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Newest CERT Teams give ‘thumbs up’ to NEMA Training; call on other communities to ‘get on board’



By: Matt Maura

Bahamas Information Services


#TheBahamas, March 29, 2022 – Participants of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) most recent Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Programme are singing the Agency’s praises, while urging other communities “to get on board,” following the conclusion of yet another successful exercise.

The CERT Programme educates community volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area while also training those volunteers in basic disaster/emergency response skills such as fire safety and utility controls, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster/emergency medical operations.  CERT Training provides community volunteers with the skillset needed to do the greatest amount of good, for the greatest amount of persons in their communities in the shortest amount of time, until the Professional First Responders arrive, allowing those Professional First Responders to focus on more complex tasks.

Part I of the five-day CERT Training was held March 21-25 at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall. Part II of the CERT Training opened Monday (March 28) and will conclude Friday, April 1. Both sessions are facilitated by members of NEMA’s Training Department, headed by Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, Training Coordinator.

Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr

Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr., Disaster Coordination Team, the Assemblies of God in The Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, and a survivor of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, deemed the National Emergency Management Agency’s CERT Programme an “absolute hand-in-glove fit” with the Church’s overarching role of being the “Watchman” over the communities it serves.

“The training was very, very enhancing and will help us in our efforts to build resilience not only within our Fellowship, but by extension, those communities within which we have churches. The CERT Programme is an absolute hand-inglove fit to what we are trying to achieve,” Reverend Bain said.

“The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is required to be the Watchman over our cities and communities. As a Church, we are to be impacting the communities; we ought to be influencing our communities, and not just within the silo of the church, but through the kinds of efforts that will allow us to address the whole man, to address the needs of our communities. After undergoing this CERT Training, it is my belief that, by working along with NEMA and like agencies, we can expand the services we offer to the community – this time in the area of emergency/disaster assistance — and be that Light we have been called to be.”

Reverend Bain laid out this challenge to his fellow graduates.

“As we have engaged, and been partnering all week and have grown and learned all of the things that have been afforded to us by the Instructors, we must then now turn around and implement those things in our communities and understand that we have been given great power, and that we have been given even greater responsibility.

“As a disaster survivor in Hurricane Dorian, I want you to know that when I see a programme like CERT, I am encouraged that, from what we have been through, we are on the way to making our communities more resilient and if we are more resilient, we will be able to better mitigate when we have things like Dorian,” Reverend Bain added.

Miss Shaherah Adderley, President of the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association (BHEHA) and the Baillou Hill Estates Neighbourhood Watch, said the Training allows the community to “join the national efforts and broaden our country’s human capital resources in times of our greatest needs.”

“It was a rousing, thought-provoking opportunity for us and it got us to think more about topics such as climate change, and about ways to mitigate hazards,” Miss Adderley said. “We learnt some very valuable information about a widerange of subjects such as disaster preparedness, CERT organizational structure, medical operations, psychology, fire safety and utility controls, light search and rescue operations and terrorism and community emergency response teams.

“It is through opportunities like these offered by NEMA and through partnerships with organizations such as the National Neighbourhood Watch Council, that communities can bond, grow and bring about a further, positive evolution that I am certain we would all like to experience. The Training was a very informative; very wholesome, very solid and even more than I expected. I was very excited to have been a participant and has now resulted in a Baillou Hill Estates Community Emergency Response Team.

“I would encourage every person residing in this country to take part in this training; it is time that you will appreciate and you can use the skillset gained to possible help save lives,” Miss Adderley added.

Mr. Bernard Rolle, a member of the BHEHA, categorized that training as “eye opening.” He said Baillou Hill Estates is a “small, close knit” community that serves as home to first, second and third generation of families.

“The CERT training opened my eyes to a lot of things as far as the scope of lifesaving techniques made available to us,” Mr. Rolle said. “My knowledge before I came out was so limited. Now being able to understand the magnitude of the key role one can play in assisting persons in your community until the Professional First Responders arrive, especially when a disaster/emergency occurs, is gratifying.

“This is needed. Just the training/the knowledge we received alone, was amazing. Doing the greatest amount of good, for the greatest amount of persons in the shortest amount of time.”

Mrs. Benita Adderley, a Licensed Teacher and member of the Baillou Hill Estates Homeowners Association, said the training went beyond expectation.

“This course was awesome, really, really good,” Mrs. Adderley said. “I loved the fact that they facilitated both theoretical and practical components so that all of the theory, the principles, and the concepts they were trying to impart, we were able to actually put that into practice and that was really good because it brought it all to life for us as participants.

“This is going to help us significantly as a community. I urge other communities to get on board. This is awesome; you will not regret it. The Instructors are really, really good and have a wealth of knowledge; they are fun to work with because they are interactive and they try to make it fun; they give you real life scenarios so that you see and you feel everything that is happening so I would say it is an awesome, awesome, experience and the training is an asset. Other communities really, really, need to get on board and become CERT Communities,” Mrs. Benita Adderley added.


Photo Captions: 

Header: Nine members of the Baillou Hill Estate Homeowners Association were among the most recent graduating class of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training that concluded Friday (March 25) at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.  Seated (from left) are: Instructor, Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows; Captain Stephen Russell, Director, National Emergency Management Agency; Permanent Secretary Carl F. Smith, Office of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction; Mrs. Lisa Bowleg, Training Coordinator, NEMA, and Mr. Wendell Rigby (Instructor). Standing (first row left) are Instructors Reno Williams, Petty Officer Kenrio Ingraham, and Leading Woman Marine Karia R. Smith (first row standing at far right).

Insert: Reverend Clyde Bain, Jr., Disaster Coordination Team, the Assemblies of God in The Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands and a Hurricane Dorian survivor, addressing the closing ceremony of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Friday (March 25) at the Chapel on the Hill Church Hall, Tonique Williams Darling Highway.

(BIS Photo/Mark Ford)

Caribbean News





For many years, members of the visually impaired community have faced significant challenges in accessing printed information, often having to rely on others for assistance.

This lack of autonomy has hindered their ability to fully participate in various aspects of society.

However, with the recent implementation of Braille birth certificates, this long-standing barrier is being removed, paving the way for a more inclusive landscape where individuals with visual impairments can navigate their own journeys with greater independence and confidence.

On May 1, 2024, Executive Director at the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB), Conrad Harris, was the first person to receive a copy of the freshly printed Braille document.

He expresses his elation to JIS News, describing it as a “great experience” to have a document in a format that he can easily read.

“One of the issues we have from time to time is that when we have information that is in print, we may ask somebody to read it, but the person who reads it might only read the information that they think is important and not necessarily everything in the document,” Mr. Harris explains.

This, of course, is no longer the case, as “having a Braille certificate means that I am able to go through it myself. I can easily check the spellings of names and places, which I might not be easily able to do with something that is in print,” he said.

The Braille certificate also provides an opportunity for the document to be easily identified and separated from others.

“If you need it for a particular reason, you can easily separate it from the other documents that you have versus probably having to ask somebody to look through or using some kind of technology to scan the information, which would take a little bit longer,” the Executive Director says.

Additionally, this initiative will provide an added sense of security as there are those people who generally want to keep their personal information private.

Designed in collaboration with several key stakeholders, including the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), these Braille certificates are meticulously crafted to ensure that every detail is conveyed with precision and elegance.

Each certificate, according to the Department’s former Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Keeper of Records, Charlton McFarlane, features embossed Braille text, allowing recipients to tangibly experience the pride that comes with being able to read the information for themselves.

He further shared details on why the initiative was undertaken in the first place, during an interview with JIS News.

Mr. McFarlane said that while participating in the first post-COVID Civil Registration Conference for Latin America and Caribbean countries, held in the Dominican Republic in 2022, using civil registration as the basis for inclusivity was key among the topics discussed.

“We looked at some case studies and the one that stood out to me was for a State in Mexico that offered birth certificates and other vital documents in Braille,” he said.

He even went as far back as 2008 when he was serving as a Director within the Ministry of Health.

During that time “we collaborated with members from the disabled community to produce health education material in Braille. So, with that experience, knowing what it had done and then with what I saw happening in Mexico, I got the idea that we could really produce all vital documents in Braille”.

Before embarking on the initiative, he acknowledged that he did, in fact, reach out to members of the JSB, the Combined Disabilities Association and the Jamaica Counsel for Persons with Disabilities.

“I don’t like to waste time and resources, so I reached out to them first,” Mr. McFarlane said, adding that “once I received a resounding yes, details on how to produce the certificates were shared.

“One of the things we [had to take into consideration] was having two separate documents (one with the standard print and the other in Braille), because the Braille is bulky when printed,” he noted.

This posed another challenge as not many business entities would accept the braille copy due to their inability to read the Braille text.

However, as the consultations went on, a decision was made to have the two documents intertwined into one.

“Right now, how it’s done, is the material is printed and then the Braille is embossed over it,” the former CEO said.

The introduction of Braille certificates is not just a symbolic gesture, it represents a tangible commitment that “the Government is absolutely very, very serious about inclusion for every single citizen, regardless of the level of vulnerability that may exist,” Mr. McFarlane added.

This certificate, he added, is not only for members of the visually impaired community but for all persons who would like to have their birth certificates in both print and Braille formats on one document.




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Caribbean News

Turks and Caicos Retains Championship at 28th Annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament



Please note:

Photos by TCI Sports Commission

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – In an historic showing, the Turks and Caicos Islands Golf Association (TCIGA) dominated the 28th annual Caribbean Classic Golf Tournament, held in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, from April 25th to 27th, 2024. The victory marks a turning point for TCI golf, and much of the credit goes to the exceptional team of players assembled by Sean Wilson the Head Professional at the Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Course.

56 golfers, playing under the banner of the TCIGA were rewarded for their enthusiastic participation across both the Men’s and Women’s divisions.

“This back-to-back win is an indication of the growing interest and increased participation in the sport of golf in TCI,” stated TCIGA President Fraser Dods.

“We’ve been competing at this tournament since its inception almost 30 years ago, and finally bringing home the George Noon Cup two years in a row is a truly proud moment for Turks and Caicos golf.”

Clean Sweep for Team TCI

The team’s success was based on strong and determined performances in every flight and category.

The Turks and Caicos men’s team secured the Robert Grell Trophy, while the ladies claimed the Jodi Munn Barrow Trophy.

This clean sweep across all team divisions highlights the growing depth and talent within the TCI Golf Association membership.

The “Classic”organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, brings together golfers from the twelve membercountries of the CGA. The Caribbean Classic is an individual and team event, competed for by teams of unlimited number of players from each participating member country, playing eighteen holes of golf each , over 3 days.

Team Turks and Caicos amassed the most points overall and won the George Noon Cup last year, for the first time in 27 years of competing at this event. To repeat as champs is a proud moment for TCI sports in general and for TCI Golf specifically.

Individual Accolades Abound

Beyond the team triumphs, individual golfers from TCI shone brightly. Female players, namely Wendy Ayer, Christine Dickenson, Tazmaraa Gowans, and Andrea Todd, all secured podium finishes in their respective divisions

The men’s side also saw impressive performances from Justin Simons, Mark Fulford, Arthur Lightbourne, Mervin Cox, and Simon Dobbs. Their individual excellence contributed significantly to the overall team victory.

Looking Ahead: Building on Success

TCI Director of Sports Jarrett Forbes is optimistic about the future. “This win exemplifies the immense potential of golf in the Turks and Caicos,” he stated. “We encourage young islanders to take up this fantastic sport.”

Head Golf Professional at Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club, Sean Wilson, echoed the sentiment. “This is a monumental achievement for TCI golf,” he said. “Bringing home trophies in all three divisions is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the TCIGA and its players.”

The Caribbean Classic second victory creates a new legacy for golf in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The TCIGA is administrated by a golf-loving volunteer executive comprised of Fraser Dods, Mark Fulford (VP), Denise Douglas (Secretary), Paul Murray (Treasurer), Andrea Todd and Roberto Stipa.Through their collective efforts, and the growing participation of TCI golfers, the future looks bright for this sport in the region.

The Caribbean Classic is one of the highlights of the Caribbean Golf calendar. Organized by the Caribbean Golf Association, it allows participation of amateurs from 12 countries, including the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Martinique, St Lucia, and USVI.”




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Caribbean News




PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (May 3rd, 2024) The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Grace Bay Beach has once again been recognised among the top beaches in the world.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches has listed Grace Bay Beach among the top beaches in the world.

Grace Bay Beach, located on the island of Providenciales was listed at number 17 on the annual list.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches list, sponsored by Banana Boat, is a collaboration with over 1,000 of the world’s leading travel influencers and professionals.

The World’s 50 Best Beaches 2024 is a reflection of the opinions and experiences of top travel influencers and professionals around the world. The beaches were ranked according to eight important criteria: unique characteristics, wildlife, untouched, soundtrack of nature, easy to enter the water, often calm water, not too crowded and frequency of idyllic conditions.

Grace Bay Beach also featured among the top 20 in the 2023 World’s 50 Best Beaches list.

This is the latest accolade for Grace Bay Beach this year. Known for its powdery white sand and breathtakingly turquoise blue water, the famous beach was adjudged the number one Caribbean beach in February in Tripadvisor’s® Travelers’ Choice® Awards and Best of the Best for 2024, ranking number five among the Top 25 Best of the Best Beaches in the world.

In January 2024, Grace Bay was recognised as the #9 Best Beach in the Caribbean in the 10Best Reader’s Choice with Bambarra Beach in Middle Caicos ranked at #2.

Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly said she is proud of the continued recognition of the leading beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“As a destination that prioritises sustainable development and environmental preservation, the fact that Grace Bay Beach features consistently as one of the top beaches in the world stands as a testament to our commitment to stay “Beautiful by Nature”. I urge visitors to come to the Turks and Caicos Islands to experience this and many other of our beautiful beaches across the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the Minister.

Tine Holst, Co-Founder of The World’s 50 Best Beaches, said the list is meant to inspire travellers.

She said: “Our 2024 list is a reflection of the countless days spent by our judges, Beach Ambassadors and World’s 50 Best team discovering beaches around the world. The list will help inspire travelers to leave the beaten path behind and enjoy the most stunning and relaxing beaches on earth”.

Read World’s 50 Best Beaches description of Grace Bay Beach here.


About the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands is made up of two groups of islands in the Lucayan Archipelago: The larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, thus the name. It is home to the best beaches in the world with majestic white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Each island and cay are a destination of its own. Providenciales is home to world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, luxury hotels, resorts, villas, spas and restaurants. Grand Turk is ‘home away from home’ for our cruise passengers, and our sister islands are the gateway to nature, exploration, and culture. Considered the world’s best-kept secret, TCI is an effortless escape – with an ease of connectivity through direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


CONTACT: Laura Dowrich  Email:




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