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Agriculture Ministry to create Cultivation Centre food production hub



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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Bahamas News

GBPA welcomes EY’s New Office to Freeport



#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has approved a business license for EY Bahamas Ltd., who is set to open a new office in Freeport.

With more than 300,000 employees globally, EY provides assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions services to businesses, countries and entrepreneurs. Significant economic impact from this investment will stem from the need for local housing, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation and more.

“We are pleased to welcome EY to Freeport,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.  “GBPA has been working with EY to take advantage of the BH-1B Visa program, which provides a significant opportunity for us to welcome more people to our city. We are looking forward to the economic boost to local businesses including grocery stores, taxis, car rentals, the housing market, restaurants and more. The ripple effects as a result of EY’s new footprint in Freeport will be a positive addition to our business community.”

GBPA and EY began serious discussions in 2019 prior to Hurricane Dorian regarding the benefits of operating in Freeport’s Special Economic Zone.  Since then, GBPA continued building its relationship with the firm and further helped them to understand the benefits of the BH-1B visa, which allows them to use Freeport to support their client’s needs across the region and globe.  Besides attracting local Bahamian and international talent, EY was drawn to Freeport’s proximity to North America, its safe environment, technology infrastructure and more.

EY has operated in The Bahamas for decades, providing rewarding careers for Bahamians. In its new Freeport location, EY will offer its clients solutions utilizing global talent, while creating new opportunities for employment and training for Grand Bahamians.

“Our Invest Grand Bahama promotional arm is dedicated to attracting these types of businesses that can benefit from our unique Free Trade Zone. We will continue to do our part as we promote the best Freeport has to offer,” Mr. Rolle concluded.

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Bahamas News

RM Bailey’s Class of 2022 told, go where your heart leads you; be courageous, innovative, be your best



By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services


#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – Vice-President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Barry Griffin appealed to R.M. Bailey Senior High School’s Class of 2022 to be advocates of change and to use their voices to encourage good governance and constant innovation.

Senator Griffin was the guest speaker at the school’s commencement exercise Monday, June 20, at Charles Saunders Auditorium. “Empowered to Make What Seems Impossible – Possible” was the theme for the event.

“What we need now from our leaders is a sense of urgency. There has long been this feeling in The Bahamas, and in particular the upper echelons of our country, that we have comfort and we can manage to navigate the twists and turns that come our way,” said Senator Griffin.

“But what Hurricane Dorian has taught us, what the pandemic has taught us, what the inflation and rising costs of gas, electricity and food has taught us is — something that those at the fringes of our society have known for far too long — that comfort we feel will not last for long.”

To make the change, he remarked that the love of an old  “anachronistic” system that no longer serves the nation and its students must be removed.

He appealed for expanded opportunities for all, structural changes in the economy and in politics.

“We must begin to call a spade a spade — we have a problem of inequality, a problem of equal access to opportunity and a problem of failed politics. And graduates the only way that changes, is by you making your voices heard.”

He offered the following advice to the graduates:

  1. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
  2. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  3. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, both are equally important.
  4. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.
  5. There is no script. Live your life the way you want.
  6. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  7. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
  8. Failure is the condiment that gives success flavour.
  9. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
  10. Go where your heart leads you — and do everything you desire — act as if it were impossible for you to fail.

“My advice is to be bold, to be you, to embrace failure, and to live as if everything is possible.

“It is my hope that you run out of here excited, leaning forward into the wind and ready to take the world by storm,” he said.

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Bahamas News

Summit of the Americas elevates hemispheric challenges, Bahamas PM vocal



By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer


#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – “The Americas are challenged by crisis.” This was the statement made by the Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis during his contribution to the Plenary Session of the 9th Summit of the Americas on June 10, 2022.

“Climate, COVID and conflict have undermined our safety and our security,” he said. He went further to ask some thought-provoking questions: “Have we done enough here, at this gathering, to relieve suffering? To promote peace? To fight for the economic dignity of our People? “Will the work we carried out here continue once the spotlight and the world’s attention has moved on?”

He said the work and fine words do not count unless the people are told that the leaders have laid a true foundation for their progress.

Hinting back to the Summit in 2019, he said it is evident that the good intentions and optimism of that gathering did not translate into enduring advancement.

“Indeed, some countries in our hemisphere have become more unequal and more violent… across the Americas, the scourges of racism and discrimination appear to be on the rise. Emerging moral and technological challenges to our democratic norms threaten our capacity to deliver free and fair elections, and effective governance.” He added that all the mentioned challenges are “eclipsed by the existential threat of climate change.”

He expressed thanks to President Biden and Vice-President Harris and the people of the United States, to host and facilitate the dialogue and cooperation because none of the mentioned issues can be resolved by one nation.

Davis added, however, that “multilateral engagement at the highest levels happens too infrequently – certainly when it comes to issues which are important to the Caribbean,” he added. “But if the work of this Summit continues, if the will to cooperate endures, if words turn into action –change can lead to progress, and we can move forward.”

He highlighted several key factors affecting the region’s development, like hurricanes and other natural disasters that result in injury and debt, Covid-19 and the lack of sufficient healthcare workers, disinformation, and the illegal shipment of guns and movement of people. He also hinted at a topical issue, which suited the occasion as some countries were not invited to the Summit.

“It is easy to talk with those with whom we agree, but we must also be able to talk with those with whom we disagree. In fact, sometimes those are the conversations that are most urgently needed,” he said.  Prime Minister Davis noted that all the countries in the hemisphere faced overlapping developmental, security and democratic challenges. Collaboration and collective action can only be of mutual benefit. The absence of the Republic of Cuba has made these deliberations less complete,” added the Prime Minister.

“We must also be mindful of the unintended consequences of isolation and separation,” he said as he shared that more could be done to provide support for Haitians.

He noted that for the institutions within the Inter-American system to fulfil their potential, there should be some rethinking or re-calibrating. He added that the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular, required both a structural and cultural adjustment.

As the Prime Minister ended his presentation, he called for not just more talking but also that participants “keep ‘doing — upholding our commitments and taking the action necessary for our collective survival.”

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