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BBSQ Launches Mobile Metrology Laboratory Project



By Betty Vedrine



#TheBahamas, January 15, 2022 – The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ)officially launched its Mobile Metrology Laboratory project via a hybrid virtual ceremony on Wednesday, 12th January, 2022.  It is part of the government’s agenda to enhance the country’s National Quality infrastructure.

The two-year project will increase the services provided to the private sector by the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ). Once capacity is enhanced at the BBSQ, it will also assist with increased competitiveness by the private sector. The project is being supported by the EPA and CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building managed at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and financed by the European Union (EU).

The project will assist BBSQ in its mandate to expand The Bahamas’ quality-based infrastructure and business environment to support commercial enterprises in producing superior, reliable, safe, and sustainable commodities of high quality for the marketplace.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Hon. Michael Halkitis, attended the ceremony. Expressing his gratitude to the European Union and the Caribbean Development bank for this partnership with The Bahamas, Mr. Halkitis said that the initiative will go a long way to enhance the country’s ability to meet first world standards in trade.

“The government deeply appreciates the efforts of the BBSQ, spearheaded by Dr. Ferguson-Bufford and her team, for the work they have done in seeking grants such as this one to improve the country in the trade sector,” he said. “This initiative will facilitate several steps including the procurement of a consultancy firm, providing infrastructure for the necessary framework, provisions for a public awareness campaign and provide the necessary training for qualified metrologists.”

Director of the Bureau, Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford said that the launch marked a major achievement for the country: “Since 2016, the BBSQ has been on a mission to enhance international trade and drive competitiveness of trade in the country.  Whether we drive a car, catch a flight, use gasoline or even use an iron, we are all affected by metrology. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we utilize it accurately,” she said.

Representing the CDB, was Daniel Best, who said that the new facility will not only improve standards in the Bahamas, but also the region. “I wish to congratulate The Bahamas in launching this initiative. I also wish to thank the EU for funding the project. This project will provide the necessary equipment, capacity support, and institutional strengthening required to further enhance the BBSQ’s ability to expand its platform. It will also positively impact the manufacturing industry, thereby, strengthening the local economy.”

Speaking on behalf of the European Union was Ambassador Marianne Van Steen, who said that the initiative will minimize barriers to trade.

“This much-needed intervention will ensure fairness in trade and will enhance economic activity,”she said. “The EU is pleased to support Caribbean member states in their quest to minimize impediments in providing outstanding products and services.”

The future outlook is that the BBSQ will be able to improve the current business environment and contribute to a more resilient Bahamas as the agency would be able to provide calibration and testing services, which meet internationally accepted and recognized ISO 17025 requirements in mass and volume.

The project will address the immediate needs of the BBSQ and aid in expanding the Bahamas’ quality infrastructure and the business environment. This has potential benefits for both exporters and local businesses ideally increasing the provision of quality, reliable, safe, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure. Successful implementation will lead to an increase in the standards of commodities and processes used in production locally. It will also entrench quality related actions throughout the economy.  The initiative which commenced in November 2021 will:

  • Aid in the establishment of a sustainable industrial metrology service for current and future needs
  • Create a quality management system that meets the requirements for accreditation to the ISO/IEC17025 standard, including training and supporting documentation
  • Procure and install laboratory equipment to provide basic metrology services in alignment with technical requirements and train staff in use
  • Execute a marketing and communications programme to promote the new services

EPA and CSME Standby Facility

The project was approved for implementation by the EPA and CSME Standby Facility Steering Committee in 2021.  The EPA and CSME Standby Facility is a EUR 8.75 million programme financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) and managed by CDB to support projects in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago (CARIFORUM).

It is intended to build capacity in the region and better position businesses to trade within CARIFORUM and the European Union.


(BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)



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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“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.

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Bahamas News

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.

Level 4 is the highest level of risk according to the CDC and non-essential travel, including vacations, to countries listed as such is not advised by the organization.

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.

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Bahamas News

Back to the Bush, Traditional Remedies make a Come-back



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



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.

So, if you don’t already have the broad-leaved evergreens in your backyard, it’s not too late to start growing it.

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 leaf and powder capsule on a wooden background

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.



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.



Aloe for the hair, aloe for the skin, and aloe is also for the immune system.

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.



A single papaya contains more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, another booster for your immune system.

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.



This tall grass-like herb has a fresh, clean, lemony scent.

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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