By: Robyn Adderley
Bahamas Information Services
#TheBahamas, April 15, 2022 – Residents of Eight Mile Rock were out in full force to take advantage of the second day of the Housing Expo hosted by the Ministry of Transport and Housing, which was launched in Freeport on Friday 8th April, 2022.
Acting Chief Housing Officer, Oral LaFleur said, “We are here today to give the people of West Grand Bahama the opportunity to own an affordable home. The Minister is excited about building in Grand Bahama and she asked that we come down and conduct an Open House Expo so that people will have the opportunity to apply and get excited about owning their own homes.”
According to LaFleur, the lot and home packages are in two areas: West Heights where there are 36 lots and the second area, Pine Forest, which has eight lots. Both areas are ready for immediate construction.
Eight Mile Rock residents, Blair and Joanne Morris, attended the housing fair: Mr. Morris said it was good to see such an event in the west. The event, he said, presented the opportunity on a Saturday for them to speak with representatives of financial institutions, insurance companies, but in particular the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation. He explained that they had already started construction on their first home, and needed assistance with completing it. Attending the Fair gave them the opportunity to see how they could fulfill their dream of home ownership.
During the official launch the day before, Minister of Housing, the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis said the Ministry of Transport and Housing is on a mission to expand the path to home ownership.
“In our Blueprint for Change, the Davis Administration made a commitment to deepen the path to home ownership for Bahamians,” said Minister Coleby-Davis.
Housing Officials were pleased with the interest expressed by residents during the second day of the Expo, as approximately 100 people attended.
DISCUSSING OPTIONS – Blair and Joanne Morris are seen discussing their options during the Housing Expo held in West Grand Bahama recently. The two-day event was officially launched in Freeport on Friday, April 8. (BIS Photo/Robyn Adderley)
GETTING INFORMATION – A number of residents gathered on Saturday in West Grand Bahama for the Housing Expo to find out what packages are available and what they qualify for. (BIS Photo/Robyn Adderley)
WAITING IN LINE – The Housing Expo in West Grand Bahama on Saturday, April 9 was deemed a success by Acting Chief Housing Officer, Oral LaFleur as some 100 residents gathered to get information on the housing packages available. (BIS Photo/Robyn Adderley)
ASSISTING RESIDENTS – Staff of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation assisted interested residents during the Housing Expo hosted by the Ministry of Transport and Housing in West Grand Bahama on Saturday, April 9. (BIS Photo/Robyn Adderley)
ANSWERING QUESTIONS – Acting Chief Housing Officer, Oral LaFleur (at right), is seen speaking with some of the residents who attended the Housing Expo on Saturday, April 9 in West Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Robyn Adderley)
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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