#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
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Bahamasair Introduces New Flight Service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Georgetown, Exuma
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Bahamasair celebrated a significant milestone on Wednesday November 15, 2023, with the launch of its new direct service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Georgetown, Exuma. The new route enhances accessibility and convenience for Bahamian residents and travelers seeking direct access to the Exuma Islands.
The inaugural flight carried approximately 50 passengers. The new service, which will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, allows Bahamian locals to explore mainland Florida, while at the same time, providing travelers direct access to Exuma without the need for a stopover in Nassau.
During a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair, was delighted with the new service. He highlighted that the decision to add the flight to the Airline’s roster was a direct response to the public’s demand. He added that the move signified Bahamasair’s commitment to delivering a quality product.
“Today, we are thrilled to inaugurate our first flight between Georgetown and Fort Lauderdale, marking a significant milestone in expanding our reach and enhancing connectivity,” Mr. Cooper said. “Next year, we are looking to acquire more airplanes, leading to increased rotations and even more accessibility.”
For the route, ATR aircraft will travel between the Georgetown International Airport and Terminal 1 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, with an estimated flight time of approximately 90 minutes.
Lamar Fisher, Broward County Mayor, emphasized the significant impact of Bahamasair not only on the airport, but also on the county. The mayor pointed out that The Bahamas currently ranks as the 5th largest international market for FLL. He highlighted the strong cultural, historical, and business ties between South Florida and The Bahamas, expressing optimism that the new route to Georgetown would strengthen the connections.
“We welcome the Georgetown route,” said Mayor Fisher “We look forward to the tourism, business and trade benefits to come, connecting Broward County to another island in The Bahamas.”
Highlighting the significance of this milestone, Dr. Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Director of Aviation at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, characterized the launch as historic. He conveyed his enthusiasm as The Bahamas reached another major achievement, having welcomed approximately 7.9 million visitors in the first nine months of 2023.
Dr. Romer underscored the government’s strategic vision to boost overall arrival numbers.
“This milestone is particularly noteworthy because, despite the ongoing efforts of our longstanding partner airlines to bring people to The Islands of The Bahamas, I am delighted that our national airline, Bahamasair, has left its mark and etched history,” he said. “We are highly pleased with Bahamasair’s initiatives; they consistently make us proud. Their exploration of new routes has our full government support.”
“This inaugural has significant economic value and benefit because each person who comes into Exuma on a plane contributes 28 times more than a cruise arrival,” said Dr. Romer. “So, when we look at Bahamasair adding additional seat capacity to Exuma, that translates in a tangible way to heads in beds and money into the economy of Exuma.”
Georgetown, Exuma serves as the gateway to an unparalleled Bahamian experience, with access to pristine beaches, ranked among the world’s best. Exuma is also home to the world-famous swimming pigs. Exuma and its neighboring island to the South – Long Island – will both benefit from the new route. Over the past 26 years, Bahamasair has provided transportation to FLL. During that period, the Airline has conducted over 65,000 flights and transported more than 4 million passengers.
With Georgetown, Exuma added to its schedule, the Airline now offers seven (7) daily flights to Fort Lauderdale to and from other Bahamian Family Islands: Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Stolen Money likely circulating in The Bahamas
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Some Bahamians could unknowingly be using stolen money from the bank after one reported being robbed of the cash.
According to a press release from the Central Bank of The Bahamas eary this month, a commercial bank informed them that it was violated by an armored car robbery and bundles of money were stolen.
The Central Bank urged that these banknotes could be in circulation.
In making sure the public knows as much as possible about the stolen money, the Central Bank released information and images on the banknotes. This includes serial number details.
Additionally, the complete list of serial numbers has been provided to authorities and commercial banks where possible, the release said.
The 2018 series 20 dollar notes have a serial number range of N760001 to N765000. All the others have non-sequential numbers.
People are urged to contact the Commercial Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Royal Bahamas Police Force, at (242) 322-4191 or (242) 501-9991/2, if they have the banknotes or suspect any suspicious activity related to the notes.
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