#TheBahamas, March 8, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA) is excited to announce the launch of its Freeport Business Portal, a digital platform designed to improve the ease of doing business in the city of Freeport by assisting new licensees through the GBPA business license application process.
Through the Portal, both Bahamians and foreign investors can submit the necessary documents to apply for a business license, track the process, arrange inspections, make payments and finalize their license application. Consequently, customers now have access to this critical service, 24 hours a day and seven days per week.
“The Freeport Business Portal will completely change the way licensees establish businesses here in Freeport,” stated Ian Rolle, GBPA President. “It will remove the necessity of face-to-face interactions and pivot the application process into a new digital age.
“Despite all odds, Grand Bahamians have remained resilient and innovative as we persevered in the face of challenges brought by Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19,” Mr. Rolle added. “We at GBPA believe in our sole mission of bettering the lives of Bahamians in our communities, and by extension The Bahamas, through the unique features our Island offers, and I can assure you that there is no better example than the Freeport Business Portal.”
Derek Newbold, GBPA Chief Investment Officer, noted that beta testing for the platform launch began in December 2021 and, since then, the platform has been improved for an overall better user experience. He stated, “I am elated about the official launch of the Freeport Business Portal as users will not only be able to apply for and obtain a business license completely online, but also have access to important resources and tools to effectively guide them through the process of starting a business.
Applicants will have access to detailed information on the licensing requirements for each business license category, the required documents needed to apply, and information on the overall licensing process.
Nicole Colebrooke, GBPA Customer Relations Manager, stated that the portal will help dissipate the uncertainty many persons face when starting a business and becoming entrepreneurs because the critical information they need is accessible to them at the touch of a button. “We want to encourage our customers to use this digital platform to their advantage,” said Ms. Colebrooke. “With all the necessary documents in the portal and the quick 48-hour approval processing time, the Freeport Business Portal is the perfect tool to enable us to continue to provide the needed services to entrepreneurs on a fully virtual basis as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Press Release: GBPA
COP 15 begins; Turks & Caicos delegation and objectives unknown…
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2022 – Will the Turks and Caicos be in the room when the ‘massive moment for nature’ unfurls in Montreal, Canada? There is expected to be, in the end, a deal to protect animals and their habitats.
COP15 on Biodiversity begins today, Wednesday December 7th and while it was confirmed a TCI Delegation will be attending the event there’s no word yet who is making up that delegation or the objectives for the country, at this edition of the Conference of the Parties.
The Biodiversity Conference is the third UN Conference this year pulling together a Conference of the Parties (a gathering of the supreme governing body of any international convention) the first two being COP 15 on Desertification in May and COP 27 in November.
The Biodiversity Conference is has three main objectives it is aiming to fulfil:
- the conservation of biodiversity;
- the sustainable use of its components and
- the fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The Turks and Caicos islands have taken significant initiative this year to protect its Biodiversity, becoming the first Caribbean country to join the United Kingdom’s Blue Belt Program and hosting the Turks and Caicos’ first ever Climate Change Summit and continued partnerships with the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK.
The Conference which will run until December 19th will also look at the implementation of the protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that deal with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of nature, and the safe transport, handling and labelling of Living Modified Organisms.
It is to be carried live: https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams.
COP15, like COP27 will open an avenue for funding to further biodiversity protection initiatives through negotiating with larger nations.
Photo Caption: The United Nations Biodiversity Conference’s Ceremonial Opening Day press conference. At the head table, Andersen Inger from UN Environment Programme, Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema, Huang Runqiu — COP15 chair, Steven Guilbeault — H.E Canadian Minister of Environment, and David Ainsworth, our Head of Comms. https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams
Major Tri-Lateral Meeting next as TCI Nat’l Security Chairs in Bahamas for High-Level Talks
By Dana Malcolm
Security meetings in the Bahamas are well underway as the TCI delegation consisting of the Nigel Dakin, Governor and Washington Misick, Premier, who co-chair the National Security Council and several others have already had several crucial sit-downs with top leaders from The Bahamas and United Kingdom.
The mission started with sessions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where there was a meeting with Fred Mitchell, Minister and his team to discuss Border Security, Informal Settlements and the perplexing challenges in nearby Haiti; that happened on Monday morning.
Another key member of The Bahamas Cabinet, Wayne Munroe, who is the Minister of National Security and his Permanent Secretary Cheryl Darville, hosted a lunch meeting.
Before both meetings, a courtesy call was paid to Phillip Davis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister who has responsibility for Tourism, Investment and Aviation.
Magnetic Media learned that the Turks and Caicos high ranking delegation arrived in Nassau since Sunday; however by Wednesday they were successfully making key rounds including a courtesy call paid on the Governor General of The Bahamas, His Excellency, Cornelius A. Smith.
The UK Ambassador to The Bahamas was also visited; Tom Hartley is the British High Commissioner.
The Royal Bahamas Defense Force Base was next, explained the Governor on social media.
A tour of the Defense Force based located in Coral Harbour allowed the two security chiefs for TCI, to view firsthand the fleet of ships, training areas and technology used for guarding Bahamian borders.
The Defence Force has long been a direct partner as a year ago, TCI signed a Ship Rider Agreement with the RBDF which has opened the door to cross training and deployments which, among other things enables arrests in TCI waters by Turks and Caicos officers on Bahamian vessels.
This initial security agreement, in recent months has been broadened to include domestic security with the stationing of 24 members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is also expected that the Turks and Caicos national security team will meet with a US contingent for a tri-lateral caucus aimed at deepening security connections.
Included in the sizable delegation are Senior Police, the TCI Regiment and National Security Secretariat officials.
Bahamian police officers continue to be embedded in the Royal TCI Police Force, having been sworn in as Special Constables and intelligence sharing with the US is in play as well.
Aircraft from the US has been visible in the crime fighting effort, working in tandem with British Military helicopter reconnaissance right into November.
Add to this, the shocking interception of a firearms shipment from the US to the Turks and Caicos; illegal cargo which resulted, according to TCI Police and the Governor, in several arrests.
There were also sessions with the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Michael Pintard, the Leader of the Opposition. More informally, members of the TCI delegation have also had an opportunity to dialogue with proud group of professionals, a part of the Turks and Caicos diaspora living in New Providence.
$300M Nassau cruise port set to open for May 2023
By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, December 6, 2022 – The Bahamas will soon see a boost to its tourism and job market as its redeveloped $300M Nassau Cruise Port will have its “grand opening” in late May 2023.
In providing an update on the port recently, Chief Executive of the Nassau Cruise Port Mike Maura explained the port was scheduled to open earlier.
“We had looked at having it earlier in May, but King Charles decided to be coronated around May 5 or May 6, and that meant the Prime Minister would be away, and we wanted to be sure that the Prime Minister is here for that grand opening,” Maura said.
Maura noted that once the port is completed, it will be able to accommodate three Oasis class ships at the same time, along with other vessels.
“We had expected to be finished long before the last weekend of May 2023, but the pandemic has had its fun with us. Once completed, we will be able to handle comfortably three Oasis ships at the same time and three other vessels for a total of six,” he said.
The Chief Executive noted that the port’s passenger capacity will also increase as the port will be able to host 13, 000 more passengers per day from the 20,000 passengers it could previously host.
The Nassau Cruise Port is expected to have welcomed about 3.2 million passengers by year’s end, and in 2023 that number is expected to increase to approximately four million and 4.5 million in 2024.
The cruise port is also expected to provide hundreds of jobs for Bahamians through businesses and facilities that will be operating at the site.
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