#TheBahamas, November 15, 2021 – The Davis Administration has set the year 2026 for The Bahamas to rank in the top tier of the World Bank’s index for Ease of Doing Business.
This was expressed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper in his address to The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants 50th Anniversary Virtual Conclave on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. It was held under the theme, ‘50 Years and Counting: What’s Next?’
In the context of investments, the minister said that the investment mandate is at the very core of the government’s economic plan. And, it is by design that the ministry he heads is now called, “The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.”
“As an investor-friendly nation, this new administration has given itself a goal to achieve within the next five years,” the minister said. “By 2026, our objective is to attain a spot in the World Bank’s Top 50 Index for Ease of Doing Business. Our blueprint maps out the path to this objective.”
He added: “We have set out to build a sleek, well-oiled machinery to facilitate foreign and local investors. We will enhance Bahamas Invest, the investment promotional arm of the government to fast track and promote a new model of foreign direct investment.”
In this vein, the minister told BICA that it would be called upon to advise all of these new business developments to ensure sustainability.
He said although the country is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, there are clear indicators that things are progressing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen crisis that has had an unprecedented impact on global tourism – an impact we have felt deeply right here in The Bahamas, where tourism is the bread and butter of our economy, accounting for 50 percent of our entire GDP and 65% of our employment,” the minister said.
This “monumental hit” to the economy, he continued, came on the heels of the most destructive Atlantic Hurricane, Dorian, which, tore through two of the northern islands, Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“We as a nation have been through quite a lot in the last two years, but we are strong and resilient and together we will persevere and come out even better than before. With the reopening of travel, our economic prospects are looking quite promising,” he said.
As all engage in rebuilding the economy, the minister noted that the “What’s Next” is focused on two core elements – strong growth in tourism and a pipeline of international investments.
“From a tourism perspective, we are trending in the right direction for rebound and recovery, particularly as travel restrictions ease and travellers have greater access to vaccinations,” he said, noting he is optimistic for a robust holiday season.”
By Lindsay Thompson
(BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)
BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’
Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support
#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.
Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.
“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.
“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”
The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.
In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.
Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.
“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.
“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”
Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.
Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.
Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.
“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”
Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.
The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.
Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.
“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”
Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.
“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.
Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.
“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”
Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel
Da Rocks’ Jonquel Jones and Sun aim to repeat win in bid for WNBA Championship
By Deandrea Hamilton
#USA, September 18, 2022 – Jonquel Jones of Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama power forward and centre for the Suns had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in a victorious and glorious effort against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night. The Connecticut Suns holding on in game three, which could have been elimination if that score went the Aces way.
Now, on ESPN Sunday Jones is hoping for another win and a tie of the series which is a best of game five.
The Sun are now 4-0 in elimination games in the playoffs so far this postseason.
There was other good news on the weekend for Bahamian Jonquel, as she was named an All-WNBA Second Team selection. Jones scored 126 overall, receiving 12 first team votes and 22 second team votes which came as no surprise to many. Jonquel leads the Suns in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots. She averages 14.6 points per game, ranking in the top 20 in the WNBA for scoring.
Add to the road Jonquel is still on for WNBA Champion and historic Bahamian athlete, as a member of the All- WNBA First Team, she will receive $10,300 and each member of the Second Team will receive $5,150.
The Bahamas continues to be proud of this outstanding player.
Tourism, Investments & Aviation Minister I. Chester Cooper Elected Vice Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
#TheBahamas, September 16, 2022 – The Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, was elected to continue to serve as a vice chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) during the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism Meetings this week.
DPM Cooper is leading a delegation which includes Latia Duncombe, Acting Director General (ADG) and Dr Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Acting Director of Aviation, to the four-day CTO Business Meetings which are taking place in the Cayman Islands 12-15 September 2022.
“I am grateful and honoured to serve in this capacity on behalf of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the entire Caribbean region,” DPM Cooper said.
“It is important that we continue to forge deeper relations with our tourism counterparts and support each other as we aim for full economic recovery. It is my hope that ongoing efforts will enhance our tourism product across the region and position the Caribbean as the most desirable destination year-round.”
In his role as CTO Vice Chairman, DPM Cooper will provide updates regarding the region’s performance and developments.
The CTO is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising over 24 member countries and territories and provides support to those members in marketing, sustainable tourism, communications, and research & information technology. This year’s conference focuses on regional recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future of tourism.
CTO Business Meetings have been on hold since 2020, making this meeting the organisation’s first in-person event following the onset of the pandemic.
For more information, visit Bahamas.com.
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