Connect with us

Bahamas News

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

Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean  leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.

According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues.  Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.

Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”

The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

PM Davis ‘confident’ that Revenue Outturn will near $2.9 billion




Bahamas Information Services



#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 30, 2023 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said in the House of Assembly, on May 31, 2023, that public revenue receipts were strong over the nine-month period of July 2022 to March 2023, due to legislative reform, effective policy decisions, strengthened economic conditions and more efficient collection efforts.

“Analysis of the trends of the first three quarters of this fiscal year, and the years prior, suggest that the government is potentially set to exceed the $2.85 billion target set forth in the February 2023 Mid-year Supplementary Budget,” he said, during his Communication on Budget 2023.

“I am confident the revenue outturn at the end of the Fiscal Year 22/23 will near $2.9 billion.

Public spending has remained on track, and is well within the budgeted amount,” Prime Minister Davis added.  “For this reason I am confident that expenditure at end of the Fiscal Year 2022/23 will almost reach the target of $3.1 billion set in the Supplementary Budget.”

He pointed out that the primary balance will, therefore, record a surplus of $68.4 million at the end of the fiscal year, a $54.8 million increase from the $13.6 million surplus projected in the supplementary budget.

“Likewise, the overall deficit is expected to improve to $520.6 million, down from the $575.4 million outlined in the supplementary budget,” he said.

Speaking of Government financing, Prime Minister Davis said that The Bahamas’ borrowing costs had begun to experience a downward trend in the previous quarter; but the cost of borrowing rose at the end of March 2023.

“At the end of the third quarter, the total average cost of borrowing for current outstanding debt had risen to an interest rate of 5.55 percent,” he pointed out.  “This is notably higher than the previous year’s rate of 4.93 percent at the end of March 2022.

“This increase in borrowing costs is primarily attributable to the higher costs associated with external loan facilities.”

He added that, more specifically, the average interest rate for external financing had risen by 1.99 basis points, resulting in a rate of 5.55 percent as of March 2023, compared to the preceding year’s 3.56 percent.

“Throughout the past year, the interest rate policies of the major Central Banks have been restrictive, with a series of interest rate increases,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “These adjustments have been primarily motivated by the escalation of inflation, and the resulting upsurge in interest rates has had an impact on the Bahamas’ external borrowing costs.”

He added: “However, the cost of borrowing in the domestic market has been declining over the past quarters.

Looking at it in more detail, we can see that:

  • The average interest cost for domestic loans subsided by 27 basis points to 4.62 percent at end of March 2023, from 4.89 percent in the previous year;
  • And the average interest cost for domestic bonds subsided by 3 basis points to 4.63 percent at the end of March 2023 from 4.66 percent in the previous year.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that those statistics affirmed the Government’s latest medium-term debt strategy, which aimed to shift its borrowing away from costly external commercial debt.

“Such debt has seen a sharp increase over the past five years, including recent interest rate hikes,” he said.  “This strategic move will enable the government to once again rely predominantly on the domestic market to meet its financing requirements.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, when considering the maturity of debt, or the average time it takes to repay the principal amount in the government’s debt portfolio, a longer maturity period led to a reduction in refinancing risk.

“In essence, prioritizing longer maturities is key to managing debt effectively,” he said.  “And so another element of the government’s medium-term debt management strategy is the goal of prolonging the average maturity time of its debt.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, in the face of “unprecedented turbulence” in the global financial markets, the Government was able to maintain its average time to maturity.

“At end of March 2023, the average time to maturity has decreased slightly to 6.7 years, down from the previous 6.8 years in March 2022,” he said.  “This variance is due solely to the external loan component, as the average time to maturity on internal debt has remained steady at 7.1 years.”

“This highlights the significance of maintaining a prudent approach to debt management, and aligning this administration’s practices with the government’s optimal debt strategy,” Prime Minister Davis added.

“It is imperative that we continue to exercise prudence in this area to ensure financial stability.”

(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

Continue Reading

Bahamas News

PM states HCA model not working during budget debate




Bahamas Information Services



#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, May 30, 2023 – The model of the Hawkbill Creek Act, the agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, is not working, said Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis during the opening of the 2023 Budget Debate on Wednesday, May 31 in the House of Assembly.

The island of Grand Bahama, he said, contributes 12 percent of the country’s GDP, however, there was a decline by 9 percent when compared to the previous year. Tourism, he said, increased in 2022 showing a growth in accommodation and food service.

“Unfortunately, the statistics show a prolonged decline in the Grand Bahamian economy. The evidence confirms the view of my government that the Hawksbill Creek economic model, which was meant to attract foreign direct investment, does not work.

“Furthermore, in our view, the government model of the Grand Bahama Port Authority must change, in order to realize the promise, growth and prosperity we all desire.

“Additionally, the Government of The Bahamas has serious concerns regarding the compliance of the GBPA and its related companies with the terms and conditions of the Hawksbill Creek Act, and its subsequent amendments.”

In the past, said the Prime Minister, administrations have attempted to address the issues however they appear to be “systemic and fundamental.” Decisive action will be taken, he continued, and a separate detailed announcement will be made at another time.

Prime Minister Davis mentioned that even though the GDP for several islands has experienced growth, Abaco and Grand Bahama have not done as well. Abaco, he said, saw a decline of 6 percent in 2022 with its contribution to the economy at 2.8 percent ranking the island as the third largest contributor.

“While there was a slight improvement in Abaco’s economy compared to 2019, it has yet to reach the levels seen before Hurricane Dorian. The decline in the economic activity is directly related to the slowdown in the real estate and construction sectors.”

He continued, “Declines in the real estate sector are directly as a result of a shift to higher intermediate consumption in 2022 from that of the previous two years. In terms of declines in construction, it should be noted that in 2020 and 2021, Abaco experienced significant recovery efforts in the form of debris removal, site preparation and building of damaged structures.

Such efforts bolstered the value added to the island’s GDP during those years. As those efforts wrap up, the industry saw a gradual decline as construction tempered to normal levels in 2022, resulting in a lower GDP.
Additionally, the Prime Minister said the Grand Bahama International Airport will be repaired, and a new healthcare facility will be built. Provisions have also been made for the continuation of an employment program for $4.7 million, along with the construction of a 50-meter swimming pool facility.

The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday, June 7, when the debate will continue.

(BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)

Continue Reading