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NEMA hosts CERT Training for residents of Baillou Hill Estates



By: Matt Maura

Bahamas Information Services


#TheBahamas, March 21, 2022 –  The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) kicked off its five-day Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training Programme for residents of the Baillou Hill Estates community, Monday, at Chapel on the Hill Church Hall.

The training is a partnership between NEMA and the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association and is part of NEMA’s resolve to build capacity within individual and collective communities across The Bahamas. Participants also included personnel from the Office of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, in addition to NEMA’s In-house staff.

Conducted by members of NEMA’s Training Department, led by Training Coordinator Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, CERT Training allows participants to “do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of persons” in respective communities across the archipelago in the event of an emergency or disastrous event.

Participants are schooled in basic emergency response training and preparation that allows them to function effectively in the event of an emergency or disaster within their communities until professional First Responders arrive on the scene. The CERTs will also be able to provide First Responders with any critical information needed to expedite their intervention.

(Instructors for the training include: Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows (Royal Bahamas Defence Force, attached to NEMA), Petty Officer Kenrio Ingraham (Royal Bahamas Defence Force, attached to NEMA); Leading Woman Karia R. Smith (Royal Bahamas Defence Force, attached to NEMA), Wendell Rigby, Reno Williams, Darrell Wright and Frederick Johnson.)

“The training will cover everything from CERT organization to disaster preparedness, medical operations – for example, how to assist with putting a splint on someone if they have a fracture; how to identify the difference between a fracture and a sprain; how to identify whether someone has a spinal injury and how to move them or how not to move them, what techniques you can use to move injured persons from Point A to Point B,” NEMA’s Training Coordinator, Mrs. Lisa Bowleg said.

“We also have scheduled training exercises in Light Search and Rescue, Fire Fighting and Fire Safety, along with a component that is called Disaster Psychology, so that we not only teach our participants how to physically address what is going on, but also mentally and emotionally address what is going on.”

Monday’s training session kicked off with a Tower Building exercise that was designed to build team spirit and camaraderie amongst the participants.

“The idea behind this activity is to help participants to bond, to work as a team, to learn to trust each other — three key components with any rescue or mission,” Mrs. Bowleg said. “The most successful teams are the ones that bond, that act as one body, and where each member feels that he/she is a part of the team. So this morning we began with the Tower Building Exercise, where we split participants into three teams and each team was responsible of constructing a tower, five-feet tall and with the capability to stand on its own.

“The exercise forces the groups to act as teams and to work in unison in order to be successful. Over the course of the next five days, the participants will remain in those three groups in order to continue the team-building, the bonding, and will learn how to work in unison, how to recognize the leaders in those teams, how to follow instructions, how to bond.”

Mrs. Bowleg said the significance of establishing CERTs throughout communities goes far beyond managing hurricanes.

“We are mandated to prepare our citizens, our communities, for all emergencies and/or disastrous events — not just hurricanes. It can be a house fire, an explosion, some violence that may have occurred within the community. The CERT teams will be trained on how to identify, how to document, how to report and where and when necessary how to respond so that when the professional First Responders arrive, they will be able to update them as to what has occurred. We do not encourage anybody to run into danger,” Mrs. Bowleg added.


Photo Captions:

Header: Mrs. Lisa Bowleg (at right), Training Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows (Royal Bahamas Defence Force attached to NEMA), and Leading Woman Karia R. Smith, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, prior to Monday’s start of NEMA’s five-day Basic CERT Training Programme underway at Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.

1st insert: Instructor, Petty Officer Kenrio Ingraham (Royal Bahamas Defence Force attached to NEMA) with four of the 20 participants on hand for Monday’s opening of the National Emergency Management Agency’s five-day Basic CERT Training Workshop underway at Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.

2nd insert: CERT participants during the Tower Building Exercise that promotes unity among other tangible benefits during Monday’s opening.

(BIS Photo/Matt Maura)

Bahamas News




#TheBahamas, May 21, 2024 – On Wednesday, May 15, the Department effectively executed the repatriation of a group of illegal migrants from the Lynden Pindling International Airport, New Providence to Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

At approximately 9:11 a.m., a Bahamasair chartered flight departed New Providence en route to Haiti with one hundred twenty-four (124) Haitian nationals onboard; a hundred and eight (108) adult males, thirteen (13) adult females and three (3) minors. The Department’s Deportation and Enforcement Units led the escort.

All security and health protocols were observed as the safety and welfare of our officers, law enforcement counterparts and migrants remain the highest priority.

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Bahamas News

Introducing The Bahamas Cannabis Authority; Marijuana Bill tabled by Darville



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – A medical marijuana industry is set for establishment in The Bahamas, following the tabling of the Cannabis Bill, 2024, in the House of Assembly, by Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Dr Michael Darville, May 15.

The Minister said objective of legislation is to set up a framework to establish The Bahamas Cannabis Authority, and to regulate the of importation, exportation, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, producing, sale, possession, distribution, and use of cannabis.

He told the Assembly that the law represents a thoughtful and balanced approach and was driven by a duty to act as he referenced the number of Bahamians who are battling cancer and in need of alternative treatments for pain management and other related issues.

“The legislative package, the Cannabis Bill, 2024 is designed to introduce a controlled system of cannabis use in medical treatments. The bill establishes the Bahamas Cannabis Authority.  A regulatory body overseeing all aspects of cannabis management and cultivation and distribution.  The authority’s mandate is to ensure that cannabis production and use are safe, controlled and effectively integrated into our health care system,” Minister Darville said.

Adding that the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that he also tabled, reclassifies cannabis by removing it from the dangerous drug list, now recognises its potential for medical use, he said the change aligns “our nations laws” with evolving global perspectives on cannabis.

The new law makes provisions for the licensing of cannabis handlers across various aspects of The Bahamas, and Dr. Darville said the licensing is structured to prioritise Bahamian ownership, with provisions ensuring that significant control remains in the hands of Bahamian nationals, fostering local entrepreneurship and economic benefits “for Bahamians across the country.

“We are here to make a difference, to enact change, remove years of stigma and transform lives by offering alternative treatments by way of medical cannabis.  The legislation before us offers a careful, considerate approach ensuring that we prioritize the wellbeing and safety of our citizens. Let us move with compassion,” he said.

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Bahamas News

Pinder announces Trial by Judge Alone, New Courts, Harsher Penalties in Judicial Reform legislative Package



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – The Bahamian Government has moved to open new courts, increase penalties for serious and violent crimes, as part of its reform of the judiciary to create efficiency in the system, and gang reduction efforts.

Outlining the administration’s legislative agenda on crime reduction, and judicial reform, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator, the Hon. Ryan Pinder said in the coming months there will be the opening of the juvenile and family courts allowing “us to bring on new judges for criminal and civil matters.

“We also anticipate establishing this year a commercial court that will be focused on hearing commercial disputes to ensure that the pace of business is not impaired by delays in trials,” the Minister said while addressing the Senate on May 15.

He was presenting the second reading of the Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024 and The Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which allows for the Supreme Court (Criminal Case Management) (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

Senator Pinder said the bills are in line with the commitment of this Government to ensure that the necessary laws are in place to facilitate the “timely and effective” administration of justice.

Stressing that the administration have been working hard this legislative session to put in place the improvements in law to address the judicial system as well as the treatment of bail for an accused, and ensuring stiff penalties for major criminal violations, he said  the Government have passed a series of legislation to facilitate trials and prosecution of criminals.

“I would suggest that we have done more on the legislative front than any former administration to address crime, and we are not done.”

“The Magistrates (Amendment) Bill increased the financial thresholds of the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to hear certain matters and adjusted the maximum penalties. The broadening of the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court is intended to rebalance cases between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court in order to relieve the volume of minor disputes from the calendar of the Supreme Court,” he said.

For the magistrate’s court, he said, it is many instances the primary court for many civil and criminal cases, and especially in civil matters operating more of a small claims court, and the jurisdictional limits increased had not been adjusted in many years, and the operation of society has outpaced their limits.

The Court Services Bill empowers the judiciary to operate autonomously from an administrative point of view, by taking away oversight by central Government, thereby removing the bottleneck caused by the current system and providing further judicial independence.

For the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, it increases the maximum number of Supreme Court judges from 20 to 25, increasing the capacity to conduct trials in the Supreme Court by 25%.

“It is the Government’s intention that this not only contribute significantly to concluding the backlog of cases but will also give the Chief Justice the flexibility he requires to better allocated judges through the courts,” the Minister said.

The Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024, to grant a right of election to persons charged with indictable offences in the Supreme Court to be tried by a Judge alone.

“We believe this is a positive legislative reform to provide yet more support for timely trials in criminal matters,” the Minister said.

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