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PM Davis Congratulates New Speaker of the House



#TheBahamas, October 8, 2021 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said, on October 6, 2021, that it was a “considerable honour” to congratulate Member of Parliament for Bamboo Town the Hon. Patricia Deveaux on her election as Speaker of the House of Assembly, which has been in continuous existence as the Assembly of the Bahamian people for some 292 years — one of the oldest Parliaments in the world.

“I know that this is a moment replete with pride for you and your family.  It is your achievement, but it is also an achievement for all Bahamians, as this Parliament  — and it bears repeating again – has only for the second time in our history, chosen a woman to preside over its proceedings,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the Opening of the New Parliament, held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre.

“You follow in the footsteps of Ms. Italia Johnson — and I am proud to say — another person of Cat Island descent, who in 1997, had the honour of being the first woman to be elected Speaker,” he added.  “And as the representative for the people of Cat Island in this place, I warmly extend to you their congratulations. We are proud of your accomplishment and have no doubt that you will be balanced and judicious, and rule with equanimity from the seat of your authority.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that, a few moments earlier, 39 members were sworn in as members of the House of Assembly.  Of that group, he said, 24 were new.

“At a time of great crisis, we should greet this infusion of new thinking, new perspectives, and new energy with the warmest of welcomes,” he said.

“It is indeed a very serious time to become a representative of the people, a time when our challenges are great, and the needs of our people are many.”

Prime Minister Davis congratulated all of the fellow members and prayed that each one worked hard and well for “our constituents and for all Bahamians.”

“We must all respect and honour the Rules, Customs and Practices that have guided the conduct of members of our House and ensure that democratic principles are fully entrenched in everything that we do,” he said.

“And as Madam Speaker is well aware, the political impartiality of the Speaker is one of the most important features of our system,” he added.

“Now that you have taken your solemn oath, each and every member of the House should feel confident that you will deal with them fairly and not show any form of favouritism or partiality.  In like manner, we are all obliged to demonstrate courtesy and respect for you and for your office.”

Prime Minister Davis said that he hoped that his years of parliamentary experience will allow him, when helpful, to guide the newer members, and to offer to Madam Speaker any wisdom gained from that experience — without overstepping his role or intruding on hers.

He also commended the Bahamian people for the “peaceful, serious and measured manner” in which they exercised their democratic rights.

“The Bahamians who sent us to the House to represent them did so with votes that were not in many cases easy to cast,” he said.  “In fact, to our regret, many of our fellow citizens who wished to vote were not able to, for various reasons.”

“Nonetheless, the election last month did send a message: Bahamians said loud and clear that old answers are not the solutions we need to build a new future.

And there’s no time to waste. The day of reckoning is here. Problems that were postponed too long must now be confronted.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed that many of the choices which lie ahead would not be easy ones. However, he said, that if his Government has the best interests and the dignity of the Bahamian people as its “north star,” it will rise to the moment.

“Even as we move to stabilize the nation’s finances, we need invest in new health care capacity, and to get our children back into classrooms that are safe for everyone,” Prime Minister said.

“We need to build an economy that is dynamic and exciting enough to answer the doubts of any young Bahamians who wonder if their futures can be built here,” he added.

“We have a moral imperative to transform opportunities in education and employment and ownership.

“We have to build for the future, even as we confront the present.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, in Parliament, the people rule through their Representatives, but there is a Higher Power, who would want them to act from a place of mercy, compassion, and humility.

“Let us pray that we reach that worthy aspiration,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis noted that it will be their sacred responsibility in the House of Assembly to not just find an exit from existing crises, but to build a country that is stronger and more resilient.

“Let this be a time of renewal, a time when we come together with courage and with common purpose to define our nation’s course, a time to serve our people – and I emphasize, a time to serve our people — our country, and our God,” he said.

“May God bless you, Madam Speaker, may He bless all of us, and may God bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”


Photo Captions:

Family members, friends and well-wishers joined Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis and his fellow Members of Parliament, at the Opening of the New Parliament, held at Baha Mar Convention Centre, on October 6, 2021.  Prime Minister Davis also took the opportunity to congratulate Member of Parliament for Bamboo Town the Hon. Patricia Deveaux on her election as the second female Speaker of the House of Assembly.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases



October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at:

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Bahamas News

World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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Bahamas News

RBDF Congratulates Retired Commander Defence Force on National Honour Award 



#TheBahamas, October 13, 2021 – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force congratulates Commodore Retired Leon Livingstone Smith, who was a recipient of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021. 

During a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street, Commodore Smith was presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith. Also in attendance were his daughter, Mrs. Italia Seymour, and the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King.

Commodore Smith was one of sixteen other deserving individuals recognized on National Heroes Day for the vast contributions they made to the development of the country. The first Bahamian Officer to be appointed as Commander Defence Force, he is the longest-serving Commodore to serve this office from 1983 to 1997.

Throughout his military career, he received numerous awards and accolades, and his career in public life spanned over forty years, and on September 19, 2014, an RBDF Legend Class Vessel bearing his name was commissioned. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is truly grateful for the devoted services of Commodore Smith to the organization and his country.

Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King extends congratulations on his behalf of the members of his Executive Command, Officers, Senior Enlisted, and Junior Enlisted members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, to Commodore Retired Leon Smith, on his great accomplishment.


Header:  Commodore Retired Leon Smith being presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

Insert: Commodore Retired Leon Smith along with recipients of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.

(RBDF Photos by Able Seaman Paul Rolle II)


(For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website:, follow us on FacebookTwitter and view our Youtube channel) 




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