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Caribbean News

CIBC FirstCaribbean Signs On For Three More Years of Support to UWI



#Barbados, September 9, 2021 – CIBC FirstCaribbean has officially extended its partnership with The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus with the signing of a memorandum of understanding for three years.

The agreement, which was signed on Tuesday August 17, 2021, is for the period 2021/22 to 2023/24, and will cover four areas: support and development of UWI programmes and students around the region; enhancement of research in Banking and Finance at The UWI; the joint pursuit of mutually beneficial business opportunities, and entrepreneurship and innovation.

The bank has contributed over US$2 million to The UWI to support various initiatives since the first MOU was signed between the two institutions in 2003.

Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Colette Delaney stated that the bank cherishes its longstanding relationship with The UWI, and was pleased to formally extend it for another three years.

She added that entrepreneurship and innovation will be the key drivers of the post-COVID economy, and The UWI is headed in the right direction.

“We see the scholarships, research grants, public lectures and other programmes and activities offered under this MOU as tangible demonstrations of our commitment to this region and its development.

“Investment in and support of our region’s people especially the youth remains one of the key pillars of our charitable arm the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation of which I have the honour to chair and which is providing the funding for the programmes and projects in this MOU,” Delaney said

Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Professor Clive Landis, lauded the bank’s support for the University over the past 18 years, and said he is looking forward to the two institutions forging even closer ties.

“As a result of the bank’s generosity, several of our students who were experiencing financial challenges have been able to realise their dream of attaining a university education.  Many of these have gone on to make a meaningful contribution in this region and further afield.

“It is clear then, in the current public health climate, that such assistance is needed now more than ever, as so many across the Caribbean and the world have suffered severe financial losses as a result of the pandemic,” he said. 

Landis noted that The UWI would need to innovate and seek new business perspectives if the institution is to survive.  In that regard, he announced the launch of the Campus’ latest entrepreneurial initiative, the Innovate! Challenge, which is a competition organised by the Office of Business Development that rewards staff for impactful and innovative ideas that lead to income generation for their unit or department, as well as the campus.

The competition will be launched later this year and will be sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean.

One of the major beneficiaries of the MOU is the Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (SEED) project, which is designed to encourage and develop self-reliance.

The bank has assisted with providing access to finance and a business plan competition. To date, $240,000 has been disbursed among 40 start-ups since the inception of the programme.

The first, second and third place winners of The UWI SEED CIBC FirstCaribbean Business Plan Competition – Kerri-Ann Bovell, Victor Clarke and business partners Marissa Chandler and Malissa Cornwell – also thanked The UWI and CIBC FirstCaribbean for their support.

Photo Captions:

Header: The first donation to the Department of Gender Affairs, made by CIBC FirstCaribbean on International Women’s Day, was the springboard for the Department’s food and gift-bag distribution programme. The programme focused on alleviating the economic strain and burden of poverty for single female-headed families and young women in particular.

L-R: Bianca Dillon-O’Neil, Human Resources Support Officer, CIBC FirstCaribbean; Cutella Talbot, Gender Officer, Department of Gender Affairs; Carolyn Dickenson, Director, Department of Gender Affairs.

Insert: Over the last month, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Human Resources Department, headed by Mrs. Dillon-O’Neil, encouraged persons to donate non-perishable items.  Boxes were placed at each of the bank’s branches for contributions by staff.


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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation



#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.


While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.


This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.


Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.


The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in



#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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Caribbean News

Sandals Resorts International Offers a Travel Industry-First with New Sandals Vacation Assurance Program Included in All Reservations



Guests of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts Book Worry-Free with new Flight Protection,
a Free Trip Replacement For the Unexpected and more 

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, September 21, 2021 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the parent company of the Caribbean’s leading luxury all-inclusive resort brands Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, announces the introduction of Sandals Vacation Assurance, the industry’s most comprehensive vacation protection program featuring an industry-first guarantee of a free replacement vacation including airfare for guests impacted by COVID-19 related travel interruptions.

According to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, the new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is designed to take the worry out of travel, giving guests certainty that their investment in an all-inclusive luxury vacation is safeguarded from interruptions outside of their control. “We want to put the fun and joy of planning and anticipating a great vacation back into travel. While we recognize the real concerns that may weigh on our guests’ minds, we’re taking extraordinary measures to remove worry from the equation so travelers can delight in the entire travel journey – from booking to departure,” said Stewart.

All current and new reservations made now through December 31, 2021, for travel until December 31, 2022, will automatically receive the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Protection at no charge.

Benefits of the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Program:

  • Replacement Vacation if a trip is interrupted while on vacation – INCLUDED
  • Replacement airfare credit for US travelers, up to $500 per person on the replacement vacation – INCLUDED
  • Quarantine stays of up to 14 nights at no charge if required – INCLUDED
  • COVID-19 testing to meet any government requirement from the comfort of the resort – INCLUDED
  • Comprehensive Travel Protection Plan – Insurance is on US – INCLUDED
  • Cancel anytime reservation policy, without penalties or added fees – 31 days or more for a 100% refund or within 30 days for a future travel date
  • A Vacation Assurance Hotline should guests or travel advisors have any questions related to travel protocols or anything else related to COVID-19
  • Assurance of industry-leading Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, implemented at all Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, to ensure heightened health and safety measures throughout their stay

The Sandals Vacation Assurance protection program complements the health and wellbeing procedures of the Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness which were introduced last year and detail the hundreds of daily actions taken to fully safeguard the entire guest journey. Stewart added, “Throughout our 40-year history, and especially during difficult times, we have always put guests first. Combined with our proven track record of health and safety, our new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is the guarantee our guests can count on. It’s another example that we will do whatever it takes to continue to earn their trust so they can focus on what truly matters: quality time in our beautiful Caribbean with the ones they love most.”

Certain restrictions apply. For more information, visit


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