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Schools inspected ahead of opening; Ministry of Works to pursue ‘preventive’ year-round maintenance

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By Kathryn Campbell (BIS)

 

#TheBahamas, January 11, 2-22  – The Ministry of Education and Technical & Vocational Training is anticipating a “paradigm shift” in the delivery of education as teachers, students and administrators prepare for public schools to reopen on a fully virtual basis.

“It’s quite an experience because you know this is the place where our nation’s children will come and gather, where their intellect will be stimulated, where there [is] camaraderie with fellow students, where teachers will impart.  It’s such an incredible, dynamic space. We’ve tried very hard to make it as facilitative as possible.

“The contractors have worked very hard, and the Ministry of Works — we’re very appreciative of the work being done and we look forward to a paradigm shift in the delivery of education in terms of the outputs of our children.”

The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin made the comments as she, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of Works and Utilities the Hon.

Alfred Sears; and Minister of State for Education and Technical & Vocational Training the Hon. Zane Lightbourne inspected several primary and junior high schools in New Providence, January 10, 2022.

Schools visited: Uriah McPhee Primary, Claridge Primary, L.W. Young, Ridgeland Primary, Yellow Elder Primary, C.W. Sawyer Primary and Sybil Strachan Primary.

The Hon. Zane Lightbourne looks forward to students returning to face-to-face learning: “I’m also looking forward to the completion of all of these projects around our Family Islands. The work doesn’t stop here, the work continues,” he said.

The Hon. Alfred Sears said his Ministry will be in consultation with Minister Hanna-Martin regarding maintenance of schools.

“There needs to be, as the Prime Minister has directed us, preventive maintenance. We cannot wait until the physical plant is collapsing and we know that the summer period is a very short time especially when we’re dealing with years of neglect and structural challenges for many of the plants.

“We will be looking and talking to colleagues [for a] proposal for a preventive maintenance program so that we can have year-round repairs, small repairs, so that we are not faced with this very short window with major structural effects, the result of neglect,” said Minister Sears.

“I also want to thank the contractors, especially some of the contractors who came in on emergency basis and have been working over the Christmas holidays, also working 24 hours in shifts; we’ve seen within the building industry this extraordinary professionalism and excellent craftsperson-ship as we have viewed some of the projects. I’m very happy due to this collaboration that the [school physical] plants are ready under these extraordinary circumstances to meet the objective that the Cabinet set and the Minister of Education has announced.

“The physical plant was not ready in September and therefore we’ve had to redouble our efforts but we’re looking forward to improving the way we address these issues of maintaining physical infrastructure through preventive maintenance.”

Minister Sears also acknowledged the architects, engineers and quantity surveyors who have also served in many instances as project managers.

The Ministry of Education has decided that all public and private schools (including preschools and daycare facilities) may open in January 2022 on a fully virtual basis, only. The decision would be revisited in short order following a further assessment in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

 

Photo Caption: Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys HannaMartin inspects schools, January 10, 2022 in preparation for re-opening.

(BIS Photos/Eric Rose)

Bahamas News

WHO says COVID deaths THREE TIMES higher

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

May 14, 2022 – Weeks ago the world marked an awful milestone 6 million COVID-19 deaths now the WHO says the real number may be almost three times higher.

In a recent press release the organization said new estimates from its data show that the full death toll or excess mortality associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was approximately 14.9 million but might be as high as 16.6 million.

The organization explained that,  “Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years.”

Basically the excess mortality rate tells us how many people will be alive were it not for COVID. It is important to know what that figures including spikes associated with omicron are not included in this data set so the number could very well be higher.

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the organization.

South-east Asia and the Americas were the worst hit by the pandemic in terms of death toll.

WHO data shows 20 countries, containing approximately 50% of the global population, account for over 80% of the estimated global excess mortality for the January 2020 to December 2021 period.

These countries are: Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States of America (USA).

 

WHO COVID DEATHS Photo caption:  File photo in Jakarta;  at a time when there were fears about running out of space to bury its dead.

(Supplied: Arbain Rambey)

 

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Bahamas News

Two Babies die from toxic Similac, TCI Ministry of Health asks stores to pull bad batches off Shelves

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 14, 2022 – Two infants have died as a result of bad baby food, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health renewed calls to stay away from Similac and several other baby formulas.

The warning for parents over fears of contaminated baby food came in a press release on Monday and advised all local suppliers, healthcare facilities and parents to read the labels and check for a list of brands and batches.

“Discontinue the sale and/or use of certain batches of powdered infant formulas manufactured by Abbott, namely: Similac, Alimentum and EleCare.”

The products were recalled by the US Food and Drug Administration after consumers complained of illness in infants from Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport.

The TCI Health Ministry advises that the bacteria can cause rare bloodstream and central nervous system infections and has been associated with severe intestinal infection and blood poisoning, especially in newborns.

In the worse cases, two babies in the US have died.

The ministry statement said: “Consumers are advised not to use the recalled products if the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2 and has an expiration date of April 2022 or later.”

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Bahamas News

Pineapple Fest Makes Return this June         

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#TheBahamas, May 13, 2022 –  The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) is excited to announce  the return of the  Annual Pineapple Festival following a twoyear hiatus due to Covid-19.  Deemed by organisers as the “sweetest” festival in The Bahamas, the 33rd Pineapple Festival will take place 3 – 4 June  in charming Gregory Town, Eleuthera.

The annual Pineapple Festival, created in 1987 to honour pineapple farmers of Gregory Town and their contribution to the farming industry, would have marked 35 years if not for the pandemic. Agriculture heritage, in the settlement often referred to as “Pineapple City”, is the focal point of the weekend festival where locals invite visitors to indulge with them in  the naturally sweet like sugar, tropical taste of pineapples.

Festivalgoers will experience lots of food, lots of fun,  interactive games and musical entertainment  for people of all ages to enjoy. For the kids, there will be “Kids World” filled with fun games and sports to enjoy all day long.  Fierce culinary competitions, pineapple eating contest, plaiting of the pineapple pole are just a few of the activities persons can take part in at at this sweet island festival.

The two-day concert segment of the festival begins on Friday, 3 June,  and will be headlined by

Eleuthera’s very own in-house band, Team Blue Waters, with exciting performances by Ebony, Puzzle, Stileet and many more popular local performing artists. On Saturday, 4 June, the final day of the concert, musical entertainment will continue with a second performance by Team Blue Waters,  and new performances by Sweet Emily, Funky D and Cupid.

This years 33rd Pineapple Festival is sponsored by Disney Cruise Line, Aliv, Team Bluewaters,

Daddy Joe’s, The Cove Eleuthera, Kalik and The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

For more information, contact the Eleuthera Tourism Office at 242-332-2142 or visit

tourismtoday.com or bahamas.com

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