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GBPA at SeaTrade Cruise Global 2022: “Grand Bahama Island is Open for Business”

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#TheBahamas, May 13, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and Invest Grand Bahama (IGB) were pleased to exhibit at the SeaTrade Cruise Global annual conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center late last month, heralding their message amongst the hundreds of rival destinations that, ‘Grand Bahama Island is Open for Business’.

After a three-year absence, the highly anticipated event brought together thousands of cruise executives, decision-makers, destination representatives and leading industry brands for the first in-person gathering since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the four-day networking, promotional and education event, held April 25 to 28, GBPA officials met with industry executives to discuss current development projects, and prospects for new investments across Freeport’s diverse and multifaceted economic sectors. Reiterating Freeport’s presence and readiness for new investment, GBPA’s President Ian Rolle and Chief Investment Officer Derek Newbold spoke candidly with interested parties regarding key projects coming to Grand Bahama.

“We are entertaining prospects for new projects across several sectors, including Technology, Tourism & Hospitality, Trade & Logistics, and Real Estate development for commercial and touristic residential projects,” Mr. Rolle explained. “Freeport is ready and open for business.

“As we awaited the resurgence of the global cruise industry, our executives worked to position Freeport positively for new opportunities,” Mr. Rolle continued. “Freeport is already gaining traction and, by capitalizing on our strategic location, investor-friendly environment, and ease of doing business policies, these efforts are bearing fruit. With the recent ground-breaking for Carnival’s newest and largest cruise port and the soon anticipated announcements for the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the existing cruise port at Freeport Harbour, Grand Bahama continues to attract the attention of globally recognized brands expressing keen interest in establishing a presence in Freeport, and we are ready to welcome them,” Rolle added.

SeaTrade Cruise Global is an iconic industry event and focal meeting point where stakeholders across every gamut of the cruise and hospitality sectors convene for networking and promotions to keep pace with cutting-edge industry advancements.

According to Derek Newbold, it was important for stakeholders to gather to discuss new improvements, address pain points and highlight industry innovations that affect or impact consumers at every level.  “Grand Bahama’s presence at this year’s event was critical,” he expressed. “Post-Dorian and COVID , it is essential that key market representatives are aware that Grand Bahama is rebounding at a significant pace and that we are open for business.”

Among GBPA’s primary objectives was to promote the very best of Grand Bahama for leisure, lifestyle and investments. “With the support of our partners Pelican Bay Hotel, Grand Bahama Nature Tours, Margaritaville at Sea and several others, Grand Bahama and Freeport were well represented,” Newbold continued. “We met with several senior executives from the technology, real estate development, events, entertainment and value-addition sectors. We are extremely encouraged by the growing interest in Freeport and believe that GBPA’s focus and commitment to investment attraction will continue to benefit Grand Bahama over the coming months and years.”

Discussions are already underway for 2023’s SeaTrade Cruise Global event, with increased participation and collaboration between all stakeholders.

“The Bahamas is a multifaceted destination with unique experiences from island to island. We want to showcase the very best of Freeport and Grand Bahama Island and we believe that, with the feedback and input from the partners who joined us at this year’s event, we are off to an early and exciting start,” Newbold concluded.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: Promoting Grand Bahama for leisure, lifestyle and investments was a key objective during SeaTrade Cruise Global 2022.   Pictured from left to right are members of the Invest Grand Bahama event team Khambrel Ferguson – Principal, Leslie’s Trades, Della Bridgewater – Operations Manager, Pelican Bay Hotel, Denise Neely – General Manager, Grand Bahama Nature Tours, Derek Newbold – Chief Investment Officer, GBPA & Invest Grand Bahama, LaShawn Dames – Business Services Manager, GBPA and Trevor Simmons Jr. – Business Development & Marketing Officer, GBPA. Not Pictured: Ian Rolle – President, GBPA Group and Nasly Osorio – Sr. International Business Development Manager, Margaritaville at Sea.

1st insert: Team Invest Grand Bahama entertaining visitors at the Invest Grand Bahama Booth #642 during the 2022 SeaTrade Cruise Global event in Miami Beach, Florida.

2nd insert: “Freeport is ready and open for business,” stated GBPA President Ian Rolle (center). Rolle is pictured with Chief Investment Officer, Derek Newbold (right), during one of many meetings during SeaTrade Cruise Global 2022. The 4-day event took place last week at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida.

 

Release: GBPA

 

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Carbon Monoxide killed three Americans at Sandals Resort in Exuma

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TheBahamas, May 27, 2022 – It has been determined that carbon monoxide was the cause of death of the three American tourists staying at the Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas.

Autopsy and toxicology reports have been completed following the deaths of Tennessee couple Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, and Florida resident Vincent Chiarella, 64, according to the Nassau Guardian.

While The Bahamas Government has vowed to get to the bottom of what happened and what led to this poisoning, Sandals Resorts is silent.

It is a peculiar situation, as both couples – the Chirarellas and Philipps were friends and were staying in separate villas on the resort property but they had all visited the local medical clinic the days before to report nausea and vomitting.

One expert says, carbon monoxide keeps you sick only when you are exposed to it without any ventilation.  He said it was normal that they’d all felt fine upon leaving their rooms, but once they returned it was a sure death trap, once they were locked in for the evening, as the killer gas is both colourless and odorless.

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Prime Minister Outlines Cost of Living Relief in National Budget

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By Lindsay Thompson (BIS)

 

#TheBahamas, May 27, 2022 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis presented his first National Budget in which he outlined key priority areas to help Bahamians cope with major cost-of-living challenges. He presented the Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

The Communication is entitled ‘Budget 2022: The Way Forward.’ “This Budget provides a foundation to strengthen our nation, to lift ourselves up, to face the future with strength and optimism,” the prime minister said.

The Budget is organized around central priorities defined in the Speech from the Throne and his government’s New Day Agenda — the first priority of which is to “help Bahamians cope with a cost-of-living crisis,” the prime minister said; “Bahamians were already struggling with high energy prices, high food prices, and expensive housing costs.”

In this vein, his government’s strategy for softening the impact of this global crisis includes: a mix of broad-based import duty reductions; increased enforcement of price controls; an increase in the minimum wage for public servants; increased social services assistance; important new support for Catastrophic Health Care; the establishment of the Universal Service Fund to make technology more accessible and affordable throughout the islands; a substantial investment in promoting home ownership, and energy reform to reduce costs, among other initiatives.

He revealed that the government sent a proposal to the Bahamas Public Service Union to increase the minimum wage with incremental increases beginning July 2022. And, that the government believes the rate of minimum wage needs to increase because of the “general erosion of spending power of ordinary Bahamians.”

“We also recognize that an important part of our tourism experience is our unique culinary products — and we need to ensure that the sector remains competitive. We have also therefore reduced the duty on food items used mostly in the restaurant and tourism sector,” the prime minister said.

Sharing the fiscal outlook for 2022/23, the prime minister said that the current budget projects a significant rebound in the Bahamian economy. “Total revenue is projected at $2,804.4 Billion, a 19.9 percent increase over the prior fiscal year when the economy was in the early stages of an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It incorporates many of our revenue enhancing strategies and outcomes such as increasing Real Property Tax collections and compliance, an improved VAT performance, based on the economic rebound and growth in other fees as a result of improved revenue administration,” he said.

Also in the budget for fiscal year 2022/23, VAT collections are estimated at $1,411.8 million, a 52.4 percent increase over the prior year budget, the prime minister noted. The prime minister also announced that his government would seek parliamentary approval for a Supplementary Budget for additional expenditure of $216.9million and capital expenditure of $34.4 million, for a total of over $251million. “

This budget provides support for the here and now, and also charts the way forward for a brighter tomorrow,” the prime minister said. (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

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Bahamas To Work With CARICOM Countries To Enhance Poultry Industry

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#TheBahamas, May 26, 2022 – Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Hon. Clay Sweeting said The Bahamas has made great strides to work with CARICOM countries to enhance The Bahamas’ poultry industry.

Minister Sweeting traveled with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Hon I. Chester Cooper, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Leonardo Lightbourne, Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) Ambassador H.E. Winston Pinnock and other top tourism officials to the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo held in Guyana from May 18-20.

The event was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center under the theme ‘Investing in Vision 25 by 2025’.

During the conference, Minister Sweeting met with several CARICOM leaders in Agriculture.  He said he felt encouraged that the region would work together to reduce its food import bill and increase food security.

“In coming to Guyana, we wanted to explore opportunities and options, meet with other countries where we can work with other CARICOM leaders who also share the same focus as The Bahamas in developing their agricultural sector. We are trying to get to the point where we reduce imports by 25 percent by 2025.  The Bahamas is a part of CARICOM and so we are committed to that and we’re looking for sectors to do that. We feel that poultry is one of the sectors that we can do that very quickly and microgreens through vertical farming,” he said.

Minister Sweeting added that many countries are merging their poultry sectors with other food items that they can export.

“As we look around, countries have done very well in the sector. We understand that Guyana is one of the countries that has done well in Agriculture especially in poultry and coconut production.  So, it seems that many countries are merging the two industries,” he said. “That’s what seems to be happening across CARICOM. For persons that are interested in investing in Agriculture, other countries are finding ways to work together to fight food insecurity together and as a unit.

“We feel both are bankable products and we are exploring opportunities to garner attraction in both of those. We were able to visit the poultry farm here in Guyana – Bounty Farms – that has done a wonderful job and produce around 25,000 chickens per day, and we are looking to do something of that sort in The Bahamas as well.  Once we create this poultry industry in The Bahamas, it would create opportunities for Bahamians, for farmers and persons who want to get involved in producing feed. So, it is a full circle industry where thousands of Bahamians could benefit.”

Minister Sweeting noted that countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana are eager to assist The Bahamas.

“What is very interesting and exciting is that the Ministers from Guyana and Jamaica have expressed their assistance to us as a country. If we are looking at the poultry sector, they are looking to help us in any way that they can. The comradery that we have had here over the last few days speaks to what we want to do as a CARICOM country and how our deficiencies could assist them and where they have deficiencies, we can work together. The minister of tourism met with other ministers of tourism and offered them some advice on how they can work with their tourism product and where we lack in agriculture they can assist in that manner as well,” he said.

Minister Sweeting said the government will work towards changing policies to encourage chicken production.

“Chicken is something that we can produce very quickly once we have the right policy in place to protect the farmers, the producers and processors and create an industry. A chicken from egg to adult is very minimal time. We want to be very aggressive with this and as soon as we can create a proper policy in this sector, we want to make it happen,” he said.

 

Release: Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources

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