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BAHAMAS: TDC Works With OAS, CHTA To Build Small Tourism Enterprise (STE) Resilience

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#TheBahamas, July 22, 2021 – The Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) is collaborating with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) to provide access to technical and financial assistance for small tourism enterprises (STEs) through a participation programme.

The organizations are seeking to identify and assess the challenges, barriers and needs faced by STEs to direct technical assistance and support post disaster recovery.

To accomplish this, OAS and CHTA are inviting STEs across The Bahamas to participate in a survey and assist the bodies in targeting their specific needs. OAS Representative for The Bahamas Phyllis Baron spoke about the benefits of the initiative, which is being carried out in OAS’ 13 member states.

“The OAS will seek to dialogue with the policy makers of our region to create and enhance their policies that will be beneficial to the sector especially as it relates to recovery and business continuity. Hence, it is pertinent that all stakeholders participate in the survey as it is from this data, we can analyze the information and provide strategic guidance that will benefit them as a sector,” she said.

“We should note, that in recent times, there are more and more catastrophic events and so we must be prepared. We therefore encourage all small hotels and tourism businesses across The Bahamas to complete the OAS/CHTA 2021 Business Continuity survey to allow us to assist them appropriately.”

Special advisor and former CEO of CHTA Frank Comito had similar sentiments.

“Small tourism businesses are particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the same happens with other crisis situations.  We believe that the groundwork of the OAS over 20 years ago on Hurricane Readiness and Small Hotel Operations has helped to prepare the tourism industry to manage their way through crisis situations.  However, we need to look at the new situation faced by small hotel and tourism enterprises and direct resources appropriately,” he said.

“We, therefore, encourage all small hotel and tourism business across The Bahamas to participate in this Business Continuity Survey, which will help the donor funding of the Organization of American States and the resources of CHTA to be directed to better serve their needs”.

TDC Executive Director Janet Johnson said this initiative is a timely one.

“With the hurricane season upon us, we are thrilled to be participating in this innovative initiative with our international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) partners and so many of our STEs are grateful for the help and guidance that this collaboration affords,” she said.

Eligible participants include hotel operators with under 100 rooms accommodations; independent food and beverage operators in tourism areas; transportation and ground tour operators; recreation including adventure, entertainment and attractions; tourism services including destination management, inbound tour operators; travel agents; retail sales and souvenir stores and other supply chains.

The surveys can be completed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/oas_chta.

Registration and participation for the programme are free.

Release: OAS

Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Bahamas News

Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.

Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.

Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.

Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.

In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”

Those responsibilities include:

  • Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
  •  Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
  • Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.

The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.

With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.

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Bahamas News

74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court

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#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.

Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.

A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.

The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.

For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.

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