By: Robyn Adderley
Bahamas Information Services
#TheBahamas, April 21, 2022 – Approximately 50 vendors received the Emergency Vendor Relief Grant on Friday, April 8, 2022 — distributed on the first floor of the Harold DeGregory Building, where the Ministry for Grand Bahama is housed.
The Hon. Ginger Moxey, Minister for Grand Bahama said that when the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper visited Grand Bahama in late March, they were having meetings with potential buyers of the Grand Lucayan.
“We decided to go over to the Port Lucaya Marketplace to visit some of the vendors and to really hear their concerns and see how we could address some of their issues. Immediately we discovered, and it was a cruise ship day and there were no customers.
The Minister further stated that they were looking at ways to possibly bring relief.
It was a Monday, and the following day, they were able to take information to Cabinet requesting immediate relief to not only those vendors, but others as well.
“Today is the beginning of the fulfillment of that and it’ll continue on, as we are still waiting to get all of the information from the various vendors.”
Vendors are required to submit the relevant documents before their cheques are processed.
During phase one, 50 vendors received, out of approximately 380.
“Since then,” she said, “we’ve had additional cruise passengers coming in that we were able to get into Port Lucaya Marketplace to support those vendors. We are also looking at the beach access and giving the visitors a better experience. “When the visitors come to that area, the Port Lucaya vendors will then benefit.”
- Receiving Assistance – Approximately 50 vendors were recipients of the Emergency Vendor Relief Grant Distribution. This came on the heels of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation, the Hon. I. Chester Cooper and Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, touring the Port Lucaya Marketplace on Monday, March 21, and even though there were cruise ships in port, there were no visitors there.
- Making it Better – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, on Friday, April 8 shared that about 50 vendors were the recipients of the Emergency Vendor Relief Grant Distribution. Cheques were distributed at the Ministry for Grand Bahama after vendors submitted the necessary information.
(BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
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