheduled to be sworn in early next month, you have the potential to make a significant impact on the Magistracy and it is my hope – I might say even my expectation – that individually and collectively, you will make an enduring contribution to the advancement of that institution.”

By Llonella Gilbert

Release: BIS

Photo Caption: The Hon. Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree welcomed four new Magistrates during the Swearing In Ceremony at the Supreme Court on Monday, June 14, 2021.  Also delivering remarks was Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.  The four Magistrates taking the Judicial Oath were: Mr. Shaka Serville; Mr. Algernon Allen, Jr.; Miss Kendra Kelly; and Mrs. Ian Marie Darville-Miller.  The Hon. Chief Justice is pictured in the group photo, front row centre, and Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, front row, right.

(BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)

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Inaugural Ethiopian Airlines flight arrives for historic Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) in The Bahamas

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By LINDSAY THOMPSON
Bahamas Information Services

HE Mahamadou Issoufou, former president, Republic of Niger, and Leader of the African Continental Free Trade Area

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Just before 5pm on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 Ethiopian Airlines – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner — touched down at Jet Aviation bringing 241 delegates for the historic 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM 2024), and the Third Edition of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) in the capital.

It was also history in the making for Ethiopian Airlines – its inaugural flight to The Bahamas: touching down under hazy skies and warm conditions indicative of June weather.

On hand for the arrival was the Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Immigration and National Insurance, as well as other officials.

The Department of Immigration and Jet Aviation set up a welcome desk near the tarmac, to allow for a smooth process, and offered water and soft drinks.

Among delegates were His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, Former President, Republic of Niger and Leader of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, former prime minister of Ethiopia; Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson for the African Union Commission/United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; international media, performers and musicians, and other conference participants.

It is the first time AAM will be held in the Caribbean region. The meetings will run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach. The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

It is envisioned that the impact of the three-day event will be heightened by the Opening Ceremony, the Presidential Plenary, and high-level panel sessions.

On April 11, 2024, The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed an Agreement for The Bahamas to host the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the third edition of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) from 12 – 14 June 2024.

At that signing, Prime Minister Davis underscored the importance of his country hosting the historic meetings.

He said: “Hosting both the AAM and ACTIF demonstrates the determination and commitment of The Bahamas to leverage on the shared history, identities, and cultures of AfriCaribbean nations to forge significantly greater trade, investment, and direct transport linkages.”

Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson for the African Union Commission escorted by Ivan Thompson, Protocol Division Ministry of Foreign Affairs

And added: “Doing so will stimulate economic growth and development, which will feed through to immensely beneficial societal impact. It is also vital that we enhance our global influence by speaking with a unified voice on matters such as securing global action to meaningfully address climate change.”

The focus will be on the emerging neo-protectionism from advanced economies and the need for Africans to pursue self-determination in the context of a global Africa that includes the Caribbean and the Diaspora generally.

The AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) will be marked by colourful events to celebrate shared AfriCaribbean culture, as well as elevate the essence of the two regions’ shared socio-economic aspirations.

Among the Keynote Speakers are: the Hon Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; the Hon Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, Chairperson of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and President of Guyana; and His Excellency Issoufou, Former President, Republic of Niger and Leader of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Other speakers include Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs, The Bahamas; His Excellency Ulrich “Rick” Alexander Fox, Ambassador-at-Large of The Bahamas and CEO of Partanna Global; Dr. Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Former Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve, USA; and Mr. Jeannel Wyclef Jean, Musician, Muse IC Incorporated.

(BIS Photos/Mark Ford)

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Minister of Tourism forecasts another record-breaking year

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By LINDSAY THOMPSON
Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper said evidence shows The Bahamas is heading towards another record-breaking year in tourism, over last year’s estimated eight million visitors.

He was making a contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, outlining plans in the 2024/2025-budget cycle for his areas of responsibility — tourism, investments and aviation.

“Our year-to-date figures for 2024 have surpassed all expectations, building on the momentum of previous years. We are not resting on our laurels. Team Tourism will continue to deploy winning strategies – as we did last year,” the deputy prime minister said.

He shared that from January to April 2024, there has been a significant increase in foreign air and sea arrivals, marking a 12.4 percent rise compared to the same period in the record setting 2023.

“Simply put, that translates to almost 4 million visitors in 4 months.  If this average holds and we hope it does, a million a month will result in a 20 percent increase year over year or 12 million overall arrivals at year-end,” the minister said.

He stated that this growth not only highlights the country’s resilience but also underscores the enduring allure as a premier travel destination.

“Each month of 2024 has brought with it a wave of visitors eager to experience the beauty, culture, and hospitality of our islands.

“Our diverse islands have each contributed to our stellar performance.  And the future of Bahamian tourism appears brighter than ever,” the minister said.

He noted that the ministry’s strategic initiatives, marketing campaigns, and continuous improvements in infrastructure and services are poised to attract more visitors.

“The figures we see today are not a product of chance but the result of strategic planning, targeted initiatives, and dedicated efforts,” he said. “Our tourism strategy has been multifaceted, involving strategic partnerships, enhancing airlift capacities, and executing missions across key cities in the USA and Canada.”

According to the minister, the diverse islands have each contributed to tourism’s stellar performance.

He reported that Nassau/Paradise Island remains the most popular destination, welcoming 1,870,438 visitors from January to April 2024, a 13.2 percent increase from the same period last year.  Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthera have also shown remarkable growth, with increases of 6.8 percent, 3.8 percent, and 2.7 percent respectively.

Also, Grand Bahama and Abaco continue to lead the way in the increase in arrivals by air with 7 percent and 15.5 percent respectively. The Berry Islands, in particular, have seen an impressive 13.3 percent rise in arrivals.

“Cruise tourism continues to play a significant role in our success story,” he said.

From January to April 2024, the country recorded 3,210,541 cruise arrivals, marking a 14.8 percent increase from 2023.

“This surge speaks to the strong partnerships we have forged with major cruise lines and the appeal of our ports of call.

“Our stopover visitors have shown a strong preference for extended stays, reflecting their desire to fully immerse themselves in the Bahamian experience,” he said.

It is estimated the average spend per cruise passenger is just over $100, while stopover visitors spend around $2,800 each.

“We’re driving spending. By the way, we are working tremendously hard to grow that cruise spend number by deploying strategies to increase the number of guests disembarking, improving numbers of tours, and deploying strategies like the smart city initiative,” the minister said.

He stressed, “This significant expenditure has contributed to an estimated total direct tourist spend in the range of $6 billion, underscoring the critical role tourism plays in our economy. And we’re growing jobs.”

The deputy prime minister also spoke to the continued revitalization of Downtown Nassau, and the work of the Tourism Development Corporation, which is the establishment of incubators.

“These incubators will serve as hubs for nurturing entrepreneurial talent and innovation within the tourism sector,” he said.

He touted as one of the highlights of this budget process, the $125 million Saudi Fund for Development loan to accelerate the Airport Renaissance Program throughout the Family Islands.

“We are leaping forward with our Family Islands Renaissance Project with a Request for Proposals (RFP) to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain a portfolio of 14 airports across Grand Bahama and our Family Islands,” he confirmed.

He revealed that an expansion plan is underway to revamp the local Aviation Industry.

“Changing the face of the Aviation industry is a herculean task and there are many, many moving parts. The work continues, but we have made critical achievements,” he said.

According to the minister, Foreign Direct Investment “is without question the fastest way to grow our economy, and we are doing our part to attract and secure these investments.

“Since coming to office, we have approved more than $8.5 billion in new Foreign Direct Investment.

“This is a monumental show of confidence in The Bahamas, our economy and our administration. Our investment strategy has been robust and far-reaching.”

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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Major Projects Underway for the Country Forecast to Further Reduce Unemployment

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By BETTY VEDRINE
Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas —  The government’s strategy to attract investments to spur economic activity is “paying off,” said Minister of Economic Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis during his contribution to the 2024/25 Budget Debate on Wednesday, 19th June in the Senate.

“We have seen unprecedented investments in major projects already underway throughout our islands,” said Mr. Halkitis.  “The  Royal Beach Club on Paradise Island, Celebration Key on Grand Bahama, and Lookout Cay on Eleuthera are  examples of major ongoing investments.”

He said that a total of over $8 billion in investments have been approved. This amount includes eight and nine figure investments on various  Family Islands and over $2 billion in investments on Grand  Bahama.

“We are targeting investments on all islands and moving away from overly Nassau-centric investment models,” he said. He said that these investments will not only expand employment  opportunities, but will also expand business opportunities as Bahamian vendors, suppliers, and service providers benefit as well.

Consequently, he said that last year, the employment rate went down to 8.8  percent.  “That was the lowest rate seen since 2008. The National Statistical Institute is currently conducting the 2024 Labour Force Survey,” said Senator Halkitis.  “We are anticipating more good news as we continue to prioritize getting Bahamians working again.”

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