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Prime Minister Outlines Cost of Living Relief in National Budget

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By: Lindsay Thompson

Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, May 26, 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.

March to House of Assembly for FY2022-2023 Budget

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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Teen girl denies rape in PMH Bathroom says Nat’l Security Minister

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TheBahamas, June 30, 2022 – The 14 year old girl, said to have been allegedly sexually assaulted at the Princess Margaret Hospital, in the restroom is now denying the claim.  The teenager, in media reports about the  investigation launched over the weekend denies that she was raped and that she engaged in sexual activity at the hospital.

The National Security Minister, Wayne Munroe in updating an outraged nation on the matter said he received a recent briefing from police on the matter saying that the “mother made a complaint to police with a view to saying her daughter may be engaging in sexual relations with a boyfriend.”

The briefing continued: “Whether it’s voluntary or not, that’s a crime. And so police took her to the hospital for checking. She tested positive for COVID. She was detained for COVID. And during the course of that detention, a janitor at the hospital made a report about her and a 52-year-old patient. The young child was discharged, the report was made to the police; they investigated.”

Both the young girl and the 52-year-old patient deny what the janitor reports. On Saturday, social media released the reported rape and the news spread like wildfire.

Following it was a statement from the Public Hospitals Authority, that the matter was turned over to the Royal Bahamas Police for investigation.

Minister Munroe, advised that “the police continue to investigate.”

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Flow TCI signs Three Year Deal with Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation ZNS added to Flow TV Channel Line Up

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#TurksandCaicos, June 30, 2022 – Flow TCI, full-service communications and entertainment provider, has announced a three-year partnership with the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB), enabling Flow customers to bring the popular channel ZNS to their Flow TV channel line-up starting in July 2022.

Flow TCI Country Manager, Joanne Missick, stated: “As a nation and a company that holds close ties and history with the people of the Bahamas, this agreement further strengthens our connection to our sister country and helps viewers and residents in the TCI to stay connected to these roots as well. We express our gratitude to the team from BCB and ZNS and look forward to an exciting partnership as we aim to deliver fresh, relevant content to our Flow TV customers.”

Flow TCI and BCB previously joined forces in February 2022 to live stream the program ‘Direct Talk’ with hosts David Wallace and co-host, Editor in Chief of Magnetic Media, Deandrea Hamilton, from the Crackpot Kitchen in Providenciales. The show featured guests such as Flow Country Manager, Joanne Missick, well-known local chef & owner of ‘Crackpot Kitchen’, Chef Nikita Skippings, current and former members of TCI Parliament, and a selection of accomplished Bahamian and Turks & Caicos Islanders.

The broadcast was powered by Flow’s latest Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) service from around Providenciales and at Mudjin Harbour in Middle Caicos.

Executive Chairman, BCB, Picewell Forbes, commented: “On behalf of the Board of Directors and the management team of the BCB, the profound pleasure is to join the team at Flow Turks and Caicos as we embark on this new journey. We celebrate today in a spirit of collegiality where the Bahamas and TCI continue to grow and cover these islands the way only we can—together.”

Acting General Manager, ZNS Bahamas, Darren Meadows added: “Thank you to the Country Manager and senior leadership team of Flow TCI for their continued partnership with BCB to take the ZNS signal to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is impetus for us to do more projects with Flow in the TCI beyond the ZNS network channel to incorporate content from both countries into programs and events.”

ZNS will launch on Flow TV on July 4 in the Flow TV Essential Package on Channel 107.

For more information on the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB) and ZNS visit znsbahamas.com

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Grand Bahama Minister invites residents to enjoy the Independence Celebrations

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By: Robyn Adderley

From: Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, June 30, 2022 – Residents and visitors alike were on Wednesday, June 29 encouraged by Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey to participate in the upcoming Independence celebrations during a press conference at the Ministry.

Being held under the theme “Proud To Be Bahamian” Minister Moxey said with this theme in mind, she thinks of the many Bahamians proudly displaying the colours of the flag while excelling in their various sporting disciplines such as NBA stars Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield, track sensations Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Ubo, professional baseball player Jazz Chisholm, along with others making contributions in the areas of music, film, visual arts, science and others.

“These proud Bahamians unapologetically represent the 242 on the global stage, and they remind me how blessed this nation called The Bahamas truly is.”

The Minister continued, “This year’s Independence Celebrations are very special for several reasons; firstly, the residents of Grand Bahama will unite as a community to give praise and thanks to God for His grace and mercy, and His continued guidance and protection, after everything this island has been through.

“Secondly, we are officially on the road to marking our nation’s 50th year of Independence, The Bahamas’ Golden Jubilee!

“For this reason, we proudly celebrate our culture and heritage, and my Ministry in conjunction with the Independence Committee will kick off Independence activities this Thursday June 30th (my birthday) at the Eight Mile Rock Fish Fry and Unity Rush Out in Sunset Village, Eight Mile Rock at 7pm.”

The four, Category (A), Junkanoo Groups participating in the rush out are The Swingers, Classic Dancers, Superstar Rockers and Platinum Knights. During the press conference, the Swingers presented Minister Moxey with a special junkanoo piece as an early birthday present.

Events are scheduled for East to West Grand Bahama, beginning Thursday with the Eight Mile Rock Fish Fry and Unity Rush Out in Sunset Village, and ending on July 11 with the return of the Pelican Point Coconut Festival in East Grand Bahama.

The public is advised that as a matter of importance, for the public’s safety, COVID-19 Protocols will be enforced at all events. Event goers are encouraged to wear their masks at all the events to ensure their safety.

“So, this is a clarion call to the public to get involved; pull out those flags, those Bahamian colors; because YES! WE PROUD TO BE A BAHAMIAN!!,” she said.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey on Wednesday, June 29 announced plans for the upcoming Independence celebrations being held under the theme, “Proud to be Bahamian.”

1st insert: Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey on Wednesday, July 29 announced plans for the upcoming Independence celebrations.  Minister Moxey is seen with the committee members.

2nd insert: Representatives from the Swingers Junkanoo Group on Wednesday, June 29 presented Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, will a special piece in recognition of her birthday on Thursday. The first Grand Bahama Independence activity will be held then at the Eight Mile Rock Fish Fry and Unity Rush Out in Sunset Village at 7pm.

 

(BIS Photos/Andrew Miller)

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