#TheBahamas, January 15, 2022 – Critics of the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) might argue that the Institute had been left to languish in mediocrity after a stellar launch in 2014. Initially, the Institute soared, with laser-like focus, on an upward trajectory of success including; experts, both international and Bahamian from the field of agriculture and marine science, were brought in to equip students, staff and farmers with technical knowledge, the academic arm held the first of successive graduations in 2016, and international partnerships were formed that would benefit students and staff alike and bring a level of esteem to the Institute.
Woven amongst these triumphs however, cracks, setbacks, and seemingly insurmountable hurdles arose. Combine these inefficiencies with the impact in recent years of major hurricanes, a downturn in the economy and the loss of key personnel, BAMSI struggled with its identity and lost sight of its original mandate.
Under the leadership of newly appointed Chairman Tyrel Young, who assumed office November 1, 2021, the way forward for BAMSI is steadily and strategically being carved out and a return to the original objectives and mission statement seem assured.
“I want people to know that from day one, my priority was to understand the Government’s plan for BAMSI and to carry out that mandate to the best of my ability, and with the full support of the staff. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the globe, food security must remain at the top of our agenda. We must be able to provide at least the basic food items for ourselves on a consistent basis and we must be able to do that in a sustainable manner, so that future generations of Bahamians will be supported and have access to arable land, and delicacies like conch and lobster. “
Finding the farm in a disappointing level of disarray – this is one of the first areas Mr. Young turned his attention to. With almost 90 percent of the tractors down, Mr. Young moved to have the machines quickly repaired so that production on the farm could ramp up to an acceptable level and also so the Institute could better support its Associate Farmers.
The wellbeing of the farm itself was quickly reasserted as a critical objective, as was identifying the essential crops and increasing production, research and training of farm staff.
“As we head into 2022, my goal is to see a steady increase in the types of crops grown by BAMSI, our partners in the Associated Farmers program and all farmers across the Bahamas. Part of BAMSI’s job, as research Institute, is to provide critical information for the sector in terms of best practices, best variety for our environment, and healthiest options for our populace,” he said.
“We want to balance supporting the business of farming – that is seeing farmers maximize their earning potential – with making the healthiest produce available to the widest spectrum of our citizenry…and available at a cost they can afford,” Mr. Young said. “Persons living in the inner cities, the less fortunate, those living on the margins of society, they should all have access to healthy produce in their neighbourhoods and be able to actual include these items – fresh fruit and vegetables – in their grocery budget.”
The academic arm also required greater support. Unlike many government departments, agencies and ministries, there was an immediate need to increase the staff compliment with educated, motivated and focused individuals who would assist in the training of young and not so young future agriculturalist and marine scientists.
A key component of the new mandate is driving enrollment levels up by widening the recruitment net and making it easier for recent graduates and those interested in making a career change to choose BAMSI and work through the enrolment process quickly and smoothly, all while feeling supported by staff and administration.
“Just like UB and BTVI, the Government of the Bahamas is committed to providing free education to qualified candidates at BAMSI. We want students and parents to know that if you pass five BGCSE’s, math and English included, the BAMSI Government Tertiary Education Grant is available to you. It covers a range of things from tuition and fees to textbooks. We want senior high students, especially those in grades 10 and 11, to start planning now to enroll in BAMSI. A beautiful campus along with a talented team of educators awaits you,” Mr. Young said.
Other areas of BAMSI are also scheduled for revamping. The Distribution Centre, long a favourite amongst the Bahamian public, especially those who are focused on locally grown, healthy food items, will again showcase the best produce the nation has to offer. The $20 produce box continues to be a much sought-after item.
Pulling all of these areas together, Mr. Young noted, the Institute is set to launch an aggressive marketing campaign to ensure that BAMSI becomes a household name in the best possible way…a leader in sustainable farming, a world-class academic institute in agriculture and marine science, a top regional research Centre, and a partner and stakeholder along with every Bahamian farmer. “My goal is that every Bahamian is aware of the full range of services and goods the Nassau/Andros-based Institute has to offer.”
Press Release: BAMSI
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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