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Agriculture Ministry to create Cultivation Centre food production hub

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By: Betty Vedrine

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, June 14, 2022 – With the pressing issue of food sustainability being a top priority for the government, the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs (MOAMRFIA), is aggressively pursuing avenues to bring this objective to fruition. To this end, a partnership has been formed with Volcani International Partnerships (VIP), to launch a Cultivation Centre hub for  agricultural production in the country.

The ‘Cultivation Centre’ is designed to promote greater interaction between technocrats and farmers, and will modernize food and agriculture systems in the country.  It will comprise a produce exchange, a fish and farm store, and food processing kitchens.

The announcement was made during a press conference held on Monday, 13th June at the Ministry’s headquarters on East Bay Street. VIP is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works with local partners to bring Israel’s leading agricultural experts and innovations to enhance global food security and economic prosperity. The objective of the $3 million initiative will be to pinpoint challenges and find solutions to accelerate the country’s food systems.

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting said that many countries around the world have tapped into Volcani’s expertise.

“As you may know, many countries around the world, have benefited greatly from Volcani’s vast expertise in innovative food production strategies,” he said. “Experts from Volcani have successfully assisted Israel to become one of the world’s leading agricultural centers; and just recently, Africa-based RELEAF and VIP (USA) together announced a letter of understanding which should address African food security challenges with the assistance of Israeli expertise and experience.”

Mr. Sweeting said that VIP is here to share advisory services through innovative soil testing and other technological advances. A team will travel to several islands with Ministry officials to produce a comprehensive report, which the government will use to develop best practices for heightened food production.

The team includes: Dr. Zvi Ron, agricultural economist and technical team leader; Prof. Sheenan Harpaz, an expert in aquaculture, fish nutrition and production; Mr. URI Adler, an expert in horticultural production in greenhouses, shade houses, hydroponics and organic agriculture; Mr. York Zvieli, expert in pest management for horticulture production; Mr. Yair Hada, who will be advising from Israel on poultry production; and Joanne Moore, international development professional and strategic advisor.

Israeli Ambassador to the Bahamas and Mexico, Mr. Zvi Tal, who attended virtually, delivered congratulatory remarks and said that he was elated to be a part of facilitating the partnership.

Executive Director of Volcani International Partnerships (USA), Ms. Danielle Abraham, said that although Israel and the Bahamas may appear to be very different countries, both countries face similar realities in establishing a thriving agriculture sector.

“Despite what you may have heard, Israel faced great adversity in developing its agricultural sector, because just like The Bahamas, it is not a natural nor easy place to succeed,” she said. “Israel is a tiny country, two-thirds of which is desert; it has a shortage of water resources; it is situated in a difficult neighborhood, where export markets have always been further afield and when it gained independence, it faced serious food insecurity and the population had ration books.”

Yet despite these challenges, she pointed out that in a short time, Israel was able to completely transform its agricultural sector and has emerged as a global leader in agricultural innovation.

During their week-long visit to The Bahamas, the team will travel throughout New Providence, Abaco, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera to assess prospective sites for the Cultivation Centre.

 

Photo Caption: The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs is working  with Volcani International Partnerships to create a ‘Cultivation Centre’ food production hub in The Bahamas.  The announcement was made during a press conference held on Monday, 13th June at the Ministry’s headquarters on East Bay Street.  Pictured from left, during a press conference: Dr. Zvi Ron, agricultural economist and technical team leader; Professor Sheenan Harpaz, an expert in aquaculture, fish nutrition and production; Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Phaedra Rahming-Turnquest; Minister Clay Sweeting;  Ms. Danielle Abraham, Executive Director, Volcani; Mr. Uri Adler, an expert in horticultural production in greenhouses, shade houses, hydroponics and organic agriculture; Undersecretary, Bridgette Hepburn and Mr. Yoram Zvieli, expert in pest management for horticulture production.

(BIS Photos/Raymond Bethel)

 

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Brave presentation in defence of Bahamas’ financial services reputation by PM Davis

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – Prime Minister of the Bahamas Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis is again calling for equality in the financial services sector and for the United Nations to leverage its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24, Prime Minister Davis said the Bahamas is one of the best-regulated countries in the world, yet it has been under attack by international bodies and placed on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) blacklist while transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

He questioned why this was the case and highlighted some disparities in the financial sector.

“Why is it that European states that operate frameworks akin to that of high-risk or blacklisted countries, are not even eligible for inclusion on these lists? Why are all the countries targeted – all of them – small and vulnerable, and former colonies of European states? We find it astounding that the $2-$3 trillion dollars which is estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries, are never flagged as causes for concern,” articulated Phillip Davis, addressing the 77th session in New York.

Prime Minister Davis further noted that there are elements of racism in the decision-making when it comes to regulating black-governed countries in the financial services sector. He also declared that black-governed countries matter as well.

And yet my country, which is widely recognized as one of the best-regulated countries in the world, and other countries like The Bahamas, are singled-out for such reputational attacks? The robust regulatory regimes of our Central Bank, Securities Commission, and Insurance Commission, are chastised on minor details of technical process, while much bigger transgressions in the developed world are ignored.

The evidence is mounting, that the considerations behind these decisions have less to do with compliance, and more to do with darker issues of pre-judged, discriminatory perceptions. Black-governed countries also matter.”

 Davis also highlighted the need for reforms that apply to all in the global financial system.

“Mr. President: We support the call for reforms in the global financial system to make it more relevant to the needs of today. But those reforms need ambition. They need to go beyond the incremental. And they need to apply to all. For example, the community of international financial institutions are in a position to forgive the debt incurred by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should do so.”

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Statement to Update on the Sale of the Grand Lucayan

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“Deal progressing toward closure”

 

#GrandBahama, The Bahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL) advises that negotiations toward a successful deal on the Grand Lucayan Resort continue to progress satisfactorily. It was announced in the first week of August in a joint statement with Electra America Hospitality Group that the due diligence period was extended by 45 days to September 15.

By virtue of this, the final closing date was also extended to November 15, 2022. We note that the recent seven-day extension did not impact the agreed November closing date. We anticipate that the sales process will be completed consistent with our revised timelines. The Board of LRHL remains committed to ensuring that a credible plan and shared vision for the resort is realized – a plan that will provide jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities and strengthen Grand Bahama’s economy.

We remain on track for a successful purchase and signing of a Heads of Agreement, in the best interest of the people of Grand Bahama.

There are matters connected to the transaction that are still being negotiated; we look forward to briefing the public as soon as negotiations are concluded.

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MASK AND COVID TESTING MANDATES END FOR THE BAHAMAS

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Bahamas is looking ahead to another roll back on restrictions as the precautions set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic fade away.  October 1 ends the mandate for face masks in The Bahamas; it’s another policy being recalled as the world embraces a new normal, where face coverings are optional.

In a snap measure, the minister of health for the Bahamas, Michael Darville also this month ended the COVID 19 testing entry requirement for the unvaccinated.  It makes The Bahamas, as a leading tourism destination, more affordable and more accessible as evidence supports that it does not also mean a spike in Covid cases.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis announced that the mask mandate change from New York, following his appearance at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and while attending the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.  However, it is not masks off for everyone:  medical facilities, aged care centers and schools will keep the rule.

The decision was met with applause by President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Darrin Woods who said this move will undoubtedly improve tourism numbers and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery.

Additionally, President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Robert Sands, said the time for mask mandate and Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated travellers had long passed. He believes that removing this protocol will level the playing field since other rivals in the tourism industry have already done so.

Already, long stay guests to The Bahamas were exempt from mask wearing on hotel properties.

At this point, some 173,000 Bahamas residents have been fully vaccinated and in the September 26 health report; three patients were in intensive care from the virus of the 132 active and only one new case had been recorded in Nassau.

 

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