#TheBahamas, November 15, 2021 – The government’s supplemental budget is focused on bringing relief to those who need it, addressing the country’s fiscal situation and stimulating economic growth. Across-the-board tax reduction is also one of the measures that will be implemented. This was the message conveyed by Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, the Hon. Michael Halkitis during his contribution in the Senate on Monday, 8th November.
“A reduction that our research has shown will yield savings for everyday Bahamians while stimulating consumption at a critical moment in our economic recovery, “ said Mr. Halkitis. “Existing models indicate that this change will produce a positive impact across all major sectors in our economy, as well as on national employment and income levels. But even beyond the tax reduction, this is very much a relief budget.”
He explained that along with tax decrease, the return of the RISE program would provide Bahamians with debit cards for direct cash transfers. An increase in pensions is also a part of the plan – with those typically making the least amount per month in pension payments on the agenda to receive the largest increases.
He said that the government has also decided to resume annual increments for civil servants in order for their salaries to keep pace with the cost of living. The National Insurance Board’s unemployment benefit program has also been extended to December. Those who have been receiving $100 per week through the programme will receive a lump sum payment of $500.
Mr. Halkitis said that in response to the needs of Bahamians, the government has taken these measures. A review of the new initiatives:
- Implementing an across the board cut in VAT, lowering the overall cost of living.
- Increasing social assistance to our vulnerable population through the targeted intervention of the RISE programme.
- Increasing pensions that will benefit retired civil servants.
- Returning to incremental pay increases for civil servants.
- And extending the unemployment benefit programme with an additional $500 lump sum payment just in time for Christmas.
“We are here to lighten up the load of the people who need it the most: our elderly, lower income earners and the unemployed,” he said.
By Betty Vedrine
(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
TCI & Bahamas and over 20 other countries put at higher risk by CDC, Residents say DIVERSIFY
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – ‘We need to diversify!’ is the main call from residents of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas after the recent bumping of their countries to a level 4 in the US, Centres for Disease Control’s Travel Health Notice index. The Turks and Caicos Islands along with the Bahamas, Cayman, Bonaire, Curaçao Trinidad and Tobago and 16 other countries were officially added to the CDC’s level 4 list on Tuesday.
Jamaica was also moved up to level three.
Despite a record breaking year for arrivals, one TCI resident said, “Maybe now the PNP will put something credible into place to go with their words about diversifying the economy.”
A Bahamian resident added his views from Grand Bahama.
“Tourism is running the whole country, which is ridiculous because every time something goes down in the rest of the world tourism is the first thing that drops off. With Covid you think they would have learned a lesson, no, they’re still using Tourism as a base for everything.”
This is a blow for all the Caribbean countries listed, who are still trying to rebound from 2020’s economic shocks due to the freeze on travel and tourism when the Coronavirus Pandemic first started.
It is especially difficult for the Turks and Caicos which mandates that travelers must have travel insurance to vacation on the islands as level 4 ratings makes that security more difficult to procure.
Back to the Bush, Traditional Remedies make a Come-back
By Shanieka Smith
You may know it as the Wild Hyssop; American blue verbena, mosquito plant, holy herb or simpler’s joy. You may even know it because of its rich purple colour or its tiny and delicate leaves and five-petaled blossoms. But what you really need to know is that Vervain has several healing properties; it is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and analgesic (pain-relieving).
Among its purported benefits, vervain is used to treat headaches, other aches and pain, insomnia, digestive dysfunction, depression and anxiety, and upper respiratory tract infections.
This means it’s perfect for the time we live in now as the coronavirus infamously attacks respiratory systems.
Neem – the tree for solving global problems grows “almost anywhere” in the lowland tropics.
Every part of the Neem tree is beneficial: the bark, leaves, seed, fruit, and twigs. It has over 130 biologically active compounds that can keep viral and bacterial diseases at bay. It is also a powerful immune stimulant.
Yes, it is bitter and has a garlic, nutty aroma but that is a sign that it is good for your body but not so good if you are trying to become pregnant, according to experts on the plant.
Neem is “A” class, which means it is antiviral (inhibits the growth of viruses), antifungal (inhibits the growth of fungi), antibacterial (destroys the growth of bacteria), analgesic (provides pain relief), anti-inflammatory (reduces certain signs of inflammation, swelling or tenderness), antimicrobial (destroys the growth of microorganisms) and it is age-defying.
As everyone is in survival mode, Moringa, the survival food, which contains all the nutritional elements may be just what you need.
Moringa has protein, calcium, eight of the nine essential amino acids, iron, Vitamin C and A minerals and more. The best part is that all parts of the Moringa plant have their unique health properties and you have different ways to use the plant.
Moringa leaves can be dried and grounded in powder form or as supplements. You can also use it to make an essential oil as well as a delicious drink from fresh leaves.
To improve both health, cure digestive disorders, protect your heart and cardiovascular system, reduce blood sugar levels, boost energy levels and immunity, try Moringa.
“Go home Elena, go home Elena, go boil Cerasee fi yuh belly” – This Caribbean folk song was loved more than the plant itself. But if your grandmother could not convince you enough, COVID-19 is here to remind you that your body needs to remain healthy and Cerasee can add to your body that renewed look and feel. The fruit, leaves, and seeds of the bitter melon plant have medicinal properties and are used as traditional medicine in many parts of the world. The herb is a natural detoxifier, containing vitamins A and C, as well as phosphorus and iron.
It is mostly used to make a hot beverage to calm symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, liver problems, fever, and constipation.
LEAF OF LIFE
Miracles still happen and if you do not believe, have a nice warm tea or a cool blended drink made from the Leaf of Life. You can also enjoy the raw plant. The tall, erect, succulent perennial herb is native to Madagascar and has become naturalised in tropical and subtropical areas.
It is used as a herbal remedy to treat respiratory conditions like asthma, colds, coughs, shortness of breath and bronchitis. The Life plant has several health and beauty benefits and the good news is, you can even have it as a houseplant.
The Aloe Vera plant is packed full of immune-boosting polysaccharides, just what you need now to strengthen your body and build resistance against harmful bacteria and viruses. Along with being used in cosmetics, the thick, short-stemmed plant has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that help to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
It also enhances insulin sensitivity and helps improve blood sugar management, so if you are diabetic, it is good to add Aloe Vera to your medicinal list.
Papaya trees are almost everywhere on the island, so you have no excuses. Moreover, the nutrition filled fruit is not only a healthy choice, it’s a tasty one too.
Add papaya to your fruit salad, scoop the raw fruit with a spoon, blend the seeds into a creamy salad dressing and don’t forget to add the green fruit to your meat pot.
As you enjoy the juiciness and freshness of the fruit, it will help your body to reduce stress, prevent cholesterol build-up, arthritis, and ageing. The leaves are also proven to be helpful in preventing cancer.
Papaya is also one of nature’s natural contraceptives, they say.
Lemongrass or Fever grass is commonly taken orally, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled as aromatherapy.
It contains substances that can relieve pain and swelling, reduce fever, improve levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and it has antioxidant properties.
A hot cup of lemongrass tea every morning can significantly improve your health.
Also, the leaves and the oil are used to make medicine. So what better way to enjoy the benefits of this herb than to grab it fresh from your backyard and enjoy the pure scent and the soothing taste?
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