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Caribbean is Sensational at Summer Olympics

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Elaine Thompson-Herah
Dom Rep Relay Team

#TheBahamas, August 4, 2021 – The Caribbean has 44 million people; together. The performances at the Tokyo Summer Olympics from Caribbean athletes, even those who have Caribbean heritage have been astounding to say the least.  It was and continues to be thrilling to watch these fine athletes collect the valuable hardware from a ‘Games’ which is a year late and wrought with complexities as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Caribbean women have emerged as pioneering figures in these games, a fact not lost on another Caribbean woman of sports who has exemplified that ladies can not only prepare what is on the table, but join the feast as equal partner and leader at the table.

““It gives me great pride and honor as I reflect on the incredible accomplishments of the women participants of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.  It is fair to say that not only are women breaking glass ceilings in leadership positions around the world but women are now dominating in sports arenas around the world.  Congratulations to all the female achievers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, in particular our Caribbean Sisters who continue to raise the bar.  You are an inspiration to all of us and we are forever proud of you and your achievements,” said Sonia Fulford, President of the Turks and Caicos Island Football Association (TCIFA) and newly re-elected member of the FIFA Council.

Shericka Jackson

Even as we prepare this issue of The Magnate; regional people celebrate the gold medal performance of Andre De Grasse of Canada who has secured first place in the Men’s 200m, with a career best time.  De Grasse is the son of a Barbadian man and a Trinidadian woman.

And while we could be wiped out by the feats of the men and women who reflect our diversity as an English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking region, we are not and the expectation for more, is high and will not go unquenched.

Jamaica is by far is rolling out the most headline grabbing show. 

“Without having the crowds, you can actually feel the love and the comradery there.  You can see that they have really bond together well because after coming off such a tough period we are really happy that Digicel has been able to carry the Games on Sports Max,” said Addison Stoddard, CEO of Digicel TCI which is not only offering expert commentary by Caribbean professional athletes, trainers and former Olympians but an mobile App to watch on the go.

“You have 15 channels you can scroll across and select any of the channels on the (Sports Max) App and watch any of the events.”

ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce

This is great news; the unencumbered access to the planet’s premier sporting event where Elaine Thompson-Herah would deliver the first huge and historic deed when she smashed the 33-year Olympic record of celebrated female US Champion – Florence Griffith-Joyner in the 100m.  In a time of 10.61 Thompson-Herah is firmly cemented as the fastest woman ever in the Olympics and tidily raised the bar in her home country of Jamaica where the time is also now the national record. 

Elaine wasn’t even born when Flo-Jo ran that race in 1988; Elaine at 29-years old would not only lead a one-two-three- sweep of the 100m event for Jamaica (ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce, second and Shericka Jackson, third) but would go on to power through in the 200m for another landmark victory. 

In the race, filled with famous and accomplished female athletes from six other countries of the world, Thompson-Herah unequivocally earned another gold medal.  The thing is, this was no ordinary gold.  This triumph solidified Elaine as both the most captivating figure of health, strength, beauty and speed and the Queen of Sprints because no other female athlete has ever won both the 100m and 200m at two consecutive Olympics; those being Rio Games of 2016 and the current Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“The Olympics have been absolutely amazing and we are so proud of the accomplishments of Elaine Thompson-Herah, breaking the Olympic record in the 100 and great performance by ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce also but Elaine is definitely the Queen at the Olympics in the sprints,” said Mr. Stoddard in commenting to The Magnate.

Megan Tapper.

In the Women’s 400m hurdles we had another fantastic demonstration of sensational athleticism by several Caribbean women.  Though Devynne Charlton of The Bahamas would not make the medal stand, one of the shortest (height-wise) in the field, it would be another ‘shorty’ who would prove very successful.  Again, hailing from the Sprint Capital of the World: Jamaica, millions of television viewers were locked onto the race and eventually wowed by Megan Tapper.

Tapper, and her spirited personality won the individual bronze, becoming the first woman from the English Speaking Caribbean to medal in the event.

Rai Benjamin

“I am happy to see the young lady in the 100m hurdles, Tapper.  That was really a very good run.  She defied all odds, she is barely 5’ 1” and had to jump over all of those high hurdles, while sprinting.  And a really good event was Rai Benjamin, getting a silver medal in the 400m hurdles in record breaking time,”  Stoddard, a sports enthusiast himself reminded, “Rai Benjamin, although he is an American, he is the son of a former West Indies medium base bowler from Antigua and Barbuda called Winston Benjamin; his father played cricket for the West Indies team.”

Jasmine Camacho Quinn

The gold medal show stopper in the same race as Megan was from the Camacho line.  Hailing from Puerto Rico, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn during the heats set a new Olympic Record and then went on to secure the first individual gold medal for a Puerto Rican woman at any Games; only the second gold in the country’s history. 

The results was a beautiful recompense for Jasmine who DQed out of the event at the 2016 Rio Games and missed a medal many said she would have surely won.

The other Latino-Caribbean countries are working spectacularly on the field and off.  Cuba has 12 medals in the Games, the most of any Caribbean region country.  The Dominican Republic has 3 medals, including one in female weightlifting.

Crismery Santana, 26 years old has earned a bronze and the DomRep is beaming with joy at her historic feat. 

The Cuban long jumpers were almost gold and silver in the men’s event, until their Greek counterpart Miltiadis Tentoglou pulled off an upset in his final effort; snatching the gold.  The men – Juan Miguel Echevarria and Maykel Masso – would walk away with a limp each and the silver and bronze for the Republic.

Juan Miguel Echevarria

There is great expectation in the Women’s 400m on Thursday; it features Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas; who has come to defend her Rio Games title in the event.  Miller-Uibo has run well in these Games, but even veteran Olympic champion and compatriot Pauline Davis-Thompson is worried.

The Bahamian Golden Girl expressed, in her Sports Max interview on Wednesday that, she is a concerned about Miller-Uibo who showed some weakness in the 200m; Shaunae placed last in the event after three consecutive sessions of running the 200m and 400m heats and final.

Bahamas News

GBPA Statement from Ian Rolle, President

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Re:  GBPA’s Response to fire in the International Bazaar

 

#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority is aware of the recent fire at the International Bazaar.

The GBPA has engaged, and continues to engage, with operators of the International Bazaar, which include representatives of the Bazaar Association and several property owners, so that we can continue demolition exercises on the dilapidated structures and buildings.

The GBPA is acutely aware of the need to demolish derelict structures within the International Bazaar for the safety of all businesses and visitors. We have performed demolitions in the past at our own cost, most recently in February 2022 when we, in partnership with owners, demolished fire-damaged buildings in the Oriental Section. We have also written to numerous property owners of dilapidated structures over the years to sensitize them to the need to repair or demolish their buildings.

In addition, we have engaged the Government of the Bahamas in advance discussions to approve our requested amendments of the Building and Sanitary bylaws, which would enable GBPA to execute more demolitions in a timely manner and recoup the associated costs.

With the requested bylaw amendments in place, GBPA can continue to make consistent efforts to address the remainder of derelict buildings in the International Bazaar and other dilapidated structures within the city.

The GBPA itself has never owned any part of the International Bazaar but has historically subsidized the Bazaar for many years when owners were no longer maintaining its communal areas.

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Beneath the Waves’ summer camp inspires young Bahamians to become stewards of the environment

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#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – While the waters near Great Exuma are renowned for their unmatched beauty, last weekend, more than 40 students spent a day with Beneath the Waves learning the deeper value of the marine ecosystems that surround their islands and act as a bedrock for the Bahamian economy and way of life.

As participants in the non-profit’s summer camp, the young students learned about mangrove and coral reef habitats and the many species that live among them.

They heard about some of Beneath the Waves’ research, including studies of sharks, seagrass and blue carbon, and research methods like underwater video surveys.

Coral Vita Conservancy, which has been working relentlessly to restore coral reefs off Grand Bahama, sent team member Joe Oliver , Director of Restoration Operations, to assist with the camp and provide in-depth information on corals in The Bahamas.

Team ECCO, a North Carolina-based ocean education organization, also provided in-depth lessons on invertebrates and fish.

Long after the taste of ice cream at the end-of-day party has faded, campers will remember learning how to tag a lifelike shark. And they’ll wear their camp t-shirts with pride, remembering this is the day they learned to value the water all around them and what lies beneath the waves.

Eleven-year-old twin sisters Kassidy and Kaylee Burrows described the camp as a highlight of their summer vacation.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Kassidy. “And we learned all about sponges, the water, mangroves, coral reefs — how they protect animals and how they protect the shore — and also about animals themselves, aquatic animals, for example, sea anemones, corals, sponges and sharks.”

Kassidy was especially enthused to share her experience with helping to plant new mangroves.

“We found out how mangrove seeds can actually disperse into the water,” she said.

“And I thought they were going to be small seeds, but, in my opinion, they looked like asparagus kind of.

“We also got to go in the water and plant new mangroves.”

Beneath the Waves’ scientists have been studying The Bahamas’ waters for more than a decade, having helped with the creation and management of conservation policies, including the legislation that made the country’s waters a shark sanctuary in 2011.

The non-governmental organization knows that in continuing efforts to protect The Bahamas’ greatest asset, its natural environment, community buy-in is vital.

And in that context, the value of helping young Bahamians gain these kinds of hands-on experiences and lessons, ones they’ll undoubtedly carry with them through life, can’t be overstated.

Kaylee Burrows is already brainstorming the ways she can apply what she learned in her future career.

While the mangroves piqued her sister’s interest, Kaylee said she was fascinated by coral reefs and the important role they play on a global scale, though she noted they don’t seem to be sufficiently appreciated.

“I learned that The Bahamas has some of the biggest coral reefs in the world,” she said. “We actually put pieces of coral on a pipe to help build a platform for the coral. The reason I chose coral reefs over all of the topics is because we the people of the Bahamas, don’t even recognize how important our islands are. These coral reefs are very beneficial to the whole world.”

Kaylee said she hopes to one day become a veterinarian and an author.

“As a vet, I can help not just land animals, but marine animals too,” she said. “As an author, I can write books on marine biology. I think this experience helped with my future career, and I’m forever grateful.”

Beneath the Waves Managing Director Jamie Fitzgerald said plans are underway to make the camp an annual event.

“We look forward to being able to work more closely with local schools in the islands we frequent, such as Exuma and Nassau, to develop educational materials around sharks and marine science, and to foster opportunities for internships and future careers for any aspiring Bahamian marine biologists,” Fitzgerald said.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: Hands-on experience – Exuma students planting mangroves with the help of research scientists from Beneath the Waves  — just one of the many memorable moments from the non-profit’s summer camp that was held on July 23. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

1st insert: Learning about coral — With the help of experts from Coral Vita, a Grand Bahama-based organization working to restore reefs near the island, students built plaforms for coral. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

2nd insert: More to come  – Camp leaders and participants posed with the inflatable shark, as the first of what is hoped to be many Beneath the Waves summer camps came to an end. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

 

Release: Beneath the Waves

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Caribbean Rising: Regional Heads of Government Meet in The Bahamas Aug 16-17 to discuss Caribbean position on Climate Change Mitigation

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#TheBahamas, August 5, 2022 – The Bahamas will host the first Regional Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean in preparation for COP27 in Nassau, The Bahamas on August 16-17, 2022.

The inaugural event is being introduced by the Government of The Bahamas with the aim of devising a regional position on climate change mitigation ahead of COP 27 which will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt November 6-20, 2022.

Invited participants include the Head of State from the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla,

Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.

The Government of The Bahamas intends to establish the meeting as an annual event and will seek to have it instituted as a regular meeting on calendar of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).

“The Bahamas is introducing this conference as we seek to get results in the climate change fight,” Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas said ahead of the talks.

“The Bahamas, along with the region, has lobbied year after year, meeting after meeting, as we sought for the world to acknowledge our vulnerable position.”

“This meeting will position the Caribbean region to take control of our fate and present a unified position to the world at COP27,” Prime Minister Davis added.

The meeting is also intended to establish a Caribbean response exclusive of the conventional Latin

America-Caribbean pairing in order to better reflect common geographical and geo-political issues of Caribbean states.

“What we’ve been lacking regionally is a strategy that would aid us in our negotiation process when we go to the conferences of the parties referred to as COPs,” says Rochelle Newbold, Special Advisor on Climate Change and Environmental Matters and Climate Tsar in the Office of the Prime Minister in The Bahamas.

“This year will be COP number 27 and, as a region, we have never put forward a strategy document or an intent of how we want to deal with the issues that we face within the region collectively,” Newbold added.

The conference agenda will also focus on renewable energy, energy security, climate adaptation, climate financing, loss and damage due to tropical weather systems and establishing a framework for the sale of carbon credits.

Delegates attending COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland in December 2021 signed off on a global climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and counter global warming by limiting the temperature rise on Earth to a 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.

The global warming phenomenon has been linked to more frequent and aggressive hurricanes in the Caribbean, which have subjected the region to billions of dollars in damage and bound countries to burdensome loan commitments.

According to the Assessment of the Effects and Impacts of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas report issued by the Inter-American Development Bank in March 2022,       damage and losses from Hurricane Dorian amounted to US$3.4 billion, a quarter of the country’s GDP.

A heat wave rolling across the United States and Europe is also being attributed to rising temperatures.

The UK recorded temperatures of over 40°C (104°F) for the first time in July 2022, according to local forecasters.

“We know that if we reach that 1.5°C and we exceed it, everything changes for everybody. While land-locked countries and large continents like South America will experience a change, island-states will experience that change three and four-fold.”

“With this meeting we will have all of those who face the same threat level sitting down together, discussing options, considering what is being suggested and how realistic this will be. For us, this is a fundamental thing that we should have been doing a long time ago,” Newbold said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a Chair’s Summary will be made available detailing the scope of the discussions as well as key messages and ideas that emerge. Additionally, the region plans to launch an initiative at COP27 to advance advocacy efforts on behalf of Caribbean States.

 

Photo Caption: During the weekly Press Briefing, at his Office, on August 4, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis announced that The Bahamas will host the Regional Caribbean Heads of Government Meeting, 16-17 August, 2022 at Baha Mar Resort.  (BIS Photos/Eric Rose)

 

For Press Inquiries:

Clint Watson, Press Secretary

Office of The Prime Minister

Commonwealth of The Bahamas clintwatson@bahamas.gov.bs

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